Oksana & Chris, June 2018

Pentillie seemed perfect as it was so beautiful and would allow us to stay Friday to Sunday and have the whole place to ourselves…including the pool which we made full use of the night before!

Your name and occupation: Oksana Shpankova – Occupational Therapist

Partner’s name and occupation: Chris Bridges – Aeronautical Engineer

Where are you both from originally and where is home now: Chris – Plymouth, Oksana – Russia originally, but moved to Plymouth as a child. We have both migrated north for University/ work and are living in the Midlands for the time being.

Ceremony and reception venue: Pentillie Castle and Estate

How did you choose your venue? We looked around various venues locally as we wanted to keep it near home, it was also very important for us to be able to stay at the venue with our wedding party. Pentillie seemed perfect as it was so beautiful and would allow us to stay Friday to Sunday and have the whole place to ourselves…including the pool which we made full use of the night before!

How did your proposal happen (who, when and where)? It happened April 2016 on a weekend visiting family in Plymouth. We had been together six years and Chris popped the question on a walk overlooking Bovisand beach where we spent most of our summers. It was night time and the stars were out, so pretty!

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 (colours, theme decorations, centre pieces, favours, photo booths, DIY etc)

We had chosen ‘dusty blue’ as a wedding colour fairly early on, then having set up a Pinterest board began looking for ideas which we liked, opting for the more simple, floral choices.

A lot of things we were seeing actually looked really easy to make so instead of buying we made most of the decorations. Chris even came up with some ideas and constructed our own personalised selfie photo frames! My favourite things were making centrepieces and decorations with the bridesmaids, arranging the flowers for the centrepieces and making bridesmaid bouquets with my sister-in-law – it made it more of an experience in the build up to the day. We also asked the band to learn a piece of music for us so that our family friend could perform a solo in Russian to bring my heritage into the wedding day which everyone enjoyed dancing to, as well as the live band!

We opted for a photo booth which was open (these were hard to find in the South West) as they fit in more people and all the other guests could see what was going on which made it fun. The Beautiful South Photo booth company gave instant prints and were happy to stay for an additional hour as it was so popular the queue was huge as they were due to pack up!

Our bridesmaids and groomsmen were super helpful the night before the wedding helping to decorate the venue…tying bows and draping the archway. Pinterest was useful in finding things that were a little different, instead of covering the archway in flowers which would have been expensive we found that drapes and greenery worked really well, also scattering tea lights in jars across the lawn at night provided an incredible effect.

We also liked the idea of little touches for the guests. We had blankets for the evening, flip flops for the dance floor and toiletries in the rest rooms for the guests to use.

Were you inspired by anyone on social media? Pinterest/Instagram etc?

I used Pinterest a lot throughout the whole process, one thing it was super helpful with was to see which wedding dress designers I liked the style of then I could track down which UK stores stocked them. I knew I wanted a certain style of dress and having pockets was on the essential criteria! I also preferred to not have the traditional wedding shoes so I had them as my something blue, Pinterest game me some great ideas of what was out there!

Please give a brief account of your wedding planning story i.e. priorities, highs & lows, challenges etc

The biggest challenge was planning the wedding from 300 miles away, relying heavily on recommendations and luckily a lot of friends were also involved. One of the things we were looking for in a venue was so that most things could be provided in house. It was difficult arranging food tastings as they were only offered in the week and we would not be able to take time off work to travel down, we did negotiate a weekend tasting which was amazingly catered and sealed the deal for Pentillie catering the wedding breakfast.

Luckily the majority of the planning seemed to be stress free apart from the usual issues like: slow communication and getting the wedding party together from all corners of the UK for fittings.

What food did you choose for your day, wedding breakfast and evening buffet and why?

We opted for the traditional sit down breakfast, giving our guests options to choose prior to the wedding. We love to go out for meals and be able to choose new things so we wanted to do that for our wedding too. We asked for a food tasting which was really helpful as we ended up going for something completely different to what we initially thought and helped us choose the accompanying wines.

For the evening catering we wanted something different. Without sounding too controversial, Oggy Oggy Co pasties are our favourite! When we made some enquiries we found out that they had a van that could cater for the evening our minds had been made up! They were fantastic and a nice surprise for our guests, even having decorated their van for the wedding.

What was your favourite part of the day?

It’s hard to decide as the whole day was so amazing! The ceremony was beautiful, the speeches were brilliant and the band kept us all on the dance floor until the end of the night!

How did you feel as you walked down the aisle / saw each other on the day?

Surprisingly not nervous at all! The staff did a great job of ensuring we didn’t need to worry about anything and walking into a room full of people who had travelled even from abroad to celebrate with us, we felt very lucky.

What was the most important investment for you? i.e food, photography, dress? Our top three priorities were: venue, food and photographer!

What song did you have for your first dance and why? All of me loves all of you –  John Legend. The lyrics just seemed to say what we wanted.

What are your top tips for other couples?

Book things early! Pick your priorities and concentrate on those, everything else is an addition. We had been to a lot of weddings before and were able to work out what we really enjoyed and what was important to us. Shop around and don’t be afraid to make things yourself…we had good fun making things together and with the bridal party. Don’t be afraid to ask for a deal or for recommendations with regards to vendors. We were also very lucky to have so many friends be part of our day by helping with supplying things for the wedding like stationary, decorations and doing the hair.


Photographer: Stewart Girvan Photography

Bride’s Dress: Jesus Peiro – Cicily Bridal

Bride’s Shoes: Ted Baker

Groom’s Outfit: Next/ Debenhams

Flowers: St.Mellion Flowers

Caterer: Pentillie Castle

Music: Room on Fire

Cake: Costco

Stationery: Friend

Any others:

Hair: Cariad Everett

Makeup: Corinne Eveleigh Makeup Artist

Evening caterer – Oggy Oggy Pasty Co

Photobooth: The Beautiful South Photo Booth Company

For more information about getting married at Pentillie please contact Lisa on 01579 350044 or email