Lisa and Sean's Autumnal Wedding at Farnham Castle, Surrey

Monday, November 23, 2020

Mr + Mrs McDonald 
5th November 2019 | Farnham Castle, Surrey
 Instagram: @lillyj88 @thechin14 | Photos: Fire and Ice
Lisa and Sean's epic castle wedding even featured fireworks as they tied the knot on bonfire night. They opted for a soft mink colour scheme that complimented the classic, timeless castle style. The bride wore a Pnina Tornai gown with a sweetheart neckline and a stunning cathedral veil. Guests were kept entertained with singing waiters (a surprise from the mother of the bride), an open speech policy and a 1950s airstream photobooth! Beautiful bride Lisa tells us all about their day, including a hilarious shocking reveal during the groom's speech...
How you did you meet each other?
We have actually known each other a really long time (about 14 years!), I am friends with Sean’s older brother. We never really saw each other in that way until we were both single in 2012. We started dating and have been inseparable ever since. In 2017 Sean took me to Cornwall for a romantic weekend away. 
Tell us about the proposal...
Initially Sean wanted to propose in Italy, but I knew he was trying to save up for a ring so when he suggested a holiday to Venice I said no – whoops! Knowing how much I love theatre; he took me to the Minack Theatre in Penzance which is a theatre set into the rock face and looks out on to the sea. He’d spent months designing the perfect ring which was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Sean really enjoys telling everyone that I said ‘Are you sure?’ before I actually said yes!
Any advice for future brides… 
Do not sweat the small stuff. I promise you…it does not matter. Your day will be amazing no matter what. Just take it all in, enjoy every single moment (even the buildup) because it all flies by so fast. 
What was your wedding must-have?
 A really good photographer & videographer. This was the second thing we booked after our venue. It was really important to us to have those memories and take-aways after it was all over, and I absolutely don’t regret it at all. One of the best things we did with our budget was book Fire & Ice Photography. It helps that they were amazingly lovely too. 
What was your favourite wedding planning moment?
We took our parents to show them the venue and sign our contract. They had no idea where they were going and we kept it a complete secret until we were ready to seal the deal. It was so special and it signified the beginning of our planning and making our special day a reality.  We also made a point of going out occasionally for ‘wedding planning meetings’ together. As we were saving so much we weren’t really going out, but these ‘meetings’ were a great excuse for a cheeky date night every so often. 
Tell us about the ceremony...  
We had a registrar ceremony at the venue so we didn’t have to travel anywhere. Sean’s Grandad read ‘The Art of Marriage’ by Wilfred A Peterson. We wanted him to be a part of the wedding and he chose this reading for us.  
What was the most emotional moment of the day? 
My father/daughter dance was quite emotional. Breaking the tradition, my dad actually had the first dance with me, to How long will I love you - Ellie Goulding. Sadly, he’s not very well so it meant a great deal to him to have that special moment. 
Song you walked down the aisle to: Engagement Party (a song from La La Land) 
Ceremony Songs: God only knows - John Legend & Cynthia Erivo // I could get used to this - Becky Hill 
Song for walking back up the aisle as a married couple:  Holy Mountain - Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 
Dinner Entrance: Kings & Queens - Thirty Seconds to Mars 
Were there any surprises on the day?
We didn’t need a car on the day, but Sean’s grandad owned a classic car and had to sell it when he had his stroke a few years ago. This car meant a lot to Sean’s grandad as well as Sean. With my father in law’s help, I tracked down the new owner and surprised Sean with it on the wedding day. As soon as we said I do, we hopped in the car and disappeared for 20 minutes, just the two of us and our champagne. Seeing Sean’s grandad’s face when he realized the car was at the venue was so emotional! Despite not being very mobile, he raced down the fox steps just to get to the car! He ended up having a bit of a photoshoot with the car by himself which was so lovely.  
It also wouldn’t have been our wedding without our two dogs, so we made sure they came to surprise everyone for photos after the ceremony. Dawson wore a suit bandana and Flo wore a bow made from the bridesmaids dresses. 
Tell us all about your wedding theme and colour scheme....
The wedding didn’t really have a theme or ‘colour scheme’. We chose quite a historic venue with a lot of character so we didn’t really want anything too strong or overpowering. We knew we wanted 5th November as our date (it’s the date we became official AND it’s fireworks night) and winter colours can be quite bold. Sean decided he wanted to wear navy and grey, so we chose a light grey for the bridesmaids to keep it light and elegant. We also added frosted glass, glitter and copper elements just to jazz it up a little. 
How did you choose your venue? 
We came across it by accident. Our area has a lot of barns which is something we weren’t really looking for, and ideally we would have loved to go aborad but older family members couldn't travel. So we started looking a little further from home and found Farnham Castle and it ticked all of our boxes, nothing else seemed to compare! 
Tell us about dress shopping...
It’s a pretty standard story, it’s not what I thought I wanted at all! But I tried it on for fun and when my mum’s face turned a bit grey with shock, I knew I had to have it.  
What was your best wedding splurge?
Sean fell in love with his suit and wanted to have one custom made so that he could keep it after our big day. It fit him so well and he looked so handsome on the day. Best money we’d spent. That and the West End Singing Waiters of course! 
Tell us about the cake...
Our friend Mollie makes the most amazing cakes and brownies. We were worried that not everyone would eat a big cake. So we had a smaller 2-tier cake in our favourite flavours; coffee & biscoff, and vanilla & lemon with buttercream icing on both tiers and silver drips and copper macaroons. Then we had big trays of brownies, blondies, cookie dough & doughnut holes so that guests could just pick up and eat with their hands. It went down a storm!  
Tell us about your wedding favours...
We love a little adventure and everywhere we go we will find a pressed penny machine and we keep these as our ‘lucky pennies’. So we had a personalized pressed penny made with our ‘wedding logo’. We stuck these to our name place cards for each guest and as they were copper it added to our décor too! 
Did you make any Wedding DIYs? 
Absolutely! We made all of our invites, both day and evening. I hated the thought of people potentially throwing the invite away and creating waste, so it was a long folded invite with a tear-off RSVP at the bottom. We decorated them with copper foiled vellum belly bands.  We made our gift card box which looked like the post box from the Disney Movie ‘Up’ (a favourite of ours) with our own hand prints. We made little baskets of goodies for the mens and ladies toilets which included perfume/after shave samples and glow sticks for the evening. We made all of the table place names to match our invites. We also made our window flower displays by covering Starbucks coffee cups in glitter and spray paint. We LOVE coffee! Lastly, we made up baskets of pashminas for the guests in case they got cold and little hang over kits for the morning after! 
Did you have anything unusual at your wedding?  
We were quite firm from the outset that wedding ‘traditions’ should be thrown out the window. It’s our day, so we’ll do things our way. One thing we did was have an ‘Open Speech Policy’. My uncle loved a family occasion and would always make a speech. Sadly he passed before the wedding, but I knew he would have loved to say a few words. So in his honour, we threw the mic to our guests. We didn’t feel this was just for the bridal party. If anyone had something to say on our wedding day, we wanted to hear it. And the speeches were HILARIOUS! We are also big 50’s fans, so when we found an old 1950’s airstream photobooth for hire, we HAD to have it! 
What was the funniest moment of the day?
Sean had a secret embroidered message under his collar which he revealed during his speech. I think my face said it all, but it was very funny.  Sean’s little brother also ‘surprised’ me with a condom while we were having photos. Very embarrassing, but again, we have it all in the photos and it’s a funny memory to look back on.
What food did you have at your wedding?   
This was the hard bit…we are HUGE foodies. Luckily the chef’s at the venue put together such amazing dishes that anything we picked was going to be amazing.  
Starters; Chorizo & sausage scotch egg with tomato ragu and pork scratching 
Mains; Individual Beef Wellington with savoy, celeriac, pomme puree, carrots, parsnip & port & thyme jus 
Dessert; We had a dessert trio- lemonello posset, chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake with salted caramel and a warm cinnamon and raspberry doughnut. 
We also had street food for the evening guests which came in little take away boxes!
What was your favourite part of the day? 
There were a few to be honest. My mum surprised us with West End Singing Waiters at dinner! They were serving the food and after the speeches a waitress took the mic and started telling us it was her last day at the venue and what a horrible place it was…then they all burst into song. We honestly had no idea at the time, but it was such a lovely surprise.  Also, the venue has a 3rd floor gallery where you can look down on the great hall. Me and Sean snuck off for a few minutes and just stood watching everyone have a really great time over dinner. Everyone got on so well on the day, it was a real joy to see the two families come together. 
Funniest wedding photograph:  Sean would probably say it’s one of me singing to him with the West End Singing Waiters, as my face is a picture.  
What was your first dance song?
‘Our song’ is We Found Love in a hopeless place by Rihanna, but we new this isn’t really a romantic first dance song. So we chose an acoustic version of False Alarm by Becky Hill as it just said everything we wanted it too. Plus it’s originally a dance track, so our DJ mixed it together with the dance version which then mixed into the Rihanna song. We wanted our moment, but also to get everyone on the dancefloor ASAP! So technically we had 3! 
Tell us about your Honeymoon...
Unfortunately no honeymoon yet due to coronavirus, however we are really hoping to get away next year sometime.
What was your favourite wedding purchase? 
The airstream photobooth was probably our favourite. We weren’t sure if we could fit it in the budget at first but we were so pleased we did. The photos are so special and it looked amazing outside the venue lit up at night! 
Top money saving tip: Pick an amount you are both super comfortable with from the outset to save each month, even if you think it’s slightly under what you think you can save. This way you’ll never fall short.  
Watch Lisa + Sean's amazing wedding highlight video below.

Lisa & Sean // The Highlight from Fire and Ice on Vimeo.

Venue: Farnham Castle 
Photographer: Fire & Ice 
Videographer: Fire & Ice 
Stationery:  DIY  
Florist:  Vickis Florals 
Cake:  Mollie Jean Bakes 
Décor: Bubblegum Balloons // Fox & Ivy Paper Co 
MUA: Natalie Michel 
Hair: Emma At Home 
Dress: Pnina Tornai 
Shoes: Jenny Packham 
Bridesmaids dresses:  White by Vera Wang  
Suits: Anthony Formal Wear 
Page Boy outfits: Anthony Formal Wear 
Wedding Rings: Bride; A & S Jewellers Groom; John Greed  
Band/DJ: Steve Cooke 
Photobooth: Air Stream Photo Booth 
Entertainment:  West End Singing Waiters 

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