We pulled up in the car park of the Mill at Gordleton in the New Forest to be greeted by the sight of vibrant ribbons and paper lanterns swaying in the breeze.
The gardens at this Lymington-based restaurant and hotel are spellbinding anyway, with quirky sculptures, a river flowing through and lots of little nooks and crannies to get lost in, but these added an even more magical party feel.
We had a good view of the grounds below during the bridal preps and could spy on Leigh and all the guests arriving as they walked over the bridge into the hotel. Whilst I was kept busy snapping up Helen’s hair and make-up everyone settled down for the outdoor ceremony on the terrace.
The dress was one of the prettiest we’ve seen. Expertly hand-crafted by Cocoa Couture Wedding Dress Designers in Cheltenham. Helen told me she was able to mix and match different elements from the dresses hanging in the shops to get the design that was just right for her.
The late-afternoon wedding was small and intimate and took place right next to the river, underneath the permanent striped canopy. There’s always something really magical about an outdoors ceremony but because of the strict rules on locations there are very few venues that manage to offer this without having a more closed-in permanent structure.
The ceremony itself was very personal and after an Apache blessing and the register signing Helen and Leigh walked back down the aisle to this…
…Which made us very happy indeed.
The tables and the aisle were decorated with lots of pretty, in-season flowers and these were used for the button holes and Helen’s gorgeous country bouquet too. We spent a bit of time after the drinks reception exploring the grounds and venturing into the spider-gated “Secret Garden” for some portraits.
As the wedding party was made up of close family and friends, instead of formal speeches there were more relaxed, off-the-cuff toasts in the garden. We love this set-up as it’s so cosy and far less daunting for the speakers and with everyone gathered round in a circle everyone gets to hear. It’s a brilliant idea for smaller weddings.
Shortly after it was time for everyone to sit down to have their meal and we left Helen and Leigh to enjoy their wedding breakfast sat at their cosy “table for two”. Such a lovely idea, and one we’ve not seen before.
Posted with thanks and congratulations to Helen and Leigh x