wedding dress ideas

Hannah's Favourite Hotel Venues in Surrey & Sussex

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This last year since we opened our doors has been a complete whirlwind. From opening within 6 weeks of deciding to take the plunge, to meeting hundreds of new people (designers and couples alike) 2018-19 has so far been one of my favourites!

With such an incredible response to our boutique, our unique dresses and our warm and truly personable approach, has come an overwhelming amount of support. Brides and their families and friends have championed us, industry friends have given us their full support and in turn, venues have taken us on board as their preferred suppliers. It truly has been a sensational 14 months!

After the popularity of our last post about our favourite barn venues in and around Surrey and Sussex, I wanted to share my top picks for hotel venues across the same counties! Hotels are great for couples with lots of family and friends coming from afar. They normally have the ability to host ceremonies onsite and with bedrooms for guests before the big day and the night of, it makes planning all the more easy!

For wedding dresses in Surrey, we have definitely got you covered. We are, as it currently stands (and long may it continue), the most highly rated bridal boutique in Surrey and on the borders of West Sussex. But for wedding venues, we can point you in the right direction and wish you well! Below are my top hotel picks for your big day! ENJOY!

SURREY

Hartsfield Manor

From the impressive driveway through this estate, nestled in beautiful Betchworth, to the glorious facade and sprawling grounds, Hartsfield Manor wedding venue offers the most wonderful dichotomy. As magnificent and imposing as it is from the exterior, it is cosy, warm and welcoming inside allowing you and your guests to feel right at home in this exquisite estate.

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Wotton House Hotel

Truly one of Surrey’s most magnificent hotel wedding venues, Wotton House Hotel is a stone’s throw away from our bridal shop, just on the outskirts of Dorking. It’s gardens are so impressive, they are Grade I listed and that’s before you step foot inside the venue. A long and winding driveway offers an enticing build up to the striking facade of the building. The Old Library, the most surprising and unique suite inside Wotton House is beyond breathtaking. Use this space for your ceremony and/or wedding breakfast before heading out for drinks in the sweeping grounds.

Image by J’Door Photography

Image by J’Door Photography


Burford Bridge Hotel

The Tithe Barn at Burford Bridge allows the rustic charm of a barn venue in a truly rural and unique location, just at the foot of the Box Hill. However, this beautiful venue also allows for a modern selection of light and bright hotel rooms looking over the gardens and the start of the iconic countryside. A gloriously high ceiling in the barn makes for dramatic photos and the most beautiful setting for your ceremony and/or wedding breakfast.

Image by Laurence & Ella Photography

Image by Laurence & Ella Photography


Cain Manor

Cain Manor is a jewel of a country house wedding venue, nestled on the brow of a hill among its own private land and surrounded by thick green English forest on the border of Surrey and Hampshire. Its long, winding driveway through private woodland serves as a perfect introduction to the rustic character of the house and estate. The venue oozes romance, rustic style and English countryside charm and is only available on an exclusive use basis for wedding celebrations and receptions

This beautiful barn-style country house joined the Bijou Wedding Venues family in 2003, since which time it has reveled in the hosting of truly spectacular barn-style wedding celebrations. It is licensed for civil ceremonies both inside and out and can seat up to 123 guests for your wedding breakfast.

Image from Bijou Weddings Website

Image from Bijou Weddings Website


Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa

Nutfield Priory is a four star country house hotel and spa in Redhill inspired by the Neo-Gothic splendour of the Palace of Westminster. This unique Victorian mansion house in Surrey, which dates back to 1872, delights with its stylish interiors hung with fine paintings, unique artwork and many original features. The hotel has 15 feature bedrooms and for that little extra indulgence, The Byron Suite located in the tower is spread over three floors and makes a wonderful choice for a romantic celebration.

Image by Catherine Pound Photography

Image by Catherine Pound Photography


Great Fosters

Set amongst 50 acres of stunning gardens and parkland, Great Fosters is a dreamy setting for your wedding day, whether you choose to exchange your vows in the majestic surroundings of The Orangery & Conservatory, or opt for a more intimate celebration in The Garden Room. The main house, which dates back to 1550, features a selection of beautiful historic suites and bedrooms, ideal for a memorable romantic escape, whilst The Cloisters and The Coach House offer a tempting array of suites and rooms.

Image from Hitched.co.uk

Image from Hitched.co.uk


Pennyhill Park

Pennyhill Park, an Exclusive Hotel & Spa is the ideal venue for your perfect wedding day. From an award-winning Michelin star dining experience, to the 124 luxurious bedrooms for your overnight guests, the hotel offers everything you could need for a sensational wedding celebration.

Image from Hitched.co.uk

Image from Hitched.co.uk


Kingswood Golf Club

Kingswood will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I ‘grew up’ in essence. I started working here at the age of 21, just after I finished university and finally took a leap of faith and left almost 7 years later. The venue has such a warm charm to it and is light, bright and airy with sweeping views over the manicured gardens and course. It doesn’t have a typical ‘old world’ golf club style and instead has neutral decor and the most beautiful ballroom with crystal chandeliers for your civil ceremony. The Lodge, is a purpose built luxury boutique hotel built on the grounds of the golf club. It is plush and modern with beautiful facilities and just enough bedrooms for your nearest and dearest as well as two killer bridal suites. Choose from the suite with the balcony that looks over the grounds or the ‘James Bond’ room which is an extensive suite complete with bath tub big enough for two, a dining table, a King sized bed (plus an extra double bed that comes out from the wall, just in case you want to stretch your legs!)

Image by Surrey Lane Photography

Image by Surrey Lane Photography


Aviator Hotel

Technically on the borders between Surrey and Hampshire, the Aviator hotel is a world away from a traditional ‘wedding’ venue. It’s super modern and slick with an extra helping of fancy! Positioned to capture the most impressive views of the neighbouring private TAG Farnborough Airport, 50ft from ground level the Sky Lounge is a versatile space designed to leave a lasting impression. Designed to host wedding ceremonies, wedding breakfasts and evening receptions, the Sky Lounge’s versatility means it can be designated for your personal use for the duration of your wedding to host and entertain guests. Architected as the premier event space at Aviator, the 4th floor at Aviator can also be used exclusively with the Sky Lounge, 4th floor rotunda and atrium and 19 luxurious Sky Suites, creating a contemporary setting for sophisticated weddings.

Image from Aviator Website

Image from Aviator Website

Northbrook Park

The perfect Surrey country wedding venue: this historic grade-II listed, 18th Century manor house, surrounded by manicured gardens, and handily located just outside of London, is ideal for wedding ceremonies, breakfasts and receptions up to 250 guests. Set within 120 acres of tranquil Surrey countryside, this stunning grade II-listed, 18th Century manor house, on its own estate, is this picture-perfect country house wedding venue.

Image by Natalie J Weddings

Image by Natalie J Weddings


SUSSEX

South Lodge Hotel & Spa

Beautifully set in 93 acres of Sussex parkland with panoramic views of the South downs, South Lodge is an idyllic location for a celebration to remember for the rest of your life. Private banqueting suites sharing a marble foyer area lead to a flowered terrace, rolling lawns and the beautiful lake. Offering the perfect setting is very important, our banqueting suites are licensed for your civil wedding or commitment ceremony. The suites and rooms at South Lodge are an irresistible fusion of the past and present. Every room is individually styled and designed so that no two are the same, with gorgeous soft furnishings, plump cushions and quirky furniture.

Image by Lisa Beaney

Image by Lisa Beaney


Alexander House Hotel Utopia & Spa

With four stunning ceremony and reception suites, a bespoke outdoor wedding gazebo, and a beautiful 120 acre estate for prime photo opportunities, our luxury wedding venue in West Sussex is the perfect setting for an unforgettable day for up to 90 day guests and 200 evening guests. Walk down the aisle, exchange vows, and celebrate your love surrounded by unparalleled beauty. One of the most distinguished wedding venues outside of London, Alexander House Hotel & Utopia Spa offers award-winning service, elegant interiors and grand architecture.

Image via The Wedding Secret

Image via The Wedding Secret


The Ravenswood

Set in the heart of the Ashdown Forest in Sharpthorne, West Sussex, The Ravenswood offers 18 acres of landscaped lawns, gardens and lakes.  These beautiful surroundings create an unforgettable atmosphere for your wedding party and their guests. There are three suites that can be used for your celebrations: The Princess Beatrice Suite (named after the daughter of Queen Victoria, who once lived here), The Jacobean Suite and The Baronial Hall.  They can cater up to 150 guests for your Wedding Breakfast and up to 300 guests for your evening party.  The Little Castle is perfect for those wishing to have their ceremony outside.

Image from Ravenswood Website

Image from Ravenswood Website


Goodwood House

Goodwood House lies at the heart of the Estate. Surrounded by stunning parkland, its opulent Regency interiors form the backdrop to one of the country’s finest art collections. As a family home it has a warm and welcoming atmosphere, a wedding here will be a relaxed yet special affair. The Goodwood Hotel offers a comfortable nights stay in chic surroundings, or for a night of luxury for you and your close wedding party, Hound Lodge is our exclusive-use luxury lodge. You and your guests will receive the very warmest of welcomes. With your own butler and chef you will not have to lift a finger as you are treated to everything you could possibly need. Your very own vintage bus, or defenders will be on hand to transport you and your guests around the Estate and make your wedding that little bit more special.

Image from Goodwood House Website

Image from Goodwood House Website


Amberley Castle

Nestled in the heart of the rolling South Downs lies a picturesque venue waiting to be discovered. Tucked behind a sixty-foot curtain wall in 12 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and gardens, is the magical backdrop for your dream wedding. Whether you picture a romantically intimate gathering of your nearest and dearest or the decadence of your own private castle for a weekend, Amberley Castle offers everything you need for your special day. With 19 resplendent bedrooms, all luxuriously appointed and lovingly in-keeping with 900 years of history, Amberley Castle is the perfect retreat for you and your guests.

Image from Amberley Castle Website

Image from Amberley Castle Website


Balcombe Place

A Balcombe Place wedding can be a traditional fairy-tale or a wild and eccentric affair - maybe even a little of both. A private home situated along a private drive, with far reaching views over landscaped gardens, Balcombe Place is ready for you to make your very own. There are no hard and fast rules at Balcombe, although there are some guidelines, but the beauty of Balcombe Place is that it is your home away from home, and therefore it is down to you how you use the space.

With an array of enticing suppliers at your finger tips, an open mind and an unrivalled support network they are ready to help you create a day that you will remember for your lifetime. With five stunning reception rooms, formal gardens and the privacy of the surrounding estate, Balcombe Place is flexible to your needs and wants. You can decide how you would like to use the house and grounds for your wedding, inside or outside, formal and traditional or something quirky and relaxed. There are seven stunning bedrooms at Balcombe Place to use for your bridal party.

Image by Sarah London Photography

Image by Sarah London Photography


Froyle Park

A specialist Hampshire weddings and events venue, just outside of London, set in a magnificent 11th Century Jacobean manor and surrounded by 80 acres of rolling Hampshire countryside. This magnificent estate, located near the quaint village of Upper Froyle and surrounded by 80 acres of parkland, rolling hills, and sheep-dotted fields, is the quintessential country wedding or events venue. The elegant outdoor dome, with a backdrop of panoramic views of the Hampshire countryside, is perfect for wedding ceremonies, with seating for up to 240 guests.

Image by Real Simple Wedding Photography

Image by Real Simple Wedding Photography

Has bridal fashion been inspired by Meghan Markle & Princess Eugenie?

Meghan Markle & Princess Eugenie Wedding Dress Inspiration…

One of the most common questions asked when guests arrive to our boutique is “do you think the royal weddings have influenced bridal fashion”? In a very simple word – yes. When we first opened our boutique in April 2018, there was hardly any demand for super sleek and simple gowns in mikado or satin.

Photo Source - TimesLIVE

Photo Source - TimesLIVE

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - People Magazine

Photo Source - People Magazine

Six months later in the autumn and into winter, there has been a huge change in bridal fashion, I believe inspired by our two beautiful members of the royal family, Meghan and Eugenie. Markle’s simple Givenchy wedding dress was demure and elegant from head to toe in a figure-hugging fabric that showed her lean and statuesque figure with full sleeves. Her evening gown for her reception was also a simple gown with clean lines and crisp finish. It was a glorious halter neck that made a statement feature of her beautiful shoulders and slim figure.

Her stunning tiara and extra extra long veil has also inspired our designers to up their ‘sparkle’ game and we’ve been seeing an increase in popularity for BIG tiaras as well as new ranges of veils that are now available in ‘abbey’ length to rival Markle’s exquisite veil. They are over 3ft longer than the cathedral veils we stock so definitely pack a punch!

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Eugenie wore a stunning satin off the shoulder gown with a gloriously long train and again it had full sleeves. I think this has certainly inspired the next year of bridal fashion as brides aren’t afraid to have a little more train than they may have normally chosen. Interestingly, Eugenie chose not to have a veil and instead gave all the attention to an awe-inspiring emerald tiara, a loan from her majesty – how kind!

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Photo Source - Cosmopolitan

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

Photo Source - Hello Magazine

I also think it made a lot of us look back to Kate’s wedding dress when she married Prince William back in 2014 and remember how drop dread gorgeous her gown was designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen. The long lace sleeves, plunging neckline and exquisite skirt and train. The world fell in love with her style all over again! Kate’s evening gown was also to die for, again in simple satin accessorised with a beautiful long-sleeved angora shrug.

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - Brides.com

Photo Source - rd.com

Photo Source - rd.com

Photo Source - people.com

Photo Source - people.com

Our wedding dress shop in Surrey is now know for having a very varied selection of gowns, all different from one another and these include some gowns inspired by our Duchess and Princess. Our wedding dress designers Modeca, Ella Rosa and Phil Collins all have some gorgeous bridal gowns that embody simplicity and are truly stunning and effortless. You can see some of the designs we carry below in the royal gallery!

A lot of girls also have a preference for some sort of sleeve or strap on their wedding dress. Strapless gowns have a beautiful and clean finish but 90% of our brides prefer a little more coverage, just like the royals. We carry a range of dresses with wide straps, off the shoulder straps, thin delicate beaded straps and illusion necklines as well as strapless dresses.

As we offer completely private appointments for our brides and their tribes, with a fun yet relaxed and completely no-pressure environment, we are recommended at some of Surrey, Sussex and London’s most beautiful venues that are fit for a royal occasion! These venues include – Wotton House, Hartsfield Manor, Burford Bride, Gate Street Barn, Denbies Wine Estate, Gildings Barn, Kingswood Golf Club, Nutfield Priory Hotel & Spa, Russets Country House, Leonardslee Lakes & Gardens, Kent House Knightsbridge and Patrick’s Barn.

For more inspiration on finding your perfect wedding dress, whether that means channelling inspiration  from our royal family or creating your own unique look from boho to barbie, follow us on Instagram and Facebook and keep up to date with our wedding dresses and visit our beautiful bridal boutique in Surrey for your exclusive appointment.

Hannah & Team

    

An Interview with a Bridal Designer...

Today I was lucky enough to talk to the brains behind the incredible bridal brand Modeca which came to be in 1946 in the Netherlands. I spoke with both the designer himself, Alden Misolas and the amazing Helena who has been with Modeca for years and heads up the marketing for this sensational brand. See below our questions and their answers to find out more about this Dutch powerhouse!

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Can you tell me about how MODECA came to be?

Modeca Bridal has come a long way; they first started in 1946 in Oldenzaal, The Netherlands, as a little shop that sold lace, buttons and other little haberdashery. After a while, Modeca successfully moved on and started designing hand crafted bridal designs. From that point on, the business has completely flourished!

Today, Modeca is run by Dick van Zutphen, the owner and director of this well-established Dutch bridal house. In 2016 Modeca Europe celebrated 70 years in business and our international partners celebrated in this success with us.

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Where do you take your inspiration from?

Alden Misolas is the head of design at Modeca Bridal, responsible for all bridal collections under the Modeca Bridal umbrella: Modeca Collection, Curves by Modeca, Le Papillon by Modeca, Jazz by Modeca.

"Before I start a collection, I first gather all kinds of inspiration that might inspire me when designing dresses. I closely watch what the trends of the season are in ready-to-wear, as well as in haute couture. That way I can apply modern details to my dresses. I am also very much influenced by the works of leading fashion designers such as Christian Dior, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Lacroix, just to name a few here. They also have a big impact on my creations."

Do you design with a certain style/type of bride in mind?

"My designs are always destined to all types of women," says Alden Misolas. "I try to make the collection as varied as it can be, without missing the specific handwriting that belongs to the collection itself. It is always a joy for me to see that the dresses are worn by all types of body shape. Each bride deserves to feel beautiful - especially on her wedding day”.

What does it mean to be a MODECA bride?

A Modeca Bride shines bright because of happiness and self confidence in her dress. We like to bring magic to each and every dress and each and every bride with our designs and attention to detail. We truly believe that it is more important to notice the bride behind the dress than the other way around!

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What was your inspiration for your 2019/20 collection?

With our 2019 collections, we tried to differentiate the Modeca Collection with the Le Papillon by Modeca line even more than in past years. The Modeca Collection is the main collection of Dutch bridal house Modeca and has always been classy of with a hint of sexiness, without being over the top. Le Papillon by Modeca is a young collection; it is wearable and affordable Dutch couture.

Jazz by Modeca will stay as a 'separates line' with a fun and flirtatious feel. Brides can play with different combinations of body tops with skirts and pants. This year we introduced a plain crepe dress that can be combined with three different tops which will also create three different looks. It’s a fashion forward collection for a fashionable bride."


Tell me why you started MODECA CURVE?

"This season we introduced the beautiful Modeca Collection - Curves," the designer explains. We started with a small capsule collection of about 9 dresses, starting from size UK18. The idea behind this collection is to give curvy brides a beautiful, well detailed dress with sophisticated sexiness. I truly believe that curvy brides deserve to have the same amount of attention as every dress we offer. The Curves collection offers the same detailed beadings and embellishments that you would expect from a glamorous and well designed gown.

Since we all have been working on the designs for the 2020 season, it is my great pleasure to announce that Modeca will change the capsule to an independent collection, called 'Curves by Modeca' which will be launched in 2019 ready for 2020."

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What is your favourite MODECA gown from any year and any collection and WHY? 

"I am not sure if I can truly point on a favourite gown...," Alden Misolas starts thinking. "Since I started in bridal design, it became my passion to cultivate ways of working creatively with shapes and colour as most traditional wedding dresses are ivory..

I work with all kinds of fabrics, weather it’s soft chiffon or taffeta or mikado. I love creating soft dresses but also voluminous ones; each kind has its own appeal. I mostly go with the flow, working with the elements available whilst considering new trends in bridalwear. Right now, we’re focusing on soft and luxurious fabrics that can be voluminous but also lightweight."

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Because our designer couldn’t pinpoint his favourite gown, I’ll take the liberty of doing it for him and say that for me, right now, my absolute favourite is ELEANORA! The soft smokey pastel grey shade combined with pale salmon pink flowers and ink blue leaves is absolutely exquisite! (See below!)

Hannah x

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