April 27, 2022

Goodbye Mama C!

Goodbye Mama C!
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Cast your minds back to 2013. The house was beautiful but unfinished; divided into East and West wings, with only 8 bedrooms for wedding guests. It was also still full of builders busily renovating and making improvements… the Gillyflower was nothing but a muddy hole in the ground, The Coach house was still a spider-webbed space that had once housed coaches. There was no staff, no linen, no tables or chairs, just Anselm, Sarah, Simon, Maya, Jobee and Chisholm, a host of builders and a powerful vision.

This was the Elmore Court Leesa arrived at 9 years ago. Fresh from Calcot manor and bringing vital wedding knowledge to back up Anselm’s party experience, Leesa threw herself at the task of creating a wedding venue from scratch with passion, ambition, drive, energy, love and creativity and immediately began weaving the vision of a successful weddings and events venue to a reality.

The hall at Mansion house elmore court looking unfinished amidst refurbishment and building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
Simon Baring and Team E on the rooftops at mansion house elmore court then being turned into a wedding venue to open in 2013
Team E
Drawing room in Mansion house elmore court looking shabby amidst building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
Mansion house elmore court amidst building works before turning from family home to wedding venue in the lead up to opening in 2013
Shed and wood store at Mansion house elmore court before it was turned into a staff office amidst building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
Historic fireplace in Mansion house elmore court amidst building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
Mansion house elmore court amidst building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
Anselm Guise and Team E tread earth down flat for the laying of the foundations of the eco build wedding reception and party venue the gillyflower in 2013 at elmore court
Mansion house elmore court amidst building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
This old shed and wood store at stately home elmore court has been turned into a staff office amidst building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013
Historic wood paneled room in Mansion house elmore court amidst refurbishment and building works in the lead up to opening for wedding and events in 2013

Mission: launch a wedding venue

This was the summer of 2013 and in just a few months the launch party of the new wedding venue was to be hosted in The Gillyflower, which was still being built…

Together Leesa and Anselm sprinkled magic on the house and grounds and couples coming to view the mud where the Gillyflower would stand, and hey presto people bought into the dream! They believed it was possible and booked their weddings for the following Autumn.

Timber was planed, earth was dug, sweat and blood was shed and The Gillyflower rose up and was finished, just, in time for launch in October 2013.

(When we say just, we mean that the soundcheck in order to grant the license happened just before the party… and on the day we were building the bar around the bar staff stocking the shelves!!)

Eco wedding reception venue The Gillyflower just finished in time for the launch party in 2013 at elmore court
Building eco wedding reception the Gillyflower, cutting and planing timber from the estate at elmore court
Building eco wedding reception the Gillyflower, cutting and planing timber from the estate at elmore court
Eco building The gillyflower being built ready for launch party for wedding and events at elmore court in 2013
Building eco wedding reception the Gillyflower, cutting and planing timber from the estate at elmore court
View from window of elmore court before the gillyflower was built
Building eco wedding reception the Gillyflower, cutting and planing timber from the estate at elmore court

The wedding venue launch

But by shear determination and belief and the incredibly hard work of the small team, it came together for the launch party.

And it was a huge success! Rave reviews of this exciting new wedding venue in Gloucestershire spread like wildfire, and the wedding bookings poured in.

How The gillyflower looked back in 2013
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Tables named after orchards at elmore court launch party in the gillyflower
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Exclusive party guestlist at elmore court stately home wedding venue launch
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Anselm Guise eats first macaroon off huge cake at massive party for the launch of his wedding venue in 2013
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Anselm Guise and Hamish Geurrini of rabbit hole glastonbury with huge tower cake and toy car funny festival entertainment at launch party of wedding venue
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Anselm Guise at Elmore Court launch party in 2013
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Bands playing at elmore court launch party in the gillyflower in 2013
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Leesa and Anselm Guise eat macaroons off the tower cake at the elmore court launch party in 2013
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Team E Leesa at the launch party of wedding venue in 2013
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Ruth Guise at huge party at mansion house elmore court for launch of brother anselm guise's wedding venue
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Rabbit hole festival musician playing at party at wedding venue elmore court in gloucestershire
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Hamish Guerrini the white rabbit of glastonbury in red coat holding toy car flying through air at massive party at mansion house elmore court
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party food at elmore court in launch 2013
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Leesa at launch party 2013
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Elmore court Launch party October 25th 2013 place names for tables for dinner written on a mirror
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Guests find their seats at beautiful dining tables at the elmore court launch party
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Leesa Cole at elmore court wedding venue launch party in 2013
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Hamish Guerrini entertains the crowd at funny dinner speech in the gillyflower festival wedding venue in gloucestershire
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Amazing macaroon tower cake with elmore court family crest and logo on it for launch party of wedding venue in 2013
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Anselm Guise gives speech at launch party of his wedding venue in 2013
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Hamish Guerrini the white rabbit of Glastonbury festival playing guitar in a red coat at a party at mansion house wedding venue elmore court
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Party food at elmore court
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sustainable food- quince jam from the elmore court orchard for the launch party in 2013
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Macaroon tower cake with elmore court written in icing for big party
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The Gillyflower soundproof eco wedding reception venue before the light installation was installed by bruce monroe in 2013
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Anselm Guise and Alex Yearsley at elmore court launch party 2013
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Anselm Guise Elmore Court party
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Anselm Guise Elmore Court
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The gillyflower eco wedding reception venue at Elmore court before the light installation was installed in ceiling
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The first weddings at Elmore Court

Next came the first weddings at Elmore Court, which Leesa ran seamlessly and with so much love...

Here are some beautiful photos of Liz and David's December 2013 wedding, just 2 months after the launch of our wedding venue.

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The end of an era

You see, Leesa has been here since all the way back then, her energy has been at the core of the building of the incredible success of this wedding venue.

After 9 years and around 450-500 weddings here and 25 years in events in total ‘Mama C’ is hanging up her wedding hat and moving on...

It’s time to slow down a little and spend some much needed time with her family.

So here is our fond farewell and celebration of the wonderful Mama C on her last day in Team E…

Leesa and husband Andy at the first Team E Christmas party in 2014

Leesa! How are you feeling? What memories of working at Elmore will stick with you?

Totally emotional and so grateful for the life changing experience of working at Elmore Court all these years.

Elmore has been my life, and before my children it was my baby.

When I look back I have just such incredible memories of joy!

I’ve made lifelong friends. Being a wedding coordinator compares to being a midwife or a doula or something!

I feel so connected to each and every couple I’ve worked with over the years, when you share such important moments with people and help them with such personal things, the bond you make is amazing.

I’ve helped countless brides into their dresses, with their underwear, stuck my hands down bosoms to pull out confetti… I’ve walked into a room full of guys all in their boxers to help with buttonholes.

When dad has forgotten to iron his shirt, when granny needs a cup of tea… Being there for people in these ways connects you to them in a way it’s hard to explain. You become family.

These are the things I will remember forever.

wedding coordinator accidentally gets snapped in couple shot funny wedding photos
Johnny Barrat photography
Leesa getting snapped at a recent wedding- one of over 450 she's looked after at Elmore!

What's your best bit about working in weddings?

All of the above. But also it’s such a privilege to go to a wedding every week! You can’t explain the honour. And weddings at Elmore Court are next level. It is SUCH a beautiful environment to work in.

When you and the team are creating this beautiful delightful space and then suppliers all arrive each adding another perfect addition, with cake and wine and flowers and adding more and more, it’s like ‘Yeah! Bring it on!’

The suppliers I’ve worked with over the years have become such close friends as well as Team E.

We’re a family.

What were your favourite weddings at Elmore?

All of them! I love the individuality of weddings here… The variety of weddings has been amazing.

Gay weddings, multicultural weddings where two families from different cultures come together, these have been a real favourite of mine. It’s so special to bring two families together and be part of such significant and tender moments…

One wedding which will always stay with me was a gay hindu blessing and wedding here, it was such a special, love filled and beautiful wedding… I’m tearing up just thinking about it!

A welcoming into the family at a beautiful gay fusion wedding outdoors at Elmore Court
Neale James
Two grooms beautifully dressed in traditional Indian wedding attire at an outdoor ceremony and Hindu blessing at wedding venue elmore court
Neale James
Gay couple pose for photos after their wedding ceremony by the fire pit
Neale James
Two grooms in traditional Hindu wedding attire standing in front of mansion house wedding venue Elmore Court at their beautiful gay wedding
Neale James Photo
Two grooms walk happily down the aisle surrounded by guests throwing petal confetti
Neale James
Happily married Hindu gay couple enter their reception holding hands at elmore court wedding venue in Gloucestershire
Neale James
two grooms first dance on purple lit dance floor at beautiful gay hindu wedding celebration at elmore court
Gay couple laugh holding each other with lights in background outside their wedding venue
Neale James
Colourful Gay fusion Indian wedding in a kata tent decorated with flower garlands
Neale James
Two grooms and a dog page boy smile outside their stately home wedding venue
Neale James
Kata tent with petal aisle in the grounds for a Hindu blessing and fusion gay wedding ceremony
Neale James
Two beautiful Indian wedding outfits for two lovely grooms at their same sex wedding
Neale James

Were there any low points?

Covid was such a shock. A real bump in the road for us, and for the entire wedding industry.

We are not in the business of disappointing people! So to have to call up multiple couples a day to disappoint them was just heartbreaking. It was horrible.

But we came together as a team and as an industry, and with the amazing and leadership of Anselm we were able to be really fair with all our couples and treat them with love and kindness, and it came back to us.

We’ve definitely come back stronger, and Elmore will continue to grow and evolve and thrive.

Anselm Guise with Team E member on lap laughing at Elmore Court wedding fair in Gloucestershire
Rob tarren
Planning and wedding design by Rachel Terett of Elmore Court now Salt and Scent in Bristol
Tom Durn

What's it like being in Team E?

We’re a true family. Honestly, just like a family we have our ups and downs but we all love each other! It’s the most incredible team I’ve ever worked in.

We’ve always had such amazing staff! Everyone has brought something to the table. Right from the very beginning Team E was magic.

That’s in big part owed to the amazing leadership of Anselm.

A massive thank you Anselm! (In tears) for giving me the opportunity, he has changed my life!!

He has been so supportive through so many times in my life. He really is the best boss. 

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When will we see you again?

Ah you’ll never get rid of me completely, I’ll be back to annoy people! I’m going to be doing some freelancing at events at Elmore, and I’ll be working much more with my husband Andy who sources wines for Elmore, and supporting his business. I’m also going to help Rachel (ex Team E) with her new wedding planning business Salt and Scent.

I’m really looking forward to trying out the treehouses when they’re finished!! I’ve told Anselm if you need a guinea pig- you know, someone to check the taps are working and the beds are comfortable, I’m there!

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Leesa Cole at elmore court wedding venue launch party in 2013
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Eco wedding reception venue The Gillyflower just finished in time for the launch party in 2013 at elmore court
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Leesa and Anselm Guise eat macaroons off the tower cake at the elmore court launch party in 2013
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Any last words?

I’m so proud of Team E, they’re doing such a great job, training new people and passing on skills. Elmore is thriving.

It’s going to be so weird not coming in and watching the sun rise over the east lawn, and the hares frolicking across the grass. There have been so many moments where it’s just me in the house and I’ve had to pinch myself. It’s such an incredible place to work.

Thank you to everyone, the team, suppliers, all the couples I’ve worked with. I love you all…

I’m so proud of Team E, they’re doing such a great job, training new people and passing on skills. Elmore is thriving.

It will keep evolving as it always does… Anselm doesn’t sit on his laurels, he’s always innovating and thinking of what’s next. He’s so ethically driven, the next chapter for Elmore is so exciting, I will be watching in awe as it unfolds. Can’t wait for the treehouses!!!

With all love forever & always. 

Over and out,

Mama C

xx

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