Tim, originally from New Zealand, met Welsh-born Laura back in February 2016 on the dating app Bumble. It didn’t take long for the couple to realise that they were a perfect pair, and Tim decided that he wanted to make Laura his wife just 2 years and 10 months into their relationship. The couple had ventured to Tasmania for Christmas with Tim’s family and on a day trip to the stunning Freycinet National Park, Tim popped the question with the ring that he’d managed to keep in his hand-luggage throughout their journey. The excited couple, who initially thought they’d have a long engagement, decided to get busy with their wedding planning right away and were married at Farnham Castle a year and 10 days after their destination engagement.
Finding a Wedding Venue
Laura contacted close to 50 wedding venues, having trawled the internet. The couple ended up visiting 21 different wedding venues across Suffolk, Surrey, London and the South East, and then took Laura’s mother and step-father to their shortlist for a second opinion. One of their shortlisted venues was Farnham Castle on the Surrey / Hampshire border.
“We both had an instant, positive connection to the Castle and felt it would be the perfect venue” said Laura. “The historic castle offered beautiful grounds and buildings with the option for people to stay on site, plus, the amazing catering options – we are both foodies!”
The couple also loved the fact that Farnham Castle was close to London and although they had a September wedding date in mind, they believed that it would be too short notice for their international guests and therefore decided that a magical winter wedding at Farnham Castle would be more suitable. Without further ado, Laura and Tim secured 29th December with a deposit and spent the next year planning their perfect day.
Wedding Day Preparations
Laura took advantage of being a bride-to-be and decided to try on as many wedding dresses as she could, between London and Tasmania. The very last dress she tried on was ‘the one’, designed by Viva Bride and purchased at Wed2Be. Laura teamed her stunning, lace-detailed, A-line gown with her late grandmother’s white stole; the ultimate bridal accessory for a winter wedding. Laura had one bridesmaid, one flower girl, and a little ring bearer to support her down the aisle. Tim wore a beautiful three-piece tuxedo and invited his best buddy from New Zealand, Ben, to be by his side at the altar.
Getting Married at Farnham Castle
Tim and Laura were legally married in London the week before their Farnham Castle celebration, so that they could have two of Tim’s closest friends fly in from New Zealand to be their officiants in Farnham Castle’s Lantern Hall on the day.
The Lantern Hall was decorated beautifully with a theme that represented bringing the outdoors, inside. Florist, Stems of London, created a unique foliage arch for the ceremony and smaller arrangements to sit on the lancet windowsills.
After getting ready in the Gatehouse, just a short walk away from the Lantern Hall, Laura walked down the aisle on the arm of her father, at 2pm, to the sounds of ‘A Thousand Years’ by Christina Perri. Laura wrote and personalised the ceremony wording, which featured romantic vows and a series of poems from Tim’s and Laura’s siblings. The ceremony commenced with traditional Welsh and Maori blessings from the father of the bride and groom’s uncle.
Let the Celebrations Begin
Celebratory drinks took place in the warm Stone Hall immediately after the Lantern Hall ceremony and before guests were called in to the Great Hall for their Gold Menu dining experience. Reception tables were named after specific locations across New Zealand and decorated with pretty, green and white flowers in tall, fluted, trumpet style vases. Place settings feature unique hand-crafted wooden name-tags, and the top table was decorated beautifully with the grand mantelpiece as a focal point framing the couple and their families. The Great Hall looked gorgeous all day, and guests thoroughly enjoyed their four-course menu which had been created by Head Chef, Simon Lloyd, who has been presenting incredible wedding menus at Farnham Castle for over 17 years. Post-dining petit fours were served back in the Stone Hall with tea and coffee, before the newlyweds cut their cake. Laura’s sister-in-law Olivia created a trio of chocolate wedding cakes, themed with ferns, a Welsh love spoon and origami and the couple cut through them using Laura’s grandfather’s ceremonial sword from the army.
The couple danced their first dance to ‘Ain’t no mountain high enough’ and guests were impressed by the traditional Haka festivities performed by several Kiwi friends. The Great Hall and Castle were enjoyed by everyone throughout the night, before they headed to their comfortable bedrooms on-site. Laura and Tim headed to the luxurious Guildford Suite at around midnight, and joined their guests, who had travelled from near and far, for a Farnham Castle breakfast in the Library the following morning.
Wedding Photographer: Elizabeth Keates Photography
Wedding Florist: Stem Flowers London
Wedding Hair & Makeup: NW Makeup
Wedding Dress: Viva Bride
Wedding Gift List: John Lewis + Prezola
DJ: Farnham Sound & Light
Fairy Lights: Party Lights