Is there anything more perfect than an English country wedding?
From the stunning landscape backdrops, the eccentric vicars, speeches crackling with dry sarcasm, fabulous food and flowers, and if you can throw in a glorious sunny day along with a perfectly timed tear from the groom, you have the makings of a Richard Curtis movie.
Although I may be a little biased (Shropshire girl born and bred!) I can’t think of a more perfect place to get married than Ludlow and the Marches. The town itself is an impressive mix of Tudor, Georgian and medieval architecture and we are blessed with the surrounding countryside, which is among the most beautiful in the UK. The Marches has it all from the blissfully untamed ruggedness of Shropshire Hills – classed as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – to the formal gardens of many a stately home. Coupled with the expertise of the fantastic local wedding industry, you are not only guaranteed to have a wedding to remember but one that your guests will find hard to forget too.
With so many brilliant suppliers in the area, creating your dream wedding within budget should be entirely effortless.
So, where do we start? Once you’ve determined your budget, at the top of any wedding checklist is of course the venue. It would be churlish not to mention the town’s most famous and stunning landmark, Ludlow Castle. Many couples are justifiably enthralled with the romance of a fairy tale wedding held in the ruins of Ludlow Castle surrounded by medieval walls and overlooking the river Teme. Weddings held there come with exclusive use of three apartments in Castle House. Other lovely venues including graded buildings in the area to consider are:
If you are blessed with space and are able to host the wedding at home, put up a marquee with the help of suppliers such as Burgoynes, C W Garden Marquees Ltd and The Enchanted Little Bell Tent company, which provides bespoke bell tents for smaller weddings, or for bridal parties and other guests to stay in. Along with the marquee, you’ll also need to hire furniture and catering equipment and I hear that Hampton Hire , based in Herefordshire, offer a very professional service.
Seeking sanctuary for your guests doesn’t need to be a headache thanks to the wide range of B&Bs and self-catering properties in and around Ludlow in their own lovely settings such as the newly refurbished Dinham Weir House, a six-bedroom house on the beautiful River Teme. Or try one of the many fabulous pubs in the area with accommodation including The Charlton Arms, The Church Inn, The Salwey Arms, the Oak Wigmore and The Riverside Aymestrey. Hotel stays are available for bigger groups at excellent Fishmore Hall and Dinham Hall.
Next we move on to food, and with Ludlow being somewhat of an expert in this area, there will be a catering company to suit every taste. Two highlights are Herefordshire-based Field 2 Fork and the Ludlow Catering Company. Old Downton Lodge owners Pippa and Willem have been feeding hungry wedding guests for more than 20 years, and the head chef, Karl Martin, has recently been awarded four AA Rosettes. Further north in the county, Roslin Catering comes highly recommended.
Florists are an integral element to having a singular wedding and thankfully a few widely popular wedding suppliers hail from our area such as the hugely talented Tammy at Wild Bunch and Victoria at Stokesay Court Flower Garden both of whom gather cut flowers from their own beautiful gardens. Damson & Vine is a charming floral design studio local to Ludlow – just read the about page on its site to see why it’s no ordinary florist.
Over the border in Herefordshire, mother and daughter duo Joyce and Jo at Issy and Bella Floral Design source and grow beautiful and traditional British blooms for both bouquets and table decorations. They offer a very handy complimentary service of moving flowers from ceremony to venue so you can have maximum enjoyment out of your floral arrangements.
Floral designer, Sarah Jane Midwood, also creates fantastic floral arrangements inspired by her training in fashion and is based just outside of Ludlow. And if you love the idea of eco-friendly, natural confetti, have a look at the gorgeous Shropshire Petals.
Finally, having sorted the perfect venue, food and flowers you’ll want a look to rival them which means hair and makeup artists worth their weight in gold. Two sisters, Lauren and Lucy are the team behind the brilliant LC Makeup service, and create wonderful looks for all in the bridal party. When everyone looks wonderful you feel wonderful, right? LC Makeup work with October Hair achieving lovely seamless looks for all.
You need a photographer to capture it all along with those perfect unguarded moments throughout the day. A look at the Instagram pages should give you a good idea of the photographer style. Try:
When these major items are ticked off your list, you need only worry about the details, although even the smallest of details can make the biggest impact. Trends for 2019 point to weddings with a more casual countryside festival vibe with bunting and bell tents, available locally from Pretty Little Tents.
Additional touches could include bespoke stationery by Cameo Creative Wedding, large lettering LOVE lights available from A Touch of Loveliness and even glitter bars from local company, Feather & Fox. Photo booths remain on trend and are available from Hay-on-Wye based company, The Photo Booth Box. Or if you mean to end as you intend to go on…find a local company to orchestrate a firework display as an evening send off.
Looking forward to my invite arriving in the post…