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Real Weddings | Stephen and Dionne’s Small Family Wedding

By 24 January 2021 No Comments
family enjoying the beach after small wedding

Words from Emma

It is a huge pleasure to share this real Treseren wedding with everybody. Not only do images show the beautiful blue skies of one of the hottest weekends of 2020 (which undoubtedly lifts the spirits in the gloom of January!), the love and joy this family created at their small wedding shines through. As we find ourselves in another lockdown, here are some rays of hope for all those on the precipice of their 2021 weddings to read about how this wedding was achieved in a matter of weeks between the two lockdowns of 2020.

From the moment Dionne phoned me, her positive energy and friendliness uplifted my day. She asked for possible dates, which at that stage were very thin on the ground, and ever changing with inevitable postponements and new wedding requests coming in for small weddings daily. I knew I had to help if I could and somehow the stars aligned to open up availability that Cornwall Registration Service could help with too.

We had the best time hosting this wedding – because we were witnesses, Dionne invited our children to dress up and join the ceremony. She also insisted the whole team sat down to join them for their wedding meal. We felt honoured to be a part of this lovely family’s special day. We hope you enjoy reading Dionne’s story of creating her small and beautiful, fun-filled family wedding.

Words from the bride –

The Proposal

Stephen and I met just over 14 years ago, we were from 2 totally different walks of life in so many different ways. We had different cultures, different family religious backgrounds, a 6-year age difference, and different nationalities. We could not deny our attraction to each other and stuck together like glue from the moment we decided to be together. The hurdles of life have been overcome as a partnership and individually and in 2020 we found ourselves with 2 children, 3 Chihuahua’s and 14 years of friendship, and stronger than ever. So, the “proposal” was more of a ‘what are we waiting for’, moment!

Choosing the venue

I spent a few days looking for UK beach weddings, as I had always loved the idea of getting married abroad, however Covid-19 was in full swing, and we had not long come out of the first national lockdown, so everything in the world was uncertain and for us travelling abroad was out of the question.

When I changed my search to include the words micro wedding, as I scrolled through I noticed the pictures I kept clicking on were all different images but of the same venue, Treseren. So, I went on to the direct website and read every single page, viewed every single photo and then did the same on the Treseren social media pages on every platform, including reading all the reviews I could find. Before I had even emailed Emma, I had fallen in love with the venue!

Treseren is a venue that is big enough for 20 or so people, and yet small enough so that 2 adults and 2 children and 3 tiny dogs didn’t feel lost in its grandeur… its pure magic! Also, the location was perfect, just minutes from the North Cornish Coast, so we had the added option of having photographs on the beach.

Why we chose a small wedding

Stephen is quite introvert and the thought of a traditional wedding with so much direct attention was extremely uncomfortable to him. So, when he suggested that we elope, just the 4 of us and the dogs, and for us not to tell any of our family or friends until our return, I absolutely loved the idea.

As a makeup artist, I’m used to seeing the other side of weddings, I’m used to calming down nervous brides, with the stress of the occasion often becoming overwhelming. Our choice to elope meant that we would not have to deal with any of that. We wanted our day to be completely relaxed and enjoyable for both us as a family and for the venue staff. I love planning parties, so I was excited to be able to plan our wedding day and was really pleased that Emma worked with me via phone calls and emails.

Then we had Covid-19 to deal with, if we had gone for a traditional wedding, we would have been limited to 15 people in absolute total. My side of the family is extremely small, however Stephen comes from a larger close knit family, and he would not have been able to include some and exclude others.

‘Having our children aged 8 and 12 by our side and integrated in the ceremony was so special, we read them vows as their parents as well as our vows to each other, and they approved our union by answering ‘We do’, at the appropriate moment. The intimacy of the day being just us was beautiful, we didn’t feel at any point during the day that anything or anyone was missing.’

Wedding planning (during a pandemic!)

From the time we officially booked Treseren to the day we got married was just 8 weeks. In that time, I found and purchased my dress and Dior’s Bridesmaid dress and had alterations done to both. Stephen and Demarco’s suits were harder to find than our outfits, as I really wanted them to exactly match. I made several purchases online and then had to return them due to various reasons, as Covid-19 was in full swing, a lot of places you had to either make appointments, or you would not be able to try the garments on – it was challenging. In the end we used Peter Posh suit hire who were fabulous.

Then I chose to hand make the artificial flower decorations that I wanted for dressing the venue and the table, and at the last minute I decided I wanted a sweet table, and of course everything needed to match my colour scheme, so there was a lot of online ordering, late nights and hot glue gun burns. Yet absolutely everything fell into place!

The hardest thing for me was trusting the processes that I could not control, for instance Cornwall registrars were working from home, so there were some inevitable delays. As there were only 2 weekends available for September at Treseren, I was anxious to secure one of them, and to add to that, the registrar had only 1 Saturday slot, with the other options on the Sunday. So, I had to have some patience which is not my strength, but everything worked out!

Everything was arranged remotely, there was no menu tasting, no venue visits. We booked the florist via email, and met her on the morning of the wedding, and the same with Sean our videographer. The staff were required by law to wear masks apart from the ceremony registrar and the 4 of us, and we all had to keep 2 metres away from each other while moving around during the service. Looking back, it was like a ballet production, all done very gracefully, and caused no interruption at all.

‘We still look back and can’t believe how we managed to keep everything a total secret for 8 weeks, Stephens Parents live 2 doors away from us in the same cul-de-sac, so packing up the Ranger before we left was hilarious, we honestly didn’t think we would get away undetected. We told our family when we returned on the Monday, and we announced our marriage to our friends via a Social Media post.’

Making the most of the wedding weekend

We certainly did make the most of our 3 day stay. We travelled down on the Friday which was a long process with 2 children and 3 dogs, so we didn’t arrive till after 7pm (Benton’s are always late!). We married on the Saturday, and as a surprise we had booked horse riding on the beach for the Sunday – Dior’s dream as she loves horses, and always wanted to ride on a beach. Then we enjoyed a lovely meal at Lewinnick Lodge in the evening, before heading “home” to Treseren and relaxing with the children and the dogs in front of the log burning fire that had been prepared for us.

Emma and Paul along with their children really made us feel at home, nothing was too much trouble, and they thought of everything. Our breakfasts each morning were home-made and absolutely delicious, we have stayed in many hotels worldwide, but nothing can compare to the attention to detail that Emma and her team give to her guests. I also need to mention how comfortable the rooms were; the fresh crisp bedding and comfortable beds ensured the most peaceful sleep, the grounds were beautiful, and the children loved exploring them, it was difficult getting the dogs and the children to come in from the outside, they explored every last bit with glee.

‘The quality of Paul’s pictures were superb, and we all felt extremely comfortable taking his direction in order to get the best shots, he had the perfect sense of humour to lighten the atmosphere and get the best smiles from us all. My son in particular appreciated his patience with his curiosity and inquisitive nature and even till this day often mentions Paul, Max and Georgia with fondness.’

Highlights of the day

Personally, the highlight of the day was “Jumping the Broom”. That represented the sweeping away of anything negative from each of our pasts and starting a fresh new chapter together. It also meant we started a new tradition as I hand decorated the broom and hope to pass this down to our children to use at their own weddings one day, as a nod to their roots. Stephen’s highlights were the pictures taken at the beach by Paul, the roast dinner we had made by Emma, and the Sticky Toffee pudding made by Daisy, both his all-time favourite foods and both cooked to perfection.

For our children, Dior loved having photographs on the beach, and once again Daisy’s Sticky toffee pudding. Demarco loved it when Paul lit the firepit as dusk fell and then called the bats with blades of grass so that they flew above us – and roasting and eating Marshmallows!

Words of wisdom for couples considering a small wedding

Go for it! We wouldn’t change a thing, apart from we should of left our business closed and extended our stay at Treseren, as we really did have the most amazing weekend for the Cornish weather, and were gutted to have to return to work on the Tuesday.

If you are worried about disappointing people by having a micro-wedding, don’t be, they will appreciate that love is love and in these current uncertain times, you realise that life is short, so you can only live it for yourselves. Your family and friends will appreciate that and be happy for you. When we sit and think about the anxiety we would of felt having a bigger wedding, we feel truly blessed that we were able to enjoy every single part of the day, stress free!

You can view Dionne and Stephens beautiful wedding film here.

Credits –

Flowers – Ballooning, Buds and Bows

Photography – Paul at Treseren

Videography – Sean White Films

Hair and make-up – Dionne Benton



Passionate about design and the great outdoors, Emma enjoys walking the coastal path and beach trips with the family.
She is the founder of Treseren and loves hosting our Intimate Weddings and special events.