After meeting on the last day at college, Steve took Claire on a first date to their local TGI Fridays. Little did Claire know that after 10 years of dating the pair would get engaged during a trip away to Bath.

Finding the one

The first thing on the couple’s to-do list was book a venue fit for an Autumn wedding date. After discovering Gaynes Park online, the pair took a trip to the venue, along with Claire’s parents and sister, to see what it had in store.

“It was only the second venue we had visited and we planned to visit one more, however, rather quickly upon arrival we realised it was the one,” smiles Claire. “We wanted somewhere that was beautiful and elegant, but rustic and laid back at the same time,” explains Claire. “Good food was also important,” she adds.

Luckily, Gaynes Park ticked all the boxes. With the venue booked 13 months ahead of their big-day, Claire jumped onto Pinterest and was soon whisked away into the world of wedding planning.

Autumn wedding style

The charming country style wedding venue fit perfectly with the autumnal wedding theme Claire had in mind. She knew she wanted to feature white pumpkins throughout her décor, along with rustic leaves and much more.

“I found a pumpkin farm in Kent that offered pumpkins in a variety of colours. It was a 90 minute drive from us, but well worth it,” explains Claire.  “Steve and I wrapped up warm, took out our wellington boots and headed out for our first pumpkin patch adventure. In total we bought 72 white pumpkins.”

Two of the pumpkins were transformed by the couples’ florist into little baskets, filled with flowers and adorned with pearl handles for the flower girls to hold. Candles and stag décor also featured throughout the wedding décor, while the Orangery was enhanced with rustic leaves, ombré roses – inspired by Claire’s dress, and baby pine cones.

Creating the perfect day

To help them bring their day together, the couple sought out some of the best local suppliers.

“I found a few of my suppliers at the National Wedding Show, in London, and found others using Facebook and Instagram,” says Claire. “My dress came from a boutique near my family home – I knew it was perfect the moment I saw it,” she smiles. Claire opted for a Mori Lee gown with pretty ombré ruffles, featuring tones from ivory, to champagne and blush pink. “It was incredibly unique and really showed off my personality,” smiles Claire.

Her three bridesmaids wore pale blush gowns from Coast, and her two flower girls wore grey and sequin numbers from Next.

The big-day

After 13 months of planning and preparation, Claire and Steve finally tied the knot on the 1st October. The beautiful gardens and long walk to The Orangery was something that really drew Claire to the exclusive venue.

“I’d never seen or heard of another wedding venue where a bride and her bridal party could make such a beautiful entrance! I really admire all the hard work the team put in to keep it looking wonderful, no matter what time of the year,” says Claire. “My amazing father walked me down the aisle and kept me calm and at ease,” she smiles. “The best part was saying our vows to one and another and obviously saying ‘I do’! To have all our loved ones there, smiling and happy for us made it special too.”

Just the two of us

For their wedding breakfast in Gaynes Park’s Mill Barn, Claire and Steve sat at a sweetheart table by themselves.

“We didn’t want to stick to tradition with a top table and really liked the idea of a sweetheart table,” explains Claire. “It gave us time to talk to one another on what was a very busy day. We also enjoyed looking out to all our loved ones,” she smiles.

Mouth-watering menu

While the table design was important to Claire and Steve, so was the food.

“We spent most of our budget on the venue, food and drink – but it really helped set the scene and atmosphere for the day. It was definitely worth it,” says Claire. The couple opted for the casual dining package, which included a gourmet barbecue, and a dessert of chocolate brownies, vanilla ice cream, and popping candy. “The food provided by Galloping Gourmet won us over. The choice was fantastic. We were so excited to hear we could have a gourmet barbecue for our main wedding breakfast and then street food for the evening event. It was perfect,” smiles Claire.

Sweet creation

Of course, the couples’ stylish day wouldn’t have been complete without a wow-factor wedding cake. Claire was keen to pick something influenced by her wedding gown, and got the cake of her dreams from local cake makers Pink Face.

“It had four tiers and was designed with lots of ruffles. The top, smallest tier, was a dummy cake, and the other tiers were lemon-drizzle, Victoria sponge, and chocolate,” explains Claire.

Wedding party

With the party in full swing, the couple continued their celebrations on the dance floor with family and friends. They hired a DJ for the occasion and a live Motown band as an extra special surprise for their guests. The couple’s fun photo booth also amused guests, along with the fab popcorn machine and outdoor pizza ovens – providing the perfect evening feast.

Best bit:

“We can’t pick one! The wedding team was one of the best teams I’ve ever had the pleasure of dealing with. The venue is run like a tight ship and everyone knows what they are doing and where they need to be. The whole day was perfect.”