Tag Archives: wedding in kent

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!



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Forever Wedding Flowers

20 Jun

Sniff sniff…..the wedding is over and now you don’t know what to do with your gorgeous bouquet that you simply can’t throw away…

Josh Spencer Photography

Well thanks to one of our gorgeous brides-to-be who was worrying about this exact problem we have a solution!

The Flower Preservation House not only preserve your wedding flowers but make them into a really special keepsake. What’s great about this company is that the flowers aren’t pressed so maintain their natural 3D appearance and look fantastic. Your preserved flowers can be mounted and framed in various designs and frame types. It’s up to you what design option you pick and prices start from just £85.

Design Sample from The Flower Preservation House

 

 

Designer of the Fortnight: Stephanie Allin

18 Jun

Stephanie Allin is one of the UK’s foremost award-winning bridal fashion designers. With over 20 years experience Stephanie is well known for her excellence in design, use of beautiful fabrics and the final perfect fit. Stephanie says “all our gowns are hand-made in Britain by the most highly skilled, professionally trained dressmakers. We pride ourselves on ensuring your gown is perfect.”

Stephanie has just launched her 2013 ‘Night and Day’ Collection which will be in store around September. But if you can’t wait until then to take a look at some of her designs they have a sample sale on the 23rd and 24th June at Chiltern St, London. No appointment is necessary, just visit the website for more info.

To see her stunning designs up close in Kent visit Isabella Grace, Tunbridge Wells.

Five of the Best: First Dance Tunes

16 Jun

You either have ‘a song’ as a couple or you don’t. If you do choosing your first dance tune might be that little bit easier. However if you are in the ‘we don’t so help us please’ category here’s a little inspiration for you taken from real weddings over the last year.

Famous five

A Groovy Kind of Love – Phil Collins
Can’t take my eyes off of you – Andy Williams
First, last, everything – Barry White
Everything – Michael Buble
Greatest Day – Take That

Alternative five

Nobody Does it better – Carly Simon
You & Me, Always Up Forever – The Wannadies
Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls
She’s Electric – Oasis
Altogether Now – The Farm

Don’t forget you will need to actually dance to your choice of song so think about the music and whether or not you need to cling together and shuffle for a bit or will be doing a fully fledged Dirty Dancing routine.

If you have a favourite first dance song please share with us!

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

Frock of the Fortnight: Topshop Says “I do”

11 Jun

If you are getting married on a budget then get down to Topshop on the 22 June to check out their new bridal range. Designer Richard Nicholl is behind the new collection called Tie the Knot. It features a range of six wedding and bridesmaid dresses with prices starting at a budget friendly £75.

They might not be to everyone’s taste but they certainly pack a fashionista punch. What do you think?

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 

Sunday Summary: Fairytales and Gems

27 May

This week as the sun hots up there’s been some sneaky Pimms after work action going on at Wedding Dolls HQ. There’s nothing like adding cucumber to your drink to make it feel like summer! As with lots of summer weddings we’re now on count down for our next couple to head down the aisle. They’re having an Asian Fusion wedding with hints of green and gold. Take at look at their inspiration board if you haven’t seen it already.

On the blog this week was a lovely engagement and real wedding, shot by Rebecca Douglas. Our wonderful couple, Cho and Enio, shared their gorgeous April wedding with us at Tonbridge Castle which included some really unique shots of  them on the vintage steam railway at High Rocks in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

Also on the blog was our three part special on hidden gem wedding hotels. The hotels (or restaurant with rooms!) featured were The Bell in Ticehurst, The George in Rye and The Marquis of Alkham. Each of them are really unique and offer something completely different for your wedding day, so check them out if you are still searching for that all important venue.

We rounded the week off giving our Mothers’ of the Bride a helping hand in tracking down fabulous wedding day outfits in just some of the gorgeous boutiques to be found in and around Kent.

Outfit from Any Occasion, Tunbridge Wells

Next week we’ve got a 2 part special from our English Country Garden wedding, a fab Kent wedding supplier to share and a couple of new venues to take a quick tour of.

Enjoy the sun!

x

Rebecca Douglas Photography: Engagement Shoot of Enio & Cho

21 May

Happy Monday All! Today we are sharing a lovely engagement shoot by Kent based photographer, Rebecca Douglas. The shoot took place in Central London where the gorgeous Enio and Cho had their first date. Come back to the blog on Friday when we’ll share their wedding at Tonbridge Castle.

Five of the Best: Wedding Pumps

19 May

Some of us girls love high heels, for me it’s the higher the better! They make me stand taller, feel slimmer and also at 5ft 2 they give me those few extra inches that allow eye contact with the non-vertically challenged – even if it is for just a few hours.

However you might not want to have to wear heels on your wedding day (or want some flats to change into later) so you’re in luck because there are some beautiful alternatives to the wedding high heel on the high street – think ballet pumps with added sparkle!

1. The Flower Shoe by Pink for Paradox of London.  Kent stockist Elizabeth King Designs in Hildenborough.

2. The Limestone Shoe, by Belle for Paradox of London. Kent stockist Wedding World of Kent in Folkstone.

3. Halle by Benjamin Adams for Paradox of London. Kent stockist Tiara and Tails in Ashford

4. The Betty Shoe by Rachel Simpson. Kent stockist Frou Frou in Tunbridge Wells

5. Ivory Louise Shoes available to buy online at Monsoon

Happy shopping, Joanne x