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Rachel and Nathan’s Wedding at Botleys Mansion

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A Glittering Winter Wedding at Botleys Mansion

After a beautiful Church ceremony, Rachel and Nathan held their stunning wedding reception at Botleys Mansion, complete with plenty of glittering rose gold detail.

The Proposal 

Rachel and Nathan met at East Anglia University and after being friends for 2 years, they eventually became a couple. In April 2015, Nathan decided that having been together for 8 years, it was the perfect time to ask Rachel to marry him. It was an ordinary Sunday morning and the couple had been stocking up on sun cream and bikinis in preparation for their upcoming holiday the following week. Nathan gave nothing away while they relaxed in a beer garden in the glorious spring sunshine, before heading home to continue sunbathing on their garden terrace; Rachel had no idea that her life was about to change. The afternoon continued like any normal afternoon, but when Rachel went to head back inside the house, Nathan stopped her, saying “before you go, I have something to ask you,” and when Rachel turned back around, he was down on one knee! Nathan wanted his choice of engagement ring to symbolise them both: the solitaire style was traditional like himself, but the oval cut was not-so-traditional – like Rachel! The couple gave themselves just over a year and a half to plan their special day.

Finding the dress

Rachel loved her wedding dress shopping experience and had plenty of fun trying on at least 25 dresses before finding ‘The One,’ back in her home town of Oundle, which made it feel extra-special. The Caroline Castigliano gown that Rachel fell in love with was in fact not at all what she had imagined she would choose for a winter wedding. However, the sleeveless and backless dress perfectly suited her. The classic A-line cut and lace detail was complemented by a grey satin belt, which added a splash of winter colour, making the look unique. Rachel also loved that the gown had pockets, which were both useful and added an extra hint of contemporary style. Rachel’s wedding shoes were extra special to her, because her bridesmaid Alice, by chance, helped her choose them. Alice worked at Harvey Nicholls, and sent a photo of the Sophie Webster shoes one day, suggesting they might be perfect for the wedding. Rachel knew that Alice’s fashion sense was flawless, so with that decision made, her bridal look was complete.

Finding a winter wedding venue

When it came to choosing the right venue, Rachel and Nathan knew that they needed somewhere perfect for a winter wedding, so beautiful indoor space was a must. For Rachel and Nathan, Botleys Mansion in Surrey ticked all the right boxes. In their words: “what’s not to love about Botleys?” They wanted to capture the warmth and cosiness of winter, and The Atrium at Botleys Mansion was the perfect space to create their dream theme. For Rachel and Nathan, Bijou’s Online Planner was what really set Botleys Mansion apart from the other 8 wedding venues they viewed. This tool allowed the couple to plan every detail of their wedding so that the day itself ran seamlessly, with Rachel commenting that it “kept groomzilla at bay at least…Nathan was checking it every night!”

The big day – 1st December 2016

Rachel and Nathan chose to hold their wedding ceremony at Holy Trinity Lyne and Longcross Church.

Rachel’s father walked her down the aisle to ‘A Thousand Years’ by the Piano Guys. The most memorable part of the day for Nathan was the moment he saw Rachel walk into the Church, as he found it far more emotional than he had expected. During the ceremony, the couple chose to have one biblical reading, followed by ‘Dear Human; You’ve Got It All Wrong,’ by Courtney. A. Walsh, as it depicted modern day love in all its meanings, and was one of the most romantic things Rachel had ever read. For Rachel, her most memorable moment of the day was stepping out of the Church as husband and wife, as the elation (and relief!) was overwhelming and she couldn’t wait for the rest of the day to unfold. After being showered with confetti petals, the newlywed couple were then whisked away to Botleys Mansion in a white Rolls Royce Phantom Series II; they loved their car journey so much, they even asked the driver to go round the block once more so they could enjoy it for a little longer.
Rachel and Nathan had found a local band the Kick Thrills to play during their drinks reception. The couple discovered them at their local pub and knew that they were a wedding day must-have straight away. Benjamin Wheeler, the wedding photographer, took the bride and groom around the grounds of Botleys Mansion to enjoy some private wedding photography, before they made their grand entrance ain to the Atrium for the wedding banquet. The spectacular staircase they walked down had been decorated with fairy lights and ivy and a host of candles. The styling of their wedding reception tables were particularly memorable, as the couple chose gold sparkly table cloths to add extra wow-factor and sparkle to their celebrations. They reflected the candlelight and chandeliers to create a magical winter atmosphere. Each table featured a hurricane vase wrapped in a floral wreath (a subtle nod to Christmas), surrounded by a variety of tiny candles. As Rachel and Nathan love visiting Las Vegas, their tables were all named after the city’s most prominent hotels. Each guest found a favour at their table setting: a miniature Lego box (Nathan’s favourite) wrapped in gold ribbon and bells, filled with personalised M&Ms.

For their wedding banquet, the couple chose an exquisite three-course meal consisting of:
Peat smoked salmon, wild leaves, pea shoots and beetroot with charlotte potato salad and edible flowers
Slow braised Hampshire beef with creamed parsnip mash, root vegetable crisps and olivette carrots
Blackberry and apple crumble with caramel ice cream and crème Anglaise

After some emotional speeches, the couple cut their stunning wedding cake, designed by Gina’s Cakes in Shepherds Bush. The cake was white, black and gold – and of course sparkly – finished with gold painted candies. Rachel and Nathan wanted a cake that everyone would like, so it included layers of red velvet, chocolate, lemon, Victoria sponge and finally a fruit cake made with rum, which they would recommend to everyone!

For their evening entertainment, the couple chose to have Bijou’s DJ. Their choice of song for their first dance – ‘My Kinda Woman’ by Bryn Christopher –  was particularly special for Rachel and Nathan, as they had seen Bryn Christopher on one of their earliest dates together at University. While the DJ kept the party going all night long, the couple also chose to hire Openbooth – a photo booth style camera, but without the booth, which kept everyone together. At the end of the celebration, the couple handed boxes of sweets to their guests, so that they could enjoy a late-night treat on their journey home.

tiered wedding cake copper and ivory

The bridal party

Rachel chose her sister Laura as her Maid of Honour and her 3 closest friends, Emma, Alice and Colette, as her bridesmaids. Their dresses were certainly one of the most stunning details of the day; gold sequin gowns complemented the day’s glittering theme perfectly, and Rachel was even a little bit jealous that she didn’t get to wear one of the sparkling gowns herself! For Rachel, her make-up was done by Sarah Hale, and her hair was styled by Nina from Blo Bar in Chiswick. They were the perfect company for Rachel to get ready with on such a special day. Rachel’s hair was curled and finished with an intricate beaded hair vine, and her sister Laura cleverly added Rachel’s “something blue” with a secret blue hair pin. Her look was completed by a bouquet created by Bijou Partner Sonning Flowers, featuring white and bush roses, gypsophila and grey brunia, expertly designed to match their elegant theme. The groom’s party all arranged their own tuxedos – they were either custom made or hired from from Moss Bros or Suit Supply. All of the suits were finished with white or blush rose button holes.

The honeymoon

Rachel and Nathan asked for contributions to their honeymoon instead of a traditional gift list. They chose a dream get-away, jetting off to Jamaica and New York, where Nathan organised lots of special surprises to create the perfect start to married life!

Top tips for future wedding planning couples

Rachel and Nathan wanted to share a piece of advice which we at Bijou couldn’t agree more: “Don’t stress. You’ll have the day you have and you’ll treasure it regardless.”

Rachel and Nathan’s wedding suppliers

Wedding Venue: Botleys Mansion
Wedding Photographer: Benjamin Wheeler Photography
Wedding Florist: Sonning Flowers
Wedding Dress Designer: Caroline Castigliano
Bridal Make-up: Sarah Hale
Wedding Hair: Nina from Blo Bar, Chiswick
Groomswear: Moss Boss and Suit Supply
Wedding Band: The Kick Thrills
Wedding Cake: Gina’s Cakes
Photo Booth: Openbooth
Evening Entertainment: Bijou DJ

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