In the Press

Tudor Ball at Bickleigh Castle – Tatler Magazine

Tatler

Late one Saturday night, Lord Fellowes of West Stafford and Lady Hutchinson took a torchlight stroll to the Great Hall of Bickleigh Castle, where they discovered Lady Mountbatten enjoying pigeon pie and Christina Hill Williams (a former High Sheriff of Berkshire) admiring Lachlan MacKinnon’s decadent robes.

Had they gone back in time to the days of Henry VIII? Almost. The reality was that Robert and Sarah Hay were celebrating 10 years of their custodianship of the 11th-century castle with a Tudor Banquet, which made the 104 year old guest of honour, the Dowager Baroness Killearn, feel quite the spring chicken.

Tudor Ball at Bickleigh Castle – Devon Life Magazine

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Bickleigh Castle was transformed back to its roots for a Tudor Ball hosted by owners Robert and Sarah Hay to celebrate their tenth anniversary as owners of the castle. Guest of honour for the ball was Lord Julian Fellowes, writer of the television series Downton Abbey and an Oscar winner for his screenplay for Gosford Park.

Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes reveals wedding secret at Tudor Ball

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The owners of a historic Devon castle have celebrated ten years in residence with a Tudor Ball attended by Downton Abbey creator Lord Julian Fellowes.

Guests in Tudor costume packed the Great Hall at Bickleigh Castle on Saturday night as Sarah and Robert Hay marked a decade of hard work restoring and running the riverside estate, parts of which date back to the 11th century.

View the full article on Western Morning News

Happily Ever After

Ross literally fell for the girl next door when Hayley moved in to the house next to him. “He helped me to move some furniture one day, and we were pretty much inseparable from that day on,” explains Hayley. “He gradually made the short move across the front lawn and in to live with me, bit by bit, before we bought our own home in 2011.”

Gareth & Lisa Judd

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Our wedding day at Bickleigh Castle was even more amazing than we could have even imagined.

For a starry-eyed soirée…

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A rich sense of history is palpable as soon as you spy the turrets of Bickleigh Castle peeping through dense woodland in a tranquil corner of Devon. One of the county’s most historic listed properties, the 11th century castle lies amidst a secluded valley; mature trees, beautiful gardens and a huddle of pretty thatched cottages cluster around the majestic building, while the resident ducks skim across the moat and wander its banks.

West Country Wedding Awards Finalists 2013

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Bickleigh Castle has been nominated and placed in the final 6 Devon Venues for the ‘Westcountry Wedding Awards’ 2013.

View this full Article in West Country Wedding Awards

Love In Lavender

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Wendy and Mick first met over 20 years ago, but their lives drifted in different directions and they lost touch for over a decade.

Bickleigh Castle proved the perfect setting for the big family bash the couple envisioned. “Bickleigh Castle is the most magical, romantic setting for a wedding and once we had seen it nowhere else would do!” says Wendy. “It was exclusively ours for the whole weekend so when guests arrived it was like being in a wonderful holiday complex but knowing everyone there – fabulous!” In homage to Mick’s Irish heritage, they even arranged for an Irish and English flag to fly from the tower!

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An opulent purple and gold colour scheme carried through the details of the day. Pots of lavender were scattered throughout the castle, a sprig of lavender was attached to each chair, and small bunches of dried lavender and wheat tied with gold ribbon made for fragrant favours.

Flanked by her bridesmaids – including her eight-year-old daughter Milly who was chief bridesmaid – Wendy’s nerves evaporated as she walked down the aisle in her gorgeous Maggie Sottero gown. Following the civil ceremony, the congregation made their way to the castle’s historic chapel for the couple’s dedication. “This was particularly special as it was led by my father who is a ley preacher,” says Wendy.

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A jazz trio played in the grounds as guests enjoyed canapés and bubbly. A wedding breakfast of roast lamb with all the trimmings and chocolate brownies with ice cream was served by one of the day’s best-kept secrets – singing waiters! “We had chosen six classic songs that everyone would know and the shocked, confused faces of our guests soon disappeared and people were then up dancing and singing and having a ball – the atmosphere was incredible!” says Wendy.

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The speeches proved a particularly memorable moment as Milly wrote and delivered her own loving dedication to the couple. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” remembers Wendy.

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The evening revelry comprised a disco, fun casino and hog roast – and another superb surprise. “Mick and I were up on a balcony and as I threw the bouquet into the crowd another well kept secret started – a spectacular firework display! It was sensational and everybody loved it.”

Looking back on their festivities, which continued on the Sunday, Wendy muses: “It was truly dreamlike. We loved every single moment of it and will cherish the memories forever. I wish we could do all of it all over again!”

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Following drinks and canapés on the lawn, the couple cut the three-tier white chocolate and summer berries cheesecake before sitting down to the wedding breakfast of crab salad and fillet of beef. A traditional fruitcake – made by Rachel’s mother – was served later in the evening.

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Despite nerves, the couple’s dance routine to Michael Bublé’s ‘Just Haven’t Met You Yet’ went down a treat, and live band ‘Jive Jacks’ ensured the dance floor was grooving into the early hours. A firework display made a magnificent finale to the day.

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The Venue
Bickleigh Castle, Tiverton
01884 855363
www.bickleighcastle.com   

The Dress
Maggie Sottero from Pirouette
01392 432643
www.pirouettethecollection.com

The Flowers
Westcountry Wedding Flowers
01884 855309
www.westcountryweddingflowers.co.uk

Photography
Evolve Photo
07585 333233
www.evolvephoto.co.uk

© copyright WED Magazine 2012

A Spanish Flavor

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Rachel and Nico first met at a friend’s 40th birthday party, and a Christmas Day proposal followed.

Spanish-born Nico and Rachel, who has links to Devon, wanted to bring a European twist to their romantic English castle wedding. “We decided we wanted to get married in England but we loved the way that the wedding celebrations run for several days in Europe, rather than just one day, so we decided to bring the two ideas together. Bickleigh Castle was perfect as we had exclusive use of the estate for the entire weekend,” says Rachel.

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The night before the wedding, the couple hosted a lively tapas evening with mouthwatering Spanish dishes. This proved a fabulous way of introducing guests before the wedding day.

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Rachel’s duchess satin silk Caroline Castigliano dress and satin-edged veil oozed a chic look of timeless elegance. Nico’s Scottish heritage was reminiscent in the purple thistles used for the buttonholes and bridesmaids’ hair accessories; they also featured in Rachel’s bouquet of freesia, Singapore orchids and roses.

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Rain clouds in the morning gave way to sunshine just in time for the civil ceremony in the great hall. The couple then received a blessing in the intimate, romantic setting of the sixth century chapel. “Spending our first few minutes as husband and wife in the armoury, while we waited to make our entrance together in the chapel, was a real highlight,” says Rachel. “We could hear our recessional music from Sigur Ros playing upstairs. Brilliant!”

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Following drinks and canapés on the lawn, the couple cut the three-tier white chocolate and summer berries cheesecake before sitting down to the wedding breakfast of crab salad and fillet of beef. A traditional fruitcake – made by Rachel’s mother – was served later in the evening.

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Despite nerves, the couple’s dance routine to Michael Bublé’s ‘Just Haven’t Met You Yet’ went down a treat, and live band ‘Jive Jacks’ ensured the dance floor was grooving into the early hours. A firework display made a magnificent finale to the day.

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The Venue
Bickleigh Castle, Tiverton
01884 855363
www.bickleighcastle.com

The Dress
Catherine Castigliano
www.carolinecastigliano.co.uk

The Flowers
Westcountry Wedding Flowers
01884 855309
www.westcountryweddingflowers.co.uk

Photography
Harrera Images
07795 608941
www.harreraimages.co.uk

© copyright WED Magazine 2011

Castle of Dreams

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Ben and l met about six years ago through a mutual friend. He was a manager of a bar l frequented and we met properly one evening there, sparks flew and the rest is history! Our first ‘official’ date was pretty low key; l think we went for a pizza and then cocktails on the King’s Road in London.

How did you meet? And tell us about your first date!

Ben and l met about six years ago through a mutual friend. He was a manager of a bar l frequented and we met properly one evening there, sparks flew and the rest is history! Our first ‘official’ date was pretty low key; l think we went for a pizza and then cocktails on the King’s Road in London. By that point we knew each other pretty well so there was no pressure, thank goodness.

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Tell us about the proposal and how did it happen?

Ben was asked by his company to move to Singapore after only a year of us dating, and once I’d decided to move along with “him, l joined him in Singapore. We had been in Singapore for about a year when, one morning, l woke to find a beautiful parcel addressed to me with two tickets to Beijing inside. It was a wonderful surprise, made even better once we got there as Ben got down on one knee on The Great Wall of China and proposed with a beautiful diamond engagement ring! It was certainly very romantic and memorable.

The wedding at Bickleigh Castle could not have been better. We made the wise decision of hiring the Castle for the whole weekend, hosting a barbeque for close friends on Friday night before the wedding day on Saturday. Most of the guests also stayed on- site and were able to get together again on Sunday for breakfast, which ensured that it was an ongoing celebration for us. As Ben & I live in Singapore it was such a great opportunity for us on the Friday to catch up with old friends and family members that we had not seen for a long time, without rushing around on our wedding day to try and make sure that we had spoken to everyone.

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The wedding day was very exciting for me. I had my bridesmaids, mother and grandmother with me in the morning; we enjoyed the whole process of getting ready together and having our hair done. The ceremony itself was not until 2pm, so I had enough time to enjoy the whole process from start to finish without stressing too much!

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The day was excellent, things went smoothly and the weather was hot and sunny, so we got very Iucky there. A highlight of the day was the speeches: my stepdad made a very moving speech, which got all the ladies in the room crying; Ben also had prepared something great, and his best man, Jay gave the most hilarious speech, which went down really well – I was in hysterics at some of the stories and jokes he came up with. Ben and I are party animals so the night ended at around 5am for us; our friends certainly all had a great time, and all our guests couldn’t say enough good things about the whole weekend. We were thrilled with the event, but sad it was all over.

The honeymoon.

We spent our honeymoon back in Asia, in a place called Krabi, off ThaiIand. We stayed in the five-star Pimalal Resort on Koh Lanta – it was just stunning. The views were incredible and the resort was to die for; we wanted somewhere quiet and relaxing, and we certainly got that and more.

Best bits

I think, overall, the best part of the day for me was actually walking down the aisle in the Great Hall and saying my vows to Ben in front of everybody. It was made more special by having a religious blessing afterwards in the 6th-century Chapel at Bickleigh Castle, which was just beautiful.

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