Claire & Gareth Image by Jenny Macare Photography
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A Rustic Romance at Keythorpe Manor {The Wedding of Claire & Gareth}

Real Weddings

A Rustic Romance at Keythorpe Manor {The Wedding of Claire & Gareth}

Gareth and Claire wanted their wedding to reflect them and all their favourite things (including cheesy chips after a night out!) They wanted their big day to be relaxing and fun for all their guests and with that in mind they found some wonderful wedding suppliers that made it a truly fabulous day!

Over to Claire to tell you more…

Gareth and I got married at the gorgeous Keythorpe Manor in Leicestershire. I think I had looked into or visited every venue within a 20 mile radius (bridezilla…noooo!) I had my heart set on a barn with exposed beams. And it was by chance that Keythorpe Manor popped up on Facebook after just having their barn refurbished! So we went along and fell in love! The grounds are beautiful and it was perfect for the laid back atmosphere that we wanted to create. Luckily we had beautiful weather on the day, but we liked the fact that it was suitable for any weather. It has a really cute stables area attached to the main barn. This was a great place for the bar so the main room could be kept spacious for the dancing! We also wanted a venue where we could take our own drinks. The corkage was very reasonable, much less than any of the other venues that we had seen! Nayha and the team at Keythorpe Manor were amazing. Nothing was too much trouble, she always responded straight away and was a pleasure to plan the day with!

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We never wanted a formal affair and wanted our day to reflect us… Laid back, relaxed and lots of fun! We also wanted it to be full of our favourite things, including a posh BBQ for the wedding breakfast. We just wanted to have the best day ever with our favourite people!

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Our hair and make up was done by the talented ladies at Lilly Monroes. Dani and Tamla are genuinely lovely and did a great job in getting us all ready on time on the day. They were great to have around on the morning, really friendly and adding to the relaxed atmosphere. We all felt a million dollars and loved our hair and make up.

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Our florist Jenny at Flower Barn was amazing and really helped to make our vision come to life. My name being Claire I have always been called Claire Bear, and our nicknames for one another are bear related. So, we had to have our table names as bears! Jenny helped us to create beautiful centre pieces with a teddy bear in the middle, surrounded by tree trunks and flowers which made it look like the bear was sitting in a wood. My dad helped chop all of the logs. Jenny really was amazing, she loved the theme straight away and really got into helping us out with everything and had lots if ideas. Her honesty was refreshing and she truly wanted to get the best result for the price. We were SO pleased with the final result!

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My bridesmaid dresses were by Eliza and Ethan. This is a multi-way dress that can be worn in over 20 different ways. Having 6 bridesmaids, I wanted them all to feel comfortable, so this was perfect as they all got to choose their own style. It comes with a bandeau too to go underneath which adds to the styles that can be created.

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Our catering was provided by Rutland Gourmet Catering and we went for a ‘serve yourself’ posh BBQ with a white chocolate and raspberry roulade for dessert. In the evening we had a simple chip bar. Chips with a choice of different toppings, cheese, beans, curry sauce and of course gravy! I always love chips and cheese after a night out so we thought this would be perfect to serve in the break in between the dancing. It actually worked out as quite a cheap option for the evening food too which was a bonus!

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I always knew the style of wedding dress that I wanted, and that I would take my mum shopping with me. She tells me the truth (even when I don’t want to hear it!) and has a good eye and sense of style. Growing up I’d always ask my mum’s opinion on clothes, so her loving my wedding dress was very important to me. So, I took my mum and auntie dress shopping, and when we all saw the Maggie Sottero lace dress on the hanger at Beautiful Brides in Nottingham,  we were all drawn to it. It had a gold silk underlay with an ivory lace on top that gave it a beautiful vintage feel, whilst being slightly unusual, and I loved how the bottom of the dress had a flowy romantic feel. It had all of the features that I wanted, Fitted, romantic and a low back, in a style that wouldn’t date. I wanted to be able to look back on my photos in years to come and still think what a traditionally beautiful dress it was. Being blonde, I loved the warmer nude dresses and as soon as I had tried on that shade I didn’t try on any more ivory dresses as I felt they were too bright against my skin. The sample wasn’t in my size but when it was pinned I think we all knew it was the one.

The staff at Beautiful Brides were brilliant throughout.  I am a bit of a worrier by nature, but they answered all of my questions and worries when we were waiting for the dress to come in. when my dress arrived, the seamstress was amazing. She made alterations to ensure that the dress fit me like a glove and I have to say on the day I really did feel like a million dollars. I still have the dress hung in my bedroom as I can’t bear to part with it!

Claire and Gareth (26) Claire and Gareth (27)

I tried to do a lot myself. I made the invitations (with some help from mum and dad, and of course Pinterest), and I also made my own sweet table by using one of my Granddad’s old leather suitcases and my own table plan by painting an old pair of my Granddad’s step ladders. Unfortunately my Granddad wasn’t able to make the day as he was in hospital, So it was even more special to have his things there..

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Every bride always wants lovely photos, so when someone suggested a Videographer, my first reaction was ‘no way am I being filmed’ and ‘we don’t really need one, we haven’t got the budget and we will have the photos anyway’. However, a friend recommended theirs and told me to watch her cinematic trailer. After that we couldn’t not have one!

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Dan at Digital Dream Productions did an amazing job! As part of our package we got a cinematic trailer and a full 45 minute length video. The final products really were amazing. We were blown away by the cinematic trailer. And the full film was just as good. It brought back the feelings that we felt on the day, and also when watching it back it was like we had never seen some bits before, we were laughing away at the speeches like they were new! I think on the day everything goes by in such a blur that you do miss things or don’t quite remember.

Having it on a film like this enables you to relive the day. I was especially grateful as it also meant that my Granddad could watch the video. Dan was so understanding and also filmed and included the whole ceremony and first dance for us so that I could show my Granddad. I do think that some see a Videographer as a luxury, but if you can get it into your budget I would whole heartedly recommend it. We don’t regret a single penny!

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Photography wise we wanted natural photography that would capture the day. And we found a real winner in Jenny Macare. Jenny was lovely from day one, she came round to our house to discuss the kind of thing we wanted and included in the package was an engagement shoot so that she could get to know us. We felt like we got to know Jenny well throughout the whole process.

She made us feel so comfortable, so that on the day it was just like a friend photographing us! Jenny was very approachable and mingled in well with the guests, helping us to create the relaxed atmosphere that we wanted. Jenny took so many photos and when I look back though them, they capture the day so well. Jenny specialises in natural photography and that really came through in the photos.

She managed to get photographs of all our little personal touches. She captured all of the laughs and tears! We have some beautiful pictures that we will treasure forever! We were so pleased and I’d recommend Jenny to anyone. I recommended Jenny to my cousin who has just had a baby and she also did some beautiful newborn shots!

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Going with the rustic theme, we always knew we wanted a naked cake. Laura at Green Kitchen Cakes was fab. She made us a lovely fruit cake with raspberry and white chocolate filling. We then served it with cream in the evening after the chips, and there was hardly any left for us to take home.

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We made a lot of the personal touches ourselves, but I have to say the best ones were probably the favours. Gareth wrote personalised poems for each guest (near 100!) it didn’t seem such a great idea when we were still making them the week before but they went down a storm with the guests, so it was definitely worth it!

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We had a band provide the evening entertainment. A four piece band from Leicester called The Aesthetics. They were great, the lead singer Calder has such an awesome voice. The dance floor was full and none of the guests wanted the night to end.

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This is quite ironic really as I am a born worrier. I had it in my head that I wanted to do everything myself and do lots of DIY personal touches and I have to admit this at times did make the process a little more stressful than enjoyable! It’s also very easy to get carried away with planning a wedding and constantly pinning these beautiful images on Pinterest. As much as the personal touches were appreciated, and added to our day, the most important thing is that you are getting married to the one that you love, surrounded by your favourite people! Yes, things may go a little wrong on the day but it is true what they say… You truly will have the best day of your life! So many people said that to me before and I was thinking yes I know, BUT the flowers must be like this, or I NEED this, I MUST make this. You really will have the best day no matter what, just enjoy it, relax and have fun!

{List of fab suppliers}

Photography: Jenny Macare
Cake: Green Kitchen Cakes
Venue: Keythorpe Manor
Catering: Rutland Gourmet Catering
Dress: Maggie SotteroBeautiful Brides
Bridesmaid Dresses: Eliza and Ethan
Entertainment: The Aesthetics
Videographer: Digital Dream Productions
Flowers: Flower Barn
Hair & Make up: Lily Monroes


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