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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

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