There is something magical about an outdoor ceremony in the english countryside. Throw in some classic VW’s and some top notch pompom action and I am one happy wedding blogger.
The beautiful setting for Danielle and Jamie’s big day is Preston Court, near Canterbury.
Elvis The Horse
Danielle The Bride: The minute I saw the website for Preston Court I fell in love and didn’t want to look at any other venues. Jamie and I went with my Mum and Dad and our children Josh and Poppy to take a look. Jenny showed us everything the venue had to offer, unfortunately for Jamie the carousel was on site, from that point on there was no going back. Josh and Poppy were introduced to Elvis the horse, the resident peacocks, the chickens and the cockerel.
Thankfully Jamie was really taken with the island in the middle of the lake and loved the idea of getting married there; it was very romantic to walk over the lovely iron bridge to meet him.
Jenny and Anna, from Preston Court were great, they allowed us to do our own decorations and when we visited on a cold spring day for our wine tasting Jenny had the fire in the Kentish barn going with hot coffee ready..It was freezing cold outside but the venue was still beautiful!!
Hair The bridesmaids and I all got ready in the bridal suit, Holly and Elena made it a really enjoyable experience for us all. I didn’t want to look like I was wearing too much makeup but equally I didn’t want it to have worn off by the end of the day. They worked great together and made sure everyone was 100% happy, Holly doing the make-up and Elena the bridesmaid’s hair.
Apart from Holly and Elena I was lucky enough to have my heavily pregnant friend Emma murray. do my hair, thankfully baby Ruby waited until after the wedding to make an appearance.
Even the Groom and his Usher Tony (who just happened to be married to the lovely beautician) were treated to a few hours preening before the big day. Jaime Rowbury at Earth Purely then went on to make sure I was feeling relaxed with my own facial, pedicure and manicure along with perfectly painted OPI French gel nails.
I visited a small boutique called The Bridal Way in Warlingham, Surrey on a friend’s recommendation to look for my dress. I had an idea of what I wanted and happily it didn’t take long to find the perfect one. It was Atlanta B San Patrick by Pronovias.
I wanted to keep my jewellery plain, so for something borrowed I wore my Mums silver Tiffany’s heart bracelet, for new, diamond earrings that my Dad surprised me with before he gave me away.
My Grandma pinned a wedding ring into my dress that belonged to my Great Great Auntie Edie; that was my something old.
I wasn’t really shopping for wedding shoes but as luck would have it I came across one pair of satin shoes in my size in the Faith sale, they had perfect sparkly bows and were so comfortable.
I had my Sister, my Auntie, my Sister in Law and two of my best friends as bridesmaids. We couldn’t decide which dresses we liked best so the girls picked their favourites, both Debenhams Debut and we went with both of them.
The pastel pink tied in with the decorations and the blue with the Next suits the Ushers and Josh wore. The Groom, Best Man and both Dads wore suits and ties from TM Lewin. Our daughter Poppy who was our flower girl wore a dress from Monsoon.
I wanted to keep to pastel pinks and creams, I loved the vintage cottage look and we spent lots of time making the decorations ourselves. We ordered flat packed pom poms from decopompoms, which arrived really quickly. The day before the wedding our Parents, my Grandma and Jay and Jodie, two of the bridesmaids spent the whole afternoon opening them up and decorating the barn. For weeks leading up to the wedding we collected material/lace/ribbon and jars to decorate the tables; who would have known empty mayonnaise jars would come in so handy. We ordered the jars on eBay and sweets online from Handy Candy and made our own wedding favours, Jamie spent ages cutting out the circles of material for the tops and stamping the little labels with our wedding date. We ordered hessian in one continuous strip for the table runners and my Grandma cut it to size on our lawn.
All the table names were hand stamped by Jamie and my Mum too.
Soft Shabby Chic
I met Lisa at Heather & Wood at a wedding fair in Kent, her stall was by far the prettiest I had seen and she agreed to come to our home and talk to us about our day. She was great and translated our conversation perfectly into a soft vintage shabby Chic look for the bouquets and table decorations that were exactly what we had hoped for.
All the family stayed at the Bell Hotel in Sandwich and then we travelled to the wedding venue in Delilah… In a fabulous convertible VW Beetle belonging to Kent Beetles and the bridesmaids followed in style in Betty the lovely red retro camper van.
We were married in the folly on Juliana’s medieval island, another lovely part of Preston Court.
Poetry In Motion
Jamie’s Sister Claire, who was one of our bridesmaids, did the first reading followed by Usher Tony who read “I wandered lonely as a cloud” by William Wordsworth. He had known this off by heart since he and Jamie were young and the Registrar was most impressed. Unfortunately the sound of the wind did spoil this for guests on the other side of the Island so Tony was kind enough to do a repeat performance during the speeches, accompanied by mime courtesy of Jamie’s best man Darren much to the audience’s amusement.
We had the most fantastic band, Groove Instinct. We found them online and went to see them perform as a 7 piece band at Dover Street Wine Bar, they didn’t disappoint. Charlie was really helpful answering all our questions in the run up to the wedding and on the night they were great, an amazing atmosphere and they really got the crowd going.
We met our lovely photographer Dasha Caffery over coffee, her style was exactly what we had been looking for. Neither of us like posing for photographs so we were really happy when Dasha took some lovely natural photographs of us with the children for our pre-wedding shoot in Bushy Park.
Dasha was great on the day, she blended in seamlessly with the guests so much so that when the photos arrived we hadn’t remembered seeing her taking them. Now we have some amazing pictures to remind us of what a lovely day we had.
Preston Court provides a list of their preferred caterers to choose from, we chose Scott Anderson after the ceremony they served Pimm’s and canapés on the lawn outside Preston Court then onto the long barn for our wedding breakfast. We gave the guests a choice of two starters and main meal with a delicious Eton Mess for pudding.
In the evening we had a fish and chip van that went down a storm with our guests, the portions were huge and freshly cooked by Susan and Gary in their van. It was getting very chilly by this stage so they were very much appreciated.
Our wedding cake came from a very lovely lady called Laura Milner owner of The Laura May Cake Company; initially I didn’t have any plans for a traditional cake and wanted to go with our own home made offerings. My sister and Mum took me to the wedding fair at Earls Court and it was on the way out that I saw the most beautiful cake. If I hadn’t already been smitten Laura invited Jamie and I along with my Mum and Dad for the cake tasting. We arrived to find two beautifully decorated cakes in each flavour with little sugar flowers. Needless to say they tasted delicious too. Laura made sure our celiac guests were catered for too with their own lovely cupcakes.
The other good thing to come out of the Earls Court wedding was finding Amelia Lane Paper. Again I had planned to go with my own invitations but the samples we ordered were so lovely that it made sense. They provided day and night invitations, an order of service, table numbers, really lovely table plan and menus all to match at a reasonable price. Not only that but Chanel was really patient and accommodating with the printing of our table plan that seemed to take forever.
We made crate paper bunting and little pink hearts for the lawn; all made using a heart cutter from Hobby craft and stuck onto kebab skewers, another family DIY day.
Venue Preston Court
Makeup Holly Kathleen
Hair Elena Thompson
Beauty Earth Purely
Boutique The Bridal Way
Maids Debenhams Debut
Flower Girl Monsoon
Ties TM Lewin
Blooms Heather & Wood
Band Groove Instinct
Photographer Dasha Caffery
Catering Scott Anderson
Chip Van Village Chippy
Cake The Laura May Cake Company
Stationery Amelia Lane Paper
All of the little touches… The test tube florals, the poms, the stationery and the signage (to name just a few) really pull together to create a very polished yet natural theme. Parts of Danielle and Jamie’s wedding almost feel transatlantic while other features are quintessentially english… But everything blends together so perfectly, it’s a real pleasure to sit here looking through all of these beauttiful images.