Rustic Charm Meets English Country Glamour at Calke Abbey

Written by Emma Hla
Images by Humpston & Bull.

The Riding School at Calke Abbey is the most amazing ‘blank canvas’ and is described as the National Trusts’ ‘unstately’ estate.

It is surrounded by 600 acres of lush parkland, ancient woodlands and ponds filled with deer, long horn cattle and rare bread sheep. Frozen in time, Calke Abbey and it’s Riding school genuinely is one of the most charming and beautiful wedding venues in the British isles!

Its location, size, shape and furnishings perfectly allow every couple to add their own style and personality. This venue has some rather lovely custodians in the form of wedding planners Honeysuckle & Castle and because this venue offers so much decorative freedom, they are regularly asked by their couples “How would you style and decorate the venue..?”

So, staying true to the ethos of Calke Abbey and all that they hold dear, they have ‘restyled’ the Riding School in a way that would both inspire their clients and demonstrate its dynamic versatility.

Notes from Honeysuckle & Castle


The old Riding School is full of charm, character and quirky features allowing couples to add their own style and personality.

We at Honeysuckle & Castle, the proud exclusive wedding coordinators for this National Trust property, are thrilled to be surrounded by the most marvellous team of wedding companies from across the East Midlands who worked with us to transform this prestigious, exposed brick, white washed walled, rustic barn.

In order to enhance its rustic charm we used luxurious metallic gold and midnight blue touches throughout and working with the amazing Wild Thyme we brought the outdoors in.

The fabulous Fabric Theatre draped our amazing venue and along with the most perfect script which was elegantly set from the high Georgian windows thanks to the very talented Polly & Me, created the perfect backdrop for this stunning shoot and for any wedding.

The tables were dressed with antique gold sequin cloths, and beautifully cascading foliage garlands and en-masse floral centre’s, staggered venetian tall candle sticks, stunning glassware with intricate gold detailing, midnight blue napkins and delicately placed handmade name cards and favours along with the thoughtful touches and precious props from Posh Props this really added to the opulent nature of the shoot. To complement the perfect table setting the lovely Polly & Me created beautiful handmade table stationery.

Thanks to Yummy Little Cakes we had wonderful handmade blue watercolour macarons, white chocolates, meringue favours and cake pops. The most extravagant four tier wedding cake took centre stage sitting on a stunning midnight blue sequin table cloth offsetting the gold perfectly.

The amazing bridal gown designer, Elizabeth Malcolm, created three dazzling gowns especially for the occasion which perfectly enhanced the colour palette and the rustic theme. To connect with the outdoors, a very natural, almost wild and undressed look was created by the bridal hair team. With loose body and shine an abundance of flowers were placed to accentuate the style.

Humpston & Bull not only captured The Riding School perfectly but also showcased the stunning and extensive grounds of Calke Abbey which we are very excited to be able to share with you.


Venue The Riding School at Calke Abbey | Photography Humpston & Bull | Floristry Wild Thyme | Dresses Elizabeth Malcolm Bridalwear | Hair Sarah McCarthy Wedding Hair Design | Make-up Made Up Makeup and Beauty by Claire | Stationery Polly & Me | Chair Sashes & Linen Wedding Event Design Studio | Table Glassware & Decorations Pumpkin Events | Cake Yummy Little Cakes | Props Posh Props | Drapes Fabric Theatre | Chairs Peaktipis | Special Thanks to Model Annie Andrews.

Lots of love…

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