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  • Writer's pictureWhole Lotta Love Weddings

Design-led Rockstar Wedding at Cowley Manor, Cheltenham, Cotswolds

Updated: Oct 21, 2023


Groom holding brides veil in the Cowley Manor gardens

Image Via Charlotte Patmore Photography


About Cowley Manor


If you are on the hunt for somewhere special to host your wedding, Cowley Manor in Cheltenham should be on your shortlist of potential venues to visit. This Grade II listed manor house can be hired out exclusively with guests staying in its 31 stylishly decorated bedrooms. The decor is spectacular throughout, from its reception area, living rooms, library, cocktail lounge, a luxe spa, and 55 acres of the lushest countryside with a lake, cascading Victorian fountain, and a river with swans and ducks.


Recently bought and refurbished by the oh-so-cool Experimental Group, the whole estate has been meticulously refreshed by Designer Dorothée Meilichzon, who has carefully married the classical and the contemporary using bold colours and lacquered surfaces with nods to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Rumor has it that the author got his inspiration for the book while visiting the estate back in the day.


The newly brought-in British chef Jackson Boxer uses all local produce while putting a French twist to his dishes. If you are a foodie, the menu at Cowley won't leave you wanting.

Cowley Manor can host weddings and events for up to 100 guests seated and more for the evening party.


Choe and James's Wedding at Cowley Manor


The stars aligned when Chloe came to meet me at The Most Curious Wedfair

back in March 2022. I remember Carly, one of my assistant stylists nudging me and pointing out the goddess of coolness walking towards us with her (equally cool) mum. We stood there chatting about her wedding plans and laughing about our matching dagger collar shirts and platform shoes - talk about the ideal client.


Soon after we met for a discovery Zoom call and chatted about hers and James's perfect day. I usually know after the first 10 minutes if the potential client is the perfect match. This one was an instant yes.


We worked for over a year on the design, the logistics, and the planning. We collaboratively designed, discussed, tweaked, and perfected each element, often sending each other messages with the same ideas at the same time, laughing about being so well-aligned.


Working so closely together made us know each other so well, which is invaluable for me as a planner - to be able to deliver a wedding such as Chloe's and James's, and important to the client so they can trust their wedding planner completely.


Their wedding brief wasn't simple to execute nor was it classically traditional. It had many elements to it, twists that made it uniquely theirs in every way, from the colour palette to the decor, music, the florals, the style of the ceremony, the reception, the tablescape, and the celebrations.


The Ceremony


Wedding floral instalation at the Cowley Manors Victorian Fountain

Wedding ceremony setup at Cowley Manor

We chose the hidden Victorian fountain for the ceremony. The cascading water out of the lion's heads into the large circular fountain, flowing down its moss-covered stone steps, and disappearing into the grassy ground makes it the most magical place.


Couple getting married by a celebrant at Cowley Manor

The couple were married by their friend and Hare Krishna monk Ian Nene, who read out their beautiful love story. Chloe and James read their vows to each other, followed by a group sing-a-long of carefully selected songs that are special to the couple, accompanied by an acoustic guitarist, Pem.


The Florals


Modern wedding floral instalation at Cowley Manor

Pink bridal bouqet

One of our favorite florists Ash delivered THE most incredible florals for the ceremony, bouquet, staging, and tablescape. I always say and always will: choosing the right florist and budgeting right for wedding flowers is a must if you want your wedding to look incredible.


The Couple Portraits


Bride in a aqua coloured wedding dress and veil standing with her groom on the lawn

Bride and groom portrait in the Cowley Manor library

Wedding couple standing in front of Cowley Manor

After the ceremony, the couple sneaked away for a portrait shoot with their photographer Charlotte Patmore, while the guests made their way back to the reception to enjoy canapes and champagne on the lawn. The whole wedding was shot on 35mm film, giving it that Rock n' Roll vibe the couple were after.



The Legal Ceremony


Bride and groom portrait shot

A quick legal ceremony was done in secret, after the main ceremony, in the little chapel on the grounds with only their parents as witnesses.


The Reception


Bride and groom leading alpacas at Cowley Manor

After the ceremony, the couple rejoined the champagne reception on the terrace, enjoying the perfect summer day with their guests, and even some cute alpacas made a surprise appearance.


The Wedding Breakfast


Modern wedding tablescape at Cowley Manor

Bride and groom sitting at their wedding table

The dining hall was set up with meticulous detailing with floor-length blush-pink linen tablecloths on long trestle tables, adorned with pastel sage napkins, mushroom-shaped place cards (mushrooms are Chloe's favorite), menus, engraved pink quarts hearts as keepsakes (Chloe engraved each herself), beautiful floral arrangements, scattered summer fruit, candles in vintage candlesticks, and luxe tableware.


modern wedding tablescape close-up

The Party Room Styling


Wedding stating instalation with wedding cake display

Bride and groom standing in front of the stage with giant paper flowers and wedding cake

The lounge was transformed into a one-of-a-kind party space with incredible staging for the band. The stage was covered with fake grass and styled with huge colourful paper flowers making it the focal point for the guests to marvel at. We positioned the cake in the middle of the stage during daytime which the guests enjoyed using as a backdrop for their selfies.


The couple even hired the super-cool photo booth aka The Photoautomat, famously originating from Berlin, one of their favorite cities.


Groom exiting a photo booth at wedding


The Evening Entertainment


Couple cutting their pink wedding cake

Bride and groom first dance at Cowley Manor

The party kicked off at 8:30 pm, when the evening guests arrived, with the cake cutting and the couple's first dance to Yeah Yeah Yeah's Maps.


Band member setting up on a colourfully styled stage at a wedding

For Chloe and James, being in a band themselves (Wings of Desire - check them out, they're so cool!), the party room, music, and the stage were super important, so we made that room very special. There were two life-size disco queens (named Thelma and Louise, made by Chloe's clever mum) - silver mannequins with mirror ball heads that flooded the walls and ceiling with sparkle dots, a retro bar that served as a DJ booth, and of course our Piece de resistance, The Stage.


DJ staning behind a retro booth at a wedding

Mirrorball head mannequin

With celebrity guests in attendance, many of whom took to the mic and stage, this party was something we will never forget.


Chloe wore the most stunning Gucci dress with the longest, most romantic veil, and James looked dapper in a Vivienne Westwood double-breasted suit.


And the rest is history...


The BIGGEST THANKS to all the incredible suppliers who helped make this wedding what it was, and of course my amazing Team Supreme; Carly, Tanya, and Amy xxx


You can see all the images on my gallery page here.


Venue: @cowleymanor

Photography: @voteforpatmore

Planning & Design: @wholelottalove_weddings

Florist: @rootedinrosemary

Stationery: @with_bells_on_invites

Bride’s dress: @gucci

Bride’s shoes: @nodaleto

Veil: @janebourvis

Crown: @simonerocha

Grooms suit: @viviennewestwood

Furniture: @bisleymarquees

Tableware: @theluxecollectionuk

Linen: @just_4_linen

Makeup: @maywilliamsmakeuparist

Hair: @cbasciu

Cake: @sweetpeachcakestudio

Photobooth: @thephotocabin

Giant flowers: @bertievalentinelondon

DJ: @n1cholasmills

Props & Signage: @wholelottalove_weddings

Alpacas: @cotswold_alpacas

Band: @idleplaythingsmusic


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