Real Weddings – Sophia & Joe

Childhood sweethearts Sophia and Joe married at Hampshire wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel & SenSpa in October 2022. Their autumnal wedding is a true nod to the glorious colours and tones of the season. We caught up with the couple to see how their special day went.

How did you meet?

“Joe and I both grew up and went to school on the Isle of Wight. We met on our induction day at Highschool in 2009. Joe was in the same form class as me and during and introductory circle time I had left my school bag right in the middle of the circle and Joe, always the gentleman, moved it to the side for me and that is how we met. Joe made no secret of his crush on me and by the December of 2009 I had fallen for his charms and we became boyfriend and girlfriend (as you do at school!). We were 13 and have been together ever since (13 years) so we think of ourselves as childhood sweethearts.”

The Proposal

“Joe proposed to me on a holiday in Spain in 2019. He had planned a romantic day; we went to the Fonts De L’Algar and then afterwards Joe had booked a fancy meal with my family in the evening. He suggested after the waterfalls that we get dressed up and get cocktails on the beach before dinner and that is where he got down on one knee and asked me to be his forever. We both shed a tear or two and agreed to spend the rest of our lives together.”

Finding New Forest Wedding Venue Careys Manor & SenSpa

“It took us over 4 years from getting engaged to finally tie the knot. When we originally started looking at booking our wedding where lived on the Isle of Wight and were planning to get married there and then just before the pandemic I got a new job in Southampton and soon after so did Joe, so we packed up and moved to the New Forest. During lockdown we really ramped up our wedding planning and as restrictions started to ease the first time we began visiting open days and searching for the perfect venue. I love the rustic feel with a bit of old English countryside charm and a touch of elegance so these were the places that we were looking at. We had discovered that most places came with a very expensive package fee but that barely included anything and on top of that cost we would need to consider food, entertainment, florals etc. When we went to see New Forest wedding venue Careys Manor Hotel we were blown away by not only how beautiful it was but by what was included in the Complete Celebration Package. It had everything from the Wedding breakfast to the DJ, table florals to the evening buffet and even a complimentary first anniversary stay to name a few. It just ticked all the boxes for us.”

The Night Before

“Myself and my maid of honour stayed at Careys Manor the night before and made the most of the spa with some pre-wedding relaxation, I was made to feel so special even the day before and would highly recommend to any future brides getting married at Careys.”

The Florist & Venue Styling

“We really wanted to combine a whimsical rustic feel with some glamour and old English elegance. We also had an autum wedding and really wanted to lean in to that English autumnal feel. With this in mind we had the lovely Laura at Blooming Marvelous Creations bring to life our floral vision for the day. With a beautiful combination of burgundy, pale pink and white roses she truly made our vision a reality and they florals complimented our burgundy bridesmaid dresses and tweed Marc Darcy groomsmen suits perfectly. We opted to upgrade to wreath and lantern arrangements on our tables and we also added a moongate for the end of the aisle which was a real guest favourite. Rachel at Love by Design was our venue dresser, she provided the lanterns and the lovely dusky rose sashes for the chairs and tables as well as our order of the day board, our welcome sign, name place holders, table numbers and candle sticks. A last minute addition was the fairy light canopy in the Cedar suite which then worked for both the ceremony and the evening party, we hired this through BH Sound and Lighting Systems and it was just beautiful, so happy we went with it. We really saw our dream come to reality on the day and it couldn’t have been more perfect.”

The Food

“My husband and I are both vegetarians but we felt it important on the day to cater to all guests with this in mind we selected a veggie, meat and fish dish for both the starter and the main courses. For obvious reasons we only tried our veggie dishes, a Goat’s Cheese and Caramelised Onion tart and for main a Baked Tarragon Gnocchi both were just delicious. Our desserts we were able to try all of, we went for the Delice, Treacle Sponge and the Vanilla Parfait. It was so hard to just pick one on the day. All our guests complimented the meals and everyone seemed really satisfied. For the evening we had an American Diner style buffet, I didn’t actually get to try any of this as I was dancing away but I heard that it was also just as delicious.

The Photographer & Videographer

“We booked Az at Lemontree Photography a couple of years in advance and he was one of the first suppliers that we booked. Having a good photographer was really important to us both and we looked for a long time to find one that could capture more than the scene but the moment, the feeling and energy too. Az had a gorgeous style and we also saw that he had shot at Careys Manor many times before, being one of their recommended photographers so he just ticked all the boxes for us and he was absolutely amazing on the day. As well as still photography we both also really wanted to get a good videographer on board to capture the day in film also. We had the lovely Luis from The Wedding Guys shoot our special day, he was brilliant from start to finish and we just cannot wait to see the final films.”

The Outfits

“My wedding dress was from The Wedding Dress Barn in Kingsclere Basingstoke. A cute little shop in the countryside which mostly specialise in that whimsical boho style of wedding dress. I was pretty open minded when it came to shopping for my dress but I had always envisioned a high neck-line and something not too puffy but that still looked magical. My dress was by a designer called Angelia Bianca and I opted for a cappuccino coloured under skirt to compliment the autumnal feel. I also had an amazing team of seamstress’ who made my dress absolutely perfect for me, if you’re looking for somewhere in the area to get your wedding dress altered that specialise in wedding dresses, you must get in touch with The Sewing Studio in Totton, Lorna and Ruth were just wonderful!

For my bridesmaids I didn’t have a specific dress in mind but I knew I wanted it to be burgundy to complement our day. My bridesmaids chose a really lovely flattering dress from Wed2B for them all to wear and match on the day. Joe knew exactly what he wanted for his suit and navy tweed was it. He and his groomsmen chose a stunning Marc Darcy suit from Suits Direct with the contrasting bow tie/ties and waist coats. To add to the Old English countryside/ rustic feel they also went for a pocket watch to finish off their ensembles.”

Hair & Make up

I also had a brilliant hair stylist come and work her magic on myself and my bridesmaids, Karen from Karen Clarke Wedding Hair and Makeup was just amazing and was so willing to go the extra mile, even drying off our wedding bouquets for us when things got a bit crazy just before the ceremony was about to start. I can’t recommend her enough.

The Cake

“Our wedding cake was made by the lovely and talented Kamilia at Kam’s Cakes. We wanted a white icing cake with a few little embellishments and sugar flowers to match our florals. Kam did a fantastic job and each tier of the cake was a different flavour, we chose, Lemon, White Chocolate & Raspberry and Salted Caramel. She also made our favours, which were gorgeous little sugar cookies with a bride and groom iced on them. She also made us some vegan cupcakes for our vegan guests. We decided to buy cake boxes so that guests could take a slice home with them and this was very popular, we had very little cake left over at the end of the night.”


“We booked a wonderful string quartet for our ceremony and drinks reception called 4 Strings. We were inspired by Bridgeton and really wanted some elegant live instrumentals for our day. They were amazing and we had lots of compliments from our guests. For the evening we had Toby, Careys in house DJ from Your DJ heading up the party. He was great and everyone had lots of fun dancing the night away. He also helped us to orchestrate our cake-cutting, father-daughter dance and first dance by working as a master of ceremony for the evening.”

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.


Photography credit: Lemontree Photography