“The bride found me (Eve Dunlop Photography) on RMW and immediately new what she wanted for her day, stunning florals and a beautifully styled wedding with coolness as standard. From her personalized leather Jacket to the couples pimped up french bull dog. This party was like no other. They rocked it!”
With a wedding synopsis like that you know you’re in for a treat, but I have to say it has still managed to surpass my expectations. There are so many fabulous features you’ll want to swoon over and pin, probably none more so than the whiskey bar, and all helped to make possible using SO many of our talented recommended suppliers.
The fashion is literally to die for too. All coming from he high street but looking like a million dollars. Now are you ready for this immense country wedding? Then I shall keep you no longer, enjoy.
Dave the Groom: Keely and I really wanted our wedding to be a weekend-long party with all of our friends and family! We had a clear picture of how we wanted our special day to flow, from the ceremony to the reception to guest’ accommodation – so when we found Chafford Park we knew we had found the perfect place. The venue was in a remote rural location in the Kent countryside, just 10 minutes outside Royal Tunbridge Wells. There was a beautifully restored hop barn to hold the ceremony in, a picturesque lawn flanked by trees, a large renovated 5 bedroom house for the bridal party to stay in and a huge meadow filled with bell tents for our guests to stay in. Best of all the venue was a great blank canvas for Keely and I to get creative with and put our stamp on.
The Welcome Party
We started our wedding weekend on the Friday night and invited our family and friends to join us and start the party early. We found the lovely Leicester Arms Pub in Tunbridge Wells and knew straight away this would be the perfect place to host a lively and informal evening. It was a great way for everyone to break the ice and to get excited about the celebrations to follow the next day. It also offered a perfect place for myself, groomsmen and immediate family to stay the night – we had a great time nursing our headaches over breakfast together on Saturday morning before getting ready for the big day.
Colour and Décor
Keely and I really wanted our wedding to be fashionable, contemporary, and reflective of our personal style so sourcing our décor was an important part of our wedding planning. It was also one of the parts we enjoyed the most! We were so lucky to secure a sperry tent from the incredible PapaKåta, it fit in perfectly with our overall décor and was a great blank canvas for all of the little details that we wanted to add. The tent was bright white and let loads of sunshine in, we pulled up all the sides to get the most out of the lovely views. We didn’t have a strict colour scheme but we knew there were some key things we really wanted to have – this included a lot of greenery, vintage glasses, lots of festoon lighting and some fun graphic signage. Other than this we were really open-minded and went with anything that we saw and feel in love with! We visited local pubs in search of Hendricks gin bottles for our table pieces, and searched vintage shops for glasswear and decanters. For the lawn outside the tent we found amazing vintage rugs, sofas, armchairs and tables to hire from Anthology Vintage Hire which we used to create outside ‘living room’ seating areas. We also strung over 200 festoon lights in the large willow trees all around the tent, when these were turned on in the evening it gave the wedding a great festival feeling. We set up ‘Dave’s Whiskey Bar’ underneath one of the large trees, a vintage cabinet filled with all of my favourite whiskeys – there was a run for the bar when it opened at 10pm! We also did a few DIY projects including making welcome banners, black boards and signs – our favourite project was our ‘Till Death Do Us Party’ banner with pom pom trim, such a great photo backdrop!
We were incredibly lucky when it came to the flowers, our amazing friend Amanda along with her family kindly stepped in to offer their help. Keely put together a Pinterest board for inspiration and Amanda turned this into the most exquisite collection of bouquets, buttonholes and table decorations that we could have hoped for. She even created an amazing greenery wall as a backdrop for the ceremony. Proteas and Peonies are Keely’s favourite flowers and were included in all of the bouquets and table settings, adding a lovely shot of deep red and pinks into the greenery.
Being as indecisive as I am, finding a wedding suit was always going to be a challenge. I went from originally looking for a grey suit to blue, to burgundy. To print, to grey again before finally settling on navy. After a few shopping trips we found the perfect suit at House of Fraser; a 3 piece, woollen, slim fitting suite by Alexandre of England. I matched this with a shirt from TM Lewin, brogue boots from Next, tie from TK Maxx and a pock watch from ASOS. Then there’s my widely-known obsession with silver jewellery from The Great Frog London! It was great to open a wedding present from Keely that morning to find another ring to add to my collection.
Finding suits for my 5 groomsmen was one of the easiest jobs! Keeping with the blue theme for the grooms party we found the perfect suit in Next. With groomsmen of all shapes and sizes, Next were exceptional for their extensive range of fits.
Keely the Bride: I began looking for my dream dress as soon as we were engaged! I had never pictured myself in a traditional bridal gown so instead I was looking for a stylish, contemporary dress that I could dance all night in! After some lovely but unsuccessful visits to designer showrooms in London (Charlie Brear was a highlight), I was lucky enough to grab an appointment at the Grace Loves Lace London pop up shop. I fell in love with the Vida bridal gown and ordered it on the spot! Unfortunately when it arrived a few months later I realised that I had a major change of heart – instead of looking for a feminine, flowing bridal gown I realised that what I really wanted was a contemporary, fashion-forward dress! The search began again but this time I looked in places that I usually shopped and focused on designers I had always loved. I found a beautiful Self Portrait dress from their bridal range in Selfridges and knew straight away this was the dress I wanted to get married in! I also bought some amazing high street bridal dresses from ASOS and found the perfect second dress to change into after dinner – a backless slinky dress, completely covered in sparkles! My shoes were Kurt Geiger (very Sophia Webster inspired but at a fraction of the price!) and I changed into a pair of metallic silver block heel sandals from ASOS in the evening. I always knew that I wanted to wear a lot of statement jewellery for the wedding and had my heart set on wearing a huge pair of earrings! I found a gorgeous pair in Mango which matched my ceremony headpiece perfectly. My outfit was finished off with an AMAZING leather jacket that Dave had painted and personalised for me with my new initials!
My ‘bridesbabes’ are an amazing group of my best friends and I just wanted them to look and feel amazing at the wedding. My only request was that they had a dress that they really loved and could party all night in! ASOS came to the rescue again, we found a gorgeous bardot maxi dress in dusty pink that all the girls looked incredible in. I asked my bridesmaids to have fun with their accessories and shoes, and to ask the hair and makeup artists for anything they wanted. There was a lot of winged eyeliner, bold lip colours and gorgeous hairstyles – my girls looked amazing! All thanks to the wonderful Gemma Louise Bridal.
Photography and Videography
Dave the Groom: We were incredibly lucky to secure Eve Dunlop as our wonderful photographer. Keely had seen her work on RMW and fell in love with her style straight away, Eve was such a huge help on the day and made sure we got all the shots we wanted.
Our videographer was Tegan from Roost Film Co. who was a dream to work with, when she came along to the bridal party getting ready in the morning it felt like another girl had joined their gang! Both Tegan and Eve captured an entire day of fun, laughter and beautiful images in a gorgeous, contemporary style – we can’t recommend them highly enough.
Music played a huge part in our wedding! Each placecard featured an individual song lyric that we had chosen for each guest, it was a great ice breaker for guests to try and figure out which song we had selected for them. We spent weeks putting together the perfect soul and Motown playlist and searching for a band. Keely walked to aisle to Corinne Bailey Rae’s cover of Bob Marley ‘Is This Love’ and we had our first dance to Leon Bridges ‘River’. We were over the moon when Motown Gold confirmed they could play at our reception! They started their set with ‘My Girl’ for the father-daughter dance and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house! Our family and friends are huge Motown fans and the dancefloor was packed all night with guests singing their lungs out (and even signing along on stage with the band!).
Food and Drink
Guests were welcomed to the reception with cocktails from Shack Revolution and the fantastic Bubble Brothers prosecco van – this was a great way to get the reception started! We had our heart set on a lively and informal dinner, and a hog roast was the perfect fit. Kitchen of Kent were incredible caterers, not only did they do an incredible hog roast but also brilliant canapes and an amazing Eton Mess for dessert. Our wedding cake was beautiful, it was a naked 5 tier cake from Waitrose which Pat (Keely’s mum) did a beautiful job of hand decorating with icing and peonies. Later in the evening we had the fantastic Melt Van arrive to give out cheese toasties – these went down a storm, especially with guests drinking in ‘Dave’s Whiskey Bar’!
For kids big and small we had a huge white bouncy castle from Mr. Bouncy Castle, this was such a fun addition! Even Frankie, our French Bulldog, had a go bouncing around! We were also lucky to book the best photo booth around from The Photo Booth Guys. We opted for a fun pineapple background, personalised photo strips, GIF booth and unlimited prints all night.