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Sunday Summary: Muddy Maritals

15 Jul

I’ve spend most of this week up to my armpits in muddy washing. Rain is bad enough but flooding and outdoor events mean that my wellies aren’t the only thing getting soggy! Still in this country rain doesn’t usually spoil play and we crack on anyway, especially my kids who have rolled around outside for 10 minutes got cold, wet and muddy, come back in, got changed and then started the whole process over again. So before I go back to my alternative  office aka the utility room, here’s the quick round up of the blog over the past week.

We kicked off sharing the beautiful designs of Claire Mischevani with you. Her bespoke designer bridal service has featured in Vogue, Elle, Grazia, Brides and You & Your Wedding amongst others. If you want something completely different and perfect for you in every way you’ll want to check out her website for your dream dress.

Next up was the Kent wedding of Jon and Emma, who were married at Bradbourne House. Emma talked us through their plans and shared the details of the day which included bespoke stationery designed by Jon himself. Take a peek at the rest of the pictures here.

Next up was a reminder of a gorgeous wedding we worked on last year in Malta. Louise and Warren used wedding planners to cut out all the travel expenses of going to Malta to check on arrangements, as well as the stress of trying to do it all themselves. We worked with the couple on plans this end whilst the Maltese planner was on location to organise local suppliers and double check arrangements before we arrived. The colours of this wedding were just stunning and Louise embraced the then emerging trend of different Bridesmaid dresses which looked absolutely amazing.

Finally we shared our top five picks for Bridesmaid dresses that fall above the knee. The sales are in full force on the high street and there are lots of bargains to be had if you want your Bridesmaids to have an alternative look.

Happy Sunday Everyone

x

Image 1 & 2: Juliette Harrison.

Image 3 & 4: Kay Young

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Real Wedding Inspiration: A Maltese Dream with Louise and Warren

13 Jul

This time last year we were helping Louise and Warren at their lovely wedding in Malta. The colours of the wedding were just gorgeous and have sparked a whole new set of colour combinations for our weddings in Kent, so much so that we wanted to share them all again.

Bride after ceremonyThe Wedding Bridesmaids

Bride and Groom

Wedding Venue
First Dance

Louise and Warren wanted to use wedding planners to cut out all the travel expenses of going to Malta to check on arrangements, as well as the stress of trying to do it all themselves. We worked with the couple on plans this end whilst the Maltese planner was on location to organise local suppliers and double check arrangements.

Louise says “it was lovely to spend so much time with our friends and family and enjoy every minute of our wedding experience. The ladies did such a fantastic job of helping us organise our day and the whole thing was so relaxed and fun. I didn’t want to have to worry about all those little things, I just wanted to concentrate on making my guests experience as great as ours – and it definitely was!”

Happy Anniversary to Louise and Warren x

Details:
Brides Dress: Pronovias
Bridesmaids: Oriental Pearl (Bluewater Shopping Centre)
Suits: Austin Reed
Photography: Kay Young

Real Kent Wedding: Emma and Jon’s Downton Abbey Dream

11 Jul

Hi All. On the blog today is the totally gorgeous wedding of Emma and Jon at Bradbourne House in East Malling, Kent.

Here Emma tells us how they found their wedding venue and the details of the day. Over to you Emma!

“Jon was playing cricket one year opposite Bradbourne House and loved it, then when we got engaged he said “I think there is a place you’ll love” and I did! It was a chance to have a manor house all to ourselves as we love history and it was our real life Downton Abbey! The main reception room is tiffany blue so we chose a very neutral colour scheme – it was very elegant and very English. We had 100 people during the day and another 50 came in the evening.

We had a Church Wedding Ceremony as I was brought up a Catholic and wanted to be married under god. The Catholic church service was made extra special by having the Trinity Boys Choir sing for us. Jon’s cousin used to conduct them so we knew we wanted them to be part of our day.

We had Juliette Harrison as our photographer and she was amazing. We wanted a supplier we got on with and work well together – it’s so important.

To take us to our reception we had replica classic cars – we couldn’t afford to break down on the motorway! We used Shirley Car Hire who were brilliant and we would highly recommend them.

Our guests travelled on a bus from the Red London Bus Company. We stocked it with Pimms and Beer to get the party started as soon as possible!

My wedding dress was by Enzoani. I loved his designs and all the silk he uses. I knew as soon as I saw the huge long train at the back that it was the dress for me. I was looking for a vintage dress that was fitted and not too over the top, but I didn’t feel ‘bride’ enough in some of them so I ended up going for a fuller dress than I expected.

My shoes were from the Rainbow Collection. I highly recommend them as they were so comfortable. I accessorised my dress with a beautiful pearl necklace my mum gave me as well as a surprise gift from Jon, a pair of antique drop pearl and diamond earrings. I completed my look with a long veil, by Richard Designs. It had tiny diamantes’ sewn into it so when I walked down the aisle I twinkled under the lights. I also had a vintage headband from Vintage Head Dresses.

Jon hired his top hat and tails from Moss Hire, he got a discount as his friend works in head office which was very handy! We were going to get the suits made but it was too expensive. We just made sure we checked in good time that the hire suits fitted well and weren’t worn in places. A good tip is to check everything over yourself (or get a bridesmaid to do it) because the boys will not check it all through!

I had three bridesmaids and they all wore high street dresses from Kaliko.

Jon is a graphic designer and therefore really creative. Jon designed our wedding brand and then made all our wedding invitations using a simple form of book binding and elegant wallpaper. They were fantastic but took absolutely forever! He designed a motif of a J & and E intertwined and that featured on all our stationery. We had a wax stamp made of our initials and stamped the back of every invitation we gave out – they looked stunning. We used the same look for the table plan and name settings. The table names were all named after Italian Painters as I love the renaissance period and we got engaged in Tuscany, Italy.

For the place cards I bought silver bables and used handmade paper from Cox & Cox, which I then wrote the guest names on. We had long tables for our reception and for the centre pieces I had candelabra, with the candles lit and lovely white flowers and greenery. In between was little silver gilt vases with three roses and scattered rose petals down the middle. It was amazing!

The overall look was so stunning that when Jon and I sat down at the top table and looked at what we’d created we were completely lost for words. I had tears in my eyes. All our hard work had paid off. We thought long and hard about our favours. My auntie died of cancer and my grandmother was diagnosed the same year as our wedding. We wanted to give a donation to Cancer Research rather than buy favours so we gave out pin badges, pink for the ladies & blue for the gentlemen. These pin badges were then put into black velvet pouches with a little tag Jon designed to say that we’d donated in honor of our wedding.


We had a mixture of roses and lillies as our wedding flowers as they are both so elegant and classic. Son Flowers did our church flowers which were absolutely beautiful. As I came down the aisle they were all I could smell. Our reception flowers were by Nicola from Florian Designs, she was such a lovely lady and the flowers were stunning.

We used Bradbourne House’s own designated caterers, Sanderson Catering. When guests arrived they were greeted with Champagne cocktails and lovely canapes whilst listening to a String Quartet.

For starters we had pan-roasted chicken and pancetta with seasonal salad leaves, finished with balsamic and olive oil. Then for main course was Scotch fillet of beef with roasted potatoes, seasonal veg, creamed courgettes and an enriched merlot jus. This was followed by a gorgeous dessert of sticky toffee pudding washed down with lots and lots of wine and champagne! Sanderson were really professional and excellent throughout. From the white glove service to the delicious food their style suited our theme perfectly.

Guests then had a piece of the four tier chocolate wedding cake which was designed by Purita Hyam Cakes.

To kick the evening off we did a choreographed dance to Nat King Cole’s, Love. We both love the track as it’s such a classic. In the evening we had DJ Rudy from Rock Box, at one point he was break dancing – top man! We partied until 12pm and then had a few drinks in our hotel bar when we got back, which was a lovely way to round off such a fantastic day.

Thanks to Emma and Jon for sharing their big day with us. And so do they have any final words of advice for our Bride and Groom’s to be?

“I would say just enjoy every minute of your wedding day. It’s sometimes it’s too easy to get sucked in by all the planning, the details and family politics to really remember why you are getting married. I wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding as it really all did go perfectly…..oh apart from the fact that we forgot to put a bottle opener on the bus for the beer!!!

One final piece of advice would be not to let suppliers give you the hard sell…make sure you try everything you want and pick companies you know you can work well with – it makes such a different to the day! “

Images by Juliette Harrison

Our Sunday Summary

1 Jul

Is it really Sunday again? Where does the time go!

So Vijay and Leanne have been Mr and Mrs for a whole week now and we hope they are having an amazing honeymoon! We’ve had quite a week telling you about some of the suppliers that worked on their amazing fusion wedding and all this recapping is making us very impatient, we are dying to see the official photographs by N Photography, Hurry back Mr and Mrs B!.

In the meantime here’s a look back at their first week as newly weds.  First we shared the venue, the gorgeous Nettlestead Place, we’re still thinking about the views across the kent countryside, the perfect venue for those wanting exclusive use and a beautiful setting.

This week we also shared the fab Dream Days for You team headed up by Darminder Cheema. Dream Days specialise in Indian, Gujarati and Halal menus but do offer traditional English catering as well. Their portable catering service is great if you have a unique venue in mind as services can include catering staff, cutlery, crockery, linen and waiting staff. We were able to sample some of the menu and it was absolutely gorgeous.

Then in other wedding news we showed you our frock of the fortnight, one of our favourite designers Johanna Hehir has launched her new diffusion collection, Mae by Johanna Hehir. This gorgeous new range features soft georgette, silk crepe and vintage style lace in the dress designs. Dresses range in price from £1000 to £1500in our frock of the fortnight feature.

Our Real Kent WeddingInspiration came from Chris and Katie’s Wedding Safari at Port Lympe, with photography once again by the amazing Kerry Anne Duffy.

Finally we finished up with a fantastic vintage photoshoot at the very lovely Upnor Castle, Kent. The shoot was set up by Margate based photographer, Robert Marriott with the help of Maxine Gregory of Tea-licious and Sandra Andrews of Vintage Curves.

Here’s hoping for a hot and sunny July!

Make sure you pop by next week, we’ve got lots more inspiration to share with you .

 

Real Kent Wedding: Chris and Katie’s Wedding Safari

26 Jun

Today on the blog we are sharing with you the wedding of Chris and Katie, who got married back in May at Port Lympne. The lucky couple had lots of friends to help out and so we asked Katie to tell us about their big day.

Katie tells us “Port Lympne was the only venue we looked at and we fell in love with it. I had been there previously for work and thought it would be really different and unique to get married there. Erica at Port Lympne helped us so much and was brilliant.We had 72 guests for the daytime, with another 130 coming in the evening. We wanted quite a traditional wedding but with a few personal touches. We had a VIP safari trip as part of the wedding day so we all got on big safari trucks and spent an hour going round the park seeing the animals.

Our wedding photographer was Kerry Ann Duffy. I had heard about her through some friends and then when we looked on her website we knew she was our photographer!


My dress was from Brocades Bridal Studio in Sittingbourne. They were really helpful and had some beautiful pieces. As well as my dress I also bought there my veil, hairpiece, a necklace and earrings. I borrowed my sister’s bracelet for my ‘something borrowed’. My shoes were from BHS – they were comfortable enough to wear all day and all night!

Chris’ suit was hired from Slaters in Canterbury. It was grey with a white shirt and purple cravat. The bridesmaids dresses were also from Brocades and the flower girl dress was from Next.

 We had a motor racing theme for the reception as Chris is a mad motor racing fan. For our table centres we had flowers in tyres instead of vases and our table names were the names of Formula 1 drivers. Our favours were Air Ambulance scratch cards as it’s a charity close to our hearts. For the children’s favours we got party bags from All About Party Bags which contained activity books, stickers, sweets and bubbles.

Our brilliant stationery was made by a friend of my sister, Tomarty, and included invitations, table names, table plan, post box and guest book. A friend, Jo Tantum, did our wedding flowers. We met up to discuss the flowers but I had no idea what to pick apart from the colour so we left it in her hands as we trusted her to do a beautiful job. I had no idea what they were going to look like until I saw them on the day but I was over the moon with them! My bouquet was a mixture of ivory and lilac roses, purple lisianthus and eucalyptus. There were also button holes for the men and corsages for the ladies as well as flowers for the tables.  The wedding room didn’t really need much decorating as there are gorgeous animal murals all over the walls so we didn’t have flowers to decorate the room.

Our menu was by the in-house caterers and we gave our guests choices so we had starters of Pate, Garlic Mushrooms or Melon & Parma Ham followed by Salmon in chive sauce, Chicken in mushroom sauce or Romney Marsh Lamb. Dessert was Apple Pie, Chocolate fondue with strawberries or Lemon tart. It was all delicious! Throughout dinner we had some table magic by a friend who is a magician.

A friend also make our wedding cake – we had chocolate and vanilla cupcakes decorated with purple and ivory icing, with hearts and flowers as well a top layer of fruit cake.  In the evening we had a big party and it was great to see people on the dance floor all night.  Our first dance was to Elton John’s ‘Your Song’. We have just always loved the song and the words.We had a fantastic band, Marylebone Jelly, who we had seen at some local events and knew we had to have them at our wedding – everyone love them!”
Katie planned her wedding in just under a year and says “accept help from friends and family where you can as it all helps and don’t worry about what other people want – it’s your day so have things as you want them!”
Thanks to the couple for sharing their day and big congrats from us! x
Image Credit: Kerry Ann Duffy

Sunday Summary: Loving the Bhangra Beat

24 Jun

Welcome to Sunday all!

Today we’re attempting to keep our feet up after being on them for pretty much most of the week. The only thing we might manage is to watch the footie a bit later with a few Sunday glasses of vino (if we’re still awake by then!).

We start the post with a big congratulations to Vijay and Leanne who we worked with yesterday at their Asian Fusion wedding. It was simply stunning. The very lovely bride and groom looked gorgeous, the indian food was superb and the views from Nettlestead Place over the Kent countryside were made all the better by some summer sunshine and very happy guests. The pics here are just a little glimpse into the day which we’ll be sharing in much more detail over the coming weeks.

We were lucky enough to work with some great suppliers on the day including Chic Weddings, N Photography and Dream Days for You (we have a Fantastic Find feature on them later this week).

So just before we look forward to another week in wedding world here’s our summary of blog posts from the past 7 days. We kicked off with designer Stephanie Allin’s beautiful range of wedding dresses and her new collection which will be in store around September. Next we gave you some advice about how to set your wedding budget in our post Counting the Cost. If you have any good budgeting tips then we’d love to share them.

Then the Flower Preservation House showed us how you can preserve your wedding flowers into beautiful keepsakes of your day. Next we were really pleased to share the real Kent wedding of Keeley and Mike at Cooling Castle Barn with photography by Fleur Challis. The vibrant colour scheme and stunning backdrop make this a wedding worth taking inspiration from.We rounded the week of with news of a discount at Myla with up to 50% off some of their bridal lingerie range.

See you next week for more real wedding inspiration, a gorgeous vintage photoshoot and our weekly Fantastic Find.

Come on England!

x

Real wedding: Keeley and Mike at Cooling Castle Barn

21 Jun

Mike and Keeley had a civil ceremony for 80 guests last year at Cooling Castle Barn, Rochester, Kent. The mix of vibrant colours and stunning backdrop make this wedding feel really warm and welcoming. Here Keeley talks us through their big day.

“I had been to weddings at Cooling Castle barn and although I really liked it I wanted to get married somewhere I hadn’t been to before. After looking at lots of other venues and having no luck, Mike put his foot down and booked for us to see Cooling! Even though the heavens opened the day we went to look around, it didn’t dampen its charm and we fell in love with it and everything it had to offer. This was back in November 2009 and the first date they had was 22 months away – we put a deposit down straightaway to avoid waiting any longer! The staff at Cooling Castle Barn were fantastic and able to help us whenever we had any questions regarding the day.

We had almost two years to plan but spent the first year not doing too much except finding the venue, saving money and getting ideas. The second year was when we started putting all the ideas together and buying things. I thought I would be the one who did all the planning but I was pleasantly surprised by how much Mike got involved, although he does say ‘she might ask you for your opinion but will always go with what she wants anyway’!


We found our wedding car when it was parked outside another church!  The colour of the car was what first caught our eye first and we both instantly fell in love with it. It was a blue 1930’s Beauford and we had a Bentley Mulsanne S for our bridesmaids.  Our drivers were father and son from Old and Blue, and they were thoroughly professional and so friendly. They really helped to keep me relaxed on the journey to the venue.

From the very beginning we said we wanted something a little bit different that was bright and fun. We had a bright pint and orange colour theme and our florist, Cherry Tree Events, helped us choose our flowers. It was on our second visit there that we noticed the vintage style card holders and birdcages – we knew we had to have them as part of our day. We had pink and orange gerberas with lime green blooms inside our birdcages which worked really well to give them a contemporary twist.

I had a contemporary wired bouquet containing mango cala lilies, hot pink and orange gerberas, hot pink and orange roses, palm, soft ruscus and caged lily grass. The bridesmaids had pink and orange bouquets, the ushers had a single hot pink rose and Mike wore a mango cala lily. Our flowergirl had a flower wand containing hot pink and orange gerberas.

My dress was by Alfred Angelo from Country Brides in Faversham. My Mum picked the dress in the shop but at first I wasn’t that keen on it. After trying on a few dresses I put it on and once I saw it in the mirror, I knew it was the one for me. After months of looking, it was such a relief to finally find the ONE! As I’m 6” tall I knew heels were going to be a no go. I didn’t like lots of the flat shoes available but thankfully I found a diamante style sandal by Pink that were perfect. I had earrings and a matching necklace from Goldsmiths and a Swarovski bracelet that was a beautiful wedding gift from Mike. My veil was also from Country Brides and my hair accessories and bag were my ‘something borrowed’ from my sister-in-law.

Mike wore a Navy Blue Edwardian suit from Perfection. The bridesmaid dresses were also Alfred Angelo dresses, the flowergirls dress was from Bhs and the two best men and ushers suits were also from Perfection.

Our stationery and table place names were from Wickedly Innocent and Mike had said from the very beginning that he wanted to name each table after Stereophonics songs as this is one of his favourite bands.

I remember being blown away when I first saw the barn set out with all the things we had chosen. I had been so worried that perhaps all the colours might not quite go together or might be a bit much, but it just looked amazing. So many people commented on how lovely it looked – it was so worth going for something bright and different. Keeping with the bright theme, we chose bright pink organza bags filled with our favourite white chocolate jazzie sweets. We got them from eBay and Mike’s mum very kindly filled all the bags herself.

We had the caterers at Cooling Castle Barn who were amazing. Everyone commented on how good the food was and there was so much of it! We found it really difficult to choose from such a wide choice that the venue offered so we went with things that we thought everyone would like.

For starters there was a choice of  Prawn Cocktail or Marinated vine plum tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. For the main course we chose Roast Beef or Bangers and Mash. The vegetarian option was Ravioli of chargrilled vegetables and basil pesto. For dessert, Lemon Meringue Pie or Vanilla Cheesecake with red fruit coulis.

We had a three tier cake made up of two fruit cakes and one sponge from Marks and Spencer. They were decorated by our very clever friend Kerry who handmade all the flowers from icing.

We had a DJ who came with our wedding package and we were a little worried that we did not get a say in who we could have. However we needn’t have worried as he was amazing and played everything we had asked for and so much more. As it was a mid-week wedding we finished at 11pm but we started the reception early so that we could have plenty of time to dance. Our first dance was At Last by Etta James as we thought it was a beautiful song with such meaningful lyrics. We both loved garage music when we were younger so we had a selection of garage tracks which had the dance floor over flowing all night!

The fabulous Fleur Challis was our wedding photographer. Fleur had photographed our friends wedding and they spoke really highly of her. Seeing how wonderful their photos were we contacted her. As soon as we got chatting to Fleur we knew she would be the perfect person to capture our day. She had fantastic ideas and was so on our wave length.  We had a pre wedding shoot in Canterbury which was a great way for us to relax in front of the camera before the big day as neither of us are keen on having our photo taken. We are so pleased with our photos and they have captured the day perfectly”.

Thanks to Keeley and Mike for sharing their day with us. And so any last words for our wedding couples to be?

“Yes, talk to your friends about suppliers they used. We got lots of recommendations from friends which saves time doing lots of research and lastly enjoy every minute, it goes far too quickly!



Real Wedding: Spring Purple with Kelly and Scott at Turkey Mill

13 Jun

Today we can share with you the lovely spring May wedding of Kelly and Scott at Turkey Mill in Maidstone. Here we meet the bride and groom and get them to tell us all about the big day in all it’s detail. Kelly says “I fell in love with Turkey Mill straight away. It was everything that we were looking for. The grounds are amazing and our guests could walk round the gardens and find a little quiet spot throughout the day. We wanted a traditional wedding but very simple and relaxed. We had Emma Knapp Photography and as soon as we met Emma and started telling her about the kind of day we wanted I knew she was the right photographer for us”.

wedding venue

When it come to picking her dress from The Bridal Chest, Kelly told us “I always knew I would go for a fitted dress but when I put my one on I found myself smiling from ear to ear and I just knew it was the dress that I wanted. I had used Audrey Hepburn as my inspiration as I wanted something classic and simple – I loved how it was elegant and different with the one strap. I accessorised the dress with pearl detailed peep toe shoes and tiara from Confetti & Lace, a full length veil from The Bridal Chest and simple earrings and bracelet from Swarovski.

page boys

flower girl and page boy

Scott wore an outfit from Bride and Groom which was a black morning jacket, grey striped trousers, waistcoat and a purple cravat. My daughter was a flower girl, her and the other younger bridesmaids dresses were from Debenhams and the two page boys, one my son, had outfits from John Lewis. The three adult bridesmaids had dresses from The Dessy Group.

My wedding bouquet included Freesia, Lisianthus, Delphinium, and Hydrangea tied with darkest purple satin ribbon and pearl pin detail. Creative Flowers arranged this along with the centrepieces for the reception tables including Fuscia pink freesia, pale pink lisianthus and dark purple delphinium. When I met them they were really helpful and advised us on the flowers that would work best for the look I wanted.

bridal party

bride and groom in grounds

The main wedding colour was purple with touches of lilac and fuscia pink. Kelly says “I was very happy with the overall look and relieved that the colours and layout of the room had all come together. We named each table after the people most important to us, parents, brothers and sisters and our twins. We had cupcakes with our guests names on as place cards and had a lottery ticket for each guest as a favour. All our stationery was from Confetti.

Our caterers, aFORM, created our menu. We had Lobster Bisque with parsley croutons or Feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onion salad. Followed by Knuckle of  Lamb served with red wine sauce or Confit of duck with thyme, rosemary and garlic served with plum ginger and rice wine sauce. All mains were served with parmentier potatoes, baton carrots, fine beans, cauliflower and baby corn.

The meal was completed with Chocolate Cube for the ladies and Lemon Cheesecake for the men. Our wedding cake was made for us by Kate Penfold of Sophisticakes.

We had always wanted a big party in the evening and danced to guitarist Nick Woods and our DJ. We found it very hard to choose a song that we both agreed on for our first dance but when we heard David Gray ‘Be Mine’ we knew it was the right song choice. Our reception finished at 12 but most people were staying at the Hilton so the party continued back at the hotel bar!”

Thanks so much to our couple for sharing their day with us and what final piece of advice would they give to others getting married?

“Make your wedding personal to you so that your friends and family feel a part of the big day with you and don’t worry about the small things. The day goes so quickly and it’s very hard to make time for one another as you have so many people to speak to and many different things going on but try and make sure you have some time alone as a couple throughout the day. I think some of those times on our day are my best memories.”

Congratulations to Kelly and Scott x

All images by Emma Knapp Photography

Feature Fun: James and Marika’s Race to the Marquis: Part 2

9 Jun

Earlier in the week we shared with you the gorgeous wedding of James and Marika at the Marquis of Alkham. As part of their evening celebrations they got all their guests in on the photography action by having a photobooth. We love photobooths as they give everyone a chance to go a bit silly and you have fantastic pictures afterwards as a brilliant reminder of your day.

Fleur Challis, fabulous Kent photographer, set up her own photo booth as part of her wedding package for Marika and James. Take a look here at some of the pics from the evening.

Thanks to Marika and James for sharing their day with us and a big thanks to Fleur Challis for the images.

Real Wedding: Marika and James’ Race to the Marquis Part 1

7 Jun

Sometimes a wedding comes along that just has so many gorgeous pics we can’t fit it all into one day. This wedding is one of those. For part one we’re sharing the wedding of Marika and James who got married in May at the Marquis of Alkham. Here Marika tells us about the planning of their big day.

wedding day sign

“We searched for a long time to find the right venue. We found the Marquis restaurant in a cookery magazine, having no idea there was such a highly acclaimed restaurant so close to where we lived. As soon as we drove down the beautiful country road, we were hopeful and when we arrived, walked inside and were warmly greeted by Hannah Walton saying “sorry I don’t have a brochure made up, we don’t really churn out weddings…” we were sold! The more we saw, the more we loved it. It just felt right, we wanted somewhere really special for our 39 guests. Hannah is the wedding co-ordinator at the Marquis and without her help, all of our ideas would not have been able to become a fantastic reality. We had so much fun and we regard her as a friend now.

wedding shoes for the bride

Sarah Kay, a friend’s sister, does floristry part-time. My bouquet was rustic and contemporary, with white lilacs, thistles, ranunculus roses, freesias, green hydrangeas and Columbian roses, which came through in my hair, the bridesmaid’s hair and the button holes as well.

I always wanted white lilacs as they hold fond childhood memories for me, hiding under a giant lilac tree in our front garden in Ireland. I love ranunculus roses and hydrangeas as well, this is one of the reasons I convinced James that May was a great time to get married. I had always imagined wedding photos in a bluebell wood.

I bought my dress from Signature Brides in Hythe and it was a beautiful lace strapless dress from Tia by Benjamin Roberts. I tried on many shapes and styles and had more or less chosen one. I tried on a few more and am so glad I did because that’s when I came across the Benjamin Roberts dress. I loved the simple style dress with the delicate lace detail – it made it so special. As soon as I tried it on, I walked out of the fitting room and said “uh oh, I am in a bit of a pickle now!” as the dress was more than I had anticipated in the budget, but it was worth it!

The shoes I wore were from Next for just £35. I bought two pairs and decided just before walking up the aisle which ones to wear! I had some very simple freshwater pearl earrings from eBay and a Columbian ivory rose in the side of my hair. My make up was by Emma Smisson at Bridal Beauty.

My sister was my bridesmaid and her dress was from Coast.

James bought his suit from Ventura at Moss Bros. It was a brown/copper shade and he just chose what he felt most comfortable in.

We had a civil ceremony. We decided not to personalise vows because we have been together long enough for people to know how in love we are and no need to gush about it! We chose a reading called “the Art of a Good Marriage” that my childhood friend read wonderfully and it epitomized what we feel strongly about in our relationship that would carry through into our marriage.

We had a slideshow with the signing of the register during the ceremony. It was full of photos from when we were children, our first date, our holidays, our 10 year anniversary and pre wed shoot. If there wasn’t a dry eye after the ceremony, there certainly wasn’t after the photos which were accompanied with some sentimental songs. We then played an extended version of this throughout the evening by the bar for people to quietly sit and watch if their feet needed a rest from dancing.

After the ceremony we had photos in the church gardens and then everyone went down to the terrace for drinks, canapés and garden games which was a lot of fun.

We wanted to make sure that our guests got to meet everyone so we mixed the tables up for dinner and had a sharing menu. The starter was a ‘Kentish Antipasto’ which consisted of poached asparagus, rabbit rillette, pickled light Sussex eggs, cured beef, cheddar fondue and homemade bread sticks and chutney. The main course was a ‘Sunday Roast’ of beef topside, Yorkshire pudding with confit shallots, herb roast potatoes, crispy flank and watercress salad and seasonal vegetables. The feast was rounded off with a dessert of chocolate fondue, served with marshmallows, flapjack and tropical fruit. It was all washed down with Tenterden sparkling wine, a lot of gin and tonic and a tab behind the bar, which all the guests were very grateful for!

As place cards we had photos of each guest and put these through an app to create individual effects and then printed them out as Polaroid photos which everyone loved.James had three best men, his best friend, his brother and his oldest friend. All of them were asked to give a speech as we moved around after each course. We had so many comments about what a highlight that was and the speeches never got boring because they were all so varied! Rather than a traditional guest book, we had cards and marker pens and passed these around for everyone to leave messages on so that we could put our own book together and enjoy doing that afterwards.

At the reception we had white lilacs, ranunculus roses, lisianthus, eringium, pannicum, Columbian garden roses, avalanche roses, viburnum opulus and freesia’s. The flowers were placed either side of the altar and as centerpieces for the reception, where the arrangements were in small square glass vases that were spread out along the tables. It looked really beautiful!

In the evening we served mini bacon sandwiches and cheeseboards as well as a sweet table where guests could take home sweets in little Chinese takeaway boxes that we put pretty green ribbons on. James made the 7 tier cupcake tower which consisted of small and large cakes, which were all flavours of cocktail. The guests could choose from Strawberry Daquiri, Limoncello or Mojito. They were such a hit and looked fab next to the sweet buffet. There was also a traditional 2 tier fruit cake that the Marquis supplied in their package, for which we provided 2 cake toppers for.

For our first dance, we had a friend mix two records together. We chose Shania Twain’s ‘you’re still the one’ because it was very cheesy but the lyrics were also quite symbolic. It then went into a rendition of Sir Mix A Lot’s ‘Jump on It’ and the dance moves from the iconic ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ scene which seemed to go down with a lot of laughter! We then had a DJ from Discologic.

My mum presented us with a blank canvas that had one of the wedding invite pictures on it and all the guests took turns in signing it and leaving messages.

Fleur Challis and her husband Kevin were our wonderful photographers . We met Fleur through Hannah at the Marquis and we fell in love with her charm and lovely personality. She was so enthusiastic and excited, which made it a lot of fun to work with her. We met Kevin at the pre wedding shoot, and he was great fun as well. To have them both was such a treat and it brought a wonderful balance of posed photos as well as candid photos which captured the day perfectly. As they always say, a picture tells a 1000 words and the couple really did achieve everything we had hoped for. Photography is a big part of our lives and Fleur and Kevin really understood this and the essence of fun, happiness and love that comes through the photos is spot on!

Marika’s final words of advice as “don’t get too caught up in the day itself and remember that it is a celebration of the time you have spent together and the times you have ahead of you, it should be fun! Stay true to yourselves and what is important to you”.

Thanks to Marika and James for sharing their day with us and big congratulations to you both. Watch out for Part 2 when we’ll be sharing their photo booth shots.