Set in the heart of beautiful Kent countryside and the perfect venue for a winter wedding. The elegant house and gardens were a wonderful backdrop for photography and have recently been updated to the splendour they are today.
It’s the most magical time of the year, and there are plenty of reasons why Christmas is also perfect for a wedding.
If you are a fan of the festive season, why not add to the celebrations for years to come by adding a new husband or wife to your list for Santa?
We’ve come up with some reasons why Christmas nuptials are the best but we’d love to hear yours too!
Your venue will probably already be decorated for Christmas so it will look extra sparkly and pretty. You get to save money on the extra flowers or other decorations and if in doubt just add extra fairy lights – job done!
You don’t have to worry about the weather. It will probably be cold and wet so you can plan for that – no last-minute stress that outdoor elements will have to be moved inside, and any sunshine is an added bonus. Just make sure you choose a photographer who is confident working inside and who can provide additional lighting as necessary.
The wedding can be an extra festive family gathering, without the need to drag the cobweb-covered garden table in from the shed and borrow chairs from the neighbours. And no mammoth festive food shop either…
There are no wrong choices with the wedding breakfast – you can play it safe with turkey and all the trimmings and it will fit in perfectly with the Christmas feel, or go for something totally different and everyone will be glad for a break from the festive roast.
People are more likely to remember your anniversary.
You can escape on honeymoon straight afterwards and avoid the debate about whose parents to spend Christmas Day with.
Christmas Day is a popular time to get engaged, so build on that with a festive wedding too – then you only have one date to remember instead of two.
The post-Christmas lull can be spent unwrapping presents, writing thank you cards, choosing your photos and generally basking in the glow of being newlyweds.
You will need to be quite organised to get all your Christmas gift shopping done in good time, and if your dream day involves a beach at sunset then a Christmas wedding probably isn’t for you, but for anyone who still believes in the magic of Christmas it really is the perfect time of year to get married. And what better way to start a new year than with a brand new husband or wife?
You may have read the post by a fellow wedding photographer that has been shared all over the world, about the problems he has encountered with guests with camera phones.
It’s an interesting one and there were certainly some points he made that we could identify with. But there were also some other points that are worth considering for couples as they plan their weddings and choose their photographer.
First of all, Thomas Stewart says guests with phones, iPads and cameras get in his way and ruin shots. That’s certainly a possibility, but it’s something that experienced photographers can cope with. You pick a spot that will give you the best images and that isn’t dependent on guests staying in their seats like robots. You give guests the opportunity to take images that will remind them of their loved one’s wedding day. And you have the confidence to direct people and have a quiet word if that is what is needed.
Mr Stewart also says the devices mean brides and grooms miss moments of their wedding. It’s an interesting one. There are plenty of couples who have asked guests to keep their phones off or in their pockets so they can focus on the events, but would it really spoil your day? It’s the day you marry the love of your life, it’s the day you have dreamed of and planned and the day your wishes come true. Memories created on your wedding day will last forever. And a few cameraphones can’t change that.
He goes on to say the resulting photos taken by guests are poor. Well, some of them may be, but some of them are not. And they often have a different angle to the professional photographers. They may be watching the little bridesmaid at just the right moment to catch her poking her tongue out at the page boy, or they may be able to get granny to pose with the bouquet when she would decline politely if professionals suggest it. There’s a place for everyone.
However, when Mr Stewart urges guests to watch with their eyes and minds, not their phones, we can’t help but agree. So often at weddings – and other events – people are only seeing things through their phones. We spend a lot of time looking through a lens, but there are times when you need to see the whole picture and really live the moment. And trust that your professional photographer will be recording those memories for you to look back on.
Marilyn Monroe once described herself as a “warm, red autumn” and, on a gorgeous sunny day like yesterday was, it’s easy to see the appeal of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.
It may come third after spring and summer in terms of popularity as a wedding season, but there are plenty of positives to be found in the cooler, crisper days of September, October and November.
Brides can take inspiration from the rich reds, oranges and golden hues and there are still plenty of flowers to choose from if you want to bring back memories of sultry summer days.
There will be less stressing about the weather, so you can plan for a rainy day but enjoy the sunshine if you are blessed with it.
Fewer people will be on holiday so more of those you care about are likely to be able to attend, and flights and hotels are likely to be less expensive so you could save money on your honeymoon – and avoid hordes of holidaymakers at the same time.
From a photographer’s point of view, the autumn light is just beautiful and, as sunset is earlier, there is more chance of stunning romantic shots without adding hours to the package. And darker evenings lend themselves to open fires and candles which can also make for some incredible images you’ll want to treasure forever.
You may not be able to show off a picture of the bridal party in a perfectly manicured garden full of summer blooms, but imagine instead your little bridesmaids (or even grown-up ones!) kicking up fallen leaves or with bouquets of berries.
Here in Kent, we are known as the Garden of England and with good reason, so why not take advantage of that and use the abundance of fruits in your wedding? From table decorations to delicious crumble, there’s a place for everything from apples to pumpkins if you so desire.
And your guests may thank you for it as they can add tights and jackets to their wedding outfits without fear of spending the day looking like a hot sweaty mess.
In short, we love autumn weddings in Kent – and we’d love to talk to you if you are planning one!
September traditionally means a fresh start, with the beginning of a new school term for thousands of children.
For brides-to-be, too, it can also signal a renewed vigour in wedding planning now the holiday period and the summer season of socialising are over.
So if you are returning to that to-do list, have you thought about how to entertain any little ones who will be at your celebration? If, of course, they are invited – but that debate is a whole other blog post!
Your options will depend on the age of your young guests, but are not necessarily constrained by budget. If you will have mostly tweens and teenagers, a games corner with electronic and other entertainment options may suffice. They can bring their own devices, or you can supply them – just add a power supply, comfy seating and maybe a screen or two to allow more people to follow the action. Or raid your cupboards for board games – try Scrabble, card games or anything like Pictionary or Charades that everyone can join in.
Toddlers can be kept amused for an amazingly long time with bubbles (and that can also make for some adorable photos!), or colouring – just make sure it’s pencils rather than felt tip pens unless you’re happy for your dress to end up with some additional colours! If there is enough space for a dedicated children’s area, you could bring some dolls with bridal outfits they can dress them in, Lego (but be prepared to lose some of the adults to that!) or even cars and a race track.
If you have any friends who are great with children, perhaps they could be in charge of entertaining them for the day as a wedding present. Alternatively, there are agencies who will supply qualified playworkers or nannies to look after young guests, leaving the adults free to enjoy themselves.
A bouncy castle is a popular option for all ages, including grown-ups, and will also create great memories as well as photographs, but if space is tight or the weather is unkind, how about giant games, such as Connect4, Snakes and Ladders or Noughts and Crosses? They are designed for use in the garden but work just as well indoors.
During the ceremony, it can be a good idea to have an area at the back where parents can retreat if their children get restless but where they can still see as you exchange your vows.
And for the meal, it’s often a good idea to have the children sit together and be served first, avoiding the risk of hunger and boredom. When they are finished, they can return to whatever fun entertainment you have laid on, removing the danger of them disrupting the speeches. Or, again depending on their ages, you could add things to their place settings such as a word search, a book to read or a picture to colour.
In the evening, any music should help keep them entertained along with the grown-ups and there’s usually a more relaxed feel so if they need to run around it won’t really matter. But again, a quiet corner with some books or games could mean their parents get more of a chance to let their hair down.
Whether your young guests are little angels or little devils, a little bit of planning and creative thinking can help make your wedding day stress-free for guests of all ages – but don’t forget to let parents know if you are providing child-friendly areas so they can decide whether they want to bring their offspring or enjoy the day without them.
Okay, so there’s a reason we don’t write poems – but as roses have been a key feature at several of the weddings we have attended this summer we couldn’t resist starting off with that little rhyme.
The answer to the question, of course, is whatever you want – as with all things wedding, there are no rules and it’s entirely down to personal choice.
But if your knowledge of flowers is about as good as our attempts at poetry, these tips on some of the flowers that are in season throughout the year may be of assistance!
We’re in the height of summer now and there is no shortage of flowers, of almost every colour, shape and size. So where do you start?
If you’re having a country-themed wedding, take inspiration from gardens or parks. Asters and cornflowers are pretty and simple, and a bouquet of sweet peas will give off a heavenly scent.
If you want something more sophisticated, the lily family may meet your needs, or try orchids or delphiniums. And nothing says summer like the bright bloom of a sunflower, or a showy bunch of chrysanthemum or dahlia, or peony if your wedding is early in summer.
Autumn brides may choose the season’s golden hues and perhaps the tiny yellow flowers of the Mimosa, or acacia. If September is your month, many of summer’s flowers will still be available but if not try amaryllis, with its large, trumpet-shaped flowers, the delicate blooms of the anemone or the giant flowerheads of the hydrangea.
Gypsophila’s tiny white flowers work throughout the year, along with carnations, and contemporary brides often choose the daisy-like gerbera for a statement bloom.
Celosia’s flame-like heads are also fantastic for a dramatic display, or try echinops for something different – it would also work as your ‘something blue’!
If you’ve been put off the idea of a winter wedding because of the bare stems and terrible weather, think again. We can’t promise bright sunshine but there are plenty of flowers to add colour to your day, and need we mention Christmas as an added inspiration?
Winter brides may like to use the gorgeous scents of hyacinths, or the narcissus or daffodil for a cherry burst of colour. Lilacs also add fragrance, and Irises can be used as long as you don’t expect them to last too long.
Lisianthus goes well with roses, or try tulips or phlox for echoes of sunnier days to come.
If you have chosen spring for your nuptials, then there is a floral fantasia to choose from. The bridal staple of the Calla lily is in season, but for something different try blossom – cherry is one of our favourites. Lily of the valley also makes a gorgeous addition, or the tropical blooms of heliconia or stephanotis.
For added romance, try ranunculus, or Sweet William for a country wedding.
Whatever you choose, remember your bouquet should not overwhelm you and should complement the feel of your wedding. And if you’re thinking of throwing it, make sure it isn’t too heavy to avoid any accidental injuries to guests!