Clare & Stuart

May 2019

We knew we wanted to have a small wedding, and the stunningly beautiful surroundings of Pentillie Castle provided a perfect setting.

Where are you both from originally and where is home now:    I am from York, Stuart is from Wokingham. We have lived together in Cornwall for over 8 years, currently in an 18th century farmhouse on the beautiful north coast, 3 miles from Port Isaac.

Ceremony and reception venue:   The ceremony took place in the Bathing Hut, and the reception was in the Castle

How did you choose your venue?   It actually felt as if it chose us! We had considered going abroad (just the 2 of us) to get married and have our honeymoon all in one. However, I decided I didn’t want to get married without my parents there, and so we started to look around for venues in Cornwall. We struggled, to be honest – nothing really felt quite right for us. Pentillie Castle was the last on our list of venues to see before agreeing that it would be abroad after all. However, as we were shown around we just fell in love with the place more and more. We knew we wanted to have a small wedding, and the stunningly beautiful surroundings of Pentillie Castle provided a perfect setting. We could really see how it would work for us.

How did your proposal happen?  My ‘Bucket List’ includes seeing the Northern Lights in all their amazing glory, and so for my birthday in January 2018 we planned a trip to Iceland to hopefully do just that. On the evening of my birthday we had planned to go on a bus tour to be taken out to the dark skies in search of the Lights. We had to check with reception at 6pm that the tour would be going ahead. When we did that, though, we were told that unfortunately the conditions were not right and all the tours were off for that evening. Stuart looked totally crestfallen and I remember thinking ‘alright, it’s my Bucket List not yours, and it’s fine by me so what’s the problem?’ – they automatically booked you on to the tour for the following night. So we went out for a meal and a drink, and on the walk back to the hotel, Stuart popped the question on a street corner in Reykjavik. It was only after that, of course, that I found out he had arranged to have a bottle of champagne chilled and at the ready on the coach, and had planned to propose as we were stood under the Northern Lights. So that explained why he had looking so gutted earlier on!

In 3 words, how did you picture your wedding at the beginning?


Low Key


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 knew we wanted to keep our wedding small so that we could have a relaxed, comfortable and fun day. However, ‘low-key’ doesn’t have to mean a ‘non-event’!

For instance, we chose the have the simplest of ceremonies (not even any readings) and asked my nephew – who is a recent graduate in stage and theatrical arts – to sing and play the guitar while we were signing the register.

Our wedding favours were Cancer Research UK pins, which was an easy choice, and more meaningful than the usual wedding favours. Both sides of our family, and a number of our close friends, have been (or still are) affected by cancer.

I think that one of the biggest factors in achieving a low-key wedding was that we chose not to invite additional evening guests. Instead we wanted to keep to just our 38 guests for the whole celebration. That meant that it felt much more intimate, but it also presented a bit of a challenge. We booked the Swing Kings to perform a lively swing set during the reception drinks and canapes immediately after the ceremony, and so we needed to ensure the evening did not fall flat after that. To achieve this we had Mark Barnwell, Spanish Guitarist, to provide some relaxed background music, and we also arranged for caricatures to be drawn during the middle part of the evening as a fun focal point. It really worked! There was so much laughter, and everyone that sat for a caricature also had an extra memento to take home.

It helped, of course, that our family and friends just seemed to ‘click’ and we have since received lots of feedback about how much they had enjoyed being at our wedding and the venue. We couldn’t have achieved any of it without the support of the whole of the Pentillie team, who were, without exception, absolutely spectacular.

Were you inspired by anyone on social media? I really can’t see how anybody manages to plan a wedding without Pinterest these days. I found it invaluable, both for searching for ideas and then as a basis for communicating ideas about what I thought I wanted to suppliers. This was especially the case with the flowers and the cake. I did the same with the dress but, as is often the case, the dress I ended up buying was nothing like the one I had envisaged. (But it was the first one I tried on!)

Please give a brief account of your wedding planning story? Other than the low of not agreeing on a venue until we finally found Pentillie, literally everything else was a high – I absolutely loved planning our wedding.

Of course, finding my dress was a definite high – but beyond that, the flowers were a priority. On the day, everyone else is waiting to see what the bride’s dress looks like. Of course I knew all about that – no surprises for me there – so the ‘wow’ for me was seeing the flowers that Alison and her team had created. They were absolutely gorgeous, so much better than I could ever have imagined, and I couldn’t believe how well she had taken my ideas and turned them into reality.

What was your favourite part of the day?  There is not one ‘best bit’ that we can identify as the whole day was literally amazing for us. Everything just happened as it needed to thanks to the attention of the Pentillie staff, although looking back on it later everything was a bit of a blur and we just tried to relax and enjoy it. However, what I can say is that we were incredibly grateful to everyone that came along to celebrate with us, as that is what made the day so special. All but two of our guests had had to travel from out of Cornwall, and some came from as far afield as Spain and Scotland, so we really appreciated the effort that everyone had gone to just to be there with us.

How did you feel as you walked down the aisle / saw each other on the day?   Emotional, but beyond that, I can’t really remember! The closer it got to 2pm (the time of the wedding), the more I felt like I was in some sort of theatrical production – ‘hair, makeup, costume …. let’s go!’ Once in the Bathing Hut and Stuart was holding my hand, and there were tears in both of our eyes, I just concentrated on holding it together and getting through the ceremony. Once the ‘I do’s’ were out of the way, we could relax a bit and try to take everything in.

What was the most important investment for you?  Without a doubt, the venue was the most important investment – it sets the tone for the whole day. The next most important investment was my dress as after that decision had been made, everything else started to fit into place more easily (e.g. the colours and style of the flowers; the stationery; the cake).

One of the first decisions I made was in securing our photographer (Ellie). I did some early research to decide on the style of photography I wanted and I think she was the first of our suppliers to be booked. Ellie was great to have around, and captured some really lovely photographs that we will treasure.

What are your top tips for other couples? Everyone will tell you that you should make decisions based on what you want, that you shouldn’t try to please anyone but yourselves – it’s your wedding, after all. I found that to be easier said than done, but I found that I got more confident with making decisions on that basis as time went along. It is definitely worth setting out with the intention of doing things your way right from the start, as despite all your doubts everything will come together on the day and if you are true to yourselves, it will truly represent who you both are. Mostly – have fun and enjoy it!


Photographer: Ellie, Associate Photographer at Liberty Pearl Photography

Bride’s Dress:  Ian Stuart

Bride’s Shoes: Ruby Shoos

Groom’s Outfit: Magee

Flowers: Flower Scene

Caterer: Pentillie Castle & Estate

Music: Swing Kings and Mark Barnwell

Cake: Dollybird Bakes

Stationery: Vintage Fleur Designs

Transport: Wedding & Executive Car Hire

Hair: Vicki Hoskin Hair Artistry

MakeupGem Ryder

CaricaturesRye Smile Caricatures

FavoursCancer Research UK


For more details on Exclusive Hire Weddings at Pentillie please contact the Castle Office on 01579 350044 or email the team at