Francesca and Oliver’s winter wedding at The Montagu Arms was a beautiful and intimate wedding held in this historic venue back in December 2015. The Montagu Arms, such a romantic and intimate country house in the village of Beaulieu, caught up with the newlyweds to discover more about their stunning wedding day.
The Proposal – How did they propose?: Ollie got down on one knee after a long cliff walk by the beach at Highcliffe in Dorset. We’d had some bad news that I was very poorly and needed chemotherapy, and his proposal told me he was going to love me and be by my side no matter what, through the good times and the bad.
Tell us about the bride’s outfit?: I wore a silk fishtail gown; I loved the dramatic silhouette and I wore a beautiful lace jacket over the top. I changed it for a sparkly beaded one for the evening to add some glamour and surprise our guests!
Why did you choose the Montagu Arms Hotel for your wedding?: We fell in love with the warm and intimate feel of the Montagu Arms. We loved that it wasn’t too big and felt so personal and in the heart of the New Forest, with beautiful scenery and donkeys right on the doorstep! We loved the period features and thought it would be perfect for a cosy winter wedding.
Tell us who your bridesmaids were? And what they wore?: My bridesmaids were best friends from all stages of my life including school, university and nurse training. They had all supported me amazingly through my treatment and I wanted to honour them on our big day. They wore grey gowns with floaty pleated skirts accentuated with lace and gemstones at the waist.
Tell us about the ceremony: Ollie and I wrote our own vows as we wanted the ceremony to be really personal. There were lots of tears and laughter, and it was the most incredible and meaningful part of the day for us. Our friend Cathy also wrote a poem she had written as a surprise and Ollie’s sister read some work by a poet in the family.
Tell us about your reception?: We had warm mulled wine and champagne while the fires roared and the guests chatted and listened to modern love songs played by a local guitarist. Once we all sat down we had the most delicious meal followed by a fabulous disco and guests mingling outside toasting marshmallows on the fire pit whilst wrapped in blankets! So atmospheric!
What flowers did you choose?: My friend Amber at Parade Events provided all the bouquets and buttonholes and I selected a dusky pink rose and an off-white colour with delicate greys and silver touches to give a ‘frosted’ look. The in-house florist Mala Williams at the hotel provided all the stunning table flowers and we went for dramatic arrangements of white roses and silver twigs where we hung boutique tree decorations as our wedding favours for guests to choose.
Tell us about the décor you chose: We wanted to keep it simple and avoid the traditional ‘red and green’ at Christmas time, so opted for silvers and white mainly to give a wonderful winter vibe.
How do you feel the day went?: We couldn’t have asked for a more personal and intimate day, despite having a relatively large wedding! All the guests were relaxed and all the beautiful rooms in the hotel were used for guests to sit and chat by the fire or try out the hilarious photo booth!
Any particular memories from your wedding story that stand out that you would like to share?: The food was out of this world! We are still getting comments on it now! One particularly special moment for me and Ollie was practising our first dance on our own by the Christmas tree light in the garden court yard – so romantic.
Florists: Parade Events & Mala Williams | Photography: Peppermint Love Photography | Venue: The Montagu Arms Hotel | Catering: Matthew Tomkinson at the Montagu Arms Hotel | Reception Guitarist: Rob Austin