Elegant and Romantic Ascot Wedding

Hannah and Neil's hotel ceremony

The Proposal

Photography by Neale James at Breathe Pictures

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Childhood sweethearts Hannah Green and Neil McClune had been together for ten years, ever since friends made the all-important introductions at secondary school. Neil knew that Hannah wanted a proposal to remember and didn’t fail to deliver. “We were on holiday in Antibes in the south of France, and one evening before dinner we went for a coastal walk. As the sun was setting we sat looking out to sea when Neil got down on one knee,” remembers Hannah. “I was ecstatic and said yes straight away! Unfortunately because we got engaged while the sun was setting, we had to walk back in almost darkness. It could have been the shortest engagement ever if we had fallen into the sea!”

The Wedding Dress

“I wore a raw silk dress by Italian designer Angelina Faccenda. It was strapless with a long fitted body, heart shape neckline and long train covered in beaded detail,” says Hannah. “My earrings were diamond studs that Neil surprised me with the day before our wedding. I wore a new dress, a blue garter, a borrowed cathedral length veil – I loved the glamour of it – and attached an old Victorian brooch from my Grandma to my bouquet!” Hannah added a splash of colour to her ensemble with purple heels.

The Bridal Party

Hannah’s five adult bridesmaids wore full length, strapless Grecian style dresses from Marks and Spencer. Menswear company Stress3Hire especially sourced the Groomsmen’s cravats and hankies to match the sage green of the bridesmaid’s floaty, romantic gowns.

The Wedding Flowers

“I wanted delicate-looking flowers, so I had double lisianthus and freesias in my bridal bouquet,” Hannah explains. “The men had calla lilies for their buttonholes and the bridesmaids had these in their bouquets. For the table centres we added lucky bamboo to the tall vases overflowing with sweetly scented cream lilies.” The flowers all came from Longacres Nursery in nearby Bagshot.

The Wedding Venue

The couple chose historic Englemere in Ascot as the venue for its classic architecture and beautiful grounds. Both the ceremony and celebration were held at Englemere. “We entered from the back of the room, swapping the normal layout around so we entered through the french doors on the terrace and sat by the stunning mantelpiece covered in fresh flowers,” says Hannah.

The Wedding Ceremony

“We had a small civil ceremony, where we read vows we had written ourselves and friends and family read some touching readings,” remembers Hannah. “We chose some meaningful songs for different stages of the ceremony and Stevie Wonder’s ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours’ for the signing of the register!

We made our own ceremony programmes, including a page of our relationship timeline with important events over the 12 years we’d been together. I felt so emotional just before when it was just Dad and I. But as soon as I stepped through the doors I almost sprinted down the aisle I was so excited and keen! I just loved looking around and seeing all the people I love most in one place and all looking so happy. I never wanted the day to end!”

The Wedding Theme

“Our wedding theme was romantic, personalised and fun! We planned our wedding for two years with SugarBlossom
and wanted every detail to be perfect and no decision rushed. SugarBlossom co-ordinated the day and decorated the venue too. They provided the perfect level of support and inspiration,” says Hannah. “We wanted the wedding to be elegant and chic, but with lots of personalised touches. For instance, we had lace handkerchiefs embroidered with our wedding monogram, hung wooden ‘I DO’ letters’, wrote our own vows and framed pictures of our parents on their wedding day.

The Wedding Cake

Hannah and Neil love traditional wedding cake and wanted theirs to taste as good as it looked. They chose a tall, tiered cake made with four different flavours by Patricia Cox. The cake was adorned with handmade sugarwork orchids and pearls. The fun-loving couple waited for their evening guests to arrive before cutting the cake and getting the party underway with their first dance.

The Wedding Reception

An early afternoon ceremony was followed by canapes and cocktails on the terrace with live music from Euphonic. Instead of a formal receiving line, Hannah and Neil opted to mingle with their guests and enjoy the view of Englemere’s grounds. The speeches – including a Hannah and Neil themed version of Ice, Ice Baby performed by the two best men – came before the meal, which was followed by coffee and chocolates outside. Breathe Pictures set up a photobooth and dressing up box in the evening for some very informal fun shots. “We had live music from 2.30pm to midnight when the party finished! It really created a great atmosphere from the duet of slower romantic tunes during the day to Straight Eight, a 10 piece soul band, who got everyone up and dancing all night!

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The Bride’s Top Tips

“Make sure you get an amazing videographer. We used Shaun Folds from Beautiful Life. He is so talented, original and creative. He captured all the special moments of the day without anyone realising he was filming,” says Hannah. “I’d also absolutely recommend using a planner. There are so many details that wedding planners take care of it keeps the planning fun and easy for the bride. Or just having a wedding co-ordinator for the day is so affordable and essential, they do much more than the venue co-ordinators and after spending months planning the day it is great to know everything will be perfect and the logistics left to someone else, while you and the bridal party focus on celebrating!”