A Formal Destination Wedding on a Country Estate in England
The Happy Couple
A dapper British groom and his American bride say "cheers" to friends, family, and each other at their intimate Thanksgiving nuptials in the bucolic English countryside.
Neal Callow and Heather Banta decided to marry on the English county of Somerset, the idyllic setting of such Jane Austen novels as "Persuasion" and "Northanger Abbey." For the reception, they chose Babington House, a 16th-century manor turned hotel and spa, and for the ceremony, the even older St. Andrew's Church in the nearby village of Mells.
Neal and Heather pose on the grounds of Babington House. He is wearing a Tom Ford suit; she's in a Delphine Manivet dress.
The couple fell in love with the area's sweeping vistas. "We really wanted our guests to see it, too," says Heather.
Heather's bouquet of 'Juliet' roses, dusty pink and burgundy ranunculus, white anemones with black centers, trailing green amaranths, parsley, and mint arrived in time for prewedding photos; with it she wore sentimental jewelry, including her grandmother's gold charm bracelet. "It's the most valuable thing I own," she says.
Around her neck, Heather wore a Victorian-era compass on a long gold chain. "Neal gave it to me for my birthday one year, and I couldn't imagine walking down the aisle without it."
The Bridal Gown
"I felt completely myself," says Heather of her backless satin slip dress.
Her blush Christian Louboutin pumps rest on a Louis VXI chair.
Neal and his groomsmen strike a casual pose before the ceremony.
Many of the couple's guests stayed at Babington House.
Heather's Vera Wang-clad bridesmaids keep warm in midnight-blue cashmere wraps; the bride wears a lace overlay.
The Ceremony Site
A view of St. Andrew's Church, which dates back to the 15th century.
A large wreath of hydrangeas hangs at the church entrance.
Heather's father walked her down the aisle.
Neal and Heather's candlelit church ceremony started just before sunset.
A Special Moment
"The best moment was seeing Heather in her dress for the first time," says Neal, embracing her post-nuptials.
Iconic London transportation collected guests for the ride from the church to the reception site.
Guests sat at a long banquet table for dinner.
The menu included classic Thanksgiving fare, such as roast turkey with stuffing, cranberries, and sweet potatoes. "The holiday is about loved ones coming together, plus everyone traveling from the U.S. already had the time off," says Heather. "It worked out perfectly."
Ranunculus, roses, grasses, and berries make up the centerpieces.
The newlyweds gave ornament versions of their getaway car as favors.
The Dance Floor
After dinner, the party took an energetic turn. A rock cover band beckoned guests onto the dance floor, where they remained long into the evening.
Heather and Neal cut their carrot cake; each tier is ringed with flags, reflecting their passion for travel.
The couple snuggle up to watch the fireworks at evening's end.
The Getaway Car
The newlyweds drove away in a Rolls Royce that belonged to the bride's grandfather (an original producer of the 007 films).
Ceremony Location: St. Andrew's Church, Mells
Reception Location and Catering: Babington House
Event Planning: David Pressman Events
Wedding Photography: Aaron Delesie
Music: Salutemus (cocktail hour); Rollercoaster (reception)
Bride's Dress: Delphine Manivet
Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Vera Wang
Hair and Makeup: Norma Webb
Transportation: Shaftesbury and District (double-decker bus)
Fireworks: Fantastic Fireworks