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  • Writer's pictureKatharine Snowden

Pride month - The luxury marquee wedding of Alex and Ross

Updated: Feb 27

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Marriage Equality Act in England and Wales, and June is LGBTQ+ Pride month. To celebrate pride, we're taking a look back at the post lockdown exuberance themed marquee wedding of one of our favourite couples. We got in touch with Ross and Alex who were only too happy to reminisce. Here’s the story of their spectacular pole and canvas marquee wedding.

Video credit - Baxter and Ted

How the couple met

Alex is a Beauty Executive and Ross works in high end real estate and interior design, he is currently based in LA. We kicked off the conversation by talking about how the guys first met.

“I’ll give you the version you can publish” laughs Ross. “We met by accident. We were both on nights out, I had been at a boat party and I lost my keys, so I ended up at a random house party, where Alex also happened to be.”

Neither one of them was looking for a relationship and they were both feeling jaded with the London dating scene. However, they hit it off and within two weeks Ross had a key cut for Alex’s Shepherd’s Bush flat.

“There was no official first date, we just hung out, and then the pandemic hit so that was that, we were stuck with each other.” explains Ross.

The proposal

It wasn’t long before the couple began talking about marriage and one day, much to Ross's delight and surprise, Alex took the plunge and popped the question.

Ross described the proposal as “very sweet. It was just the two of us at home together. It was a few days before my birthday. It was just perfect”.

The couple had been together for two years when they got engaged in February 2021. Yet, true to form it was a short engagement, and the wedding took place just six months later in September 2021.

The wedding planning

Alex and Ross chose Holywell Hall in Stamford as the venue for their wedding. “It's the most beautiful place in the world” says Alex of the Grade II listed Georgian Hall. It was the first venue the couple looked at and they knew instantly it was where they wanted to get married.

A Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee set up for a gay wedding in the grounds of Holywell Hall, Rutland
Photo credit - James D Kelly

The couple have a connection to the area as they were both keen horse riders as teens and had watched a lot of eventing at nearby Burghley House, although their paths had never crossed back then. Alex knew the area well having been at university just a few miles away in Nottingham. It was also a great location for their guests who were travelling from London, Scotland and Norfolk.

“We wanted it to feel like a destination for everyone," explains Ross, “It’s very historic and green with rolling hills, the Scots love the area as it's similar to Edinburgh. It feels very different to London, but it’s actually not that far”.

The short distance turned out to be a blessing when the boys were four hours late to arrive for the wedding eve celebrations!

“We were just sauntering around London and made an impulsive decision to buy gifts for the wedding party, when we suddenly realised we’d slipped behind schedule!” recalls Ross.

It was a good idea then, that the boys didn't hesitate in booking a wedding planner, and when we say ‘didn't hesitate’ we mean it; When Ross first spoke to Cara and Katrina at Katrina Otter Weddings, and they asked how long he’d been engaged, he boldly replied “seven hours”. In fact just 20 minutes after the proposal Ross was Googling ‘best wedding planners UK’ and Katrina was top of the search results. These boys get sh*t done!

Both Alex and Ross are highly creative individuals and both work in luxury markets, so they know what they like and they like what they know. They provided Cara and Katrina with a nine page mood board, no that isn't a typo, it really was nine pages!

“We gave the planners the mood board, and the wedding was the mood board” states Alex, “Cara and Katrina were unbelievable”.

Why they chose Peacock and Bow for their wedding marquee

That now infamous mood board featured images of a beautiful pole and canvas marquee that Ross and Alex had their hearts set on. Their planners introduced them to Katharine and Terry at Peacock and Bow and their dreams became reality. Quite literally, as it turned out that their mood board images were in fact of Peacock and Bow’s marquees!

"We had a really nice conversation with the Peacock and Bow guys, they were so professional and organised, it was just a really nice process, we loved it, they were phenomenal” says Alex.

“The Peacock and Bow team are fantastic, we loved working with them. They were the perfect balance of professional, but also friendly and understanding” agrees Ross

Asked why they’d specifically wanted a pole and canvas marquee for their wedding, Ross describes how he’d been averaging about 14 weddings per year and had seen it all, so they both knew they wanted a traditional marquee from the get go.

A Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee set up for a gay wedding in the grounds of Holywell Hall, Rutland
Photo credit - James D Kelly

“The aesthetic of it was so our vibe” says Ross, “we didn't want anything too generic or corporate, which often happens with the box structure marquees, and there’s only so much you can do with that. It didn't really appeal to us, we wanted the ambiance of the hessian floor and the flowers hanging from the ceiling”.

“The venue was such a Jane Austen type setting” Alex adds, “nothing else would have worked other than a pole and canvas marquee. And Peacock and Bow made the whole process fun and easy. They were so patient when the timings and guest numbers changed”.

The big day

On the day of the wedding, Alex and Ross began celebrations with Margaritas from 10am. They got ready together, opting for a dressy casual look with Ross wearing Tom Ford and Alex in Kingsman.

The couple were married in Holywell Hall’s Stately Great Hall with the wonderful Tamryn Settle officiating. The wedding party then moved to the charming St Wilfred’s, a church tucked away in a quiet corner of the estate. Here, moving readings were given by their Mothers, siblings and friends on the theme of different types of love.

An emotional hand-fasting ceremony took place using a bespoke scarf that the couple had made in honour of Ross’s father who sadly passed away when Ross was very young.

"The scarf’s design was based on the Stewart of Appin tartan, the tartan that Ross’s father wore. It was created by our great friends at the Tartan Scarf Co." Alex explains.

They named the scarf ‘The Thomas Boyd’. This was embroidered on the label alongside the wedding date, which was also the anniversary of Thomas’s passing.

It was a beautiful and loving way to remember and celebrate Thomas Boyd on Ross and Alex’s special day. Later the couple delighted their guests as they presented everyone with their very own Thomas Boyd scarf as a thoughtful and memorable wedding favour to be treasured for years to come.

“It was so emotional and it just felt like he was part of the day,” Ross remembers.

The wedding reception

When the guests arrived at our romantic and elegant 12 x 27 metre marquee, excitement and anticipation bubbled as they walked along the shepherds' crook lit walkway towards the marquee. The entrance was an explosion of flowers and greenery that gave the impression of stepping through an enchanted garden's hidden passage and discovering a magical and exclusive world where a secret party awaited, brimming with decadence.

The entrance to a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee dressed with white flowers and green foliage for a gay wedding
Photo credit - James D Kelly

The breathtaking floral installations were created by Alex and Ross’s close friend, Philippa, of Francis Smith Flowers.

“We had an abundance of flowers, it was insane, just gorgeous. Amazing, she did such a phenomenal job.” recalls Alex.

Phililpa had brought flowers to the couple’s London home on her bike all through lockdown and had been such an emblem of joy during that difficult time. So, it was really important to them for her to be part of the day.

inside a peacock and bow pole and canvas marquee a trestle table is set with an off white linen tablecloth, beautifully simple stationary, silver cutlery, pink taper candles and a white and green floral centrepiece for a gay wedding
Photo credit - James D Kelly

We installed gripple wire in the roofline of the marquee so that Phillippa could create a simple but impactful display of organic greenery garlands that contrasted with the pristine white canvas and dripped down from the high swooping ceiling, enhancing the light and airy feel of the space.

Inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee set up with trestle tables, wooden cross back chairs, coir matting flooring and greenery garlands dripping from the ceiling. A perfect wedding to look back on for Pride month
Photo credit - James D Kelly

As the sun went down, the party mood was set with fairy lights illuminating the marquee with a euphoric glow. We positioned uplights around the internal circumference by hanging them on alternating wall poles. Outside, our signature flying lights hung above the marquee’s swooping skyline, creating a majestic silhouette against the setting sun.

We laid our wooden boarded floor, which we covered in our natural coir look matting for an authentic rustic feel. The guys went for our Auckland Oak dance floor and staging so everyone could see and enjoy the high energy entertainment. Ross beams as he remembers; “Everybody danced for literally the whole night”.

Wooden cross back chairs and trestle tables stretched the length of the marquee. They were simply and elegantly dressed with linen tablecloths, tall taper candles, delicate white roses, philadelphus and hollyhocks nestled in green foliage of ivy and eucalyptus. Ceramics and tableware were sourced from Maison Margaux. We provided our three foot cake table for the stunning five tier masterpiece.

Inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee, wooden cross back chairs sit at a long trestle table, a perfect wedding to look back on for Pride month
Photo credit - James D Kelly
Inside a Peacock and Bow pole and canvas marquee set up with trestle tables, wooden cross back chairs, coir matting flooring and greenery garlands dripping from the ceiling. A five tier wedding cake sits in the foreground. A perfect wedding to look back on for Pride month
Photo credit - James D Kelly

Alex becomes ‘unusually emotional’ as he recalls the moment they walked into the marquee. “Seeing how magical it was was overwhelming. The marquee was the perfect fusion of contemporary and classic. Looking back now, I would not have changed a single thing”.

The speeches

Alex proudly tells me how he had prepared an epic 22 page speech. So by the time it came to Ross’s turn to take the mic, Ross decided everyone had heard enough talking and kept it brief.

“He spent about 10 seconds thanking everyone and then announced to the elated gathering ‘let’s party!’ At that moment Rock bagpipe band, The Red Hot Chilli Pipers launched into their set and the crowd went wild cheering and waving their scarves in the air” Alex beams. He describes that moment as the most joyful and iconic moment of the day.

“I’m not someone who’s ever been to a football match, but at that moment, the way I felt was the closest I'll ever get to being at a world cup final, I felt like I'd won the ultimate prize”.’

Let's Party!

Ross tells me that for him music and drinks are the most important elements, “As soon as the guests leave the chapel, they need a drink in their hand and music should be playing”.

And that’s exactly what happened thanks to the four different bands the couple hired to keep the atmosphere alive from start to finish. The excellently named brass band Old Dirty Brasstards played while guests enjoyed cocktails. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers kicked off the party, followed by yet funk soul and pop band Supatight, and finally a DJ kept everyone on the dance floor long into the night. The cocktails and bar were run impeccably by the guy's good friends at The Cocktail Club.

Looking back on their spectacular marquee wedding with pride

Ross proudly tells me that the day went without a hitch, “It all came down to the planning. With Cara and Katrina’s organisation and Katharine’s efficiency, it was a female led team, and I think that’s why everything went so smoothly. They were all phenomenal, their friendly service, smiles on their faces all the time, they were on the end of the phone whenever we needed them, they really put us at ease and made us feel that nothing was too much trouble”.

“We felt we got the service we deserved” Alex agrees, “The Peacock and Bow team especially were tireless in making sure we had an amazing day.”

It wouldn’t be a wedding without a bit of trouble. Being married was really important to Alex and Ross, so three days before the big day when they realised that they had been sent documentation for a civil partnership rather than a marriage, they had to pull out all the stops to fix the registry office’s error.

“We had to go to the central registry office in London and put our case forward to get the marriage registration fast tracked.” Alex explains. “Peacock and Bow were incredibly helpful in providing the evidence and a written statement that we needed to get the right documentation in time to be married on the chosen date that was so important because it was the anniversary of Ross’s father’s passing.”

Thankfully, they got the paperwork and everything went ahead as planned.

Looking back at their special day now, the guys tell me that what they are most grateful for and what their guests commented on most was that it was purely a day about them as a couple, their marriage and their future together.

“Whoever you are, you have a vision of what your marriage or wedding will be - it was just a wedding, it wasn't about representation or making a statement.” Alex says.

It was only after the big day that the planners revealed it had been their first gay wedding.

“It was really important to us to build a community around our wedding, and that's what we became, the wedding party, the planners and Peacock and Bow. We wanted to build the feeling of coming together and creating something meaningful with long lasting memories, which we felt was pertinent as we came out of lockdown” asserts Alex.

“The whole experience had the essence and the feeling of a wedding brought to life by people who get us” Ross adds.

Two grooms pose on the shepherd's crook lined walkway, lit with festoon lights outside Peacock and Bow's pole and canvas marquee. A perfect wedding to look back on for Pride month
Photo credit - James D Kelly

With an ocean currently between the couple due to work, it was an absolute privilege and a joy to join them on Zoom and reminisce with them about the wonderful beauty and energy of their spectacular marquee wedding.

Alex and Ross’s wedding community included

Ceremony - Tamryn Settle

Photographer - James D Kelly

Videography - Baxter and Ted

Grooming - Kelly Dawn Make up

Stationary - Romeo and Jules

Wedding Favours - Tartan Scarf Company

Wedding Planners - Katrina Otter Weddings

Pole and canvas marquee hire - Peacock and Bow

Tableware - Maison Margaux

Facilities - Nomadic Washrooms


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