Childhood dreams of becoming a ‘princess’ turned into reality for 23 year old Chatsworth Estate resident, Emma Coleman. Fueled by endless hours of enchanting bedtime stories as a child, Emma had always dreamed of wearing a fairytale dress, meeting her very own Prince Charming and getting married in a magical place.
Unbeknown to Emma, her dreams were finally to be realised. Fast forward 20 years and Emma’s own Cinderella story has become a reality. Working in a local bar Emma met her Prince Charming in the form of Chatsworth House Collections Steward and estate resident, Henry Coleman.
Emma said: “Our eyes met whilst I was working in the bar, although it wasn’t really love at first sight we were really good friends to start with and our love has grown from there. Two years later Henry asked me to marry him. I thought he was acting really strangely one evening and couldn’t understand why; it wasn’t until he knelt down on one knee in our lounge that I realised my dream wedding could soon become a reality and that in front of me was my own Prince Charming in the form of Henry!”
The couple got to work on the wedding planning straight away, busily organising every last little detail. The sticking point was the wedding venue, however. The couple trawled the dales of Derbyshire looking for that magical place and were left disappointed that none of the venues they visited lived up to Emma’s childhood dreams. A heartfelt last search on the internet unearthed East Lodge in Rowsley.
“I couldn’t believe it, being so close to where we lived. I was surprised to have missed this wonderful place,” said Emma. The couple visited East Lodge that very day and were immediately impressed by the welcoming warmth of its staff and the fairytale façade, with its long sweeping drive and rolling landscaped gardens.
“The team at East Lodge were fantastic; they answered all our questions, offered advice and put our minds at rest. We knew straight away that this was our perfect wedding venue, plus we would have it to ourselves; we didn’t have to share our day with any other bride and groom,” continued Emma.
Henry’s mother and father, Butler to the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, along with Emma’s parents visited East Lodge the following weekend and gave their seal of approval.
The couple opted for one of East Lodge’s exemplary wedding packages, which made the hotel exclusively theirs from Friday afternoon until Sunday morning. Guests were welcomed with a delightful Derbyshire Cream Tea and treated to superb buffet on the evening of their first night at the hotel. For Henry and Emma, the Saturday began with a relaxed atmosphere with Emma happy in the knowledge that all of the minute detail she had asked for was being so expertly implemented by the team at East Lodge. The cream and gold theme Emma had chosen, ran seamlessly throughout the decorations, the table centres, flowers and even the wedding favours.
Emma said: “East Lodge was even able to organise a special Guinness bar at the evening reception, for our many Irish guests, which made them feel really special.”
Following their wedding at Edensor Church on the Chatsworth Estate, Emma and Henry chose to have photographs taken in the grounds of East Lodge.
“We couldn’t have planned the day any better, every little detail was catered for and I can’t praise East Lodge highly enough for their dedication and professionalism that made our day perfect - just as I had imagined and dreamed of for many years,” concluded Emma.
East Lodge is owned by the Hardman family and has picked up a number of important accolades in recent years; East Lodge has again achieved the coveted AA “Inspectors’ Choice” accolade with three red stars for 2009/10, placing it within the top 150 hotels in the UK. East Lodge was named “Small Hotel of the Year 2008/09” at the East Midlands Tourism awards, and then went on to become a silver Winner as “Hotel of the Year 2009/10” at the national finals - renowned as the tourism Oscars. In 2007/08 East Lodge was named “Derbyshire Restaurant of the Year” and also scooped the Condé Nast Johansens “Most excellent service” & “Readers choice” awards.