Emma and Hieu’s English Country Garden Wedding

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Emma and Hieu were married in the “Palladian Mansion House” of Combe Bank School in Kent. How exciting does that sound, for starters? Emma chose a purple theme for the wedding day, and her attention to detail with all the decor on the day is so impressive I’m calling this wedding feature ‘Perfect in Purples’!

With lovely images from Eliza Claire Photography, and Emma’s own report of the wedding day, I’ll leave this feature to Emma and Eliza to share with you. You’ll love it!

Perfect in Purples

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I chose a wedding dress by designer Myring Kesterton (MMK), a pure silk traditional lace up corseted gown with layered skirt adorned with pick ups and ivory flowers. The back of the dress had a large bustle that was finished off with the same flowers on the front of the dress. The dress style was ‘Mimi’, bought from Marianne Jessica in Bromley, Kent.

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My shoes, jewellery and veil were all bought from La Bridal Boutique in Beckenham, Kent. Owner, Julia Leake was great in helping me make my choices!  My silk shoes, ‘Sweet Briar’ were made to order by Diane Hassall and had the date of the wedding stamped into the leather sole.

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Wedding day advice from Emma: Definitely use a professional makeup artist and hair stylist! They made me and my bridesmaid look outstanding. So much less stressful having someone to take care of that for you and having stunning makeup for the photos looks amazing.

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My Tiara/headband was bespoke by Harriet Rouse who makes beautiful handmade pieces for the boutique. My veil was gorgeous curly edged tulle, with scattered sparkle. I wore a simple diamante bracelet to keep the look simple.

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Hieu and the groomsmen wore grey morning suits hired at Moss and ivory waistcoats. Their cravats and hankie accessories I had especially made to match the Dessy ‘Sugar Plum’ bridesmaid dresses exactly. The groomsmen wore personalised cufflinks for the day engraved with their initials.

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Our wedding venue Combe Bank has its own gorgeous quaint little chapel which allows you to have a religious service, whilst keeping the whole day under one roof. We were very fortunate to find the venue which met all out needs and housed all of our guests – with 140 to seat for the wedding breakfast; our choice was limited with the Kent region!

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Our day was simply brilliant! With 140 of our nearest and dearest we had our perfect wedding. We planned the wedding on an English Country Garden theme with the emphasis on colourful scented flowers in mauves, pinks and neutrals. The bouquets were informal hand tied arrangements and the table centre vases (18 tables!!) were full of summer blooms with hand tied ribbon sashes.

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My most memorable moment was arriving at the chapel and walking down the aisle with my Dad, to see Hieu waiting at the altar. I wasn’t nervous at all – just so excited to be there after all the months and months of planning and imagining what it was going to be like.

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Above everything, Hieu and I wanted our day to be fun and relaxed and we hope we achieved this and a whole lot more. We’ve had so much positive feedback since the big day – we just wish we could do it all over again!!

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Emma’s tip for English Wedding readers: Relax and enjoy the day – and soak it all up! We spent so long on every little detail for the day but you are so focused on your guests and faces on the day that it all passes your by and you don’t see the benefit of all your hard work! Hieu and I didn’t get a chance to have any Pimms, Canapés or even any of our cupcakes!! Despite all the panicking everything always goes to plan – so don’t worry!

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Jointly our most memorable moment was definitely doing our first dance. We had a specially choreographed routine to the amazement of all our friends and family and we felt so special being surrounded by everyone whilst we swooshed around the dance floor to Celine Dion’s ‘Because you loved me’! It met with much laughter and applause!

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Emma and Hieu: recommended wedding suppliers

We’d recommend them all, they were all great!! But in particular:

Marianne Jessica’ – who supplied my dress. ( their service was spot on! Michele who owns the shop couldn’t have done enough for me and even opened in the evening for my dress fittings. She was always honest with her opinion and enabled me to find and be totally satisfied with my perfect dress.

‘Inspired Wedding Venues’ ( – Were totally brilliant in co-ordinating my day and Teresa Howllett was second to none. Nothing was ever enough for her and she was even there at Combe Bank on the morning of the wedding, setting out all of our venue décor – candles, storm lanterns, pew dressings, wishing tree…you name it, Teresa lovingly put everything out just were I had asked her to. From viewing the venue to booking the venue to arranging the catering to answering my hundreds of questions, Inspired Wedding Venues were fantastic and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending one of their 4 venues, especially Combe Bank of course!

Eliza Claire – our wedding photographer ( Eliza was brilliant and has supplied us with an outstanding account of our day with her fantastic style of photography. We asked for plenty of candid shots so we could really get a feel for our day, the venue and our guests, and she provided exactly what we asked for. With a mixture of group/formal shots and reportage style photography, we have modern, stunning, colourful pictures which we will treasure for ever. Eliza’s second photographer Marie also did a sterling job and we appreciated having 2 people ‘on the job’!



Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.



  • Fran
    9 years ago

    Wow! Those are some stunning photos! The bridal bouquet was absolutely breath taking! Very many congratulations!

  • Really beautiful, loving the dress shot hanging outside with the sun coming through the trees…. amazing. I don’t know of too many brides who would allow the dress outside so that’s one I might not get to use in future. Great theme colour as well, works a treat!

  • Eliza
    9 years ago

    Thank you so much for posting this wedding, it was a truly wonderful day, Emma and Hieu were surrounded by so many friends and family, just what weddings are all about!

  • I love the brides dress, it’s very beautiful.

    The photos are lovely, it makes the wedding look great.

  • Stephanie
    9 years ago

    Those photos look stunning! Purple is such an underused colour. It’s nice to see it being used in such an effective and beautiful way!

  • Some really lovely shots showing off a real traditional english wedding.

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