Harriet & Stuart’s Blossom Romance at Highcliffe Castle

Written by Caitlin Hoare
Harriet and Stuart’s luxurious, blossom-filled wedding at Highcliffe Castle is perfect for all the spring-loving hearts out there.

Built in the 1830s, this magnificent Dorset wedding venue is a unique blend of Medieval, Renaissance and Gothic revival features, culminating in a magical, sun-soaked Wintergarden (a personal fave) and 30ft-high Great Hall where Harriet and Stuart exchanged vows and enjoyed a delicious first meal together as a married couple.

Whilst most of us are starting to tune into autumn, there’s still something wonderful about looking ahead to fresh beginnings and the joys of spring, especially when it involves a bloomin’ beautiful wedding such as this!

Notes from the Bride

Harriet says…

We visited five venues when planning our wedding, but as soon as we saw Highcliffe, we knew this was the one for us. I have lived local to Highcliffe all my life and always had my sights set on it for my wedding, but as soon as we visited it properly, it blew us away. The winter garden really stole it for us – but the whole venue’s feel is so special.

I wore a bespoke Suzanne Neville gown with removable puff sleeves for the ceremony. My dress and veil were from Anna Bridal in Ringwood, and the ladies here were brilliant – they instantly knew the vision I was hoping for and pieced it together perfectly.

I had a pearl theme for my accessories. I wore pearl-covered Jimmy Choo shoes and had some beautiful pearl drop earrings I found from a lovely little boutique online. I chose not to wear any other jewellery to keep the look classic.

I had the most wonderful hair and makeup artists on the morning of the wedding – I really could not have asked for better. My bridesmaids and I had a classic, glowy makeup look and a loose, curly updo to complement my bridesmaids’ half-up hairstyles. My bridesmaids wore beautiful champagne floor-length dresses with pearl stud earrings. They had clusters of white gypsophila fitted into their hair to match the theme of the whole wedding.

My husband wore a lovely contrasting three-piece suit, a sand-coloured waistcoat and jacket, and contrasting dark navy trousers and tie. He and his groomsmen looked handsome in their complementing outfits.

We wanted an utterly classic theme for our wedding day, with the main colour scheme being cream and green, with slight hints of champagne gold. Our ceremony décor blew us away. We had large cream blossom trees at the end of each row of seating, with gold lanterns and open candles scattered amongst these. We then had white confetti petals while walking back down the aisle. We did this as we couldn’t have confetti outside, but in hindsight, I would never want to change it. It was a lovely way to walk back down the aisle and gave us some of our favourite photographs of the day!

Our classic ‘cream and green’ theme ran throughout the day – our wonderful suppliers moved lots of our décor throughout the day, which meant it had multiple uses and kept the theme flowing perfectly.

Maria from Simply Flower did all of our décor, including our floral arrangements, bouquets, table setups… literally everything! She was our leading supplier for the whole day and was just out of this world. Not only did she source and provide everything for us, but she arranged it beautifully on the day and had our vision in mind the whole time. Maria was in the background throughout, moving decorations from the ceremony room to outside, then into the wedding breakfast hall so they could be enjoyed all day. She really did go above and beyond, and we are so grateful for her.

We went for Merlin’s Catering as we knew they knew the castle well and came very highly recommended. They were brilliant – from the canapés to the three-course meal, to the evening buffet, EVERYONE commented on how delicious the food was all day. We were delighted as we know wedding food doesn’t always have the best reputation, so it was lovely to be memorable for all the right reasons! The breaded brie starter was out of this world – I could eat that again every day.

Our wedding cake was a stunning four-tier cake with white buttercream, fresh white roses, and artificial gypsophila to match the theme. Each tier had a different flavour (Victoria sponge, lemon curd, red velvet and chocolate) and was absolutely delicious. Our cake maker, Suzy, was incredible – she put so much into our cake and is the loveliest lady to work with.

We have known Rachel Elizabeth Photography for a few years, and from the moment we got engaged, we knew we wanted her to capture our day! It was absolutely the right decision – Rachel is a highly talented photographer, the loveliest person, and someone you will want to have around on your big day! Rachel fitted into the day perfectly – she chatted with the bridesmaids throughout the morning, managed to keep us all calm, mingled with all the guests, and captured the happiness and feel of the day from start to finish. Her photos have blown us away – they are more than we could have wished for, and we could not recommend Rachel enough!

Best part of the day

For both of us, our favourite part of the day was that first sip of Prosecco as a married couple after we came out of the ceremony! All the nerves had gone by this point, and we had much to look forward to for the rest of the day. I loved the whole drinks reception, but that first sip of Prosecco hit the spot!

From one couple to another…

Easier said than done, I know, but my top tip would be to not stress over the little things! When the day comes, you are so caught up in this magical whirlwind that you won’t notice if the table plan doesn’t work perfectly for everyone or if you run a few minutes behind schedule. Because you won’t see these things daily, do not waste energy worrying about them in the build-up.

My other advice is to reminisce with your partner as soon as it’s over. When all the guests have gone, get your shoes off and reflect through the whole day whilst it’s still so fresh in your mind. The day goes by in the blink of an eye, and you don’t want to forget a single moment, so this was one of my favourite things that we did.

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