Real Weddings – Hannah & Ben

Hannah and Ben married at New Forest Wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel in late summer 2021 with thirty of their closest family and friends. With a day full of laughter and entertainment they booked just eight week in advance! We caught up with the couple to see how the day went ...

How did you meet?

“Ben and I met when we both worked together at Hampshire County Council.  At the time, I was studying for my degree and not actively looking for love. But, when Ben asked me out on a date I said yes straight away. Our connection was immediate and we got on incredibly well, realising we shared many similar interests. It just goes to show that sometimes when you’re not looking for love, it finds you and is meant to be! We have now been together for over ten years and wouldn’t change a thing!”

The Proposal

“Ben and I went on a cruise of the Canary Islands and as we set sail on the final night Ben ordered red roses to the room at Sunset and got down on one knee! It was very romantic and the best surprise.”

The Venue

“We first came to Careys Manor for a treat for my 30th birthday. We absolutely loved it, the relaxation of the spa, the beautiful forest and the wonderful food! It’ our favourite place to come if we ever have a special occasion. We both love nature and being outside and the New Forest is such a great place to explore and relax. We chose Careys as it’s our favourite hotel and we also wanted to get married in a short space of time – 8 weeks! Françoise, the wedding coordinator, was brilliant. We loved that the venue included the food, chairs, sashes and some décor and they could recommend a florists to us. This all helped with the planning. As we both enjoy being outdoors and Ben loves gardening, we loved the idea of an outside ceremony. This isn’t available at many venues so this was incredibly special to us.”

Hair Stylist 

“My hair stylist was called Laura Mackenzie Hair Design. I’d definitely recommend her, she really listens to what you’d like and is great fun to have on the wedding morning. I was so pleased with the hair she did. She also offers a service to pop back and change your hair for the evening!”

Make up 

“Gemma Laverick Make Up is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met! I first met her on one of the make up counters in Boots, she then set up her own business doing Bridal make up. I felt very lucky to have her as she gets very booked up.  I chose natural make up and it was great to relax knowing it was taken care of. It was the best make up I’ve ever had!”

The Outfits

“I really liked Pronovias dresses and Anya Bridal Couture in Droxford have a great selection. Anya was wonderful, allowing me to try several dresses until I found the perfect one! My dress was called Alcyone- it was a fit and flare, lace and crepe dress. I fell in love with all the floral detail and the back of the dress. Ben and I both like flowers and Ben loves gardening so the floral dress matched our love of nature and our outside ceremony. I also had a cathedral length Linzi Jay floral veil from Occasions in Fareham which suited the dress really well. I later swapped it for a shorter veil for the rest of the day so I could get around chatting to guests! Ben bought his suit in John Lewis – I thought he looked very handsome in it! For the groomsmen we opted for them to wear suits of their choice as this is quite a trend at the moment and meant they could feel comfortable and relaxed. The button holes from Owen tied the look together perfectly. The Bridesmaids dresses came from Oasis Bridesmaids range and they loved the lace detail and pleated skirts. They also had matching silver strappy shoes and grey/blue Pearl earrings. Owen also made corsages for the Mums, which looked so pretty.”

The Flowers and Décor

“Having seen his Instagram page and his magical Christmas displays at Careys we chose Owen Lavin. We wanted traditional flowers but with a twist of something a little different. Owen was really helpful at listening to what we would like and coming up with a plan. We were thrilled with our beautiful flowers on the day! It was one of my favourite surprises when Anna (who works alongside Owen) delivered the bouquets to my room. I was delighted with my cascading bouquet which included vintage pink cappuccino roses and cream avalanche roses. Lots of our guests commented how lovely it was!  We also had a beautiful floral garland around the pergola for our outside ceremony and a woodland lantern display inside the Cedar Suite. I’ve since dried some of my flowers to put in a frame!”

The Food

“We opted for a choice of dishes for our guests which they ordered in advance. For starters there was a cured salmon, chicken terrine or pork terrines, then we had a gin and tonic sorbet which everyone loved! The main options were chicken, beef or salmon and then for the dessert course we chose the vanilla panna cotta, the lemon and ginger meringue pie, (that’s my Dad’s favourite) and the chocolate dessert, which definitely pleased all the chocolate lovers! I think all the plates were empty! Everyone said how much they enjoyed the food and the service was so efficient. Careys were very professional and my Dad commented how slick they were coordinating the timings of the food and the whole day. We were very grateful to the team at Careys.

The Photographer and Videographer

“We chose Tash and Will photography as we immediately liked Tash when we met her for coffee to discuss our wedding plans. We also particularly liked their light and natural wedding photography style. We  wanted photos that would stand the test of time and their style really achieved that. We particularly liked how she captured all the laughter we shared during the speeches! We also had VSUK Photography and Videography for our wedding video. Florin and Clare were brilliant capturing all the special and funny moments on film. It was particularly special to have a the video as Ben’s Nan wasn’t well enough to come on the day.  After the wedding we watched the video with her and when it finished she said “Can we watch it again?!” She also said Careys Manor Hotel was one of the prettiest places she’d ever seen!”


The Cake

“Our cake was made by Claire at Bear Cakes and Bakes in Hampshire, who was so helpful. We choose a three-tier, iced cake with a subtle marble effect, a gold rose stencil to the middle layer and handmade roses and eucalyptus to decorate it. We opted for lemon, vanilla and chocolate and salted caramel sponge – it was very tasty! Claire also made us beautiful iced white and gold cookies as wedding favours. These had everyone’s names on and doubled up as place cards. These got eaten straight away!”


“During the ceremony we booked the brilliant Violinist Natalya Strings. We loved the idea of modern songs played on the violin. She played Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding and John Legend among others while our guests sat down. Then I had Taylor Swift’s ‘Wildests dreams, Duomo Bridgeton version’ for the walk down the aisle which was really magical. To sign the register Natalya played Ben E Kong, ‘Stand by Me’.  Then to walk back down the aisle as a married couple we had ‘ily I love you baby’ by Surf Messa, a modern version of the traditional  ‘I love you baby’. These were such happy moments and the music sounded lovely outside. Our guests loved being entertained by Natalya

During the evening we had a vintage photo booth from ‘Prop a Print’. It had a really pretty hessian and floral Garland backdrop with white light up photography umbrellas. It looked liked something from a vintage movie! We chose to have it out at the back of the Cedar suite as it looked great and was really interactive. There was a great range of vintage and comedy props and gave guests a photo to keep and one for us in an album. We ended up with lots of hilarious photos of our guests to remember forever! It was positioned near the bar so our slightly tipsy guests created some comedy genius in the booth! My work friends sat nearby just to watch the other guests hilarious poses!

For our DJ we had Flamingo Boss who played a mix of songs selected by us and party anthems. The dance floor was full all evening! Ben and I chose to have the white wedding set up which looked lovely in the Cedar Suite”

“All our guests loved the day and felt really looked after at Careys Manor. We had an intimate outside ceremony for 30 and then around 20 more guests joined us to party the night away. Many said the day went so fast, as they were having so much fun!

During my Dad’s speech he pulled out a photo of when I was two years old and a Bridesmaid at my Auntie’s wedding, also at Careys! He said I must have had my eye on the place since then! This made us all laugh and made us think it was meant to be here!”


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.