Please be upstanding as we toast Mellissa and Matthew and their marvellous wedding celebrations! As with all speeches, there are a few people to thank: first, raise your glass to the happy couple, for sharing an insight into their special day with us; to Kate Nielen, the fantastic photographer, for these inspirational images; and finally, to Denbies Wine Estate, for the smooth running from start to finish. CHEERS!
Mellissa, a Surrey girl born and bred, says she spent many a relaxed lunch or indulgent afternoon tea over the years here at Denbies Wine Estate, enjoying the spectacular views and forging fond memories of special time with her mum. During those visits, she probably never imagined that one day she would be tying the knot here with the love of her life!
Before they met, Mellissa had thought she was unlucky in love – it’s not often that we actively want to be proved wrong! Unknown to her then, Matthew must have felt the same way; but ever-optimistic of finding The One, they both joined eHarmony. They do say you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your Prince Charming, and after a series of go-nowhere dates, Mellissa was just about to give up – and then Matthew got in touch.
Catching her eye with his dashing good looks, Mellissa decided she couldn’t say no straight away, so after lots of online chatting, they finally met up. And the rest, as they say, is history! But that’s not the end of this fairy-tale romance: from proposal to planning to wedding day, and marriage beyond, in the words of our beautiful bride, they had each found themselves a keeper!
As if life wasn’t exciting enough already, Matthew decided that their cake needed a cherry on top: on the day of his graduation from Oxford University, he surprised Mellissa by getting down on one knee, Oxford gown and all. Asking for her hand in marriage, he offered her his own ring, so that they would be able to go and choose exactly the one she wanted, and, knowing they were her favourites, a box of shrimps. (Just to be clear, it was a box of those pink shrimp candies rather than actual shellfish! Sometimes little, truly personal touches like this make all the difference, and will be remembered forever!)
Matthew and Mellissa set to work finding the perfect venue for their wedding celebrations, conducting extensive research and making a series of appointments for tours. Denbies Wine Estate happened to be the first venue they visited, and as is so often the way in life, the one they ended up booking. Having gone on to visit several other venues (just to be sure!) they both returned to Denbies Wine Estate, drawn by the exquisite Surrey surroundings and magical setting within England’s largest vineyard.
Denbies Wine Estate offered Mellissa and Matthew everything that they dreamt of: an idyllic country setting, fine dining, plenty of lovely photo opportunities and an efficient team on hand every step of the way. Despite now being the accomplished producer of internationally recognised wine (don’t be mistaken into thinking that English wine isn’t up to much; Denbies has won multiple gold awards for their sparkling wines, English rose wine and dessert wine – in fact, why not treat your guests to a guided tour as part of your extended wedding weekend celebrations?), Denbies has kept in touch with its local agricultural history.
The charming original farmhouse, with a pretty covered porch and attractive gardens, is now the perfect place for a pre- or post-wedding day stay. With seven double en-suite bedrooms, there is room for your nearest and dearest to stay together, catching up over a relaxed full English breakfast.
Matthew and Mellissa decided to exchange their vows in a nearby church before moving on to Denbies Wine Estate to continue the celebrations. As Mellissa says, her favourite part of the day was the excitement and joy of walking down the aisle to her soon-to-be husband: although a barrel of nerves with everyone watching me, seeing Matthew’s handsome beaming face at the end, knowing I would soon be his wife. Aww!
Mellissa unashamedly proclaims herself a ‘girly girl’, and took this opportunity to indulge her love of vintage-pretty styling, choosing a colour theme of delicate pinks and soft creams, which was continued through the flowers, cake and table settings.
This incredible cake, with the most intricate sugar art roses, buds and blooms cascading down three tiers, perfectly captures the delicate vintage style.
The bride had followed her vision to create gorgeous table displays: each place setting featured a personalised mini message in a bottle – a thank you scroll tied with lace and slipped inside the bottle, then finished with a bow and individual name tag. Hand-made wedding favours such as these really are a labour of love – but absolutely worth every second of effort.
Thankfully Mellissa received plenty of help from her family, all working together round the dining table. What a lovely way to bring the family together in this shared venture, to have a chance to sit and chat together, and to give everyone a role!
At the centre of each table was an exquisite orchid, chosen by the bride herself the day before the wedding. A trip to the flower market is something that most brides would consider a step too far this close to the big day, but it’s testament to her confidence in the Denbies events team that Mellissa felt able to take this time out to do something so enjoyable.
There were plenty of other personal touches which really made their day stand out, including the wedding post box, which Mellissa bought from a craft shop and hand decorated, and the little wooden table names sourced to fit perfectly in the middle of the plates.
As is only fitting for a couple whose relationship began online, Mellissa created the social media wedding hashtags, on mini art canvases propped against tiny wooden easels.
Matthew and Mellissa were right to have such confidence in the Denbies Wine Estate team; as Mellissa says, the staff, especially Megan Pearce, was more than accommodating and answered all our questions and queries. We couldn’t thank them enough and they were more than happy to help on the day when we had small issues to deal with. They were key in helping our wedding day run smoothly.
These wonderful photographs were taken by Kate Nielen, a fine art photographer based in London. In her mind, Mellissa could picture exactly the style she wanted for their wedding album and set out to find the perfect professional. After much research, she came across Kate’s website, showcasing some of the beautiful images she has captured – and absolutely loved what she saw. Kate also photographed their engagement shoot at Box Hill, close to Denbies Wine Estate, and another special place for the happy couple.