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Decorating your wedding venue with your colour scheme adds a personal touch to your big day like nothing else. Lanterns and pom poms are a really simple way to achieve a big impact. The phrase ‘the more the better’ definitely applies and grouping them together can really make a statement backdrop. If you are decorating your own marquee, barn or similar type venue take a look at the rest of our board in Pinterest for more inspiration, but here is just a taster of what is possible.

PottingShedPostcards.com

 

 

 

 

West Country Marquees.co.uk

 

 

 

Selection of lanterns and poms

Poms in Barn Wedding

Church glass lanterns

 

 

 

 

A cheap way of doing mini lanterns so you can light paths and dark corners is to collect jam jars and fill them with long burning tea lights. If you want to have a go at making your own paper pom poms they are really easy – just follow the instructions here from Martha Stewart. To give you an idea of the time involved you can make around 5/6 per hour.

Or if you really don’t want to go to the effort of making your own you can buy them online. Paper Poms UK are a specialist vendor who sell the poms on Etsy. Prices start from £2 for a 3″ or 4″ pom. Visit their website for more inspiration on how to use your paper poms.

Full Image Credits all via Pinterest

 

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

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!



Today we can share with you the lovely spring May wedding of Kelly and Scott at Turkey Mill in Maidstone. Here we meet the bride and groom and get them to tell us all about the big day in all it’s detail. Kelly says “I fell in love with Turkey Mill straight away. It was everything that we were looking for. The grounds are amazing and our guests could walk round the gardens and find a little quiet spot throughout the day. We wanted a traditional wedding but very simple and relaxed. We had Emma Knapp Photography and as soon as we met Emma and started telling her about the kind of day we wanted I knew she was the right photographer for us”.

 

When it come to picking her dress from The Bridal Chest, Kelly told us “I always knew I would go for a fitted dress but when I put my one on I found myself smiling from ear to ear and I just knew it was the dress that I wanted. I had used Audrey Hepburn as my inspiration as I wanted something classic and simple – I loved how it was elegant and different with the one strap. I accessorised the dress with pearl detailed peep toe shoes and tiara from Confetti & Lace, a full length veil from The Bridal Chest and simple earrings and bracelet from Swarovski.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott wore an outfit from Bride and Groom which was a black morning jacket, grey striped trousers, waistcoat and a purple cravat. My daughter was a flower girl, her and the other younger bridesmaids dresses were from Debenhams and the two page boys, one my son, had outfits from John Lewis. The three adult bridesmaids had dresses from The Dessy Group.

My wedding bouquet included Freesia, Lisianthus, Delphinium, and Hydrangea tied with darkest purple satin ribbon and pearl pin detail. Creative Flowers arranged this along with the centrepieces for the reception tables including Fuscia pink freesia, pale pink lisianthus and dark purple delphinium. When I met them they were really helpful and advised us on the flowers that would work best for the look I wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

The main wedding colour was purple with touches of lilac and fuscia pink. Kelly says “I was very happy with the overall look and relieved that the colours and layout of the room had all come together. We named each table after the people most important to us, parents, brothers and sisters and our twins. We had cupcakes with our guests names on as place cards and had a lottery ticket for each guest as a favour. All our stationery was from Confetti.

 

 

 

 

Our caterers, aFORM, created our menu. We had Lobster Bisque with parsley croutons or Feta cheese, cherry tomatoes and red onion salad. Followed by Knuckle of  Lamb served with red wine sauce or Confit of duck with thyme, rosemary and garlic served with plum ginger and rice wine sauce. All mains were served with parmentier potatoes, baton carrots, fine beans, cauliflower and baby corn.

The meal was completed with Chocolate Cube for the ladies and Lemon Cheesecake for the men. Our wedding cake was made for us by Kate Penfold of Sophisticakes.

We had always wanted a big party in the evening and danced to guitarist Nick Woods and our DJ. We found it very hard to choose a song that we both agreed on for our first dance but when we heard David Gray ‘Be Mine’ we knew it was the right song choice. Our reception finished at 12 but most people were staying at the Hilton so the party continued back at the hotel bar!”

 

Thanks so much to our couple for sharing their day with us and what final piece of advice would they give to others getting married?

“Make your wedding personal to you so that your friends and family feel a part of the big day with you and don’t worry about the small things. The day goes so quickly and it’s very hard to make time for one another as you have so many people to speak to and many different things going on but try and make sure you have some time alone as a couple throughout the day. I think some of those times on our day are my best memories.”

Congratulations to Kelly and Scott x

All images by Emma Knapp Photography

On the hunt for pink flower inspiration this week we sourced the help of Katherine Craft, owner of Florist in the Forest. We had been meaning to catch up with Katherine for sometime as we’d heard so much about her gorgeous flowers. Along with her husband, Katherine not only creates her designs but also grows her own flowers at her studio and cutting garden in Broadwater Forest on the Kent and East Sussex border. This means the flowers she uses are the freshest and most beautiful they can possibly be.

 

Katherine tells us” as with all brides I have a no obligation consultation where we can discuss the flowers and styles for their day. This means I get to know the bride a little, which is key in creating designs that will best suit their wedding. During the growing season I take them around the cut flower garden so they can see the flowers that they might want to have. This consultation also allows us to talk about getting the most from any budget and plans for the big day.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Katherine’s designs have a natural, country-style which will make any wedding feel relaxed and timeless. For more about her work visit her blog and be inspired!

Images 6 & 9: Victoria Kaye Photography, all other images by Florist in the Forest.

When planning your vintage wedding the styling will ultimately set the scene and create the feel of the wedding. For table settings try Vintage Tea Kent who have beautiful vintage china to hire in Kent and the South East. We caught up with co-owner Emma-Kate who says “you can easily add a touch of vintage charm to your celebration as our gorgeous bone china sets range from early 1900’s, 1920’s Art Deco, right through to 1960’s pretty florals. The collection can accommodate any number up to 140 guests but we are always adding new pieces”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Your table settings are so important when creating a period feel and we think china tea sets just add that special touch. For more inspiration on all things vintage get a copy of  Vintage Life Magazine where you can find loads on styling your own vintage event and lots more.

Image credits: Emma-Kate Photography

This week we have been looking at ways to use pom poms to decorate a venue. The phrase ‘the more the better’ definitely seems to apply when using pom poms and grouping them together can really make a statement backdrop. If you are decorating your own marquee, barn or similar type venue take a look at the rest of our board in Pinterest for more inspiration, but for now here is just a taster of what is possible.

If you want to have a go at making your own paper pom poms they are really easy – just follow the instructions here from Martha Stewart. To give you an idea of the time involved you can make around 5/6 per hour.

Or if you really don’t want to go to the effort of making your own you can buy them online.  Paper Poms UK are a specialist vendor who sell the poms on Etsy. Prices start from £2 for a 3″ or 4″ pom. Visit their website for more inspiration on how to use your paper poms.

Image Credits all via Pinterest

 

It’s been a busy week at Wedding Dolls HQ.  We spent last weekend at the Wedding Fair at Bluewater, which was just fantastic. There were so many local Kent suppliers showcasing their beautiful and gorgeous ideas for making your wedding really special and it was great for getting lots of ideas and inspiration. However, afterwards one of our competition winners told us they felt slightly overwhelmed with the task ahead and all the decisions they needed to make.

But there is no need to panic! We often talk to engaged couples who have been to a few wedding fairs and still don’t really know where to start with the actual planning process. Our initial two-hour wedding consultation is perfect for this as it really helps to gather together your initial ideas and set you off on the right wedding path.  After meeting with us you’ll know some of the pitfalls to look out for and common mistakes people make when planning a wedding, as well as how to get the planning and styling stages right, which will save you time and money later.

The more confident ones amongst you will already be clear about what you need to do and have a long list of jobs at the ready, but if have you been engaged for a while and haven’t yet written a wedding related list here’s how to start.

Ok breathe, go slow and take it one step at a time. The first list you need goes from 1 – 6 and will be your basic wedding plan.

1. Set the Date.

You will need to consider what season you want for your wedding as they all bring different pro’s and con’s. Decide on a couple of potential dates, then Google them to check they don’t clash with bank holidays or large sporting events that you would sooner avoid.

2. Set the budget.

You can’t go any further until you know how much you have to spend overall. Then begin to breakdown your budget by using some average costs for the main things such as venue, catering, photographer and outfits.  See our blog post next week: Counting the Cost: Wedding Planning #2 to help.

3. Draw up your guest list.

This is going to be tough as you will need to agree on which guests make the grade.  The golden rule is the more guests you have, the more money you are likely to need!  It’s crucial to define your guest list early on so you know you are well within your budget outline and all your nearest and dearest are on the short list. This will also determine which type of venue you need.

4. Your Wedding Style.

It is here we can touch on the ‘style’ of your wedding.  You don’t need to know the exact style and every last detail at this stage but you will want an overall idea. Are you looking for the glitz and glam of a boutique hotel, a relaxed country garden party or do you want something really different like a teepee or a boat.  Think about your personalities and any likes and dislikes. You will both want to feel comfortable with the style and venue and it’s important you both agree now to save any upset, or added expense, later on.

5. Venue.

Next you need to find a venue that is going to suit your wedding style, budget and can cater for the number of guests you have. It’s no good hankering after the little country pub if your guest list goes over 100 or wanting a top London hotel if you have less than a £30,000 budget.  Draw up a short list of no more than five and then visit them all armed with your list of provisional dates.

6. Decision Time!

Now you need to make a final decision on your style, budget, venue and guest list. From here you can send out “save the date” cards and go in search of the all important dress.  If you need to start saving for your wedding then get a separate wedding account and work out your budget goals.

If you think you might need wedding planning help then now is a good time to chat with us to see what we can do for you.

Don’t forget the most important thing is to enjoy it all and don’t worry – if you follow our simple plan you can’t go wrong!

Good luck xxx

 

For all you happy couples getting married this year, the Chinese New Year brings good news. We are now entering the Year of The Dragon which makes for happiness, success, good fortune and benevolent power.

And what better way of celebrating then adding a touch of the orient to your wedding with chinese lanterns. Soft pastel shades create romantic lighting, whilst bright vibrant colours can create boldness and a really striking look to any wedding theme.  Lanterns can be hung inside or out, and are a great way to light up trees or walk-ways.

Or for a magical wedding moment you can get your guests to set free floating lanterns, in the traditional way, to bring good luck and prosperity.

And if you’re checking all your fortune cookies the one you’re hoping for should say Pak Nin Ho Hup (may our marriage be everlasting). 


 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want convincing that you don’t need flowers for dramatic effect at a wedding this is it.  Balloons are making a comeback big style to the wedding scene and its easy to see why.

Large round latex balloons can be a cheaper and effective way to bring a fabulous burst of colour to the room whilst adding a fun element.

For more ideas see MarthaStewartWeddings.com. or visit Signature Balloons for prices and delivery.

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