Real Weddings

Justin Alexander for a Colourful Lake District Wedding at The Lingholm Estate – Sarah & Marden

Sarah Symonds

With the grand and imposing Lingholm Estate as the perfect Lake District wedding backdrop, today’s feature is going to have you itching to get planning your own big day, just like Sarah and Marsden did.

When our happy couple began planning they didn’t opt for a theme per se, but as a nod to their love of books, a subtle literary theme soon evolved. This desire to represent themselves as a couple and also their own individual personalities, means the little touches to the day really meant something; serving whisky for Sarah’s dad and limoncello as a reminder from holiday together in Lake Garda, using the colours of the bride’s family tartan as the palette for the celebration and involving the family golden retriever, Alba, on the day. Sounds fabulous, right?

We caught up with Sarah and Marsden to reflect on the journey from proposal, through planning and finally down the aisle to find out their favourite bits, the bits that worked best and get the lowdown on how it all came together.

With photography by Rachel Joyce Photography


Sarah says: It was on a sunny evening on the 7th of July 2017. We had been for dinner in the Slaughters, in the Cotswolds, not far from home and went for a short walk afterwards. We were looking out at the view over the Severn Valley, towards the Malvern Hills, where Marden grew up. It was understated and private but so romantic!


We were married on the 18th of May 2019. We chose the date based on when our venue could fit us in, as that was the priority for us rather than the date itself. That being said, May is always a good bet for sunny weather (as much as you can count on that in the Lake District!).

It was important to us that we choose a venue that felt intimate and special, and The Lingholm Estate ticked both of those boxes. With the accommodation options on site, it also meant we could host a wedding weekend and have our closest family and friends on site (and our golden retriever, Alba!). I grew up in the Lake District, and Marden has spent a lot of time there enjoying the great outdoors, so it is a very special area for us both individually and as a couple.


We didn’t really have a theme, we just wanted a wedding that reflected our personalities and that felt relaxed for all involved. We designed some key aspects to build from, such as the colour scheme and we had a literary theme for the tables. We added our own touches to the day with things that mean something to us as a couple, such as serving whisky (Sarah has a Scottish dad who has passed on his whisky interest to Marden!) and limoncello (a memory from an early holiday together in Lake Garda) as our toast drinks, instead of champagne.

We incorporated a mix of pale and dark pinks and burgundy to tie in with the family tartan, seen in the buttonholes and father of the bride’s kilt, and added gold into some of the styling, such as the calligraphy in the table plan and centrepieces.


My dress was by Justin Alexander and it was from Proposals in Witney, Oxfordshire. I chose it because it was the only dress I tried on that made me cry – the cliché was true for me! I wanted something elegant, but relaxed and also comfortable.


Marden’s suit was from DKNY. The groomsmen wore their own suits.


Our two bridesmaids wore dresses from Adrianna Papell and the flower girl, a dress from Next.


Beauty was done by Katie Dale, who was a lovely person to spend the morning of the wedding with – she was professional, relaxed and had a calming effect on the preparations! Most of all, she really listened to what we wanted.


We spent the whole wedding weekend on the site at Lingholm, so no transport was required.


Our photographer was Rachel Joyce, who we would definitely recommend. She captured the day really well, with a great mix of shots of us, our guests, our dog(!) and the setting and styling of the wedding. She is also really responsive and communicative, reliable and a lovely person to share your wedding day with.


My bouquet was prepared by Evergreens Florist in Keswick, who also made up some beautiful flower hoops and a wand for the bridesmaids and flower girl, and our buttonholes. My bouquet exceeded all expectations. They designed it based on some images I shared and sourced the specific flowers I wanted to include, as well as making other creative suggestions to incorporate.

We had a large bouquet and a garland for the fireplace, also from Evergreens. Our table plan and centrepieces were created for us by Mathilda Lundin and her beautiful calligraphy.


My mum, Janet, made homemade shortbread biscuit hearts for our guests to take away.


One cake wasn’t enough! Our wedding cake was made by my mum. It was three tiers of our favourite sponge cake flavours, decorated with gold leaf and a lovely cake topper in the shape of our retriever, Alba. We also dedicated an entire room in the house at Lingholm to our dessert table, where my mum created a selection of brownies and treats.


We served prosecco or beer on arrival, red and white wine with the meal and then whisky or limoncello for our toasts. Hardy’s Catering designed us a bespoke menu based on the food we loved, welcomed us into their home for a tasting, served canapes, pies for our wedding meal, and even stayed around on the Sunday to serve curries to our guests at our garden party.


We had a live band, The Fusion Dukes.

Thanks to

The team at Lingholm were fantastic – flexible, relaxed and professional, and the venue is just perfect, overlooking Derwent Water in the heart of the Lakes. Lakeland Dog Walker looked after our dog throughout the day and brought her to us for photos! All of our suppliers were fantastic.

Best bit

We didn’t have a favourite, we loved it all. On the day after the wedding we held a garden party in one of the cottages our guests were staying in at Lingholm. It was great to be able to do this at the same venue.


We were greedy and had two! We had a minimoon in Croatia in September, and then spent two weeks in Costa Rica this January.


My top tip for another bride and groom would be to make it your day and don’t feel constrained by needing to meet the expectations of others.

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