This lovely couple got married in rural Kent with the reception held at the Grooms Aunt’s stunning grade II listed country house. A true English country wedding.
We see more and more the use of a family members home as their venue and it really is so special and incredibly personal. I really love the use of floral wreaths in the interior decor of the sailcloth tent they used as their reception venue within the stunning grounds of the house. The florals were provided by The List members Florist in the Forest.
Victoria the Bride: Gordon and I met in London over 6 years ago when we realised we went to the same school! We got married on 5th August 2017 in the garden of England and after a two-year engagement here is how we finally tied the knot…
I looked at a lot of dresses and finally decided on a stunning Jesus Peiro creation. I loved the clean lines and timeless elegance that the dress had but most of all I loved the pockets! I felt so comfortable in it and as soon as I put it on, I could tell by the reaction of my family that it was the one.
I went for a classic up-do hairstyle with some wavy pieces at the front to frame my face – it actually started to fall out during the day (probably due to all the dancing and hugging!) so with the help of my bridesmaids and makeup artist we turned it into a half up, half down style which I really loved too. I had fresh flowers in my hair that lasted for the whole day and night.
My makeup was done by the talented Emily Dodds from Willow and Rose – we went for a really natural and flawless look as I don’t wear a lot of makeup. Emily was also on hand for powder and lipstick touch-ups throughout the day which was great.
My shoes had to be comfy and suitable for the gardens so I went for a gorgeous pair with a block heel from Dune. I didn’t want too much bling to take away from the stunning simplicity of the dress so I just wore one piece of jewellery – a beautiful necklace designed by Anna James.
Gordon looked incredibly handsome in a Morning Suit by Favourbrook complete with a dusky blue waistcoat to tie in with the bridesmaid’s skirts and a dusky pink tie. We wanted it to be quite a light, fresh and modern look, nothing too formal and stuffy! Favourbrook’s unique take on formalwear perfectly suited Gordon’s individual style and personality.
The Bridesmaids and Ushers
I spent ages trying to find the perfect dress for the bridesmaids and quickly realised it didn’t exist so decided on a top and skirt combo which ended up looking stunning. A simple cream cami top from Oasis with a pretty dusky blue, tulle maxi skirt by Needle & Thread. The ushers looked very smart wearing their own Morning Suits with grey waistcoats and ties from Neal & Palmer.
Gordon’s family are from Scotland and so we considered getting married there for a long time but then we decided we wanted to be closer to home and fell in love with Gordon’s aunt’s house, Kingsgate – in a quaint village in Kent called Rolvenden. A grade II listed country house with stunning grounds and bags of character, it seemed silly not to get married here! We decided on a wedding service at the local church followed by the reception at the house, in a sailcloth tent in the lush gardens. A proper English country garden wedding!
The Decor and Styling
The grounds of the house were so beautiful and verdant that they didn’t need much styling. We wanted to keep things simple and stylish and we carried the English countryside vibe into the sailcloth tent with large, loosely hand-tied flower arrangements on the tables and hanging floral and foliage chandeliers from the ceiling. We wanted it to be very clean and fresh looking, to really allow the flower arrangements to sing.
Our colour scheme was a mix of soft blue/greys, dusky pinks and creams. Tables were long, rectangular banquet tables and the food was designed to share for a more relaxed Wedding Breakfast. The fire pits outside were really popular in the evening with people huddling around them chatting and drinking late into the night. We wanted our stationary to have a classic yet modern feel and used Papier to design all our invitations, place cards and menus. We were really impressed with the quick turn-around on the service and the final results.
The flowers were very important to us – we wanted to bring the English country garden into the church and into our reception tent! We used an amazing local florist called “Florist in the Forest” – Katherine was really easy to work with and definitely made all our floral dreams come true! The arrangements were eye-catching, relaxed and naturally very beautiful. When I walked into the reception tent for the first time, I was blown away by the flowers – how they looked and how they smelt! My bouquet was also incredible and we loved that the thistle was used in the button holes as a nod to Gordon’s Scottish roots.
The ceremony in St Mary the Virgin Church, Rolvenden, led by Vicar Chris Hodgkins was one of our favourite parts – he made everyone laugh and relax whilst delivering an incredibly personal service. We had some amazing readings by close friends and delightful live performance of songs from Paul Simon’s Graceland played by some very talented friends during the signing of the register. The hymns were sung with gusto and we were so happy that we could sing our old school song Heroes with all our old school friends.
Our band Excite were really brilliant and kept the dance floor filled all night. As a seven-piece band with two vocalists, they played a really good mix of music from all the decades; their energy was infectious and they performed tirelessly to keep all our guests wanting more. Our first dance was Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere” – we had one quick practice outside when we were doing our photos but that was it! It turned out really well in the end and there was no treading on toes thankfully!
Gordon and I are both massive foodies and love to eat out so the quality of food was key. We used local Kent caterers called Home Gurr’own and we were really impressed with their work from start to finish. Canapés included some of the best sausage rolls I’ve ever eaten, followed by Italian antipasti boards for guests to share which included local cured meats, marinated peppers and artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, local breads, cheese and olives. For main, we had slow cooked lamb with a selection of salad and potato side dishes to share. For vegetarians, there was a very tasty beetroot and feta spanakopita.
Dessert was giant Pavlovas to share with fresh berries and whipped cream – a real showstopper! All the produce was local and tasted fabulous and all our guests commented on how delicious it was. In the evening we had a giant cheeseboard which featured local produce which was important to us, with crackers, chutney and fruit to soak up all the booze which was, of course, was well received.
Alcohol almost all of our guests were under 35 and so we knew that the party and drinks element was going to be really important to get right. We wavered over quantities for months but eventually decided to go with our gut and order more than we thought we needed. We also used Majestic who offer a “wine-bulance” in case your event runs dry and they can quickly deliver more supplies! For the canapé reception, we went with English sparkling wine from the gorgeous Chapel Down winery located just down the road. With the meal white, rose and red wine on the tables and a sumptuous dessert wine to finish which went down very well! For later on we had “his” and “hers” cocktails, a dark and stormy (vodka and ginger beer) and a classic G&T, which the Home Gurr’own team expertly pre-mixed in pretty glass vats served from the circular bar. This helped keep people fuelled for all the dancing as after a big meal we were aware that the guests can sometimes feel sluggish! We also made sure we had some local ale kegs on the bar which added to the aesthetic. Quantities of drink, what you serve and speed of service is one of the hardest things to get right at a wedding and we were relieved that this all went so well! There were just a few bottles left, and no one got too out of hand. Perfect!
We worked with a brilliant photographer called Irene Yap and we were delighted with our photos. She captured the day perfectly for us. She was also a pleasure to have at the wedding and worked tirelessly all day to get the best shots, making sure that we stole a few moments away from the crowd and used the stunning backdrop of Kingsgate for some lifetime shots. The photographer is something I’d advise really thinking about and spending time on in the planning stages as the photos will last a lifetime.
My advice would be to enjoy the run-up to the wedding as much as you can – the meal we had the night before in the local pub and the delicious hog roast day after with all our close friends and family celebrating and laughing is a memory I’ll never forget.
I’d also definitely recommend brides doing some sort of speech – I wasn’t planning to as I’m not a fantastic public speaker and it’s daunting but decided on the day that it was something I wanted to do, and I’m so glad I did!