Naomi & Stuart’s Swynford Manor Wedding

Written by Emma Hla
Images by Tom Halliday.
Forget the rules!

Naomi and Stuart created their own day and we couldn’t love it more. You won’t find the usual wedding traditions here my friend – there’s no bouquet, no first dance and no ‘giving away’ of the bride. There is however, a beautiful bespoke dress, a personal ceremony, leather jackets, pie & mash and a cocktail hour.

Over to Naomi to tell us all about their Ibiza Glam wedding at Swynford Manor

Notes from the Bride

Naomi says…

We chose Swynford Manor because it was the only venue we found that had a modern, glam feel about it, everything else was either rustic, traditional or corporate and had been seen a million times before. We loved the black and white colour scheme and grand chandeliers. We also loved the accommodation with the copper baths!

We needed a glam venue for our theme – Ibiza glam! We wanted the vibe of a black tie event whilst still being fun and relaxed.

Swynford Manor doesn’t require much decorating, it is stunning as it is, which was part of the charm. We had white Chinese paper lanterns on the trees outside. I made black confetti cones with our personalized gold wax seal on that we used on our invites and hung them on the ceremony chairs. We added candles to the lobby fireplace and black lanterns with white rose petals on the stairwell. We also had a memory table with framed photos of loved ones that sadly couldn’t be with us on the day. The table was positioned at the front with us during our ceremony and then moved to the Orangery for the reception so they were with us at all times! We also had a wish tree on the table in the bar area which served as a modern alternative to a guestbook but also added decoration.

For the ceremony we had a white aisle runner with white rose petals down either side, a black lantern either side at the start of the aisle and we placed our top table flowers on the fireplace hearth. I made our table plan which had mini polaroid’s of each of the guests, you had to find your face to find your place!

We used very little flowers in our wedding, I didn’t even have a bouquet! I made the top table flowers with artificial white hydrangeas in black rectangular wooden boxes in the sale from H&M! We had 3 across the length of the top table, which also doubled up as ceremony flowers earlier in the day and now feature in our bedroom at home as a daily reminder of our special day! The buttonholes were white calla lilies with black button details for the groom and pearl button detailing for the Mother of the Bride. The Maid of Honour bouquet was a gold cage with a white orchid trailing through it which I also made myself.

I designed my wedding dress as I had very particular ideas of what I wanted. It was stressful and a few design aspects were lost in translation but overall I was really pleased with the end result. I knew I didn’t want lace or satin and when I started this a lot of bridal shops didn’t have a single dress to offer me which was really frustrating.

After numerous failed appointments, I visited Abigail’s Collection in Colchester and, after trying a number of dresses, they suggested I design my own dress. The boutique said they could send my designs to a designer they worked with in Italy who used to work for Vera Wang – I had always wanted a Vera Wang dress so I was ecstatic and felt my dress would be in safe hands!

I had a custom head piece made to my design by a local designer who is a friend of the family. I showed her images of aspects I wanted to include and sketches of how I wanted it to look and she made the most beautiful pearl and feather comb. It was one of my fave elements of the outfit. I also personalised some leather jackets for my sister and I to wear which we absolutely loved!

Stuart wore a bespoke suit by Anthony Formal Wear. He designed a modern take on the Tux consisting of a grey jacket with black lapels and black trousers. He had the lining of his collar made in purple as it’s my favorite colour and had our wedding date stitched on the inside pocket which were both lovely touches. As an avid gamer he also got ‘Game Over’ stitched on the inside of his collar! I didn’t see Stuart’s outfit until the ceremony as I wanted to be surprised and it was a lovely moment. I’d recommend it to other brides, with so much of the day planned to perfection it was a nice surprise.

We purposefully booked a celebrant as opposed to a registrar so we could make the ceremony personal and fun and not have to worry about the registrar rushing off to make their next appointment! Vashti was great and came to our house to meet with us and find out about our story and how we wanted the ceremony to go. She took our guests through our entire relationship journey from how we met, our first place together, our engagement, right up to the wedding day. We didn’t agree with the part where the Father of the Bride gives the Bride away so she gave my dad some special words to say which was really nice.

We didn’t have a first dance! Instead we kicked off the reception with Ellie Sax, a sax player with a light up rainbow saxophone! I knew the moment we got engaged that I wanted an Ibiza style sax player to play at our wedding reception. She was amazing and worked well with our DJ. It meant that even those who didn’t want to get up and dance had something to entertain them.

We designed our own menu as I didn’t want the usual meat and two veg option and we are both massive foodies, so it was an important part of the day for us. The venue was great at taking on board our suggestions and presented the food beautifully. We wanted food that not only we loved to eat but that our guests would enjoy too, as well as including some of our fave dishes. We opted for a warm scotch egg with tomato compote to start followed by individual shortcrust chicken, ham & leak pies with creamy mash and spring greens served with individual jugs of gravy (cheese, potato and leak for the veggies which was equally tasty) and a New York cheesecake with chocolate bon bon for dessert (both Stuart and I love cheesecake!). Our guests all commented on how great the food was!

We chose to have a cocktail hour in Byron Bar 7 – 8pm which went down a storm! I’m not a big drinker but I love a good cocktail and it was another original element to the day that the guests could enjoy

Best part of the day

I particularly enjoyed the Shoe Game! It was so much fun and a great way for our guests to get to know us a little bit better. So many guests were surprised with some of the answers we gave that they still talk about it now! For anyone that isn’t familiar with the Shoe Game, it is like the paddle round of Mr & Mrs but instead of holding up pink and blue paddles, you hold up one each of the bride and grooms shoes whilst sitting back to back!

A stand out moment was when the Best Man couldn’t get the rings out of the pouch and we struggled to get the rings on each other but it made the ceremony all the more fun and entertaining!

From one bride to another…

Stay true to who you are, don’t let other people influence or dictate what you must have/do/invite, there are no rules, it’s your day, do it your way! Also, allow more time than you think for bridal prep, things will take longer than you think and if they don’t you will have some precious time to relax with your bridal party.

If you can’t find the dress of your dreams, create it, don’t settle!


Venue Swynford Manor

Photography Tom Halliday

Bridesmaids Polka Bridal

Groom’s Attire Anthony Formal Wear

Make Up Artist Tasha Make Up Artist

Rings Coo Jewellers

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