mother of the brideA few years ago a friend of mine asked for some help in choosing her Mother of the Groom outfit. Many weeks were spent on this, tens of outfits tried on, and finally a gorgeous, floral designer dress was chosen. This was an expensive and exclusive garment, so all was well and there was much excitement as the wedding approached. When the day arrived, it turned out that the Bride’s Mother was wearing exactly the same dress.

The moral of this story is to communicate with the Bride and all the other VIP’s involved with the wedding when it comes to looking good on the day. Mums have to choose their wedding clothes carefully as they are pretty much on show for the whole of the event.

Here are some general tips on getting it right.

It’s important to liaise with the bride, bridesmaids, and mother of the groom to achieve a coordinated look that will work well for photographs and with the overall theme and colour scheme of the wedding.
• Your dress should colour tone in with the Bridesmaid’s dresses, For instance an outfit in lilac, plum or light blue would tone in with the bridesmaid’s dresses if they are wearing a lavender colour.
• Try to avoid fashion fads and instead wear something that has timeless, classical elegance. A co-ordinated plain jacket and pattern dress could work, as can pale coloured suits with the outfit finished with a lovely hat. Remember the photos and videos will be around for a long time and you don’t want to look like a fashion victim.
• Be careful with the fabric of your dress. Linen is lovely and cool but it does crease. Silk feels luxurious. It may be best to wear a mix of natural fibres such as cotton or light wool.
• Finally ensure you are comfortable as well as stylish. Between greeting guests at the ceremony and reception, attending to the needs of the bridal party and dancing later, the bride’s mother has her hands full. Don’t wear anything that is tight fitting. It’s best to wear a medium-size heel when it comes to shoes. However, if you insist in wearing high heels, then slip a pair of fold-up flat pump shoes in your bag so that later on you can comfortably dance the night away.


Jo and Aaron on stepsJenna Cook (28) and Aaron Brown (27) are tying the knot at Hylands House, Essex, in April, following a two and half year courtship that has not been all plain sailing. The couple has a remarkably strong bond, are extensive travellers and met on the daily commute to work.
“This was in June 2012, although we didn’t start dating until the October. After some weeks of getting the train together he finally said hello to me as the train pulled up in London. Since then, we have spoken every day”, said Jenna. “From our first date onwards, we knew we had something very special”. For very strong reasons, Jenna had cancelled four dates before going ahead. “We had built up a very good friendship before having a relationship and still to this day, we think this is why it works, and works incredibly well.

“When Aaron entered my life, he was taking on a big challenge”, continues Jenna. “My Mum was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, which has become terminal. I am an only child and so life was extremely sad and difficult. To let someone into your life at that stage means they have to be an exceptional person.”

In their first year together, Aaron planned lots of holidays including travelling to Mexico to help Jenna deal with the constant worry of cancer, hospitals and of taking care of someone you love greatly. A further challenge was ahead though, as Jenna found a lump in her breast and had to undergo surgery to remove lymph nodes. “I am not sure where I would be now if Aaron hadn’t come into my life.”

A World Adventure at Hylands

Hylands is already a special place for Jenna and Aaron. Jenna does a lot of charity work and did the ‘Race for Life’ on behalf of Cancer UK in the Park there. Hylands was also used as the romantic setting for when Aaron asked Jenna’s parents for their blessing in regard to the marriage.

With 120 day guests and an additional 150 people in the evening, the couple are using the magnificent red and gold Banqueting Room in Hylands House for the wedding reception drinks and the new Grand Pavilion for the wedding breakfast. Jenna will take advantage of the serene Bridal Suite for her and her party to get ready in on the day.

“The staff at Hylands House are very helpful and have answered all my questions along the way” said Jenna, ”the booking process was easy and I am looking forward to my day there.”
The Banqueting Room is lavishly decorated with 24 carat gold leaf swag and scroll decorations, silk lined walls and hand painted wall motifs and completing the luxurious look is a French marble fireplace. There are floor-to-ceiling windows to let the light stream in and give a stunning view of the back lawn, parkland and Serpentine Lake beyond. The Grand Pavilion has sparkling chandeliers and ivory drapes, a stunning bar, PA sound system and atmospheric mood lighting. Guests enjoy private views of the courtyard garden with steps leading to romantic walks in the Pleasure Gardens and landscaped parkland beyond.

“We are basing our wedding on a very typical traditional family orientated one”, said Jenna “but with our own little stamp on it.” Every table is named after the places in the world which Aaron and Jenna travelled to during their first year together. “There are suitcases where people can put their cards and gifts and also a crate of flip flops so if the ladies feet are sore they can pop these on instead.”

The wedding dress is a traditional one, bought by Jenna’s Grandmother. Charlotte, Aaron’s sister is the Bridesmaid and will be dressed in pastel pink. Aaron’s brother David is the Best Man and there is a Pageboy and four Ushers. They will all be wearing Navy Suits and pastel pink socks. “We chose pastel pink to reflect back to Breast Cancer Care” said Jenna.
The food will be traditional fayre consisting of the families’ favourites and includes Prawn Cocktail, Soup, Sausage and Mash, Fish and Chips, Profiteroles and Cheesecake. There’s a sweet cart too, planned and personalised by Jenna herself, who has a very sweet tooth!

Jenna and Aaron’s wedding day is even more poignant than most. Aaron proposed in Venice in October 2014. “My engagement ring is engraved with ‘Always and Forever’ with a pink diamond on the inside of the band for my Mum, as she won’t always be with me in person but my ring will be” said Jenna. Aaron designed the ring himself.
The wedding ceremony takes place at All Saints Church, Springfield. “Both sets of parents got married in Church, so this feels right” adds Jenna.
The couple will continue their travels, with the next stop being Lanzarote, a familiar place to Jenna.


Chinese couple arriving in white Roll RoyceSo, you’re getting married? Congratulations! Now the fun really begins as you plan your dream Essex wedding.

It can be daunting facing the huge task of planning what is supposed to be the biggest and best day of your life – whether you are dreaming of a large or small wedding. You may never have planned an event and not have a clue where to start or what is required.

Don’t panic! Hylands estate manager, Ceri Lowen, is offering the following top tips and unique wedding ideas to help get you started…
• Set a budget. Or, at least decide on priorities for your funds. You will find there are some areas you’re happy to make savings on, while with other aspects – such as your wedding catering, for example – you want to pay for the best.

• Prepare a draft list of guests to get a rough idea of how many people you will need to cater for – most of your wedding suppliers will need to know numbers so this needs to be one of your first jobs.

• Book your dream wedding venue – ensure the venue you choose is suitable for your numbers and for the style of occasion you are after. If the room is a blank canvas, bear in mind the cost of decorating. Choosing a venue with period features will give the wow factor without the need for accessories.

• Name the date! If you are having a civil ceremony, book the registrar immediately as they get booked up years in advance.

• Send out save the date cards, texts or emails. This will help you to revise your guest list as those with prior engagements will be able to let you know straight away.

• Decide on your colours, themes and wedding centrepiece ideas; this will dictate the suppliers and wedding venue accessories you book.

• If you have already got certain wedding suppliers in mind who you want to use, book them as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Wedding photographers, florists, entertainers and caterers get booked up early so make sure you get who you really want by booking asap.

• Start thinking about music – it can be a real challenge finding the right music for your ceremony and first dance, so give it some thought early, especially if you don’t already have a song that is yours as a couple.

• Research honeymoon destinations – bear in mind the time of year you are marrying as this can dictate where you honeymoon.

• Most of all, enjoy planning your dream wedding! It should not be stressful, it should be full of joy and excitement as you plan the biggest day of your life. If you do feel under pressure, call on your closest friends and relatives to help you. Your wedding venue should also have planners on hand to assist and share the load and offer unique wedding ideas.

To find out more join us at one of our Wedding Fayre’s or Open Days:

– 1 March, Wedding Fair
– 7 June, Vintage Wedding Fair
– 14 June, Wedding Open Day
– 2 September, Wedding Fair
– 25 October, Wedding Open Day
– 22 November, Vintage Wedding Fair

Valentine’s Day Love Birds

Vintage Essex Wedding at Hylands

February 14 is fast approaching and romance is very much in the air. When it comes to popping the question, women are more likely to say yes on St Valentine’s Day than at any other time of the year. And of course, the extremely romantic Hylands House is a perfect setting for weddings on this day.

It is said that St. Valentine of Rome was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. Valentine’s Day is not new, it was first associated with romantic love as way back as the Middle Ages. Writer, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem in 1381 in celebration of the engagement of King Richard II and Anne Bohemia:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
Which to you and me means: – “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

Valentine Cards
The earliest surviving Valentine doesn’t have the words ‘roses are red, violets are blue’. It was a card sent by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife in the 15th century, and declares his love. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt
Are these times so romantic though? It seems that Valentine’s Day is going virtual with love birds more likely to use social media. A recent survey found that 62 percent of couples will use some form of virtual reality to share their declarations of love. Most send a text or use Facebook, some use email and 22 percent send an e-card.

Tokens of Love
The best gift is to tell someone you love them but there’s a growing desire to be just a little bit spoilt too. Women have cited a holiday or a car as their favourite Valentine’s Day Gift. Perhaps that’s why some Valentine’s messages remain anonymous!



Hylands Estate is the proud Winner of the Heritage Venue of the Year Award 2014

Hylands Estate is the proud Winner of the Heritage Venue of the Year Award 2014

Hylands Estate, Chelmsford, Essex has been awarded the title number one Heritage Wedding Venue in Essex at the Essex Wedding Awards.

Hylands Estate offers a stunning white classical building to create the perfect setting for intimate gatherings or lavish receptions. The venue offers an extravagantly decorated banqueting room in a neo baroque style, and has recently launched a contemporary Grand Pavilion which can accommodate up to 300 guests.

Councillor Ray Ride, Cabinet Member for Parks & Leisure, Chelmsford City Council, owners of Hylands Estate, is delighted with the award. He says: “This is fabulous news. Everyone at Hylands has worked so hard to complete the new Grand Pavilion and it’s lovely for the team to get such well-deserved recognition. Hylands offers something very unique; a warm and friendly setting for small wedding parties and a magnificent Grand Pavilion for large celebrations. We are all very proud of what we have achieved at Hylands, and delighted that this effort has been rewarded with this top accolade.”

He continued: “The restoration of the house is amazing, and it’s wonderful to see so many happy couples enjoying their big day in such a grand yet intimate venue. It’s also great to see an old house being brought back to life again.”

Hylands Estate was also recently shortlisted for Wedding Venue of the Year (Eastern region) at the Wedding Industry Awards.



Hylands Provided the Perfect Family Home for Kelly and Shane’s Wedding

Happy Married Couple Hylands estate

Photograph: the edge photography

Kelly and Shane Watts tied the knot at Hylands House on the 7 March 2014. The couple had met at work whilst Kelly was on secondment in New Zealand, and the pair fell head over heels in love. The couple followed their careers together to London and settled in Chelmsford. In October 2013 Kelly and Shane welcomed their first son Henry into the world, and were looking for a very family orientated venue to host their wedding for 60 guests. “Shane and I had visited a number of venues, but Hylands House was the perfect venue for us. We’re always walking the dog in the grounds at Hylands or having picnics in the park with baby in the buggy, so Hylands Estate already had a very special place in our heart. “When we stepped inside Hylands House it is very ornate and grand for a wedding but its rooms aren’t too big, which was perfect for us and our guests. The gardens also offer so many pretty places for wedding photos too; it just had everything we were dreaming about. We wanted somewhere amazing as many of our guests were travelling half way round the world from New Zealand, and we did want to give them a treat.   “When it came to our big day all the support and attention to detail the Hylands team gave us really showed. We wanted to create a very happy relaxed family day, and thanks to the staff at Hylands, all our dreams came true. ”

Adam and Hannah Scott Said “I Do” In Vintage Style at Hylands House

Vintage Essex Wedding at Hylands

Photograph: studio rochford

Adam and Hannah said –“I do” at Hylands House on 4 October 2013. The couple had toured lots of venues before they set foot in Hylands but once they did it was love at first sight. “The house and grounds offered so much, there were so many beautiful rooms to choose from and the building is so grand, but still feels like a family home – it suited us perfectly,” explained Adam.

“We had invited 80 guests for the day and 120 for the evening reception, and our day just went perfectly. The wedding team had already given us lots of advice on the run-up to our big day. The team even opened up the house to let us set-up our own things the day before and we met with the caterers and discussed the final layout for the Banqueting Hall and table arrangements. We are both really creative and had made table decorations to fit into our vintage theme, adding a personal touch.

“On the day Hannah and her bridesmaids got to the house at 9am, and after making finishing touches, headed for the bridal suite upstairs to get the wedding party ready. The ceremony took place in the Drawing Room, we then had reception drinks in the small Dining room which opened up onto the veranda where our guests enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Our wedding breakfast was held in the very grand Banqueting Room. Once our evening guests arrived we moved into the Entrance Hall for our disco and the Hylands team opened up a bar in the Staircase Hall which worked really well. We used the Blue room and Boudoir as our evening buffet area with seating for tea and homemade cakes and the guests enjoyed our sweets and treats table.

“The team at Hylands really helped with the natural flow of the day too. We wanted everything to be relaxed and didn’t want a traditional Master of Ceremony, and the team kept things moving for us. In fact at every step of the way the team at Hylands really helped us. They were there to help us with pre-wedding talks, choosing the right caterers, timings for the day, and just being supportive and being there in the background for anything we ever needed.

“Thanks Hylands we had a very special day.”