Lisa & James were married at Manor Hill House on the 13th December 2019
We are taking a look at their journey from the proposal to their wedding day
We met during our first year at the University of Worcester and actually lived in the same halls of residence. We’ve been together ever since and when we finished University decided we both wanted to make Worcester our permanent home. We had been together for nearly 7 years when James proposed when we were on holiday in Rhodes. We were getting ready to go out one night and James called me outside, the sun was setting and we had our own pool that overlooked the sea. A gorgeous setting for getting down on one knee, except instead of getting down on one knee James decided to squat down, he’s a strength and conditioning coach so guess it just came natural! Squatting aside I had no hesitation in saying yes.
We knew we wanted an exclusive use venue and one that felt intimate. A grand castle was never in the picture. We also knew we wanted a Christmassy, winter wedding so an outdoor venue was also out of the question. We needed somewhere that could comfortably house our guests for the entire day. We wanted somewhere that had everything under one roof, we also needed somewhere that was a convenient location as we had family and friends spread across, the whole west midlands and even further afield. Our furthest travelling guest came from France. Manor Hill House is perfectly situated as it is just a short drive from the M5, but you find yourself in the most peaceful spot of countryside.
We visited 4 venues in total and Manor Hill House won hands down, as soon as we walked in we knew it was the perfect place. We knew we would be able to achieve the cosy, intimate, Christmassy wedding we had always wanted. It felt like a home from home, you could use as much or as little of the venue as you wanted. We decided to use the marquee for our wedding breakfast but then closed it off in the evening, so we could get everyone on the dance floor and there was still room for people to sit and play games if they wished, or grab a drink at the bar. We particularly fell in love with the sitting room, we have elderly grandparents and relatives with children that spent the evening relaxing in there, whilst not being too far from the action so we could pop in and out and keep everyone involved, it made it really special. We also opened up the kitchen in the evening so everyone could grab a bite to eat, it almost felt like lovely house party.
When we were viewing Manor Hill House the team were so enthusiastic and really encouraged us to make the venue our own. They had lots of finishing touches we could choose from, they also said we could decorate the entire place anyway we liked and gave us lots of ideas. However, when it actually came to planning and buying the decorations the wedding started to fill us with dread and not joy. Neither of us are particularly creative or crafty so planning the day became extremely stressful, therefore, we quite quickly made the decision to hire a wedding stylist. We chose Nadia from Jam Jar Weddings and Events, Nadia gets booked up 2-3 years in advance and we had only given ourselves a year to plan our wedding, so we were absolutely delighted when she was available for our wedding date (Friday 13th December, unlucky for some but not us. Well we were a little unlucky but more on that later on). We gave her the brief of “think hallmark Christmas movies with loads of candles and warm and cosy!’ and that was pretty much it. We let Nadia do what she does best and she completely over delivered. She did everything from signage to table decorations, wedding favours, table plans, confetti, isle decoration and even provided sparklers (which we actually forgot to use, doh).
My dress was from Georgina Scott Bridal and it was a Essence of Australia dress. It took me ages to find the perfect dress as I wanted something that sat on my shoulders and wasn’t too low cut. I tried every style on under the sun but quite quickly began to get a picture of what I wanted. We added a hoop under the dress to give it a bit more shape and a sparkly belt as I love a bit of sparkle! The bridesmaid and flower girl dresses were actually from Next and they were matching, sparkly, navy dresses. Whenever I think of Christmas I think of sparkles so they fitted the them perfectly. Finally our suits were from Peter Posh in Birmingham, they were all matching but James wore a different colour waistcoat. We hired the best man, FOB and FOG suits but purchased James’ suit so he could keep it and wear it for other occasions. We always struggle to find suits that fit him so we had it altered so it was perfect and he was comfortable.
Again, we wanted to keep the food simple and slightly traditional for Christmas, so our main course was a turkey roast dinner with all the trimmings. We managed to add a bit of a special touch by choosing the ‘host with roast’ option where we got to choose someone from each table to wear an apron and chef’s hat to carve the turkey, it added a fun touch to the meal and got everyone talking. In the evening we wanted to cater for our day guests who might not be too hungry but also make sure our evening guests were well fed. We chose to have a chilli (meat and vegetarian) and a cheese board selection. Everyone commented on how incredible the chilli tasted and it really was the best chilli we’ve ever tasted.
We chose to have a DJ and our DJ Chris was recommended by Manor Hill House. He also acted as toast master throughout the day and really helped to make sure the day ran smoothly and to plan. He really helped us to just enjoy the day
Our cake was a gorgeous semi naked cake baked by the very talented Cakes by Karen, complete with pine cone bride and groom, winter berries and log stand. We loved the rustic feel.
For our flowers we chose Bluebells of Droitwich. All our flowers were stunning, and they managed to create the perfect Christmas bouquet. I didn’t want to put it down!
Finding someone to do my hair and makeup was one of the few slightly stressful jobs for the day but eventually I managed to find the extremely talent Aleksandra Guz. She did hair and makeup for myself, MOH and MOTB. I couldn’t believe she could fit us all in on her own but she did effortlessly. She was an extremely calming influence during the morning as well especially when the nerves began to set in and I needed a quiet moment. My makeup felt so natural and lasted all day.
Our photographer was the amazing Matt Priestley. He’s a family friend so it really helped to make the whole process even more comfortable but even so, he manages to blend into the background and the perfect candid shots of every detail.
On the day of our wedding our best man couldn’t attend as he was extremely unwell with viral meningitis. This probably won’t sound like it should be the funniest or most memorable part of our day but please bear with us. We were absolutely devastated he couldn’t be there but on the morning of our wedding he managed to record his speech, the venue played it over the speakers before we began our wedding breakfast- It was brilliant! We don’t know how he managed it but he managed to put pauses in the perfect places for laughter, with the help of two very good friends even managed to use props. It certainly didn’t replace him being there but being able to hear his voice and words meant the world.
There are so many other memories though, too many to mention!
Take a deep breath! If you don’t enjoy a certain aspect of planning your day then if possible don’t do it or find another way. If you don’t enjoy decorating, get help or outsource. If the thought of making a speech makes you feel sick and gives you sleepless nights, then don’t do one. If you don’t want a traditional sit-down wedding breakfast, then don’t have one. You don’t have to follow ‘traditional’ norms, make the day your own so that you get the most enjoyment possible and the wedding YOU want.
*Photos courtesy of Matt Priestley