A wedding at Frampton Court
Who Got Married?: Robert Mauler and Nathan Hinder
Where did they get married?: The Manor Gardens, Frampton Court Estate, Gloucestershire
When did they get married?: June 2019
When you’re thinking about where to celebrate your wedding or union there’s always a myriad of factors that come into play. Geography, family, friends, numbers, budget, emotional attachments… For same sex couples it’s also about finding somewhere that respects and recognises their union.
This time we chatted with Robert and Nathan who recently got married at Frampton Court Estate in wonderful Gloucestershire.
Robert and Nathan live in Butterrow, Stroud, not that far from Frampton-on-Severn, home to Frampton Court (and The Grange which can be useful for overflow guests). Robert works in Commissioning and Quality for the NHS and Nathan works in HR for Historic England. They met online via match.com in 2014 and then swiftly bought their house and moved in together in 2015, were engaged in 2017 and married in 2019. These guys know what they want and they go for it!
After two attempts by Robert to propose to Nathan, including a rather drunken proposal at the Royal Albert Hall with a champagne ring pull, Nathan succeeded and proposed in one of Robert’s favourite places in the world – Caples Mill on the River Frome in Stroud. What was once a big mill complex is now just a collection of old stones jutting into the river in the bottom of the valley below where they live. It’s a truly idyllic spot.
Whilst both Robert and Nathan now live in Gloucestershire, Nathan and his family are from Wiltshire and so there was a lot of discussion on the venue and its location. Lots of venues were looked at – managed venues, stunning Country houses in Wiltshire, spa hotels, historic mansions… the list was long!
Robert says “I’m quite creative, so wasn’t sure about the prescriptive venues that tell you what your big day will be like. We both wanted the day to be ‘our own’.”
After being recommended a brilliant caterer they needed a venue which would allow them to use their own caterer. “We were quite surprised at how many times we were told ‘no’ when we said we wanted our own caterer, or something not on the normal options menu at some of the venues we looked at.” Then Robert’s mum suggested Frampton Court Estate. Her family all come from Frampton-on-Severn and his grandmother had been the cook at the Court in the 1940’s. Job done.
“As we arrived to check it out, everything began to feel just right. The Wool Barn (above) could be the venue for the Wedding Breakfast. It’s a stunning Grade 1 listed Tudor barn that offered so much flexibility and we could use our own caterer!”
But with friends coming from around the world, they needed to make sure that there was accommodation close by; cue Frampton Court with its five magnificent stately bedrooms available for luxury B&B and the option of the self-catering Orangery completed the picture – this was the venue.
The wedding weekend
Able to decorate the Wool Barn, Friday morning they started work and quickly transformed the barn with their personal style – including a massive mirror ball.
As the sun started to set guests started the celebrations ‘Downton’ style as the grooms hosted supper in the Court. A wonderful fish pie with crusty bread, a fresh green salad followed by seriously amazing chocolate brownies; accompanied by some local wine from Woodchester Valley Vineyard. Perfect. “Owen and Tamsin and their team were wonderful. They welcomed everyone and made Frampton Court feel like it was ours.”
Robert remembers the next morning; “as we all finished breakfast the nerves kicked in – we had had some beautiful waistcoats hand made by a friend and putting these on suddenly made everything real – and then as everyone started gathering in the hall of the Court, Nathan popped the bottle of champagne as another friend arrived in his 1926 Chevy which he had restored to be our transportation for the day along with his wife bringing our button holes and corsages.”
As Frampton Court Estate isn’t approved for legal wedding ceremonies, they had done the legal bit earlier in the week and had asked a friend to lead the ceremony in the Manor garden. “This was great because we were able to create the ceremony we wanted; we asked other friends to play and sing in the ceremony too, and a neighbour wrote a poem for us. We walked in to Unexpected Song and out to The Rainbow Connection with Your Song and Runaway in the ceremony itself. The ceremony was heartfelt, beautiful and simple.”
After this it was really time to celebrate – as the fizz flowed, the canapes circulated (everyone needs mini eggs benedict and soy blackened salmon in their lives!). Other friends helped to keep everyone entertained with lawn games as the newly weds mingled.
After moving from the garden to the Wool Barn the wedding breakfast was served. Not your traditional three course meal but the most exquisite ‘picnic’ in a barn. Mandy had put together a menu including homemade sausage rolls with black pudding, individual bacon and gruyere muffins, beautiful sandwiches, green salad, cheese and onion quiche and slices of the cake which had been cut earlier in the garden, all served in hampers for two.
With a live band for the evening, the party carried on. For the last words on their magical day it’s over to Rob:
“A friend recently told us that the atmosphere that was created enabled him to feel at ease and ‘slow dance’ with his husband for the first time in their long relationship. Both Nathan and I felt very proud of this, that we were able to share our day with everyone – our young Niece and Nephew, Nathan’s 89-year-old Grandmother, gay friends, straight friends, our parents, our neighbors. The inclusive feel we were able to create is a reflection of the Wool Barn and the Court Estate and the staff. The team that help run the place are so wonderful.”
“As we walked back across the village green in the pitch black from the Manor to the Court, we were the happiest people alive. We set out to have a simple, country wedding that was about our love, and that of our family and friends. Frampton delivered that in spades.
Reflecting back, it was the handmade, personal touches of friendship that made the day so special. And Frampton Court Estate has become a friend too.”