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Venue Finder Gem: Nettlestead Place

17 Jul

Last month we worked at Nettlestead Place which is a medieval manor house in Wateringbury, Kent. It’s a really unique venue and makes for a rare mixture of formality and intimacy.

It is a venue that has exclusive hire so your wedding party will be centre stage. Ceremonies take place in the historic 13th century Undercroft which has a roaring open fire and a very cosy feel. It seats up to 120 guests for the ceremony and up to 45 people for a wedding breakfast.

The gardens and terraces overlooking Nettlestead’s large sunken pond make for great photo’s and your guests can enjoy a walk around manicured lawns, hidden rose gardens, paths and water features.

view of the garden

Up at the top end of the garden is the marquee for larger receptions (up to 200 people) which has beautiful views right over the Kent countryside.

There is ample car parking space in Nettlestead Court Farm or the wedding party can drive down through the medieval gatehouse that straddles the drive.

Annabel Tucker lives at Nettlestead Place as well as running it as a wedding venue and so is on hand to offer a flexible wedding experience and will help make the venue work for you. Check out their website for information on prices and view the picture gallery.

Images 1-3, Courtesy of Nettlestead Place

Image 4, The Wedding Dolls

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Feature Fun: Proud Hens with Comedy, Glamour and Tease

7 Jul

What a night! If you are after a hen do like no other then head on over to Proud Cabaret. After hearing so much about it on the wedding circuit we couldn’t wait to try it out for ourselves! We went to Proud City but there are also venues in Brighton and Camden.

If you want to dress up and go all our glam then this is THE venue to do it in. Styled as a 1920s speakeasy the interior is all plush and purple with feathers and mirrors everywhere! When you arrive you go way way underground and it definitely feels like you just stepped back in time. Girls dressed up in full burlesque outfits and gorgeous bartenders serve you drinks and cocktails whilst you enjoy the full on entertainment, including jazz and the fantastic burlesque stage show – it was just stunning!

Their menu offers a great range of  classic dishes with a fabulous wine and cocktail list which kept all the hens more than happy. After the stage show the entertainment just kept on coming with DJ’s and live bands to carry on the dancing.

If you still haven’t found your wedding venue then this might be just the place to check out for a wedding with a difference. Proud are fully licensed to hold weddings, civil ceremonies and receptions and Proud2 can entertain up to 300 for dinner and 1,000 for a drinks reception. There’s an outside terrace with views over the docklands and you can even colour co-ordinate the lighting to your own theme.  This would definitely be a wedding with all the period drama you need!

We couldn’t recommend it more highly for an absolutely fabulous evening out with the girls so go and enjoy!

Inspirational Ideas: Lanterns and Poms

6 Jul

Decorating your wedding venue with your colour scheme adds a personal touch to your big day like nothing else. Lanterns and pom poms are a really simple way to achieve a big impact. The phrase ‘the more the better’ definitely applies and grouping them together can really make a statement backdrop. If you are decorating your own marquee, barn or similar type venue take a look at the rest of our board in Pinterest for more inspiration, but here is just a taster of what is possible.

Lanterns in barn

lanterns on path

Glass lanterns

Lanterns for wedding

A cheap way of doing mini lanterns so you can light paths and dark corners is to collect jam jars and fill them with long burning tea lights. If you want to have a go at making your own paper pom poms they are really easy – just follow the instructions here from Martha Stewart. To give you an idea of the time involved you can make around 5/6 per hour.

Or if you really don’t want to go to the effort of making your own you can buy them online.  Paper Poms UK are a specialist vendor who sell the poms on Etsy. Prices start from £2 for a 3″ or 4″ pom. Visit their website for more inspiration on how to use your paper poms.

Image Credits all via Pinterest:

1. The Knot

2.Rock my wedding

3.Brokeassbride

4. www.pottingshedpostcards.com

5. West Country Marquees

6. Before the Big Day

7. The Bridal District

8. Follow My Bliss

9. thebridallounge.ie

10. Hanging Lanterns

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

Kent Hidden Gem: Hotel du Vin Tunbridge Wells

12 Jun

We just love the Hotel du Vin for gorgeous wedding’s or a fantastic place to spend your first night as a married couple. We’ve been to Tunbridge Wells, to take a look at their wedding rooms and meet the team behind this stunning town centre venue. We have previously worked with some of the other hotels in this luxury chain but it was fantastic to get to see one closer to home. Amy Carey, the Sales Manager showed us around.

The hotel is set in one of the historic spa town’s architectural landmarks, a Grade II-listed sandstone mansion built as a private residence in 1762. It has retained its authentic detail and has gorgeous function rooms and outdoor spaces including a terrace area and gardens for weddings during the summer months.

The Speyside Glenlivet is the largest function room. An atmospheric room with antique mirrors, guilded decoration, square natural dark stained wood tables and chairs. It overlooks the hotel gardens and Calverley Park and can accommodate a maximum of 84 people. Wedding catering packages start from £45 per person. Food served at the hotel is sourced locally where possible and a tasting session for the bride and groom is all part of the service.

Each of the 34 bedrooms in the hotel is sponsored and named after a famous wine or Champagne house. They all feature Egyptian cotton bed linen, deep baths, power showers, fluffy towels and bathrobes, Satellite television, CD players, DVD players, mini-bars, hairdryer and air conditioning.

There are three fantastic suites, all with freestanding roll-top baths in the rooms. The Deluxe Suite also has an 8ft square bed, plasma screen TV and wonderful views over the garden and park behind the hotel, making this the perfect place to spend your first night as husband and wife.

If you want to take a look around the hotel then visit their website for more information and the team their will be more than happy to show you around. We’re also super excited as we’ll be running wedding workshops here in October  – click here for more info.

Hidden Gems: Finchcocks Musical Museum

6 Jun

Today is the little gem that is Finchcocks. A Grade 1 Georgian manor in Goudhurst, Kent which is home to a musical museum as well as a fab little wedding venue.

The manor sits in thirteen acres of parkland and gardens with a restored 18th century walled garden, a circle of whitebeam trees, wide lawns, dramatic shrub borders and a beautiful autumn garden. It’s exclusive use here so if you are looking for a country house that’s private, flexible and has a big dose of grandeur it’s just perfect.

The Cellar Restaurant can seats up to 80 guests with 120 for an evening reception. It’s vaulted area with little alcoves means it is great for atmospheric themed weddings with Indian or Arabic styled décor. A brick terrace close to the house can take a marquee so you have 120 guests for a seated meal and up to 200 for a buffet. You will need to hire your own marquee though and the only draw back is that you can’t have amplified music, so you’d have to go back to the Cellar Restaurant for a DJ or band type entertainment.

They often hold jazz evenings and theatre events, or you can pop down for a cream tea and take a look for yourself. As you can see from this handful of pics it certainly has a wonderful little charm about it.

 

 Photography by Emma Knapp 

Dorton House: Charity Rocks

30 May

If you are looking to give something back to charity as part of your wedding then how about a wedding venue ran by one? Dorton House is part of the school campus for the Royal London Society for the Blind which teaches blind and partially sighted children. The campus has many different uses but Dorton House itself, a Grade II listed Georgian Mansion House, has been completely refurbished and is licensed for corporate events, weddings and receptions.

The house has three main rooms including the Library which is the biggest and most impressive room in the Mansion House. With its gilded original marble fireplace, sweeping oak staircase and polished floor it has a lovely warm atmosphere perfect for cosy receptions on a grand scale. Wedding ceremonies can be held in an elegant side room with french doors that lead out to the terrace and gardens which make a wonderful backdrop for wedding photos. The pictures featured in this post were part of a rock the dress shoot by Nataliya at Akira Photography and show just some of the gorgeous settings at the house.


Photography Credits:
Thanks to Nataliya for sharing this shoot with us. To find out more about her photography visit Akira Photography.
 Model Hair and Makeup: Rachel, Flowers: Gaynor at Enfleur, Bride: Claire from Finest Detail Weddings, Birdcage Veil: “Anita” By Love Divine

Hidden Gem Hotels Part 3: The Marquis at Alkham

24 May

Most people who live in Kent wouldn’t make Dover their first choice for a wedding venue search but that’s all changed thanks to The Marquis at Alkham. This one-time coaching inn, set in the pretty village of Alkham, has a stylish contemporary feel but still makes the most of its historical features including exposed beams, brickwork and wooden floors.

There are lots of options for your wedding day here as next door to the hotel is a gorgeous 13th Century Church where you can take your vows or have a civil ceremony at the hotel overlooking the breathtaking Alkham Valley. The main restaurant can accommodate up to 74 guests or the marquee in the grounds can sit down up to 110. The entire hotel is also available for exclusive use.

The hotel has ten ensuite bedrooms which are a mix of luxury, superior and suites. The suites have super king size beds, monsoon showers and bathrooms with roll top bath, plus lots and lots of added extras. There are also two vineyard cottages close by (around a 20 minute walk) which offer a quiet secluded retreat.

The Marquis is probably best described as a restaurant with rooms as the food is definitely the star of the show. The 5 star restaurant was recently awarded a rising Michelin star as Head Chef Charles Lakin brings you menus that use locally caught fish and sourced produce. The wine, beer and drinks list also has a distinctly Kent feel with local vineyards represented and even a Kent inspired cocktail!

The combination of countryside views, gorgeous food and chic styling all make this a great one to put on your wedding venue shortlist.

Images courtesy of The Marquis of Alkham via Fleur Challis Photography

Hidden Gem Hotels Part 2: The George in Rye

23 May

The George in Rye is always one of my first choices for a weekend away on the East Sussex coast. Right in the heart of Rye with its little cobble streets and lovely unique high street, The George has a modern but welcoming feel. Boutique hotel and restaurant is probably the best way to describe this place and I just love the George Tap bar with big cosy seats and warming fireplace.

A fantastic venue for any wedding day their original Georgian Ballroom seats over 100 guests and is licensed for civil ceremonies.With only one civil ceremony per day, you won’t be bumping into any other brides and the wedding team will be on hand to make sure you receive their undivided attention.

If you are going for it big style then you can hire out the whole place. Including all the bedrooms, the bar, sitting and reception rooms and the garden terrace, this means you are guaranteed your very own exclusive town house hotel for your big day.

The hotel has twenty-four individually designed bedrooms, each with its own fabrics, colour scheme and bespoke furniture. There’s a mix of styles and sizes from the Queen Rooms to the Junior Suites (some of which have a four-poster bed that you’ll be wanting for your wedding night!).

They have a number of wedding packages you can choose from as well as menu choices using seasonal ingredients sourced from local farms and trawlers of Rye Bay.

All in all, this contemporary take on an old historic coaching inn will be sure to tick the boxes on your wedding venue check list.

All images courtesy of The George in Rye

Hidden Gem Hotels Part 1: The Bell In Ticehurst

22 May

Over the next three days we will be sharing with you some very special wedding venues that you might not find in your usual listings. They could come under the heading “boutique hotel” or “restaurant with rooms”, but whatever you prefer to call them they each have a wonderfully individual style. Today is the turn of The Bell in Ticehurst.

outside of venue

Every now and then you find a wedding venue which offers something a bit out of the ordinary and The Bell in Ticehurst ticks all the boxes. Essentially once a local pub it has undergone a massive transformation into a fabulously individual bar, restaurant and boutique hotel.

For your wedding you can choose from The Assembly Room which has one big table for 30 people or one big dance floor for 100. Then there is the stable; originally a carriage room, which has a big table which sits in the pit where the carriages would have been drawn into, it has seating for 22 people. Both rooms are free to hire. The three course wedding menu is around £35 per head, with delicious quality produce sourced locally.

We were shown round by the very lovely General Manager, Jules Clark, who filled us in on just some of the history of this fantastic building. Each of the seven individually named and designed bedrooms features a silver birch tree (Tice‘hurst’ being Saxon for ‘wood’) as well as gorgeous bedlinen and extra special attention to detail.

Make like us and go for dinner (we also stayed the night) to enjoy the Bells fantastic food and wonderful hospitality and let Jules and the team show you round.

Restaurant