Peonies. Pastels. Pineapples. Oh my. This Gate Street Barn wedding is prettiness personified. As is our blushing bride, Natalie, whose halterneck Maggie Sottero dress – with beautiful beaded detailing, a swishy full skirt and spaghetti straps over the shoulders – completes this stunning spring wedding day. Captured by RMW recommended photographer, Story + Colour, this is a tale replete with love, laughter – and lawn games. There’s nothing like a bride doing the limbo!
Jemma and Thomas chose Preston Court in sunny Kent for their big day; Jemma told me that she fell in love with the venue as soon as she saw it and from then on there was really no point in the pair of them looking elsewhere.
This gorgeous twosome married on the most beautiful little island. In order to reach Tom who was waiting on the opposite side, Jemma had to walk across a flower bedecked bridge over a lake. I mean you can’t really get more intimate and metaphorical than that can you.
And it gets better.
This morning folks, we have cupcakes and carousels, lace jam jars and birdcages. Jemma’s dad even made the paper pompoms strewn around the venue for her.
Without further ado, I give you Jemma and Tom.
Jemma The Bride:My wedding dress was a Maggie Sottero creation in Champagne gold, as the soft colour is more flattering to my skin tone than white. I loved the detail on it. Tom was convinced I would have a short dress so he was genuinely shocked when he saw me walk across the bridge.
I also had an evening dress, which was short and a completely different style to the day dress. This was so that I could dance with my girls, who also had short dresses. My evening dress was made by Barbara Seadon At Bespoke Gowns – she is my cousin’s mother in law and very talented.
I didn’t want a veil, but felt I needed something to set the outfit off. I chose a piece by Jenny Packham which had such exquisite detail. We were lucky enough to have a sunny day for our celebrations and the crystals in the headpiece looked especially beautiful with the light reflecting off them.
My bridesmaid Charlie and I were getting married in the same year and we had a girlie day out in London shopping for shoes. We must have tried on forty odd pairs! We both had our hearts set on a pair of Jimmy Choos each but we found they didn’t fit us perfectly. I chose a champagne pair of shoes from Dune, they had lovely diamante detail and matched my dress really well. They were comfortable to stand in all day, I really didn’t want to have sore feet so spent weeks walking round the house in them which definitely paid dividends on the day.
My friend Katie did my hair, she was very patient with me as I kept changing my mind about what I wanted. She did a fantastic job and was also a very calm person to have around whilst getting ready.
My make up was done by the lovely Leanne Robey, who I have been going to for beauty treatments for a few years. She is a perfectionist and was so helpful on the day, she even helped me get into my dress.
Romance, Prosperity And Good Fortune
Lara from Darling and Wild was fantastic, she listened to all my ideas and brought them to life exactly as I had envisaged them. I wanted soft, dusky pinks and creams with a mix of whimsical gypsophelia. Roses are a timeless symbol of love and are one of my favourite flowers along with peonies which represent romance, prosperity, omen of good fortune, and happy marriage.
As well as cream roses, the boys had wheat in their buttonholes to tie together the informal feel of the venue/day with all of the pretty details.
I chose a dusky pink colour for my bridesmaids and it was a flattering colour for all of them. They all looked so pretty. The dresses were from H&M; my sister and I were out shopping and saw a boy holding a dress for his mum, we both looked at each other as we instantly knew these dresses would be perfect for the day. The poor boy looked a bit scared clutching onto the dress as we were quizzing him over where he had picked it up from!
I wanted the dresses to be short to reflect the informal vibe for the day. I also got the girls cream lace shrugs which looked gorgeous.
The boys wore their own suits, they all looked so smart. We then had ties and pocket chiefs made to match the girls dresses. I had never seen James, the Best Man in a suit before and it was lovely to see him looking so dapper.
Tom looks great in suits and wore an indigo colour three piece suit from Reiss in Knightsbridge and had it tailored to fit him perfectly. He looked very striking, the colour was divine on him – he got so many compliments on the day.
Take One Talented Family Member
Jodie Chapman is fabulously talented and as soon as we got engaged we knew we wanted her to capture our special day. As expected she did an amazing job and we are thrilled with our photos. Jodie is a wonderful friend as well as a family member so we had great fun having the photos taken, we were totally relaxed with her and it was one of my most favourite parts of the day.
Cupcakes And Carousels
The venue had a sound limiter, so we knew a live band would not be able to perform to their potential. We had a DJ from Platinum DJ Productions who was great, he played great songs and we hardly left the dancefloor all night.
Preston Court gave us the option to hire their carousel for the day and we are so glad that we did. Most people went on it, we all had great fun and it created some brilliant photo opportunities.
You Are The Best Thing
My talented friend Alex sang our first dance song for us, it was so important to me to have him involved in the day somehow and this was a very personal gift from him to us.
The song was Ray LaMontagne You Are The Best Thing – it is a song that we both love and was perfect to start off our married lives with. Alex was so good that a few people have commented that they thought it was the record being played rather than him singing!
I wanted a vintage birdcage cake and for all the colours to reflect the colours of the day. Charlotte from Lella’s Cupcakes really listened to exactly what we wanted – the cake was delicious, I am just disappointed I didn’t get to eat more of it! Contact details
I also collected lovely glass vases and bowls and created a sweetie table – all the sweets were pastel coloured and I also sourced pink and white striped paper bags from eBay. I had seen a few of these in wedding magazines and blogs but for most people it was something they hadn’t seen before. The table proved to be very popular – all the sweets were gone by the end of the night!
It’s The Little Touches
We wanted to add our own touches to the existing decor of Preston Court so we filled lace jars with LED lights – these were dotted inside the barns and outside in the courtyard and in the evening they looked magical.
We also tied ribbon in pink and cream on the jars onto every chair. I love photos and spent hours selecting and printing photos of all of our guests. This was a really personal touch and people have told me they really enjoyed looking at all the photos on display, especially ones of themselves that they hadn’t previously seen.
My friend Sally and I also went to a reclaim yard one lunchtime and saw two cream metal birdcages, it was like they were just sitting waiting for me to buy them. We used one as a card post box, decorated with ribbon and lace and the other was filled with flowers and hung from the trees on the island where we got married.
My Dad made paper pom poms in pink and cream, we hung these up in the barn and outside. They looked so cute and it was lovely for my Dad to get involved in the detail of the day.
Lastly we captured a Coney Island feel by providing little white deck chairs for the guests and added a Showman’s wagon for a bit of vintage detail which also doubled up as a beautiful place to go and get changed into my second dress!
It was lovely to do things ourselves as it made the planning so much fun and on the day I felt proud that the venue looked so fantastic as we had done this ourselves.
Words Of Wisdom
If I had to choose then there were several aspects that made our wedding special to us. The carousel which our guests jumped on after the ceremony and during the evening, the popcorn cart that made the rounds after the ceremony – this fitted so well with the carousel – and the fact that I changed into a second, shorter dress.
For me planning our happy day was a wonderful experience, which I fully embraced and enjoyed. I treated it as a project and researched all the lovely details and kept track of the finances on one of my infamous spreadsheets. Being so organised throughout meant it wasn’t a stressful experience.
I am lucky to have really supportive friends and family who were all keen to help out in any way. My sister in particular was my rock and put up with wedding related emails almost daily for eighteen months; she was fantastic and I can’t wait to repay the favour to her when it is her time to get married. It was also lovely to have one of my best friends getting married at the same time – I will treasure all the conversations we had around flowers and shoes and details, it really brought us closer together.
The guest list can be a contentious issue with weddings. There were a few people who were put out by our choice of invitees, but this made us stronger as a couple as we really wanted to stick by the decisions we had made. The people that were there were people that reflected our lives at that point, I didn’t want to have long lost family members or people we didn’t know – everyone there was special to us and looking round on the day this was so important to us. It was a relaxed, happy day and there is nothing I would have done differently.
Venue – Preston Court
Dress – Maggie Sottero
Headpiece – Jenny Packham
Groom – Reiss
Florist Darling And Wild
Entertainment – Platinum DJ Productions
Photography – Jodie Chapman Photography
Cake – Lella’s Cupcakes
How about that then? I adore Jemma’s evening gown – sassy, sexy with just the right amount of bridal to make it a rip-roaring success.
And did you spot the table plan near the end there? Amazing isn’t it – definitely the first I’ve seen of that particular style anyway. I’ll be popping that on the Pinterest board for keeps.
I would also now like a ‘go’ on the nearest carousel – what a brilliant idea to keep your younger and slightly more mature guests entertained. Not after too much of the special juice mind.
All my love Lolly xxx