On January 15th this year, we got a call from Ceri and Ben. They weren’t entirely sure what they wanted but they knew that they wanted to get married, so decided to do it the old-fashioned way: to elope to the coast in secret, with just their children and parents, on May 7th.
With less than four months to plan the couple wanted something that was beautiful in its simplicity; something that matched them, and which would be about them and their little families. So our experienced Managing Director Kathy Murdoch asked Ceri and Ben to trust her and set about helping them to create the most perfect day for them.
At 3.30, the couple were married in the Ocean Kave, witnessed by their children, Jack and Anais, Ben’s parents, and Ceri’s mum and stepdad. The intimate ceremony was followed by Pimm’s, pink champagne and canapes on the lawn. While the group chatted and enjoyed lawn games, Kathy and Gareth Williams, the couples chosen photographer, put their heads together and used their wealth of experience to come up with some ideas that the couple might love. They popped into the nearby village of Westward Ho! and asked a few favours. Not long afterwards, they whisked Ben and Ceri back to Westward Ho!. John and Julie Martin, owners of the slipway and the Carousel amusements, allowed the group to park on the slipway, giving them direct access to Westward Ho! beach. Given the time of day and time of year, the beach was deserted; perfect for an exclusive wedding photoshoot!
As can be expected in May, the weather was a little unpredictable, with four seasons in one day. The couple’s flexibility combined with Kathy and Gareth’s experience and imagination meant that they could take advantage of the sunny spells and laugh through the showers. After a fabulous time on the beach, the couple headed to Carousel Amusements where they got in touch with their inner children with some fun on the penny nudgers. This brought back great childhood memories for Ceri, as well as creating magical new ones.
As the blue skies emerged from behind the springtime clouds, the group headed back to the grounds surrounding Ocean Kave for some more spectacular photos. Group pictures concluded the photo shoot, and the wedding party headed back to Royal Celerity, where the dining area had been set for the wedding breakfast.
Ceri and Ben spoke to Ocean Kave’s locally celebrated chef, Royston Dennis, to create a private dining menu guaranteed to wow the whole group:
Crab and crayfish spheres served with a sweet chilli jam and dressed mixed leaves
Devon blue cheese and wild mushroom tartlet with dressed rocket leaves,
Corn fed chicken with pancetta crisp, served with dauphinoise potatoes and a light thyme and lemon cream sauce,
Exmoor rump of beef, Yorkshire pudding seasonal vegetables and rich red wine jus,
Champagne poached pear with raspberry sorbet,
Hot chocolate fondant with salted caramel sauce,
Sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream,
The entire group adored the whole dining experience, from the attention to detail to the care and professionalism shown by the catering team. They loved it so much that they went away armed with a list of local producers, determined to buy some of the incredible locally sourced produce that they had sampled! Ben and Ceri both said it is the little touches that made their day so special. They loved every second, as did their guests, and they are all looking forward to returning to Westward Living holiday cottages soon.
Weddings come in all shapes and sizes and we do our best to make each day reflect the personalities of the happy couple and to accommodate their needs, desires and quirks! In this case, it was Ceri and Ben’s open-mindedness, flexibility, trust and bravery that helped to ensure that they had a day that they will cherish forever.
So many congratulations to Ben and Ceri; and thank you for trusting us!
Photos courtesy of Gareth Williams of GRW Photography