Grandmother and granddaughter share magical venue!

Rebecca and Rob Magee chose Hylands Estate last year for their beautiful fairytale  wedding for many special reasons. The venue is elegant and timeless, and it’s where Rob romantically proposed to Rebecca in the grounds of the estate during the summer of 2021. But it also has a poignant family history to it because Rebecca’s grandparents, Ann and Peter Elwell, also had their wedding reception at Hylands House back in 1961.

bridal couple outside white house with columns
Credit: Matthew Lawrence Photography

Rebecca and Rob first met during their university years. After six years of dating, Rob decided to propose during a picnic at Hylands Estate in 2021 to celebrate Rebecca's birthday. Rebecca says the pair quickly decided to get married at Hylands due to the family connections and the beauty of the venue, "I've always grown up thinking Hylands would be a lovely place to get married. And with the family ties as well it's quite fitting that we decided to get married there".

Banqueting Room wedding ceremony
Credit: Matthew Lawrence Photography

Rebecca Elwell and Rob Magee married at Hylands Estate on 10th August 2023. It was a perfect, sunny day as Rebecca arrived for her wedding, admiring the lush green estate where her grandparents had started their own married life 62 years earlier. "My wedding morning started with my dad driving me to Hylands House, the sun was out, there was not a cloud in the sky, and we listened to "Lovely Day" by Bill Withers. Pulling up the driveway to Hylands is always so breathtaking as the venue is incredible and I really did have to pinch myself as I couldn't believe I was actually getting married there."

Their wedding ceremony took place in Hylands' sumptuous Banqueting Room, which was filled with classic white flowers including roses and gypsophila by Elisha's Floral Design. A violinist played "A Thousand Years" by Christina Perri as Rebecca walked down the aisle in a soft and dreamy Sincerity A-line dress with a sweetheart neckline, lace and beading from Bird's Bridal in Chelmsford.

wedding table adorned with white flowers
Credit: Matthew Lawrence Photography

It was incredibly special for Rebecca to marry in the same room where her grandparents had celebrated their wedding: "It was breathtaking saying our vows in the Banqueting Room, where grandad had enjoyed food and chatted with his guests on his own wedding day. It was very special for me to be getting married at Hylands."

As the newlyweds exited the ceremony room, the violinist played Bruno Mars' "Marry You". The couple then made the most of the sunny weather with drinks and canapes on the terrace outside the house, alongside their 75 guests.

Following this, they moved over to Hylands' contemporary Grand Pavilion, dressed in a matching luxurious white scheme, for a delicious sit-down wedding breakfast. Caterers, Plenty of Thyme, delivered a mouth-watering menu of roasted tomato and red pepper soup with focaccia; lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, English carrots, shallots and redcurrant jus; and a trio of desserts: deconstructed vanilla cheesecake, dark chocolate brownie and Eton mess.

Old black and white picture of groom and bride outside church
Credit: Courtesy of the Elwell Family

Sixty-two years prior to Rebecca and Rob's perfect day, Ann and Peter's wedding reception also took place at Hylands House. This was before the estate became a dedicated wedding and events venue, when it was still owned by Mrs Christine Hanbury. The Hanbury family had owned Hylands since 1922, when Christine's husband, John, had purchased it. But John suddenly died in 1923, leaving the estate to Christine and their son Jock. Christine was then left to manage the estate alone when Jock tragically also died in a flying accident during World War Two. Ann and Peter were fortunate to hold their wedding celebration at Hylands. The house, which now holds an average of 100 weddings every year, was a family home in 1961 and rarely hosted weddings. Their wedding reception took place at Hylands at the invitation of Christine Hanbury thanks to her close relationship with Ann's mother, Peggy Cash. Peggy was secretary to Christine for over twenty years. The pair met through the Red Cross during World War Two. They got along well, and Peggy went on to work for Christine in a private capacity after the war. After losing her husband and son, Christine relied on Peggy as a companion and friend, as well as her secretary.

Bride and Groom cutting wedding cake
Credit: Courtesy of the Elwell Family

Ann Cash and Peter Elwell married on midsummers day – 24th June – 1961 at Chelmsford Cathedral, before heading to Hylands House for their reception. Peter says it was "a wonderful day" and "a privilege" to have held their wedding at Hylands. The reception took place in the Banqueting Room, with space also allocated on the terrace for guests to mingle. Ann and Peter greeted their 50 guests at the door, with many aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends attending from across the country for the important family event. Peter has especially fond memories of Christine Hanbury's long-serving butler, George. George had worked for Mrs Hanbury for most of his life, making his way from Boot Boy up to Butler, and often travelled with her across the Atlantic and around the world on ocean liners RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth. "I can remember George the butler. He made me feel like a Lord for the day. He was absolutely wonderful."

The reception was quite formal, with none of the dancing Rebecca and Rob enjoyed in 2023! But there was some music via a record player, a small buffet, and a three-tier wedding cake cut by the couple. There were even special little cakes in small packets to send to those who couldn't attend the day itself.

Memory box and guestbook at wedding
Credit: Matthew Lawrence Photography

Marking Peter and Ann's Hylands wedding
At her own wedding 62 years later, Rebecca was keen to remember her grandparents' special day. And so, with the help of her father, Adam, she made special arrangements to look back on the historic 1961 wedding. Ann and Peter's wedding album was displayed at the 2023 wedding reception for guests to look through, while Adam arranged for enlarged photographs of the 1961 wedding to be shown during his Father of the Bride speech. In a very special tribute to her grandmother, Rebecca also recreated a stunning photograph of Ann gazing into a mirror at Hylands House. The 2023 photo shows Rebecca looking into the very same mirror on her own wedding day. Peter was there on the day to see his granddaughter marry at Hylands and to remember his own wedding day six decades earlier. "Rob and Becky's wedding was absolutely beautiful. It was wonderful to return to Hylands to celebrate their nuptials. It felt a little different, as Hylands House was still a home when Ann and I married there, but it is still every bit as grand in 2023 as I remember it from 1961."

Sadly, Ann was diagnosed with dementia more than a decade ago and was not well enough to attend Rebecca and Rob's wedding, but Rebecca says she still felt her grandmother was part of the day: "Although my grandma couldn't be there in person, she definitely felt part of the day. My dad made a wonderful speech and shared pictures of Peter and Ann on their wedding day, which were a lovely addition and they definitely made me cry!"

Though she was unable to attend the 2023 wedding, the Elwell family say they’ll certainly be showing Ann photos of Rebecca and Rob’s special day.

black and white image of a bride looking at her reflection in mirror Credit: Courtesy of the Elwell Family
image of a bride looking at her reflection in mirror Credit: Matthew Lawrence Photography

You may also be interested in

UK vs US Brides: Wedding expert reveals 5 ways we differ

UK vs US Brides: Wedding expert reveals 5 ways we differ

It's time to settle the score: do UK brides really do it better, or are our American cousins...

READ ARTICLE

A fun filled day at Houchins

A fun filled day at Houchins

To celebrate Houchins' 10th year anniversary of weddings, the venue hosted a Garden Party in its grounds on July 9th -...

READ ARTICLE

Here are 10 must-have items to include in a wedding bathroom basket

Here are 10 must-have items to include in a wedding bathroom basket

Luxury bathroom experts at Posh.co.uk have shared ten must-have items to provide...

READ ARTICLE

The Speech Surgery: timings!

The Speech Surgery: timings!

Unsure of when to have the wedding speeches? Heidi Ellert McDermott, founder of Speechy & author of The Modern...

READ ARTICLE

Prested Hall Wedding Show

VISIT SITE

Old Essex Barn Wedding Show

VISIT SITE

Orsett Hall Wedding Show

VISIT SITE

Confetti & Lace

VISIT SITE