Kim and James met in Manhattan in 2019 and hit it off straight away. Just over a year later James popped the question and the couple began organising a large wedding in America, where they live. With the uncertainty around COVID Kim and James decided to add on an intimate celebration in England and their hunt for a New Forest wedding venue led to them falling in love with The Montagu Arms. We caught up with Kim to find out how their January wedding went ....
"We met via an online dating app called ‘Hinge’. Our first date was in Chelsea, Manhattan at a bar called 'The Tippler', after several glasses of red wine we quickly hit it off. We bonded over the same strong family values and similar sense of humour. We ended up having our second date the very next day! After these first dates, things quickly and easily fell into place."
"James proposed to me in August of 2020 after we’ve been dating just over a year. After receiving a blessing from my father James planned a night out for us. We went to the 1Hotel in DUMBO, Brooklyn which has a beautiful rooftop overlooking all of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. After having some drinks, we walked down by the Brooklyn bridge, a favourite cycling spot of ours when we were living in Brooklyn. James told me he wanted to take a picture of me looking out to the city, little did I know that when I turned around, he would be on one knee asking me to spend the rest of our lives together. We quickly FaceTimed my family and friends and as it was so late in England, I made James wake up early the following morning so we could call each member of his family with the news."
"After originally planning a two hundred person wedding in America for April 2022, with the uncertainty of COVID and a lot of our guests living in England, we decided to add a small celebration in England. After some serious Googling, we came across The Montagu Arms and visited in September 2021, the second we walked in we knew it was a perfect destination for our English Countryside wedding. Planning a wedding in just over three months with the help of Clara was an absolute delight. With James coming from a large Irish Catholic family with six siblings, six in-laws, fifteen nieces and nephews we loved that we were able to have all our guests stay at the same place for the night. This was the first time the entire Byrne family had been together in over two years which meant the world to us! It was so lovely being surrounded by love, happiness, and family."
"Unfortunately, due to the time period, no florals were available for our wedding. We worked closely with Sam from Linen & Lace to light up our room exclusively with candle light. The romantic atmosphere of the candlelight looked so beautiful in the room and we could not have been happier with the result."
"We both love to go out to eat and cook together so the food at our wedding was very important. As we live in America, we were unable to even try any of the food prior to our wedding and had to send family members to do our tasting. Despite not being able to taste the food prior, we had complete trust in Head Chef Matthew Whitfield knowing he came from famed Manhattan restaurant, Eleven Madison Park. We choose the celeriac risotto and beef which were absolutely delicious! The mushrooms on the risotto were stunning and the meat was so tender it was able to be cut with a fork and melted in your mouth."
"We choose Hannah McClune Photography where Jasmine and James photographed our day. We loved having them there to shoot the day; they aligned with our vision and dream photos, absolutely capturing the essence of the room in their photographs. Our favourite pictures were when they re-created our first date in the Library Bar!"
"For our videographer, we choose Sophie Jane Photo & Film which was a recommendation from Hannah. After a lot of convincing to James on getting a videographer, he could not have been happier that we had Sophie there on our wedding day. Sophie captured the love and happiness with her video and we’ve watched it over and over again since."
"James wore a custom Thom Sweeney suit, we had such an amazing time picking every detail of his suit prior; from the buttons to the lining and even embroidering our initials under the collar. He also wore a personalised tie bar which was a wedding gift from me read “meet me at the altar <3 Kim”. I wore a simple, chic, modern slip silk dress from Fame & Partners.
"We selected several flavours to be delivered to James' Mum's house and his family did the tasting for us since we are not local. We decided on a gorgeous chocolate raspberry cake which was topped with a cake topper that was used at James’ parents’ 50th wedding anniversary vow renewal."
"We had a swing band play during the drinks and canapé reception and the wedding breakfast called Kevin Fitzsimmons who we hired through Fantasia Music. The band got so many compliments and we could not have picked a better band! To dance to in the evening, we had Jamtastic, also hired through Fantasia Music, they kept everyone on the dance floor all night which is just what we wanted. Our guests absolutely loved the photo booth we got from The New Forest Photo Booth! We chose a black and white photo booth that made our guests look very glam and chic; at the end of the night we even got all of the pictures in a photo album!"
"Being surrounded by our immediate family and close friends - it was just so filled with love and happiness! We could not have picked a better venue for our English wedding and cannot wait to do it all again in April in America."
If you are looking for a wedding venue in the New Forest, choose The Montagu Arms Hotel for a wedding day completely bespoke to you. Call 01590 612324 or contact Wedding Coordinator Clara Earp online.
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