The English Rose and the New Zealand Fern - Caroline and Andrew

When Caroline and Andrew first came to Pickwell, they came with a clear idea of what they wanted their wedding day to look like. Caroline with her love for the countryside and horses, and Andrew with his New Zealand roots and love for the surf; together they created a stylish, Soho chic, seriously cool vibe.  

What we loved about Caroline and Andrew was their love of family.  Baby Jack was only a bump and Eva was nearly a big sister when we first met them, and it has been so wonderful for us to be part of their changing and growing journey as a family.

With a bit of Caroline's vision, style and careful planning and Andrew's creativity, quick humour and passion to 'buy in bulk' (!) their wedding weekend was totally beautiful.

Meet our gorgeous couple in this photo, Caroline and Andrew! Friday began with organising how the table plan is going to work.

As many of the best boys had travelled from New Zealand, there hadn't been time for a fitting, until the Friday morning before the wedding. So funny to see the boys turning the Hallway into a dressing room!

Meanwhile Caroline completed the table plan.  I love this new and creative idea using apple crates stacked together.

The Snug became the nerve centre for the apartment food hamper operations - Caroline's sister Sarah and Andrew's sister-in-law Kerry, carried it out with expert precision!

Caroline and Andrew's wedding stationary all matched and they made these beautiful cards for each apartment.  If you look closely you can see English roses and New Zealand ferns.

The flip flop station also became known as the 'dancing shoes' station!

To keep the Soho-chic theme, Caroline and Andrew hired vintage crockery from our caterers and hired beautiful wooden tables made from reclaimed timber from local company The Plank Company.

My favourite idea of theirs, was hanging these shabby-chic retro lampshades from a tree on the terrace - where guests will arrive for drinks and canapés.

In the evening on Friday, all the guests headed off to local pub The Rock Inn, while, the Cake Fairy, Kate Burt, arrived with this stunning cake.  The roses are all handmade and completely edible.  I watched her create a new petal to make the Rose more blowsy and beautiful - very intricate work!

The cake looked beautiful in the centre bay window.

And then the ballroom was ready. The textures, style and colours look very cool and inviting.

Caroline and Andrew opted for a more unusual table layout in the Ballroom and one The Plank Company designed specifically for Pickwell's Ballroom. It really feels like everyone coming together for a big family get-together and making everyone relax whilst at the same time keeping the sense of occasion.

It wasn't until Saturday morning that I first got to see Caroline's dress. A beautiful gown with delicate details and in-keeping with the style of the wedding. 

Here's a close up on the detail on the dress - just a little bit of sparkle and so much elegance.

Getting ready with all the girls is a lot of fun, Claire Mathers arrived super early to make sure everyone had amazing hair for the day. Here is Caroline with Bridesmaid Vicky, after they had both had their hair done (well nearly done in Caroline's case!)

And the very lovely and talented Anna from Anna RJ came to do everyone's make up.

The funniest moment of the day came from Caroline's fabulous mum Sheila, who whipped out of her bag a hair piece, complete with curlers in! It looked like a cross between hair extensions, a wig and a cuddly pet. She has even given it a name - Derek. Once the stunned Claire had fixed Derek in place,  Sheila looked fab!    

Derryn from Twigs delivered all the flowers - big bouquets for the Bridesmaids, little ones for the little ones...

And lots of pretty buttonholes and corsages for the family - sweet little roses and ferns.

And a beautiful big bouquet for the Bride.

This was a real laugh out loud moment. The girls decided that it would be sensible not to leave Andrew to his own hair devices on the wedding morning, so Caroline sent over a hairdresser and a picture of how she would like his hair to look! She wanted to make sure our groom was as handsome as, ahem, Peter Andre?!

The boys were handling the morning in their stride - a run, followed by showers, followed by glasses of whisky, suits and then finishing the look with the buttonholes.

Speaking of which - Andrew's lovely and very chilled mum was on hand to help. Mum's can be such a calming influence for those pre-wedding nerves.

We haven't as yet met the real stars, Eva and Jack!  They popped in to make sure Dad looked handsome for Mum!

And here they are, shiny as a sixpence!

The finishing touches were put into Caroline's hair - real flowers which match the bouquets are such an effective idea!

A beautiful vintage coach arrived to start taking guests to St George's Church in the village.

Eva and Mum have a touching moment before Eva makes her way to the Church with her cousin bridesmaids.

And here they are - Indie, Eva, Savannah and Scarlett, in their beautiful dresses and gorgeous flower circlets.

When all the guests had gone to the village, there just remained a very proud Dad and our very beautiful bride.

After what was a very moving and personal ceremony, with songs from a local youth choir, guests were brought back to Pickwell for yummy canapés and Pimms out on the Terrace under blue skies and sunshine. 

Our bride and groom headed to the Plateaux for some private photos with their photographer Lucy Shergold, here is a stunning still captured by their videographer Simon Cotter from RUWAC

A few more family shots were taken in our beautiful Italian garden.

Meanwhile guests took thier own photos! Andrew had a great idea for an alternative photo booth and made great use of the rose arbour.

It was time for the wedding breakfast. Guests took their seats for a delicious menu.

They started with these amazing sharing platters I the Moana (Maori for from the sea) A seafood platter, 

and I the Whenua (from the land) a meat platter.

For main course - rack of Devon lamb with dauphanoise potatoes, a minted jus and hand tied local seasonal vegetables.

I missed the food so was unable to get photos of the main course and the dessert which was spectacular! Caroline is known among her friends to love a high tea, so the dessert was served in cake stands and guests could help themselves to chocolate brownies, white chocolate cheesecake, fruit meringues and mini lemon tarts. 

They finished with Port and a West-Country cheeseboard - the heart shaped Godminster cheese is delicious. Our amazing caterers Guess Who is Coming to Dinner  did a fantastic job as always!

With a glass of Prosecco inside him, Master of Ceremonies Jedi read telegrams and introduced each speech.

And the guests toasted the happy couple!

For the evening, the ballroom had been transformed for the cake cutting ceremony, a lot of dancing and a very brilliant band!

The Rise - fresh from their appearance on 'The Voice', had everyone dancing and they were really nice too!

I am a huge fan of this tradition and I was so pleased when Caroline decided to throw her bouquet!  So much fun with all the little bridesmaids and female (and male) guests trying to catch the bouquet!

All that dancing created some more space for a New Zealand tradition: a BBQ 

And a BBQ isn't complete without all the trimmings, salads and sauces!

Finally, it wouldn't be a Kiwi wedding if there wasn't a Hakka! Filmed (badly) in two parts. 

Well done boys, you did it justice! 

Caroline and Andrew, you have both been super amazing, a joy to work with and it has been a privilege to be part of such a special moment in your lives!

Congratulations and lots of love from all of us at Pickwell Manor. We know we will see you again -  hopefully very soon!


Leanne and Adrian's Wedding- Coral colours and lovely local cheese.

 We thought we would start with this photo as it made us smile and also gives you a flavour of this gorgeous pair. Captured in Fimo and cheese, we can see Leanne and Adrian's fun loving, sport loving and cheese loving characters shining through.

For Leanne and Adrian's wedding I had some rather wonderful help. My Niece, Maddy, came and worked with me as part of her school work experience. Here she is with her mum, Jane. She made a brilliant deputy and, amongst other things, took all the photos and then put this blog post together. Well done Maddy you were brilliant. Keep an eye out for great teenage descriptive words like lush!!

So let us begin.... Leanne's day started off with her hairdresser, who came all the way from Manchester to ensure her hair looked absolutely fabulous for her very special day.

The champagne was cracked open by her two bridesmaids - sister Kerry and best friend Anna.

The four of them (bridesmaids either side, with mum and Leanne in the middle) were most definitely dressed for the occasion, with their wedding roles embroidered in diamontes on the back of their pyjamas.

Whilst all the girls were relaxing and getting ready, Damien (the Best Man) was practising his speech, making sure it was just embarrassing enough.

To make sure none of the groom's men accidentally stabbed themselves with the pin (!), Tracey helped them with their button holes.

They all looked the part in their matching ties, suits......

and even shiny shoes.

Adrian's lovely parents, Una and Fred, both looked gorgeous!

Almost as gorgeous as on their own wedding day! There were delightful wedding pictures of both sets of parents in the hall.

Leanne's mum, Deb,  dressed in gold looked stunning!

The flowers were by Deryn from Twigs

The girls looked incredible in their dresses. I loved the summery feel of the coral colour. Here they are, ready to be photographed by Pete Cox

 Leanne's father, Phil, after a tearful and wonderfully emotional greeting with his beautiful daughter, escorted her to her waiting carriage.

The 'carriage' being Leanne's Uncle Gary's car. Very shiny it was too!

The wedding service was at Georgeham village church, only a few minutes drive away. We snuck a sneak peak at the orders of service as the ushers were heading off with them.

Whilst they were at the service, I took the opportunity to photograph some of their funky decorations.

 Leanne and Adrian are very adventurous and sporty, so out on the sideboard they had pictures of themselves on their adventures. Skiing and cycling are their favourite sports....

oh and surfing too.

Leanne and Adrian arrived back from the church married and most certainly in love.

The boys then had a quick game of croquet on the lawn.....

whilst mini fish and chip canapés, and other yummy things, were served.

Find your seat, dinner is served!

Beautiful white flowers in ceramic jugs were placed in the middle of each table. The Hocks made the room smell lush!

Each place setting was labelled with these cute little stamped stones with each guest's name.

The speeches were brilliant!

Despite the pre speech nerves (we caught this picture of Adrian doing a last minute run through)...

they made guests both laugh.....

and cry. Adrian and the best men both had a real way with words and pictures!

 They had chosen a truly delicious menu.

The ice cream bar for pudding was very popular!

After dinner, Adrian and Leanne snuck off to have some pictures taken around the gardens. Such a gorgeous couple!

They put out these very funny mini photo booths.

Everybody loved them, as you can see.

Cutting their amazing cheese cake was next. Lee, our chef, had put together a selection of local cheese.  Then it was time to clear the floor for the first dance.

It was not long before the evening really got going.

The band, the Mama Stones House Band from South Devon were fab.

The dancing was only briefly interrupted by the eating of the delicious cheese board.

Accompanied by chutney.....

a glass of port....

and a home made pasty.  What could be better?!

Adrian particularly loves his music, so he had put together a real treat for their guests. After The Mama Stones band came a fantastic 'House DJ' with live percussion accompaniment. Brilliant old school lasers too!

After the wedding reception had finished a few of the wedding party gathered for late night drinks in the Affinity apartment. I think Adrian, you are going to have a lot to live up to, if this is the level of foot massaging service Leanne is used to from her dad!?!

Sunday morning started with bacon rolls in 'The Snug', well done bridesmaids et al. A lovely end to a wonderful weekend!

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Adair, we wish you every happiness in your future adventures together. We know there will be many and lots of fun!We have loved getting to know you both and soooo enjoyed hosting your wedding at Pickwell Manor.

Jason and Olivia - a secret ceremony on a beautiful day x

Allow me to introduce you to Jason and Olivia.

This very beautiful couple live locally to us, and on their engagement, asked if they could have their ceremony at our house. 

Although our diary was squeezed, we just had to do something for this couple. Besides, I have spent about a year playing on a netball team with Olivia. We have that kind of solidarity one can only understand when faced with a whole bunch of very scary, and competitive, north Devon women, ready to breathe their onion-based dinner in your nostrils, every Monday evening.

The date also coincided with a rare mid-week afternoon when the house was empty for a few hours. So we went for it!

The day before, we went through the rehearsal. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we all hoped it would hold for the next day.

I met Sam (on the left) who was going to be responsible for the music, playing through an IPOD. He looks way too chilled for such a high level of responsibility! 

Olivia and her dad Quentin, practised the timing of the walk to the music. It was pretty emotional (for everyone except the couple themselves! LOL!), and this was just the practice.

And when the day arrived...the sun came up trumps.

The lawn was mowed, the leaves were blown, 

the roses trimmed, and the fabric under the Rose Arbour put in its place.

The chess set was ready

and we popped a hundred new, white chairs onto our lawn.

It is a legal requirement for civil ceremony venues, that we must display a sign which gives the names of the couple to be married, and the time of the ceremony. 

It also always makes for a nice pic.

Kelly from offshore blooms arrived with all the beautiful flowers. There were many kiln jars, as well as bunches of Gypsophila for our gorgeous driftwood planters (handmade by a lovely groom/now friend from his wedding here, a few years ago), many buttonholes and a lovely bouquet (more on those later).

 We were ready.

Olivia arrived first and we literally helped her 'tunnel' into her stunning gown. Olivia's mum (Sharon) and sister came with her and together they drank Prosecco and spent time trying not to cry, while buttoning up the dress.

Olivia's sister, Jordan, was Matron of Honour. There is something about Jordan that reminded me of Pippa Middleton! 

Matt Fryer (on the right) was their chosen photographer, and I already know he has some cracking shots (which I will be sharing on our FaceBook Page very soon)

 Jason arrived, in a striking Hugo Boss suit, looking very focused..

until Quentin came and gave him that father-in-law-to-be shoulder-grip/pat (depending on how you translate this pic). Jason and Olivia have known each other since university days so there is a lot of great history with the families.

Sharon too, left her daughter to wish blessings on her son-in-law-to-be.

So many captions, so little time...(thought you'd like this one Olivia!)

I popped into the Snug to give the girls the news that IT WAS TIME. They all came together, held hands and started sharing such gorgeous words to their sister and daughter that I stepped away. 
It was a really precious moment.

Olivia chose to walk round to the base of the long Rose Arbour at the bottom of the Italian Garden, to start the walk to the alter. 

Now might be a good moment to mention about Olivia's dress. Both the dress and the veil came from Frilly Frocks in Barnstaple (the dress is Viera by Scottero and Midgley) and her shoes were gorgeous flat gold sandals from Accessorize.

Jason's nieces Jasmine and Chloe made very lovely bridesmaids, as they took the first steps towards the guests waiting in the garden.

Jordan went next. 
I'm wondering what lovely last words, Quentin is saying here.

After a quick reshuffle of the train,under the Arbour,  they're off,

and into the loving vibes of close family and friends, who have supported them all the way and will continue to support them in their marriage.

They walked in to 'Butterfly' by Mad Dod Mcrea. It was highly evocative of summer and well, butterflies actually! I love it so much I am going to download it as my soundtrack of this summer.

It all felt so relaxed and informal with guests sitting on the wall and children playing around. Lovely.

Even little Oscar seemed to enjoy it!

I love the symbolism of this. Father handing over his daughter to her Groom to be her partner for life.

Sharon gave a great reading. She told me afterwards that she has always had a thing about hands and the stories that they hold, so naturally she was drawn to this poem and knew it was perfect for this day.

Brad, Jason's big brother, was the best man. It is such a shame I only managed to capture his back as he looked very handsome in his suit (from Next) and his (the groom's and all the ushers) amazing shoes were Loakes.

All the flowers, the buttonholes and the bouquets were made up of Tanacetum daisies, Gypsophila, Cornflowers, Craspedia, and Senecio. Together they created a natural, country air to the look of the wedding.

Jason's sister, Sarah, had written a beautiful speech for the happy couple.

It is no surprise, after hearing/reading this, that Sarah studied English Literature at Uni!

It was very moving; to the extent that Jason suddenly found the need to don his sunglasses..

and then everyone found the need to don their sunglasses!

The vows were made,

and the wind blew the veil at the perfect moment. Love this pic.

Someone looks happy :)

A few last words from the Registrar and then Sam began cranking up 'Best Day of my Life' by American Authors for the walk to the Terrace...

via a storm of confetti!

A cold beer and glass of Prosecco awaited them.

As guests milled, took photos and talked about the gorgeous ceremony,

an impromptu line-up formed. Everyone was keen to wish their new Mr and Mrs Slade well. 

Beer in hand, vows complete - Jason looks happy (and very handsome - can I say that?)

 Olivia grabs the chance for a pic with her new mum-in-law Leslie and sister-in-law Sarah.

Jason's nephew and usher, Kieran, had an unfortunate incident a couple of weeks ago when he broke his leg whilst playing on a play frame in our local park. On a bad note, he was on crutches and had to cut off his new suit leg.. on a brighter note, he has some great messages on his cast and missed a whole day of school :)

Family gather for impromptu group pics.

Our friend Gemma (Jason's sister) with her scrumptious son Oscar.

This one made me smile! The balloon above Jason's head is actually a birthday balloon, because the wedding date coincided with Olivia's birthday!

Jason and Gemma.

Before we knew it, it was time for everyone to head up to the nearby Plateaux. This is a gorgeous flat piece of land, owned by our neighbours, which overlooks the sea. 

There was a marquee set up ready and waiting for the guests to enjoy the rest of the day. 

Once there, Olivia swapped her veil for a gorgeous Gypsophila headpiece, and removed her shoulder straps on her gown.

More photo's were taken with the beautiful backdrop of Putsborough beach, and from all accounts, a great night was had by all! 

(Meanwhile I went on to run a stall at the school fete, which involved throwing sponges at people trapped in stocks - it's a glamorous life!)

Mr and Mrs Slade - it was a complete joy to have your wedding ceremony here. Your family has been through unimaginable times over recent years; but this day, this special day, was a complete celebration.  The love your family have for you is palpable and will carry you through the marriage to come.

 With love from us all at Pickwell