Ideas & Inspiration/Chic Weddings

English Winery Wedding (with a Dirty Dancing Love Story!)

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When you think of a winery wedding, your mind drifts to Italy, the South of France, or Northern California. You don’t always think of England.

But Maddy and Chris’ beautiful marquee wedding with its vineyard setting at Stanlake Park Wine Estate in Berkshire, is about to change all that.

Yes, it did briefly rain (it is England, after all) but that didn’t dampen this gorgeous day, with elegant style, lavish florals, traditional touches and DIY details – all captured by the wonderful Hannah McClune Photography.

But it’s this couple’s awesome love story that made their day so fun and personal. When your first kiss involves a ‘Dirty Dancing’ lift to ‘The Time Of My Life’, you know the dancefloor antics at your wedding are going to be something pretty special indeed… 


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Our Love Story

We met at a wedding and ended up challenging each other to a dance off!

I made a bet with Chris that if the Dirty Dancing song came on that he wouldn’t be able to perform ‘the lift’. To our surprise it was the next song that was played!

He made a bold attempt of lifting me in the air which was quickly followed by our first kiss.

A year later Chris proposed whilst we were on holiday in Portugal. He got down on one knee on a cliff overlooking a beautiful bay which I had walked along during family holidays growing up.

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The Inspiration

The wedding had a relaxed yet elegant feel. We were inspired by the vineyard setting, the aromas, the colours – ivory, rose gold accents and purples of the vines naturally became the whole colour palette for the wedding, bringing the outdoors in to our marquee and barn settings.

Stanlake Park Wine Estate is close to our family home and my dad would take my grandpa, a big fan of the vineyard, there when he visited.

On the news of our engagement, my dad suggested we should see if the vineyard would host our wedding. It was a touching tribute to my Grandpa and nice to have our wedding somewhere which already held some of our family memories.

When I showed Chris around the vineyard we spotted that they made a wine called ‘Madeleine’ – another sign that it was the venue for us!

The Ceremony

The church is round the corner from where I went to school. It is absolutely beautiful. I remember when I was younger sitting in a school service there and whispering to my friend Kate (one of my bridesmaids!) that one day I would love to get married here.

My sister has always written poems for family events. She wrote a beautiful poem which she read during the ceremony.

During the signing of the register Arabesque No.1 in E major by Claude Debussy was played on the grand piano. It’s one of Chris’s mum’s favourite pieces of music. She was very touched when she heard it being played.

We also chose hymns that were meaningful to our families.

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The Photography & Videography

After looking at a number of photographers we were immediately felt that Hannah’s photos stood out. We loved how she captured the story and romance of the day.

We instantly warmed to Hannah and our wedding party commented on her professionalism and her relaxed but enthusiastic personality.

After watching some of the film clips featured on Gorgeous Films website we knew we wanted them to capture our wedding day. Gary was really friendly and unobtrusive in his approach.

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The Style & Flowers

I didn’t want a big structured dress but something I could move and dance easily in. The bridesmaids wore long dresses by Ebony Rose.

We couldn’t decide between two shades of purple so we chose both. Two girls wore a lilac shade and the others wore plum.

The men wore traditional morning suits with a modern navy twist.

Our florist was amazing. Tarnia completely captured our ideas and brought our vision to life. The floral arrangements had a botanical and natural feel to tie in with the surroundings.

She used an array of flowers and foliage, including roses, hydrangeas, astrantia, lavender, mint, ivory and berry accents. 

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The Decor & Details

We both love candles so they played a big part in the décor. We had candelabras as the table centrepieces, lots of lanterns and we made apple and cinnamon candles for our wedding favours (a real labour of love!).

The guests entered the vineyard through a wooded area which was lit up with festoon lighting all along the walkway to the entrance of the marquee which created a magical feel. The marquee overlooked the vines which were lit up spectacularly with floodlights in the evening.

The vineyard theme was embraced using wine barrels, spray painted wine bottles, cork place name holders, wine crates and a riddling rack to display the table plan.

Handwritten calligraphy was used throughout the wedding stationary, labels and signage. It added an artistic elegant touch to the wedding and was greatly admired by a number of guests.

The flow of the wedding reception was important to us. We didn’t want to disrupt our guests from having fun by being ushered from one area to another as tables and chairs were cleared so we decided on a large marquee which had a reveal curtain to hide the evening dance floor and bar area. It looked quite spectacular when the curtain was lifted to reveal our own private night club.

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Favourite Moments & Advice for Other Couples

We loved the ceremony. It felt so intimate and personal. My uncle who sadly couldn’t be at the wedding due to illness wrote a moving speech which the best man read out on his behalf.

We thoroughly enjoyed dancing the night away with all our family and friends. We really didn’t want it to end.

Try and relax and enjoy the planning process. Don’t sweat the small stuff and remember what is important to you as a couple.

Make sure you have a wet weather plan to avoid any last minute stress.

If you have chosen a venue which involves coordinating lots of different vendors we would really recommend having an on the day wedding coordinator. Rachael was amazing on our wedding day and it meant that we could relax and enjoy the day knowing it was in safe hands.

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The Refreshments

We had a formal sit down dinner but instead of having a starter we had lots of canapés which our guests loved. We drank wine produced at the vineyard which added an authentic touch.

In the evening the pop-up bar served a number of drinks and cocktails including our signature favorites – mojito, and dark n’ stormy and gin and tonic.

Our friend Sarah made our beautiful and very yummy wedding cake.

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The Music

Music was an important part of our day. Chris found a great band which had everyone up on the dance floor all night.

Our love story started on a dance floor so we wanted to emphasise this and create a party atmosphere.

We used gigantic light up ‘DANCE’ letters, baskets of flip flops, glow sticks and fancy dress props to entice our guests onto the dance floor.

As a surprise they played the Dirty Dancing song at the end of the night. Chris and all the ushers lifted me up in the middle of the dance floor. It was so much fun!

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