You don’t need 100 or more people to watch him put a ring on your finger. You don’t need the stress of a wedding table plan, huge corkage fees or to spend your day in a crowd of distant cousins. All you really need is you. Intimate weddings with only a handful of guests are my favourite, and beautiful bride Liz and Richard’s day is simply perfect. Don’t you just love that Jenny Packham dress?
Wedding photographer’s website:
“We looked for Kent based photographers online and after looking through a lot of photography we came across Helen’s website and we knew it was the relaxed style we wanted. We contacted Helen to arrange meeting her at a wedding fayre and we instantly clicked – we knew she’d be great at blending in and capturing our special moments.
Helen was AMAZING! We had 10 people (including us) for our ceremony and we were worried that a photographer might be intrusive. She wasn’t at all and made everyone feel important. We don’t usually like our photograph being taken and she has made us completely at ease throughout the day. All of our friends have commented how fantastic our photographs are. We cannot thank her enough!
Tell us about the moment you saw your wedding photos for the first time?
It was such a wonderful afternoon. We visited Helen at home and went through all 400 photographs – I think I said ‘wow’ nearly as many times as the number of photographs. Helen’s photography exceeded all our expectations and we love every shot. We wanted informal shots and she captured so many intimate moments from the day. We’ve got our favourite 65 photos on our hall wall so they’re the first thing we see when we get home everyday.
Discover more from Helen England Photography
“St Clere Estate in Sevenoaks was a venue I had never shot at before and when we visited prior to the wedding I was blown away by the stunning house and gardens. I couldn’t wait for their wedding day! The day of the wedding was just perfect, when I arrived at the venue I was greeted by blossom falling from the trees, creating a blanket of tiny white petals, it almost looked like freshly fallen snow but fortunately much less cold!” ~ Helen England
We did a lot of research online, Pinterest and your wonderful blog [oh how lovely, thank you Liz!!] for inspiration. The pub owner recommended the florist when I described the style of flowers I wanted and we found our wedding ring designer when having lunch in the Pantiles in Tunbridge Wells as her studio is there. We found the band online after listening to many recordings! And we knew straight away we wanted Brownies from a local supplier to Sevenoaks market and a close friend made our gorgeous cake as a wedding gift.
“After the ceremony, there were canapes and bubbles served and I took this opportunity to sneak off with the newly-weds for a few pics of the two of them together. We wandered around the grounds and they just could not stop smiling! There were so many beautiful spots for their pictures as we walked along. Gorgeous natural tree archways, and everywhere the fresh colours of spring, including the field next door which was an ocean of yellow oil seeds…an absolute photographer’s dream and such a stunning backdrop!”
We had two venues – an intimate ceremony in the orangery at St Clere Estate, Kemsing, Kent and the wedding celebration at the George and Dragon pub in Chipstead, Kent. We wanted venues that were near to where we lived and the pub is a special place for us.
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
A fun filled relaxed day celebrating our love
Your wedding style or theme:
We didn’t have a particular theme – we just wanted a relaxed and celebratory day for everyone to enjoy. Richard wanted to a wear a blue suit and we wanted white and green flowers to compliment the colouring of the George and Dragon wallpaper so the colour scheme was from those two elements.
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Focus on what you both want from the day and not on the silly little details that no one will remember.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
The flowers and photography were both well worth the money. We also spent a lot on what we wore!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
We wanted laser cut style and found the perfect invitations online.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Completely! I knew I wanted a Jenny Packham dress as I love her vintage vibe and the silhouette the dresses create. I chose the Simone dress and wish I could wear it everyday. I felt incredible in it the moment I tried it on. I knew it would work gorgeously for St Clere and be practical for a pub that was built in the 16th century and has uneven floors!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Jenny Packham. I bought it from Alexandra at the Pantiles Bride which was a fantastic experience. She looked after me brilliantly and made it so enjoyable to try on different dresses just to make sure the one I’d chosen was the one.
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
Rachel Simpson shoes (Mimosa in ivory leather) – they were so comfortable and matched the style of my dress and head piece perfectly. I’ll definitely wear them again. My jewellery were heart shaped diamond earrings from my parents and a heart bracelet that was my ‘borrowed’ item from mum which she was given by her parents.
And what did the groom wear?
He had a bespoke suit from the Cad and the Dandy on Savile Row. Francesco Trenti tailored it perfectly and he looked super handsome in the blue three-piece suit and Liberty print tie.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
I had my sister as my bridesmaid. She wore a sapphire blue floor length dress by Dessy (style 6613). The back of the dress was a similar style to mine with an open back. She had a headpiece and silver accessories.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
The fabulous Cassandra Chippendale did our hair and make up and she stepped in with less than a week to go to the wedding! She did my sister, mum and me on the morning and I highly recommend her as we had lots of laughs, fizz and fun whilst getting ready as well as her making us look gorgeous!
Describe your wedding flowers. Who arranged them for you? (florist details would be lovely please)
The incredibly talented, Bella, did our flowers. Her shop is called Johnny’s Little Sister and is in Sevenoaks. Our flowers were everything I wanted and more! We chose white and green flowers and I wanted loose and textured bouquets and table decorations of different flowers and foliage. I gave a vague description to Bella and she created my vision perfectly. The flowers smelt wonderful and received lots of compliments.
General styling – did your venue need much decoration?
We had no decoration at St Clere Estate as the orangery and gardens were more than enough for creating an amazing background for our photos. We are very lucky and are close friends with the owners of the Danish Collection in Sevenoaks. Judith Jorgenson decorated the George and Dragon with fabulous accessories from the shop and the pub looked gorgeous.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
We designed and painted our table plan in a similar style to our invitations and we were proud of our effort! We also cut up lengths of organza to be tied around each chair at the pub.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
We chose the CoCo Kitchen for amazing brownies and cupcakes. They are a local supplier to Sevenoaks market on a Saturday and we’ve bought brownies from there for years. Our fruit cake was made and decorated by our very talented friend, Claire Fenwick, as a wedding gift
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
We had a live band called the Live Lounge band. They were fantastic and kept us all entertained on the dance floor. Sadly they had to finish at 10.15pm because of the village location as I could have danced all night to them.
We also had sparklers in the pub garden after dinner and before the dancing started. We were so pleased with the photos from these. I adore fireworks and sparklers were the closest thing we could get in a lovely village with very old buildings.
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
1. Make the day what you both want – it’s not for your family/friends to decide the guest list or venue
2. Set aside some time for you to have special moments with each other during the day. We had a table for two during dinner and chatted to tables in between courses. I also enjoyed getting ready with my family and sharing some fizz before becoming Mrs Jackson.
3. Take time to find the right suppliers for you – don’t just sign up for everything at the first wedding fair you visit. I knew the flowers that I wanted but couldn’t clearly describe them. Bella bought this to life as she was on my wave length for styling. Also, Helen was fantastic at making us comfortable with photography and we didn’t even notice her once we got to the George and Dragon so she got some incredible intimate moments with our friends.
What’s the best thing about being married?
Being Mr and Mrs Jackson everyday of the year and knowing that we’ll be together for the rest of our lives
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Venues: www.stclere.co.uk and www.georgeanddragonchipstead.com
Wedding dress: www.pantilesbride.com
Grooms Attire: www.cadandthedandy.co.uk
Wedding rings: https://catherinehillsjewellery.com
Make up and hair: www.cassandramakeupartist.com
Cad and the dandyCassandra Chippendalecherry blossomCoCo Kitchen SevenoaksGeorge and DragonHelen England Photographyintimate weddingJenny PackhamJohnny's Little SisterLive Lounge BandPantiles BrideRachel Simpson shoesSt Clere Estate