Have a wedding to plan?
Don't book anything until you've read this! Introducing the Muddy mega marriage guide with more brilliant local venues and suppliers than you can shake a sugared almond at. You have a read and we'll go buy a hat.
Everyone ready for wedding season? It’s a good job that you, dear Muddy reader, have our super-duper wedding guide to help make your special day the best of the bunch. We’re here to help, as always. If you’re knee-deep in planning a wedding – be it as the blushing bride, a bridesmaid or mother of the bride – read on for the Muddy edit of the best of Wilts‘ independent wedding businesses. We’ve got the venue covered, plus all the trimmings. Easy peasy! I’m off to buy a fascinator and await my invitation.
Oh my God, I’m going to ditch the hubby and get married again, just so I can do it at Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort. There are acres of ornate gardens, endless views over the idyllic Wiltshire countryside, gorgeous rooms to bed down in after the main event and – major bonus – one of the best spas in the county to while away all those pre-wedding nerves. Every little detail of your day, whether it’s a wedding, civil ceremony or civil partnership, from the moment you arrive until you leave as a couple will be taken care of. Their fabulous wedding co-ordinators will create your dream wedding and be with you every step of the way. Bowood’s skilled in-house chefs will prepare delicious food for your wedding party, cooked to perfection, and the varied choice of menus cater for all preferences and tastes.
Looking for an outdoor theme? They also have a stunning Wedding Pavilion with the gorgeous Bowood Estate as the picture-perfect backdrop to your special day. Bowood offers a selection of wedding packages, but they’re equally happy to create your perfect day, your way. Contact their wedding co-ordinators to book in a show round and experience Bowood for yourself.
Grittleton House near Chippenham is a beautiful Victorian Manor House venue fit for a princess. Brimming with stunning features it has impressive balconies, sweeping double staircase and an elegance worthy of any fairy-tale. Why not get ready in the majestic drawing room and enjoy a glass of fizz before making your entrance? After the ceremony greet your guests with champagne and canapes in the Italian Gardens with opportunities for those all-important photographs. Then it’s time to tuck into your scrumptious wedding breakfast in one of the State Rooms. Ooh, yes!
Book now for their Wedding Open House on Sun 15 Mar – come and experience the wonder of Grittleton House, set for a wedding day. Have a snoop around their exquisite drawing room, dining and party rooms, connect with a host of fabulous suppliers and find out more about where you can have the wedding of your dreams.
Alexandra House is a modern, stylish wedding venue on the edge of the beautiful Cotswolds. They know their stuff when it comes to hosting the perfect wedding, and their 20 acres of beautiful grounds are perfect for photographs and evening relaxation, plus they have a range of event suites. They have also just launched an outdoor wedding package where couples can be married in a pergola overlooking their sweeping grounds – the perfect setting for a fairytale wedding. After a cultural wedding? Alexandra House offer an Asian wedding package, and can plan your perfect day with their dedicated in-house wedding organisers, who draw from years of experience of weddings at the venue. They’ll take your ideas and your dreams and use their knowledge to help you get the most out of your day.
Howards House Hotel
You can’t beat Howard’s House Hotel for the perfectly romantic venue. Their newly restored Coach House has been lovingly designed with privacy, comfort and luxury in mind, perfect for a drinks receptions or full wedding breakfast, plus their secret garden is just the spot for a marquee. In fact, nestled in its idyllic setting of Teffont Evias, Howard’s House holds the Good Hotel Guide’s Cesar Award for ‘Britain’s Most Romantic Hotel’. Wiltshire’s best kept secret is a country house hotel but in true indie style – it might be nestled in an idyllic Wiltshire village but everything inside is just that little bit different. And when it comes to cooking it really is unique – ingredients are homegrown or locally sourced, seasonal ALL the time and dishes inspirational. Bedrooms are indulgent with lots of lovely touches, the location is picture perfect and you’ll bump into wildlife (deer, pheasant, fowl) around every corner. Bliss.
ALL THE TRIMMINGS
Well, first off it’s got to be the flowers! Bellinger Larrard are our favourites – this local artisan florist uses a wonderfully natural, textural style, and is passionate about using seasonal sustainable blooms from British flower growers. Think inspired creativity, think something different on your special day. We love their sumptuous, wild organic style of floral arrangements, their use of hedgerow and orchard details, and of course their reliance on local British flower farmers and cottage garden growers – all fitting in very well with the Muddy ethos.
Surely the most important way to get your own personal wedding vibe, it’s cool wedding stylists Fabulous Functions all the way for everything gorgeous and indulgent, from table centrepieces to silk flower walls to sequin table linen, no less. After a theme? They’ll even come and style the whole event for you. They will style your wedding, hire accessories, even organise your wedding bouquet and flowers.
These super stylists will transform your wedding venue into a little slice of heaven, with everything utterly perfect, from the table settings and colour harmony through to all the little details that tie everything together. They will source or create bespoke venue décor accessories for you, from wall hangings to table linen, and from chair sashes to themed centrepieces. What we really love is their personal service, and that their styling tells your wedding story – making your big day stand out from the crowd and be remembered. Oh, and make sure you check out their fab silk flower wall backdrop!
Now you’ll need flowers…Fabulous Functions can help with all of your bridal florals, designing everything from bridal flowers and buttonholes through to floral arrangements for the table centrepieces, as well as gorgeous backdrops, archways and floral rings. They also create bespoke silk bouquets, including gorgeous brooch bouquets, buttonholes and corsages.
And don’t forget the decorations. If you’re going retro your best bet is the wonderful Nanny Nellies Attic for vintage china and all things gorgeous and chintzy, the most amazing place to hire props for your Big Day (or hen party, tea party, baby shower party…any party really!)
A huge variety of props and paraphernalia will whirl you into retro-land, with bespoke styling from bygone years giving any event a gentle touch of nostalgia. Nanny Nellies Attic has a wide range of china to choose from, letting you use your imagination to turn your vintage ideas into reality – think oodles of gorgeous pretty chinaware, vintage cutlery, ’50s backdrops (old station porters trolleys laden with hatboxes and hampers), even a traditional red post box. Everything from Gatsby to rustic post-war – just let them know your poison and they will style according to your wishes.
A big bonus is that Nanny Nellies Attic will deliver the crockery and props to you if you don’t have time to collect it (and what bride does?) and, if you are hiring the crockery for an afternoon tea they will do all of the washing up. That’s what we like to hear!
Next, the music. If you’re after the very best bespoke musical entertainment for your event, try Laurian Consultancy. This boutique agency, run by the very talented Abigail Holloway, offers bespoke musical solutions for all special events (and for any budget), for weddings, parties and for, well, all celebrations, as well as for festivals, movie companies, TV companies and music venues.
Celebrating a special birthday? Maybe you are getting hitched in the South of France and need an extra special artist to croon to you during your first dance? Laurian will find you the very best music to fit your day. Love a solo pianist? An acoustic guitar? Or what about fantastic walk-about singing trios to entertain your guests on arrival? They can offer all this and more, including background music during your wedding breakfast meal, and, of course, the coolest ever party bands!
And now, the jewellery. For real experience, Watling Goldsmiths of Lacock is the place for you. Jane Watling (worthy winner of Muddy Stilettos’ Best Jeweller in Wiltshire 2019) has been trained and worked in the jewellery trade since school, working at the more modern end of the market, setting sapphires with diamonds.
She started her training nearly 40 years ago, making classic court shaped wedding rings in 22ct gold, and she has now re-introduced these to her business this year. Engagement rings have either full rub over settings or half, instead of the classic claws that catch on clothes. Look no further for a modern take on engagement rings , if you’re after a truly different ring with organic wires but still a silky smooth feel on the finger. Book an appointment for a commission for your big day.
There’s a host of groovy, creative Instagram-friendly florists popping up around these parts, offering a refreshingly modern take on trad wedding flowers. Case in point – the gorgeous work of My Flower Patch, winners of the Wilts Muddy Awards 2019 who grow their own blooms, as well as last year’s Muddy Award winner Kate Robinson Flowers, with bouquets inspired by the changing seasons and the beautiful rural countryside.
Do you love gin? Er, obviously. Then check out the ostentatiously adventurous Explorer’s Gin from Downton’s Distillery in the heart of Wilts. Truly one of the best artisan gins in the country, all you need to do is grab a glass and pass the Fever Tree.
The devil’s in the detail on the foodie front and here are some outfits that get the detail just right. We love Vaughan’s Kitchen for inventive catering with a twist, and Pure Punjabi who create bespoke menus from a range of traditional North Indian and fusion dishes for your special day. Choose from canapes and bowl food, to sit down dinners with decor and Indian dance entertainment between the courses.
Fancy something different for your wedding breakfast? The Slinky Fox will bring the best artisan wood fired pizzas this side of Italy to the party, and offer bespoke wedding packages. Fancy a table laden with pizza boards for your guests to tuck into? Yep, they’ll do that for you. Or go retro and they’ll recreate a pizza shop where guests can take away their pie in a box.
Hair and make up? Easy peasy. One of our fave beauty parlours on the block is The Tranquil Moment, the ultimate in pampering relaxation in the heart of Wilts. Ideal for those who really value one-to-one attention, treatments range from top to toe, all as relaxing as can be (natch). Breathe new life into your skin with reviving facials from Decleor (deep relaxing massage, followed by a detailed facial with carefully formulated skin care products), or try a new CACI facial treatment, non-surgical treatments great for reviving older skin. Their manis and pedis are divine, and their massages to die for. Specialist treatments include semi-permanent make up and hair removal.
Or get ready to be beautified at The Parlour in Marlborough, a funky, vintage, uber-cool salon. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Marlborough High Street is this gorgeous beauty salon – a relaxing little place filled with lotions and potions. Run by the effervescent and inspiring Bianca, it is a real home from home, born from an age old passion for beauty and holistic therapies and coupled with a love of all things vintage. You’ll be welcomed with smiles here, and a good old fashioned warmth and charm while you get pampered, preened and generally made even more blooming beautiful than you were before, lady!
Get fit for your big day with Kirsty Victoria, a lawyer-turned-fitness professional who specialises in working with brides who want to get fit, lose weight and fit into the wedding dress of their dreams in time for the big day. This lady truly knows that looking your best on your wedding day is one of the biggest concerns brides have, but trying to get fit and lose weight whilst planning a wedding is HARD…
And that’s where Kirsty Victoria comes in – she fully understands this, and works hand in hand with brides to achieve their wedding dress goals. Her Bridal PT service is a monthly online membership program that gets results by working out when it suits you. This includes gym and home workouts, nutritional advice, food plans and loads more.
Need a fast fix, quickly? Her Wedding Dress Transformation programme lasts for 8 weeks, and has already helped dozens of brides feel incredible in their wedding dress. Need more than this? Kirsty Victoria offers a limited number of one to one coaching slots in Cirencester or Swindon for brides who are committed to working with her for at least 3 months.
You’ll need a photographer to record those oh-so-precious memories, and for us it has to be The Little Photo Company, winners of Best Photographer in the Muddy Awards 2019 and particularly famed for festival weddings. Stunning, funky and modern, they are definitely best in show as far as we are concerned.
Finally, a neat idea to keep younger guests occupied – Firefly Events will create a cool pop-up al fresco cinema at your reception to mesmerise little ones into silence. Your choice of movie? Gotta be Bridesmaids or The Wedding Crashers.
And then, phew, all is confetti-d, toasted and finally done. Mr & Mrs can retreat for the night. How about Intrepid Campers for funky VW camper van hire or Wanderlust Camper Co for the perfect solution for a cool couple to rest their weary/drunken heads after the event?
Want more, more, more? Check out the weddings section of Muddy’s Little Black Book of best local businesses.