love shoot #23: country house wedding {claire & ben}

Welcome back for Part Two of Claire & Ben’s love story!  If you missed Part One click here.

With just 9 weeks to plan their wedding, they pulled out all the stops to create an elegant music-themed day, with beautiful florals that really suit the country house venue.  Claire’s dress steals the show for me – she is a lover of bows, just like me!!

Claire & Ben were married at Leez Priory, and there’s a sweet reason why, which bride Claire shared with me:

The venue was special for many reasons, not least because it really is gorgeous. However, nineteen years ago when Leez Priory was a fledgling wedding venue, Ben’s mum was the general manager and Front of House. He’s managed to ‘steal’ the keys and we spent an afternoon as Lord and Lady Muck of the Manor. As a 16 year old t his really was quite something!

We decided not to wait, and picked a mid-week date knowing that the venue would be available and just as importantly our friends and family would be too. We also predicted that the weather would be perfect – it was after all the Tuesday (31st) after a long August bank holiday weekend and we all know the sun only shines when you return to work…

The most important things to us were the venue and food.  We felt this needed to tick all the boxes.  It’s important that the day flows and you have confidence in the venue to meet all your expectations.  Leez was a perfect choice, the day ran completely smoothly, and the front of house, service and food were exceptional.

I only had 9 weeks to find my dress!  So it was a case of finding a dress ‘off the peg’.  Initially I thought this would be impossible, however, I booked several appointments at bridal boutiques to be visited in one day.  You know instantly when you step into a dress whether it is ‘you’ so I didn’t spend time getting fully fitted into each one.  You try so many on and I found being ruthless worked best.  The important thing is to feel the dress is 100% you and comfortable!  I customised my sister’s bridesmaid dress with a satin bow (I love bows!!) to accentuate the one on the front of mine. Ben bought his own suit to ensure he didn’t look like the classic penguin in the photos (It’s also important that the groom feels comfortable in his attire!).

I was really pleased with the flowers.  I’ve put them on my list of important things to consider because not only were we thrilled with them, we received many lovely comments from our guests.  Katy Jacks at Belgravia Florist was wonderful.  She understood precisely what we were looking and interpreted it beautifully. She was always patient; even when I called a few days before to make some final changes it was not too much trouble.

We decided to make all the favours, table names, and seating plan too. All time consuming given that we only have 9 weeks…but so worth it.

My sister Sarah, made our awesome cake!! It was her first wedding cake and we couldn’t believe how wonderful it looked and tasted.  The proof was in the eating and all 3 tiers were devoured!

We are both live music crazy and named our tables after London music venues. Ours was the Electric Ballroom. Among the others were the Astoria, Relentless Garage (for our louder friends) and the Roundhouse.  We had a live band, The Bears, who were fantastic and played a range of music.  The dance floor was swinging all evening.

We also hired a solo guitarist and a psychological magician– between them they managed to keep everyone entertained between ceremony and the wedding breakfast. These two additions really added to the day.

What was your first dance, and how did you choose the song?

I left this up to Ben as he’d told me months before that he’d ‘got it covered’. Despite secretly hoping Ben would chose something from Elbow (our favourite band) he completely surprised me by asking Albie, his Dad, to perform an acoustic version of ‘Something’ by the Beetles – the band drifted in towards the end making it an incredibly romantic, memorable and personal first dance.

Any advice for future brides?

Plan, plan, plan! But don’t get caught up in the details on the day – relax and let the occasion take over.  Also, try to get the Groom involved in more than just the car (or the stag do). I was lucky in that Ben really wanted to get his hands dirty.

We didn’t spend too much time (or money) getting caught up with the smaller details.  On the day you realise that they really aren’t important and your guests only remember the big things like food and drink!

Yolande at Rings n’ Veils Photography was fantastic!  She provided a wonderful personal service and really did have the ability to make us relax into it.  She was very respectful of our wonderful day and all the details. As a result she captured everything beautifully and our photographs speak for themselves.

Thank you Claire & Ben for sharing your story, I’m sure your marriage will be long and happy!

The beautiful images by Yolande show all the emotion and special moments in your day.  You can see more of Yolande’s portfolio on the Rings ‘n Veils website and catch all of her latest shoots on her blog.


Dress:  Coco Couture at Pronuptia

Brides Shoes: Barratts

Hair: Jodie Stephens

Make-up: Blu Make-Up

Grooms Suit: Kenneth Cole NY at House of Fraser

Best Man and Father of the Bride Suits: Autograph

Mother of the Bride outfit: Coco

Bridesmaid Dress: Coast, with cream silk sash handmade by the bride

Bridesmaid Shoes: New Look

Photographer: Yolande De Vries at Rings ‘n Veils Photography

Flowers: Belgravia Florist

Cake: Sarah Shelton at Face Full of Cake

Favours: handmade by the bride & groom

Table name cards & Table Plan: handmade by the bride & groom

Guitarist: Glen Parish

Psychological Magician: Andrew Edmonds

Band: The Bears


After a decade-long career in corporate interior design, I took a giant leap of faith, left the security of an office job, and founded B.LOVED in 2011 as a platform for romantic and beautiful wedding inspiration. Thanks to a whole lot of creativity, hard work and passion, my gamble paid off and B.LOVED became one of the leading wedding blogs in the UK.

I'm also a co-founder at The Brand Studio, where I design and curate beautiful photoshoots for wedding and lifestyle brands, as well as running wedding industry community the B.LOVED Hive where I support and nurture wedding pros building industry leading businesses. Yep, I definitely have the best job in the world.

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