This colourful and industrial seaside wedding took place at the fabulous East Quay Venue in Whitstable, Kent. With the weather a little moody, and the florals bright and pretty, it created a stunning backdrop for some truly spectacular portraits captured by Ross Hurley of this incredibly cool couple.
Keeping everything relaxed and complimenting East Quay’s decor, they filled it to the brim with antique finds and vintage props all offset with the vibrant blooms spilling out of everything. It really does look incredible.
As does Charlotte in her bespoke cropped lace top & tulle skirt by Vintage Trousseau. She mentions not being able to imagine wearing anything else after trying on the bridal separates, and I have to agree with her. Her bridal look along with the floral headpiece and leather jacket cover up suits her down to the ground. What a bridal beauty, and what a fabulous and fun wedding.
Charlotte the Bride: I always thought I knew exactly what type of dress I wanted to wear when I got married, and after we got engaged I promptly bought a tea length dress from the high street that I planned to take to a dressmaker to tart it up. It was actually quite late in the day that my mum and I decided to visit a wedding fair in London to see if I’d forgotten anything. By complete chance, my mum spotted Suzanne hanging a beautiful cropped lace top and tulle skirt onto the rails as we walked passed. It was so different to what I thought I wanted, but I fell in love instantly! It was both relaxed and modern, but still appeared bridal and special. Suzanne was amazing from then on – all her dresses are bespoke and she would make little tweaks where we wanted them while using such beautiful fabrics. I’m so pleased we came across her stall at the fair as I couldn’t have imagined wearing anything else after trying my dress on! We finished it off with a long veil and floral headband as I got a bit carried away with the accessories after that!
The Grooms Fashion
Sam knew quite early on what type of suit he wanted to wear and managed to find the perfect navy tweed style suit in House of Fraser after hours of trawling the shops. He finished it off with a matching bow tie and Pocket Square from Mrs Bow Tie, and a gold vintage pocket watch that I had bought him as a wedding gift.
Having both lived in Canterbury before moving to London, we knew Whitstable very well and would often visit the venue for dinner when we first started dating. After spending hours Googling ‘industrial venues’ we stumbled across photos of a wedding that had taken place at East Quay and decided to take a look. It was the first venue we’d been to see, and it was perfect. The setting on the beach is stunning, but the venue was such a feature itself you didn’t need to bank on the weather to be outside- which was fortunate because it was FREEZING on the day of our wedding! We didn’t need to visit any others and booked it immediately!
The venue was such an amazing space to decorate – I really wanted to reflect the dark industrial feel of it and so dragged Sam with me to trawl endless junk shops and antique fairs in order to find a real mix of props to display. I spent so much time rummaging through my Granny’s cupboards or tasking my Aunt to dig out old family heirlooms. Fortunately, we are a family of hoarders and so there was plenty to choose from! There was no set colour scheme as such, but we wanted lots of bright and vibrant colours to offset all the ‘junk’ items we’d amassed in the run up. So many people contributed to the décor on the day with bits of DIY here and there – including the light up circus letters spelling out our names that my mum spent months making, and the chalkboard sign my sister created. Everyone was so impressed with these they’ve both got a backlog of orders!
I’m such a control freak that Sam wouldn’t let me be at the venue in the morning to set everything up and so we enlisted the help of The Wedding Dolls to help coordinate everything and tell him what to do and where to be! They were so brilliant at pulling everything together; it meant all we had to do ourselves was focus on enjoying the day with our family and friends.
I just loved our flowers!! Sam thinks I’m sadder about not getting to speak to our florist anymore than I am about the wedding being over (which is only a little bit true). I met Helen at a wedding fair held at our venue and her displays were just stunning. I know very little about flowers, but I know I love them, and I love LOTS of them! I think I un-tastefully asked Helen to make it look like the venue had ‘vomited’ flowers on itself and even embarrassingly used the words ‘junkyard chic’ to describe the look I wanted to create. Despite this, she stuck with me and created the most beautiful suspended installation spilling over with flowers behind the top table. She also decorated the venue with various pom poms, and garlands to coordinate with the flowers that were bursting from the props we’d bought. She had such amazing creative ideas and she was so much fun to work with while we were planning the wedding.
The Wedding Party Fashion
Very early on we bought the girls their bridesmaids dresses and then we happily found out my sister was pregnant! Rather than have her be the only one not wearing the same dress as the others, we opted to let them choose something different but in the same navy colour. It worked out so well as everyone’s outfit suited them individually! To tie them altogether they wore bright flowers in their hair, which matched their bouquets and mismatched gold shoes. We all decided to bring a leather jacket to wear because the weather was so cold and meant that despite all the mismatching that was going on, there was still elements of us wearing the same. The boys coordinated themselves by wearing either a navy or a grey suit of their own, and some bright coloured socks to tie in with our bouquets.
For the ceremony my brother gave me away which was a really special moment for us both and he even gave me a little ‘older brother’ pep talk on the way, despite being younger than me. Sam and I chose three close friends to do two readings, one of which was ‘He’s not perfect’ by Bob Marley, which we amended to reflect us both. We also wanted the ceremony to feel less formal and so after the first kiss, we gave each other a high five!
For the evening we had a photo booth set up which went down a storm. We were a bit concerned people were going to forget to go upstairs to use it, but having seen the photos since – it appears our guests were less camera shy than we first thought! We opted to put together a Spotify playlist for the evening music and called it a ‘Guilty Pleasures Disco’. We asked everyone to contribute to the playlist when they rsvp’d to our invites, and the resulting soundtrack to the evening meant there was something for everyone. There was even an impromptu musical chairs event staged to the sounds of Billy Ocean’s Caribbean Queen!
The food was provided by our venue and apart from being delicious; they were also brilliant at catering for all our guests. You couldn’t have a wedding at the seaside and not have seafood, so we opted for oysters as our canapés and fish and chips for the evening meal. For our main wedding breakfast however, we decided to have a hog roast buffet which meant those with larger appetites could fill their boots with as much food as they wanted. To finish, we hired Georgie to come and serve hot crepes with various toppings from her gorgeous vintage van called Bertie. My nephew was out the door as soon as the word nutella was mentioned….
The cake was ALL Sam as he loves nothing more than a traditional wedding cake-It was a generous wedding gift from my brother and sister in law and the fruitcake tier was so large, we are still eating it today!
While Sam loves having his photo taken, I find the whole thing really awkward and so we were very keen to find someone with a reportage style who could take natural photos that felt relaxed and informal. Ross was brilliant at all of this and incredibly talented at the same time. He immediately put us at ease, had great ideas, and was so easy to have a laugh with in the process. He made the whole experience enjoyable, even when we started turning blue from the cold weather! He was so unobtrusive and yet he’s captured so much of the detail of the day. His photos are just stunning and something we will treasure and enjoy forever.
From day one, Sam and I both agreed we wanted our wedding to feel like one big party – We’d been together 10 years by the time we got married and felt that the day should reflect as much of that time we’d spent together as we could; from the music choices, the old photos of us and our guests on the tables, to our individual speeches. The biggest memory of our wedding day was just how much fun we had! We were both so incredibly touched by how helpful everyone was in pitching in to pull everything together. As such, the day felt extremely personal and a reflection of not just us, but of all our friends and family. The actual wedding day goes by so quickly that I think our biggest tip would be to spend as much time together enjoying all the little moments planning it as you do the day itself. By involving friends and family in different elements of the day leading up to the wedding, we got to spend more time with them, as well as each other.
Photography by Ross Hurley Photography
- Dress Designer & Boutique Suzanne Harrington at Vintage Trousseau
- Bridal Shoes ASOS
- Floral Headband Gypsy Vintage
- Makeup Makeup by Lucy Jayne
- Wedding Rings Richard Chown
- Venue East Quay Venue
- Florist BlueBelle Creative
- Cake Kate by Kate
- Desserts Cripes it’s Crepes
- Wedding Planner The Wedding Dolls
- Photo Booth Shakey Face
- Grooms Suit House of Fraser
- Tie Mrs Bow Tie
- Bridesmaid Dresses ASOS
- Transport Dusty Dubs