I really love photographing weddings at Bradbourne House. It's an absolutely feast for photographers with extensive grounds and so many options for photos. It also offers amazing locations for both inside and outside ceremonies, so I wasn't worried for Jo and Kris when the weather meant they had to give up their idea of an outside ceremony on their big day. The ceremony room inside has amazing natural light pouring in, and beautiful decor.
The weather was definitely dramatic on their wedding day though. I don't think I've ever seen anything like it before. There was perfect sunshine one minute and then hurricane force winds the next, accompanied with monsoon downpours, only for it all to blow past and be sunny again a short while after. It meant we had to just go with it, taking group photos outside in the moments of sunshine, and then retreating inside again for. You wouldn't know it from the photos though - these two took it all in their stride and appeared totally chilled about it all throughout.
I loved Jo's styling, particularly her floral crown - she looked amazing. And I loved hearing about Kris' misspent youth during the best-man's speech, and especially the springing upon the groom of a previously lost item from many years ago - his reaction was priceless.
Here is a bit more about Jo and Kris and their wedding in their own words along with a small selection of photos from their day:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
"We met through a friend of a friend on Kris’ 20th birthday night out. He was dressed as a pirate, & things went from there! Kris proposed to me after we’d been together for 3 years, while in a boat on holiday in Rhodes - it was a beautiful moment."
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
"About 18 months."
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
"I always knew I wanted to get married at Bradbourne House, as I grew up in East Malling, and my Dad and brothers used to play cricket on the cricket ground that Bradbourne House overlooks. As Bradbourne House is so traditional and bold in its décor, it really does not require much decoration. I mainly scattered lots of small flower displays round the house that my mum and I had arranged the day before. In the evening, we had lots of fairy lights in mason jars. My Mum also made a large collage with lots of photos of both of us from babies to present day, it was lovely, and the guests enjoyed spotting themselves in the pictures."
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
"We had a civil ceremony but still wanted everything to be quite traditional. We had a neutral coloured theme of white with lots of greenery and hints of gold."
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
"As soon as I tried on my dress I knew I loved it, it was my first day of trying on dresses. I persevered and continued browsing, but knew I would come back to it. My dress was a beautiful simple lace gown. I chose a chapel length veil, vintage pearl drop earrings, and a delicate bracelet my mum lent me as my something borrowed. The biggest struggle was deciding on an accessory for my hair, after looking in every bridal shop in the local area and on copious amounts of websites I found a beautiful vintage style wedding tiara. A few weeks before the wedding I had second thoughts and decided I wanted to wear fresh flowers in my hair, so ordered a floral crown from my florist using the smaller flowers out of my bouquet and lots of foliage, I wore the tiara in the evening."
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
"Kris knew he wanted a modern style slim fit suit. He went off on his own and looked in the local suits shops. He came back and told me he had found one he really like. It was a dark blue, three-piece Ted Baker suit from Moss Bros. I went back to the shop with him at a later date (just to check!) and really liked it. He chose a gold paisley tie, and the other groomsmen work ivory ties.
Kris took our daughter with him when he went shopping for some new cufflinks for the day, they came back with dinosaur cufflinks. I let him have that one!"
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
"My dad walked me down the aisle to Canon in D by Pachabel."
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
"We chose our vows from the standard options, but in most cases kept the longer traditional wording in, rather than the more modern day wording."
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
"We had two readings one was Sonnet by Shakespeare read by my best friend Chris, which we thought was beautifully romantic and one was a reading entitled “The Secret Garden” Anoyomous read by Kris’ Auntie Jill. We were going to have our ceremony in the walled garden, so thought it tied in well with the theme, but unfortunately the unseasonal high winds meant me had to go with plan b of getting married inside the house!"
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
"We wanted some really lovely traditional English food that wasn’t too heavy, as we got married in August, but as we are ‘foodys’ wanted something we would personally enjoy so went for Glazed goats cheese with cured ham, rocket salad and walnut dressing, Roasted chicken breast with buttered new potatoes, seasonal vegetables and finished with a smoked bacon, wild mushroom and chive cream sauce and dark chocolate and salted caramel delice served with fresh fruit for dessert. It was delicious and we received so many compliments from our guests about how lovely the food was.
For the tables for the wedding breakfast, we kept it quite simple, we had beautiful centerpieces created by our florist, then scattered white rose petals and some gold table confetti round the edge."
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
"Yes, we gave chocolate lollies, lips for the ladies, and moustaches for the men. I came across them when I saw them in John Lewis and thought they were fun - their customer services was great; they sourced me the numbers we needed. For the children at the ceremony we made them each a personalized little box, with some little toys, bubbles and sticker books in to keep them amused.
We also put a small trivia game on each table, to keep the guests occupied during the wedding breakfast which was a hit!"
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
"I had gone a little over budget on a few elements of the wedding so the cake was an opportunity to rein it in a bit! We ordered our cake from Marks and Spencers and it was a four tier circular wedding cake. The bottom tier was fruit cake and the other three tiers were Victoria sponge. Some of my friends kindly arrived early on the wedding day to assemble the tiers and decorate it with fresh flowers (thank you Hayley and Hollie) they did a great job, even if it was a little wonky- we’re blaming the cake not the assemblers (not that you would notice from Nick’s photos!)"
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
"We don’t really have a song as such, but chose Ed Sheeran – Thinking out Loud as really liked the lyrics. We had a band for our reception, so they played this and then went into something much more upbeat straight afterwards."
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
"I enjoyed the whole thing from start to finish! I loved seeing our two year old daughter walk down the aisle ahead of me on her own, it was a very proud moment, as she got near to the bottom she stopped and waved at her cousin which everyone thought was adorable."
What led you to choose Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on their work?
"I had browsed so many local photographers’ websites looking at examples of their work, and when I saw Nick’s I instantly knew it was the one. We met up with Nick to discuss the wedding, and didn’t even bother meeting any other photographers, we thought his work was amazing and that he would fit in with our wedding day perfectly. When we saw our pictures, we were so pleased, we could not have been happier, we couldn’t stop looking at them!"
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
"Not really. I just wish I had worried less on the lead up, about everything going to plan on the day!"
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be?
"Try not go get overwhelmed with the planning process. As we both work full time and have a little girl we didn’t have that much available time! I set myself a job a month to do and started planning early, and that way found myself doing it in manageable chunks. Also, get your friends and family to help you with things, I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my Mum!"
- Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique) Justin Alexander, Perfection in Maidstone.
- Jewellery (Designer & Boutique) Pearl drop earrings from Liberty in Love.
- Shoes – Benjamin Adams
- Veil / Headpiece
- Perfume – English pear and Freesia – Jo Malone
- Hair Stylist – Collette Preston-Reeves from Idobridalhair
- Make-up Artist – Zoe Marie Makeup
- Florist – West Malling Flowers
- Rings – Recherche Jewellery
- Venue – Bradbourne House
- Décor / Styling
- Cake Maker – Marks and Spencers
- Caterer Bradbourne’s internal caterers, Baxterstorey
- Bridesmaids Dresses - Monsoon
- Groom / Groomsmen suits – Ted Baker, from Moss Bros
- Wedding Planner
- Stationery – Beautiful Day (Not on the Highstreet)
- Entertainment Band – the Rockpins, photobooth – TC Photobooth
- Photographer – Parkershots
- Honeymoon – A short break to Dubai with Emirates
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