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Welcome to Sunday all!

Today we’re attempting to keep our feet up after being on them for pretty much most of the week. The only thing we might manage is to watch the footie a bit later with a few Sunday glasses of vino (if we’re still awake by then!).

We start the post with a big congratulations to Vijay and Leanne who we worked with yesterday at their Asian Fusion wedding. It was simply stunning. The very lovely bride and groom looked gorgeous, the indian food was superb and the views from Nettlestead Place over the Kent countryside were made all the better by some summer sunshine and very happy guests. The pics here are just a little glimpse into the day which we’ll be sharing in much more detail over the coming weeks.

 

 

We were lucky enough to work with some great suppliers on the day including Chic Weddings, N Photography and Dream Days for You (we have a Fantastic Find feature on them later this week).

So just before we look forward to another week in wedding world here’s our summary of blog posts from the past 7 days. We kicked off with designer Stephanie Allin’s beautiful range of wedding dresses and her new collection which will be in store around September. Next we gave you some advice about how to set your wedding budget in our post Counting the Cost. If you have any good budgeting tips then we’d love to share them.

Then the Flower Preservation House showed us how you can preserve your wedding flowers into beautiful keepsakes of your day. Next we were really pleased to share the real Kent wedding of Keeley and Mike at Cooling Castle Barn with photography by Fleur Challis. The vibrant colour scheme and stunning backdrop make this a wedding worth taking inspiration from.We rounded the week of with news of a discount at Myla with up to 50% off some of their bridal lingerie range.

See you next week for more real wedding inspiration, a gorgeous vintage photoshoot and our weekly Fantastic Find.

Come on England!

x

Having comfortable underwear which still looks fantastic is the holy grail for most of us girls, but on your wedding day it’s more important than ever. Make sure you choose your underwear well in advance so you can take it to your dress fittings with you. This Belle basque set from Myla Lingerie currently has 50% off.

If you are splashing out and want to make the most of your wedding underwear how about a boudoir photography session? Another great gift for the groom on your wedding day – lucky boy!

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Bridal Wear

Mike and Keeley had a civil ceremony for 80 guests last year at Cooling Castle Barn, Rochester, Kent. The mix of vibrant colours and stunning backdrop make this wedding feel really warm and welcoming. Here Keeley talks us through their big day.

“I had been to weddings at Cooling Castle barn and although I really liked it I wanted to get married somewhere I hadn’t been to before. After looking at lots of other venues and having no luck, Mike put his foot down and booked for us to see Cooling! Even though the heavens opened the day we went to look around, it didn’t dampen its charm and we fell in love with it and everything it had to offer. This was back in November 2009 and the first date they had was 22 months away – we put a deposit down straightaway to avoid waiting any longer! The staff at Cooling Castle Barn were fantastic and able to help us whenever we had any questions regarding the day.

We had almost two years to plan but spent the first year not doing too much except finding the venue, saving money and getting ideas. The second year was when we started putting all the ideas together and buying things. I thought I would be the one who did all the planning but I was pleasantly surprised by how much Mike got involved, although he does say ‘she might ask you for your opinion but will always go with what she wants anyway’!

 

 

We found our wedding car when it was parked outside another church!  The colour of the car was what first caught our eye first and we both instantly fell in love with it. It was a blue 1930’s Beauford and we had a Bentley Mulsanne S for our bridesmaids.  Our drivers were father and son from Old and Blue, and they were thoroughly professional and so friendly. They really helped to keep me relaxed on the journey to the venue.

 

 

From the very beginning we said we wanted something a little bit different that was bright and fun. We had a bright pint and orange colour theme and our florist, Cherry Tree Events, helped us choose our flowers. It was on our second visit there that we noticed the vintage style card holders and birdcages – we knew we had to have them as part of our day. We had pink and orange gerberas with lime green blooms inside our birdcages which worked really well to give them a contemporary twist.

I had a contemporary wired bouquet containing mango cala lilies, hot pink and orange gerberas, hot pink and orange roses, palm, soft ruscus and caged lily grass. The bridesmaids had pink and orange bouquets, the ushers had a single hot pink rose and Mike wore a mango cala lily. Our flowergirl had a flower wand containing hot pink and orange gerberas.

 

 

 

 

My dress was by Alfred Angelo from Country Brides in Faversham. My Mum picked the dress in the shop but at first I wasn’t that keen on it. After trying on a few dresses I put it on and once I saw it in the mirror, I knew it was the one for me. After months of looking, it was such a relief to finally find the ONE! As I’m 6” tall I knew heels were going to be a no go. I didn’t like lots of the flat shoes available but thankfully I found a diamante style sandal by Pink that were perfect. I had earrings and a matching necklace from Goldsmiths and a Swarovski bracelet that was a beautiful wedding gift from Mike. My veil was also from Country Brides and my hair accessories and bag were my ‘something borrowed’ from my sister-in-law.

Mike wore a Navy Blue Edwardian suit from Perfection. The bridesmaid dresses were also Alfred Angelo dresses, the flowergirls dress was from Bhs and the two best men and ushers suits were also from Perfection.

 

 

 

Our stationery and table place names were from Wickedly Innocent and Mike had said from the very beginning that he wanted to name each table after Stereophonics songs as this is one of his favourite bands.

I remember being blown away when I first saw the barn set out with all the things we had chosen. I had been so worried that perhaps all the colours might not quite go together or might be a bit much, but it just looked amazing. So many people commented on how lovely it looked – it was so worth going for something bright and different. Keeping with the bright theme, we chose bright pink organza bags filled with our favourite white chocolate jazzie sweets. We got them from eBay and Mike’s mum very kindly filled all the bags herself.

 

 

We had the caterers at Cooling Castle Barn who were amazing. Everyone commented on how good the food was and there was so much of it! We found it really difficult to choose from such a wide choice that the venue offered so we went with things that we thought everyone would like.

For starters there was a choice of  Prawn Cocktail or Marinated vine plum tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. For the main course we chose Roast Beef or Bangers and Mash. The vegetarian option was Ravioli of chargrilled vegetables and basil pesto. For dessert, Lemon Meringue Pie or Vanilla Cheesecake with red fruit coulis.

We had a three tier cake made up of two fruit cakes and one sponge from Marks and Spencer. They were decorated by our very clever friend Kerry who handmade all the flowers from icing.

 

We had a DJ who came with our wedding package and we were a little worried that we did not get a say in who we could have. However we needn’t have worried as he was amazing and played everything we had asked for and so much more. As it was a mid-week wedding we finished at 11pm but we started the reception early so that we could have plenty of time to dance. Our first dance was At Last by Etta James as we thought it was a beautiful song with such meaningful lyrics. We both loved garage music when we were younger so we had a selection of garage tracks which had the dance floor over flowing all night!

The fabulous Fleur Challis was our wedding photographer. Fleur had photographed our friends wedding and they spoke really highly of her. Seeing how wonderful their photos were we contacted her. As soon as we got chatting to Fleur we knew she would be the perfect person to capture our day. She had fantastic ideas and was so on our wave length.  We had a pre wedding shoot in Canterbury which was a great way for us to relax in front of the camera before the big day as neither of us are keen on having our photo taken. We are so pleased with our photos and they have captured the day perfectly”.

Thanks to Keeley and Mike for sharing their day with us. And so any last words for our wedding couples to be?

“Yes, talk to your friends about suppliers they used. We got lots of recommendations from friends which saves time doing lots of research and lastly enjoy every minute, it goes far too quickly!



If you are getting married on a budget then get down to Topshop on the 22 June to check out their new bridal range. Designer Richard Nicholl is behind the new collection called Tie the Knot. It features a range of six wedding and bridesmaid dresses with prices starting at a budget friendly £75.

They might not be to everyone’s taste but they certainly pack a fashionista punch. What do you think?

 

 

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Bridal Wear, Bridesmaids

Sometimes a wedding comes along that just has so many gorgeous pics we can’t fit it all into one day. This wedding is one of those. For part one we’re sharing the wedding of Marika and James who got married in May at the Marquis of Alkham. Here Marika tells us about the planning of their big day.

 

“We searched for a long time to find the right venue. We found the Marquis restaurant in a cookery magazine, having no idea there was such a highly acclaimed restaurant so close to where we lived. As soon as we drove down the beautiful country road, we were hopeful and when we arrived, walked inside and were warmly greeted by Hannah Walton saying “sorry I don’t have a brochure made up, we don’t really churn out weddings…” we were sold! The more we saw, the more we loved it. It just felt right, we wanted somewhere really special for our 39 guests. Hannah is the wedding co-ordinator at the Marquis and without her help, all of our ideas would not have been able to become a fantastic reality. We had so much fun and we regard her as a friend now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sarah Kay, a friend’s sister, does floristry part-time. My bouquet was rustic and contemporary, with white lilacs, thistles, ranunculus roses, freesias, green hydrangeas and Columbian roses, which came through in my hair, the bridesmaid’s hair and the button holes as well.

I always wanted white lilacs as they hold fond childhood memories for me, hiding under a giant lilac tree in our front garden in Ireland. I love ranunculus roses and hydrangeas as well, this is one of the reasons I convinced James that May was a great time to get married. I had always imagined wedding photos in a bluebell wood.

 

 

I bought my dress from Signature Brides in Hythe and it was a beautiful lace strapless dress from Tia by Benjamin Roberts. I tried on many shapes and styles and had more or less chosen one. I tried on a few more and am so glad I did because that’s when I came across the Benjamin Roberts dress. I loved the simple style dress with the delicate lace detail – it made it so special. As soon as I tried it on, I walked out of the fitting room and said “uh oh, I am in a bit of a pickle now!” as the dress was more than I had anticipated in the budget, but it was worth it!

The shoes I wore were from Next for just £35. I bought two pairs and decided just before walking up the aisle which ones to wear! I had some very simple freshwater pearl earrings from eBay and a Columbian ivory rose in the side of my hair. My make up was by Emma Smisson at Bridal Beauty.

My sister was my bridesmaid and her dress was from Coast.

James bought his suit from Ventura at Moss Bros. It was a brown/copper shade and he just chose what he felt most comfortable in.

 

 

 

 

We had a civil ceremony. We decided not to personalise vows because we have been together long enough for people to know how in love we are and no need to gush about it! We chose a reading called “the Art of a Good Marriage” that my childhood friend read wonderfully and it epitomized what we feel strongly about in our relationship that would carry through into our marriage.

We had a slideshow with the signing of the register during the ceremony. It was full of photos from when we were children, our first date, our holidays, our 10 year anniversary and pre wed shoot. If there wasn’t a dry eye after the ceremony, there certainly wasn’t after the photos which were accompanied with some sentimental songs. We then played an extended version of this throughout the evening by the bar for people to quietly sit and watch if their feet needed a rest from dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the ceremony we had photos in the church gardens and then everyone went down to the terrace for drinks, canapés and garden games which was a lot of fun.

We wanted to make sure that our guests got to meet everyone so we mixed the tables up for dinner and had a sharing menu. The starter was a ‘Kentish Antipasto’ which consisted of poached asparagus, rabbit rillette, pickled light Sussex eggs, cured beef, cheddar fondue and homemade bread sticks and chutney. The main course was a ‘Sunday Roast’ of beef topside, Yorkshire pudding with confit shallots, herb roast potatoes, crispy flank and watercress salad and seasonal vegetables. The feast was rounded off with a dessert of chocolate fondue, served with marshmallows, flapjack and tropical fruit. It was all washed down with Tenterden sparkling wine, a lot of gin and tonic and a tab behind the bar, which all the guests were very grateful for!

As place cards we had photos of each guest and put these through an app to create individual effects and then printed them out as Polaroid photos which everyone loved.James had three best men, his best friend, his brother and his oldest friend. All of them were asked to give a speech as we moved around after each course. We had so many comments about what a highlight that was and the speeches never got boring because they were all so varied! Rather than a traditional guest book, we had cards and marker pens and passed these around for everyone to leave messages on so that we could put our own book together and enjoy doing that afterwards.

 

 

 

 

At the reception we had white lilacs, ranunculus roses, lisianthus, eringium, pannicum, Columbian garden roses, avalanche roses, viburnum opulus and freesia’s. The flowers were placed either side of the altar and as centerpieces for the reception, where the arrangements were in small square glass vases that were spread out along the tables. It looked really beautiful!

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening we served mini bacon sandwiches and cheeseboards as well as a sweet table where guests could take home sweets in little Chinese takeaway boxes that we put pretty green ribbons on. James made the 7 tier cupcake tower which consisted of small and large cakes, which were all flavours of cocktail. The guests could choose from Strawberry Daquiri, Limoncello or Mojito. They were such a hit and looked fab next to the sweet buffet. There was also a traditional 2 tier fruit cake that the Marquis supplied in their package, for which we provided 2 cake toppers for.

 

 

For our first dance, we had a friend mix two records together. We chose Shania Twain’s ‘you’re still the one’ because it was very cheesy but the lyrics were also quite symbolic. It then went into a rendition of Sir Mix A Lot’s ‘Jump on It’ and the dance moves from the iconic ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ scene which seemed to go down with a lot of laughter! We then had a DJ from Discologic.

My mum presented us with a blank canvas that had one of the wedding invite pictures on it and all the guests took turns in signing it and leaving messages.

Fleur Challis and her husband Kevin were our wonderful photographers . We met Fleur through Hannah at the Marquis and we fell in love with her charm and lovely personality. She was so enthusiastic and excited, which made it a lot of fun to work with her. We met Kevin at the pre wedding shoot, and he was great fun as well. To have them both was such a treat and it brought a wonderful balance of posed photos as well as candid photos which captured the day perfectly. As they always say, a picture tells a 1000 words and the couple really did achieve everything we had hoped for. Photography is a big part of our lives and Fleur and Kevin really understood this and the essence of fun, happiness and love that comes through the photos is spot on!

Marika’s final words of advice as “don’t get too caught up in the day itself and remember that it is a celebration of the time you have spent together and the times you have ahead of you, it should be fun! Stay true to yourselves and what is important to you”.

Thanks to Marika and James for sharing their day with us and big congratulations to you both. Watch out for Part 2 when we’ll be sharing their photo booth shots.

This week has been full of up’s and downs. In the name of research we have been out and about looking at potential new wedding venues and getting rained on in the process. However it didn’t stop us getting very excited by some of our fabulous finds for our special venue feature coming up later this month.

 

Another up was that my hand is recovering well so I managed to get my hand splint off and am now typing this post with two hands – sort of. Hurrah! However I wasn’t able to do my Moonwalk last night (read about my training here) but here’s hoping my team mates had fun – well done girls!

On the blog this week we started with a Butterfly Inspiration Board to get the creative juices flowing. We featured the new Ghost dresses available at John Lewis and shared our top five Bridal clutch bags from the High Street.

There was also the fourth part of our vintage wedding planning special with Vintage Tea Kent who showed us their gorgeous tea sets to help style any vintage event to perfection.

We were also really excited to showcase the Real Kent Wedding of Danielle and Chris. The couple celebrated their day with a fabulous Country Fair theme so take a look if you are planning your own country wedding for more inspiration.

Look out next week for part five of vintage wedding planning with the bit you’ve all been waiting for – the dresses! Plus two fantastic supplier finds and news of a designer dress wedding sale – what’s not to love!

Happy Sunday folks!

Emma x

Image credit: Kerry Ann Duffy

Every girl needs a clutch bag (or two…) for a special occasion and your wedding day is no exception. Where else will you store your make up for touch up’s or that packet of tissues for a tearful moment!

If you haven’t added a clutch bag to your list of items to buy then fear not, there are so many to choose from online plus unlike other wedding accessories your clutch bag is something you’ll reuse for years to come.

This lovely satin vintage style wedding bag has a detailed deep row of silver and diamante decoration along it’s front. It comes with a detachable wrist and shoulder strap.and satin lining. The reverse of the bag is rich plain satin and best of all is only £29 from Catherine Mee.

 

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Most brides tell us the inspiration for their vintage wedding usually starts with their wedding outfit. Whether it’s the dress, veil or shoes, creating your wedding style can stem from one simple piece. When it comes to shoes you are positively spoilt in Kent. We love Rachel Simpson Shoes which are stocked at Froufrou Bridal in Tunbridge Wells (see pics below).
We also love Emmy Shoes who we featured last month (click link for the full post). Their beautifully ornate shoes can be made to measure for a perfect fit (see pics below).
The Rainbow Club have stockists all over Kent and have a really good range of vintage shoes at really reasonable prices – our favourites are below.

For real vintage try Trash or Treasure which is a vintage and second-hand shop in Maidstone. They sell a wide range of vintage clothing and accessories from the 50s and 60s right up to the 90s. (It’s down the alleyway between Mu Mu’s Wine Bar and the Ghurka Restaurant).

There are also lots of vintage fairs where you can pick up complete fashion bargains. Check out Red Rose Vintage Fairs.

Next week our vintage wedding special looks at styling your venue.

Today we are glad to be supporting the Charity Wedding Auction who are raising funds for Pilgrims Hospices through a fantastic wedding auction.

The “go live” button is only days away as the auction runs from 21st to 27th April. During this time you can bid for a stunning wedding package worth in excess of £10,000, which includes the venue, photography, cake, dress, a wedding website, rings, flowers, entertainment, hair and makeup, wedding stationery, a wedding correspondent to record those special moments and wedding co-ordination for the big day and much more.

The auction has been organised by Sally Laker of Sally 4 Cakes, Nicola Blackledge of Bay Images Photography and Glen Laker of The Whitstable Computer Company. All of the businesses involved have generously donated their services and products for free and 100% of the proceeds from the auction go directly to Pilgrims Hospices.

Pilgrims Hospices provides free hospice and specialist palliative care services to the local community both in the hospice and in the patient’s home. Deborah Kellond, Regional Fundraising Manager at Pilgrims Hospices said “We are amazed at the generosity of local businesses that are supporting the wedding auction”.

Full details of the wedding package and how to take part can be found at Charity Wedding Auction.

Happy bidding!

This week has been eventful at Wedding Dolls HQ. Good news is that we are full steam ahead with the final planning of our first wedding of 2012 next Saturday. Philippa and Billy are a fantastic couple and we can’t wait to see all the plans come together next week. See their English Country Wedding inspiration board for a sneak peek of what’s to come.

 

In the run up to the big day there are always last-minute nerves which Joanne tackled in our series of wedding planning lessons: The Fear Factor. If you have the wedding jitters it might just help!

We have also featured a great supplier with the spotlight on Irene & Jenny, who make beautiful jewellery from your most valued pieces. There was also a spot of shopping when we found six of the best high street hotpants for your honeymoon wardrobe.

However it’s not been plain sailing this week as I managed to make a bit of a mess of my hand when a pot broke whilst I was washing up. A trip to the hospital and an operation later I discovered I’d cut through two tendons which puts me in a hand splint for 8 weeks at least. Not good. It’s made me realise just how many things become impossible when you only have one hand such as shoelaces and ponytails. Just when I was getting the hang of my bun ring as well! See our Buns & Roses Wedding Hair post. Typing is also a slow process and there was major panic and hyperventilating last night when it dawned on me that I couldn’t use the corkscrew…..

However all things considered I was lucky it wasn’t worse and for me it’s only temporary. I will however look on in new-found wonder at all those people with disabilities, who simply just get on with life and make things better for others along the way. Amazing.

Enjoy your Sunday and be careful with that washing up!

Emma x

P.S. Look out this week for our final countdown planning post, a spotlight on two fabulous Kent wedding suppliers and our quick guide to vintage weddings.