April 5th, 2017 | Rachel Parry
Here at Brides Up North HQ we’re always super keen to learn more about the fabulous wedding venues available in this half of the country, so that we can spread the word to you, our lovely readers.
While some we follow with interest online, others we’re fortunate to visit in person, allowing us to view and experience their wonderful facilities and hospitality first hand. Our most recent travels saw us heading west, to the impressive Carden Park Hotel, where we were invited for a glorious one-night getaway.
Nested in 1,000 acres of Cheshire countryside, the sizable estate boasts an award-winning hotel, AA Rosette restaurant, championship golf courses, adventure activities and spa. Its spacious function suites and grounds mean it’s also a popular wedding venue, offering a varied choice of settings and packages for a couple’s special day.
Upon arriving for our stay, we were given a tour of the facilities and celebration spaces by the hotel’s friendly wedding planner, Maddie, where the full scope of Carden Park’s offering came to light. Not only can this hotel cater for the big day itself, but it’s an ideal retreat for pre-wedding pampering, a girly or action-packed hen do and a relaxing minimoon.
In terms of accommodation, the hotel offers a wide choice of options; from twin, double and family rooms, up to its spacious luxury suites, with special upgrade extras including a fully stocked complimentary minibar, chocolates, sparkling wine and ESPA toiletries.
Wedding wise, Carden can cater for all sizes and offers the choice of its elegant and contemporary Carden Suite, rustic-style Shooting Suite and open-air Wedding Pavilion, through its ‘Eternity’ and ‘Fairytale’ packages.
Elsewhere in the hotel there is much more to be explored. We began our break with an afternoon tea in the comfortable lounge area before taking the energy levels up a notch with some of the fun outdoor activities available on site. From laser clay shooting, archery and mountain biking to an aerial zip-wiring course, Carden is a playground for all ages.
We were treated to an off-roading 4×4 experience with JEEP enthusiast and instructor Terry, who navigated us through the surrounding woodland, giving us a tour of the expansive estate whilst sliding around the challenging course. Next up, with the help of instructor Ryan, we tried our hand (and feet) at segwaying, which is a little trickier than it looks, but heaps of fun.
Back at the hotel it was time to wind things down again, and so after a quick shower and change, we settled in the bar with a bottle of sauvignon, ahead of our three-course meal in Redmond’s Restaurant. Changing its menu regularly to suit the season and fresh produce available, we were spoiled for choice when it came to making our starter, main and dessert selections but went with the staff recommendations (they certainly know their stuff!) A salmon-starter, chicken-main and panna-cotta-dessert later, it was evident that the standard of food was equal to the level of service – first class!
We retired for the evening feeling immensely satisfied and settled into our king-size beds for a peaceful night’s sleep.
May 14th, 2015 | Julia Braime
A girl after our own heart, today’s real bride Sarah is huge fan of the colour pink and so styled her big day using a dreamy dusky palette.
Add to this elegant vintage décor, reams of dainty lace and an abundance of beautiful roses and you’ve got one very pretty wedding day indeed.
Fellow pink patrons, you’re going to love this!
With images by Pixsmiths Photography.
sarah says: We got engaged on 4th May 2013. Stuart asked me to marry him on a stunning local beach in place called Caldy. He then took me away to a beautiful spa hotel in Cheshire called Carden Park for the weekend.
We set the date for 4th September 2014. This was the date of my great gran’s wedding who was also called Sarah. This was only a coincidence but four and nine are special numbers to us. We live at number nine and got engaged on 4th May.
Our ceremony was at St John’s the Divine Church and Nunsmere Hall was our chosen venue for the reception. We got married in a church as we always wanted a traditional wedding with god’s blessing and this was our local church. Nunsmere Hall in Cheshire was chosen due to its tranquil and magical setting. We fell in love with it as soon as we stepped foot inside. The place had so much character and warmth.
The theme we chose was a vintage style, as we both loved the look. It was very close to both our families. We could connect to old furniture, glassware and our interests. The colour scheme was dusky pink as I have always been a ‘pink’ girl and the colour fitted in perfectly with the vintage theme.
I found my dress in a cute little store called Bellissima Brides in Brimstage, Wirral. It was made from soft delicate lace with tiny sparkles to catch the light. The dress had a sweetheart neckline, see-through romantic A-line overlay and stunning lace fringe. My Papa’s wish before he passed away was to buy my dress. Unfortunately he did not see it but my dress means so much to me now!
I chose a mid-single tier veil which had a matching lace and a sparkle fringe. In my hair I wore a vintage silver slide. My hair was styled by Hair Dolls and was more than I could have dreamt, with beautiful curls pinned like a waterfall with a few loose ones hanging to accentuate the back.
I chose my Elegant Steps shoes with my mother in-law. I went for comfort and also a little lace and sparkle on the toes!
My make-up, done by Catherine Bobby, was natural and flawless with the use of my own deep rose lipstick and lip liner, which meant I could top up throughout the day!
Stuart wore traditional tails in a mid-grey colour, ivory waistcoat and an ivory cravat chosen from Moss Bros.
My three bridesmaids wore pale dusky rose coloured dresses from Dessy, which matched sweet avalanche roses.
To match the groom the groomsmen and page boy also wore traditional tails in a mid-grey colour with ivory waistcoats and dusky rose cravats. These were also hired from Moss Bros.
A very close family friend who is like an uncle to Stuart was honoured when we asked him to be our wedding day chauffeur. He picked me up from my parents’ house and took me to the church and then drove both Stuart and I to Nunsmere Hall in his Mercedes Benz
Pixsmiths Creative Photography, who we would most definitely recommend, took our wedding photos. They were brilliant throughout the whole day and to have two photographers capturing the whole day allowed every aspect to be caught on camera. The pictures are perfect and their hard work is very much appreciated.
Carys West was our florist and she did a wonderful job. I carried a bouquet with a picture of my Papa on a tag tied to it. The bouquet mainly consisted of vintage roses in cream, ivory and dusky pink with pale sweet avalanche and Amnesia dusky roses.
We decorate the reception venue we had 12 centre pieces of tall vases with a ball of flowers on top of each, which consisted of the same flowers in my bouquet. These were again supplied by Carys West.
We also had lace decorated jam jars and silver vintage tea light holders and scattered heart shaped vintage floral pattern confetti on each table. Each name place card was attached to the guests’ favours – a miniature jam jar decorated with lace. Inside was a Wigan delicacy called an ‘Uncle Joe Mint Ball’ (Stuart is from Wigan).
Family friends of ours, Jessica and Sophie, made our cake. We chose a three tier round cake with ivory icing with the bottom tier (fruit cake) with an ivory ribbon, themiddle tier (also fruit cake) had a lace edible pattern and the top tier was Victoria sponge. We had a waterfall of roses down the cake in two tones of dusky rose colours.
To keep our guests entertained we had a live band called JC & The Two-Steps which is a talented local band from the Wirral. The ‘party’ was something that was always important to us and we both love live music and got these guys through a recommendation from Stuart’s work colleague. We also had a DIY photo booth which created some hilarious memories.
To make the day our own we added a few special touches such as providing our guests with tissues for ‘tears of joy’ at the church and handmade confetti from dried petals. Also instead of guests signing a book we got a wooden giant ‘&’ sign cut for people to sign on both sides.
Our table numbers were ‘dates’ that were special to us and we had a ‘family ladder’ decorated with lace which had photographs of both Stuart’s Grandma and my Papa on who both passed away in the lead up to the wedding so they could overlook the day.
In memory of Papa and Grandma we also had two candles lit at the front of the church. I carried a picture of Papa tied to my bouquet as I’d always wanted my Dad and my Papa to walk me down the aisle right from being a little girl.
We are proud that we did most things ourselves. All the stationery was designed by my younger brother. He designed the invites, table names, table plan, save the dates and order of service, keeping to the same vintage theme.
We would definitely recommend Nunsmere Hall to other couples. It’s a beautiful and breath-taking venue with its secretive garden by day and ‘Aladdin’s cave’ by night. Perfect, secluded venue in Cheshire.
We loved the entire day but for me my favourite bits were the morning preparations with my best friends and Mum, then walking down the aisle looking at Stuart and saying my vows! Also dancing the night away at the evening party!
Stuart’s favourite parts were sharing it all with the special people in our lives, having a special moment for more photos down at the jetty at dusk and having great live entertainment in the evening.
For our honeymoon we went to Kenya on a magical safari and then onto the Seychelles for pure beauty and relaxation. In Kenya on a safari we could hear elephants eating around our tent and hippos scratching at night. We watched lion cubs playing and saw giraffes walking past our tent – amazing! In Seychelles we flew through the mountains on a zip wire, stroked giant tortoises and snorkelled with tropical fish as well as walking on the most photographed beech in the world!
My top tips for other Brides Up North would be the groom involved in all that you can! The memories start from the preparation. I’d also say get part of the day filmed – we had friends and family that took footage over the day, which is great looking back at! Most importantly, enjoy it all and go with the flow!
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