Rachel & Carl’s Wedding at The Walled Garden

Written by Emma Hla
“When you know, you know…”

Wise words from Rachel and Carl, our gorgeous couple in the spotlight today! Their wedding is a feast for the eyes – bright colours, an abundance of flowers, massive smiles and the best Walled Garden wedding venue there is (because I got married here too!)


Notes from the Bride

Rachel says…

When we set out on the adventure of planning our wedding we had NO idea what we were doing… neither one of us had a particularly strong vision of what it would be like and definitely no clue about how to begin.

Unconventionally we picked the date we wanted to get married first, we wanted a Saturday in late July just before we moved to New Zealand. We began calling venues to arrange viewings at places that had our chosen date available. We saw a few places but none helped to clear up our vision of the day or felt like us.

But when we spoke with The Walled Garden at Cowdray they talked about weddings with such passion and enthusiasm that it comforted and inspired us! The team kept the venue open late that day so we could view it immediately – incredible! And later that day, we fell completely in love. It had everything we wanted, gorgeous outdoor spaces (the beautiful garden set next door to the impressive Cowdray ruins), classic rooms with the potential to dress them as you please. The rest of our wedding style stemmed from this secluded country garden and historic building – rustic, meadow-y, traditional but just a touch unconventional.

We wanted a bright and colourful palette to reflect the summer wedding and our personalities. I always wanted to have burgundy bridesmaids’ dresses, just like my Mum! And this led us to shades of blush pink, accents of deep reds, muted mustard and blues.

Our florist, Samantha, from Spriggs, really helped to cement our vision. Samantha knew the venue well and she seemed to “get” us too. She took our mismatch colours and vague ramblings and made them into everything we imagined and more! She created an informal, just gathered look for my bouquet and unique corsages and buttonholes for each person. Our centrepieces were jam jars wrapped in twine on log slices. Samantha filled the jars with meadow flowers and mixed foliage and this was echoed through all our other floral arrangements.

Finding a wedding cake was tough! We wanted a semi-naked cake, nothing fancy – but they were all SO expensive! Luckily we found the answer to our prayers in a quaint coffee shop. CoTea is a quirky bakery/brunch place and the owner dabbles in baking occasion cakes, which are reasonably priced, taste delicious and look stunning!

My 1920s art deco, white gold and diamond engagement ring came from an antique jeweller, Gastby Jewellery. Carl was so impressed with their service we went back there to get our wedding bands.

We were on such a roll with our plans and decisions but when it came to the wedding dress I really struggled. I spent much longer than I expected looking for THE dress. It was not the fairy-tale journey I envisaged. Several dress shops later and countless dresses down the line I arrived at The Boutique dejected and drained. After a quick chat about what I was looking for the ladies pulled out a gorgeous dress with a pleated silk skirt and lace covered bodice. Just like the venue, I fell hard and fast. It was perfect! I bought my veil from The Boutique and my satin shoes from Marks and Spencer’s for a cheap and cheerful £35. Win! My Bridesmaids wore dresses from Wed2B, which offer a small variety of styles in several colours at a very reasonable price.

Off the back of how long it took me to decide on a dress I (heavily) encouraged Carl to start looking at suits. This all sounds incredibly organised but what we failed to realise was that we shopped so early that all the suits available were from the winter season. Less than ideal for a wedding in the height of summer, but Carl fell in love with a dusty blue herringbone tweed suit and there was no going back! Plus Moss Bros. had a tasty offer of ‘buy 4 suits get the 5th free’, so we were able to dress all the groomsmen too.

My hair and make-up was done by Toni Todd, my trial run with her left me SO excited for the day. When it came down to it she really delivered, I felt great on my wedding day and she managed to please all four of bridesmaids with their hair styles whilst keeping our morning to time – not an easy feat!

Our photographer Kirsty is probably the vendor that we were most grateful for. Not only did she capture all the precious moments of our wedding and leave us with these memories that last a lifetime. She went above and beyond, troubleshooting any problem that arose. Kirsty was a friendly and familiar face in times of absolute nerves and emotion, we had spent quite a bit of time getting acquainted with her at our engagement photo shoot. She was much more than our photographer, she was our wedding advocate. Someone who would fight our corner when things seemed to be slipping from our vision as well as someone who would laugh and reassure us that whatever happens, we would have the best day!

We were drawn in by Kirsty’s bubbly nature and documentary style of photography. Her photos are so much more than the image that is captured. They are frozen moments that transport you back to that tearful smile, that secret glance, the joy of that first dance and of course all the silly moments.

Best part of the day

Dancing the night away with our friends and family. Our band was amazing at getting people out on the floor, and keeping them there!

From one couple to another…

Our advice would be to make a planning schedule and not just stick to it, but keep ahead of it. Boring, I know, but typically things don’t always go to plan so it’s nice to have wiggle room.

Doing this helps with our next bit of wisdom: Enjoy yourself! You’re planning what should be the best day of your life, you should enjoy the journey there too!

And lastly: trust your gut. When you know, you know.


Venue The Walled Garden at Cowdray

Photography This & That Photography

Dress Designer Ellis

Bridal Boutique The Boutique

Wedding Rings Gatsby Jewellery

Hair and Make Up Toni Todd

Florist Spriggs the Florist

Cake CoTea

Caterer Kalm Kitchen

Bridesmaid Dresses Wed2B

Groom/Groomsmen Suits Moss Bros.

Entertainment Rollercoaster Function Band