Tag Archive: wedding

The idea for a separate wedding and reception came from my Mum – she’d told us about one of the ladies she works with whose daughter had recently married. They had a small ceremony, went off on honeymoon, and then had the reception when they came back. The more we thought about that, the better the idea sounded – after all, it’s two parties instead of just the one! Not to mention that everyone had told us that your wedding day seems to go so quickly that you rarely get a chance to talk to everyone. It also took away the problem of trying to find a castle for the wedding that allowed camping, so that we weren’t asking folk to shell out for a hotel room to come and celebrate our wedding with us. We decided to combine it with our leaving party, and to cut a long story short, after hunting for venues and much discussion, what had started off as a one night do with a live band and camping ended up escalating into a full blown weekend biker-style rally… the Wed’n’Fled Rally was born!

We originally planned to use the same venue that we met at, and to have the same band playing that we were dancing to (yes, we are both incurable romantics!), but had some difficulties with the site, the main one being that they didn’t have a marquee big enough for the size of do we were planning. This was going to whack the cost up immensely, as marquee hire doesn’t come cheap. After a lot of legwork and some asking around it turned out that the Boring Old Fartz MotorCycle Club had an enormous marquee that they were willing to hire to us at a reasonable cost, but we would have to transport it ourselves. Not a problem we thought, we’ve got a friend with a transit van. Then we went to visit the club and saw just how big the marquee was – a transit wouldn’t cut it, we needed a low loader! Doh! Looking around the BOF’s clubhouse and the Rugby Club that it was in the grounds of, we realised that it was a much better venue than our original one, and we decided to switch. That was definitely one of the best decisions that we made! The BOFs were absolute stars – they took over a lot of the running of the site for us and really made it easy – thanks guys!

In typical Tony & Sarah tradition we ended up sorting out some of the details at the very last minute, managing to book a Friday night band all of about a week before the event – luckily it all worked out right when it came to it. We ended up with Ode and the Bebops, a fun skiffle band for something a little different. The Saturday band had been booked for a year – it didn’t take much thinking for us to book Subway, who not only were the band that we were dancing to on the night we met, they’re also a top-notch party band to boot! They really pulled out all the stops and rocked our socks off.

The weekend was another success, with a great time being had by all.ย  We especially enjoyed the 400+ rocket balloons that our friends Heather and Nich had given us for a wedding present, although some of the BOFs who had to clear them up the next morning might disagree! It really doesn’t get much better than having your very own rally, filled with family and friends – a big thank you to all of you for coming and helping to create such a brilliant eventย  ๐Ÿ™‚

The Wedding

I don’t know why, but I had this idea in my head that I would like to get married in a castle – I guess it’s the Princess in me! Tony was quite happy to humour me, so I spent an inordinate amount of time researching possibilities on the internet. One of the first places I looked at was Kenilworth Castle, a mostly ruined place just down the road from us, which is looked after by English Heritage. Unfortunately this proved to be prohibitively expensive, and with very little choice on when it was available as it’s open to the public. The search net was widened, and I ended up researching castles from the top to the bottom of the UK, and even a few further afield. Believe me, if you ever want to know anything about castle hotels in this country, just ask as there’s a good chance that I’ll know!

We had decided on a small ceremony followed by a big reception/leaving party a few weeks later so that we could celebrate with as many folk as possible whilst keeping the costs down for us and them. I narrowed down the choices for the wedding to two castles of an appropriate size: Rowton Castle near Shrewsbury, and Castle Venlaw near Peebles in Scotland. Venlaw was the perfect size for the number of people we were planning to invite, plus it had two other major advantages over Rowton: a round turret (I did say it was the Princess in me!), and the romantic suite actually being in the turret! Rowton was much closer though, so much more accessible for us and the majority of our guests. Being so much closer meant that it was the first one we visited of the two, and they made us an offer too good to refuse – we had decided to get married on the 21st June for various reasons, and as this was a Monday, it was a much less popular day than the usual weekends that the majority of folk go for. This gave some challenges along the way later, but meant we had terrific bargaining power when if came to agreeing a price!

Of course, once we had decided to go with Rowton Castle for the wedding and had agreed to take the place on for exclusive use, we just had to fill the bedrooms up – after all, they were included! So the wedding party ended up doubling in size, but what the heck.

We did it ๐Ÿ™‚

One of our best ideas was going up to stay in the area the day before the wedding so that we wouldn’t be rushed on the big day. We took over all the rooms at the Old Hand and Diamond, a lovely old pub just down the road from Rowton, and had a lovely meal with a lot of our guests coming to join us. The wedding itself went off with only one or two very minor hitches (like me forgetting to bring half of my make-up for the one day I wanted to look my absolute best!), but we had the most wonderful day. Judging by the feedback we had from the friends and family that joined us, so did they! We were blessed with amazing weather, and the staff at Rowton took such good care of us that we really didn’t want to leave… so we didn’t! We stayed for a couple more days after the wedding, which was absolutely wonderful. One of the highlights was breakfast on the patio as the only guests in the castle, a lifestyle that I have to say I could get very used to! If any of you ever fancy a castle wedding, I can highly recommend Rowton Castle – it really is an amazing venue, and more importantly has the most amazing staff.

Big, huge thanks to everyone who came and shared our special day with us – it was absolutely the best day of my life (so far…)! ๐Ÿ™‚