Sarah and Mark’s Chapel Down vineyard wedding in Kent is really special: simple and elegant with the backdrop of a charming and welcoming venue. I adore their style – and the images of their day are divine.
Sarah’s dress is perfect for her, and I loved reading her review of Isabella Grace Bridal Boutique, an award winning boutique in Kent. She told me, “I was blown away with Isabella Grace… The boutique’s founder and her fantastic team have captured the very essence of bridal, they are the epitome of bridal perfection.” Writing the English Wedding Blog is the best job in the world when it means I can read amazing feedback like this!
Sarah and Mark chose very wisely when it came to their wedding photographer as well – the awesome Benjamin Toms is a Kent wedding photographer who’s been a friend of mine and a blog sponsor for a while now. Sarah said, “We were absolutely thrilled with our wedding photographer – Ben has a natural gift at capturing moments, and he is a real gent, he was a delight to spend the day with!” – Check him out here:
Grab a cuppa and take 5 to enjoy today’s real wedding – it’s one of the best. Big thanks to Sarah and Mark, and to photographer Benjamin Toms, for sharing with us today. I know you’ll love this!
Our wedding report: Mark and Sarah
Your wedding photographer’s website:
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?
We were absolutely thrilled with our wedding photographer – Ben has a natural gift at capturing moments, and he is a real gent, he was a delight to spend the day with!
The ceremony was held in the Herb Garden at Chapel Down Vineyard, followed by the reception at The Swan at Chapel Down
Sunday 4 May 2014
Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?
Sunday 4 May was quite simply the best day of our lives
What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time?
We were thrilled – they far exceeded our expectations – Ben has a natural flair for capturing a moment
Your wedding style and theme:
We went for a simple, elegant theme, we used lots of craft paper, black ribbon and luggage tags
Any happy tears on the day?
Yes, there were a few!
How did the two of you meet?
We met some years ago at the wedding of two mutual friends, we had never met before…it was some time after the wedding that our paths crossed again, but it was meant to be!
How long did you spend planning your wedding?
Just over a year
Best bit of budget advice?
It’s all too easy to get carried away, remember to account for the small things as they very quickly add up….for example we didn’t factor in how much first class stamps cost! Look for pockets where you can save money – I loved my H&M bracelet – an absolute steal at £5.99!!!
Wedding invitations and on the day stationery:
Invitations were from the very creative Amanda Day Rose – we found her on Etsy – her attention to detail is very touching, and she instantly understood what we were looking for. Our stationery featured a lot of craft paper, and large black ampersands. On the day, we carried through the theme of craft paper by printing menus and other bits onto craft and framing in thick white frames.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
The very second I saw it, I knew it had to be mine!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Being a seasoned bridesmaid, I have been to my fair share of bridal boutiques but I was blown away with Isabella Grace Bridal Boutique. The boutique’s founder and her fantastic team have captured the very essence of bridal, they are the epitome of bridal perfection. As for my Alan Hannah dress, it was just made for me, the second I saw it, I knew it had to be mine!
Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:
I wore gold bar drop pearl earrings from family jewellers, Head & Hart, coupled with white and gold costume bangle from H&M, and finished off with glitzy bridal shoes from Dune.
The groom wore:
Mark was every inch the handsome groom, dressed in a sleek black dinner jacket by Paul Costelloefrom Hoopers for Men, Tunbridge Wells, paired with a bowtie and braces, he also wore vintage pearl cufflinks, a gift on the morning of the wedding from his bride to be.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
My sister looked absolutely breathtaking in a bespoke Audrey Hepburn style dress from online retailer, Honeypie Boutique and the two beautiful flowergirls wore pleated blush pink dresses from Zara for Kids.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We got the professionals in! Our hair was beautifully coiffed by a friend who is in the business, and the incredible and very very lovely Lucy Jayne Parker transformed our faces
I adore peonies and always knew they were what I wanted. Katherine Craft who owns and runs Florist in the Forest in Groombridge, Kent created absolutely stunning bouquets using a blend of peonies and “Juliet” David Austin roses. We also used peonies for the button holes, corsages and for the centre pieces. Katherine also created two stunning candelabras, both adorned with a mass of peonies, roses, spray roses and hydrangea combined with a touch of foliage. It broke my heart to leave miss their blooming beauty when we departed for honeymoon!
What do you remember most about the wedding ceremony?
I had an overwhelming sense of happiness and contentment, that everything was perfect. I was SO excited, before the wedding I had been terrified that I would be overcome with tears and be a wailing mess for the whole day, but I just couldn’t wait to see Mark and say those magic words!
We had a short anecdote from a family heirloom entitled “How to cook your husband” – it dates back to 1917 and was read beautifully by Mark’s father, Jeremy.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
The Herb Garden at Chapel Down is stunning and needed very little decoration from us, however I did use paper peonies to garnish the chairs, and six giant weather balloon style balloons at the entrance of the Herb Garden. The Swan at Chapel Down provided lovely little extras which really put the finishing touches to things. The décor of The Swan at Chapel Down needs very little dressing as it’s such a unique venue and very tastefully designed with lovely touches throughout.
The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?
We went with a four tier Victoria Sponge, each tier consisting of four layers of sponge filled with mascarpone cream and beautifully adorned with red berries, baked to perfection by a close friend’s mum – it was perfect in every way!!
Against the stunning backdrop of the Herb Garden, we were entertained by the very engaging Damsels In Distress they were amazing to deal with, we just gave them a list of tracks we would like, and they did the rest.
Our evening entertainment saw us dancing the night away to the effortless mixing of MintDJ’s
On the day tips and advice:
Don’t panic! And remember what your day is about, it doesn’t matter if someone forgets to put a jar somewhere, or if you get a smudge on your shoe….it’s about meeting that one person’s eye as you walk down the aisle, and holding it forever.
What’s the best thing about being married?
That I’ll never have to hear the words “It’ll be you next dear”………….
Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Wedding Venue: The Swan at Chapel Down www.swanchapeldown.co.uk
Bride’s Dress: Isabella Grace Bridal Boutique www.isabellagracebridal.com
Groom’s Attire: Hoopers of Tunbridge Wells www.hoopersstores.com
Groom’s Accessories: Simon Milne, Rye www.simonmilne.co.uk
Bridesmaid dress: Honeypie Boutique www.honeypieboutique.co.uk
Beauty: Lucy Jayne Makeupwww.lucyjaynemakeup.co.uk
Florist: Florist in the Forest www.floristintheforest.co.uk
Wedding Stationery: Amanda Day Rose www.dawncorrespondence.com (Sarah found her on www.Etsy.com)
Bride’s Jewellery/Wedding Rings: Head & Hart, Maidstone www.headandhart.co.uk
Vintage bus hire: Special Days Bus Hire, Tonbridge www.specialdaysbushire.co.uk