Real Weddings – Jenny & Rob

We catch up with newlyweds Jenny and Rob following their autumnal woodland wedding at Hampshire wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa.

How did you meet?

Rob and I met on a dating website and had our first date in Brockenhurst in July 2018. We clicked right away and spent the whole evening chatting and laughing non-stop. We arranged a second date as soon as we both got home and the rest is history!

How did Rob propose? 

Rob proposed to me in June 2021 in one of our favourite places in Wales. He took me to a lovely spot by the river where we had a picnic with Champagne, and he asked me to be his wife. It was perfect!

Finding Hampshire wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel

Rob had previously been to Careys Manor for a few work events and said how beautiful it was, so we arranged a visit and it did not disappoint. It felt like the right place for our special day from the minute we walked through the doors. We felt like the bride and groom as we were shown around, and we could visualise everything we wanted on the day in every room we went in. We fell in love with the place and quickly realised it was our dream venue and nothing would top it. We visited one other venue after but it just didn’t compare to the feeling we got at Careys. It was also very poignant that our wedding venue was just a few minutes away from where we had our very first date all those years ago!

The Flowers

As Careys is in the forest and we were getting married in autumn, we wanted a natural forest theme for our wedding. We met Owen of Little Lillies on one of the wedding open days and he was brilliant! The artistry that goes into his designs is unlike anything we’d seen before and we knew he could bring our vision to life. We used his manzanita trees for our tables as we wanted it to be different from the traditional table flowers you see at most weddings. We also loved the idea of having the candles in the baubles hanging from the trees as they gave an autumnal warmth to the room and they really blended well with the hessian and lace on our tables and chairs.

The Food

We chose our food based on what we liked, but also what we thought our guests would like. Our food tasting was fabulous and we knew we’d made the right choices. For our starters we chose: root vegetable broth, hay-smoked chicken and chorizo and the smoked salmon and potato salad. Mains were: chicken breast with mushroom risotto, pork loin steaks and the roasted red onion with hummus. Desserts were: crumble, cheesecake and brownie delice. The food on the day was amazing; all of our guests were very complimentary and the service was outstanding. Nothing was too much trouble, with staff being incredibly polite and thorough in making sure all guests had what they ordered. One of our guests, due to autism, found it too challenging to be at our wedding breakfast, but we were able to take the food he ordered to his room so he was still able to enjoy our meal. This was very considerate of the venue.

The Photographer 

For our photographer, we did a Google search of photographers working in the New Forest, and that is where we found Jessica Hayman. We did a bit of research on her website and had a look through some photos she had taken and we really liked what we saw. We arranged a Zoom meeting with her and it was instantly like catching up with a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time. She was so down-to-earth and made us feel comfortable straight away. She was interested in getting to know us as individuals and as a couple and we really liked how she presented herself and her work ethic. We knew she was who we wanted to capture our big day. She blended in on the day as if she were one of the guests (as well as the 2nd photographer she bought with her) and she was so thorough in the lead-up to the big day, making sure we all knew exactly what was going to happen on the day, and when, and she knew who we wanted group shots of etc… Nothing was too much trouble and we were so happy to see the final pictures! They captured just how magical the day was for us. We wanted the evening to be a big party with a full dance floor and Jessica’s pictures show that!

The Cake

Our cake was made by Karen Cake Couture, and it was outstanding and everything we hoped it would be. In keeping with the forest theme, we had two of our cake layers made to look like wooden logs and they were so realistic, some of our guests didn’t realise it was cake. Owen was able to bring extra flowers to the venue on the morning of our wedding for Karen to decorate our cake with real flowers which was an added bonus. Sometimes, it’s really hard to visualise what everything is going to look like when it’s all put together on the day, but it was all so beautiful and exactly what we wanted. Walking into the rooms throughout the day and remembering that feeling of ‘wow, our vision has come to life’ is one moment I’ll never forget.

The Dress

My dress was a Maggie Sotero, which I purchased from Romsey Bridal Boutique. I fell in love with it the first time I tried it on and after trying on about eight others, I put it back on and knew it was the one. I needed reassurance from my dad though, so my mum video-called him to show him and his reaction was everything I wanted and clarified to me that I’d chosen the right one. I loved the fact it was a bit different with its blush colour and the details were so delicate yet stunning. I loved it and still do to this day. There’s always that worry that you’ll go to a fitting a have a change of heart but that never happened for me – I loved that dress the first time I tried it on to the moment I walked down the aisle.

The Suits

Rob purchased his suit from Isobel’s Bridal in Parkstone. He always knew he wanted to have a different suit to his groomsmen but he wanted to blend with them too. Isobel’s were brilliant and gave us plenty of time to try lots of options. Rob decided on having a grey tweed-looking suit and the groomsmen had the matching waistcoat to Rob but with a navy plain suit. We purchased Rob’s suit but hired the groomsmen’s suits. They all blended well with our bridesmaids, who had dark hunter green dresses, purchased online from Ever Pretty, to match the Rob and the groomsmen’s ties and pocket squares.

The Makeup Artist

The bridal party had their hair done by Christina Keen Hair. She is a beautiful soul who does amazing things with hair – her work is like a work of art. She is so talented! Makeup was done by Emma Kay MUA. I used to go to school with Emma and contacted her after the make-up artist I had booked had to cancel. Emma was brilliant and got me in for a trial within weeks. Her prices were very reasonable and her work was brilliant, I felt like she listened to what we all wanted and I felt beautiful on the day. I’d highly recommend both Emma and Christina.

The Entertainment 

Our DJ was Toby from Your DJ. An evening DJ was included in the Complete Celebration package but we paid extra to have him at our wedding all da and it was so worth it. He played all of our ceremony music so we didn’t have to worry about creating our own playlist or getting a member of our bridal party to do it. He also kept the day running smoothly, announcing us at our wedding breakfast, providing microphones for the speeches and playing music in the background throughout the whole day. He kept the party going all evening, playing an extensive list of song we provided for him and he made sure the dance floor was always full. Prior to the wedding he sent us lots of really important info to help us decide on songs to choose for each part of our wedding and we were able to have a Zoom call with him to go through our day from start to finish so he could be sure he knew what the day would look like and how it would run. He was very thorough and methodical which made things straightforward for us.

We also had a magician during our drinks reception, Magic By Alfie, and he was phenomenal. He blew our guests away with his outstanding magic and we’d highly recommend him to anyone wanting something a bit ‘extra’ at their wedding! How he did some of his tricks is completely beyond me. Absolutely incredible!

We hired a photobooth for the evening, The Fancy Mirror Booth Company, and they were brilliant. It wasn’t a traditional photobooth, it was a giant freestanding mirror which took your photos. We were able to choose the design and border to our photos to go with our theme, we also chose our back drop and they provided hundreds of props for our guests to choose from. It was a smooth operation… Guests got one photo and the other photo went into a guest book for people to sign. This was a really lovely idea as some of the pictures were hilarious. Guests could use the photobooth as often as they wanted, there was no limit. We also got to keep all photos – including the outtakes – on a USB that the company provided.

Naomi at The Wedding Library Dorset, provided our welcome sign and a sweet cart in the evening. Naomi was amazing. Although we never met in person, she was so incredibly kind and thoughtful and always made us feel like our wedding was important to her. We’d highly recommend her and her prices are very reasonable.

Françoise is a brilliant wedding planner. It’s clear she has many years’ experience as she knew exactly what she was talking about every step of the way. She was able to answer all of our questions and nothing was too much trouble. She was so thorough and helpful, making sure we knew exactly how our day would go, and everything went like she said it would. The day flew by but was everything we hoped it would be and more. We are so grateful to Careys Manor and all the staff/ suppliers who helped out on our big day for making our dreams come true!

To start planning your day at New Forest wedding venue, Careys Manor Hotel, contact us to book a personal show around with one of our Wedding Coordinators or visit us at our next Wedding Open Day.


Photography credit: Jessica Hayman