Real Experiences

Here you can read stories and recommendations from our brides and grooms throughout the year. They’ve shared their experiences with us, told us who they used for their wedding services and even included a few photos of their big day! Check them out...

Lucie and Iain Stirling - December 2016 - Arundel Town Hall

Iain and I moved to Arundel in March 2015 when we took over as owners of Arden House B&B, so an Arundel-based wedding was an obvious choice for us.

We chose Arundel Town Hall as our venue, enabling us to offer our guests one destination for the ceremony and reception.  With stunning architecture and a decked terrace, this venue is even more magical in December, with subtle Christmassy décor complementing our floral arrangements by Wild & Green.  To add to the splendour of the venue, we booked Arundel’s Town Crier, Angela Standing, to ring our guests into the ceremony.
 
We opted for vintage-style wedding outfits with Iain looking every bit the country gent in quality clothing from Allans of Petworth.  My LouLou Bridal dress and accessories were supplied by Proposals.  I treated myself to a professional bridal hair & makeup artist, and was artfully transformed on the day by the talented Lucy from ID Makeup, Hair, Beauty.  Our photographer was the immensely likeable Neil Walker Photography.
 
Coming from a food-obsessed family, the wedding feast was always going to be a focal point for the day.  We selected the wonderful Jonty Gilbert from Piggery Catering to help us put together a fantastic winter wedding feast for 70 guests. 
 
Our brief was for a locally sourced produce, with plenty of personal, home-made touches.  Jonty exceeded our expectations by creating a sumptuous menu, with canapes featuring local crab, and Brighton Gin cured smoked salmon.  The mains included slow cooked, pulled Sussex pork shoulder with a smoked paprika, fennel & thyme rub, and char grilled rosemary marinated leg of Sussex lamb, served with delicious sides, and jars of homemade salsa verde and apple sauce and - at my new husband’s request - PILES of crackling!
 
Jonty worked flexibly with us to enable our family to take over and provide the homemade desserts, which we presented as a GBBO-style cheesecake bake-off, with my husband and mum judging the entries in the style of Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry!
 
As well as providing charming waiting and bar staff, overseen by the incredibly efficient Sacha, the Piggery also catered our evening reception (c100 guests), laying on a feast which included a cheese wedding cake, charcuterie, pates, homemade Eccles cakes and chutney, artisan breads, homemade chocolate truffles and much more! 
 
We provided the drinks for our event, which helped to contain cost and ensured a plentiful flow of beer, wine and bubbly throughout the day!
 
A wedding’s not a wedding without music, and we booked Touchscreen Jukebox Hire  which enabled our guests to select their favourite anthems!  And as I sing in the Eagle Choir (The Eagle Inn, Tarrant Street), my choir buddies were there to sing a few songs with me, accompanied by talented musician Will Hall (normally to be found presiding over Jazz night at www.arundeljailhouse.co.uk).
 
And so, to bed….  With our family cosily tucked up in our guest rooms at Arden House B&B , Iain and I checked into the Swan Hotel along with many of our guests.  The Swan Hotel shares our passion for providing warm and welcoming accommodation and an excellent breakfast, and they did us proud, from looking after the groom on the eve of our wedding (and ensuring he didn’t get up to too much mischief!), to welcoming additional guests wishing to join us Sunday morning for a post-wedding full English Breakfast!
 
We’ve spent the last 2 years welcoming wedding guests to Arden House, and now we can say, hand on heart, that there is no better place to get married than Arundel! :)

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Laura and Jason - September 2015 - Amberley Castle

When we first met this lovely couple in March it became clear that their wedding would be very much about their love as a family and would throw a lot of focus on their son Cody.

Laura and Jason looked fantastic with the Bride wearing an unusual soft pink wedding dress adorned with sparkles, whilst Jason and his 'Best Man' 3 year old Cody wore tails - suiting the style of this stunning venue. Carrying the rings down the aisle to his father, Cody did a fantastic job although there was a tense moment as his Mums ring fell off the cushion and rolled under a chair!

The tears and claps were replaced with giggles and smiles as we photographed the family and friends on the steps of the courtyard before heading into the Castle for a delicious Wedding Breakfast followed by speeches and cutting of the cake with a cutlass!

The afternoon was then spent on the lawns with guests mingling amongst the castle grounds with glasses of champagne and Pimms in hand whilst we whisked the couple off for some stunning shots around the many beauty spots that Amberley Castle has to offer. Of course, young Cody came along too :@)

In traditional wedding style, the couple left the event early to the rattle of tin cans tied to the back of the wedding car as their guests bid them Bon Voyage!

Blog provided by: Zest Photography
See the full Photo Gallery here

Ana and Will - April 2015 - Barnham Village Hall

When Mr M and I got engaged we were both keen on a few things that our wedding should be:
1. Local
2. Personalised
3. Relaxed
4. Legal!
 
Admittedly we didn’t spend a huge amount of time on the list but it’s safe to say that however long we had taken; nowhere on the list would charger plates or chair covers (Ghost chairs as Mr. M calls them!) have appeared. A simple wedding that was about a marriage and not just one day, with that in mind the budget we set for the day was nowhere near the average wedding cost of £22,000, in fact it was nearer to a quarter of that.
 
So the next question we had to ask ourselves was how much did we really like our friends and family! … It turns out we liked them quite a lot. Mr. M has a lot of family and I have a lot of friends that we couldn’t imagine getting married without. Cutting it down to just our nearest and dearest and we had a wedding party of 75.
 
Getting back to that original list; legal, this was the most important part. To do this we needed a venue that was registered and local to our home in West Sussex. The council website was helpful with a full list of venues available in one easy search. There are some beautiful venues around here, gorgeous walled gardens, stunning barns and huge stately homes all of which could arrange the whole day from start to finish, and all of which our budget wouldn’t stretch too.
 
We soon realised that financially a DIY wedding was the only way forward, with the added bonus of ticking off ‘Personalised’ on our list too. So having decided to split the wedding day across venues we arranged to see Arundel Town Hall. They couldn’t have been more lovely or helpful. The room was gorgeous, and flooded with light, perfect for what we wanted. There was also a great terrace that over looked Arundel and the Castle, so we had our fingers crossed for good weather.
 
Now all we needed to do before we could send the invitations was find a reception venue. This proved slightly trickier as most places had a ‘wedding package’ of food, decorations and ‘ghost chairs’ included! A sit down meal for all our guests put every package out of our budget, and neither of us wanted a buffet with people getting up and down, particularly as we had a lot of very young children coming.
 
We wanted tasty, local food that would help our guests to be social. PICNICS! This was going to be the answer to our wedding! Luckily we found South Downs Event Catering. What a fantastic personal service! Having eaten our body weights in samples we confirmed the menu and agreed to have 11 large picnic baskets containing crockery, cutlery, and fresh amazing local food delivered to our reception venue on the day.
For the venue we settled on our local village hall – it was walking distance to our home; next to a park for the children to run around; and we could decorate it anyway we wanted.
 
Handmade invitations were sent out with a bike and bunting theme and one request – no wedding gifts but any second hand green material would be great. Our friends and family came up trumps – old rugby tops; old pillow cases from my Aunt; t-shirts from summers past off of my friends; newly grown out of baby grows from my cousin’s family – all of which arrived daily in the post. We slowly made it all into bunting; 130 meters of bunting! This required lots of donated material and sewing but this way it could be made for £15.00. Buying it wouldn’t have been as personal or as fun, watching our guests walk around finding their contributions on the day.
             
 
 
The last big expense was a photographer. Mr. M and I both love photos and hate having our photos taken, so finding someone who would be relaxed and wouldn’t concentrate on formal stuffy shots was a task. We were lucky enough to find Natasha Lythgoe who is awesome and produced both lovely images from our day but also put all of our guests at ease.
 
Now that the main areas were sorted we could concentrate on making a wedding day into our wedding day.
 
Check out 'Part 2' of my blog here, to find all our Crafty makes that made the day so personal – bicycle wheel wedding cakes; bike chain button holes; DIY flowers; and cardboard forts, of course, what else do you need at a wedding?
 
Mrs. M  x

Claire Terry and Adam Terry - November 2014 - Lancing Parish Hall

The build up to the big day is one of the most exciting things a couple can plan for in our opinion, and this was no exception for us! We had been looking forward to our Wedding Day for a long time, so with all the excitement and nerves you can expect on the day, we had a great support network of friends, family and professionals who made our days perfect. The reason for saying days, is that we got Married on the 28th, and then had our reception on the 29th, making for double the excitement!

We got ready separately, as everyone should, its bad luck not too right? And Claire had her makeup done by Becky Rosebud, a fantastic local makeup Artist who I can testify done an amazing job. Claire looked sensational on the day, teamed up with Megan Gale who done her hair for our big day. Claire came down the aisle looking mesmerising in her Ian Stuart dress from Ozone Bridal Wear, Brighton. Nothing prepares a groom for seeing his Bride for the first time, its a moment that you never forget. This of course was caught on camera by our Photographer Rob Potter - Potter Photography, who again did an amazing job during our ceremony and group photos afterwards in the Bishops Garden in Chichester.

Once the pictures were completed we were taken to the Ardington Hotel in Worthing by Silverswift Cars, with a cheeky bottle of Proseco to enjoy on the way. On arrival we were greeted by the superb staff at the Ardington Hotel, who had our private dining room ready for us and our guests to enjoy, after our arrival drink of course! The Indigo Restaurant is a real hidden gem in Worthing, and they more than lived up to their outstanding reputation of excellence on our day. The food was delicious and the service was flawless, they really made our day special in every way possible.

For our Reception the next day, we set up Lancing Parish Hall ourselves, with the help of some of our family and friends. We also had some professionals on hand to set up their services we hired. We had a Photo Booth and Arcade Machine provided Crockerz Events, which really helped keep the party going with props in the booth, and who also ran the Booth all night so we could focus on the party. Cart'a'licious were on hand to set up a beautiful Candy Cart loaded full of sweets and other goodies to keep the good times rolling. Wedding Accessories Are Us provided us with a Chocolate Fountain, Cake, Food, Table Centre Pieces and Decorations. Stacey Wheatley provided Fairground Stalls to finish the look of the Indoor Festival theme. With all this ready to go our favourite Live Band "The Maxibons" took to the stage for another fantastic live music show, covering all the great hits from the 60's, 70's, 80's,90's,00's to todays latest smashers, and then once the band had finished, took over the Dec's to Disco till the end.

With the Bar staff rushed off their feet, we had a night to remember, and some of our guests might not? It was a great party and everything we could have wanted from everyone involved over the two days.

Madeleine and Kristian - June 2014 - Walberton

Our June wedding was nothing short of perfect!

We decided to use local businesses which included Tents N Events to organise our marquee, Paul Stanniford who created the most amazing Vintage High Tea with a selection of sandwiches, scones with homemade jam and clotted cream and delicious cakes all served on vintage crockery! In the evening, we began with Skedaddles who truly got the guests going, followed by DJ Tony to continue the party!

As far as we were concerned the only way to satisfy your hunger during a dance was with a gorgeous Hog Roast from Local Hand Reared Pork, stuffing and apple sauce provided by Guy and Eve Powell washed down with copious amounts of drinks from Arundel’s own Eagle Bar! Our special day was definitely not one to forget and we enjoyed every second of it thanks to our reliable, local suppliers!