Real Weddings

Mori Lee for a Blush & Black Tie Wedding at Stancliffe Hall – Serena & Mark

Sarah Symonds

Serena and Mark have gone for an intimate affair, brushed with a palette of rose gold and blush, and with plenty of tartan as a nod to the groom’s Scottish roots.

This week on the blog we’ve been swept off our feet by a romantic proposal weekend, followed by a summer wedding bash at stunning Stancliffe Hall in the Peak District. And we simply can’t resist a tux! Black tie! Swoon!

We’ve been pouring over these dramatic and dreamy snaps all week and we think you’re going to love them! It’s the perfect blend of luxe-meets-DIY; Michelin starred dining alongside homemade decorations, the father of the bride getting crafty and building the perfect on-trend hexagon focal point for our couple to exchange their vows in front of, while bride Serena says “I do” in Choo (and a beautiful Mori Lee gown!). And, continuing the theme of contrast, the soft and femine pink of the bridesmaids dresses really pops when paired with the charcoal tartan. This is one real wedding you won’t want to miss!

With photography by Miki Studios

Stancliffe Hall Wedding Film – Serena & Mark from Miki Studios on Vimeo.


Serena says: 9th December is a special date for us; it’s my dad’s birthday and the date we got engaged!

Mark is originally from Scotland, Rothesay, the Isle of Bute. We try to go up to visit whenever we can and, this particular trip, I thought we were going up as an early celebration for Mark’s brother’s 30th. We pulled up to Cameron House, a beautiful 5* hotel resort, which is a place we have always visited but never had the chance to stay.

We had champagne delivered to our room while we were getting ready for dinner (I should have guessed something was going on!) then had an eight-course meal at the Wishart Michelin star restaurant, with silver service and again more champagne!

After the meal we decided to take a romantic stroll down to the boat house, where we sat out on the deck looking at the boats and Christmas lights surrounding us. We were alone and it was perfect. Mark suddenly turned to me, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. He presented me with the ring (box upside down!) and a waiter arrived with more glasses of champagne! I obviously said yes. It was a perfect evening.

We ended our trip at a spa the next day, followed by a surprise trip in a sea plane. It was just perfect, a fantastic weekend we will always remember.


We chose Saturday 16th June as we’d always wanted a summer wedding, and this was the perfect date before my birthday. We really wanted our wedding to be a weekend celebration rather than just a day.

We were married in an original 16th century chapel at Stancliffe Hall in Darley Dale, in the Peak District. We celebrated afterwards in the beautiful hall, which was exclusive to the wedding party and guests for the whole weekend.

We were introduced to Stancliffe Hall by my close friend, Helen Stephenson, who owns Honeysuckle & Castle. Stancliffe is one of her venues. It was intimate and meant our day could easily flow from the ceremony to the drinks reception, and then onto the wedding breakfast.


Our theme was black tie meets rustic glam. Again, as it was a small wedding, we thought it would be nice for everyone to dress in black tie. We knew it would look fantastic in pictures and was a great excuse for everyone to dress up!

We had a palette of blush, black and rose gold to fit with the black-tie theme. I was also inspired by a few Pinterest boards, which captured some amazing flowers and bouquets and really complimented the theme.


At the National Wedding Show in Birmingham I passed a stall, MiAmore from Sutton in Coldfield, displaying some beautiful dresses and my mother encouraged me to “just try one on”. To my surprise the first one I tried was The One! My dress was made by the designer Mori Lee. It was everything I wanted in a wedding dress! An ivory satin gown, a beautiful sequined back, and a gorgeous jewel encrusted belt. It had buttons going down the back and a beautiful long train and, the best part, it had pockets!

I chose a cathedral length veil from Wed2Be. I commissioned a local seamstress to add further beading, gems and pearls to compliment my dress. I also wore a pearl and jewel encrusted hair piece. I borrowed my mother’s diamond pendant, which matched my earrings and bracelet, and my husband-to-be gave me a Thomas Sabo engraved love bridge as a wedding present. All I needed then were my Jimmy Choo’s and Ted Baker ivory clutch.


My husband wore two outfits; the first was traditional Scottish attire, complete with kilt, for the ceremony and drinks reception. As his family don’t have a tartan, we went for a charcoal and black kilt with a matching black jacket and white shirt, all sourced from a small Scottish supplier. Then, for the rest of the day and evening, Mark changed into his tux. Suit, patent leather shoes, shirt, waistcoat and cufflinks were all from Paul Smith.

The groomsmen and father of the bride all wore black tuxedos too.


I had three bridesmaids and two flower girls. My bridesmaids’ dresses were quite difficult to organise, having to be chosen and ordered at the very last minute as one bridesmaid was six months pregnant and the other two had not long had their babies. I went for simple, yet elegant matching dresses from MiAmore which complimented each of my bridesmaids’ figures. They accessorized with rose gold strappy heels, a rose gold bracelet and matching earrings. The flower girls wore ivory satin dresses from Monsoon.


We spent the morning of the wedding getting ready in the bridal rooms at Stancliffe Hall. We had a wonderful make-up artist from MAC cosmetics but the hairdressers I had originally booked couldn’t attend, leaving us two weeks to find a replacement. One of my bridesmaids’ hairdressers saved the day and stepped in at the last minute.


We didn’t need transport as the whole bridal party and our families stayed the night before the wedding at Stancliffe Hall. This was a perfect way to start the weekend! We had arranged to have dinner in a lovely restaurant, PieDaniel’s in Bakewell.


We chose Ash and Mick at MIKI Studios to document and capture our special day. We had the great pleasure of getting to know Ash, our photographer, and Mick, our videographer, throughout our engagement. They were fantastic on our wedding day and we could not have asked for a better team! All our guests had such kind words to say; professional, funny, complimentary, smartly dressed and engaging were just a few words used to describe the duo.

We were so excited to see our photos and video. MIKI Studios made us feel special by inviting us down to London, to our very own premier! Such a great experience seeing our photos and film on a big screen!

We thank MIKI Studios for such a wonderful experience and lead up to the wedding. Our pre-wedding shoot in Rome was an amazing experience and we could not have chosen a better and more romantic setting. It exceeded all our expectations and was a fantastic opportunity to feel more comfortable in front of the camera. We would definitely recommend MIKI Studios to every couple who are about to get married!


Sally from Honeysuckle & Castle created the flowers and bouquets. We chose silk flowers, which meant I could incorporate my favourite flowers and stay within the budget and colour scheme.

We decorated the venue ourselves, with the help from a few suppliers who were key in turning our vision into a reality. The tables were dressed in ivory linen, rose gold sequin runners, glass charger plates, candelabras, candles, flowers and vases. We had metres of soft string lights, ivory, blush and black ribbon tastefully hung from the ceilings throughout the hall. This was sourced online.

We also chose to add a photo booth because it’s fun and a nice way for people to sign our guest book!

My dad created a lovely frame where we could add photos of our family members who were no longer with us. Although it was sad, it was a sentimental gesture and a thoughtful way of acknowledging our grandparents, aunties and uncles who have passed away. He also created our main feature, a structure at the altar where Mark and I exchanged our vows. This was a wooden hexagon which we covered in flowers, lanterns and a handmade rose gold foiled scroll.


We kept our wedding favours simple. My bridal party and I went for rose gold favour boxes and filled them with Lindor chocolates. We finished them with a decorative black tie.


Our cake was made by the Sugared Rose, Derbyshire. Sarah is a talented cake maker. We were provided with a ‘taster box’ – a selection of our favourite cakes to sample – and eventually chose a four-tier cake, which incorporated vanilla, caramel and fudge brownie flavours. The cake stayed within our brief and colour palette – the bottom tier had a marble effect, the next was ivory followed by a rose gold tier, topped with a smaller ivory tier. This was then finished off beautifully with edible flowers matching those in my bouquet. We also had a cake topper which read “Mr & Mrs Pendreigh” in rose gold. It was perfect and the most delicious cake I have ever tasted!


We were lucky with the venue we chose in that Stancliffe Hall has its own Michelin star chefs and well-stocked winery. We chose a variety of canapes to serve with champagne at the drinks reception. Then we had a three-course wedding breakfast, where guests could opt for one of two starters, mains and desserts, with champagne to toast and then tray service for the evening with mini burgers, bitesize fish and chips etc. The hall had an on-site fully stocked bar.

The food and wines complimented each other, and the menu was created and fine-tuned weeks before the day. We were able to have a couple of private tasting sessions to establish exactly what we wanted.


Derventio string quartet started our day off perfectly, playing throughout the ceremony and drinks reception. We were so impressed by their talent and adeptness with playing current and all genres of music. This made our wedding more individual and personal to us. We then played our own music throughout the wedding reception, followed by a DJ for the evening.

Thanks to

Thanks to Stancliffe Hall, an intimate and stunning venue in the heart of Derbyshire. The team who looked after us, along with Honeysuckle & Castle, were brilliant and truly made our day. Weddings can be stressful, so it really helps to have someone share in your vision and help the day run as smoothly as possible! We chose our venue well, along with our photographer, videographer, entertainment etc. I feel the day was uniquely ours, one we wouldn’t change for the world!

Best bit

Our whole day was magical, although, like most, we felt it went far too fast! I would say after the nerves have settled, walking down the aisle hand in hand with my husband and toasting to our future with our first glass of champagne was one memory I will always cherish.


We enjoyed a lovely and relaxing holiday sailing around the Greek islands on a yacht for two weeks. It was a perfect way to unwind and reflect on our amazing day!


My main tip would be to enjoy every moment of your day as it goes by so fast! Remember it’s about you two and no one else, so try to have as much fun as possible and create everlasting memories!

Planning a wedding is an interesting and stressful yet rewarding journey. Try to keep perspective, spend time with each other not talking about the wedding and be prepared for family politics to be an issue at some point along the way. If you have a budget, keep referring to it and try to log your expenses on a spreadsheet. It avoids confusion, keeps you in check and helps when you have to prioritise things.

Remember to ask for help if needed, it’s a difficult task to complete on your own. If you have a wedding planner, establish at the start what their role is and what is expected of them and you. I loved the Brides Up North site! It’s inspirational, on trend and informative.

Remember to de-stress too. Be organised with your hair and make-up, book them early, remember to put yourself first. Try to organise bridesmaids’ dresses ASAP to avoid disappointment and unnecessary expenses.

Grooms, try to offer help and if you are delegated jobs then make sure you do them as promised. Mark also says to keep calm!

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