Wedding at Powderham Castle's Belvedere, Devon
A Thousand Years
Finola and Hannah's coastal-themed party at Powderham Castle's Belvedere siteA cheeky opening line at an Exeter supermarket led to love for Finola and Hannah. “Hannah realised that the way to my heart was via food, gin or cats. At this point most people would perhaps build their relationship over meals or drinks out, but no – Hannah decided she was going to seal the deal by buying me a kitten!” Finola reveals.
“I came home from work one day to find Hannah chasing the cat madly around the house. She’d tied my engagement ring to cat’s collar (as the cat always greets me at the door when I get home), but on this occasion the cat had decided it was not going to do this and disappeared with a diamond ring around its neck,” laughs Finola of the couple’s comedic engagement story.
The pair set about searching for their dream waterside wedding venue. “There were two key factors for us – the first was that we wanted to be by the coast and have views across the water, and the second was that we did not want to be restricted by having to use certain suppliers. We wanted a complete blank canvas,” explains Finola of their prerequisites – making Powderham Castle the “obvious choice”. “It was The Belvedere site that we fell in love with,” she says. “It’s a restored folly tower and is a relatively new marquee site overlooking the estuary.”
Epitomising a ‘coastal vibes’ theme, the venue was bedecked in turquoise and duck egg blue, while the flowers took the summer season as inspiration in the beautiful form of peonies, lavender, sweet peas and roses in mixed shades of white, purple and blue. “In the church we had jam jars of flowers hanging off the pews and instead of having flowers on the tables at the reception we made the centrepieces ourselves with big glass storm lanterns filled with sand, a white candle and shells that we had been collecting over the years,” says Finola.
“We wanted to make our day as personal as possible,” she says of how their loved ones helped to execute their day, from their friend singing ‘A Thousand Years’ for Finola’s aisle walk to another that conducted the church service and having a long-lost school friend as their photographer.
After the ceremony, a tractor-trailer transported guests to The Belvedere site, where they were welcomed with canapés alongside Aperol and Limoncello spritzes as the band performed an acoustic set. “We also had a massive turquoise Esky full of beers and soft drinks so our guests could just help themselves throughout the day,” adds Finola.
The speeches were delivered before dinner – a sumptuous feast comprising Brixham crab cakes, seared hanger steak finished and a divine chocolate mousse – after which the gin bar was opened to signify the start of the party.
“This was followed by much dancing, laughter and happiness late into the night,” recalls Finola. “The next morning we had a ‘survivors breakfast’ on the roof terrace of my parents’ holiday home in Brixham for anyone who fancied a bacon sandwich. This gave us more time to catch up with our friends and family,” she adds.
“It was a really historic day as it was the first same-sex wedding ever to be held at Powderham Castle, who flew a rainbow flag over the castle for us to celebrate!” reflects Finola. She also encourages others to follow suit in investing in a few dance lessons. “This was money well spent as our dance teacher gave us a little routine to do – just a few basic steps and twirls – so we looked like we knew what we were doing for our first dance,” she explains.
“It’s your day and you’ll only do it once. You may find yourself trying to please people and being pulled in lots of different directions, but just go with your heart,” adds Hannah of the importance of staying true to yourselves.
Photography Blue Ginger Photography bluegingerphoto.com
Venue Powderham Castle powderham.co.uk
Church: Marquee Hatch Marquees southwestmarqueehire.co.uk
Catering Pickle Shack pickleshack.co.uk
Bridal outfits Max Mara maxmara.com
Millie May Bridal at Pretty Smithy Bridal prettysmithybridal.co.uk
Bridesmaids’ outfits Marks & Spencer marksandspencer.com
Hair Hair Mae Hair facebook.com/Hollymaehair
Corners Hair Salon cornershairstudio.com
Make-up Emma Roberts facebook.com/emmarobertsmakeup
Flowers Coates Florist coatesflorist.co.uk Flower Preservation Workshop flowerpreservationworkshop.co.uk
Stationery Kubiak kubiakcreative.com
Entertainment Over the Threshold overthethresholdband.co.uk
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