A homemade Kentish affair with a retro vibe

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Loulabelle (aka Louise) became a friend and a regular source of hilarity as I followed her wedding blog at Met My Match through 2011. As a writer she is simply wonderful. I believe I may have begged to blog her wedding. There’s no shame in that. Such an enterprising, intelligent, creative and beautiful lady?! I had to see her wedding pics!

So Louise planned her countryside creative wedding with a fabulous vintage twist. One thing I hadn’t seen on her blog was that Garry, her groom, was a policeman. Cue vintage police car as a surprise – along with the loveliest driver to chauffeur the boys around.

Of course Louise’s own beloved Bertie (the Beetle) took pride of place carrying the bride and her dad to the church…

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As a surprise I’d arranged a vintage police car to collect Garry, his best man and two ushers who are all Metropolitan Police Officers. The driver Ernie, was fantastic! He even wore his old uniform to add to the experience. Garry was so chuffed when he saw the Police Car rock up outside his best man’s. And the driver was just sooooooooooooo lovely!!!

An ex-police officer himself with loads of stories for the 4 young plods in the car on their way to the church. The bus was great fun, I’m so glad that we went with everyone rather than just the two of us. Ernie the police car man kindly stayed on until after the wedding and offered to take us to the reception, and when said that we were going to travel with the masses he took two of Garry’s traffic police friends (who are car mad) with their wives. They loved it!

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Garry wore a classic black F. Lli Cerutti suit that we bought at Moss Bros. With a shirt and shoes from good old M&S. His plain blue tie was from Tie Rack, where we bought all of the men’s matching ties in an array of pastel colours.

I treated all the chaps to cufflinks that related to their hobbies from an array of shops. I went all out with Garry’s sterling silver routemaster bus cufflinks from Links of London, to remind him of our first journey as husband and wife together.

Our day was a homemade Kentish affair with a retro vibe. We opted for local suppliers and home-grown produce in a bid to support the businesses around us.

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Our day was a homemade Kentish affair with a retro vibe. We opted for local suppliers and home-grown produce in a bid to support the businesses around us.

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The bridesmaids and my mum walked round to our local church whilst my dad and I were driven in my 1965 VW Beetle by my friend Lee. I was so glad that my faithful old jam jar could be part of the day.

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Walking down the aisle was incredibly enjoyable! After fighting back a sudden wave of emotion I grinned my way along to Garry. I also really enjoyed saying our vows in front of all our friends and family, it felt so special.

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My dress was by the English designer Chanticleer. I fell in love with the Aurora when I tried it on but it was at the top end of my budget (and the shop assistant kept changing the price, putting it up as my enthusiasm for it grew eeek). As I was mulling it over with a cuppa at a friend’s house my friend Laura found the dress in my size online at for just £370… Sold!

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Being a budget bride I opted for some bargainous peep toes from Debenhams, which I still absolutely love, and some silver bow design jewellery from Oliver Bonas. My veil was from a lovely online shop called My Pretty Little Things who were great value for money and so nice to deal with.

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The bow theme of my ensemble was followed on in the church with pastel coloured pew ends, which I had been so specific about in the run up to the wedding and then didn’t even notice on the day!

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My dad choking on the confetti was quite funny (we’re cruel aren’t we) and the photographs of this moment made us laugh even more.

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After the “I Do’s” we hopped on a classic routemaster bus with 70 of our guests and headed to Keston Village Hall for the reception. The atmosphere on the bus was fantastic and we got to chat to lots of people straight away which was nice, and of course flash our new rings!

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My team of trusty helpers and I had spent hours decorating the hall the day before the wedding and I was so pleased with how it looked on the day. Assorted tea cups and saucers that we had collected lined the long tables. We did all of the stationery ourselves and I made little signs with tea quotes on them to dot along the tables.

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As well as the stationery we had arranged the flowers ourselves too, as well as making the bouquets and button holes. It was such a rewarding experience and I couldn’t stop smiling at my bouquet, which two of my bridesmaids Teresa and Claire made for me two days before the wedding.

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We gave all our helpers and the entire wedding party a personalised thank you rosette during the reception. I found a lovely lady on Ebay who made rosettes for all sorts of events and she let me pick and mix the colours. The workers had most definitely earned them.

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Our cake was decorated by my auntie and adorned with a handmade topper by the Lollipop Workshop (which was one of my splurges). Guests tucked into the three tiers and there was even enough for the stragglers to take for the journey home.

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My parent’s friend Dave made us a personalised post box for our wedding cards and he also loaned us a mini marquee to pop up outside the hall as we were unsure what the weather would do. Thankfully the sun came out, but the “Union Jack Club” as we called it made a great little cool off area for those who wanted to drink and chat. We placed “make your own” paper airplanes on the tables and the men all had a ball putting them together whilst sipping on Spitfire Ale from a great big keg.

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The sweetie table we put together kept both the children and adults happy throughout the day, as did the face painter. Plymouth Gin (from Garry’s home town) flowed for the ladies as well as the other usual boozy suspects and organic fruit drinks by the English Belvoir Fruit Presse.

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After our delicious Kent Afternoon Tea, which was homemade by a local cake shop, we cleared half of the tables away to make room for dancing. We took to the floor for our first dance, “I Do I Do I Do” sung by an Abba tribute called The Abba Babes.

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After their hour long set the DJ kept the dance floor full with a mix of classics and the guests were then treated to real Fish and Chips from a van outside the hall.

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We danced the night away and most of the Photo Booth fancy dress items made their way on to the dance floor, with burly policeman wearing an array of headbands, bows and sequin hats!

The finale of the evening was when one of Garry’s ushers treated us girls to a “Full Monty” style strip. He requested “You can leave your hat on” and the only thing to be left on were his socks and a sparkly pink visor. He had us all roaring with laughter and I’m not sure I will ever look at him the same again!

I don’t think that anyone will forget the tongue-in-cheek strip at the end of the night!

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Louise’s wedding day advice

To relaxxx on the day. I’m usually a bit of a control freak but on the day I just went with the flow and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment. We’d booked an acoustic guitarist to play whilst people had drinks and ate their Afternoon Tea but unfortunately he was a no-show. Neither of us let it phase us and people were non-the-wiser. As long as you are married and you keep people fed and watered you can’t really go wrong!

Louise’s recommended wedding suppliers

Tony Mitchell Photography

Oh My Honey – For the Bridesmaid’s ensembles

The Real Confetti Co

Cake of Downe – Our scrumptious caterer who also baked our wedding cake

The Frying Squad – Fabulous fish and chips

Rocket Rosettes – FOr our thank you village fete-esue pressies

IA Sound & Light – For our uplighters, fairy lights, disco ball and stage backdrop

Speedwell Catering – For our champagne saucers, cutlery and folding wooden chairs

Ambassador Furniture Hire – Bar & fridge hire

The Bitter End – For our kegs of Spitfire Ale

The Bunting Queen – For our personalised Bunting

The Cotton Bunting Co

Awesome Merchandise – For our badges and banners

The Abba Babes – Fab live music

Dance FX – DJ

Derek Hardcastle Flowers – For our DIY blooms

With huge thanks to Louise for being such an amazing wedding blogger (it’s all still there at Met My Match – a great introduction to Lou is her refreshingly balanced post about My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding – remember that one?)

Photos are by Tony from and used with kind permission.

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.



  • Loulabelle
    8 years ago

    Oh Claire, thank you so much! Thank you also for your lovely comments at the beginning, you really have made my week :o) xxx

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Love you, love your wedding Lou – what more can I say?! xxx

  • Wendy Bell
    8 years ago

    I love the idea of giving away “dancing shoes”! Absolutely fantastic…especially for those of us out there who insist on wearing beautiful, but not very comfortable shoes!

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      It’s a brilliant idea, isn’t it Wendy?! Lou thought of everything. 🙂
      Claire xx

    • Loulabelle
      8 years ago

      Thanks! They were Primarnis finest at £1.50 a pair ;o) I thought that instead of favours they would be handy :o)

      I love gorgeous shoes too but feel your pain on them starting to hurt, so I popped some on too and danced all night in flat sparkly style hehe x

  • Grace
    8 years ago

    Wow, love Lou and Garry’s wedding! Have read her blog and know all about their preparations for it. These photos are wonderful and the day itself looked amazing. I loved the mirror beind the cake, such a good idea.

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      It’s fantastic isn’t it Grace – I’m so glad you enjoyed the post.

      Oh and thank you for the link to the Bob Dylan Christmas song there – hilarious!!!

      Claire xxx

    • Loulabelle
      8 years ago

      Thanks so much Grace, I can’t wait to see all your plans come together on your blog :o)

      I found that mirrored chest on good old ebay and I’m going to use it when we get a bigger house as a nice dressing table. Have a lovely weekend down West x

  • Hannah Webster
    8 years ago

    I love the badges! And obviously the car & routemaster win my heart too. Oh and the cake table is genius. Hee! x

    • Claire
      8 years ago

      Glad you liked it Hannah. I love how Traditional Travel do their own marketing as well, haha – this is the third time I’ve included them on a blog post and fab as they are, I don’t think anyone needs a link anymore so I don’t bother!

      Loving all these comments for Loulabelle. She’s ace. 🙂

    • Loulabelle
      8 years ago

      Thanks so much :o) The badges were really good value from Awesome Merchandise… I could spend a fortune on there on all sorts of bits and bobs. Thank you for your lovely comment x

  • Sylvie
    8 years ago

    Good to see the result of your all preparation adventure featured in here!
    Love the natural flowers on the tables!
    Take care!

    • Loulabelle
      8 years ago

      Thanks so much Sylvie! Hope that you’re well and all is fab at My Italian Wedding. Have a super Christmas xx

  • Linda Carlin
    8 years ago

    I have just read all of the above and as motherof the bride, Louise, I just have to say how proud I was of Louise’s organisation of their wedding. The day was aboslutely fantastic (I could be a bit biased though!!!)

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