An Elegant Wedding at Highclere Castle

highclere castle wedding


Celine and Gavin were married in May at Highclere Castle, West Berkshire. They chose Highclere Castle for its beautiful outside space and separate grand rooms. Of course you may also recognise the house from the Downton Abbey series too.

They wanted their day to be a combination of their Lebanese and UK backgrounds, with traditional and modern elements.

I adore Celine’s beautiful dress, the peonies and the pretty bridesmaids in pink.

Thanks so much to the brilliant Dominic Wright Photography for sharing their images with us today.


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The Proposal… Gavin proposed on my birthday completely unexpectedly during a weekend in dorset over the August bank holiday. After a day spent by the seaside and playing games at the trocadero we indulged in gorgeous French cuisine, and went back to the hotel when he suddenly left the room and disappeared. A few minutes later, the receptionist appeared with a platter on which was a letter and a torch light! (it was 10 pm). The letter was a love declaration and extremely enigmatic clues as to where I should find him. I left the hotel room and got very lost!! When I finally saw giant light arrows in the hotel’s garden on the floor that were showing the way ( I later found out these were fishermen ropes) I followed the path and arrived to a giant tree surrounded by more lights and our favourite song playing in the background. It was magical private and very intimate. He got down on one knee and proposed with the most gorgeous engagement ring! I said yes straight away!

The Vision for the Day… I am Lebanese and Gavin is from the UK. The vision for the day was to have a coming together of both cultures with a traditional yet modern feel. I wanted the guests to be whisked away from one part of the day to the other feel enchanted yet comfortable and at ease. Gavin is a big fan of Alice in Wonderland and so we tried to include little elements to bring back childhood fun and innocence and take everyone down the rabbit hole. We had a sweet trolley, quiz cards, giant jenga and croquet on the lawn etc… With all this it was important for the wedding to remain elegant and timeless.

The Planning Process… I am extremely organised and so there was a giant excel sheet involved and several  to do lists. I started planning a year in advance because the most important thing  was finding the right venue which had to be close to the airport as people were coming from 13 diferent countries. I also wanted the venue to have several rooms but did not want to have to transport guests so Highclere Castle was perfect and we were spoilt for choice between the bridal room, the library the saloon the smoking room and the acres and acres of land lined with cedar trees (the emblem of Lebanon).

It was an international wedding – my dress was made in Canada, my bridesmaid dresses in Lebanon, the evening catering was Lebanese and the rest of the day was traditional British. Our hairdresser and make up artist was one of the guests from Lebanon.

The Venue… Highclere Castle was the perfect setting. Who could resist the beautiful library and diferent rooms and green outside space. The coordinator there was a godsend and the service was impeccable on the day. We instantly fell in love with the venue when we saw it, and could not see ourselves getting married anywhere else.

The Dress + Accessories… My dress was found in Montreal, Canada in Christianne Brunelle Bridal Couture by an Italian/Canadian designer Rivini. Accessories was a belt from that same shop which I wore to the evening and pearl diamond earrings from a Lebanese Jeweller called Salamoun. The wedding rings were from the same jeweller. Shoes were from Jimmy Choo.

Finding the Dress… Finding the dress was a mission. I tried on more than 50 dresses in Beirut, London, Boston, New York and finally found it almost by mistake in Montreal. I made the mistake of discounting some dress shapes because I thought it wouldn’t suit me but as you learn dresses look very diferent when on then when on the mannequin or in a magazine. When I put the dress on I immediately knew it was the one. It felt elegant, comfortable and I still felt like myself in it.

Groom’s Attire… The Groom was wearing a navy/dark traditional morning suit from Moss Bros with silver waistcoat and tie. He wore patent wedding shoes on the day.

The Readings + Music… We wanted to have diferent readings and so our first reading was from Winnie the  Pooh which I enclose below. This was a big hit. Our second reading was I carry your heart by EE Cummings.

Entrance music was Canon in D Palchebel and exit music was Bittersweet Symphony.  We opted for a String Trio.

Pooh” whispered Pigle
“Yes, Piglet” replied Pooh
“Nothing,” answered Piglet,
“I just wanted to be sure of you.”
“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.”
“It’s so much more friendly with two.”
“Pooh, promise me you won’t forget about me, ever. Not even when I am a hundred.”
Pooh thought for a little.
“How old shall I be then?”
Pooh nodded. “I promise,” he said.
“Some people care too much, I think it’s called love.”

Beautiful Bridesmaids… They were from the four corners of the globe, Paris, Boston, New York and Lebanon and so we had the dresses made by a Lebanese designer. I designed the dresses with the designer and wanted the bridesmaids to be comfortable yet elegant and striking in a subdued candy vintage pink.

The Flowers… The flowers were extremely simple yet again elegant and timeless. Tones if blush pinks and whites only with very little foliage. Peonies and roses everywhere. Vintage and modern feel.

The Cake… The Cake was called Vintage Veil and made by a Cake maker we found at a wedding  show. It had three diferent tiers with three diferent flavours of chocolate, vanilla buttercream and coconut.

Your Photographer… This was by far our best choice as the team Dom and Zoe from Dominic Wright Photography managed to capture the magic of our day perfectly. They also managed to make us feel comfortable throughout the process. We met them  through Gavin’s best friend who was his best man when Gavin was best man at his wedding and knew straightaway that this was the couple to cement our day in our memories.

The Details + Decor… Highclere castle is impressive and I didn’t want to add to much  around it because I  wanted the whole setting to blend. The details were in the little things we added  like the sweet trolley or our amazing table plan create by Made in Vintage Company as well as the macaroon favours created by our evening suppliers Cocomaya. We also had little notes made for each guest for their seat and quiz cards on the couple.

The Honeymoon… The honeymoon was as magical as the whole day. We travelled to Vietnam (Hanoi,  Halong Bay, Hoi An, Nah Trang) with a stop in Bangkok on the way there. Organised via Original Travel.

Memorable Moments… Living in a secluded and completely private hilltop villa with our own plunge pool for the last part of the holiday courtesy of Six Senses in Nah Trang going on a food blogger tour in Hanoi and trying all the wonderful local delicacies and spending one day on a Vietnamese farm learning how to cook Vietnamese in Hoi an.

Advice for Other Couples… Set out what you don’t want as much as want you want. This will help narrow down your options. Discuss what you expect from the day and what is Important to you. Make sure you set an upper limit of the number of guests and coordinate with both families. Don’t sweat the small stuf, on the day it won’t matter. Choose a team of two photographers, in our view one wasn’t enough to capture the full story. So our Team was perfect. Do go for a videographer even if it is costly as it is good to have to remember the day. It is easy to overspend on flowers, so set a strict budget for this. Go to wedding shows to get inspired early on. Make sure you go for a comfortable dress that you can dance in and that you will look back on in 20 years and would still find it timeless. Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Remember to enjoy the day and savour the moments as it goes by very quickly. Write your own vows – this is very special. Finally do what makes you happy even if it is not strictly tradition.

Credit Where Credit is Due…


Dress at Christiane Brunnelle:

Evening Catering Cocomaya:

Venue: Highclere Castle:

Flowers: Emma Lappin Flowers:

Sweet Trolley: Anita Gutteridge Ackland: [email protected]

Vintage Accessories and Suitcase table Plan: Made in vintage:



Music/DJ: Sound bookings DJ:

String trio: Apollo Strings

Honeymoon: Original Travel:


Utterly beautiful. Thanks so much to Celine and Gavin for sharing their wedding with us today XOXO Lou

9 thoughts on “An Elegant Wedding at Highclere Castle

A really beautiful day, fantastic looking couple and very well organised. The Highclere staff were brilliant. My thanks to all the guests and everyone involved in making it a truly memorable day.

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