With a romantic holiday to Italy planned, Ben decided he would seize the opportunity and propose to girlfriend Laura. Finding the right spot to pop the question wasn’t so easy though. “Ben had carried the ring around for the whole week but felt most of the romantic hotspots were too busy,” laughs Laura. “He eventually got down on one knee in our hotel restaurant – we were the only ones in there. I said yes and then cried for about an hour!”

Barn beautiful

Keen to celebrate with a Christmas wedding, the couple began their search for a truly magical setting. “Gaynes Park had a lovely feel about it as soon as we walked in. It was by far the best venue we had visited. The grounds are beautiful and it is private from the public and we didn’t want a wedding where everyone is in different rooms, so the set up of the barn was perfect for us, plus the staff were amazing,” smiles Laura. There was no question that the barn wedding venue was perfect for the couple, so they secured their wedding date – 22nd December – 11 months before the big-day.

Seasonal charm

Sparkle and all things seasonal quickly became the theme of Laura and Ben’s day. Crystal trees and candelabras were used to create the table centerpieces and silk flowers were used throughout the styling of the couple’s day. Gaynes Park already had pretty fairy lights inside Mill Barn, the reception space, which complimented the couple’s magical occasion perfectly. Of course, it wasn’t just the venue styling that reflected Christmas. Almost all the pair’s wedding elements carried a seasonal theme. Their wedding cake reflected Laura’s love of sparkle with a crystal spray on the top tier. “We opted for a different type of sponge for each layer including vanilla, black forest, chocolate and purple velvet,” says Laura. Likewise, Laura’s wedding dress sparkled too and was made from a mix of satin and lace. “My dress was something new, my something borrowed was my mum’s diamond bracelet, my something blue was my great grandmother’s ring that I had sewn into my bouquet, and my something old was the necklace my late grandmother had worn on her wedding day. I wrapped it around the handle of my bouquet,” explains Laura.

A touch of purple

With Cadbury purple being the prominent colour in the couple’s wedding colour scheme, it was only right that the groom’s attire, along with the bridesmaid’s dresses, reflected this too. While the boys accessorised with a Cadbury purple cravat and handkerchief, the girls wore Cadbury purple full-length gowns with those obligatory glittery silver heels!

Winter romance

Laura and Ben choose to tie the knot in a civil ceremony at Gaynes Park. Christmas baubles hung from the beams, cream lanterns lined the aisle and a beautiful crystal bead curtain backdrop sat behind the couple as they exchanged vows. “We got Mediterranean Occasions to decorate and style the venue and they did a fantastic job,” smiles Laura. “I did happen to drag some of the lanterns down the aisle with me as my dress was so big, but luckily the candles weren’t real and we all saw the funny side of it!” she laughs.

Taste the season

The couple’s reception space continued the theme of a winter wonderland with tea lights, scattered crystals, Christmas baubles – and it was in Mill Barn where the couple and their guests enjoyed a four-course wedding breakfast. “We had scotch egg to start, a sorbet and popping candy palate cleanser, beef two-ways for our main, followed by a trio of desserts,” says Laura. “The food was incredible and the waiting staff did an amazing job. In fact, Ben thought the food was one of the most memorable parts of the day!” she laughs.

A night to remember

As night began to fall, Laura, Ben and all their guests were certainly in the mood to party. The pair hired a DJ to take requests and mixed in that must-have Christmas music.

When it was time for the party to retire to bed, Laura and Ben didn’t have to go far. They stayed overnight in the Apple Loft Cottage, while their families stayed in the Coach House, both of which are located close by to the venue. “The accommodation was breathtaking, everyone loved it, and the service we received the next day was great too. In fact, the staff even left some food in the room for when Ben and I got back at midnight as they knew we hadn’t had chance to eat much since lunch,” says Laura. “The whole day ran like clockwork – thanks to the fabulous Gaynes Park staff. It really was perfect from start to finish.”

Laura’s top tips:

  • Enjoy the planning and enjoy the day – you only get to do it once.
  • One for the grooms – show interest in all elements of the planning, even if you aren’t that bothered by it. Ben was brilliant at this.
  • Shop around for decent prices but do remember you pay for great service.