The incredible wedding of
Rachael & Lawrence
at The Manor House, Castle Combe
Rachael and Lawrence
Read about Rachael and Lawrence's special day...
Tell us a little about how you met and the proposal...
Lawrence and I met as actors on a short, moody, black and white film set in the Cold War. Lawrence was playing a Russian spy recruiting my character to inform against her employer. But the spy accidentally fell in love with her which somewhat derailed the plans of his organisation. We don’t find out if the couple manage to escape together, but Lawrence and I did…! We have since parked the acting and set up a successful YouTube channel and are proud to have five employees and to have survived all that 2020 threw at us.
Why did you choose The Manor House and how did we deliver you dream day?
Apparently Lawrence chose The Manor House before he even proposed! Unbeknownst to him it was where I was ‘launched’ as a baby, so it’s a venue that is very dear to my family, and we’re delighted to continue that connection. We both wanted a venue with history, Lawrence specifically wanted a castle, but there aren’t too many of them in the Bath area - certainly not ones that offer the classic luxury and wonderful service of The Manor House. From start to finish the staff looked after us wonderfully. We were full of our own ideas and Gemma went above and beyond to accommodate all our suggestions. We chose the Exclusive hire and had our ceremony in the pavilion which suited us perfectly. It was very touch and go on the morning of the wedding with rain lashing sideways, but the staff were amazing at leaving it until the absolute last minute before the final call was made on where the ceremony would take place. The sun came out and we had the most glorious afternoon and evening. We are very grateful that they didn’t give up on our dream to have the ceremony outside.
We didn’t have a theme as such, but we certainly had a style – a glimmer of medieval, but definitely not a whole theme. It was important to us that everything we did was in keeping with the history and splendour of the venue – strong colours and bespoke, complementary decorations. Along with my family, we handmade most things. This was also while we moved house, moved the business and built a studio in the two months prior to the big day. In hindsight we bit off slightly more than we could chew! But it was absolutely worth it to have all those personal touches and the guests certainly noticed them. We printed our own invitations and hand crafted our own wax seals and made the invitations into scrolls. Our ‘orders of services’ became more ‘programmes of events’ in the style of a theatrical programme with a prologue, several acts, and the epilogue was breakfast all together the next day. There was a ‘cast of players’ and also a history of the venue. We made sloe gin for the favors (sloes collected from further down the Bybrook stream that runs through the Manor House grounds), again the wax seal appeared on the bottles and also on the napkin rings we made. The flower pillars in front of the pavilion and the bouquets were made by Passion Flowers, but all the other flowers we did ourselves – the candelabra, the many pewter pots on the tables, and the flowers on the chairs for the ceremony. We even created a second ‘fake’ bouquet to be thrown – a genius idea from my Mum! My Dad has his own forge in his garden so he crafted a completely bespoke table plan and also stands for the place names and the table names. But the biggest ask was creating bespoke rings of natural greenery suspended from the wrought iron chandeliers in the Dunstanville, complete with remote-controlled twinkling lights. We discussed our plans with Gemma and The Manor House and they were amazing at accommodating our ideas and making everything work. But also Gemma didn’t bat an eyelid when we said we wanted to do axe-throwing during the drinks reception. The guests absolutely loved it!
How did you found your outfit, accessories and/or shoes?
I bought the first dress I tried on in the first shop! Carina Baverstock Couture in Bradford-on-Avon provided the most amazing service and Carina curates an entire look. I took her advice on shoes and accessories and the fitting service was second to none. I even got to meet the designer, Suzanne Neville, and together we designed the bespoke bow on the back of my gown. I honestly thought finding my outfit would be one of the hardest jobs, but Carina and her team made the process an absolute delight.
What do you remember most about the day it’s self?
Seeing the delight on our guests’ faces was wonderful. The photos prove this too – everyone looked as though they were genuinely having a splendid time and this shared enjoyment really made the day for us. An amazing moment was when Lawrence lifted me up at the end of our fist dance (Elvis’s The Wonder of You) and the confetti cannons went off all around us. Then the dance floor was packed until the very last moment as all ages danced away to the most awesome and energetic 50's and 60's rock’n’roll hits from our fantastic band.
What tips would you give to future couples starting to make their wedding plans?
If possible, eat at the venue without them knowing you’re considering it as a venue! This will tell you a lot... We instantly connected with Gemma as our wedding co-ordinator and it was a pleasure to deal with a ‘yes person’.
Images courtesy of Cat Lane Photography