Inspiration

Ahh this wedding at Finchcocks Oast in Kent has left a really warm fussy glow inside, for one it's absolutely stunning, and two it is such an elegant display of how to bring two cultural backgrounds together beautifully. The Thai wedding breakfast must have tasted absolutely amazing, not to mention it was served in the most fabulous traditional bowls, making the place settings out of this world. With more DIY decor enhancing the beautiful barn, and Groom Paul's delicious homemade wedding cake taking centre stage. Everybody looks absolutely amazing. Bride Eva wears an exquisite Pronovias gown, with a back equally as dreamy as the front, and her best girls look fresh in mis-match aqua gowns. Helen Cawte Photography really has captured the essence of this intimate celebration, including all the love, and pastel pretty.

Proposal

Eva the Bride: We got engaged on Christmas day 2014 – Paul got down on one knee in Knole Park, Sevenoaks with the local deer herd the only witnesses. Little did we know what we’d let ourselves in for in the run up to 23rd July 2016!

Venue

We set out to do something different. Over the years, we’d been to a lot of weddings which were great. However, they had started to all melt into one in our memories – there are only so many country houses and after a while they all look the same. We wanted something that truly reflected our lives together – a sense of adventure, travel, culinary delights and the melting pot of England, Sweden and Singapore that is us. We’d recently moved to Kent from London so wanted the venue to reflect this too. Where better than a converted Oast House? We also wanted our friends and families to enjoy the day without having to worry about driving home or finding hotels. With the built-in accommodation offered by Finchcocks Oast (and the swimming pool!), the choice was simple. It also enabled us to make our wedding truly homemade and unique – we weren’t constrained to a certain caterer, bar selection or décor theme!

Food & Drink

After getting the venue booked, we set about the details. We met the wonderful Mama Jinny and worked with her to create a Thai menu that was accessible to all of our guests and which reminded us of our backpacking trips to the Far East. UK Mobile Bars also helped us get a drinks menu that included an aptly named beer (Finchcocks from the Westerham Brewery) and Singapore Slings to keep the East meets West theme going. We also got cracking on the décor plans early – flowers, bunting and pom poms to help create the English Countryside vibe. In April 2015 we went off for another trip to the Far East – Japan! It was on the streets of Tokyo that we got much of the wedding crockery such as rice bowls and chopsticks along with the teapot to be used for the Chinese Tea Ceremony. In a Kyoto department store, Eva discovered and fell in love with Tasaki jewellery. The team there pulled out the stops to source the right ring in her size before we departed – shipping one in overnight from another location – amazing service! It was also in Kyoto that we bought the knife that we used to cut the cake – engraved with our names in Japanese.

Cake

Once back from our Eastern Adventures, the planning really swung into action and we started to realise just what a task we’d taken on (and why many people go down the Country House, pre-planned route!). Paul decided to bake the cake (he needed an excuse to buy a KitchenAid) and be responsible for the music.

Fashion & Flowers

Eva set to choosing her dream dress from Isabella Grace and flowers from Darling & Wild in Tunbridge Wells. She let her bridesmaids loose on their own dresses – as long as they were mint green!

Details

We also set about the décor – bridesmaids and families were asked to collect lots of jam jars, paper pom poms were sourced, bunting and confetti was made, logs were cut to be used as the cake base. Many of the wedding guests lent a hand as well – either gifting or lending things for the day. Whether it was the tiered sweet stand, rice bowls or the food heaters, lots of people got stuck in. The homemade theme continued.

Rings

Eva’s Dad (a retired jeweller & goldsmith) kindly offered to make Paul’s ring – a lovely slim band with a hint of rose gold. The best man’s wife (the lovely Jennie of Honeychurch & Bennet) created the bridesmaids flowers and Paul’s Mum followed the theme with some lovely flowers for the groomsmen and both Mums As the big day approached, people started arriving from Sweden, Denmark, Australia, Canada and from across the UK. The bridesmaids & best man spent the Friday setting up the venue whilst Paul got baking at 6am (9 sponges, 3 flavours, 4 hours, 1 stressed groom).

Ceremony

The wedding day itself was stunning. The home made theme continued through the ceremony with promises written by Paul and poetry in English & Swedish read by Eva’s sister Anna and bridesmaid Malin (one of the poems was created by Eva). We also had music from Miryam while signing the register.

Transport

Eva & her folks were treated to a trip in a beautiful car from Paladins with some lovely champagne on the way back for Eva & Paul, while 30 degree heat greeted the guests at the Oast – the ice cream from Reeve and Jones on arrival was very welcome!

Entertainment

Guests spent the afternoon and evening enjoying games in the garden (the Swedish game of Cubb is now a firm favourite for everyone – things got very competitive!) while Paul & Eva spent time with Helen Cawte and her assistant Kelsie Scully getting some wonderful shots in the Kent countryside.

Tradition

After the stunning Thai meal, we held a Chinese Tea Ceremony to thank our parents for all they have done for us while we were serenaded by the lovely Riikka. The rest of the evening was spent cutting cake, dancing, playing more Cubb and enjoying the wonderful company – many of whom were able to stay at the Oast House and enjoy a BBQ breakfast cooked by Matt the Best Man.

Advice

We set out to make our wedding our own. It truly was a unique and unforgettable day. We’re so grateful to everyone who helped us with their time and skills. Creating your own wedding is really hard work and it’s definitely something that needs the support of loving friends and family. In that, we’re exceptionally lucky!

Written by Lorna Shaw

Dress Designer: Pronovias | Bridal Boutique: Isabella Grace | Bridal Shoes: Reiss | Grooms Suit: Kin by John Lewis | Grooms Shoes: Clarks | Ties, Squares & Socks: John Henric | Cufflinks: Simon Carter | Ceremony Venue: Royal Tunbridge Wells Registry Office | Reception Venue: Finchcocks Oast, Kent | Bridal Bouquet : Darling and Wild | Bridesmaid Bouquets: Honeychurch & Bennet | Caterers: Mama Jinny Thai food | Drinks: UK Mobile Bar Co. | Ice Cream: Reeve and Jones | Stationery: The Card Gallery | Entertainment: Kent DJ | Transport: Paladins Classic Cars | Wedding Band: Task Global
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