Jade & Alan’s elegant Cooling Castle Barn wedding, with Michelle Cordner Photography
An adorable couple, the prettiest bride, and picture perfect styling touches for a castle themed wedding. Jade and Alan were married in 2019, and I’ve had the loveliest time this morning scrolling through all of their images. There is so much inspiration here, and the venue is romantic as can be. I love that these two did things their way: their readings are really personal and special, and they chose not to have a first dance – dancing in front of everyone just wasn’t their thing, so why do it?! Kent brides and grooms, I hope you’ll love seeing all the wonderful moments from this perfect February wedding. It’s an absolute beauty!
Wedding photographer’s website
How did you choose your photographer?
I found Michelle on Instagram! I was looking through photos using the location tag of the venue (Cooling Castle Barn) for decor inspiration – I wasn’t even looking for a photographer at the time. I kept coming across Michelle’s photos as she’s a regular at Cooling Castle Barn – I really loved her style, in terms of both the photos themselves and also how relaxed everything looked.
Were you pleased with your wedding photographer? Do tell… we love a brilliant review!
Definitely! Both of us are not too comfortable in front of the camera, and Michelle made everything feel natural and very relaxed. She snapped all of the little details that I’d have wanted to take, and there was a real mix of staged group photos vs natural ‘documentary style’ ones, most of which we didn’t even know were being taken. Many of our guests also commented on how lovely Michelle was!
Videographer details if applicable – and any thoughts for other couples about having a wedding video?
We didn’t have a videographer. We did talk about it, but we just didn’t feel we were likely to look back and watch it at the later date – we were much more interested in having photos. It was just a personal preference, but I’ve never once thought I was disappointed not to have one.
Tell us about your venue – what made this place special for you?
We got married at Cooling Castle Barn – and I can’t speak highly enough of the venue and the team. The real draw for me was the Tithe Barn – we first saw it on an open day at the venue where it was covered in fairy lights the exposed brickwork and beams just really make it feel magical. The fact there were rooms onsite, including a dressing room for the bridal party (The Moat House) was a huge plus and made the morning before the ceremony feel very special. The team there are so friendly, organised and just unflappable really – you just got the feeling they were always on top of things which helped me have a relaxing day. We had a February wedding and the fact the venue set-up meant you could stay inside all day was very important (we predicted rain!) – but in the end, we had an unseasonably warm day and were able to have our reception drinks outside was fantastic.
Did you love wearing your outfits? How was the dress / suit shopping experience?
I loved my dress! It was actually the first one I tried on – although I had it adjusted a little, making the sleeves 3/4 lengths. I went to a small bridal shop near my parents’ house (21 Dresses, Banbury) with my mum. It was a lovely experience, the team there were so helpful and we felt very looked after.
The suits came from Moss Bros, primarily as all those needing suits lived far apart, but all of them were near a Moss Bros. Although we were happy with them, I think there were very different experiences depending on which store was your local one…
Did you hire a florist? Tell us about any floral amazingness
We did! We hired Floral Explosion – another Cooling Castle Barn regular. They looked after most of the venue decor – including all of our fairy lights – as well as the flowers. We hired their gorgeous signature blossom trees for the centre of our tables, and they also lined the aisle during the ceremony. I’m a big lover of spring, so although it was nice to have some blossom, even if it was a little early for real blossom outside. The bouquets were so beautiful, featuring creams, deep reds and some blush, they were ‘bushy’ and so had a wintery feel.
Did you hire a wedding planner?
We didn’t hire a wedding planner although we were tempted. We had two almost two years between booking the venue at the wedding itself, so there was enough time for us to do things ourselves. Trello was my very best friend though and kept us organised!
As cake lovers here at English Wedding we’d LOVE to know who made your cake, and how delicious it was?
Rebakers Cakes made our medieval castle cake – it had three tiers with three different flavours (all of which were very popular!). Rebecca was fantastic and although she’d never made a castle cake like this one before, she did such a fantastic job. The cake was a little bit of a compromise – I wanted a delicate cake and my husband wanted something more quirky, eventually, we thought a castle was a good compromise as it fitted the venue too.
Tell us about any special personal touches, or creative projects you made yourselves
I’m always a keen crafter and so I made a few bits myself – from save the date cards and invitations to the seating plan, menu cards and place names. All I really remember was that there was a lot of gold embossing powder everywhere for several weeks, as it featured on pretty much everything.
Did you personalise your vows or have any wedding readings? What were they?
We didn’t personalise our vows, but we did have a couple of readings – one more serious, and one more fun. The first was ‘Scaffolding’ by Seamus Heaney, the second was the ‘The Lovely Dinosaur’ by Edward Monkton, which gave everyone a few giggles but actually had a lovely message to it too.
What was your first dance song? Why did you choose it?
We actually didn’t have one! We spent a really long time trying to pick one, but really just didn’t fancy dancing in front of everyone so decided to give it a miss. We did pick several pieces of music for the ceremony though, played during the signing of the register. These were all covers of famous songs by Vitamin String Quartet (if you’ve watched Bridgeton you may recognise some of their covers from there).
We had a magician at the wedding for after the ceremony – we really tell anyone he was coming, so it was a nice surprise! We first thought of it at the venue open day, but found Étienne Pradier through Googling and watching some of his stuff on YouTube. He stayed for three hours, so covered much of the reception drinks and in between courses of the wedding breakfast.
Favourite wedding suppliers
Photographer: Michelle Cordner Photography: https://michellecordnerphotography.com
Venue: Cooling Castle Barn: https://www.coolingcastlebarn.com/
florist / decoration – Floral Explosion: https://www.floral-explosion.co.uk/
Bridal hair & Make-up – Hair and make up by Zara:http://www.hairandmakeupbyzara.co.uk/bridal.html
Bridal shop – 21 Dresses: https://21dresses.ltd/
Magician – Étienne Pradier: https://www.frenchmagician.co.uk/
Cake – Rebakers Cakes: https://www.rebakerscakes.com/
Grooms suit – Moss Bros: https://www.moss.co.uk/