I always wanted a Castle wedding, and to be near the coast or some form of water, so when we went down to the bathing hut and it being right on the banks of the river Tamar, I knew this was the perfect place for us to get married.
Where are you both from originally and where is home now:
I (Paul) am originally from Thatcham in Berkshire. Alec is from Northampton. We now both live together in Launceston in Cornwall and have lived in Cornwall for the last 12 years.
Ceremony and reception venue:
Bathing hut and reception up in the Castle.
How did you choose your venue?
I looked at numerous venues in Cornwall and Devon. However, all were either too small or too impersonal. I was giving up a little bit of hope, but came to Pentillie by chance really. I was passing on my way home from Plymouth one day and saw an advertisement for an up and coming wedding preview. I was then reminded by Alec that we had visited many years ago for Pentillie’s festival of speed. So, with that in my mind, we signed up to come have a good nosey around the castle to see what it might have to offer. When we arrived, everyone was so warm and friendly and made you feel at home straight away. I always wanted a Castle wedding, and to be near the coast or some form of water, so when we went down to the bathing hut and it being right on the banks of the river Tamar, I knew this was the perfect place for us to get married.
How did your proposal happen?
Alec proposed, I always said he would need to be the one to get down on one knee! We were away for Alec’s 30th Birthday spending the weekend in London sightseeing. I had treated him for his birthday and booked us into the Ritz hotel for a one night stay as part of his birthday present. But little did I know, that as we were sat in the Rivoli bar he had secretly been organising an engagement ring to be made and sent down from Scotland.
As we sat in the Rivoli me sipping on a Vesper Martini (Alec downing his!) Alec presented me with a handmade engagement ring. As they say the rest is history!
In 3 words, how did you picture your wedding at the beginning?
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail/theme – tell us about the special details of the day and how you implemented them
We wanted our wedding to use as many local producers as possible. As for a theme it really evolved from both mine and Alec’s childhood rowing up and down the Thames for me, and Alec kayaking across the UK’s many rivers.
Right at the beginning Alec being very creative wanted to do a lot of the wedding decorations himself. This saw him design our wedding cake, make our own invitations, decorate flower jars, table centres and table names (even learning how to use coloured resin to create the outline of our chosen rivers).
With the venue fresh in my mind I wanted to have flowers that would best reflect the venue so we went with an English country garden theme making sure the flowers were in season and fragrant (using sweet peas as these are my favourite flower and remind me of my grandparents’ house when I was growing up).
As Alec was doing so much to create wedding decorations, I wanted to make our wedding favours. I wanted each guest to go home with something unique, letting everyone have either a homemade flavoured gin (summer fruit or Rhubarb and ginger) or fruit cordial (summer berry and lavender or peach and lemongrass). To accompany these I got my mum to make her homemade strawberry and Pimms jam and one off personalised M&Ms. (I blame the trip to London and M&M world for those, but I couldn’t resist!)
Were you inspired by anyone on social media?
No I have an Alec who is more than creative, at times he needed reigning in!
Please give a brief account of your wedding planning story
Lists, lots of lists! Alec wanted to be really hands on with making or personalising items for our wedding as possible. This saw him creating invitations, decorating flower jars, making table centres, table names, name card holders and even a sign to help direct people down to the bathing hut!
For me it was a priority to get the food and suppliers right. The cake needed to taste as good as it looks. Hayley was fantastic at helping us chose flavours and once again Alec helped to design the cake too.
As a same sex couple, wedding fairs were a bit of a nightmare as many people would say they didn’t do or haven’t done a same sex wedding before. Plus there is only so many wedding dresses or make up artists two men can look at. So after that experience, we decided to keep everything as local as possible. Our flowers came from an amazing florist in Launceston who knew exactly what we were after. The cake once again was from another supplier in Launceston who baked lots of different flavour samples (it’s a hard job!). The photographer was the easy bit, James Hill had previously taken the photos at my brother’s wedding a year earlier. He knew I was not going to be standing around for countless photos and he was very keen on keeping us as a couple with our guests. But also he was able to blend into the background.
Once all the four main suppliers were in place it meant we could focus on the fun things like getting our suits made, choosing fabric, buttons and shirts. Adam at Hackett knew from day one that both me (Paul) and Alec wanted to keep our suits a surprise for the big day. He went to extraordinary lengths to make sure neither of us saw anything until the main event.
I also wanted to make my own confetti, having seen a few YouTube clips, I then spent the last 8 months on the run up to our wedding drying fresh flowers. Those were some very long days with every flat surface covered in a range of petals from roses to sweet peas. But it was definitely worth it to end up with an environmental friendly and colourful confetti.
What food did you choose for your day, wedding breakfast and evening buffet and why?
Pheasant goujons, Cheese Straws and Mediterranean Olives. All sipped down with Mumm Champagne
Smoked Salmon rillettes with pickled veg
Melon served with a white port and summer fruit jelly with a raspberry coulis
Duo of corn-fed chicken, broccoli puree, potato terrine, wild garlic & pan jus
Soft herb gnocchi, spring vegetables and gremolata
White chocolate bavarois (boobs) with a strawberry jelly in the middle
Pentillie deconstructed mess
Petit fours and Tea/Coffee
Raspberry macaroons and chocolate coconut truffles
Cornish Pasty buffet, steak and cheese and onion (including GF pasties)
Scones with jam and cream (ready made up the Cornish way, jam first!)
Sticky Sausage hot dogs
What was your favourite part of the day?
I loved all of it, but for me (Paul) was waking up at 5am and seeing the sun rise from the wedding suite was very special. Oh and probably seeing Alec finally in his wedding suit!
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle / saw each other on the day?
Don’t fall over! Please don’t drop the rings!
As the suits were a closely guarded secret with both of us keeping the other in the dark, whilst we went to London to have them made. It was a big surprise to see Alec for the first time and how we had gone for the exact same colour!
Seeing Alec on the morning was lovely and I felt so happy to have my best friend right next to me as we walked down the aisle.
What was the most important investment for you?
The most important thing for me was everything. But I wanted to make sure the suits looked good, the photographer was fantastic and knew exactly how to get the right photographs. Food and drink were also so important. With several family members suffering food allergies Pentillie were fantastic at making us a truly bespoke menu. With the Chef even making a new dish based on my favourite melon and white port starter.
What song did you have for your first dance and why?
Kylie Minogue – Stop me from failing
Its Kylie, why wouldn’t you? There had to be a stereotype somewhere. But we really like the song and the words behind it.
What are your top tips for other couples?
Always make a list of things you want, and what you want to do to make your big day special.
Be realistic, don’t take on too much DIY, but always farm this out to willing family members.
Keep it simple!
Never be afraid to ask the venue for previous ideas.
It’s your day, always remember you might not be able to please everyone.
Get a good source of suppliers, especially photographer, cake and flowers they really make the day run with so much ease. They also don’t need to cost the Earth either!
Always go on recommendations for suppliers from people who have used them in the past.
Photographer: This Life Photography – James Hill
Your shoes: Ted Baker
Your partner’s shoes: Loake
Flowers: Flower Scene – Alison Penno
Caterer: Pentillie Castle & Estate
Music: DJ Services Cornwall – Allan Cross
Cake: Dollybird bakes – Hayley Lankston
Stationery: Hobby Craft
Transport: Own vehicles
Rings: Hannah Louise Lamb – Coastal design
Pentillie Castle Review:
From the first time we visited, the family and all the staff at Pentillie welcome you as part of the family. This comes across with the support and guidance they give and no request is too much. They were simple amazing! From the first time I saw and walked into the bathing hut I knew this was the place for our wedding. Unlike many other venues who prescribe what you can and cannot do, Pentillie let us have our wedding and made everything happen.
A dream team!
For more details on Exclusive Hire Weddings at Pentillie please contact the Castle Office on 01579 350044 or email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org