Sussex Weddings Part 2: trimmings, hens & honeymoons
If you’re loved up and planning a wedding, or have another big bash to organise, gain some inspiration from part 2 of our Sussex wedding guide. Part One gave you a host of venue ideas and who to call for planning help. Below is our round-up of local suppliers well worth a look for the trimmings plus hens and honeymoons.
CATERING & CAKES
For unique canapés get in touch with Liz from Sussex Gourmand who recently did the honours in style at the Muddy Awards winners’ drinks. Her range features her special Sussex-reared venison and beef bresaola for meat lovers and edible flower decorated creations for veggies. Not only does she cater for events but she also sells canapés kits with ingredients to assemble yourself – perfect if you’ve a small DIY wedding.
For celebratory fizz, look no further than the many fabulous vineyards our doorstep. These include Sussex vineyards Bolney Wine Estate near Haywards Heath and Bluebell Vineyard Estates at Furners Green near Sheffield Park and lofty Rathfinny Wine Estate, perched above Alfriston.
Super-deli Pallant of Arundel can supply tiered cheese cakes for weddings or other celebrations. If you’re going traditionally sweet, check out former Muddy Award winners Calley’s Cakes and Kat’s Cakes. If you don’t fancy icing but don’t necessarily want to go the fashionable ‘naked cake’ route, then the varied range of French patisserie and chocolatier specialist The Pudding Fairy is well worth a look. Halinka’s Fairies (see below) can hand make you cake toppers.
If you’re getting hitched, you’ll probably need an engagement ring. And we love the designs at Simon Pure, just over the border at Cranleigh, from the stunning solitaire diamond rings to the more colourful rings set with blue topaz or amethyst. There’s also a range of wedding and eternity rings, including tailored fitted, diamond set and plain bands with a twist, for both bride and groom.
For personal prep, go natural with makeup from Brighton-based Glow Organic which also offers masterclasses to help you create your big day look. At Wadhurst or nearby Fair Oak Farm, get top-to-toe spruced up by double Muddy award-winners The Beauty Bar. In West Sussex, Worthing’s Beauty Island Sanctuary has a bride-to-be spa package for treatments to get your skin and brows in tip top condition for the big day and practice your hair and make-up ready for your return on the day itself. With spa treatments and a hydrotherapy pool and sauna it’s also a great hang out for hens.
Looking for someone bloomin’ marvellous to create bouquets, buttonholes and decorate the venue? Check out our 2019 Muddy Award winners, Hassocks based Bella June Flowers and previous winners Rebecca Cragg Floral Design at Ditchling and The Enchanted Florist at Arundel and Anita Heale Flower Design, They obviously have plenty of fans!
Looking for something unique for your bridemaids, flowers girls and pageboys?
Gorgeous keepsakes for all ages, Halinka’s Fairies are handmade in Sussex from wrapped wire and special fabrics like silk and vintage evening dresses. Besides fairies there are animals and storybook characters. Halinka also makes cake toppers.
Thinking sweet treats? Give the gift of beautiful artisan chocolates from Arundel-based Noble & Stace to your entourage or your guests. Serve them as petit fours or order mini ribbon-tied boxes to give away.
How about gin minatures as a thank you gifts? Uniquely Sussex, Slake Gin is made from foraged ingredients that grow on the county’s Downs and beaches.
Looking for a fun hen break? Brighton is hen party central but you needn’t slap on L plates and head for the chain bars. here are some other ideas…
Test your brain (and your friendships) at fiendishly fun Escape Game Brighton where you have an hour to earn your release by solving a mystery based on clues hidden round the room. Up to six of you at a time can tackle ‘Murder at the Pier’, ‘Return of the Mad Scientist’ or ‘Secret Agent, The Black Box’. The attraction is near the BAi360 viewing tower on historic Regency Square.
Phileas Fogg’s World of Adventures is inspired by the Jules Verne novel and encourages groups to help Fogg make his way around the world in 80 days, in a series of immersive rooms themed to different countries, completing challenges together along the way. Got a strong stomach? There’s a brand new shorter immersive Jack The Ripper Walk of Terror experience at the same location with an atmospheric step back in time to the streets of Victorian London, meeting some of the characters under suspicion all the time keeping an eye out for the killer.
More creatively minded? Stitch anything from bunting to, err, nipple tassels during a party session at Sew In Brighton.
Get an afternoon tea at stylish Brighton Harbour Hotel (where there’s also a fab subterranean spa) or vintage Metro Deco. A short stroll from Brighton’s Palace Pier yet tucked away enough to be a hidden gem, The Plotting Parlour is a cool cocktail bar that you won’t find on the usual hen party routes. There are also private spaces to hire upstairs for groups of 15 – 40. Or, why not book a cocktail-making masterclass?
Get great steer on independent eateries, with chats with passionate producers and plenty of nibbles along the way, when you join award-winning Brighton Food Tours. There are also boozy versions (check out the Muddy review).
Great British Wine Tours will take you on a magical mystery tour from Brighton station to tutored tastings at at least two vineyards and lunch in leafy surrounds under the South Downs. They also have versions incorporating cheese or breweries.
hangout in Hotel Pelirocco with its fun themed rooms – from Diana Dors to Darth Vader to Tropical vibes and book a retro makeover parties, a photoshoot or a spot in the glamorous karaoke room.
Wine and chocolate
Several Sussex vineyards have their own tours and tastings. Including Rathfinny, Bluebell and Bolney (see above). Or make your own chocolates and truffles under the expert guidance of Noble & Stace which has fun workshops near Arundel, Steyning and other locations.
In West Sussex, you may know Goodwood for its famous Revival vintage motor-racing weekend but there’s plenty more on site year-round for a hen break as active or relaxed as you like. Get a Have a Go at Golf lesson from a PGA professional on the driving range, then soothe yourselves with a pamper session in the Waterbeach spa. Spend a day cheering on your favourites at the horse racing or take the controls of a modern or vintage plane at the aerodrome. There’s a hotel and a great restaurant on site. Elsewhere, plan a day at the races at Fontwell Park, where you can hire a private box.
Pampering and overnights
To make an overnight or a weekend of it, check out the Girls Go Glamping package from Canvas & Stars at Chiddingly for bell tents with beds and a hot tub stint with Prosecco. Or, book a pampering break at Park House Hotel & Spa at Midhurst which also has an excellent restaurant. Brooklands Barn, within walking distance of Arundel, has a wide range of wellness retreats throughout the year, with yoga, detoxing and more.
Get a big enough group together and you can book out the Lodges at New House Farm near Robertsbridge. There’s a pretty formal garden for lounging on sunny days, a hot tub with a view, resident llamas and surrounding forest and fields for walking. You’ll also have access to the restored 300-year-old Long Barn which features a snug and games tables. You can even hire out the whole site and a private chef and use the Long Barn for the party.
Planning a staycation honeymoon? The hotels featured in our wedding venues round-up have plenty of luxury and romance. Besides them, consider Wingrove House – a gorgeous boutique bolthole in pretty Alfriston, under the South Downs and a few minutes from Rathfinny Wine Estate.
For something cute and quirky head to Cabins and Castles – a handpicked portfolio of unique properties across Sussex and Kent that are perfect for celebratory short breaks. ‘Romantic’ is among the search terms you can use on the website and it will lead you to 16th century lofts, shepherd’s huts, riverside cabins and more.