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Joe and Charlotte’s very English wedding at spectacular Harlaxton Manor, with Kev Elkins Photography

Nestle into your sofa, sink back into your work chair, cradle that cup of tea and prepare to fall in LOVE with today’s beautiful wedding on the blog. Charlotte just looks amazing; Joe is as tall, dark and handsome as can be, and they married in the loveliest venue you can imagine. I love this wedding for the stunning images – also for Charlotte’s wonderful advice and tips for other brides and grooms. Don’t break yourself over DIY; don’t panic over details, do whatever feels right for YOU and plan to really enjoy your best day yet.

Luxury English wedding at Grand Harlaxton images by Kev Elkins Photography (30)

Try and savour the moments throughout the day, it really does go so quickly and by the end of it you will be absolutely exhausted but enjoy every single minute. Don’t worry about the small things: the days before the wedding I was losing sleep over how we were going to display the table plan and what the napkins would look like but on the day those things really didn’t matter. As long as you have food, music and your dress sorted you are good to go!

Luxury English wedding at Grand Harlaxton images by Kev Elkins Photography (29)

The cake was a “naked” Victoria sponge cake made by my fabulous mum. I’m not a fan of the traditional fruit cake and after seeing this style of cake on Pinterest I thought it was a really great idea, it looks lovely and who likes the icing anyway?! My mum is renowned in our family for her cake making skills so it seemed an obvious choice that she would make it and she did an amazing job, I was so thrilled at how it looked and tasted!

Luxury English wedding at Grand Harlaxton images by Kev Elkins Photography (11)

Images are by lovely Lincolnshire wedding photographer Kev Elkins, who you can discover here:

http://www.kevelkinsphotography.co.uk
https://www.instagram.com/kev_elkins_wedding_photography/
https://www.facebook.com/kevelkinsphotography

Luxury English wedding at Grand Harlaxton images by Kev Elkins Photography (7)

From the moment the couple hired me and informed me that I was shooting a wedding at Harlaxton Manor I immediately Googled it to start with my research. The second I saw the images I was gobsmacked and excited from day one. Then when getting to the venue and setting foot through the front door for the first time I was astonished. This venue was a stunner. Floor to ceiling windows that let the natural light just flood in and help give that real elegant feel to the day. I didn’t really have a challenge here to capture stunning images of Joe and Charlotte, and their guests. I would love to shoot this venue again.” ~ Kev Elkins Photography

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The English Wedding Blog interview: Charlotte and Joe

Wedding photographer’s website:

http://www.kevelkinsphotography.co.uk

How did you choose your photographer?

Kev was recommended by my sister-in-law as a friend of the family. I was taken by the relaxed style of Kev’s portfolio, taking photos in the background of the day, capturing everyone enjoying themselves without too many “posed for” photographs. I was also sold on the fact that we would get all of our photos without a watermark so we are able to print off copies of all of our favourite moments captured and share with all of our friends and family.

Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!

Very! Kev was so enthusiastic, arriving first thing to take photos of the venue and capture me and the bridesmaids getting ready, and stayed right through the evening for our first dance. He also caught a few photos of our guests busting some moves on the dance floor!

Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?

So exciting! We had seen a few taster photographs but to sit down and look through all of the photos and relive our special day was amazing. It was also really nice for us to see each others’ moments up to the ceremony, seeing Joe and his groomsmen welcoming all of our guests and waiting at the end of the aisle was lovely.

Wedding venue:

It was love at first sight! We had already found a venue that we thought we liked but thought we would go along to look at Harlaxton as it’s in the same village where we had our first date so it had a romantic connection. As soon as we drove down the mile long drive and approached the grandness of Harlaxton Manor we started to get excited and then walking into the Grand Hall we knew that this was the place we wanted to get married. The layout of the rooms was perfect for each part of the day and the detail in each room, the carved wood on the walls, the painted ceilings and chandeliers, it was stunning.

Wedding month:

March

Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?

Everything that I had hoped for and more.

Your wedding style or theme:

Very traditional, we were going for English country garden with the style of flowers and colour scheme. Luckily, because of the grandeur of our venue we didn’t really need to add much more in terms of decorations.

Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)

I tried to stay local where I could, a lot of the suppliers were based in Grantham (where Joe and I live) and Spalding (where our parents live), so flowers and my wedding dress came from suppliers that I already knew of.

What’s your top tip for saving money?

Budget from the start and as boring as it sounds keep a detailed spreadsheet of all expenses, both those that are confirmed and estimates of others. As an accountant I was all over this! Also try to do things yourself where possible – my mum made our cake, my mother-in-law did the flower arrangements for the tables etc.

… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?

The venue wasn’t cheap but I am so glad we paid that bit more for it, we didn’t have to pay much more to decorate the rooms apart from flowers. It was also great having everything in one place so we didn’t have to worry about cars and transporting guests between locations.

Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?

The wedding invitations were from www.bespokeprintedstationery.co.uk – I had a clear image in my head of how I wanted them to look, simple white with a gold border and as I lack creativity and artistic flair I was reluctant to do them ourselves as I wanted them to look sophisticated and set the tone of the wedding for our guests.
The menus for the table and place settings we ordered from Vista Print and they turned out really well.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Of course! I was pretty sure on the style that I wanted, I knew I wanted my shoulders covered as I felt it was more flattering and I wanted it to be lacy and feminine. After trying on a few dresses the shop assistant recommended I try on a particular dress and that was the one! It was just what I had pictured and everyone agreed that it was perfect.

Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:

Justin Alexander from Fancy Frox, Spalding www.fancyfrox.co.uk

Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!

Because my dress was quite detailed I did’t want a huge amount of jewellery as I felt the dress spoke for itself. In my hair I wore a gold head band from Accessorise and my veil was from Wedding Veils Direct ordered online www.weddingveilsdirect.co.uk. I had been eyeing up some Manolo Blahniks but Joe put his foot down so I managed to find some dupes from Dune, and they were in the sale! I was actually really pleased with them, the gold tied in with my accessories and the kitten heal meant my feet didn’t hurt too much during the day!
I hadn’t planned on wearing a necklace but when I got to the bridal suite to start getting ready there was Tiffany’s box waiting for me containing a beautiful silver and pearl necklace from Joe, such a wonderful surprise!

And what did the groom wear?

Joe is an officer in the Army so he wore his uniform. The best men and Joe’s father’s outfits were from Debenhams

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

My beautiful bridesmaids, Susie and Nat wore full length dresses from Coast in a dusky lilac. The lace detail on the top of the dresses really complemented the lace of my dress, I was so happy with how the girls looked, they were stunning!

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

Professional – if you can’t do it for your wedding when can you?! If we had done it ourselves I think it would have been one more thing to worry about in the morning and hair and make-up never last as long when you do it yourself. I had been to trials for my hair and make-up so I knew that I was happy with what we were going with and thanks to Pinterest I had a fair idea of how I wanted the girls to have their hair and make-up. Hair was done by Charlotte Wesson (http://www.charlottewesson.co.uk) and make up was by Paula Tennant (http://www.paulatennant.com). Both the ladies were great, they came to the venue bright and early and did a fantastic job on me and the girls and our hair and make-up looked fab.

Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)

English country garden was the phrase I used when I first spoke to the florist and again, I was so happy with what the produced. There was lots of greenery, and beautiful pink and purple flowers. The florist (Flowers ‘n’ Things, Spalding www.flowersnthings-spalding.co.uk) produced bouquets for myself and the two bridesmaids and the main centre piece that was used during the ceremony and on the top table, and then my mother-in-law put together the arrangements in Kilner jars for the tables during the Wedding Breakfast from an assortment of flowers that we sourced from a variety of locations the day before.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

Like I said before, not much really as the venue was so beautiful without our help! Apart from the flowers we only really hired in the chairs (https://www.furniturehireuk.com)

Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?

The favours were little white paper boxes (bought from Amazon) which my mum and I put together and Joe and his best man then filled with mini eggs (we got married Easter weekend).
My mother-in-law prepared the table flower arrangements.
The table plan was made from a large mirror with each table listing printed onto a piece of paper with a gold border.
I found that side of things pretty stressful, I’m not the most artistic, creative person and I don’t know how people find the time to have a proper DIY craft wedding!

Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?

We kept entertainment pretty simple. During the Wedding Breakfast we just had one of Joe’s favourite artists Ludovico Einaudi playing on the sound system. In the evening we had a DJ from DG Music (www.dgmusic.co.uk) and a Photo Booth from Snapz Photo Booth (www.snapzphotobooth.co.uk). My friends got carried away requesting all our old favourites from the DJ who willingly obliged playing them and the photo booth went down so well, even my grandparents got in on the act. We got to keep a copy of all the photos taken in our own album and it’s so great to have a photo and message from all of our guests.

What’s the best thing about being married?

Day to day it doesn’t really change much but just knowing that you’ve made that commitment and being able to call each other husband and wife is great.

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 www.byMoonandTide.com. 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.

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