Muddy’s ultimate wedding guide
Welcome to our indispensable local wedding guide. All you need to know about wedding suppliers in Suffolk and Cambs on one convenient page.
Woo hoo, you’re engaged! You’ve probably quaffed more Champagne than is advisable in an entire lifetime, and love nothing more than flashing your engagement ring in friends’ faces, but now you’ve actually got to plan the wedding. So, where on earth do you start? It’s a veritable confetti-doused minefield but luckily, with our Cambs & Suffolk wedding guide, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you. Behold the who’s who of stellar independent wedding businesses in the area, primed and ready to help you start ticking off boxes on that enormous list.
WEDDING PLANNERS & STYLISTS
Don’t know your charger plates from your sharing platters or mint green from sage green, and quite frankly don’t want to spend time working it out? Then you need a wedding planner in your newly engaged life. This couple above called on local planner Vanessa at Rock and Frocks to sort out their big day details and look how happy they are about it.
Vanessa can do anything from just help out on the day to organising everything from the start, like picking a venue. And, she’s seriously creative so can get involved in the styling side of things too. Best of all, Vanessa knows all the top local suppliers, saving you lots of time on Google that you could be spending celebrating!
Hall & Co Event Design are based in St Ives and they both plan and style weddings. Remember our cool pink piano from the Muddy Awards Drinks 2019? Yep, they pulled that together in mere minutes and can do the same on your wedding day – turning a perfectly nice venue into a wow-factor space, plus taking care of all the catering details and anything else wedmin-related you haven’t got time for.
We’re also lucky to have Katrina Otter based in Cambs. Katrina is a wedding stylist and planner extraordinaire and her work is so beautiful it’s often featured in national wedding magazines. If you like luxury, high end and elegant decor (just see above!), plus no-fuss and friendly planning, Katrina is your girl.
Twinkly fairy lights, romantic atmosphere, magical country surroundings… this is what you can expect from Bassmead Manor Barns near St Neots. It’s exclusive use – always a winner in our opinion so you don’t have any members of Joe Public gawking at you – has on-site accommodation (perfect for that 3am bleary-eyed stumble back to bed) and a bridal boudoir to get ready in. Say “I do” in the 300-year-old Rickety Barn (above) and then have dinner in the light-filled Bridge Barn.
Love the idea of a rustic, country wedding, but hay bales and the smell of actual farm animals enough to put you off your canapés? Then you need to book Easton Grange in the middle of the Suffolk countryside near Woodbridge. It’s a former farmhouse and barn that has been completely modernised and beautifully designed to let in loads of natural light and there isn’t a cobweb in sight!
This Muddy Stilettos editor (and wedding magazine journalist) chose Easton for her very own wedding, and there’s nothing better than a personal recommendation from an expert in the industry! The venue is on a river with swans and a picture perfect bridge, plus there are barns for both the ceremony and reception, so none of that annoying moving of guests while the room gets turned around. Oh and the bridal suite is the stuff first night dreams are made of!
South Farm is the smart choice for couples who are bored of the same old cookie-cutter weddings and want to do something a bit different. This farm venue between Cambridge and Royston comes complete with Romany caravans, a smallholding full of rare breed animals, a Thai tuk-tuk and a whole host of spaces for you to choose from for your vows and reception – including the Tudor Barn, beautiful garden Summerhouse, intimate Drawing Room and lovely Old Dairy.
The name Wilderness Reserve makes us think of somewhere rather rustic, in the middle of nowhere with no phone signal, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Wilderness is actually an amazing country estate near Southwold that has really nailed modern country elegance, so both townies and country folk can feel at home.
Everything has been renovated to a seriously high standard, and for weddings there’s stately Sibton Park, with incredible spaces for ceremonies and receptions (and the chance to really do something unique – the sky’s the limit here). It sleeps 27 and has weekend house party written all over it too. Got a massive guest list? No problem… there are plenty of high-end accommodation options in the grounds including Hex Cottage, a romantic candle-lit cottage made for your first night as a married couple.
Want to set a luxurious tone for your big day and use a local company while you do it? The Luxe Paper Co is a stationer right here in East Anglia, run by award-winning graphic designer Chloe. You can choose from one of her house collections – Lavenham or Botanical (above) – or get creative and work with her to produce your own personalised suite, no less.
Lights, camera, action! There’s no other day in your life that you’ll be photographed and filmed as much as your wedding day (unless you’re some kind of red carpet walking celeb). So you need your make-up to be on point. Want to know who we’d we trust to make us up on our big day? Miss2Mrs Makeup is based in Cambridgeshire and make-up artist Sam Cooper has worked with plenty of celebs and brides and her work has been featured in magazines, so you can be confident she knows how to create a flawless complexion.
How’s this for a hen party idea… a spa day at Sandpiper Pool & Spa, where you have the entire spa to yourselves, complete with huge heated pool, treatments, relaxation lounge, sauna, steam room, al fresco jacuzzi and real snow room (hen party snow ball fight anyone?). That means no-one to tut at you over their copy of Gardeners’ World while you and your gaggle of girls dissolve into giggles, and no-one to overhear that risqué joke while you play Mr & Mrs around the pool.
You can stay all day too, with the option to book treatments, lunch and snacks. Oh and it doesn’t cost the earth, with prices starting at just £50pp, plus discounts for groups. Hen do, sorted!
Let your creative side bloom with a rather impressive choice of creative local florists. First up is Muddy 2019 award-winner Gin House Flowers in Histon, named because the owner, Lucy, loves gin and flowers (she’s our kinda girl). Lucy comes from a rock and roll family, so expect unique, bright and inventive arrangements.
Helen Newman is based in the Suffolk countryside and has worked for leading florists in London, New York and The Middle East, so you know your flowers are in good hands. Her style is elegant, beautiful and whimsical, and when she’s not delivering stand out arrangements to weddings, she teaching people how to emulate her at events like the RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
Becky at Feather & Ferns Floral Design in St Ives is an extremely talented florist, who is definitely worth a mention for her effortlessly chic arrangements, while English Petal & Herb in St Neots is an amazing company, who grow their own flowers in organic conditions (harder than it sounds), as well as donating flowers to elderly, lonely or vulnerable people for every wedding or bouquet that they sell, so you can feel pretty good about your wedding flowers making a difference.
And, we’re also rather smitten with Tudor Rose Florist in Bury St Edmunds, set up by Daniel back in 2001. Think you’ve got green fingers? Tudor Rose also run a Flower School in the Hatter Street store.
Not to depress you, but after the big day, all you have left is the memories and the photos/video, so it’s worth making sure they’re really good quality (oh wait, we almost forgot you’ll have husband or wife too!). There are different styles to consider so make sure to look through lots of examples of their work before you sign on the dotted line.
We’re rather partial to Muddy Awards finalist Hello Harriet’s crisp and natural style, while another of our awards finalists, Michelle White, certainly knows how to capture that all-important mantelpiece shot with clever use of light. Over in Suffolk, you’d be hard pressed to beat the incredible fine art style of Justine Ferrari. We also swoon at the pictures that Lina and Tom, located near Royston, manage to capture, that really showcase the joy of each wedding.
Now to the bit you’ve been waiting for… where to find the dress? Well, you don’t have to travel far, as we have plenty of choice right here in Cambs and Suffolk, starting with a city centre favourite of ours… the Dickensian sounding The Tailor’s Cat, a huge glass-fronted emporium dedicated to dreamy dresses. They stock all the classic designers Essence, Watters, More Lee and it’s a delightful space to spend an hour or so perusing the frocks.
Just round the corner is Burr Bridal in a period building that is a cosy and friendly option if you’re not one for bling and people peering at you through the windows. The style in this shop is more fitted and sleek, think city chic rather than poofy tulle princess skirts.
In Ramsey, you’ll find Harvey’s of Ramsey in a gorgeous Grade II-listed building. It was opened in 2018 by Michelle and Danielle who wanted to make sure brides had the amazing service they should during their quest for the dress, and they stock much-loved designers like Ivory & Co and White Rose. It’s all about feeling special here, with a one-to-one service.
Over in St Ives, there’s Shades of White, which stocks lots of traditional designs and much-loved designers, plus you can get your bridesmaids and all your accessories sorted while you’re dress shopping here.
Across the border in Suffolk, we love Clare Bridal Studio in Bury St Edmunds for its knowledgeable service and perfectly curated collection. In Newmarket there’s Brides by Solo, who stock favourites like Maggie Sottero and Catherine Deane. And for something really special, there’s Rachel Lamb Bridal Design near Ely. Rachel is a dress designer and can create something completely bespoke to you!
Got all the toasters and oven gloves you’ll ever need and don’t want to be cheeky and ask for cash as a wedding gift? We rather like the idea of an art gift list from Burwash Manor-based independent art gallery The Art Hound. Guests can contribute towards that Damien Hirst you’ve always coveted or, after a consultation with the Art Hound experts to choose the art you love, they can put vouchers towards a whole set of artwork for your new marital home. Not exactly handy with a hammer? The Art Hound team can even put the pictures up for you after the big day.