Design-led Rockstar Wedding at Cowley Manor, Cheltenham, Cotswolds
Updated: Sep 26
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
The Party Room Styling
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.
The Evening Entertainment
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.
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.
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.
Planning & Design: @wholelottalove_weddings
Bride’s dress: @gucci
Bride’s shoes: @nodaleto
Grooms suit: @viviennewestwood
Giant flowers: @bertievalentinelondon
Props & Signage: @wholelottalove_weddings