Real Weddings – Sarah & RJ

Sarah & RJ met at a mutual friends wedding before embarking on a long distance relationship between Bournemouth and Bristol, eventually settling in Bournemouth. The couple married at New Forest wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa in May 2023. We caught up with the couple to see how their special day went ….

How did you meet?

“Sarah and I met at a mutual friend’s wedding, it was the best part of the day; she laughed at me, we got talking and the rest is history! We exchanged numbers and being a fair distance apart I didn’t expect anything to come of it. A few days later, we agreed to go on a date in Bristol, I surprised Sarah with her favourite picnic treats and from then on in our relationship flourished. To begin with, I would drive to Sarah in Bournemouth or Sarah would come up to me in Bristol. When the pandemic hit I moved in with Sarah and from there, the journey began.”

The Proposal

“When I planned to propose we had been together 3 years, it was May 2022 and our proposal took place at Longleat safari park as that’s one of our favourite places! I hired one of the on-site cottages that gives you exclusive access to the park out of hours and worked to book one of the resident photographers to capture the moment. On the run-up I told Sarah we’d be doing a shoot with the marketing team, to her dismay I had already agreed and there was no backing out! As the evening went on, I began to get more nervous, but before I knew it, the time had arrived, I was on one knee and Sarah had said yes to me.”

Finding New Forest Wedding Venue Careys Manor & SenSpa

“We came across New Forest Hotel Careys Manor by coincidence. We had begun the search for our dream wedding venue, scrolling page after page on Hitched, then I spotted the beautiful Careys Manor. Every detail throughout the building and grounds were just perfect! From the moment we visited Careys we knew it was meant to be and to this day, we can hand on heart say it was the best decision we could have ever made.”

The Florist & Venue Styling

“When planning the wedding Sarah wanted to keep the decor consistent to ensure each part of the day matched. For our ceremony, we chose the chairs with white covers and added a burlap sash to them, these chairs then moved throughout the day to the different rooms.

Our flowers were whimsical in style with eucalyptus throughout, white roses in the buttonholes and dusky pink roses in Sarah’s bouquet and my boutonnière. Laura of Blooming Marvellous Creations, one of Carey’s resident florists did a fabulous job at making the log centerpieces work with the tables and keeping the style consistent throughout, if you want a floral magician – check her out!”

The Food

“Being a foodie (@ThatGraduateFoodie), there was a great amount of expectations riding on the wedding breakfast. We knew Careys could do amazing food but we also wanted our menu to live up to and exceed those expectations. The team at Careys have curated the most incredible selection of dishes that complement each other perfectly. There was an option for everyone, even the canapés were wow-worthy!! If you want a show stopper, try the tempura cauliflower! You will not regret it! Looking for the ultimate dessert? I would seriously devour a portion of the Lemon Meringue Pie, right now! In fact, we had a leftover portion that we had as a midnight snack, that went down an absolute storm.”

The Photographer

“If you’re looking for a duo that are cool, calm and amazing then Daisy and Selina, from Robinson Road Photography, are the team for you!! The bond that Daisy and Selina built with us on the countdown to the wedding continues to be infectious, they left us feeling at ease and really worked in a way that is magical. Throughout the day they blended in, and captured the tiniest of moments perfectly, none of our images felt posed and they captured candid shots. Sarah and I couldn’t have felt more at ease. From the moment we exchanged our first message I knew it was meant to be! Daisy and Selina agreed to a pre-shoot and embraced our quirky ideas too! Think confetti umbrellas, wellies, horses, you name it, they brought the magic to life! Our images are so perfect, and we still scroll through them in awe at how amazing Careys Manor looks in every single image! We are blown away by how perfect Careys has been captured in all its glory, how magnificent the staircase looks for those intimate couple shots and no matter what the weather, it was all captured to perfection.”

The Dresses

“Sarah chose a dress from Wed2B, it was an instant, “yes to the dress!” She felt like it was in keeping with Careys Manor and had a wow factor with butterfly sleeves. I hired my tails from Slaters, with an ivory cravat, which really worked with the slate grey jacket and waistcoat!”

Hair & Makeup

“Sarah chose two of the most amazing people to support getting her and her bridesmaids ready, Makeup Artist Olivia Sharp who was so organised with getting everyone’s makeup done on time, so much so, Olivia even created a rota! It was so seamless!  Sarah chose Hair Stylist Tracy from Mirror Mirror Hair Design who she has known for a very long time, and couldn’t have trusted anybody else to ensure her hair was perfect! Tracy went above and beyond, taking Sarah’s vision and making them a reality.”

The Cake

“Our cake was made by my Instagram pal, Jen at Cakey Lulus, we had three tiers; a bottom layer of vanilla and passion fruit, the middle tier of Jen’s homemade salted caramel (if I could buy this by the jar, I so would!) and a top tier of cherry bakewell which is currently in the freezer waiting for a new arrivals christening, which will take place sometime in the near future. To decorate the cake we chose to keep it simple with a few flowers from Laura and a simple cake topper from a small business on Etsy.”


“During our ceremony and drinks reception we hired a violinist called Naomi who was incredible! She created a set that worked for our guests and added songs that had meaning to us. During the evening, we hired Carey’s recommended DJ, Your DJ. Toby was amazing and made the evening flow. We also added a Photo Booth through Toby which was so much fun! We love looking back at the photo booth photos with hilarious messages.”

Any advice for future couples looking to get married at New Forest wedding venue Careys Manor?

  • If it rains, embrace it, our photographers were absolutely amazing at making the weather work to our day and we truly believe, our photos wouldn’t have been as perfect as they are if it had been sunny!
  • Ask for some cake to be saved and taken to your room so you don’t miss out. Cake and a cuppa! What better way to finish the day?!
  • Talk to your suppliers, the more they know about you, the more they can ensure your day is perfect!


Careys is an amazing place to get married and really do go above and beyond to ensure the day is as perfect as can be! We’re blown away by how even the smallest details really were perfect!  We are so excited to return next May to celebrate our first anniversary, and raise a glass to a massively exciting first year of being married! For now, we can’t wait to chill on the front lawn, with a cocktail and a flatbread at The Neigh Bar!

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: Robinson Road Photography