Enjoy total privacy on your special day with our exclusive-use wedding venues, just as Chris and Emily Williams did at Fawsley Hall Hotel in Northamptonshire.
When it comes to your big day you may not want to share it with anyone else except your most cherished family members and friends. At Hand Picked you can have any one of our 19 country house hotels all to yourself so you can make sure your fairy tale wedding is all about you and your guests. At Fawsley Hall Hotel you can make it a small and intimate affair in the Georgian Knightley Court or in the grand setting of the Main House for a larger celebration.
With 64 people attending the ceremony, wedding breakfast and reception, Chris and Emily opted for the former. Emily takes up the story: “We just wanted to keep it to our closest friends and family. We fell in love with the building as soon as we saw it and didn’t even want to look at other venues. We loved having Knightly Court all to ourselves, it meant that no one was going to bump into or see anyone on the day that wasn’t a guest, or a member of staff, at our wedding. They were also able to accommodate us on a Friday, which was our preferred day of the week and during the summer holidays too, as we have a lot of children in the family and some of our friends are teachers.”
Chris interjects: “We actually stumbled across the venue by accident while on a drive one afternoon and we are so thankful we did. While there is nothing quite like taking over a whole place, the grounds of Fawsley was one of the main reasons we chose the venue – we were completely blown away.” Surrounded by formal gardens and extensive grounds landscaped by Capability Brown in the 1760s, our couple decided to hire a videographer with a drone in order to show off their beautiful location.
Our couple also knew how important it was to get a good photographer so after booking the venue they started to do some research. Emily reveals all: “We saw a few photos from C and G Weddings on Instagram and fell in love with their style straight away, and again we’re so pleased with the results. We had access to the Tudor Great Hall in the morning – Chris has always been mesmerised by the magnificent barrel-vaulted ceiling – and we got some great photos in there. Even though there was a bit of rain on the day, the pictures that were taken during this time are now some of our favourites. We even got wedding day rainbow. ”
Of course, Fawsley Hall is more than just a beautiful setting, we also have a flexible approach to menu selection and with years of experience we can provide the support to ensure that all of the important details are professionally dealt with. “Everything was absolutely perfect, the team on duty ran the day seamlessly; we never had to ask any questions and constantly felt at ease the entire time. The food was brilliant, we had so many compliments – even picky eaters were left satisfied! We had a power cut during the wedding breakfast – due to a nationwide outage not Fawsley’s fault – and the staff handled it brilliantly. In fact, everyone just assumed we’d turned the lights off to create a bit of ambience as there were candles on the table,” laughs Emily.
Chic and stylish in its own right, Emily and Chris’ rustic theme perfectly complimented the Grade 1 listed Knightly Court.
Chris explains: “We both really like eucalyptus and hessian, and they made for the ideal decorations. We also both love reading so we used vintage books as each of the table’s centrepieces.
Then to add a bit of fun to the day we used embarrassing Polaroid photos of our guests as their place names – Emily had a lot of fun picking those out! She also did all the flowers herself, so it had a real personal feel to it”
When it came to her wedding dress, Emily wanted something timeless and elegant. “I’m not a huge fan of frills or lace so I wanted something quite simple. I fell in love with my dress as soon as I saw the low back as it gave it a slight edge and I felt like me in it, which was important. The material was deceivingly heavy though! I finished it off with a church length veil. In contrast I wanted the bridesmaids to look formal but pretty and the sage green worked wonderfully with our décor. They were an ASOS bargain, and similarly it was very straightforward when it came to dressing Chris. We saw it on the mannequin as we walked in to Peter Posh in Warwick, and we bought it straight away!”
It’s always hard to pick one stand-out moment from your wedding day but for Emily and Chris it has to be the ceremony itself: “Running up to the day we were quite nervous about it, but seeing the person you love at the opposite end of the aisle was the most comforting feeling and one that we’ll both cherish forever. The atmosphere felt electric,” confesses Emily. Chris adds: “We loved having a live string quartet during the ceremony and reception drinks, it was so romantic. Emily walked down the aisle to their version of Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley, which was beautiful and makes us emotional just thinking about it! Our first song was Tom Odell’s Grow Old With Me.”
Having spent years planning it’s no surprise that Chris and Emily didn’t want to share their big day with anyone else other than those who really mattered. Thanks to the abundance of exclusive-use wedding venues across the UK and Channel Islands, you too can make sure your wedding is all about you and your guests with Hand Picked Hotels. If you are looking for a venue that is yours only for the whole day or even weekend, then perhaps take some words of advice from Emily and Chris.
“If you’re after exclusive hire then consider budget, location and on-site accommodation, but also whether it’s right for you. Personally we loved the complete peace of mind it gave us – offering a relaxed and more enjoyable environment in which to host the most exciting day of our life. From day one the service from Fawsley has been fantastic, we kept thinking of excuses to visit before the wedding and now we wish we could do it all over again, and will be back for every special occasion. We might even make up an occasion just so we can come back sooner! Everything was amazing – the grounds, the food, the décor... So many of our guests have said it’s the best venue they’ve ever been to, which we feel pretty smug about!”
ENTERTAINMENT: Paul Kavanagh DJ (07411 240259 / facebook.com/PAULKAVANAGHDJ); Signature String Quartet (signaturestrings.co.uk)
CAKE: Victoria Schedrin (Emily’s sister-in-law)
HAIR: Gail Hodges, Studio Two, Nuneaton (02476 344090)
MAKE-UP: Look By Danielle Guiden (07812 394699)
PHOTOGRAPHY: C&G Weddings (07584 126056 / candgphotography.org)
VIDEOGRAPHER: ALS Videography (07972 727719 / alsvideography.uk)
WEDDING DRESS: The Bridal Room ( 01827 767080 / thebridalroomatherstone.com)
VEIL: Britten Weddings (01225 864106 / brittenweddings.com)
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: ASOS.com
GROOM: Peter Posh (01952 201 117 / peterposh.co.uk)