I do love a venue with character, don’t you? Pretty blank canvas spaces are all well and good, but show me somewhere with a stage, balconies, pillars and old world charm… and I’m sold! Today’s wedding from Salomon’s Estate in Tunbridge Wells is unique, exciting and beautifully photographed by our friend and sponsor lovely Penny Young Photography. Amy is such a stunning bride; Carl her perfect match – and oh, those flowers too!
Carl hand made the giant ROPE letter lights over a few weeks, and they were popular with our guests and us – he enjoyed making them, and we had a bit of help from a few friends to finish them off, but when they turned into Disco lights in the evening it was great to see our new “name in lights” so to speak!
The Theatre Room at Saloman’s Estate has an amazing “traditional” feel to it, and has a lot of decoration and atmosphere in the room itself, so I think we felt that less is more and tried to just use the room as it was. We wanted to see the amazing original Welte Organ on the stage, so had this lit up and the curtains open which gave a backdrop to the room for the wedding breakfast. We borrowed some uplighters to put around the room and hired in candelabras and candles to try and create a cosy, banqueting type ambience to our wedding breakfast. The fairy lights came with the venue and added the finishing touches.
Our tables were decorated by Carl and myself the day before, and Carl’s mum Jane had sewn the table banners for us, I just wanted something simple to break up the white table cloth. The table name stands were handmade by me with the knots tied in rope that fitted our colour scheme. I have to admit that Carl hand tied every single name-holder wedding favour Monkey Fist though… mine just weren’t good enough for his quality control!
I remember when we were announced and walked into our Wedding Breakfast looking around and seeing everything coming together and thinking…. “this looks and feels amazing!” and at the point we knew our hard work had paid off.
Danielle Sawyer, of “Flowers by Danielle” based at Honeydale Farm is a friend of Carl’s family. We had a quick meeting where I showed her some styles that I liked, and the colour scheme that we were working with, then I left all the floral details to her! They turned out lovely – and it took a lot of the stress out of something to be able to just leave this to someone else – and a lot of it depends on what flowers are available at the time so I was happy to be surprised on the day. I know not all Brides would take this approach though, but it worked for me.
Wedding photographer’s website:
We wanted to use someone who had photographed at the venue before and was local to Tunbridge Wells where we chose to get married. Penny came up a few times when ‘googling’ photos of the Church we were to be married in and Salomon’s, and our Wedding Event organiser also mentioned her so we looked up her website and loved the style of photography we saw in her wedding photo galleries. Then we met for a coffee and a chat at Salomon’s and had a good chat and a laugh, so it was a no-brainer from that moment on that we would choose Penny to be our Wedding photographer!
We were so, so, so, pleased with Penny and Jim her second shooter (and husband). We had spent an afternoon with them in the Summer on our engagement shoot and felt like we got to know each other quite well, so we were very relaxed in their company and had a laugh throughout the wedding prep and the whole day. Penny went to extraordinary lengths to get the shots that she was aiming for as our Wedding day coincided with “Storm Brian” who has other ideas in store for any outside photos – but I think Penny managed to capture every weather change and moment throughout the day, and it made for a varied photo portfolio too. Penny and Jim were so friendly that it was almost as if they were part of the wedding, which was lovely for us and our guests too. They worked so hard and I think the results in our wedding photos speak for themselves really!
We went straight on honeymoon to Mauritius after the Wedding, and I remember checking my emails a day or two later to be very excited and surprised to find a message from Penny with around 20-30 preview images loaded for us to view already! Both Carl and I were absolutely blown away with those first few images, and I think I must have looked at them about 50 times throughout our honeymoon over and over again before sharing a few with family and our wedding party/close friends. Because the weather was so awful off and on throughout our wedding day, and it had flown past, we weren’t really sure what photos would have come out well, but I just remember thinking that if these previews were the only photos that we had from our entire wedding, they were amazing enough….although I also couldn’t wait to see the full photos when they were ready in case there were more fabulous photos (which of course there were!)
Then, as we arrived home a couple of weeks later an even better surprise slideshow of even more photos telling the story of our wedding day from start to finish landed in my inbox, and I think I cried a little bit watching it and reliving the fantastic day that we had, then couldn’t stop smiling and watched that a few more times over too!
Contact & bookings: Penny Young Photography
Ceremony – St Paul’s Church, Rusthall, Tunbridge Wells
Reception and Evening – Salomon’s Estate, Tunbridge Wells
Can you describe your wedding in fewer than 10 words?
Lots of fun, full of love, laughter and all weathers!
Your wedding style or theme:
Carl’s surname, (and now mine!) is Rope…. and we are also both involved in Scouting and have been since a young age, so although we didn’t set out planning with a theme necessarily we ended up using lots of Rope and different knots as details in our wedding. The colour theme was intended to be quite Autumnal and suited our venue with a dark berry red, gold and Navy.
Where did you find your suppliers? (Blogs, magazines, recommendations?)
Our flowers were done by an family friend, Danielle who has recently set up a flower business in Kent at Honeydale Farm,
The Band – “Firefly” I had actually seen in a bar a few times about 10 years ago or more, and when I saw their advert in a Kent Wedding Magazine and saw they were still going I sent an email immediately to book them! I think they went down pretty well with the wedding crowd in the evening too.
I did subscribe to Kent wedding magazine to get ideas and source suppliers, but also asked friends and family for recommendations too.
Our Master of Ceremony is a member of the family too, which was great fun to have him be part of our special day and try and keep our Guests in order too!
We weren’t sure about Videography to begin with, but as i spoke to more friends who had wished they had videos of their wedding it was something I wanted to look into. We found Ollie through Hitched.co.uk as again wanted someone fairly local within our budget, and that would be flexible – he was great and worked really hard throughout the day, but was also a lot of fun too!
What’s your top tip for saving money?
Planning, (and sticking to the plan!) budgeting right from the beginning and keeping track of it as you go, working out what you can make/source from elsewhere early and not leaving things too late to book or order them otherwise you’ll pay extra for expedited service. Only do what you both want to do – but make sure you do everything that you do want to do too! It’s a tough one …but shop around and you can find a bargain or two.
… and which elements of your wedding are you glad you spent more on?
I think for us our friends and family are very important – so it was important that we could have as many people there to celebrate with us. In the end we had 136 guests to the daytime which meant spending more on that part of the day, but we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Oh… and the Singing Waiters which was a very last minute extravagant present/surprise for myself as much as everyone else there too… I didn’t tell anyone and didn’t own up to it at the time as I wasn’t sure what they were going to do or if people would enjoy it… But they were AMAZING, and I think a massive hit with everyone that we’ve spoken to since. They put everyone in the party mood at the end of the wedding breakfast and that feel-good factor flowed right through the rest of the evening, so i’m glad i threw caution to the wind and booked them!
Where did you buy or source your wedding stationery – or was making it a labour of love?
I ordered them via Etsy from a provider that is based in Poland – they were efficient, and very quick to print and publish once we had confirmed the order proof!
The name places and seating plan we made ourselves, as well as the order’s of service.
Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?
Yes – eventually… I tried on quite a few before we had booked the wedding day and remember feeling quite under-whelmed sometimes. Then I randomly popped into a shop on my own one afternoon and tried “the one” on, and I had other people I didn’t know in the shop complimenting the dress on me so it made me think that maybe i had finally found it. I took my mum back the next day and when she saw me, and I saw her face, I knew I had to have it!
Wedding dress designer and bridal boutique:
Tell us about your accessories: jewellery, shoes and anything else!
My shoes were my “something old”, Ivory Lace peep toe’s from which were not only a bargain Next but also comfy as I’d worn them in, and they had a lucky sixpence that my Nan had left me attached to them.
My head piece I found quite hard to find something that I liked, but I got the pearl headband from Pia Jewellery online and it was perfect for what I wanted.
The bangle bracelet was my something borrowed – it was actually a present I had bought from my Bridesmaid’s birthday earlier in the year and I loved it so much I cheekily asked to borrow it on the big day!
My bridesmaid also sorted out my “something blue” with a lace garter and blue ribbons, and I had a blue anklet on too under the big skirts of my dress
My beautiful Tiffany pearl earrings were a lovely gift from my new Husband on the morning and finished everything off for me.
The boy’s had fleur de lys cufflinks as a bit of a link to our Scouting roots, as all of them are friend’s or family that are also Scouts too. They all had a personalised hip flask too which I’m sure were made use of on the day.
Carl had an open-face pocket watch as my present from me on the day too.
And what did the groom wear?
We hired navy Ted Baker suits from Moss Bros for all the boys with waistcoats, and Carl wore a contrasting grey-tweed waist coat. Their socks were stripey at the Groom’s request, and their berry-red bow ties were in a knitted style to match the girl’s dresses.
Their corsage was a joint piece of work by Carl, who tied the bowline knots and our Florist Danielle who finished them off with the single flowers.
Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?
We struggled to find dresses the right colour, probably because we were looking during the summer for Autumn colours! But thankfully Phase Eight came up trumps with their lovely long A-line, V necked dresses that also kept them warm on the windy day.
Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?
I knew who I wanted to do my make-up from the outset, and actually emailed Kirsty the night we had booked our venue and confirmed the date as I know how popular she is! She had done a couple of friends’ bridal make up and I had met her before and followed her on social media since – so it was a no brainer. I was over the moon when she confirmed to say she could take my booking and was already looking forward to the trial day after that! Kirsty turned up super-early on the day, is really friendly and easy to chat to, achieves amazing make-up looks without “plastering” it on, and was an amazing sense of calm when getting me into my dress – goes to show she’s had plenty of experience on Bridal Preps and I couldn’t recommend her enough!!
For my hair I wanted to use someone local to the venue, and Emily was tagged in one of Penny’s other wedding clients photos, so I gave her a call. She did my hair, my mum’s and my bridesmaids effortlessly on the day.
Crafts and makes – tell us about any homemade elements of your wedding… did you enjoy them?
Our ring box was something I had found in a craft store which I then decided to try my hand at a bit of pyrography (burning patterns into wood).
Carl also hand-tied every monkeyfist rope ball that were to be our wedding favours and name place holders, and put his carpentry skills to great use by routing all of our wooden direction signs to the venue and the church. But I think the biggest/best homemake were the giant “ROPE” letters that Carl designed and made from scratch – they looked great on the day and in our photos too, but also I think he really enjoyed making them too, and it wasn’t something that our budget would have stretched to otherwise i think.
I think it was nice to have the opportunity to try new crafts and things that fitted in with the wedding without going too overboard.
The wedding cake: what kind of cake did you choose and why?
Our cake was 4 tiers with fruit cake at the bottom as is traditional (but no nuts as I have an allergy to them!)
Next was a layer of Chocolate Sponge, then Victoria Sponge and finally top tier of lemon cake. These are a few of our favourite cakes so that’s why we chose them, and were led by our friend Laura’s advice (who was making it) as to what would work well.
Entertainment: any musical recommendations, surprises or treats?
Firefly! were our band and their live sets went down a storm with our evening crowd. They offered to learn out first dance song which was an even more acoustic version of “HoHey” by the Lumineers, and were really friendly and flexible so would definitely recommend.
Also the Singing Waiters I found last minute through a friend of a friend on Facebook – and they were absolutely amazing and very entertaining both in the singing and the comedy, and played live acoustic guitar instead of singing along to backing tracks! I’d 100% recommend them if it’s something you’re thinking about!
Words of wisdom: share your best piece of advice for other couples:
Plan and try to organise and do everything early, don’t take on too much – it’s true that sometimes “less is more”, learn to delegate and be as organised as you can so you can enjoy the lead up to and the “Big Day” itself – it passes by so quickly so you want to be present and enjoying every moment possible!
What’s the best thing about being married?
Carl and I had been together for quite a few years before he proposed, having lived together for most of them and bought a house 2 years ago too… so it would be a lie to say that much has changed since getting married as we were very much settled. However, the best thing for us is being able to share memories of our special day when we finally tied the knot, especially when seeing friends and family that we haven’t seen since our Wedding and hearing what they enjoyed and loved. It just brings it all back to us to relive it again – and we’d do it all again if we could too because we had so much fun!
Favourite supplier web links for other brides and grooms:
Kirsty McCall Make up; http://www.kirstymccall.com/
Penny Young Photography; https://www.pennyyoungphotography.com/
Singing Waiters; https://www.singing-waiters.co.uk/
Master of Ceremony – Peter Minney; http://www.guildtoastmaster.com/
Saloman’s Estate: https://www.salomons-estate.com/
Olly Mc Videography; http://www.legend-photography.com/