So if you follow me on Instagram (@kayleighjcouture if you're not already), you've probably seen me spamming my feed with photos from mine and my fiancé Matt's engagement party. They had so many lovely comments on them so I just wanted to thank you guys for all the love you've shown us - it means the world to me. I thought it'd be nice to share a few photos from the party and most importantly, the venue. When we first got engaged, we weren't sure if we wanted a small gathering at our house or if we wanted to go all out with a big party so it took us some time to get round to actually booking something. In the end we decided a big party was the way to go as there was so many people we wanted to celebrate with and you only get engaged once, so why not go all out?
Although we now live closer to Manchester, we're originally from the Lake District and as most of our family and friends live there, we decided that would be the best location to have the party. When thinking of venues I knew I wanted somewhere modern but also somewhere that has character and nice accommodation for our guests travelling from away. With this being said, I knew Abbey House Hotel was the venue for us. Situated in the south lakes, it's a beautiful hotel that's recently been renovated meaning everything about it is perfect, for want of a better word. The hotels grounds are absolutely stunning and the wedding suites are insane (more on those in a separate post).
We went to meet with John, the manager at Abbey House for a chat so we could decide on a date and also give him more info on what we wanted in terms of decor, food, entertainment and the number of guests we'd have attending. He was so welcoming and couldn't do enough for us - he was happy to answer any questions we had and provided us with lots of suggestions for the party and what they could do that would really impress our guests. He also showed us their two function rooms - The Cavendish Suite and The Great Hall. Both rooms are stunning with The Cavendish Suite being the bigger and more modern option of the two. We had around 120 guests in total so we decided The Great Hall would be the best option for us as The Cavendish Suite held a lot more guests and we didn't want the room to look empty, despite John informing us they can dress the rooms to make them look smaller, which is always good to know. We also felt the The Cavendish Suite was more suited to a wedding so we thought it was best to save that for the big day.
After deciding on the room and Friday 30th June as our date, it was time for the fun stuff. I've never planned a party to this extent before so I didn't have a clue what was available but John told us all the options and we were honestly blown away by the different things we could do. Everything from as selfie mirror to magicians and even a Jager station were on the list. We decided to go for all those things as we thought it'd get people talking and be a bit of extra fun for our guests. We also asked for a welcome drink to be served as it's always nice to be handed a free drink when you arrive a a party! Abbey house arranged prosecco for the ladies and beers for the guys, which went down a treat. We also decided on a hog roast with all the trimmings as the food option, alongside veggie kebabs for the vegetarian guests and cute cake pops for dessert.
As you can see from the photos, The Great Hall is an amazing space - it has loads of character with panelled walls, high ceilings and a really great lay out. It has the main room where there's more than enough space for a dance floor, entertainment and seating, a small walkway which is great for serving the welcome drinks, the bar and a huge terrace leading out onto Abbey House's beautiful gardens. Perfect for a marquee! That was a big selling point for us - with it being Summer, we figured it would be lovely to give people the option to sit outside and for the children attending to have somewhere to run around and play. It's safe to say it didn't disappoint and most guests were outside until the sun went down and they were ready for a dance. We also had the food served on the terrace under a marquee which was a really nice touch. We were very lucky with the weather too which was a huge bonus as it allowed us to take advantage of the whole space.
The night began with guests arriving to a welcome drink out on the terrace followed by entertainment from magician Joel Dickinson which got everyone asking 'how on earth did he do that?' - he was crazy talented and I heard nothing but praise for him from our guests! Next up was the delicious hog roast and lots of dancing in the main room thanks to DJ John Norcotte and the Jager station. I think we may have gone through two whole bottles by the end of the night. Everyone loved it and it definitely got people up on that dance floor after a shot (or five). It was definitely worth the sore head the next morning.
I loved that everyone was taking selfies at the selfie mirror throughout the night too as we got a copy of all the pictures that were taken put into an album with a message from our guests. I think this is such a lovely idea and it was amazing to look through the next morning. I'm definitely considering something similar for the wedding day. It was hilarious to see people's selfies get more and more silly as the night went on too - that's what all those Jager shots will do to you, haha.
During the night, Matt and I headed out into the Abbey House grounds to get some photos with our amazing photographer Erin Browne and I just have to share some of them as I'm so in love. I've been a massive fan of Erin's work for years now so when she offered to take photos at the party, I jumped at the chance. She's one of the most talented and creative photographers I've ever come across and she always thinks outside of the box whilst making you feel totally comfortable. She whisked us off into the woodland area a short walk away and got snapping. We had balloons for props and had so much fun - as you can see by the big smiles on our faces, which were totally natural and caught in the moment. As I said, I'm so in love with how the pictures turned out - they'll definitely be getting framed! If I'm this happy with the engagement photos, I can only imagine how she'll capture our actual wedding day - I'm already so so excited. If you're looking for a photographer for any kind of special occasion, be sure to get in touch with Erin and follow her on Instagram @eriinbrowne to see examples of her fantastic work!!
We had an absolutely fantastic night and couldn't have asked for anything better. Abbey House took all the stress away from us and organised everything to perfection so the night ran completely seamlessly. If you follow my social, you'll have seen that I had quite the surprise during the night when my dad turned up. He lives in Australia so I didn't think for one minute he'd be there as it's such a long way to travel for an engagement party. As you can imagine, I got the shock of my life when I walked outside to greet family and turned around to see him standing there - after he'd been hid behind a car, might I add. Sneaky! Thank goodness we had our amazing photographer Erin there to help capture the moment. As you can see from the photos, I think the look on my face followed by lots of tears says it all. It's a moment and a night I'll never forget!!
So there we have it guys, a little look inside our engagement party. I hope you enjoyed reading all about it - now it's time to start planning the wedding, arghhh! Thanks so much to Abbey House and all the suppliers for helping us celebrate our engagement in true style - we loved every minute of it! I've linked the venue and all the suppliers who helped make it a fantastic night below incase any of you are interested in contacting them for your own event.
Venue: Abbey House Hotel & Gardens
Photographer: Erin Browne
DJ: John Norcott from Ntertain
Photobooth: Photobooth Cumbria
Cakes: Angela Couture Cakes