Ruth and Christian chose Manor By The Lake in Gloucestershire for their idyllic woodland wedding ceremony
Photography: Dearest Love Photography
Ruth and Christian were looking for three things from their wedding venue: being able to get married outdoors, lovely accommodation on site and somewhere accessible for all their guests. And they found this, and more, at the beautiful Victorian Manor By The Lake in Cheltenham. ‘The manor house is covered with ivy and looks amazing and I wanted to continue this through to the ballroom,’ says Ruth.
‘Our wedding had a woodland theme, so I used the colour palette from my bouquet along with ivy and silver for the table decorations and candles to carry the theme through. Christian’s cousin had rescued an owl, which had recently shed her feathers, so we used those along with pheasant feathers for each place setting, in keeping with the woodland feel.’
To complement the woodland wedding theme, Ruth chose a Great Gatsby-style dress from Ellis Bridals. The bridesmaids chose their dresses themselves. ‘I wanted them to feel as comfortable as possible on the day. We had a day shopping and they choose Grecian style dresses in a very neutral pink to compliment to colour scheme.’
Real wedding inspiration
The couple decorated much of the venue themselves, which helped keep the costs down. ‘We had a fantastic supplier, Wendy at Secret Garden, for the centrepieces, the artificial garlands and the fireplace decorations. She also supplied the beautiful real-flower petal confetti that we matched to our colour theme.’
I used Ebay, Wish.com and Facebook Marketplace to source most of the decorations especially the ivy. Homebargains and Homesense were also brilliant for the tealight holders and fairy lights. My sister and I decorated a picnic hamper with ivy and flowers to use for presents and cards. The ivy for the pillars had to be cut to size and glued with artificial flowers, which took hours, but it looked amazing and was well worth the time.”
And the florist’s ethos of ‘grown not flown’ had Ruth sold. ‘They only use fresh farm blooms, so I didn’t know what I was having until the day – which I loved!’
Ruth and Christian decided to have the speeches after drinks and canapes and before the wedding breakfast. ‘My dad is a man of few words,’ says Ruth ‘but he amazed everyone with his speech including an emotional tribute to my mum. Christian’s brother was best man, his speech was truly incredible. We’ve been told many times since it was the best speech they’ve ever heard. His props included a wig, a bottle of port and an electric skateboard!’
The wedding breakfast
The laid-back theme continued at Manor By The Lake when it came to the wedding breakfast, with a buffet-style meal after the reception drinks and a hog roast for the evening. ‘We wanted the day to have a relaxed atmosphere with the guests able to move around the room instead of sitting down for a three-course meal,’ says Ruth. ‘We love tapas, so we had a sharing board to start, with meze and a ploughman’s buffet followed by Eton Mess with edible flowers. A family member, Diane, made the three-tier naked cake in fruit, sponge and chocolate, and decorated with berries, fresh fruit and flowers.
‘Making things yourselves or asking friends to help is a great way to keep costs down,’ says Ruth. ‘Knowing what you will and won’t compromise on is helpful, as is being flexible. And don’t buy expensive shoes unless they’re in your budget. When will you wear them again?’
‘And if you can’t afford favours, don’t have them,’ says Ruth. ‘No one will notice if they’re not there!’
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