Don't book anything until you've read this! Introducing the Muddy marriage guide covering Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland and featuring more brilliant local venues and suppliers than you can shake a sugared almond at.
Stylish and intimate, Dodmoor House nails that lusted-after rustic barn vibe without forgoing all the little luxuries. It’s no surprise that this rural gem, set within 4 acres of prettily landscaped grounds beside the Grand Union canal at Weedon, took the 2021 Muddy Award for Best Wedding Venue in Northants. The versatile, Grade II listed barns date back 400 years so if it’s character you’re looking for you’ll definitely find it here and there are distinct spaces for the ceremony, reception and dancing too, helping to ensure everything works seamlessly on the day.
For a wedding that is positively bursting at the seams with elegance, Lamport Hall near Northampton, the Isham family seat for 400 years, makes for an idyllic venue and we’d be half expecting Mr Darcy to stride across the lawn in his breeches as we sipped a coupe de Champagne. This stately home’s classical architecture, picturesque gardens and wonderful countryside views can only be topped by its beautiful interiors. Think oak panelling and subtle Georgian hues with gilt-framed portraiture and marble fireplaces. That’ll do nicely.
Part of the sprawling Fawsley estate, The Granary is surrounded by acres of rolling countryside in a quiet corner of Northamptonshire, offering a truly idyllic and timeless setting. This family run venue allows each couple to tailor their wedding to their individual style, so your day can be truly unique to you, whether you’re after a traditional sit down meal for 160 guests, or a casual street food festival vibe, owners Glenn and Donna are on hand to ensure that everything is exactly as you want it.
After a venue that blends the sumptuous details and luxe interiors of the big hitters with boutique charm? Flore House is just that. The aristocratic splendour of this incredible venue is infused with owner Georgie’s quirky, artistic flair. Think glistening chandeliers, edgy artworks and the glorious golden hues of a traditional Northamptonshire ironstone country house.
After something bijou and a bit different? How about having your wedding reception in this very cool, industrial chic micro distillery? Accommodating up to 30 guests, this unique venue may be just thing if you’re after a wedding that is outside the box. Your guests could make their own gin, or take part in a cocktail masterclass. Plus, there’s no risk of the bar running dry.
If nothing less than the best will do, then look no further than Boughton House near Kettering. A truly grand stately home that takes inspiration from the Palace of Versailles, Boughton is one of Northamptonshire’s hidden gems with exquisitely landscaped gardens and palatial state rooms. There are a various rooms to choose from including the Great Hall, with it’s painted ceiling and oak panelled walls, or the Tapestry Suite, which is a light and airy space with exposed beams and brickwork. You’ll be in great company, Eddie Redmayne and Amanda Seyfried tied the knot here, well in character as Marius and Cosette in Les Mis so, if it’s epic you’re looking for, you’ll be sure to find it here.
Looking for that dreamy, outdoor vibe with all the luxuries? Winner of best Wedding Venue in the Muddy Awards Leics/Rutland 2021, this venue boasts an idyllic rural setting nestled on a private 12 acre estate between Leicestershire and Northamptonshire. Marry at The Woodlands (pic above) and you’ll get the best of both indoor luxury and the rustic outdoors including a swanky newlywed suite in The Treehouse.
This traditional English country pile in Rutland has been the home of the Noel family (the Earls of Gainsborough) for over 400 years. For a traditional wedding, you can choose from the private Chapel, the Church of St Peter and Paul on the estate. After something more romantic? Try Fort Henry. This magical gothic folly, sitting beside a large lake in the heart of Exton Park is a hidden gem in a truly unique setting.
This gorgeous Georgian, Grade I listed venue has been elegantly renovated into a stunning wedding and party venue in the heart of Leicester city centre. Built in 1792, today it still retains many fascinating features including original columns, staircase, shallow tunnel-vault and stucco decorations. The ballroom – with its magnificent windows and grand chandeliers – is a stunning setting and there’s also the dining and drawing room, perfect for more intimate celebrations.
Set amid 168 acres of gorgeous green parkland, this Grade II Georgian home feels like a million miles from Leicester city (in fact it’s only about 15 minutes away). Inside there’s a stunning combination of grand traditional features and elegant contemporary touches. Both the ballrooms offer panoramic views of the grounds and direct access onto a private terrace. A wonderful plus-point is that you’ve got 19 bedrooms onsite including two stunning Bridal Suites (one even comes with a roll top gold bathtub!) so families and friends can take over the whole place and enjoy a boutique country house vibe.
Silver Sixpence bridal boutique moved to a brand new premises in Towcester just as the country went in to lockdown, but they’ve maintained a sense of fun through everything and a contemporary flair that we think makes wedding dress shopping an accessible, stress free and fun experience in an absolutely beautiful and spacious studio. Whatever your dream dress, from fairytale princess to modern vintage-inspired, you’re bound to find something to suit your look here.
In a Grade II listed building at the heart of Northampton’s iconic Market Square, the Bridal Loft at Bonsoire is by appointment only, meaning you get a VIP experience that is totally focused on you in a calm and intimate space. You’ll be able to try dresses by Tiffanys Bridal, Phoenix Gowns, Danielle Couture and Romantica of Devon plus veils, tiaras, hairpieces jewellery and jackets.
Our Northants 2021 Muddy Award Winner for Best Bridal Store, Serendipity in Weedon is run by a close-knit team, headed up by owner Lisa, who’s focus is to make sure every bride to be feels nothing short of fabulous throughout their journey to find ‘The One’ (that’s dress, not spouse, btw). You’ll find gowns by Claire Pettibone, Pronovias and Maggie Sotero among many other top notch designers here, as well as a warm and relaxed vibe.
If you want to turn heads and feel utterly fabulous, this bridal boutique in the market town of Ashby De La Zouch is where your bridal fashion dreams will come true (pic above). They’ve got more than a hundred gorgeous dresses to swoon over to suit everything for the modern-day woman to brides who want their wedding dress to be timeless and inimitably stylish and make them feel amazing from head to toe.
If you want a truly memorable experience when you say ‘yes to the dress,’ then let Angela and her fiancé James make it happen. Their bridal store in Thurmaston has got the perfect wedding dress for you. Boho or ball gown? Lace or tuille? Scalloped or sweetheart neckline? Whatever your style or budget, these guys will work with you to ensure you find your dream dress and have a wonderful time doing it. Can’t wait to say ‘I do?’ Their online shop sells monthly subscription boxes filled with goodies to keep the engagement celebration going plus, bridal accessories, gifts and more.
Winner of the The Wedding Emporium Wedding Industry Awards 2021, the Dress Me Pretty boutique in Hinckley is a gorgeous bridal room decked out with pastel pink walls and little romantic touches. We especially love their faux blossom tree which is full of hearts, each one placed there by a bride celebrating finding ‘the one.’ #adorable!
From bold and ambitious to pared back and sophisticated, Martin and Cox Floral Events have the vision and experience to create wedding flowers that make a statement whatever the season. If you want your flowers to be a significant part of your wedding story then owner Jemma Cox is your gal.
Having only opened in 2020, Wilder Floral in Brixworth have gone from strength to strength. So much so that they took the trophy for Best Florist in Northants in the Muddy Awards 2021. Owner Charlotte’s modern English country style makes for the prettiest bouquets in bright colours that are chic and traditional at once.
Want sustainable flowers with provenance? Suzy, owner of From Garden to Vase in Culworth, grows everything in her cutting garden, so you won’t find anything flown in from oversees or bought in from elsewhere. Everything is seasonal for a relaxed English country wedding. You may not be able to choose exact colours or blooms, but you’ll know that what you’re getting is grown with love.
Blooming gorgeous and a Muddy fave, Kathryn Devereux launched the Sileby business in 2017 and it’s gone from strength to strength. She’s already had to move to larger premises and has taken the words ‘floristry design’ to a whole new level with, quite possibly the most incredible floral window displays evaaa! Her work is natural and wild, edgy yet elegant with an unrivalled focus on design and detail.
Another Muddy award winner, Rutlanders will have heard of this awesome business run by florist, Jody. Aside from having the best business name, her work is wild, bold and colourful with a touch of boho.
We’ve just recently come across this fab business. Owner, Chrissi believes that florals are the ‘Cherry on top of the cake’ and we couldn’t agree more. The eco-friendly florist works embraces the ‘wonky’ in nature, accepting the gnarly, little kinks and fronds that add so much character to make her creative floral displays really stand out.
Voted Northamptonshire’s top Photographer in the 2021 Muddy Awards, Leonie’s relaxed documentary, editorial style does away with starch and captures the precious moments of your day as they unfold. We absolutely love her unique and beautifully romantic eye and images steeped in nostalgia.
Do away with cheesy grins. Want your wedding photos to capture those fleeting moments that make the day what it is? Sam is all about ensuring you get to treasure those in between bits as well as the grandiose parts of your wedding day, fitting in to the day seamlessly, she’s always there with her finger on the shutter when the moment arises. With a love of natural light and a candid style, Sam will capture the humour and poignancy of a day that is truly yours. Plus you can tailor your package to suit your budget. Win.
Sophie Ann are actually a husband and wife team, Sophie and Kyle, who love working together to capture the fun and joy as you celebrate. These guys are fully immersed in the wedding scene – they also own The Tipi Wedding Company and The Bottle Bar, so it’s kind of a one stop shop for an outdoor wedding with hipster festival vibes.
Honest, fun and natural (like Gina herself) if you don’t believe us, just take a look at her bold and colourful blog and you’ll get a sense of who she is. Based in Rutland, her documentary wedding photography is relaxed and real. She’s all about capturing what the moment feels like and not just what it looks like – perfect for loved up snazzy human beings. Plus,she loves weddings because of all the cake and laughter. Sounds like our kind of gal!
Now that’s a pretty cool name for a photographer – right? Born and bred in Rutland, Lizzie’s travelled the world – and taken a few photographs along the way – she also recently bagged the award for Best Photographer in the Muddy Awards Leics/Rutland 2021 so you know she’s comes well recommended. She’s honest and fun and there’s not a lot she won’t do to get the perfect shot – that’s what we like to hear!
Featured in a whole raft of wedding publications, Sophie uses her camera lens to show the intimate details of your big day. As well as shooting weddings, she spends her weekdays working for a very well known fashion company so obviously has a good eye. If you want to avoid the traditional posed shot, you really should speak to this talented young lady.
ALL THE TRIMMINGS
Accessories are the key to creating a unique wedding look and Daventry-based Clementine Clayton of Miss Clemmie bridal accessories creates stunning handmade, bespoke modern heirloom pieces of bridal jewellery that stand out from the crowd. Think crowns, hairpins, belts and earrings each with an element of vintage.
Ever considered making your own wedding ring? Lucy Flint Jewellery in Oakham runs workshops where you and hubby-to-be can learn some traditional skills and techniques to hand make your own beautiful rings. That’s one way to stand out from the crowd! If it’s bling you’re after, family-run Lanes Jewellers located on Loseby Lane in Leicester have worked in Bond Street and Hatton Garden and can hunt down the most unique rings and diamonds for you plus, they offer free engraving!
Many of us have never invested in such a fabulous (or pricey) outfit when we begin searching for our wedding dress and it can be a bit (totally) overwhelming. The utterly lovely Janine Coney of Own Your Style offers Bridal Styling and Mother of the Bride Styling packages to help you figure out your look, understand what suits you and, most importantly, what’s going to make you feel amazing on the day.
How utterly cool is this bespoke wedding jacket (pic above) created by the award-winning Rutland artist, Anna Margaret? She can even paint yer shoes and her colourful work will really put a smile on your face! For dreamy handmade shoes try Sasha Archer. She creates responsibly sourced footwear for your big day using everything from recycled polyester satin to reclaimed pearl beads and we love her for it!
For a classic updo or something more, catwalk-inspired Liz Staniland can advise you on everything you need to complete your look – make-up included. Meanwhile, makeup artist, Rachel Liney has been working in the beauty industry for the past 20 years so knows all the makeup tricks that celebs use. She can give you that subtle look for the wedding and a more dramatic look for the evening.
You’ll want your wedding stationery to capture your vibe (obvs), so call in the pros on this one. Gemma of Urzanmyne creates bespoke or customisable, illustrative invitations, on the day stationery and thank you cards, so you can weave the story of your wedding through every element of the process. If you want to go the extra mile with your decor, how about enlisting Little Painted Signs who are based in Towcester and will drum you up some gorgeous signage to help your wedding flow just so and look lovely.
For foodies looking for the wow factor, try Tailored Taste, Run by Halima Ferriera, she’s worked for some serious big time VIPs and cooked all over the world from Tokyo to Texas and has bought her culinary know-how to Leicestershire. Her food is exquisite and she works with local producers to cater for small and intimate celebrations. With over 125 years experience, wedding catering isn’t just a specialty, it’s a passion for Emerson and West. Based in Market Harborough, the family-run business can create an utterly delicious bespoke menu for your special day. Meanwhile, Rutland Gourmet is run by Sarah Rivett and her exceptional food and service is known throughout Rutland. She’s can do everything from decadent afternoon tea to a lavish wedding menu.
The wedding breakfast gets all the attention, but don’t forget to keep your guests fed and energised as they dance the night away too, you don’t want everyone expiring before midnight. Gourmet Dinner Lady Sherina White is Queen of the grazing platter. Perfect for picking at as the evening gets a bit messy and a genuine crowd pleaser.
The Occasion Bar, run by Siobhan Holmes, offers super cool bar services for private events with a pretty epic line in cocktails. From a 1920s Great Gatsby style copper bar (above) to rustic wooden industrial chic, you can choose your look and the drinks to go with it. You’ll need a suitably chic booze free drink too, and Coke is not going to cut the mustard I’m afraid. We really love Xachoh‘s alcohol-free distilled spirits for a sophisticated, gown-up drink that won’t have Aunty Gladys dancing on the tables before the speeches have finished.
For bubbles on tap, book Hello Prosecco who serve two types of Prosecco from a lovingly restored Piaggio Ape that’s been converted into a chic mobile bar to ensure you and the guests get on the fizzy fast track to fun times!
If you fancy a bit of gorgeous soulful singing to accompany your post-nuptial drinks and canapés on the terrace, how about enlisting modern acoustic duo Flo and B, who’ll strum out pared back and chilled out versions of your favourite hits. Check out their Insta for Flo’s stunning rendition of American Boy.
Can’t find a band or DJ to suit your vibe? Let Posh Parties do it for you. Owners Robin and David will sort out all your entertainment, audio and lighting needs, whether you want serene piano music drifting across the lawn, house music blasting through the night or a bit of both.
Michele from Love Life Eat Cake (pic above) gave up working in the IT industry to open a cake business and has never looked back. She creates incredible cakes and loves a challenge; as long as it’s structurally possible, so whether it’s a traditional, modern or gravity-defying wedding cake you’re after, she’s your baking gal! Food stylist and all round foodie, Elle Jane‘s super passionate about produce and craftsmanship and has spent many years honing her skills in the catering industry but now works as a bespoke wedding cake designer. Her cakes are elegant and romantic and taste as good as they look – we should know, we’ve tried them!
Boring cake toppers begone! We are obsessed with Cake Topper Animals for an alternative twist and they make brilliantly quirky favours for your guests too. For more truly unique wedding favours, we suggest heading to Silverstone Distillery where you can make your very own gin and bottle it with personalised labels for your guests. Their Gin Workshops and Cocktail Masterclasses also make for pretty groovy hen dos too.
If you’re planning a relaxed, multi-generation hen do, may we suggest a visit to the fabulous Whittlebury Park, winner of the 2021 Muddy Award for Best Day Spa in Northamptonshire? Get pampered from head to toe, scoff an amazing afternoon tea with plenty of fizz and round off the day at the exquisite Murray’s fine dining restaurant. Did we mention they also do a pretty spectacular wedding too?
Superfood chocolate from Simsante is handcrafted, organic and nutrient packed chocolate made by nutritionist Simrin Singh. It’s packed with natural ingredients including essential oils, protein rich nuts, gut strengthening spices, omega 3 seeds and no refined sugars. If it’s good enough for Sir Elton John…it’s good enough for your wedding guests! For more delicious wedding favours, try The Kitsch Hen based in Rutland. They do adorable handmade biscuits which can be styled as individual place settings for each guest, or stamped with a favourite quote or message. They’ll definitely be remembered long after the last crumbs are eaten.