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An Exclusive real life wedding - James and Natalie

Tell us a little on how you met and the proposal:

Me and James met as teenagers when my parents and I moved into the same close as him. A few years passed and our parents exchanged friendly hellos until we both bumped into each other at a friends party and began chatting. After a few messages on social media, 6 months later we went on our first date and much to our parents delight became a couple back in 2006. After both going through college and Winchester University together, we then entered the world of teaching and have supported one another’s careers ever since. We enjoy holidaying in Italy and in one lovely visit to Sorrento, James popped the question overlooking the bay of Naples and Vesuvius - a really memorable view. As we quickly entered the throws of wedding planning, choosing the beautiful Lainston House, we set our date for Saturday 5th August 2017, which marked our 11th anniversary. 

How did you choose Lainston House as your wedding destination?

My dad decided that we would call by Lainston House just to ‘take a look’ and the moment we arrived we were both utterly in love. The staff were incredibly attentive and we were made to feel like VIPs! I fell in love with the stunning grounds and couldn’t wait to show James; thankfully he felt exactly the same! 

Each time we visited over the 2 years to our date, everyone at Lainston House were so helpful and welcoming. The menu tasting session for our families, with private dining was exquisite, and very personalised to every detail. Instead of a venue that we will go to for one day, we have a venue that our families enjoy visiting and reminiscing - something that was very important to us both. 

Tell us more about your big day

During the planning process, we wanted to incorporate as much of the rustic and romantic feel of the Dawley barn. Graphic designer Gemma Nicholson tailored our personalised invitations and table decor to match perfectly. Whilst Natalie Stanfield of Dreaming of a Cupcake took on the task of creating a beautiful tall leather bound book cake to symbolise each chapter of ‘our story’ which received so many compliments from our guests on the day. For flowers, Jo Hicks our florist captured a romantic feel to the day with soft pinks, blues and creams, a floral theme that also run throughout the tables, with rustic candelabras and leather bound books dressed with pastel hydrangea petals. 

On the day, one of the many memorable moments was driving up to the beautiful front entrance in our Silver Bentley and arriving to champagne, an immaculate red carpet and our first congratulations as Mr & Mrs Preston from our lovely Toast master Malcolm. 

Looking back on our special day, Lainston House surpassed all of our expectations from the impeccable service and excellent hospitality. In fact, my dad loves Lainston House so much he even described it as ‘perfect’ in his wedding speech.


What tips would you give to a couple starting to make their wedding plans?

Think carefully about the venue; great service and attention to detail from a team who can bring your ideas to life are invaluable!

Photography by

Kris Karl Wedding Photographer

The Bride and Groom: James and Natalie Preston
That date: Saturday 5th August 2017
The location: Ceremony at St Edwards the Confessor Church, Chandlers Ford and Reception in the Dawley Barn at Lainston House, an Exclusive Hotel
Photographer: Kris Karl Wedding Photographer
Flowers: Jo Hicks
Cake: Dreaming of a cupcake by Natalie Stanfield
Stationery: Gemma Nicholson of Precious Gem designs
Attire: Bride wore Brides of Southampton and groom wore Black tie of Crowthorne

Discover Weddings at

Lainston House