Alton House Hotel, Hampshire,
Our Wedding Story...

In the Beginning

A little account of our wedding story at the Alton House Hotel, Hampshire…

I was proposed to back in May 2011, we had been together since March 2005 and were in a long distance relationship from 2007-2012. I was living in London and Ollie’s job meant he had to travel around a lot. After the romantic proposal (yes he did get down on one knee and no I was totally not expecting it) we started to vaguely look around for venues. We hadn’t set a date and we weren’t in any particular rush. 

Then we found out that Ollie’s job was taking him to Yorkshire and so we decided to actually start planning the wedding. The proper search started at the end of March 2012 and we found a great deal for a summer wedding at the Alton House Hotel which wasn’t too far from “home” and the wedding package available at the time was fantastic!

Setting the Scene

The night before the wedding my bridesmaids, some family and I stayed at the hotel so that we could get the reception room set-up. We decorated it ourselves with ribbons, mirrors, balloons and wedding favours etc. We were trying to keep costs down on certain things as we were fairly young (only 23) and didn’t have a huge wedding budget. Alton House Hotel were brilliant at letting us set up how we wanted and giving us the time to do it too. We did have a people decorate the chairs and tables and a local florist came on the morning of the wedding to place the centre pieces and the display piece for the ceremony which we then used again for the top table. 

The day before the ceremony was the opening of the London Olympics and so, once we had set up, we had a drink or two and relaxed watching the opening ceremony. Of course this also meant that whilst we were getting ready on the wedding day we had to have the Olympic rowing on the TV too! We had a great time getting ready and I had a lovely hairdresser called Chloe come and do my hair. Chloe revolutionised my hair-life because I was always under the impression that I could not curl my hair, but she did it with straighteners! I realise now that is a totally normal thing but I was used to having poker-straight hair, therefore, I didn’t own straighteners and would never have dreamt that you could curl with straighteners!!! Anyway…

Before the Ceremony

There was a large window at the front of the wedding suite with a floor length net curtain so I could watch the guests arrive but they couldn’t see us.

When it was time to go downstairs to the ceremony I went into the smaller room of the Pemberley Suite where I met the registrar to sign the marriage certificate, as even with registrar led weddings you can’t actually have a photograph signing the real certificate!

Once those formalities were done it was time for the ceremony itself. My sister, Sarah and her friend Tina were our wonderful musicians playing the violin and flute for the ceremony and again in the garden for the drinks reception. My friends Jax and Zack were our photographers for the day and they captured the photos you can see displayed here.

The Ceremony

My bridesmaids and page boys, Nikki, Sacha, Roxzy, Ray, Ben and Owen walked down the aisle while the music played and then it was my turn, I was super excited and a bit nervous. My Mum walked me down the aisle which was really special for us both. When I reached the other end, Ollie, my now-husband, finally looked at me. I think he may have been a bit nervous too (not that he would admit that).

We had a registrar led wedding, if I’m honest that is purely because we didn’t know there were options other than a religious ceremony. Our registrar was lovely and helped us to feel calm, but the actual wedding script would have been the same as for everybody else who chooses to have a registrar led wedding. Also as we were young and didn’t know what our vows should have looked like we just went for the pre-written standard vows. 

Again, we had a beautiful ceremony and I will cherish it forever, however, if we knew then what we know now we would do it totally differently! For starters we would definitely have an Independent Celebrant led ceremony and write our own vows. Most Independent Celebrants will offer to help you or guide you with writing your vows if you feel you would like assistance (That’s something I offer in my Wedding Package). My cousin, Anushka, read a beautiful poem for us and we had a wonderful time. I remember smiling and nervous laughing a lot throughout the ceremony!

After the Ceremony

After the ceremony we all made our way through to the garden, at the Alton House Hotel, where we had lots of pictures taken. Then it was time for drinks and more live music from Sarah and Tina which was wonderful. I remember consciously going around and speaking with all of our guests to make sure everyone felt valued and appreciated. I’m so glad we did that but I wish we had spent a bit more time just the two of us to soak in the day itself.

The reception and wedding breakfast was delicious and everyone was well catered for. We also had an evening do with a DJ who played plenty of 90s cheesy pop (at my request) and we had a burger buffet which went down a treat later in the evening. They even made sure they catered for me as a veggie, which 11 years ago was pretty good going!

All in all our wedding was beautiful and we were surrounded by our family and friends, everyone had a fantastic time and we will look back on our wedding day at the Alton House Hotel with fond memories forever. We found that all the staff at Alton House Hotel were great, so helpful and looked after everyone brilliantly. Even though some of the faces at the hotel have changed over the last 11 years the welcome is still warm and everyone I met on my recent visit was friendly.

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