Now we’re not usually ones to chat about old bones at the Wedding Dolls HQ but with the discovery of Richard III this week it’s got us thinking about how Castles bring with them a unique mix of history and new beginnings. For us today’s real wedding is the perfect example of mixing old and new and all that’s great about England and it’s historic castles and manor houses. Bevan and Melissa were married in August 2012 at Chiddingstone Castle, Kent with 60 guests at the ceremony and wedding breakfast and a further 50 guests for the evening reception. Here Melissa tells us about their big day.
“We wanted a venue that was in between my home town of Forest Row, East Sussex and Bevan’s home town of Gillingham, Kent. We looked at lots of venues across Kent on a really rainy day and fell in love with Chiddingstone Castle. It’s country vintage style suited our wedding theme and the exclusive use of the castle was just what we were looking for. It looked perfect even in the pouring rain!
“I wanted a dress that was grand enough for the castle setting while still fitting our traditional English vintage theme so I chose a Sassi Holford dress which suited my figure perfectly and I loved the simple design with delicate lace embellishments. My shoes were my extravagance. I’d looked at millions of pairs but once I saw Blush Bloom’ by Freya Rose they were the only ones that would do! Melissa Morgan Designs created both mine and the Bridesmaids jewellery. My favourite was my headpiece that Melissa designed and made for me using a vintage brooch I bought in a local antique shop.
“Our theme was Traditional English vintage with touches of a classic afternoon tea, we used accent colours of pale pink and green. The theme can together perfectly and I was so delighted with it! I snuck into the Great Hall while we were getting ready and had a peek at the tables – I nearly burst into tears!
“We are big big tea drinkers so all of our tables were named after types of tea – the top table was our favourite, English breakfast! As soon as we got engaged I started collecting vintage tea cups and saucers from antiques fair, car boot sales and charity shops. I filled each of these with pale pink wax to make tea cup candles for our female guests and the men and children had tea pot shaped cookies. The centre pieces were hired vintage tea pots, cake stands and tea cups filled with beautiful country style floral arrangements. We knew exactly what we wanted for our stationery but neither wanted to spend ages making the save the dates, invitations and seating plan so we enlisted the help of Frances Symes. I ordered a tea cup and tea pot paper stamper from America and Frannie did the rest!
“Our photographer, Martin Briggs was listed on the Castle’s list of trusted suppliers. We looked at his work online and loved his pictures and when we met him we could see how talented and passionate he was. He also used to live in Chiddingstone Castle so knew exactly where all the best spots for pictures were! We didn’t really need a wedding car but I absolutely love Morris Minors so Bevan hired a 1961 white convertible for me from Alfred’s Wedding Cars to get to the venue.
“Our wedding breakfast was wonderful! For canapés we had Rare roast beef in mini Yorkshire puddings with horseradish cream, Pork belly on creamy apple dauphinoise, with cracking and applesauce, Cornish crab fritters with avocado mousse and Beetroot rosti with whipped goats cheese and truffle honey – gorgeous! Then to start we had Scallops with parsnip puree and crispy pancetta, for main course Confit duck leg with slow roasted garlic mash, garlic sprouting broccoli, spice duck filo parcel and a pickled plum sauce and to finish we had Hot chocolate fondant with vanilla sour cream. The food not only tasted fantastic but it looked amazing – we even have photographs of it in our wedding album!
“In the evening we partied along to a live band called ‘Twist’. They played at a friends wedding and we knew we had to have them! Bevan chose 1,2,3,4 by the Plain White T’s for our first dance which was completely perfect and the band did a great rendition of it.”
Sounds like the perfect end to a fantastic day! Thanks to Melissa and Bevan for sharing their day with us.
Photography: Martin Briggs
Catering by: Kalm Kitchen
Flowers/Styling by: Karen Woolven – Karen interpreted my theme and colours beautifully.
Entertainment by: Twist
Groomsmen: Penguins of Chatham
Bridesmaids: Dessy through Jodi of Maidstone
Drinks reception entertainment: Greenwich String Quartet – they were incredible.