Courteenhall Estate Northampton: It all started on a gondola in Venice…James down on one knee, the gondola rocking from side to side so that they nearly fell in and cheers of congratulations from passers-by. It doesn’t get more romantic than that!
Courteenhall has been in the Wake family since 1672 when it was built. Although used as a private dwelling, it has such a rich, historical feel that spans over a number of generations. The arboretum is a particularly special place: Johnny Wakes grandfather (now aged 100!) is a huge tree enthusiast and planted it from scratch. He laid it out with a vision of colours and corridors which he and his family are able to appreciate in its maturity now. The arboretum is used for a small, selection of wedding ceremonies each year and offers different locations, including a Pagan stone circle ceremony.
Melanie and James had a humanist ceremony underneath the big, old oak tree at Courteenhall. It provided a canape of lush greenery for their guests to shelter under. And did I mention the chairs? I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about criss-cross back chairs and I know that Mel searched high and low for these! They’re perfect for an outdoor ceremony with no need to decorate with flowers or ribbon. They are just perfect as they are. Thank you ‘dress it yourself’ for supplying these beauties!
When I say everything about this wedding was perfect I really mean it was perfect! After all, how could it not be when your bride is no other than Melanie Newman, London based wedding planner from Your Story and Events. This girl sure knows how to plan one humdinger of a wedding! Melanie knew exactly what she wanted for her big day and she executed it beautifully. Every detail thoughtfully planned and put together, from the elegant decor to the exclusive, elegant venue of Courteenhall itself. Everything styled to perfection.
‘James’s speech was beautiful and brought me and quite a few guests to tears, it’s just wonderful to have the person you love stand up in front of a room full of your favourite people and declare how much and why they love you, quite overwhelming!’
The couple wrote their own vows and the ceremony included two readings with suited the day and location perfectly ‘The art of marriage’ and ‘love is…’ which talks about trees and roots entwined. I love that they also had the celebrant read out marriage advice from both their mothers. What a lovely, personal touch to add to the ceremony.
After the ceremony the guests enjoyed perusing the extensive grounds sipping champagne and enjoying delicious canapes. For those feeling a little more ‘active’ there were a selection of garden games on the lawn. This gave us some time to hide from the guests for a while and take some couple portraits. We found a secret garden on the Courteenhall estate where Melanie and James could take some time out for themselves reflecting on the day so far. I loved giving them the space to be ‘alone’ and capturing the genuine, intimate moments between them.
Their wedding breakfast was held in a marque. Melanie and James wanted as much natural, soft light as possible whilst also ensuring that their guests could carry on enjoying the beautiful scenery Courteenhall had to offer. They opted for a marque with wall to wall windows, stunning crystal chandeliers and white carpet; all that would reflect the light and cast a soft illuminating grow. They dressed the tables with long stem candles, luxury pastel florals from Sarah Harper Flowers and peach linens to coordinate with their overall colour scheme.
After the wedding breakfast we sneaked away from their guests again and spent some time exploring the outside of the manor house itself. With its ancient, stone walls and impressive entrance Courteenhall provided the perfect backdrop for Melanie and James wedding photos.
Thanks for stopping by!