Real wedding: Country classic in the heart of Norfolk

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfo
Shona and James timed it perfectly and their wedding in Norfolk was lit by glorious early summer sunshine

For Shona and James, their wedding needed to feel simple and timeless. Having found the perfect Norfolk country venue, they timed it just right for a classic outdoor party against the backdrop of mellow wisteria-clad walls

Photography: Ben Bull

Shona and James wanted to keep things simple for their lovely country wedding. While they live in Cambridgeshire, Norfolk is an area they know extremely well – and it has many happy associations – so the choice of Narborough Hall, near King’s Lynn, as their venue was easy.

“My parents have a holiday cottage nearby in Congham, which we go to all the time for short breaks and summer holidays, and we had been to Narborough for Sunday lunches,” says Shona. “Whilst we looked at other venues in the county, Narborough had a magical, relaxed feel that nothing else could emulate.”

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
Shona and James chose Narborough Hall near Kings Lynn – the perfect mellow country setting for a country wedding

The other reason to choose Norfolk was very personal. “The proposal happened on one of these trips to Norfolk so it held a special place in our hearts,” says Shona. With romantic association and timeless country venue in place, plans quickly fell into place. There was no strong theme to the day as Shona says she and James felt their setting stood out in its own right. “We wanted things to be quite simple – the venue and grounds were so beautiful that a theme didn’t really matter.”


“We were so lucky with the weather – being able to have the ceremony outside was a dream come true”

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
The wedding ceremony took place in Narborough’s lovely grounds, which Shona and James decided were so perfect that there was no need for a strong colour theme

They were, however, keen to get their timings right in order to see Narborough in its full glory. Shona says: “We were keeping our fingers crossed that the wisteria at Narborough would be out in time for the wedding. We even based the bridesmaids’ accent colour around the blue tone of this, and liked the idea of contrasting pink in the flowers”.

The bridesmaids’ simple Grecian style gowns and the groom and groomsmen suits in navy were perfect foil to Shona’s lovely off-the-shoulder ivory lace dress, while the beautiful flowers created by the team at Narborough captured the spirit of this mellow country setting.

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
Shona wore a lovely off-the-shoulder dress, while groom and groomsmen wore smart navy suits

This was a day of high points, but the first of these happened right at the start. “A real high point was seeing the sun shining when we woke up!” says Shona. In fact, the weather did them proud, with the mercury set fair and warm weather that enabled their guests to enjoy the spectacular grounds at Narborough. “We were so lucky with the weather,” says Shona. “And being able to have the ceremony outside was a dream come true.”

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
Shona chose a soft grey for bridesmaid gowns to pick out the colours of the wisteria-clad walls and the theme for flowers was a soft early-summer pink

Another high point came during the dancing. “It was a surprising high point. Neither of us had thought much of it and we picked ‘Your Song’ by Elton John. But hearing all of our friends belt out the words at the top of their lungs as we danced (badly) felt amazing.”


“We wanted things to be quite simple; the venue and grounds were so beautiful that a theme didn’t really matter”
 

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
The wedding planning team at Narborough managed every element, ensuring that Shona and James could enjoy every moment of a day that seemed to pass in a flash

Shona and James say the party atmosphere was wonderful and the whole day went perfectly to plan. “The wedding coordinator at Narborough, Fen, and the entire team were amazing,” says Shona. “The whole planning experience was very relaxed and they made you feel like part of the family long before the wedding. The actual day was coordinated to perfection and we didn’t have to think about a thing.” They also had a great team of local suppliers, from Carrie (Caroline) Wilson their wonderful Norfolk cakemaker to East Anglian wedding photographer Ben Bull, who captured the day so beautifully on film.

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
The couple took time out in the grounds, all captured beautifully by East Anglian photographer Ben Bull

Their advice to other couples is to plan the wedding day to match their own vision of a great party, and also to do what makes them happy. “You can’t please everyone. If you don’t want a hen do, don’t have one, if you don’t want to do a speech, don’t do one,” says Shona “And if you think you’ve bought too much alcohol – you haven’t!”

Real wedding: Country Classic in the heart of Norfolk
James and Shona would advise other couples to plan the party that suits them – and forget the traditions that mean nothing to you

Shona & James’ Wedding Sourcebook

Photography: Ben Bull; benbull.net

Venue & flowers: Narborough Hall; narboroughhallgardens.com

Cake: Caroline Wilson; caroline_wilson@live.co.uk

Bridal gown: Gowns and Garters; gownsandgarters.com

Groom/groomsmen suits: Next; next.co.uk


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