We still can’t believe that we were lucky enough to win our wedding at Pentillie!
Where are you both from originally and where is home now:
Colin is originally from Cornwall and Rachel was born in South Wales, although has lived in South Devon for over 20 years. We now live in Plymouth.
Ceremony and reception venue:
Bathing hut for the ceremony, and castle for the reception.
How did you choose your venue?
Colin’s sister actually got married at Pentillie just over two years ago, and we fell in love with it then! First and foremost, we loved how beautiful it was in absolutely any weather! We also loved how relaxed it was – the fact that you hire out the house as a whole makes it like a (very luxurious!) home away from home. It’s so relaxed, and Colin and I are both really close to our families, so it was great to find a place where we could fit all of our nearest and dearest in to make it extra special.
We’d been engaged for over a year, and had tried in vain to find a venue that we loved as much as Pentillie (we must have looked at nearly 20 places), as we weren’t sure how Colin’s sister would feel about us having the same venue. Turned out we needn’t have worried! She actually said to us if we wanted to look at Pentillie she’d love it, as she’s since had a son and would find it amazing if we got married there as it would be an extension of her relationship with the place, so we went along on one of their wedding fairs and entered their ‘Win a Wedding’ competition…. and we won!!!! We were on our way home when Lisa called us (we thought we had absolutely no chance), and turned right around to go back! We were so gobsmacked, and I’m not sure we ever quite came down from cloud 9.
How did your proposal happen?
We got engaged at the beginning of 2018 on a last-minute trip to Paris. When I suggested going to Paris in 2 days’ time, the place of our first (surprise for me) Valentine’s day trip together 9 years before, little did I know that Colin already had the ring and had been trying to figure out how to get me to Paris without me twigging! I had no idea, and when we went to the Jardins du Luxembourg, these incredible gardens in the grounds of this beautiful building, Colin proposed with a Belgian waffle and hot chocolate! It was incredibly romantic!
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?
When we got back to the hotel after Colin proposed, he has some incredible coral colour roses waiting, so I was really keen to centre the flowers around this colour rose. We went to St Mellion Flowers and walked around the warehouse with Tracy to pick out the flowers that would become my bouquet and also be dispersed around the bathing hut and the castle itself. By the time we’d finished, I was in happy tears! I think the flowers are so important to how the theme and day actually ends up being shaped, and my bouquet was kind of wild looking, beautifully scented with eucalyptus and rosemary, and tied together with vintage lace and jute. Jen from Edible Essence also added these flowers to our delicious cake so that it tied into the theme, as well as gold on the top tier, and a brass cake stand.
I’d seen a wood round with some foliage on, brass candle sticks, and photo frames for the table numbers, and was really inspired by this. We bought some wood rounds, and stapled eucalyptus to them, then placed a vase and different types of candle holders on there. Then we had menus in brass photo frames. It was quite vintage looking but very simple, as we wanted the main focus of our tables to be the food!
We went for a horseshoe table layout, as we only had 52 at our reception and wanted it to feel relaxed and informal. The food was in platters on the tables when the guests entered, and they could choose any or all of our three menu items. This was also the case for pudding, as we did bite size desserts where people could make up their own ‘Pentillie mess’. Food’s a big part of my life, and all the choices on the menu were inspired by my dad and the restaurant my parents owned when I was younger. It was simple but delicious fayre, and Tom the Head Chef and his team did an incredible job!
My mum had the truly inspired idea of making heart shaped welsh cakes for our favours, then I packed them all up the day before the wedding out of bits and pieces from Hobbycraft (they did quite well out of us he he). Being from Wales it was a wonderful nod to my heritage and something my Nan always used to make for me growing up, so really fond memories there.
The little touches mean a lot to us, and we made a lot of bits for the wedding ourselves and with help from both sets of parents, who were brilliant throughout the whole planning process. We decided on a picture that people could sign as well as a guest book, so that we could hang it on our wall at home and have that amazing memory of all the people who we shared our wonderful day with, and that was complemented superbly by the Remarkable Photobooth Company, whom we won time with as part of our prize. They were absolutely fantastic, and we have this incredible photo book from them with all of our friends and family having fun with their props and little messages from them. They made up our own special background for the photos, constructed of the beautiful design from our invitations which were expertly designed by Dearly Beloved.
Excitingly, we also won some entertainment as part of our prize. Lonewolf Archery had a really gorgeous set up on the lawn, including some coral lace bunting that Nick had made especially to fit with our theme, and our guests loved having a go on that while we were off getting our photos done. We also had Chris from Tennant Magic doing close up magic in the afternoon, and then in the evening he put on shows in the games room of the Castle. Colin absolutely adores magic, so we couldn’t have asked for a better prize! He was so clever, and I have no idea how he did what he did!
Music wise, we had Tom Cary from Best of Bublé in the day. His voice is just spectacular and we had an unofficial first dance to one of his songs, a very special moment for us both. In the evening, we hired a band called Goldbeat, who did a fabulous mix of funk classics and modern hits to get everyone up on the dance floor.
We also had a chocolate fountain from Absolute Chocolate – if anyone has seen THAT episode of Vicar of Dibley you’ll know why…
Were you inspired by anyone on social media? Pinterest/Instagram etc?
I wasn’t inspired by anyone in particular on social media, aside from that image of the wood round I mentioned before. I’d seen a lot on Pinterest in the past and knew the style I wanted.
Can you give a brief account of your wedding planning story?
After we had chosen the flowers, it kind of all came together following that in terms of the theme. It was hard in a way because I found that a lot of decisions depended on another one! So making one decision helped everything else to fall into place, so it was nice to have the stress of the early decisions out of the way!
Some of it was easy – like the food – I knew what I wanted and Pentillie made it happen in the most delicious way possible! I’m vegetarian, so I really wanted the veggie choice to be a star and something that everyone would enjoy to eat as well as the meat offerings.
The dress was fairly hard as I had that image of the perfect dress in my head, as most girls I’m sure do. I tried on so many dresses!!!! In the end, I bought a very plain ivory strapless sweetheart A-line dress from La Boutique in Exeter, a wishing well charity, where all of the proceeds from the dress go to making someone’s dream wedding come true, and complemented it with a lace bolero that I found on Etsy, which meant I kind of had two dresses in one!
The most difficult thing turned out to be Colin’s suit! We originally wanted brown to tie into the vintage theme, but try as we might we could not find one that wasn’t tweed! He ended up going for a fairly light blue Ted Baker suit which matched the groomsmen. He was up to the wire with getting that sorted (3 weeks before the wedding eek!) but he did it and he looked very handsome!
One of the most fun things was the hair and makeup! I had Fox House Retreat and went to have a trial about a month before the wedding. I was a bit nervous about this as I am not good at hair and makeup, and was a little scared I wouldn’t look like me on the day. They were brilliant though, and I just looked like a much better version of me! They also did the mums and bridesmaids, so they had a lot to do on the day! A whole team rocked up to the castle at 8.30am in the morning and they were so much fun to get ready with, and a very talented group of ladies, they certainly worked magic on me!
What food did you choose for your day, wedding breakfast and evening buffet and why?
Feta & Pea Bruschetta
Wild mushroom, Parmesan arancini with roasted garlic aioli
Stuffed baby bell peppers
Shape your own plate by helping yourself to a choice of:
Classic beef bourguignon
Panache of mixed vegetables
Make your own delicious dessert from:
Classic cherry bakewell tart
Brownie bites with orange puree
Classic glazed lemon tart
Build your own Pentillie mess
Prossecco and peach wedding cake
24-hour slow cooked BBQ pulled pork brioche bun
Halloumi and pepper brioche bun
Total approximate cost of wedding?
We spent about £15,000, which was on top of the value of the prize.
What was your favourite part of the day?
Rachel: it’s so hard to choose, but I have a few favourites:
Walking out of the bridal suite to meet my dad and going down to the bathing hut with him
The ceremony! (Colin getting all emotional and the readings from our lovely friends were particular highlights)
Sharing the day with our family and friends
Colin: The ceremony – putting the ring on Rachel’s finger and our vows, and also our first dance, that was really special.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle / saw each other on the day?
Rachel: I was just so happy, I got to walk in there with my dad which was really special, and seeing Colin there waiting for me and his expression on seeing me for the first time was just priceless. He looked so handsome and I couldn’t wait to say our vows and be his wife!
Colin: I thought Rachel was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It was like I was in a fairy tale!
What was the most important investment for you?
Food! It was a major part of the day for us!
We had won some time with Claire Tregaskis as part of the prize, but even if we hadn’t have, her style just suited us perfectly. The photos are a big deal, capturing the day and the moments that we also didn’t see! And we loved the documentary type style of her images, really natural. She was also such a lovely woman to have around for the day, like sharing it with a friend.
Staying at the venue the night before the wedding. This meant time with our families, and that was so important to us.
What song did you have for your first dance and why?
John Legend: All of me. The words of this song just resonate with us. All couples go through highs and lows, and Colin and I have both had personal challenges in the time that we have been together that we have supported each other through. Neither of us are perfect, and we accept and treasure ‘all the curves and edges and perfect imperfections’ anyway. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Colin, and I think he feels the same way!
What are your top tips for other couples?
We got given this advice a lot – take a moment to stand back and enjoy the day. Try not to get so swept up in it, that it’s over before you even know it and you haven’t taken a minute to process and experience the joy and what you have created together.
How did you know Pentillie was the venue for you?
In a way we still can’t believe that we were lucky enough to win our wedding with Pentillie! It was truly a dream come true. We were surrounded by our incredible family and friends and the day was just perfect. The team were so lovely and it was like being with friends who all did everything that they could to make our day as special as possible (such as finding and collecting umbrellas for us after ours failed to arrive! Lisa really went above and beyond and we’re so grateful.). The food was fabulous, and people really enjoyed being able to have a bit of everything!
Pentillie has such a special place in our hearts, it really is the most beautiful place on earth, and it’s also the people that make it such. The Pentillie team are the heart of it and we love it and them!
Photographer: Claire Tregaskis Photography
Your outfit: La Boutique and Tiffary
Your shoes: Rainbow
Your partner’s outfit: Ted Baker
Flowers: St. Mellion Flowers
Hair & Makeup: Fox House Retreat
Cake: Edible Essence
Stationery: Dearly Beloved
Transport: Dad taxi!