Real Weddings – Emma & James

Emma and James married at New Forest Wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel in spring 2022, after falling in love with the hotel at a wedding open day. The couples day was laced with personal touches and attended by their friends and family. We caught up with the couple to see how the day went ...

How did you meet?

“James and I met at the University of Southampton when I was interning with the Doctoral Training Centre and James was doing his PhD. We became good friends and then within a few months we were living together and never looked back!”

The Proposal

“We had been together for around 5 years when James proposed. We designed my ring together with James Allen; an American jeweller that lets you design a custom ring – which was perfect for during lockdown when we couldn’t go out to a jewellers!”

The Venue

“We looked at a few wedding venues in Hampshire, mainly where they just provide a venue and you have to organise all of the catering etc. Whilst the venues were beautiful I didn’t fancy the idea of all of that organisation, plus it would have really stretched our budget. We saw Careys Manor advertising a wedding open day so booked to go along and as soon as we arrived I fell in love with the hotel and the team. It was so beautiful and we were really excited about the Complete Celebration Package, which offered everything we wanted and within budget! We left the open day knowing that Careys Manor was our venue. It was great to have the option of the Cedar Garden or the Lounge for the ceremony and not having to decide until the day before meant that we could judge the weather – getting married in April we weren’t guaranteed sunshine! The Lounge makes a wonderful venue for the ceremony, it feels really intimate and the hotel team arranged it so that the aisle was wide enough for me, my dad and my step-dad, which was really special.”

Hair and Make up

“My bridesmaids and I had Make-up Artist Nicola and Hair Stylist Abby . I really would recommend these wonderful women; they are not only experts at what they do but they are also a lot of fun! We had such a giggle whilst getting ready in the morning and everyone looked and felt absolutely beautiful.”

The Outfits

“My dress was from Occasions in Fareham. I actually went to London with my bridesmaids to try dresses in some really fancy boutiques but didn’t find anything that I liked, none of it felt like it was meant for a larger size. I booked in at Occasions which is just down the road from me and the second dress I tried on I knew was the one. Not only did it fit but it was really designed to flatter my figure and didn’t feel like a dress made for a slim figure which had just been sized up. The team at Occasions also did the alterations so that it fit perfectly. James’s suit was from Astares Menswear in Havant and I could not recommend them enough. We were able to book a private appointment where James had the whole store to himself and Jez really made James feel special and helped him put together his beautiful suit. It was really lovely to have someone fuss over James, usually it’s only the brides that get that kind of attention but the men should get to feel fancy too!”

The Flowers and Décor

“We met Owen from Little Lillies at the wedding open day and he was a big reason why we chose Careys Manor and the Celebration Package. I didn’t have a clear idea at the time of exactly what I wanted from the flowers, but I was so excited about the idea of working with Owen who had boundless creativity and enthusiasm for embracing more unusual bouquets and arrangements. Closer to the wedding date Lego brought out a Lego Flower Bouquet, James and I are huge Lego fans so I was really keen to incorporate the flower bouquet in our arrangements and honestly Owen absolutely smashed it! He incorporated all of the Lego across my bouquet, the bridesmaids bouquets and the button holes for James and our families. They looked amazing and I’ve been able to send a lot of my roses off to be preserved in resin as keepsakes for us and our family. My cousin passed away four years ago and for his funeral all the floral arrangements incorporated pink hydrangea and pink roses, so we copied that for the geo stands for the centrepieces, it was like having him there with us and it was perfect.”

The Food

“Oh man the food was incredible! We had the complimentary tasting session and the food was unreal, then on the day everyone cleared their plates and complimented the food! Guests had three choices for starters, mains and desert. Top tip – we saved on printing costs with the invites by setting up our own website and then asking people to RSVP and pre-order their food on a google form. We saved around £200 in printing and we got all the pre-orders, dietary requirements etc on a spreadsheet automatically, so super easy to send over to Françoise.”

The Photographer

“We hired Paul and Carol Tansley, of Tansley Photography and I honestly think the photos speak for themselves. We knew we didn’t want a lot of staged photos as neither James nor I like having our photo taken. I looked at photographers in Hampshire and when I found Paul and Carol’s website and saw that they specialise in documentary style photography, I knew they were the photographers for us. Hiring two photographers was a little more expensive, but it meant that we got photos that we otherwise wouldn’t have done and it was definitely worth it. They made us both feel totally relaxed and used virtually silent cameras so you didn’t really notice anyone was taking photos. The best thing is that I was able to tell my guests to keep their phones away, so they could all enjoy the wedding properly and not worry about trying to take photos.”

The Cake

“Our cake was made by Daisy Cake Hampshire. We got to try six flavours and managed to whittle it down to Coffee and Walnut, Lemon Drizzle and Vanilla Chai. My biggest requirement was no fondant and Sammie delivered a beautiful buttercream icing and no fondant in sight!”


Françoise organised everything perfectly! On the day it just felt effortless, at least to us, I know the Careys Manor team were super hard at work behind the scenes. We were so well looked after by the whole team it felt like a dream. I have to apologise to Janos, the MC and Cambium Restaurant Manager, when we came up with our table names we didn’t want to number them 1 to 6 so we named every table Table Seven but in different languages spoken by our guests, so we had Tableau Sept, Mesa Siete, Tavola Sieben etc. Apparently this caused some confusion for the kitchen, organising the food to go out to 6 Table Sevens!

As if organising the perfect wedding for us wasn’t enough, the team really did go above and beyond, we had a lot of our guests staying at the hotel or nearby so we booked breakfast for the 32 of us the next morning. Janos organised another of the function rooms for us as a private dining room for breakfast, so we got to say goodbye to all of our guests properly the next day and enjoy the fantastic breakfast. We didn’t request this, Janos surprised us by showing us the room they had set up before he handed over MC duties to the DJ. We were really impressed by this, they didn’t have to go to that trouble for us and it was the perfect way to round off the wedding.”

To start planning your day at Hampshire wedding venue, Careys Manor Hotel, contact us to book a personal show around with one of our Wedding Coordinators.