Helen and Dan tied the knot with a magical May wedding. Filled with foliage, flowers and handmade details, this Hestercombe real wedding was laid-back, beautiful and a brilliant party too, with a band playing into the night. Here is the story of their day…
Photography by Gracious Photography
After eight and a half years together, Dan popped the question to Helen on holiday in France. “Dan proposed right beside the dramatic coastline to a backdrop of crashing waves. A seafood feast in a tiny fishing village afterwards was the perfect way to celebrate,” smiles Helen.
“We love English gardens and knew we wanted our big day to be relaxed, which is why we chose Hestercombe for our wedding venue. The Orangery was perfect for our ceremony because it’s beautiful and we loved the way it links to the garden around it. Opening the doors for the ceremony really added to that feeling.”
Bride Helen walked down the aisle in a long-sleeved, figure-hugging gown with a sparkling illusion back. “I’d tried on lots of different dresses,” she reveals, “but I always came back to this one.”
The bridesmaids wore coral dresses to add a pop of colour, while the groom looked handsome in a blue three-piece suit and coordinated coral tie. “I made them each a pocket square that I embroidered their initials onto,” says Helen.
The big moment
“After a downpour on the morning of the wedding, the clouds finally parted for us a couple of hours before the ceremony began. This allowed us to open up the doors of the Orangery just as we had hoped, giving the ceremony a relaxed yet really special atmosphere.
I walked down the aisle with my dad to Pachelbel’s ‘Canon in D’. He helped keep me calm but I was incredibly emotional. I loved walking around the garden to get to the Orangery – it was fun to have those moments with my dad and the girls.”
Raise a toast
The couple wanted to add a personalised twist to their drinks reception. They drove to France to source wines and bought kegs of ale from the village in which Dan grew up for their Hestercombe real wedding.
“Our wedding breakfast was delicious and lots of guests commented on how nice it was. We had scallops to start, lamb or hake for the main and chocolate fondant or strawberry pavlova to finish. Compliments to the chef!”
“We chose Hestercombe’s Bampfylde Hall for our reception. It has gorgeous white-washed walls and a ceiling of fairy lights, and we loved its past as an old barn. The space meant everyone was close by when the band was playing, but there was still plenty of room for people to spread out.”
The bride sewed her own ribbon garland chair ties, the groom cut and sanded log slices and the bride’s father collected bottles for vases. “Dan’s brother is a graphic designer, so we were lucky to have him create stationery with a botanical theme and coral colour scheme.”
English garden flowers
Tilda Rose Floristry decorated this Hestercombe real wedding in an English garden style, with succulents thrown in for a twist. The couple’s clever planning also meant their blooms were multitasking, creating more of an effect for less.
“We had a milk churn overflowing with flowers displayed in the Orangery and then later in the Bampfylde Hall, as well as a fireplace display in bottle vases. They were moved to log slices to become our reception centrepieces. Our bouquets added a floral finish to the windowsills in the hall.”
After the ceremony, guests got stuck into garden games on the Orangery Lawn. “We also had a fabulous band – The Stereo Jacks – in the evening. They played two sets and filled the dance floor.” A photobooth and glitter bar added to the party. “It was our ode to Glastonbury Festival, which is a big part of our lives.”
For almost every Hestercombe real wedding, couples fall in love with the opportunity to have their first photos as newlyweds in the gardens. We asked Helen and Dan where their favourite spot was. “Walking through the long grass in the wildflower meadow was lovely. We loved the wisteria plants dotted around the Formal Garden too.”
“The ceremony – it was the part of the day we were both most looking forward to. Our first dance, because we could hear everyone singing along, and the Bampfylde Hall terrace in the evening. It was lovely relaxing out there in the evening sun with our family and friends.”