A Whimsical Wedding at the Manor at Old Down Estate in Bristol, England

rn While Claudette Hogan (28 and a wedding planner) and Jonathan Thompson (28 and an account executive) call Canada home, the couple headed to the UK, where they had met over 10 years earlier, to tie the knot surrounded by their closest family members and friends. The pair envisioned their “I dos” in the English countryside. and the Manor at Old Down Estate in Bristol offered the ultimate backdrop for the elegant event. Boasting refined 18th-century architecture, picturesque gardens, stone staircases and opulent crystal chandeliers, the estate exuded old-world grandeur at every turn. “I wanted something romantic and elegant and a lot of venues in the UK tend to be barns, which isn’t our style,” Claudette says. “I also knew I wanted a lot of personal details, and most hotels weren’t able to accommodate them, so we found the Old Down Estate, which was the best of everything.” The festivities unfolded with a ceremony in the venue's light-filled orangery. The couple kept things simple when it came to the decor, so as not to detract from the impressive views of the Severn River landscape. A trellis adorned with greenery and pale pink roses stood at the foot of the aisle, where Claudette and Jonathan exchanged vows. “Our officiant sent us both a questionnaire to fill out, and when she was creating the ceremony, she used lots of our answers and memories in it, which really made it special,” Claudette says. Claudette put her pro planning skills to work for the reception, infusing the estate with endless personalized flair. Long banquet tables dressed with pale gray linens gave way to lavish arrangements of garden roses, dahlias, scabiosas, wildflowers, fresh berries and greenery, and brass candlesticks bearing gray tapers illuminated the room with soft, ambient light. Each place setting boasted a personalized menu, and gold cutlery framed each plate. “Our dog Frank was unable to travel with us, so we took photos of him and used them as table numbers,” Claudette says. “Stationery was also a big part of the wedding for me. I loved all the little details and had so much fun creating them.” As a thank-you to their guests, Claudette and Jonathan gifted their families and friends vintage teacups and loose-leaf tea with “Real men drink tea” labels, which they displayed at the entrance to the reception. Prosecco flowed all night, and a spread of decadent treats, such as macarons, meringue drops, doughnuts and petits fours provided a sweet finish to dinner. A tip from Claudette: “Enjoy every step. It goes by so quickly, and you are only going to do it once, hopefully, so make the most of it.” —Libby MacCarthy