We first saw Tjoloholm when we watched Melancholia, and the building looked so beautiful that we wondered if it actually existed, or whether it had been developed purely for the movie! When we visited Tjoloholm for the first time it was winter and the grounds were covered in snow, but even in the cold weather Tjoloholm was such an imposing structure. We visited again in spring and autumn when the grounds had come alive!
Tjoloholm seems to have a split personality, on the outside the intricacies of the stonework make you feel like you’re entering a maze, it has so many secluded spots hidden around the grounds. Walking across the grass on the front lawn you could be in an English country garden, it’s manicured and pleasant, but you would only need to turn your head and you are out in the wild woods or overlooking the sea.
Inside it has a completely different feel, it’s welcoming and homely, you can walk around the house and feel like you belong here, and it has no airs or graces. I remember walking up to the big doors and looking under the bridge across the sea, wondering what on earth we were doing there, it was such a posh place I immediately panicked and thought we wouldn’t fit in. As soon as we met Maria that thought disappeared, because even though the building just exudes elegance, it has such a laid back, welcoming atmosphere. I think coming from England there was something familiar about Tjoloholm, standing in front of the fireplace you feel like you belong there. Don’t let me lull you into a false sense of security though, because as soon as you walk through the hallways you will find an unexpected sight, be it an animal wood carving or a portrait. It’s impossible not to love Tjoloholm because it has such a diverse feel.
For us the appeal of having a wedding at Tjoloholm was that it was such a dynamic setting that we could have any type of wedding here, traditional, modern, themed, intimate or grand, it doesn’t tie you down. There is so much potential to make it your own as well. We could have a number of experiences in one wedding; we could have an outdoor ceremony and reception, an intimate dinner in the dining room inside and spend our wedding night in the Gatehouse. The Workers Village was perfect for guests as it meant that our families could be involved in the lead up to the wedding in the morning as well as attending the ceremony. Visiting Tjoloholm would also be a fantastic experience for our guests, not only would they be able to experience a wedding in Sweden, but they would also be able to learn about Tjoloholms history, and see why for themselves why we fell in love!
Greg and I had been together for eight years when we finally married in Tjoloholm. We met at university and got engaged about five years into our relationship. When we got engaged we bought each other two wedding rings to wear until we found somewhere that we knew was right for us to marry. I think the main problem we had was that we wanted to marry somewhere where we didn’t have to compromise; I liked the idea of marrying by the sea, Greg was keen on an indoor dinner, I like being outside surrounded by nature, and Greg liked historic buildings with impressive architecture. For me where we got married was the most important decision (after the groom of course!). When we saw Tjoloholm we both looked at each other and just knew that was where we were wanted to marry.
As most of our family and friends were in England and France one of our main worries was that some people would not be able to travel over. We had to balance out inviting guests who we knew would love to be there whilst not putting pressure on anyone to travel abroad when they weren’t well enough to, especially older members of our family.
About a year before the wedding Greg’s grandmother passed away, and at times it was hard to think about getting married without Joan there. We knew she would be there in our hearts on the day but to make sure that all our guests knew how important she was to us we put photographs of our deceased relatives on the reception table, and included a description of them in our wedding programme. Outside our families few of our guests had met before the wedding, so to make sure that the conversation flowed on the day we added talking points for each guest on the table plan. It was a great ice breaker!
It was really important to me that our wedding was personal to us, so we made sure we added in some unique touches. We cut the wedding cake with an axe which we bought in south India, and we gave each guest a Cuban cigar to smoke either at the wedding or at one of their celebrations in the future. At the ceremony we wrote our own vows and our bridesmaid and best man read out each of our favorite poems during the ceremony.
As well as our own personal touches we were keen to incorporate Swedish tradition in our wedding too. My mother and father each gave me silver and gold coins to put in my shoes, and we had far more speeches than any English wedding I have ever been too! We have around 30 people, so the speeches were quite personal and heartfelt, which was perfect. We also had little handmade decorations in blue and yellow to represent the colors of the Swedish flag.
For all the planning that went into developing the order of the night there were some last minute additions, the main one being that I ended up making the last speech, which I hadn’t planned on but I am so happy I did looking back now. I think that would be the best advice I could give, do what you feel is right on the day and you will have no regrets!
I am so glad Ann-Charlotte was part of our wedding! Before the wedding I thought a wedding photographer was someone who took photographs of your family in awkward poses, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Prior to the wedding Ann-Charlotte scoped the castle grounds and insides looking for good vantage points. When we met her the day before the wedding she walked us around to choose some nice locations for photographs so we wouldn’t have to waste time looking for what we were after.
On the wedding day Ann-Charlotte was there with me through every part of the day from 8am to 11pm, keeping me calm, sorting out my dress, it was so nice to have someone with me who knew what the day would entail. She encouraged me to choose some photographs I would like on the day, and made sure that my hair and makeup were in place all the time. During this time she was so friendly and happy also, which made our guests happy. It was only when we saw the wedding photographs after the day that we realised how many photographs were taken, and they really did bring out the best of us and of Tjoloholm.
Maria did an amazing job! I cannot say in words how much better our wedding was because of Maria’s organisation and coordination. Even though we were in another country we had full support by e-mail and in the end only made two trips over to Tjoloholm before the wedding day. It was clear from the beginning that Maria has so much experience in developing weddings that we immediately felt that we were in safe hands. Maria didn’t just care about organising a wedding; she cared about our wedding and gave us ideas and advice on how to make the day ours, which was perfect.
It was also a relief on the day to know that Maria had a contingency plan for everything, if the weather was bad, if my dress got dirty; every possible eventuality had a backup plan, which meant we could concentrate on the things that mattered to us.
Maria prepared a paired wine for each of the courses – we thought this would be a challenge as both I and my husband are vegetarian whilst the majority of our guests had seafood and meat co-ordinated into their dishes. The wines went with all of the courses magnificently and were another wonderful experience we won’t forget – all thanks to Maria.
If you are living outside of Sweden and are thinking about having your wedding at Tjoloholm don’t let logistic issues put you off. In many ways we found it easier to organise the wedding in Sweden than we could have in the UK. Tjoloholm has links with florists, cake makers and musicians already, so organising individual components is straightforward. At our wedding we managed to incorporate our own idiosyncrasies and family traditions without any problems at all – it is worth embracing these rather than putting them off as these are the moments you will remember.
Don’t be afraid to come have your own ideas about what you would like for your wedding, it’s your day and it’s important to have it how you would like it. Go on websites like Pinterest or Instagram, save any pictures you like and show them to the florist, photographer etc to give them an idea of what you are after.
Remember to think about the small things, like music for while the bride is getting ready, or breakfast in the morning. Sometimes you can be so wrapped up in the big things that you forget the small things.
It’s very unlikely that everything on the wedding day will go completely to plan, but if you have a good wedding coordinator you will hardly notice! If things do go awry, just smile and breath!