A Thursday Wedding with Homemade Touches at Cain Manor for Charlotte and Chris

Charlotte and Chris tied the knot after having met when they were just 14. Their homemade wedding at Cain Manor was a dream come true.

Charlotte and Chris standing outside Cain Manor, a barn wedding venue on the border of Hampshire and Surrey

About the Couple 

Charlotte and Chris met at school when they were just 14. Their long-term friendship eventually developed in to the ultimate relationship and after having been official for just over 2 years, Chris decided to surprise his then girlfriend with a question she wasn’t expecting. 

Chris had given Charlotte a spa hotel break as a Christmas present and much to her delight, Chris had also booked her in to have a manicure upon arrival. Chris just couldn’t wait any longer, so dressed in his swimming trunks, spa dressing gown and slippers, he bent down on one knee and asked Charlotte to marry him. 

The couple had previously browsed for engagement rings so Chris had a bit of an idea of what Charlotte might love. Chris ended up having an engagement ring designed for Charlotte and it turned out to be the ring of her dreams. The newly engaged and super excited couple spent the next 8 months planning their dream day. 

Charlotte’s Mori Lee Wedding Dress 

After trying on only a handful of luxurious wedding dresses in a couple of different wedding dress shops, bride-to-be Charlotte fell in love with a fit and flare Mori Lee design featuring delicate lace and a sparkly belt for a touch of added glam. She teamed her gown up with a pair of pearl and sparkle shoes designed by Jenny Packham; a long white veil completed her bridal style. 

When it came to her bridal beauty, Charlotte hired Natasha Wiggins. She had a hair and makeup trial and had set her heart on an up-do, but on the day, the bride decided that she would prefer to have loose curls with a waterfall plait with small rose buds running through it. Charlottes four bridesmaids ended up having their hair tied up but with gypsophilia instead of roses.  

Cain Manor has wonderful grounds with far-reaching views over Surrey's Golden Valley
Love Letters in the gardens at Cain Manor

Choosing Cain Manor 

During their search for the perfect wedding venue, Charlotte and Chris only viewed two venues; Cain Manor won them over. They fell in love with the beams and the incredible view over the Surrey Hills. They felt that the exclusive use wedding venue had an intimate yet homely feel and the fact that their close friends and family could stay the night if they wished. Chris was also a fan of the bar area and the couple found the online planner extremely useful, seeing as Chris is posted in Germany and could therefore check in on what Charlotte had been doing with their wedding plans while she was in the UK. 

The Bridal Party 

Charlotte asked four girls to be part of her bridal team. Her two oldest friends, TJ and Harriette, Chris’s cousin Tamsin and Charlotte’s best friend from her university days, Becky. Instead of wearing coordinating dresses, two girls wore a shade of blush pink and two wore pale lavender; colours that tied in perfectly with Charlotte and Chris’s overall wedding colour scheme. Charlotte chose the bridesmaids dresses herself, but made sure that her best girls were happy with her decision before taking it further. 

Chris is in the army, so it was natural for him to wear his army uniform, along with a number of their family members and friends who are also in the army. The rest of the grooms’ party wore stylish grey suits that had been bought from M&S.

The Big Day: 18th August, 2016

Charlotte and Chris tied the knot in The Music Room at Cain Manor on Thursday, 18th August, 2016 in front of 60 wedding guests. The bride and her father walked down the aisle to ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri but half way down, her dad pulled out a selfie stick and decided to take a selfie, capturing the unforgettable moment in real-time. Not only did this calm everyone’s nerves, but it also created a memory that the bride and her family will never forget. 

During the ceremony there were two readings, including a poem called ‘He Never Leaves the Seat Up’, which was perfectly appropriate for Chris and Charlotte’s relationship. Charlotte’s godmother also did a reading called ‘On your Wedding Day’ and after their vows and a romantic first kiss as husband and wife, the newlywed couple walked back up the aisle to ‘Happy’ by Pharell Williams. 

After a glass of bubbly, the new Mr & Mrs and their guests were invited back in to The Music Room for a sumptuous wedding banquet prepared by Bijou’s in-house team of expert chefs. The couple had pre-chosen a menu consisting of peat-smoked salmon, pea shoots & beetroot with a Charlotte potato salad to start; Hampshire Beef and Chianti Pie for a main course and Bijou’s delicious chocolate pot with a melting middle and Jack Daniels ice cream. 

With the help of Pinterest, Charlotte designed her own wedding cake. Chris’ mother made a three tier fruit cake in order to make Charlotte’s dream wedding cake into a reality. The homemade wedding cake featured hessian, lace, fresh roses and gypsophilia and a vintage-style ‘Best Day Ever’ bunting topper that was also handmade. The couple also cut through a sponge cake that was distributed to guests as a sweet treat. Charlotte’s father created a table planner using crates, as well as the fun ‘order of the day’. Chris’s mother made all of the wedding stationery and Chris made little origami sailing boats for the tables, created with the same pattern as the stationery, for an extra decorative touch.

The couple hired Louise Avery when it came to their wedding flowers and chose colours based around pink and purple. During the run up to their wedding they collected jam jars that were later decorated by Charlotte’s mother with hessian and ribbon and filled with a mixture of florals that also featured in Charlotte’s bridal bouquet. The flowers included roses, lavender, astilbe, eucalyptus and gypsophilia. Charlotte’s grandmother embroidered a lace handkerchief which was wrapped around the bouquet stems. Tea light holders with candles added a touch of sparkle and their table names were all places that they’d visited as a couple. 

For wedding favours, Charlotte purchased wooden hearts and painted each one a Dove grey shade. She then hand wrote their name and the date on them and tied a bow to complete each favour. She used regiment colours for the military guests which went down really well. Personalised ‘love heart’ sweets were also scattered on the reception tables. 

A further 30 guests were invited to celebrate Charlotte and Chris’s wedding in the evening and the couple had arranged for a pop corn machine to be displayed, along with Chris’s favourite “Mr Freeze’ ice lollies to be distributed. For their first dance, one of the bridesmaids, TJ, sang ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran and a band, The Velveteens, then played music that filled the dance floor throughout the night. 

The Honeymoon 

Chris and Charlotte moved to Germany just three days after their wedding – but the couple have planned a romantic honeymoon to Bali in the spring for a jungle/relaxing spa experience. 

When asked if there was anything that they would recommend to future Bijou couples, Charlotte and Chris said: “Spend that little bit more on the Wedding photographer as photos will last forever! Andrew from Whiteley Weddings was and is absolutely amazing”.

Charlotte and Chris’s Wedding Suppliers 

Wedding Venue: Cain Manor 
Wedding Photographer: Whiteley Weddings
Wedding Dress Designer: Mori Lee 
Wedding Shoes: Jenny Packham 
Wedding Hair and Makeup: Natasha Wiggins
Groomswear: M&S
Wedding Flowers: Louise Avery 
Wedding Band: The Velveteens
Wedding Gift List: John Lewis

The bride's dress hanging with the bridesmaids dresses in the bridal suite at Cain Manor
Wedding shoes by Jenny Packham in the bridal suite at Cain Manor
The groom and his party in their military attire
Handmade order of the day displayed at Cain Manor
A guest with a floral button hole
The Music Room at Cain Manor, dressed for Charlotte and Chris's wedding
Charlotte and Chris handmade their wedding invitations
Chiavari wedding chairs in The Music Room ready for Charlotte and Chris's Cain Manor wedding
Charlotte and Chris saying their vows at the top of the aisle at Cain Manor
Charlotte and Chris signing the register at Cain Manor
The confetti shot on the patio outside Cain Manor
Charlotte with her bridesmaids on the lawn outside Cain Manor
Charlotte and Chris's wedding rings
Charlotte and Chris outside their barn wedding venue, Cain Manor
Charlotte and Chris outside their venue, Cain Manor
Rustic wedding flowers at Cain Manor
Charlotte and Chris's homemade wedding cake
Best Day Ever handmade wedding cake topper
Fresh flowers were placed on the homemade wedding cake
Wedding reception tables decorated with jars filled with rustic flowers at Cain Manor
Homemade wedding table names at Charlotte and Chris's barn wedding at Cain Manor
Cain Manor is the perfect barn style wedding venue on the border of Surrey and Hampshire
Charlotte and Chris's first dance in the barn style Music Room at Cain Manor
Sign on the door of Cain Manor