Claire Stone and Paul Maggs tied the knot in an award-winning country house in Somerset

After finding out on their first date that they’d actually gone to the same school, it seemed fated for Claire and Paul to be together. The proposal came as a surprise to the unsuspecting Claire, however, as Paul led her through a treasure hunt around their flat, with clues related to memories of their time together, and the last clue leading to a box with a diamond ring in it. “I didn’t have any expectations of being proposed to as I hadn’t thought about it. It came as a complete surprise, but obviously a good one!” says Claire.

When it came to deciding on a venue, it was important for the couple to choose somewhere where family and friends could stay onsite for the whole weekend, and they found this at St Audries Park in Somerset. For 25 years it has been an award-winning country house with 22 luxury bedrooms. “It’s an absolutely stunning venue and had all that we were looking for; everything was in one place and our friends and family could stay with us for the whole weekend to make it last as long as possible,” explains Claire.

The bride wore a fitted satin dress with a boat neckline from Bride At Home, while the groom sported a stylish Hugo Boss suit. Mark from Mark Leonard Photography captured all the memories of the day, producing some stunning images. “He really understood what we were like as a couple,” says Claire.

The day was full of laughter — and mostly full of sun! — making it “just perfect!” declares Claire. She also enjoyed the more intimate moments. “The ceremony was beautiful. Paul looked very handsome and I was so excited to be marrying him. A very good friend from school, Bryony James, played the music during the ceremony which made it particularly special.” Adds Paul: “I felt nervous standing in the Orangery waiting for my bride to arrive — late as usual! But it was well worth it as she looked stunning. It was also great to have so many friends and family there to celebrate with us. It was certainly the best day of my life.”

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