Real Weddings | Neil & Gwen

7th Mar 2018

When did you get married?

16 December 2017

The Proposal

There were two proposals.......

We met on 2 July 2017 at Lymington Yacht Haven, and intuitively knew very early in our relationship that there was something special between us; a sense of connection and belonging that neither of us had experienced before. 

Three weeks after we met I invited Neil for a long weekend in Salcombe, and he proposed late one evening after a moon-lit walk back to our apartment and I accepted without hesitation! The second proposal came a few weeks later when Neil dressed as a Knight on a white charger, went down on one knee, and presented me with a hand-crafted ring.

Why did you choose Careys Manor Hotel for your wedding?

We are local to the New Forest and wanted to have a simple and intimate wedding in the lead up to Christmas.  With family and friends scattered around the country, and guests flying in from Australia, South Africa and the Middle East to join us, we wanted somewhere stylish and comfortable where we could all relax before and after our big day.

From our very first visit we were so impressed with Françoise and the way she made us feel so special as we shared our ideas for the wedding. We felt in very safe hands and sensed that that the team would deliver a wonderful occasion for us, and that our wedding was a big event for them too.

The Dress

A beautiful antique cream lace dress with a fake fur shrug and gold trainers!

The Groom's outfit

In keeping with his Scottish ancestry, a very fetching Black Watch Tartan kilt.

The Ceremony

The Ceremony was at St Nicholas' Church in Brockenhurst; it's the oldest church in the New Forest and has a very special feel to it. Our vicar was Rev Dr Mary Nicholson, who did a wonderful job at her first ever wedding.  We combined Christmas carols with more traditional wedding hymns, and the church choir assisted our singing.

One of our readings was adapted from 'Anam Cara' by John Donahue, and tells of the moment of recognition when two souls are reunited after centuries apart. For us, this was how it felt when we first met.

Our guests lined the path as we exited the churchyard, creating a confetti tunnel that we walked through on route to the bright red double decker bus that transported us all back to Careys Manor.

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The Reception

The reception was in the beautifully decorated Cedar Suite, which sparkled and twinkled with the Christmas decorations and our winter wedding decor.  After our delicious wedding breakfast and entertaining speeches we had our first dance to live music played by Gordon Haskell, followed by some classic wedding party dancing with family and friends.

The Flowers

The flowers were very simple, arranged in tall Candelabra's with White Roses and trailing Eucalyptus.

The Décor

The room looked beautiful, a winter theme of icy blues, greys, and winter whites.  Having the wedding at Christmas made the room and hotel setting even more special

How do you feel the day went?

It was magical! A wonderful celebration of our love surrounded by friends and family in a stunning location and I don't think there's anything that didn't go according to plan.

Any particular memories from your Wedding Story that stand out that you would like to share?

For Gwen:

  • Peeking out of one of the bedroom windows in the Manor to watch all our guests getting onto the Double Decker Bus on their way to the church. 
  • Walking up the aisle with my brother and seeing my wonderful husband-to-be waiting for me.
  • Being held by Neil for our first dance to 'Do You Know How Wonderful You Are'.  Having the songwriter, Gordon Haskell, sing it for us live at the wedding made this even more special.

For Neil:

  • Standing waiting in the Church and feeling Gwen walk up the aisle. 
  • Turning round to see my very beautiful wife-to-be, glowing next to me like an angel. The whole day just flowing magically!

If you're looking for an enchanting wedding venue in the New Forest look no further. To meet with our Wedding Coordinator, Françoise Gysemans please call 01590 625204 or alternatively pop by on Sunday 4th March at our Wedding Open Day.

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