How did you meet, & how did you become engaged? We never get tired of telling the story of how we met. In fact, we used a quote on our invitations that read, “Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favourite”.
I went travelling for 8 months, starting in Asia then on to New Zealand and finally Australia, but it wasn’t until the last few days of my travels that I met Chris who was on the same Oz Experience bus out of Sydney as me, and travelling up the east coast. We spoke briefly at one of the first stops and bumped into each other again further up the coast, but it wasn’t until we had a full day together on Magnetic Island that we really got to know each other. Chris left for Cairns the following day and I said I’d get in touch with him when I was there, which to his surprise, I did! We spent a couple of evenings out with other traveller friends but when it came to saying goodbye, we both struggled. After 8 months of meeting hundreds of people from various walks of life, Chris was the hardest person to say goodbye to and I knew he was something special. Chris went back to work in Australia and I came back to the UK so we made the most of Skype and WhatsApp until he came back to England two months later and I went to Manchester to see him. From then on we were taking it in turns to go up or down the country every other weekend to see each other which involved plenty of tears (mostly from me) at the train station each time, until he eventually moved to Kent just under a year later.
On the 18th December 2015, Chris and I went to the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London with a group of friends. We all went our separate ways after the ceremony and Chris and I headed back to London Bridge via Tower Bridge, which is my favourite spot in London. As we approached the south bank side, Chris suggested we stop for a photo but rather than pulling out his phone, he pulled out a ring box, which contained the most beautiful ring I’d ever seen, and he proposed to me with the lights of Tower Bridge behind us. Of course, I said yes, and of course, I cried!”
How long did you take to plan your wedding? I actually had the guest list along with everyone’s addresses ready before Chris even asked me to marry him, but I should probably stop admitting that to people! After the proposal we agreed we wouldn’t rush into booking anything but me being me, I started browsing the venues and found that so many places were already getting booked up for 2017 so in blind panic I started booking us in for viewings. A long list later, we booked Winters Barns in February 2016 along with a few other ‘big bits’ like our amazing photographer and band, but once the big stuff was organised I relaxed a little and just casually started building up my ‘boards’ on Pinterest with many, many ideas.
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them? Chris and I agreed that we would really like a barn style venue and we were ideally looking for somewhere with accommodation onsite or nearby, as the northern family would be travelling down and need to stay overnight. My mum came with me on the first viewing of Winters Barns and as soon as we walked in, we knew it was the venue for us. If it looked that beautiful in the midst of a cold and wet January, we knew it would look amazing on a warm sunny day (although as we all know, that’s never guaranteed in England!). There were various hotels and B&B’s nearby so plenty of space for everyone to stay. Chris and my dad came with us for a second viewing and we all loved it so we booked the only September date left before it was snapped up.
What inspired you to style your day the way you did? Good old Pinterest! I found a colour scheme that I loved, showed Chris who loved the suit the guy was wearing in the picture and we were agreed. We chose slate blue, blush and cream as the colour scheme, and so the hunt for the perfect colour bridesmaid dresses began!
How did you decide on your dress and accessories? The year before Chris proposed, my friend in work was looking for her wedding dress. While browsing over her shoulder I fell in love with a dress. She wrote the designer and name of the dress on a post it note and stuck it on my desk. When it came to my turn to start looking at dresses, I couldn’t find the post it note anywhere but I remembered the designer and started browsing online. I found the dress, I hunted it down in a bridal shop in Rochester and took my mum along for my first try on. When I finally tried it on and was asked by the sales assistant “how does it feel?”, my reply was “I don’t like anything about it!”. It turns out its true what they say; the dress you imagine is your dream dress is probably something completely different to what you buy. In the end, I found my dream dress in the third bridal shop I visited which just happened to be called Christina K (Chris and Kay) and put a deposit down before I had time to overthink it and talk myself out of it. I made a few adjustments to it though; I added the diamante and pearl neckline and the pearl belt which I had made to order. My friend offered me her veil to wear as my something borrowed and it fitted perfectly with my dress.
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen? Chris decided on the blue suit and blush pink tie after seeing the Pinterest picture and he went shopping with his best man to find what he was looking for. He wanted to be able to have his suit tailor made rather than hiring one, and the suits he chose were perfect as he could have his made to measure and hire the groomsmen suits in exactly the same material. Chris personalised his suit, choosing white buttons and stitching and having our initials with the date of our wedding embroidered on the inside of his jacket.
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song? My dad gave me away and I was pleased he told me to slow down as we were walking. You are so caught up in the moment you don’t think about how quickly you’re going. We walked down the aisle to an acoustic version of Ellie Goulding’s “How Long Will I Love You”. The words in the song are perfect.
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them? We had two readings, ‘Here’s To Right Now’ which was read by one of my good friends. We both liked it as it talks about the memories we have made and those we’re yet to make, and about making the most of the moment we’re in, standing there with all our friends and family surrounding us to celebrate our special day. The second one was read by one of Chris’s good friends and was called ‘Marriage’. It is a poem which talks about both the good and bad sides to a marriage; “Kissing and loving and pushing and shoving, Caring and sharing and screaming and swearing”. It is good humoured and we saw people nodding their heads and laughing in agreement with its honesty.
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it? We wanted our guests to have as much choice with the food as possible and our caterers were very accommodating. They provided substantial canapés such as mini fish and chips, Yorkshire puddings with rare beef and horseradish and the best risotto balls we’ve ever tasted! With the main wedding breakfast we were able to provide two meat options for our guests and one vegetarian option. We chose chicken wrapped in pancetta and Kentish beef ragu, with baked vegetable strudel as the vegetarian option. Everyone was more than happy with the catering and we had plenty of comments about how good the portion sizes were. For the evening we chose to have a BBQ which, again, was great to fill the bellies of those hungry evening guests. We were concerned that people wouldn’t eat the evening food given the large wedding breakfast portions, but we were pleased to see a queue of people shortly after it opened.
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them? I have to admit, we stole part of the wedding favour idea from two of our friends that got married earlier in the year (but we did ask them first!). We filled small organza bags with strawberry and lemon bon bons with a printed “Thank You” note inside and used them as a prize for each layer of a pass the parcel for each table. On the outside of each layer there was a personalised clue for each person at the table, for instance “Pass to the person who’s birthday is closest to the Groom’s”. The table then had to discuss who it was so it got people talking and introducing themselves if they didn’t already know each other. In the centre of the parcel there was a selfie-stick and some face mats so people could take some silly photos during the wedding breakfast and we had more photos to add to our collection. It went down a treat and people were amazed with all the different clues. I’m not going to lie, it took a while (and a lot of wrapping paper!) to put it all together but it was totally worth it to see everyone enjoying it!
Please describe your cake and why you chose it? My mum offered to make our wedding cake, but only if it was a fruit cake so she had plenty of time to make it in advance and not have a last minute melt down, to which we happily agreed. Pinterest came out trumps again and I found a beautiful three-tiered cake with different textures on each tier. The bottom tier was ivory with ruffles all around it, the second was a shiny slate blue to fit with our colour scheme and the top tier was a plain ivory with fresh flowers and a personalized “Mr & Mrs Kennedy” on top. Mum added finishing touches of pearls, ribbon and a couple of sparkles to the base of each tier and it was displayed on a cake log.
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you? The first dance was a daunting thought for both Chris and I, we’re not very good at slow dancing together so we decided to go for something a bit more upbeat. We chose Rudimental’s “I Will For Love” as it starts of slowly giving us a chance for a short slow dance and a few twirls before the beat kicked in and we had everyone join us on the dance floor. We both love dance music and had a great time when we went to see Rudimental the year before and the words talk about what they would do for love which seemed appropriate.
What was your favourite part of the day and why? It’s so hard to pick one specific moment to call my favourite, there were just so many. A few things that stand out to me when I think about the day is seeing my dad’s face when he saw me for the first time, hearing Chris’s laugh while Nick was taking photos of me before I was about to head down the aisle and seeing how smart and happy he looked when he saw me. I loved seeing people enjoying themselves at the table and seeing one of Chris’s little cousins running around taking selfie’s with the selfie-stick all day.
Chris said seeing me walk down the aisle was one of his favourite moments and we both agree that it was just so fantastic having all our closest friends and family in one place.
What led you to choose Nick from Parkershots as your photographer? I am not ashamed to say that I started stalking Nick’s photos after one of my friends used Parkershots for their wedding. While looking through I saw two other friends were featured in his wedding galleries so I knew he was good. Literally every photo I looked at was amazing, the way he uses the light, the smoke bomb effects, the angles – there wasn’t one photo I didn’t like. I kept showing Chris the beautiful pictures that were being posted on his Facebook and Instagram pages (I told you I was stalking!!) and he agreed that he had something special. We thought we were a bit far in advance for booking but I’m glad we booked early as it seems other people know how good he is and want to snap him up too! After all my stalking, I would have been absolutely gutted if we couldn’t have Nick to capture our day.
From the moment we contacted Parkershots, Nick was friendly, approachable and interested to hear all about our special day. We had confidence in him from the start and he was absolutely amazing on the day. Friends and family have commented on how nice Nick was and when we have shared our pictures they couldn’t believe how many we have saying “we didn’t even notice him half the time”.
We could not be happier with our wedding photos. Nick has captured every moment and we have tough decisions of which photos to put on the walls – all of them if we could! We would have no hesitation in recommending Parkershots to everyone we can, whether it’s for weddings, portraits or any other special occasions. His slogan is totally correct, “Damn fine photography”.
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight? We would certainly do it all again if we could, but we can’t think of anything we would change. It would be great to go back as a fly on the wall to see what we missed out on.
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be? Get a pin board! I was making lists upon lists of things to do and the lists kept getting lost of forgotten about, and they weren’t being seen by Chris. I got myself a pin board and split it into three sections – things to do, in process, and done. It worked wonders. Chris came home and couldn’t believe how much we had to do, but from then on he was the one asking me ‘what can we do next?’. He took responsibility for some bits while I worked on others. It was great seeing things gradually moving over to the ‘done’ side and we had a feeling of accomplishment every time.
Is there anything else that you would like to add? Stay calm.
Dress / Cosmobella 7726 in Ivory from Christina K
Jewellery / Earrings from Goldsmiths
Shoes / Rainbow Club Adrianna
Veil / Headpiece – Borrowed from a friend
Hair / Fiona Templeton
Make-up / The Chair
Florist / HeiDesigns
Rings / Rajveer UK Ltd
Venue / Winters Barns
Décor & Styling / Ambience for chair sashes, everything else was handmade or bought personally
Cake / Lynn Ostheimer
Caterer / Scott Anderson
Bridesmaids Dresses / Kennedy Blue
Groom & Groomsmen suits / Ted Baker at Moss Bros
Wedding Planner / Kay Kennedy
Stationery / Handmade
Entertainment / The Edge Bank UK
Photographer / Parkershots