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How to Plan a Wedding: The C&TH Ultimate Wedding Guide

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How to Plan a Wedding: The C&TH Ultimate Wedding Guide

Kick off your wedding organising with our mini guide to the best of the best, by Rosalyn Wikeley...


It’s wedding season, but don’t panic – we at C&TH have got you covered. Our mini wedding guide will help you sort out every detail, from venues, drinks and DJs to that all-important honeymoon. We’ve hand-picked the best of the best, so take note for the wedding of your dreams…

But where?

Country Venues

Skibo Castle

Skibo Castle

Delbury Hall, Shrewsbury

With capacity for up to 130, the indoor ceremonies in the Coach House are fairytale material, with converted stables offering ten bedrooms and a bridal suite.

Carnglaze Caverns, Cornwall

Imagine tying the knot in an enchanting Cornish Cavern, where settings range from a romantic vine conservatory immersed in beautiful gardens to a dramatic underground lake. A welcome break from the church-marquee-B&B merry-go-round.

Skibo Castle, Dornoch, Sutherland

You need to be a member of the Carnegie Club to bag this epic number for your big day, but, whatever it takes… The sprawling Sutherland castle offers breath-taking landscapes and a decadent Edwardian dining room for exchanging your vows.

Town Venues

Horniman Museum, Forest Hill

A Victorian conservatory, bandstand, or modern pavilion, the choice is yours at this anthropological museum. The collections are idiosyncratic, but the weddings by Suzanne James are seamless.

Leighton House Museum, Kensington

Leighton House Museum

Leighton House Museum

The former home of the Victorian artist Lord Frederic Leighton is an awe-inspiring palace of art. The extraordinary Arab Hall, with its golden dome and mosaic tiles, offers the ultimate backdrop for a unique yet lavish reception.

Clissold House, Stoke Newington

If you’re reluctant to ship your cohort out of London but fancy a country house feel, this solves all your problems. This recently renovated Grade II listed marvel has vast windows that offer scenic views across the park.

Who can help us? The best wedding planners…

HOH weddings

House of Hackney Weddings

House of Hackney with Liz Linkleter

Shoreditch-based lifestyle brand, House of Hackney, has teamed up with Liz Linkleter Event Planning and Design to produce an exclusive wedding collection. They have cherry-picked suppliers from around East London, including Lamplighter London, Lily Vanilli and Palais Flowers. If you’re looking for something cool but beautiful, Liz Linkleter is the planner for you.

Jessie Thomson

Best known for creating artistic, elegant and timeless weddings, Jessie only recommends the best vendors in the industry and will lightly hold your hand right up till the big day.

Sarah Haywood 

A nuptial magician, Sarah Haywood’s global reputation and impressive portfolio means that, once you’ve bagged her, you can guarantee that your wedding will fall nothing short of remarkable.

The dress! The dress!

Jenny Packham

Jenny Packham

Phillipa Lepley

The designer’s couture dresses are all meticulously crafted by hand. These dresses were made for lavish country weddings in drafty castles; simple, timeless and classic. Phillipa’s gowns are renowned for giving you a slimmer waist and elegant ‘ligne’ – featuring on every bride’s wishlist.

Jenny Packham 

This name sits dormant in the minds of many women before they’re even proposed to. Why? Because Jenny Packham nails elegant yet glamorous showstoppers that are somehow understated. She’s the Coco Chanel of wedding dresses, bringing comfort and ease to elaborate dresses that flatter the wearer on their big day.

Sassi Holford

The vast array of gowns on offer means that there’s bound to be one that chimes with any bride-to-be. All are handmade in England and Sassi’s new eveningwear range could mean a quick change for the bride into something more comfortable. Londoners, take note, she has opened a new store on the Fulham Road.

For more, see our guide to the best wedding dress designers.

What about the food?

Admirable Crichton

The Admirable Crichton

Top Hat Catering 

Operating across the Home Counties and the West Country, Hattie Mauleverer-Jones offers a catering service meticulously tailored to clients’ tastes and gives Mary Berry a run for her money.

Alison Price 

If she’s good enough for royalty and presidents… Alison Price goes over and above smoked salmon and caviar, with a full wedding planning service, if desired, to coordinate all aspects of your special day seamlessly.

The Admirable Crichton 

A favourite of Prince Charles, and inspired by an extraordinary butler who could whip up a dinner party from a sorry shipwreck, Admirable Crichton has become a byword for luxury entertainment.

And the flowers?

Elizabeth Marsh

Elizabeth Marsh

Galton Flowers 

Sayeh Rafiei bring opulence and art to every room, playing with textures, colours and fragrance.

Elizabeth Marsh 

The award-winning company can be as creative as any brief you’d like to throw at it. Read more about Elizabeth Marsh here.

Wild at Heart

Nikki Tibbles believes that flowers should be at the heart of a wedding. Once you’ve seen her portfolio, you’ll see how she fulfils that mission statement.

Toast with the Most

The distillery gin cocktail

The Distillery gin cocktail

Exquisite Cocktails 

This feisty cocktail team aims to push boundaries and create bespoke concoctions that will have your guests shaking on down to each and every disco classic.

Zest Mixology

Stunning mirror bars reflect the beauty of your wedding, plus carefully crafted cocktails, charming mixologists and elegant waitresses. Job done.

Mixology Events 

Add some kick to your big day with a mobile bar service.

Who’ll Immortalise The Day?

Charlie Dailey

Charlie Dailey

Charlie Dailey

It’s always good to know that the person behind the camera has been commissioned by some of the best-known media organisations in the world. Charlie knows how to tell a story.

Pippa Mackenzie

Pippa Mackenzie

Pippa Mackenzie

Pippa’s team specialises in presenting all aspects of your big day in beautiful, timeless images.

Let’s Dance!

DJ Terry Lewis

DJ Terry Lewis

DJ Terry Lewis

This guy has been voted the best wedding DJ year after year. With a long list of love-songs, crowd pleasers and slow movers, DJ Terry Lewis brings the Dirty Dancing to the decks.

Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Band

If music is your priority, close your eyes and spend on this world-renowned. They’re bound to get the hips of the stiff-upper-lipped grooving.

London DJ 

With the mantra, ‘made to measure music’, this online service guarantees you won’t cringe at the DJ’s selection or serve up some heavy Garage at a country do.

And When It’s All Over?

Krabey Island Cambodia

Krabey Island Cambodia

Far-flung Beach Paradise

Six Senses Krabey Island, Cambodia, is a just-opened, 30-acre island retreat, which offers just 40 pool villas. The discreet, remote setting makes for ideal honeymoon material. The highlight? Mini wine cellars in each villa.

Italian Glamour

Perched on a coveted spot on the Grand Canal, Gritti Palace, a 15th century palazzo in Venice, is the place to stay for an unforgettably spoiling city honeymoon. Test out their petite yet perfectly formed spa.

Wild Adventure

Eolo is modelled on a classic sheep farm and located in the desolate La Anita valley of the Patagonian steppe. Here let your vows sink in over the peaks of Chile’s Torres del Paine national park and trek alongside icebergs floating along the glacier-fed Lake Argentina.

For more honeymoon inspiration, see our guide to the Maldives.

MORE WEDDINGS: The Debrett’s Wedding Planning Timeline / What to Wear to a Country Wedding / 10 Best Wedding Dress Designers / Dos and Don’ts of a Modern Wedding

Topics: Chefs / Country / Little Black Book / Town / Wedding /

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