I doff my hat to Felicity this morning for the best wedding report of the summer! She married Simon in July. Their Kent wedding — at the Great Barn Rolvenden — is absolutely beautiful, full of wedding ideas for details and creative, rustic touches. And it’s a home made affair with plenty of DIY inspiration for all of you lovely brides and grooms out there.
Felicity and Simon chose Kent wedding photographer Rebecca Douglas to capture all the glorious details of their day. Before I hand over to Felicity I’d like to thank Felicity, Simon and Rebecca for sharing such a gorgeous wedding on my blog. You’re wonderful, inspiring people and you’ve really made me smile today! Thank you.
Everyone else — enjoy. This is gorgeous…
Creative Kent wedding ideas from Felicity & Simon
The wedding ceremony:
The Ceremony was in the barn itself, with all our guests. We were lucky because the barn has two floors at slightly different heights, so we were able to use a separate area for the ceremony and reception.
Religious or civil? It was a civil ceremony
Which wedding readings did you choose?
We chose a poem by Cavafy called ‘Ithaca’ which combined my love of classical myths with an allusion to the importance of life’s journey. We also asked Simon’s father to choose a reading for us, and he chose a romantic excerpt from the ‘Songs of Songs’.
The bride and groom: Felicity (nee Adams) and Simon Howe
Who proposed, and how? Simon proposed to me on a hot summer’s afternoon in July 2010. Simon suggested a pub lunch and walk in the Kent countryside in the area near a local village called Shipbourne. We were out in the middle of a beautiful meadow on our own when he surprised me with a gorgeous aquamarine and diamond ring.
The wedding venue:
The Great Barn Rolvenden, near Tenterden in Kent. A beautiful 18th century listed Kentish barn in the middle of a gorgeous country setting, with a small orchard opposite. It’s a lovely rustic building with loads of wooden beams and old rusty farm tools as decoration (plus bats in the ceiling!). http://www.greatbarnweddings.com
Kent wedding photographer:
Rebecca Douglas, a very talented and friendly local photographer. Rebecca did an excellent job, and we loved the vintage style photographs she produced for us, which really capture the story of the day and show her eye for detail. http://www.rebeccadouglas.co.uk/
How would you describe your wedding style?
Informal, fun and rustic. We were very much inspired by the beautiful rural Kent setting, which we used as a basis for our colour scheme (dusky pink, cream and olive green), in the choice of dried wheat and wild flowers in our flowers, and even in our selection of local wine and ale for the wedding reception.
Wedding venue styling and details:
The barn venue we hired came completely empty and it was up to us to hire tables, chairs etc and decorate it.
Lots of friends had warned me how quickly the wedding day goes, so I was keen to share planning the event with friends and family too and add our own personal touches to the venue.
I have a very creative friend who I asked to help with flower arrangements, which I planned to order from a wholesaler. She was delighted to be asked and actually came up with a whole powerpoint of plans for the venue – going far beyond my expectations!
The flowers on the day were stunning and everyone was really surprised she wasn’t a professional. We ordered a mix of dried ‘fillers’ like wheat, lavender and poppy heads, and added some more pricey ‘show stoppers’ like hydrangeas and spray roses through an online site, flowers4florists.com.
We then used jam jars with raffia as vases which my mum spent months collecting for us. The highlight was a huge wreath my friend made from scratch, which made a beautiful focal point for the back of the barn that guests could see behind us during the ceremony.
In addition to this, I asked one of my bridesmaids to make a board for our seating plan. She used a chalkboard and decorated it with Nottingham lace in recognition of the city where Simon and I met at University.
My best friend Aliki made all our wedding invitations for us as she enjoys making cards as a hobby, which was lovely and personal.
I made canvas prints of photographs from our parents’ and grandparents’ wedding days which I hung up in the barn as a reminder of past family weddings. Both our mums helped too — Simon’s mum made and decorated our wedding cake, and all the bunting which we used to decorate inside and outside the venue.
My mum made a powerpoint of photos of Simon and I through childhood until present – a lot of which she borrowed from facebook, which was put on loop in the corner of the venue. I turned behind me briefly during Simon’s heartfelt wedding speech to see a picture of me dressed as a duck on a night out on the screen which was quite funny!
The wedding reception:
The Great Barn, Rolvenden. After the ceremony we went outside to the Orchard for Pimms and Gin and Tonics. It was a lovely summery afternoon and we handed out tubs of handmade luxury ice cream from an excellent local supplier which went down very well. They have a wide variety of yummy flavours and I had lots of fun picking out a range for our guests to choose from. We just had to make sure we got photos with the children out of the way before they got their hands on the chocolate ones!
After speeches and cutting the cake, we served a buffet style barbeque for our wedding breakfast, with steak, lamb, local sausages and salads. It was really delicious and very much suited the relaxed vibe of the day, with lots of guests going up for seconds. For dessert, we served homemade chocolate brownies, which my bridesmaid Tillie and I baked the day before. As well as the local wine and ale, we served a Cypriot lager called Keo to drink as this is a family favourite from holidays to Cyprus (where I used to live as a child).
In the evening we served cheese, French bread and Spanokopita (little Greek pastries with spinach and cheese made by my best friend’s mum – also because of the Cyprus connection).
What were your highlights? After the wedding breakfast was served, we chatted with guests in the orchard, sitting on hay bales and enjoying the early evening sun. It was really relaxed and everyone was in such a good mood. It was lovely to get the chance to catch up with all our guests, particularly those who had come a long way.
Also, we had a pinata in the evening which was really good fun and got all the guests involved. Everyone was in hysterics watching our slightly tipsy usher try and whack a multicoloured donkey – and missing repeatedly. I would really recommend it!
Wedding music and entertainment:
For the wedding ceremony, my cousins played Irish folk music on the violin and classical guitar, in memory of Simon’s grandmother who was Irish and sadly passed away six months before the wedding. For the reception, we had a band ‘the Rock Pins’ who played a mix of indie hits and classic pop/rock tunes which got everyone up on the dance floor all evening.
Our first dance was ‘Let’s Get it Together’ by Toots and the Maytals
What did you wear?
I wore a Monsoon dress in ivory. It was a simple style with a slightly Grecian and vintage-y feel to it, and pretty detailing on the shoulders. I also had gypsophila in my hair.
Simon wore a grey morning suit and olive green cravat hired from Moss Bros. We had a family friend who kindly shared his staff discount on all the groomsmen’s suits, which was very helpful!
Memorable moments: Walking down the aisle and seeing all my friends and family – as well as seeing the flowers and decorations in place for the first time, I was blown away with how good it all looked, and kept peaking around the barn during the ceremony to see it all.
Also — the speeches. My dad is a natural performer and was in his element, delivering his speech without any notes! Simon and his best man Rob made a great double act and really enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate their ‘bromance’, having been best friends since primary school.
Wedding day advice:
Don’t let the temptation to do ‘everything’ take you over too much. At times, I realised I was getting a bit carried away with ideas for ‘small touches’ which probably wouldn’t be noticed. What our guests enjoyed was the company, the venue and the entertainment. We didn’t bother with favours, or a wedding car as those things weren’t important to us, but we wanted a really good band for the reception, and hired a coach to get people to and from the venue.
Recommended wedding suppliers:
http://therockpins.com/ — brilliant band
http://www.simplyicecream.co.uk/ — local luxury ice cream
http://greatbarnweddings.com/ — rustic Kentish venue
http://www.rebeccadouglas.co.uk/ — Rebecca is an excellent photographer and highly recommended
http://www.australianstylecatering.co.uk/bbqs.php — they couldn’t do more to help and the food was perfect, in very generous portions!
http://www.biddendenvineyards.com/ — delicious local wine and cider
http://www.flowers4florists.com/ — cost effective and reliable