Inspired by Vogue editor Edward Enninful’s winter wedding, Penny McCormick finds four orangeries that are perfect for weddings big or small …
Who else was agog as details emerged of Vogue editor Edward Enninful’ s wedding to his partner Alec Maxwell last week? It was a double celebration for Enninful who marked his 50th birthday in the same week – cue parties on both sides of the Atlantic where he was feted by the fashion crowd (guests included Anna Wintour, Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham, Naomi Campbell, Karlie Kloss and Derek Blasberg).
His actual wedding, meanwhile, was hosted by model and socialite Emma Thynn, Marchioness of Bath, at her home in Longleat, Wiltshire. Guests shared photos of the menu, printed with a cartoon of Enninful and Maxwell’s dog Ru as well as the favours – mini bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne.
The ceremony took place in the Orangery at Longleat – a glass-sided structure, which was originally built by Jeffry Wyatville for the 2nd Marquess of Bath in the early 1800s. Decorated in a palette of green and white by London society florist Simon Lycett it was simply elegant.
Poppy Delevingne also favoured an orangery as one of the venues for her two-part wedding back in 2014. A more formal ceremony was held in London where she hired one of the world’s most beautiful orangeries, that at Kensington Palace. Built in 1704, Queen Anne originally intended to winter her orange trees there; instead it was frequently used as a venue for lavish balls and celebrations and has remained a popular year-round venue for weddings ever since.
Larger and more luxurious than traditional greenhouses or conservatories, no self-respecting aristocratic residence was without an orangery from the 17th to 19th centuries. Not merely functional (providing protection to outer walls and an orchard for exotic citrus fruit trees and ornamental plants), they were also status symbols, a nod to the Renaissance garden designs in Italy and France. The orangery at Versailles, perhaps the most famous of all time.
When it comes to planning parties an orangery, often built in elegant architectural shapes blending light with reassuring sturdiness, allows the outdoors in and often requires little embellishment.
Take for instance the magnificent orangery, designed in 1855 by Richard Turner (of Kew Gardens Great Palm House fame) at Ballyfin, Co Laois. More informal than the rest of the house, it can be reached through a secret door hidden in a bookshelf of the Library and is as evocative in winter as it is in summer; www.ballyfin.com.
The 80-acre Tankardstown Estate, Rathkenny, Slane, Co Meath comprises an 18th-century Manor House, adjoining orangery and a central courtyard of Cottage Suites. Bursting with light, the airy space of the orangery is adorned with chandeliers, antique furniture and gilt mirrors and can seat up to 230 guests for dinner; www.tankardstown.ie.
Longueville House, Co Cork is a stunning 300-year-old listed Georgian country house on a 400-acre estate. Its orangery is adjacent to the house and has been the venue for many stylish weddings, afternoon tea and dinner; www.longuevillehouse.ie.
One of Ireland’s last great castles, which still belongs to its founding family, Castle Leslie, Co Monaghan, is surrounded by 1,000 acres of countryside, woodland and lakes. It’s been described as “Europe’s most romantic hotel” – (Paul McCartney married Heather Mills here in 2002). The Castle offers plenty of inspiring locations for ceremonies and celebrations (many weddings are held at St Salvator’s Church on the Estate), while the Castle Pavilion or orangery can host a ceremony for up to 180 guests; www.castleleslie.com.
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