WEDDING AT EXTON HALL, RUTLAND
October 11, 2019
Sophie and Ashley had their gorgeous wedding celebrations in the grounds of Exton Hall, Exton Estate in Rutland in August 2019. The marquee of all marquees, decorated with the most gorgeous flowers, on one of the windiest days on record! Wow, what an incredible wedding to play a major part in. If this was my last ever wedding, I would be super happy (it’s not by the way)!!
(Blog questions answered from a mother of the bride’s perspective).
Sophie initially contacted me back at the end of December 2017. I remember getting the email on my way back from visiting family in Dorset. Sophie knew she wanted some wedding planning assistance and wedding day management with her marquee wedding celebrations the following August with an estimated 150 guests attending. We exchanged a few emails and I met with Sophie and her mum (Kerry) at Sophie’s home in Stamford at the beginning of January 2018.
Why did you feel the need to hire a wedding planner?
Once we realised that we wanted to plan a marquee wedding reception for approximately 150 people, we knew that we would need a wedding planner to help us pull the wedding together for us and guide us through the wedding planning process. Also, we wanted to have someone to run the actual day for us so that we could relax and I could enjoy being mother of the bride with no responsibilities on the day itself! Amy did all of this and more.
They had just started their wedding planning, with their church and venue location secured. Sophie and Kerry felt they needed that expert in the background for the first few months, with a view to take everything over closer to the wedding. I put a very bespoke package together for them based on my ‘partial support‘ option. We all got on so well and it was just fabulous to have them book me (almost instantly). Sometimes there is that instant connection which is what I genuinely love about my job.
What made you choose Amy?
Sophie, our daughter, found Amy and her business online – we could see Amy had fantastic reviews and once we met Amy, we immediately hit it off and we knew that she was the perfect wedding planner for us to work with. We booked her on the spot once we knew that she had the wedding date free.
WEDDING PLANNING JOURNEY
Sophie and Ashley (as well as Sophie’s parent’s Kerry and David) were an absolute pleasure to work with. I started to take over more from the October before the wedding when flower talks started to happen. Sophie had booked a few wedding suppliers independently but still needed my opinion on a few others, as well as recommendations for wedding stationery, florist, hair and makeup (for the bridesmaids), cake and confetti. From the little things like helping to choose the scent of their wedding favour candles, to proof reading invitations, through to being involved in the styling and floral side of this wedding was an absolute pleasure.
What did you most enjoy about working with Amy?
We enjoyed every single minute of working with Amy, it was such a pleasure. Nothing was ever too much trouble for her and whenever we were not sure about a certain decision reference the wedding, Amy’s guidance and incredible wedding planning experience put us on the right path. We always looked forward to our next catch up / meeting with Amy.
What part of your wedding planning did you enjoy the most?
Sophie and I enjoyed the whole wedding planning process as Amy made it all seem so easy, always giving us guidance on what needed thinking about next and constantly putting our minds at rest that we were right on track with wedding day decisions and ideas. She was always at the end of the phone or email to answer any questions that we needed answering.
With hurricane winds forecast, it wasn’t the best weather for this wedding – but I didn’t let this get me down. I knew we had one of the best marquee companies around that installed marquees that could cope with this type of challenging weather.
It was certainly all systems go when the marquee started to go up. The Thursday involved starting to get things into the marquee (especially before the rain hit which was forecast for the Friday). Some of the floral installations were also started, including Sophie and Ashley’s amazing floral halo (with glitter balls) above their circular bar. The quantity of flowers that were delivered were absolutely incredible. The whole stage (and more) were filled with buckets of flowers…
From the Friday morning, tables were clothed and set, napkins dressed with eucalyptus, favours put out, place tags put on the place settings (all beautifully done by hand in calligraphy by Kerry) and stunning floral displays created by the magicians that are Vincent and Stubbs. Lucy from In the Details had done the majority of Sophie and Ashley’s wedding stationery and I have to say the menus (printed on the vellum) she did looked just gorgeous on the tables along with their table name and seating plan.
The Friday afternoon / evening was extremely busy trying to get as much done as possible, and Sophie and Ashley’s vision came to life in front of their eyes. There were a few challenges throughout the day, but all came together ahead of what was going to be an absolutely incredible day.
THE WEDDING DAY
First thing, I went to see Sophie and her bridal party at Hambleton Hall, they were staying in the Pavilion there. Hair and makeup were in full swing and it was lovely to see them all excited and starting to get pampered. Despite the extremely windy conditions, Sophie was so calm and I knew she trusted me to make the right decisions on her behalf.
After leaving Hambleton Hall, I went straight to the marquee and first job was getting the marquee vacuumed and a few final pieces put into place. Church flowers were still being created as well as the bridal bouquets and buttonholes. The cake arrived as well as a few other suppliers, so the morning flew by.
There were some lovely suppliers involved with this wedding. Some of who I knew and some who I didn’t. What an incredible bunch of people and I have to say that Scott from Fiona Herbert Catering was an absolute star to work with. Also, a huge thank you to Andrew from Events and Tents for battling the elements and ensuring the marquee was secured at all times. Another thank you to Steven Bradshaw – a photographer I had never come across before but what a genuinely lovely person and such a talent (all of the gorgeous images in this Blog were taken by Steven – with the exception of the tubs of flowers on the stage). Great to work again with the most discrete videographer around – thanks Nick.
Early afternoon, I took the confetti and buttonholes to the church and helped pin these on and it was lovely to meet Rebecca Cole who was singing for Sophie and Ashley during their ceremony.
This flowed into greeting the bridesmaids when they arrived, as well as Sophie and her Dad. The most gorgeous bride in her Sassi Holford ‘Mirabelle’ dress with incredible hair and makeup by Kellie Moody (such a lovely lady). It was fabulous to see all of our WhatsApp images / messages come to life and Sophie’s smile said it all.
As soon as they had walked down the aisle, I had to speak to a few people at the marquee and then go back to Hambleton Hall to collect all of the bridesmaid belongings and take them back to the marquee – huge thanks to the lovely staff there for helping me load the car. A bit of a rush, but I did it and got back parked just as the church bells were ringing.
At that point, the clouds had come across and I knew we were in for a shower, so I grabbed the umbrellas and went up to the church, ensuring that Kerry and the key people had an umbrella before the heavens opened. Whilst it was a heavy shower, it passed quite quickly and everybody headed to the sunken garden for the drinks and canapes reception which was Sophie’s dream. The fabulous Robert Benson Trio and Ricky Locke entertained the guests and the drinks and canapes flowed (served to perfection by Fiona Herbert Catering’s team).
When Sophie and Ashley were driven around to the front of Exton Hall, I ensured I greeted them with a glass of Prosecco each.
Drinks and canapes flowed into Sophie and Ashley’s wedding breakfast, interspersed with some incredible speeches, including one from Sophie’s lovely Maid of Honour Lou. Sophie and Ashley’s wedding breakfast comprised of a ‘sharer’ as a starter, followed by Seared Fillet of Beef for main and then the most gorgeous Trio of Desserts, which included a white chocolate cheesecake to die for. Sophie’s Dad had his own individual ‘summer’ pudding.
Everything just flowed with this wedding. All of the detail I had worked on and collected over the 18 months all came together and I was so happy with everything. Whilst I can’t plan the weather, I can ensure everything else runs as it should and that any hiccups are dealt with as quickly as possible.
After the wedding breakfast, Sophie threw her bouquet, evening guests arrived and it was straight into the cutting of the cake and the first dance. The first dance was one of the best I’ve seen with their band Dexter performing ‘You are the one’ by Kodaline to perfection. Bridesmaids had confetti cannons at the edge of the dancefloor (as a surprise) and this just worked so incredible well.
Before I left I did enjoy a drink with Kerry. It had been an incredible long day but we knew it had been one of the best days with some incredible memories to cherish and lifelong friendships had certainly been created.
The morning after the wedding I received such a gorgeous message from Sophie:-
“I actually can’t get over how incredible yesterday was and it really is all down to you!!
We haven’t stopped crying all day at everyone’s messages and photos. Thank you so much and you really are not just our wedding planner but a friend for life now. Thank you for making big decisions yesterday and dealing with things that I know were not easy. You made everything amazing and to have the drinks reception outside was so special.
Thank you so much”.
Then this lovely one from Kerry on the Monday:-
“Amy…how do I start this text to you…as no words can say what an incredible job you have done in achieving Soph and Ash’s dream wedding. You have worked beyond hard to pull everything together for us and we could never have achieved it without you. I can’t tell you how many amazing texts and phone calls that we have received today saying that it has been the best wedding that people have attended and the attention to detail has been beyond anything they have come across before from flowers to catering to marquee.
You really are a complete star and without you, this incredible dreamy wedding day would never have happened”.
They really were the most perfect family to work with and I’m looking forward to our (Prosecco infused) catch-ups over the coming years – with number one in the bag already!
What part of the wedding day did you enjoy the most?
Every minute of it! The whole wedding day details / plan went like clockwork with guests saying how sleek the organisation was …. that was all down to Amy … working so brilliantly with all our amazing suppliers on the day.
What advice would you give to a bride (or groom) whilst planning their wedding?
The importance of having a fantastic amazing wedding planner like Amy! It takes the complete stress out of planning a wedding and makes all the arranging seem so much easier.
Five words to describe Amy?
Personable | Professional | Organised | Efficient | Invaluable
Would you love to do it all again?
Most definitely YES! Every Saturday since the wedding, we wish that it was the wedding day again. Amy made sure that the day went so smoothly, it was such a magical dreamy day.
Final comment …. everyone needs Amy as their wedding planner for all of the reasons listed above.
THE DREAM TEAM
Wedding Planner – Amy Thorne of Amaranthyne Weddings
Florists – Vincent and Stubbs Flowers
Photographer – Steven Bradshaw Photography
More of Sophie and Ashley’s stunning photographs by Stephen Bradshaw can be found here
Videographer – Nick Grove Videography
Marquee, Tables, Chairs, Lighting – Events and Tents Company
Caterers – Fiona Herbert Catering
Bride’s Dress – ‘Mirabelle’ by Sassi Holford
Mother of the Bride’s Dress – Bespoke design by Sassi Holford
Hair and Makeup (Bride and Mum) – Kellie Moody
Bridesmaids Dresses – Maids to Measure
Hair (Bridesmaids) – The Bridal Hair Professionals
Makeup (Bridesmaids) – Belle Mariee Makeup
Confetti – Shropshire Petals
Cake – Cakes by Design (Fiona Milnes)
Wedding Stationery – In the Details
Wedding Car – VP Princess Wedding Cars
Church Ceremony Singer – Rebecca Cole
Drinks Reception Musician – Robert Benson Trio
Magician – Ricky Locke
Band – Dexter
Exquisite | Elegant | Exclusive
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