Here’s Jo & Richard’s Springtime Prestwold Hall Wedding from last year.
Richard has kindly supplied some answers to my questions about their Springtime Prestwold Hall Wedding last year to help remind us that Spring is now on its way and warmer, longer days are ahead!
A cracking start to the day at both Quorn hotels. Quorn Grange for the girl’s preparations and then over to The Quorn Country Hotel to document the boys getting ready, before heading back to the girls to document final tweaks and the dress going on. Nice to work with good industry friends Alison Jenner (hair) and Simone Cattell (makeup) again, always a pleasure to work with them both!
You’ll read a little about Jo’s skiing accident in the article below. As a result of this, Jo wasn’t keen on being lifted during their first dance so they both came up with a cunning plan for a suitable replacement for the lift! All will be revealed in the images that follow. ;-)
So, how did you meet? – tell us a little more about yourselves.
“Jo is originally from Oldham in Greater Manchester and I’m from Yorkshire. We both worked as consultants at an engineering and science consultancy based at a large power station in the Midlands. Jo had already worked there for four years before I turned up. She was sat having lunch with friends in the canteen one day when they spotted the ‘new man on the scene’. She asked the lady who worked the till in the canteen to do some digging to find out who I was. It turns out, aptly enough, that I managed ‘proposals’, so whenever any new work was planned for a gas power station customer it had to be signed off by me before being sent out.
Jo’s boss noticed an immediate rise in productivity as the proposals for new work started flying out. A year on, and Jo got a different job as an offshore developer. The lady in the canteen decided to intervene by inviting me to Jo’s leaving party where we got to know each other better. On a subsequent night out Jo was practising speaking German with a colleague from overseas and I thought there might be a challenge for my affections, so fuelled by booze and encouragement from Jo’s friend Ruth I made my move and the rest is history.”
The proposal – who proposed, where, when & how?
“I proposed to Jo in January 2015 at Beacon Hill Country park in Leicestershire. It was the weekend before Jo’s 35th birthday and I mysteriously told her we’d be going out during the day for a walk to celebrate. Jo was suspicious as I admit myself that I’m not a romantic and had never planned anything for her birthday before. The thought of a proposal had never crossed her mind.
The day was bright but really cold, and severe weather warnings & gales had been issued for the area. Jo texted her mum saying that she’d much rather stay in bed in the warm then go on this bl**dy walk, to which Jo’s mum replied “You can’t moan. He doesn’t organise anything. So you can’t not go when he eventually does!”. Her parents knew about the proposal as I had asked Jo’s Dad Tom for permission to marry her a few weeks earlier.
I had chosen Beacon Hill as the setting for the walk as it’s the second highest point in Leicestershire and at the peak, you can see the power station where we first met and the new home which we’d moved into the previous year.
At the summit, Jo was fearful of moving as the strong, icy winds nearly swept us both off our feet. I gave Jo some binoculars to look through and asked her what she could see. As she was describing the view I moved into sight on bent knee with a toy pug which had a diamond solitaire tied to its collar and Jo accepted!
Her favourite dog is a pug and she always nags me for one. On the way down from the peak, a real pug dog came running up the hill and Jo assumed that I’d finally given in and bought one so she ran off to greet it whilst getting some strange looks from its real owners!”
How was the wedding planning process for you?
“Planning the wedding ended up being quite stressful as Jo broke her ankle in a skiing accident shortly after getting engaged and was incapacitated for a number of months. We’d already set the date for our wedding and had to plan towards it without knowing how Jo’s recovery would progress.
She also got a bout of shingles in between which interfered with plans to go dress shopping which meant a lot of plans were rushed – including choosing the dress and because of this the dress only arrived the day before the wedding! Apparently, it can take 6 months from when you order a dress for it to be delivered to your bridal shop!
Jo did the organising and as a project manager, she liked to be in control of budget and make lots of lists about the running order of the day. Although it seemed stressful at the time because of the circumstances it was fun and Jo often reflects with a friend who was recently married that they miss it now it’s over.”
“Where did you get married and what was it about the venue(s) that appealed so much?”
“Our reception was at Prestwold Hall in Leicestershire and the service was at St. Andrew’s Church which is on the grounds of the hall. Because Jo’s family is from Oldham and mine are from York we weren’t sure where to get married.
We started our venue search around Oldham – thinking it would be good to keep up with tradition and marry near Jo’s family home. We looked at a couple of venues including one that Jo had worked at on a part-time basis when she was at university. But because of that connection, it didn’t seem special enough to us. The owner of the other venue we looked at was very controlling and dictatorial about how weddings should be planned so we quickly ruled that place out as well.
Because our friends and family are scattered all over the country we decided that it would make planning easier if the venue was closer to home so we decided to look in the Midlands.
As soon as we saw Prestwold Hall we knew it was the right place and loved the idea that we could combine a church wedding with a reception venue that looked & felt like a stately home on the same site. After pricing up the wedding at our local pub we realised the rates weren’t too bad either for such a grand venue.
Our favourite part of the whole planning process was the food tasting. The food not only looked amazing but after tasting we can confirm it was!”
How would you describe the style of your wedding and what made you decide to go down that route?
“We opted for a traditional style wedding for a couple of reasons – to appease our families who are of that ilk and because both sets of parents made a contribution to the cost. We did consider getting married at the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, as we like the place and it’s a nod to our scientific backgrounds, but our parents thought it was a joke when we mentioned it and made it very clear that they didn’t think it was appropriate! So we missed out on reception drinks on the steam train!
As it happens everyone knows where they are with a traditional wedding and it makes it much easier to organise and for people to feel comfortable on the day. Our wedding was all indoors as we got married in March and our guests’ comfort was paramount.”
Cuisine. What kind of food and drink was served and why?
“Our menu was selected to keep as many guests as happy as possible, rather than choose just what we wanted. At the tasting we realised whatever we had to eat at Prestwold was going to look impressive and taste delicious and we weren’t disappointed.
We opted for Fishcakes for the starter, Blade of Beef for our main course and a Trio of Retro Desserts which comprised of Arctic Roll, Peach Melba and Strawberry Shortcake. We also offered vegetarian and gluten-free alternatives.
The food was superb. The guests finished everything and we had loads of comments on how lovely it was.”
Did anything go wrong on the day and were there any surprises?
“The days preceding the wedding were wet and miserable, but the day itself was a gorgeous sunny spring day.
Everything went according to plan in the main. Jo was running a little late heading to church as one of the bridesmaids was an hour late arriving. With 6 people getting hair and make-up done timings were a bit rushed.
She also didn’t think about how she would get into the wedding car (a regular taxi) in her dress. In the end, she figured lying across the back seat with her dad in front worked, but this made her 15 minutes late arriving at the church. My parents (in spite of using sat nav) managed to get lost on their way to the venue and ended up in Loughborough town centre in their finery on market day. Luckily they were quick thinking and paid a taxi driver to drive ahead of them back to the venue and made it just in time!
There was a small glitch later on during the first dance when the DJ didn’t set off the confetti cannons for the jokey part of the first dance, but as no one knew or was expecting it, it didn’t matter.”
Is there anything you would have done differently?
“Spend more time together. We were warned the day would go quickly but you don’t realise just how quick and at the end you realise you’ve barely even seen or spoken to each other all day as you mingle with your guests.”
Do you have any advice for other couples in the stages of planning their own wedding?
“Once you have booked your vendors relax, these people are professionals and do weddings all the time, they rarely let you down and none of ours did, they did exactly what we asked of them and when.”
“We first became aware of Ian because he photographed the food for our venue. He’d made it look so good that we thought we’d get in touch.
We really liked his personality when we first met. He’s a nice, down-to-earth guy and makes you feel at ease.
We really liked his journalistic style of wedding photography, capturing the day from start-to-finish without being intrusive. He was the easiest and most professional vendor that we dealt with and was always really quick to respond to contacts and always had paperwork in order, which we loved.
On the day he was dressed really smartly and blended in completely. We also liked that we didn’t spend all of our time during the drinks reception having lots of ‘posed’ photos and Ian helped us select a few formal shots of the main wedding party.
The rest of the day he just discreetly ‘captured real moments’, so it never felt like a chore getting the photos done and wasn’t at all intrusive like at other weddings we’ve been to.”