America has its vineyards – the most amazing wedding receptions in the US seem to take place at vineyard locations, don’t they? – but they’ll never, ever rival the charm and quintessentially English atmosphere of a Kent apple orchard. Edward and Saori chose the loveliest venue for their Japanese & English fusion wedding… and every detail, every image is just perfect.
Images are by Kent wedding photographer Nick at Parkershots. Do take a few minutes to discover Parkershots for yourself…
“Lighting was really important for us and I wanted to create something special for the day. I decided to create our names in lights – this involved buying wooden stencils, a large sheet of ply wood, lighting strings, spraypaint and some dedicated DIY time! I think the lighting board cost about £50 to make and really created a wow factor when people walked into the venue – to buy or hire something like this would be hundreds of pounds.
“With our own venue we chose the end of July as a date with a good chance of warm weather – this nearly backfired as the day before was a 24 hour deluge and the day after the rain returned. However we were blessed with sunshine and perfect temperatures”
“Saori held a classic white rose bouquet and the bridesmaids had simple white gypsophila bouquets. For the reception our table decorations combined salmon pink roses, white hydrangeas and gypsophila.” (http://www.darlingandwild.co.uk/)
The English Wedding Blog Interview: Edward and Saori
Wedding photographer’s website:
How did you choose your photographer?
We both like photography and wanted a photographer who could capture the essence of the day but also carry out his work in a relaxed and flexible way. Following some research of local photographers we set up a meeting with Nick and both felt comfortable that he could tailor his work to the plan for our day.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Yes – Nick captured the day beautifully. He blended into the background, guests were unaware of his presence but have all commented how well the photos bring back memories of the day.
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
We waited initially and then both reviewed them together – it took a while to get through the whole set but were both delighted by the results. I enjoy making photo albums and so have taken great pleasure selecting photos and arranging these in our album – we know every single photo off by heart now.
Saori is originally from Tokyo and so choosing a wedding venue was essentially a choice between a city wedding in Tokyo or a country wedding in the UK. I grew up on a fruit farm in Kent and the ideal location for me was the historic local church followed by a reception on the farm.
Once decided we were up for the challenge of developing our own venue for the reception, I was responsible for transforming a dusty old barn into a magical wedding venue. We used a traditional marquee for the wedding breakfast and connected this to the old barn for the dancing space.
My parents were instrumental in preparing for the day, from trips to France to buy Champagne to buying up most of the local garden centre to add last minute colour to the garden for the drinks reception!
Venue: Old Church, St Peters Pembury followed by a reception at Pippins Farm, Pembury, Tunbridge Wells
With our own venue we chose the end of July as a date with a good chance of warm weather – this nearly backfired as the day before was a 24 hour deluge and the day after the rain returned. However we were blessed with sunshine and perfect temperatures – a miracle or“?? – kiseki” as our guests from Japan all commented.
Your wedding style or theme:
Classic English with a Japanese flavour
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Actually Google was our first point of call, and we tried to stay local – all our suppliers were from Kent or South East London.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Transform your own venue using simple decorations and lights – ebay is a great source for buying decorations! Lighting was really important for us and I wanted to create something special for the day. I decided to create our names in lights – this involved buying wooden stencils, a large sheet of ply wood, lighting strings, spraypaint and some dedicated DIY time! I think the lighting board cost about £50 to make and really created a wow factor when people walked into the venue – to buy or hire something like this would be hundreds of pounds.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
Making sure everyone had a good time – entertainment, food and drink! Beautiful fresh flowers also really finished off our decorations with impact and a wonderful smell.
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
It was a labour of love, we had a wedding website and the majority of invitations were sent online using paperless post. For other stationery such as the postal invitations for the less tech savvy, order of services, and table stationery we designed all these ourselves and used local printers. However in hindsight spending the night before the wedding printing table plans and writing names on placecards was a little stressful!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Saori’s wedding dress was purchased from a high street store with minor alterations by a local boutique (http://www.judymott.com)
And what did the groom wear? Any recommendations for tailors?
Traditional morning dress
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
Long dresses in a light salmon pink (www.coast-stores.com)
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
We were fortunate that Saori’s aunt and cousin run a beauty salon in Japan and hence it was a professional family affair. A large suitcase of equipment was bought over from Japan although there was some drama when Japanese hair irons started smoking due to UK electricity! The morning of the wedding was a hectic schedule including also the dressing of Saori’s mother and aunt into traditional Kimonos.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
Yes absolutely – the barn was an empty dark and dusty shell that needed a complete transformation. We spent the week before cleaning 200 years of dust off beams and then decorating the barn. We wanted something traditional but simple so used white drapes, white lanterns and fairy lights.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Although an English wedding we wanted to add a Japanese twist. Two months before the wedding we flew out to Tokyo for a friend’s wedding and also took the opportunity for some shopping – this involved bringing back to the UK a suitcase full of silk flowers, bottles of Japanese plum wine (??), and over one hundred kimono clad chocolate wedding favours!
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Our wedding cake was handmade as a wedding gift. The cake was a beautiful traditional three tiered fruit cake – we were blown away that this was all handmade!
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Keeping our guests entertained was a big priority for us. The purpose for having the reception in an old barn was for a barn dance – this was a great way to get everyone involved irrespective of nationality.
We had three phases to our wedding entertainment all performed by the same band who demonstrated great versatility. The entertainment really made the day special. (http://www.ceilidhtree.co.uk/)
- Live classical music to accompany the garden drinks reception
- A traditional English barn dance – the band and caller were fantastic in getting everyone up on their feet enjoying the atmosphere of the barn
- DJ music till late – interspersed with a couple of J pop tracks
On the day tips and advice:
Ensure the provisional timetable is communicated to everyone in advance, try to stick to timings but be flexible. Also get as much help as possible, relax and enjoy the day.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Not having to plan a wedding! Supporting each other and working as a partnership.
Favourite supplier list for other brides and grooms:
Photography – http://parkershots.com/
Marquee Hire – http://www.jubileehire.co.uk/
Entertainment – http://www.ceilidhtree.co.uk/
Flowers – http://www.darlingandwild.co.uk/
Classic Car – http://cars4weddings.com/
Wedding Dress Alterations – http://www.judymott.com
Hotel – http://www.royalwells.co.uk/