This Prestwold Hall Wedding is the first of five that I documented in 2014. Pat and Louise got married at the end of March on a beautiful, warm spring day. Groom and Bridal preparations were at their parents’ homes in Keyworth, Nottinghamshire and the church service was held at St. Margaret Clitherow Catholic Church in the same village. The wedding party then travelled south over the county border into Leicestershire and on to Prestwold Hall for the reception.

Pat and Louise have very kindly agreed to tell the story of their day below…

“We decided we wanted to get married in Keyworth, the village we both grew up and met in, to enable us to get ready on the morning of the wedding in our childhood homes. This also enabled family friends and neighbours to be part of our celebrations alongside our family and friends from all parts of our lives.

Prestwold Hall Wedding - Pat getting ready at his parents' house with his father.
Prestwold Hall Wedding – Pat getting ready at his parents’ house with his father.

Our wedding service took place at the church Patrick and his family have attended over the years. With so many memories there, a warm welcoming priest who we knew would conduct a lovely service and the fabulous flower group who we knew would do an amazing job of decorating the church, it seemed the perfect choice for the place to say our vows.

Prestwold Hall Wedding - Louise deep in her own thoughts on arrival at the church.
Prestwold Hall Wedding – Louise deep in her own thoughts on arrival at the church.

We had the reception at Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire – although in a different county it was only a short drive from the church. The house and the grounds are simply stunning; it really has that ‘wow’ factor, yet at the same time it feels very welcoming and relaxed, and certainly not stuffy in any way. Essentially just a fantastic place to throw a party!

We had actually both been to Prestwold before as wedding guests and Patrick has worked there before in a weddings band and we had both been struck by the excellent standard of food and the brilliant staff. As we were getting married in March we also wanted a venue that would be great independently of the weather on the day. After looking round a number of venues it was clear that Prestwold Hall had everything we wanted.

We weren’t sure at first on what kind of style wedding we wanted; we ranged from a very DIY approach in a local village hall to a grand affair in a posh hotel – we even thought about just going off abroad! In the end we realised that we both wanted a fairly traditional wedding but at the same time wanted to put our own stamp on it. This is partly why we opted for Prestwold Hall – the lovely house and grounds provided quite a traditional setting but at the same time we were given a lot of freedom to make the day very much our own. We went for a simple yet elegant feel for the day and this was reflected in the flower choices and table decorations among other things.

Prestwold Hall Wedding - The ring exchange - a tight fit!
Prestwold Hall Wedding – The ring exchange – a tight fit!

We came across Ian both from searching online for local photographers and from a recommended suppliers list from Prestwold Hall. It was clear from his website that he was an excellent photographer and specialised in the type of reportage style photography we were looking for. Living up in Newcastle it meant we couldn’t have a face-to-face meeting with him but after a video chat over Skype we knew he was the photographer for us!

The whole experience from our first contact with Ian through to getting a printed album months after the wedding was fantastic. Ian comes across as extremely professional and highly competent but at the same time is very warm and friendly. This immediately put us at ease which was important as neither of us loves having our photo taken! He gave us lots of helpful advice before and on the day and was a very calming influence on what was quite a hectic and nerve-racking morning. He went the extra mile time and again; doing a pre-wedding shoot to allow us to meet him in person, accommodating group photo requests and even staying a little later to catch some shots of the party in full swing. The most amazing thing though was how unobtrusive he was throughout the whole day – something lots of our guests have commented on!

Seeing the images for the first time we were absolutely delighted; Ian had captured the story of the day which was exactly what we wanted. We really can’t recommend Ian highly enough!

Prestwold Hall Wedding - The vicar gives his best wishes after the ceremony.
Prestwold Hall Wedding – The vicar gives his best wishes after the ceremony.

For our invitations we used a locally-based company called Dandelion Stationery. They were fantastic – very original designs and extremely helpful staff. We created and printed the other stationery for the day ourselves such as the Order of Service and table name signs (which were Beatles-like CD cases with the tracks swapped for guest names). For the thank you cards we decided to buy postcards out in Japan where we went on honeymoon; we thought this would be fitting as we asked for contributions to our trip instead of having a gift list.

We used D & M Classics Ltd for our wedding car. We both wanted something classic rather than flashy and instantly fell in love with their green Ford Pilot Sedan. We also loved having a female chauffeur – Marilyn, who both co-owns D & M and is one of their drivers – she was so helpful and friendly both in the run up to and on the day.

We were very keen to get our friends and family involved where possible, feeling it would make the day all the more special. Our flowers were arranged by the flower group at the church and consisted of many long-standing family friends, our organist was a family friend of Louise’s and our cake was made by her dad’s partner. We also booked an amazing band called The BrightSparks for our evening entertainment – friends of Patrick who we’ve known for a long time. All did a wonderful job for which we’re so thankful.

The main advice we’d offer to other couples in the planning stages of their weddings is not to get too bogged down by minute details. Sure, get things how you want them but don’t stress over little things that you’ll probably not remember in the years to come! While you’ll want to make sure your guests are entertained try not to fill up every second of the day – weddings rarely run exactly to time so be flexible and go with the flow.

We identified a few things that were really important to us. We wanted to ensure our family and friends, who had made such an effort to celebrate with us, had a great day with some fantastic food and brilliant entertainment. For ourselves we realised the photos would be something we’d keep forever so getting the right photographer was crucial. With Ian we certainly did this!”

Prestwold Hall Wedding - Pat & Louise's first dance.
Prestwold Hall Wedding – Pat & Louise’s first dance.
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