Get ready to swoon a lot. The couples portraits captured by Darena Stoda Photography at this classic wedding are SO incredibly romantic. I love how groom Aaron assists his new bride across the grounds of Mount Ephraim Gardens. Holding the train of her stunning Lusan Mandongus gown in one hand and her sparkly Nine West shoes in the other. Also making my jaw hit the floor are all the delicious white blooms amongst the green foliage. Perfectly complimenting the tone of the bridesmaids duck egg blue Debut dresses. With the metallic mirror signs & vases adding a touch of sparkle and elegance to the reception decor. Are you ready to take a look? It's a goodie...
The VenueKate the Bride: When we were children, my parents would bring my brother and I to Mount Ephraim Gardens for picnics and days out. For hours, we would run around the grounds playing Cowboys and Indians - chasing through the orchards or hiding behind ferns which surrounded the lake. When my own children were old enough, they too would chase one another through Mount Ephraim’s wild flower maze or climb one of the many oak trees my brother and I had. Long before we visited its Georgian manor, my now husband and I knew that Mount Ephraim would offer the perfect setting for our wedding; an idyllic spot where guests could enjoy views of rolling Kentish countryside in a garden decorated with moss-covered stone steps and greenery. The manor house itself surpassed our expectations, with its beautiful rooms, marble fireplaces and grand oak staircase leading down into the entrance hall where our ceremony would take place and guests would later dance to music upon its chequered floor.
DecorWe wanted our decorative scheme to work with the classic and sophisticated venue it was to embellish, so went for a vintage glamour theme. Our tables were decorated with mottled silver flower vases and smoky glass votives, as well as candle-filled jars tied with velvet-grey ribbon and lace. Rather than favours, we had a sonnet printed for each of our guests; one that my brother had read during our ceremony. For the seating plan, we used glass chalk pens to inscribe a large, ornate wall mirror with the names of our family and guests, which our florist later decorated with foliage. We used candles, lace bunting and more flowers and foliage to decorate the rest of our venue, and hung fairy lights and picture frames from trees outside. Our amazing wedding stationery was provided by Millbank & Kent.
FlowersFor me, our flowers were one of the best parts of the day! I can honestly say I have never seen any more beautiful, so thank you so much Luisa at Wild Daisy Florist. Our bouquets, button holes and table flowers were made up of hydrangeas, lisianthus, astilby, wax flower, avalanche roses, eucalyptus, pittosporum, blue thistle, silver leaf and brunia, using white, cream, blue and silver tones. I loved my bouquet so much I refused to throw it!
Wedding Wear and AccessoriesMy beautiful dress is part of the Lusan Mandongus collection and was teamed with a Jenny Packham headpiece - carefully positioned by Juliette Marsden in my exquisitely styled hair - and shoes from Nine West. My bridesmaids wore duck-egg blue Debut dresses which a wonderful friend altered and added straps to. It was impossible to find a material that was a colour-match for the straps, so we used curtain beading sourced from the local haberdashery instead. My groom and our pageboy wore Paul Costelloe in a light cheque, finished off with shoes from Kurt Geiger, and our gorgeous flower girl was dressed in head to toe lace from Sevva. Although she desperately wanted to wear a veil, she was happy with a fresh flower crown instead, and rose gold shoes from Monsoon.
FoodSo many people told us how much they had enjoyed their meal, prepared by our caterers Scott Anderson. We tried to stick with an English country house theme, offering Kentish Sirloin of beef with dauphinoise potatoes or filled chicken breast with rosemary and borretane onions, followed by a choice of Katy apply and pear tartan or lemon amaretto slice for dessert. Earlier on, after the ceremony, guests had enjoyed peach bellinis, apple and elderflower spritzers and canapes in the sunshine while playing lawn games. We wanted a simple, elegant cake which was provided by The Little Cake Box. It was ‘semi-naked’ and embellished with edible lace and a fresh flower arrangement. We chose raspberry and vanilla, lime and coconut and bakewell tart flavoured tiers.
Photographer and EntertainmentOur photographer was the extremely talented Darena Stoda, who drove all the way from Norfolk to come and be a part of our day. Darena went above and beyond her duties as photographer; we had her making pom poms, crying at speeches and partying on the dance-floor with us. It was truly special having her there. Charlie Mappin offered his services as pianist, playing our favourite Michael Nyman track as our aisle music, then moving outside to entertain guests while they relaxed on the lawn. The Kicks provided our evening entertainment with live music that had guests of all ages dancing on stairs, chairs and doing the caterpillar in the middle of the dance floor!
Tips and Advice- Don’t be frightened to do things yourself. As long as you give yourself plenty of time, you can cut costs with wedding decor, favours, bridesmaid dresses etc. Ask friends and family whether they might already have various items that you can borrow. - If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family as wonderful as ours, many will want to offer a hand, and let them! Our two wonderful maids of honour made goody bags and sourced board games for our younger guests, other friends offered the use of lawn games they had, locked away in sheds, while another let us use his classic car, even nominating his dad as chauffeur! To make your day really special, nominate loved ones for readings and speeches. Our two children delivered a celebration message for us during our ceremony; there wasn’t a dry eye in the room! - Prioritise your budget. Decide together where you would like to spend most of your money and where you wouldn’t mind cutting corners. The most important things to us were food, flowers and live music (after the dress, of course!). - Listen to the professionals! Our photographer suggested we wait until late afternoon when the light was softer before taking formal photos, rather than just after the ceremony - advice which, as you can see, most certainly paid off. - If you can, stay at your venue the night before the wedding. This meant my bridesmaids and I could start decorating well in advance. - Use Pinterest for wedding inspiration!
Dress Designer: Lusan Mandongus | Headpiece: Jenny Packham | Hair & Makeup: Juliette Marsden | Bridal Shoes: Nine West | Bridesmaid Dresses: Debut at Debenhams | Flower Girl: Sevva | Grooms Suit: Paul Costello | Grooms Shoes: Kurt Geiger | Venue: Mount Ephraim Gardens | Caterer: Scott Anderson | Florist: Wild Daisy Florist | Cake: Little Cake Box | Stationery: Millbank & Kent | Band: The Kicks | Pianist: Charlie Mappin