This morning's wedding comes from longtime RMW favourite, Claire Penn. Claire's photography speaks for itself - it's always so natural, beautifully edited with a truly cohesive style (I always know a Claire wedding when I see one) and she captures the details as well as all of the emotion. Not only that, but Claire always has the loveliest couples, whose weddings just seem so joyful, as well as being fabulously stylish of course. Catherine and Daniel's big day is no exception, with both looking gorgeous in British designers, as well as lots of lovely details and an abundance of stunning wild flowers, it's a real feast for the eyes. Enjoy everyone, I think you're going to love it!

The Bride

Catherine the Bride: Finding my wedding dress was probably the hardest part of all the planning. I tried a lot of London boutiques and British designers before eventually finding the Ellie Sanderson boutique in Beaconsfield. I didn’t want a strapless dress or a long train but tried the Sassi Holford ‘Astrid’ dress as a ‘wild card’. The beautiful clean lines and unusual figure hugging crepe material made me fall in love with it immediately. What’s more – Sassi Holford was in the boutique that day and measured me up for my gown to be made which added a really special touch. My bespoke pearl hair vine and bracelet were made by a designer from the North East, Kathryn Russell and my gold shoes were Lucy Choi. To keep with the classic styling of my dress I went for Channel No5 scent and a dusky pink Chanel lip.

The Groom

Dan was reasonably relaxed about what he wanted to wear on the day although he did want a touch of tartan to reflect the fact that we met in Edinburgh. We went to Jack Bunneys in Essex to try some suits and Dan opted for a blue light wool lounge suit with a blue tartan waistcoat and pocket square. He also wore a stag tie pin and pocket watch which was a family heirloom from the early 1900’s. His shoes were Loake.

The Venue

We both knew we wanted a rustic countryside venue that wasn’t too polished. As I’m from the North East, Dan is from Kent and we live in London...narrowing down our search area was the most difficult and we ended up viewing about 20 venues across all 3 locations. As soon as we saw Preston Court we knew it was a special venue. The opulence of the beautiful gardens and outdoor lake combined with the quirky vintage organs and rustic barn made this the perfect space for hosting the kind of wedding we wanted.

The Styling

I definitely didn’t want any strict themes or colour schemes running though the wedding. In fact the more colours and mish mashed the better in my opinion. Preston Court was a great base to build on and we embraced the beautiful Kentish Countryside playing to its strengths as the Garden of England. We filled the church and barns with lots of locally sourced wild flowers, had locally sourced edible flowers on the cake and served plenty of English Sparkling Wine from Chapeldown Vineyard. Our caterer, Tayberry Foods, also try and source their fresh ingredients locally, and even our fabulous band Coco and the Butterfields hail from Kent.

The Flowers

We had a lot of wild flowers in the venue that were sourced from Blooming Greens in Maidstone, who have a large nursery with an excellent diversity of English flowers. I wanted the bouquets and centrepieces to be dramatic and colourful and buttonholes to be colourful and tied with different colour string. Each of the 10 tables in the main barn were each named after a wild flower and my mum made the table plan that was adorned with more flowers! Each table had a large central arrangement interspersed some feathers to add a little bit of fun along with a glass decanter of one of our favourite Ports (Croft, Reserve Tawny) as a little nod to the Duoro Valley, Portugal, as that’s where we got engaged.

The Wedding Party

Again, we didn’t intend to have a colour scheme for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, however in the end it turned out that both ended up in blue tones. The Bridesmaids wore a classic off the shoulder navy top and skirt combo from Coast with some epic navy sparky heels from Kurt Geiger. The Groomsmen wore blue suits with blue tartan ties and pocket squares which were made for them by Jack Bunneys. They also each wore a different tie pin (Fox, Penny Farthing and Cockerel) that were gifted to them on the day. The Flower Girl and Page Boy both looked super cute and were suited and booted by Monsoon.

The Ceremony

We opted for a church ceremony and were married at St Mildred’s which is a stones throw from Preston Court. We loved how personal we could make the service whilst still having traditional vows, hymns and readings. My mum gave me away as my dad passed away when I was younger. It was really special and I was so glad to have her by my side as I walked down the aisle. We opted for one biblical reading and a none religious reading that were read by Dan’s sister and a good friend. We had a fabulous harpist, Lisa Canny, who played a beautiful version on Nuvole Bianchie by Ludovico Einaudi whilst we signed the registers and then sang an amazing upbeat version of Usher’s ‘Oh my Gosh’ as we left the church which felt like a good way to get the party started!

The Entertainment

It was really important to us to have great music to create the atmosphere we wanted throughout the day. We opted for Lisa Canny, a vocalist who plays the harp and and puts a modern/ folk twist on current music. Lisa played in the church and also out on the lawn as we were having lawn drinks. The guests really loved her. After dinner it was time for rides on the old vintage carousel outside of the main barn. It was a great way of moving from the Wedding Breakfast to the evening entertainment and to get the guests mingling. We had a band and DJ in the evening. We booked Coco and the Butterfields, a 5 piece Hip Hop/Folk Band from Kent who Dan and I had seen a few times before and knew they were exactly the right people to get the party started with their quirky upbeat style. They play a variety of different instruments (from a xylophone and violin through to a beat boxer!) and the lead singer Dulcima has an amazing voice.

The Food

Dan and I are total foodies so this was a really important thing to get right. As soon as we met Simon at Tayberry Foods we knew he was the right chef to work with to help us achieve the right menu. We agonised over the choices for the best part of 6 months and went for 3 full menu tastings! We worked with Simon to eventually come up with our perfect menu. Canapes included queen scallops wrapped in cured ham and black pudding with roast cherry tomato. Our main course was a sharing platter of Piri Piri Roast Chickens with chorizo’s and a Kentish Leg of Lamb accompanied by a variety salads, new potatoes and rice salads with spicy dressings. We had lemon posset and chocolate tart for dessert accompanied by a Tawny Port. Dan’s mum made our wedding cake which was a tiered classic sponge cake decorated with butter icing and edible flowers (it ended up being 2 tiers instead of 4...but that’s a story for another day!). We also opted for a 5 tiered cheese cake from Teddington Cheese which went someway to helping with people’s evening munchies alongside the bacon baps!

The Photography

Claire Penn. Fabulous. We saw some of Claire’s photographs online and loved her style straight away. She was very fun, friendly and professional from the first time we met her and I couldn’t recommend her enough.
Fern Godfrey

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride: Sassi Holford | Boutique: Ellie Sanderson | Headpiece & Jewellery: Kathryn Russell | Shoes: Lucy Choi London | Flowers: Blooming Green | Venue: Preston Court | Catering: Tayberry Foods | Bridesmaids: Coast | Groom & Groomsmen: Jack Bunneys | Transport: Quirky Wedding Cars | Band: CoCo and the Butterfields | Singer: Lisa Canny

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