Nichola Gilmour and Paul Henson were married at the Fabulous Castle Leslie Estate.
When I look back to how Paul and I met it’s hard not to have a sense that events conspired to bring us together – to put us in the same space at exactly the time that we were ready to meet and be together. We met in Hong Kong as we were both working at Next albeit on different teams and on separate work trips. A night or two into the trip, we attended a dinner and Paul and I were placed next to each other. As cliché as it sounds there was a real electricity between us and I knew there and then that this could be the start of something incredibly special. Fast forward nine years later we were engaged and getting married.
There was a real electricity between us and I knew there and then that this could be the start of something incredibly special
Both Paul and I had lived together in his hometown of Leicester, but being an Irish girl and Paul having Irish roots, there was never any doubt that we would marry ‘back home’. I’ll be honest, Castle Leslie Estate was where I’d always dreamed of getting married, and on our first visit, we were both just staggered by how charming and beautiful the house and grounds were, and that teamed with the warmth and efficiency of the Castle’s staff made it the easiest wedding decision we made.
My dress, where to start. I’m sure most brides will admit their dress is one of the first things they focus on after the engagement, well, it certainly was the case for me. I had more Pinterest boards than I could count with every shape and size of dress you could imagine. I choose an incredible hand embellished lace gown by Berta Bridal which for me was love at first sight. I am so grateful to Claire at The Wedding Club in Birmingham for making every part of the experience so fabulous.
My two beautiful sisters and two of my best friends were bridesmaids and wore stunning Jim Helm lace trimmed dresses that are said to have been based on Pippa Middleton’s dress at her sister’s wedding. As we had a Winter wedding, the girls wore little feather cover ups. We also had two totally gorgeous flower girls, Isla and Lucia who are just three and wore little tutus, fluffy cardi’s, gold glitter shoes and tiny feather wings – they looked absolutely beautiful.
Paul was quite relaxed about finding his suit and so with barely a month to go, we set off to London to Selfridges where he found a beautiful navy Dries Van Noten suit. We had already bought our Dads’, best man and ushers’ suits from Next.
I’m a natural planner and self-professed perfectionist so gladly assumed the role of Wedding planner. I’d say it was smooth sailing, drama and stress free but maybe Paul and my family would say differently. We spent the week prior to the wedding at Mum and Dad’s putting the finishing touches to table decorations, having the craic with visitors and drinking gallons of tea. Mum and Dad were on hand to help with whatever was needed and were generally amazing, happy, proud parents. It was so lovely being at home with the wedding buzz building.
“Our friends and family are still talking about our incredible
Castle Leslie Estate wedding and how it was a truly
special experience that will never be forgotten”
Many of our family and friends arrived to the Castle on the Thursday and so after a lovely family meal in the Lodge we all had a big pre-wedding party which was such a lovely way to begin the celebrations. On the morning of the wedding I woke up around 5am and opened the shutters to a beautiful crisp late November morning and looked out across the lake, imagining the incredible day that lay ahead wondering if Paul was awake yet.
The girls and I had a fantastic morning getting ready in the Blue Room, drinking champagne and at around 1.30pm we made our way to Saint Salvator’s Church in the Castle grounds for the wedding ceremony and an hour later we emerged as Mr & Mrs Henson. Since our family and friends had travelled a long distance to the venue, it was ideal to be able to have the ceremony and reception all on the Estate, it also meant we didn’t waste any of our day travelling. Following the ceremony, we made our way down to the lake and boat house for photographs which was a nice chance to be alone and reflect for a moment. Meanwhile drinks and canapés were served to our guests back at the house and the celebrations were well and truly underway. We had decided on a guest list of around 150 and therefore chose to have the reception in the Pavilion – a stunning room overlooking the lake. It was so lovely having exclusive use of the main house for the day which looked incredible with roaring fires and Christmas trees in each room.
Following the speeches a delicious dinner was served and we were delighted to have had Sir Jack come in to congratulate us. The partition was later drawn back to reveal a dance floor with twinkly lights, photo booth, cake table, band and DJs. Perfect for our first dance, as we danced to All of me by John Legend under a mass of pretty drapes and twinkly lights in the beautiful Castle Leslie Pavilion. Honestly, the day was perfect from start to finish, ending rather late in the Long Bar with friends and a Polaroid camera capturing the end of THE BEST DAY EVER.
We had a fantastic mini-moon following the wedding where we stayed at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in the Cotswolds and we are planning a honeymoon for later in the summer to the Amalfi coast.
Our friends and family are still talking about our incredible Castle Leslie Estate wedding and how it was a truly special experience that will never be forgotten. Our special thanks to Deneise for making us feel like nothing was ever too much trouble and to John for always being in the right place at the right time, a constant source of calm, for always being one step ahead, and for doing all he could to ensure we had a day we could only have wished for.
Castle Leslie Estate will forever have a special place in our hearts, be somewhere we return to and continue to be packed with beautiful memories for countless other couples.