If you managed to get your tongue around that blog title you’re probably already in need of a stiff drink. So read this, do a taste test and you’ll soon have one less wedding planning option to worry about….or a hangover….

1. Bubbles: If you are serving Champagne make sure it’s a decent one and that everyone gets to see the bottles, otherwise frankly it’s a bit of waste of your hard earned cash. If Moet isn’t an option try an alternative instead. Prosecco can outshine cheap Champagnes and we sourced a fantastic one through James Rogers & Sons Wine Merchants in Wadhurst High Street, which we need no excuse to roll out at every occasion. Just finished a blog post don’t mind if we do…..

2. OOOh lets get fruity: Adding a raspberry or strawberry to a glass of something sparkling really gives it a lift and adds a twist to an old classic or you can try adding a fruit cordial for a bigger punch.


3. Summer classics like Pimms are always on budget which is why it’s such a popular wedding drink. Just don’t water it down with too much lemonade and leave out half the fruit otherwise they look a bit miserable and are flat on the tastebuds. The only thing is though that one is never enough so make sure you double up the servings and have an alternative drink, such as bottled beer, available for guests who ‘don’t do’ Pimms.

4. Water is one of life’s necessities so give your guests a treat and liven it up. Water should always be on hand at any event and in plentiful supply especially on hot days and when guests are standing around for any length of time. Try adding some cucumber ribbons, mint or lemons to jugs of water along with lashings of ice. Sparkling water is also great for guests who don’t drink alcohol. Leave Sparkling water bottles on the water table and include some cordials including Elderflower and Ginger & Lemon or mix them in large glass containers and let guests help themselves.


5. A Signature Cocktail is a perfect way to bring out your wedding personality. Mixology Events in London run cocktail masterclasses where you can learn to create your own cocktails in a fun environment, plus you get to drink what you make. Go with a group of hens and stags and get your wedding cocktail off to a flying start!

6. When picking wine to go with a meal keep it simple. One white wine (either a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc) and one Red (our choice would be Pinot Noir). At this point it’s well worth checking if your venue charges corkage as this may be the difference between sourcing your own wine or going with their options.

Poppy & Pearl Co

Poppy & Pearl Co

7. Never EVER serve drinks in plastic cups. Even if they’re the ‘posh’ variety. Not only do they feel cheap they also take away from the taste of the drinks and what they are served in make such a difference. Most supermarkets do free glass hire or for a really cheap and DIY alternative collect small jam jars to use as water glasses and add paper drinking straws.

8. Go local: If you’re sourcing your own alcohol try independent wine merchants and local brewery’s first. They are super knowledgable about the best option for you as well as being experts in local produce and will be able to save you the cost and stress of hopping over to France to get a duty free run of rough vino.

Joanne hit the road last week with a Bride and Groom venue hunting in West Kent and East Sussex. Here she tells us how she got on.

“On of our shortlist of venues to check out was The Great Barn at Rolvenden. Full of character and magnificent in size, the 18th Century barn is in the outskirts of Cranbrook and is a range of traditional brick and timber farm buildings, which were last used for agriculture in the mid 1980’s.”

“I loved it as it’s a great big blank canvas where you can hire your own suppliers and the possibilities are endless. There’s no limit on the choices available to you and the barn can be personalised in so many ways. Good points are that it comes complete with a kitchen area, car park and toilets which save some hire costs but you will need to arrange tables and chairs, or even perhaps hay bales! You can supply your own drink and there’s no corkage charge. Go local for your beer and try The Old Dairy Brewery.”

“The Great Barn is licensed for civil ceremonies so you could have your whole day here, it also has a license for live and recorded music. There’s only 18 functions held here per year and so there will never be more than one wedding on a weekend. This means you would be able to get into the barn a few days prior to the wedding to begin the set up process and a few days after to clean up.

Some of you might be put off by the simplicity of the barn and not having an on site co-ordinator available but Joan who showed us round was very helpful and had a vast knowledge of the venue and surrounding area. Plus if you need help setting up and want a co-ordinator for the day there’s always The Wedding Dolls to consider!”

See our featured wedding at the barn for more images.

Images courtesy of Rebecca Douglas


Louise and Kees were married back in May this year at the very unique Preston Court, near Canterbury. We asked the fabulous smiling bride, Lou to tell us about their day.

How did you choose your wedding venue?

It was the first and only venue we looked at. We knew it was the right venue for us straight away. We booked it shortly after getting engaged just over 18 months before our wedding. We wanted to get married somewhere a bit different. I absolutely love planning things so was in my element and Anna and Jenny at Preston Court were very helpful.

There were 70 guests during the day with another 40 in the evening.We had an informal ceremony which was conducted outside with our guests sitting on picnic blankets. Two friends did readings from “No Matter What” and “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”.

Who were your wedding photographer and videographers?

We chose Laura and Jody from Lollypop Photography. We did lots of research online into different styles of wedding photography, we looked through tons of photographer’s websites. We then met with Laura and Jody and felt that they understood what we wanted to achieve and they really put us at ease.

We also had a video by Andy and Nigel from Cine8. We got on well with Andy and Nigel and loved the vintage style of super 8 film. They even provided a guest Cine camera so our guests could have a go at filming too!

Did you have a theme for your wedding? 

We had a ‘vintage’ them but basically we fell in love with the venue and fitted it around that. We just tended to buy things that we liked and hoped that it would all come together!

I handmade our table plan, place cards, table numbers and signs for the confetti cones and sweetie bar. I also made personalised colouring in books for all the children and letters out of gypsophelia for the backs of mine and Kees’ chairs. Our wooden directional signs were handmade by my sister and her husband and my mum and I sourced all vases and jars we needed from various places over 18 months. I made a basket of flip-flops, tied with bows for our guests to kick off their high heels and dance in the evening!

I painstakingly handmade all of our favours and most of our stationery using a personalised stamp. We wanted the colours to compliment the fairground organ in the barn so we used pastel pinks, blues, greens and greys.


Who did your wedding flowers?

My (very talented) mum did all the flowers, table centres, buttonholes, all floral decorations and bouquets, including a Jack Daniels bottle of flowers in the men’s loos! I had white peonies, Pink O’Hara roses and lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina) as foliage. I picked flowers that I loved, my grandparents used to have lamb’s ears in their garden when I was a child. I spent many a weekend choosing flowers with my mum!

What did you have to eat?

Canapes: Fish and Skinny Chip Cones, Mini Hog Roast Burgers, Paneer Tikka Naans, Goat’s Cheese and Red Onion Tartlet.

Starters were Poached Scottish salmon on potato & chive salad with watercress crème fraiche & balsamic dressing or
Tomato & Mozzarella Salad with rocket, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic. Main course was Chicken breast in a basil & honey cream sauce garnished with beetroot crisps, sautéed new potatoes and a medley of seasonal vegetables or Potato and Leek Tart with a butternut squash puree. We had a trio of desserts with Banoffee Pie, Baileys Eton Mess and Lemon Tart. The children had Garlic Doughballs, Chicken fillets with homemade potato wedges and fruit trifle. The food was amazing!

How did you celebrate in the evening?

It was a reasonably big party! Everyone was either dancing or on the carousel. As it was a lovely warm evening lots of people were relaxing outside plus trying the sweetie bar or photo booth. A memorable moment for me, was late in the evening when me and Kees were going round on the carousel. It was a lovely view point to watch all of our friends and family having a good time.

If you could change one thing about your wedding day what would it be?

I’d try and stop the day flying past so quickly! Also I would have had USB sticks available for guests to put their photos on and post to us while we were on honeymoon!


Brides Contact Book

Brides Dress: Maggie Sottero from Jodi Bridal in Canterbury

Brides Shoes: Dune. Plus pink spotty converse – although I didn’t get round to wearing them!

Brides Jewellery: A necklace from Dower & Hall  and a bracelet from Cornells in Maidstone. Engagement and wedding ring Fitzgeralds

Grooms Outfit: Next

Cufflinks: A gift from the Bride by Mary Fellows

Bridesmaids: Coast

Flower Girls: Monsoon

Vintage postbox: Temptation Towers

Caterers: Relish – the food was amazing!

Wedding cake: Creative Cakes

Transport: Fiat 500 Hire

Band: The Redfords, who did an acoustic set in the day and then the full band in the evening. They were brilliant, everyone loved them. Our first dance was to JJ Heller – When I’m With You.

Personalised items including Cake toppers and wedding dress hanger: Etsy

Make Up: Bridal Make Up by Danielle Parish (Facebook)

Most people who live in Kent wouldn’t make Dover their first choice for a wedding venue search but that’s all changed thanks to The Marquis at Alkham. This one-time coaching inn, set in the pretty village of Alkham, has a stylish contemporary feel but still makes the most of its historical features including exposed beams, brickwork and wooden floors.




There are lots of options for your wedding day here as next door to the hotel is a gorgeous 13th Century Church where you can take your vows or have a civil ceremony at the hotel overlooking the breathtaking Alkham Valley. The main restaurant can accommodate up to 74 guests or the marquee in the grounds can sit down up to 110. The entire hotel is also available for exclusive use.


The hotel has ten ensuite bedrooms which are a mix of luxury, superior and suites. The suites have super king size beds, monsoon showers and bathrooms with roll top bath, plus lots and lots of added extras. There are also two vineyard cottages close by (around a 20 minute walk) which offer a quiet secluded retreat.





The Marquis is probably best described as a restaurant with rooms as the food is definitely the star of the show. The 5 star restaurant was recently awarded a rising Michelin star as Head Chef Charles Lakin brings you menus that use locally caught fish and sourced produce. The wine, beer and drinks list also has a distinctly Kent feel with local vineyards represented and even a Kent inspired cocktail!



The combination of countryside views, gorgeous food and chic styling all make this a great one to put on your wedding venue shortlist.

Images courtesy of The Marquis of Alkham via Fleur Challis Photography


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Venues, Wedding Themes