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all you need to know about planning a Manor House wedding in the UK


Hey!  So lovely to see you here on my page. ​ I'm assuming you landed here because you are getting married?   Congratulations!  This must be such an exciting time?! It can also get a little bit too much especially at the beginning.  


Rest assured I've got your back.  I've created this guide to help you plan your wedding.  I am not a wedding planner, I've just been part of a lot of weddings and I have seen what makes for the best (and most importantly - stress free) day. 

Please share this with anyone you know that's soon to be or recently engaged! 


I'm Desirée A. North, a UK based wedding photographer capturing beautiful, timeless and romantic heirloom photos.  I draw inspiration from the world of movies, the art of story telling,  and the crazy in love couples I work with.  Each wedding day is made up of details, and that's how I love to capture the day. You will also see in this guide, how I'll help you through thinking about the little details because they will make all the difference.

To view and inspire yourself with more details, follow me on instagram @desireeanorth


First pick the season.  Unless there's a specific reason you want a certain date, being open to a few dates over a. few months will save you a lot of stress.  The best venues (as well as Photographers and other vendors) are most likely to be booked for prime dates about 2 years in advance.  Prime dates are 'prime' for a reason, longer days (i.e sunlight giving you more scope and freedom when organising activities) and generally good weather conditions. Prime wedding dates here in the UK range from May to October. So start thinking ahead if you want to secure your dream team. 

When it comes to dates, also think about your guest and their availabilities.  Try to avoid big sporting event days like football, rugby, tennis or significant cricket games.  In a similar way, unless for a specific reason, avoid dates around big festivities like Christmas eve, Christmas Day, Boxing day and New years eve and new years day.  


The overall mood of a summer wedding will be bright and airy whilst due to the shorter days a winter wedding will be a lot darker and moodier. Whilst both have their charm, I love spring/ summer weddings because they give me the opportunity of creating very romantic looking photos simply due to the abundance of light throughout the day.  From a celebratory perspective, a spring / summer wedding will give you more opportunity to enjoy a cocktail hour in the great outdoors, maybe some garden games, and some lovely temperate climate to make the most of a beautiful garden. 

There are ways of making the most of a winter wedding. My top tips would be to select a venue with ample natural light like a conservatory type area. Plan for an early ceremony so you'll have plenty of light to take group photos.  An earlier ceremony time, will  also allow you time to take stunning couples portraits in sunlight.  Consider having a planned first look with your photographer (that's when the groom sees the bride for the first time) before the ceremony. 






The most important vendors for you to be looking first are your Venue, Photographer and Videographer.  For a completely stress free experience I recommend you contact a Wedding Planner first!   

Think about what's more important to you.  If you LOVE the look and aesthetic of a photographer, you don't have to wait until you have a venue / date booked to get in touch with them.  Get in touch as early as possible and book an initial consultation, they will be able to help you through your planning process because they will have a network of trusted vendors they can recommend to you. When you then approach the venue you can then check with your photographer to see if they will be available to take your booking. 

Here is list of exactly when to book each wedding vendor

1. Wedding Planner  (as soon as possible)

2. Venue (as soon as possible)

3. Photographer & Videographer (ASAP right after venue)

    🎨 Choose your colour palette 🎨

4. Caterer [if your venue doesn't offer on site catering] 

5. Music & Entertainment 

6. Florist  (6months to 1 year) 

7. Invitation Designer (5 to 8months to allow for families to send their RSVP)

8. Hair & Makeup  (6months to 1 year in advance)

9. Cake (6 to 3months in advance, for a more elaborate design allow for 9 months)

10. Carriages (as soon as possible) 

11.  Dress (at least 9months to  1 year in advance to allow for the dress to be ordered in and alterations)

12. Rings (3 to 6months) 

Just note, that if you have a May to October weddings, it is best to get all of your vendors booked in as soon as possible so you are not disappointed. 


Wedding Planners are there not only to guide you through the entire process, very much like this guide, but in a lot more detail, but part of their job is to make sure that your day is running smoothly, so you won't have to take on any unnecessary stress on the day. 

Here are some of the best Wedding Planners to help you plan your Manor House Wedding  of your dreams


One big question that you might have, is where to hold your ceremony.  In the UK, a legal ceremony needs to be held in a place sanctioned by law for legal marriages.  When I was planning my own wedding, I wanted an outdoors ceremony, however I quickly realised that I couldn't have my dream ceremony in a filed of bluebells.  There are options though. 

Whilst all Manor House venues will have an indoor space to hold the legal ceremony, most will also have a pergola or a semi outdoors space where the legal ceremony can be held.  I do highly recommend that you try to hold all your celebrations in one place to avoid encountering any transport or traffic delays. Traveling from one venue to the next also east up at least 1hour from your day, and I don't about you, but if it was my wedding day I would rather spend that hour with a glass of champagne enjoying my day. 

One thing to know about legal ceremonies is that you will have to go through standard legalities that it's good to prepare and account for.   Firstly, once you have your venue booked, you will need to give notice of marriage, usually in the borough you both live in (top tip for your 'notice of marriage' interview: make sure you and your partner know each other's dates of birth).  This will launch your wedding banns which are an official announcement of your intention to marry and a chance for anyone to put forward a reason why the marriage may not lawfully take place. 

f you are having your legal ceremony on site, then your venue will be able to direct you to the borough closest to the venue, so that you can get a registrar brought into your venue for the day. 


A second interview will take place on the day of the wedding before the ceremony.  This  will include a short 15mins interview with the both of you where the registrar will ask you for your names, professions, father's names and their respective professions.  This can be confused with the 'giving notice of marriage' interview, so make sure to ask your registrar upon booking if you'd like to hold this interview separate to one another (so that the groom can see the bride for the first time on the aisle), or if this interview can be held on a separate date/ location to allow for a simpler wedding day. 

In a legal ceremony, you will both have to speak out the legal wording that is required by law.  Apart from the legal wording, you will also be given the opportunity choose your own vows. You might want to write your own vows or select from a prescribed list. 

Of course in case of religious ceremonies, these do need to be held off site most times.  In this case, try to find a church that is close to the venue.  Again the Manor House venue might be able to assist you and put forward their recommendations. Again, it is best to speak with both venues first before setting your date, though church weddings should be a lot easier to book. 

The legal side of the marriage can be very unromantic, so what if you did want your day to be the ultimate dream you've always imagined?  In that case all you do is hold your legal ceremony on a different date, and on your BIG DREAM DAY, you hold a symbolic ceremony.  With a symbolic ceremony, you are not constrained by getting in an official registrar,  you can get anyone to officiate your wedding.   Getting a Celebrant to officiate your symbolic wedding will allow the ceremony to be more bespoke to you and your love story, just like in the movies.  You also won't have to say the legal wording, instead you can have the Celebrant ask the ultimate romantic question, where you'll both say your 'I do's'.  The best thing about a symbolic ceremony is that you can hold it ANYWHERE you I could have had my dream of saying the vows in a field of blue bells after all. 

Here are my top 3 Celebrant recommendations


Planner 1


Planner 2


Planner 3


9am - 12pm         Hair & Make Up

12:30 - 12:45pm    First Look (Highly Recommended!)

1pm - 1:30pm      Ceremony  

1:30pm - 3pm      Cocktail Hour & Canapes at the same time Group Shots (30mins) Couple Portraits (15mins)

3pm                     Guest find their tables & Bride and Groom Arrivals

3:30pm                Speeches

4pm                    Sit down meal 

6pm                    Tea & coffee is served -  Couple Portraits (15mins)

6:30pm                Cutting Cake

7pm                     First Dance

10pm                   Carriages

Click here to Download Winter Wedding Timeline

Click here to Download Church Wedding Timeline



Once you have your top vendors together, comes the fun part in my opinion.  Head over to pintrests and start to inspire yourself.  

It's time to choose your colour palette.  This will be important to keep a level of cohesion  on your wedding day.  Once you select your colour choices, you can communicate your vision efficiently to your Florist, Stationery designer, & Cake designer even photographer, so that everyone is all on the same page, and elements of your day tie in together seamlessly. 

Here are some ideas










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"Absolutely over the moon with Desiree and her photos! Quickly, easy and reliable communication, she helped ease some worries and provided solutions when I was faced with issues that I thought may affect photos. She has been wonderful!  Professional, friendly ... captured all the important parts of the wedding; our new rings... it was perfect... She’s been fantastic"

It is truly important that I work with the right couples, and because of this I do not take every wedding that I'm approached by.

You deserve the absolute best! That is why it is so important that we make sure I am the right choice for you. 

Please fill out the form for more information. I'll respond within the next 24hours to set up a time to talk and share with you everything you need for planning your wedding day. 

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