careys manor

Amidst the daily humdrum and routine mediocrity of life, there are occasional flashes of excellence that make one feel as though all is as it should be.

In the preposterously beautiful village of Brockenhurst, embraced on all sides by the New Forest, sits the sort of Victorian manor house that makes one seek synonyms in refuge from cliché: bucolic, charming, quintessentially English, hidden gem – you get the gist. At Careys Manor everywhere the eye might rest is flawlessly framed for photography – the sweeping approach, the archways, the manicured lawns – all effervesce with preordained beauty.

Weddings coordinator Françoise Gysemans has a quiet pride in her voice as she describes all that Careys can offer. There’s a reassurance to be found in the soft lilt of a francophone, and when accompanied by her effortlessly stylish, organised manner, the result is a person who I imagine to be the perfect comfort during the often stressful planning process. Careys Manor offers a litany of matrimonial variances that make use of its many regal rooms.

Also available is the Cedar Garden; walled off from the world but woven with the leafy luxury of the New Forest. In fact, you can’t readily escape William the Conqueror’s Nova Foresta as you survey Careys’ interiors. Each window smothers you with views of the lush green environs, imbuing each room with a sense of the natural and the organic. Perhaps the most wonderful idiosyncrasy is Careys’ secret garden – a compact, secluded idyll where, along one chain-linked side, couples have been encouraged to leave padlocks; Parisienne romantic relics that together form the combined nuptial narrative of Careys.

The strength of Careys comes from the sheer abundance and flexibility of its offerings. The aforementioned walled garden is one of only a few venues in Hampshire licensed for outdoor weddings and civil partnerships. Its 77 gorgeous rooms allow guests and newlyweds to stay in indulgence, its restaurants and bars are on hand to nourish and finally, it is attached to SenSpa. I’d never been to a spa before, and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. I had a Thai massage and left with a burgeoning internal calm, clipped only by the faint realisation that hitherto there must have been something seriously wrong with my skeleton to be rid of pain I wasn’t aware I was suffering.

In all, Careys has everything on hand to satisfy any couple’s wishes and under the expert eye of their maestro of matrimony, Françoise, will choreograph whatever particular embellishment one could so desire. In a world full of the misapplication of superlatives, it is wonderful to know that, hiding away in Hampshire, is a sophisticated diamond of a venue that very proudly gets on with the business of making memories.
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