A few months ago, I had an email from Empire Outlet, an on-line bespoke suit company...
Happy Monday everyone, and how are you this fine Monday morning? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend? Mine was filled with children’s birthday parties, a spot of decorating and a great night out with the girls. I feel suitably refreshed now and ready for another busy week on the blog. To start the week off in style I have this gorgeous back garden wedding in Kent and it is filled to the brim with pretty pastel details and so much summer sunshine! Harriet and Giles were lucky enough to be able to hold their reception in Harriet’s parents back garden, which means they could really add a lot of personal touches to the day. Big thanks to Parkershots for the lovely images.
Harriet and Giles were married on the 27th August 2016 at St. Margaret’s Church, Horsmonden, in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, followed by a reception in Harriet’s parents’ garden. ‘Horsmonden church is my family village church so that was an easy decision, it’s a beautiful church tucked into the countryside between Horsmonden and Goudhurst. Also another easy decision to hold the reception at my parents garden in Horsmonden – we’ve both got lovely memories in the garden including a bonfire party 6 years ago before leaving to go off travelling the world together. The marquee fitted perfectly into the garden (with the help of a few trees being chopped down) and could use the farm across the road for parking. We had 105 guests and the wedding took 11 months to plan.’
How they met
We met through my brother, being friends for years before.
Giles proposed on a surprise stay at the fisherman’s huts in Whitstable, Kent where my side of the family are from. He proposed with my great grandmother’s engagement ring.
How did you allocate your budget?
We allocated costs for the church fees, stationery, marquee hire, catering, entertainment, suits and dresses and decorations.
Where did you splurge and where did you save?
By holding the reception in my parent’s garden we were able to save on venue costs, a large percentage went towards the marquee hire and catering – which were both definitely worth it. Other savings made were from the homemade touches such as painted tin cans, salvaged palettes in the garden made into signage and table plans as well as weaving jasmine into hoops to hang up with flowers.
Why did you choose your photographer?
Our friends got married just before we got engaged and they had used Nick from Parkershots, the photos were brilliant, the right amount of posed vs natural. We were really impressed with how Nick could get those ‘in the moment shots’ without being imposing! From our enquiry to the pre-meetings to the actual day itself, everything was very relaxed and easy which is a god send when you’re juggling all other parts of the preparations! We were so pleased the finished photos, they truly are a testament to Nick’s eye for detail.
I picked one of the first dresses I tried on in Frou Frou, I had gone in knowing I didn’t have the biggest budget and thought I’d have a look at the sample sale gowns and luckily found one. It was a few sizes too big so my mum and a family friend did the alterations and added a few touches such as pearl buttons at the back. I don’t usually wear much jewellery so I opted for some pearl stud earrings and some pearls in my hair dotted in between gypsophila.
The Suit and Bridesmaids
Giles wanted something a little less traditional, he wanted something in a slightly lighter blue and lucked out finding them in the M&S sale.
Theme or Colour Scheme
We decided on a light green/blue for bridesmaids and ties but other than that we didn’t want to make it too matching so opted for pastel colours with things like the flowers.
My mum, being a keen gardener, picked out the flowers – a mix of different colours and textures such as roses, gypsophilia, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas, eucalyptus, rosemary and others which worked beautifully.
We wanted to make as many of the decorations ourselves as possible so we painted tin cans wrapped with lace and brown garden string as the flower holders both in the marquee and church and wove jasmine hoops cut from the garden to hang with flowers on. Signage and seating from old palettes and wood lying around the garden with blackboard paint. Other than that the garden provided much of the decoration itself!
Rather than a seated 3 course dinner we opted for larger canapes on arrival as a starter followed by a buffet hog roast which gave people the chance to get and mingle. We had dessert which people could sit back down for or take outside and then later on in the evening there was a grazing table with cheese, pate, breads etc. This was all supplied locally including the apple sauce using apples from the garden.
Naked cakes are everywhere now and we really love them – naturally this was also homemade by our mums! A little tip – if it’s a hot day keep it refrigerated and get the caterer to bring it out later, the top layer slipped off onto the floor as guests were arriving! Although this didn’t put a dampener on the day at all when you are just enjoying the whole thing!
One of our good friends has a band called The Way who played plenty of the classics to dance into the evening. They also played our first dance, Stand By Me, which is Giles favourite song.
We ordered a personalised stamp for the ‘save the dates’, my brother is a graphic designer so he very kindly designed the invites and order of service, we got card and envelopes from hobbycraft and printed locally.
Yes! All of the above – the dress alterations, decorations, flowers, cake. My dad even got involved in designing a menu to dot on the tables which had an explanation of how the wines we had chosen were to reflect our travels in New Zealand and Argentina.
The whole day was special!
Advice for other couples
Don’t stress, that’s very easy for me to say now but planning should be fun, don’t leave everything until the last second either. And for the day, this is a piece of advice which many many people gave us before which is to make sure you and your husband take a few moments at different parts of the day to take a step back and enjoy whats going on.
For Giles it was finding out that his brother in law had written ‘Too’ and ‘Late’ on the soles of his shoes just as I walked down the aisle so that when he knelt down for the prayers the whole congregation could see!
I’m based in Kent, England, but have enjoyed photographing weddings across the UK, Europe and North America. My style is a mix of fine art portraits and photojournalism. I love creating time-less happy portraits with couples but also love capturing as many of the natural candid moments as they happen.