Picture the scene: Beautiful Kent countryside. Rolling hills of farmland with hardly any hint of human activity reaching your ears, perfect blue skies, summer sun, and birds singing. Now inject into that rural image, 471 of the finest Italian horse power – the groom arrived for his wedding at Chafford Park in a stunning Ferrari F40.
I’d previously asked David to text me when he was nearby, but there wasn’t really any need; I could hear the engine song of him approaching long before I saw the car on the driveway. It’s a very special car that made everyone smile upon seeing it. The biggest smile of all was on the face of David as he pulled up. I’m sure it must have struck a chord with childhood memories as he looked like a kid at Christmas. However, this may not have been the happiest I saw him look as his expression at the end of the ceremony just about topped even this.
Beautiful cars were a bit of a feature at Sarah & David’s wedding; outside the reception barn and providing a unique backdrop to the day were the Ferrari F40, a Porsche Speedster, and a classic Morris Minor that David had worked on extensively with his father. They were a great talking point, and added an extra touch of elegance to the day without taking over in any way. It was a great idea.
It’s always a pleasure being a wedding photographer at Chafford Park and I enjoyed so many aspects of Sarah & David’s wedding. They were clearly a stylish couple with great taste, but were also so nice to work with. It was great fun taking them around the wedding venue for portraits, and being blessed with some of the best weather we had this summer, also gave us an amazing sunset to work with.
Here are a few words about Sarah and David, and their wedding in their own words:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
“We were introduced over a game of 10 pin bowling by a mutual friend – that was 10 years ago. David proposed after the midnight fireworks on a boat in the Sydney harbour where we were spending new years eve in 2015/16.”
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
“We had just under 18 months to plan as we knew we wanted an early summer wedding.”
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
“We searched 3 counties and numerous venues, but in the end knew that Chafford Park offered the rural and picturesque setting we wanted, whilst also allowing us to put our own stamp on the day. We decided on a fresh colour scheme of yellows enhanced with white and green and used this throughout both the ceremony and reception barns. We used a styling company, ‘Not Your Average I Do’, to create an arbour for us in the ceremony room, and we decorated the chairs with simple white muslin and green tie backs. ‘Not Your Average I do’ installed white draping and a white star cloth in the reception barn. Our florist created fabulous displays in 3 foot tall clear vases, again using yellow as the primary colour.”
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
“We wanted to create something reminiscent of an English garden party, with that chilled out summery air of relaxation and fun!”
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
“I visited a few bridal shops but in the end went back to the first one where I had fallen in love with a gorgeous ivory lace. The dress was a simple fit and being quite short I knew I couldn’t carry off a big meringue so this was just perfect for me. We added a few embellishments to make the dress unique to me. Shoes were not so easy but I eventually settled on a pair of strappy heels with ivory and a silver sparkle which perfectly matched those of my bridesmaid. I knew I wanted pearls for jewellery but couldn’t decide between 2 sets and so only made the final choice about an hour before walking down the aisle…”
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
“We wanted a suit with a material that wasn’t business like so settled on a wool rich 3 piece in a navy blue. Ushers were styled to match in 3 piece blue suits. The groom and groomsmen all wore matching yellow ties and bright yellow socks!”
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
“My Mum was honoured that I asked her to walk me down the aisle. I chose Katie Melua’s ‘Call off the search’. I’ve always loved that song and the words just seemed perfect.”
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
“We picked from a selection provided by A Kentish Ceremony, there was a good enough choice that we felt the words still felt personal to us.”
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
“We had ‘On Your Wedding Day’ and ‘He never leaves the toilet seat up’, both by anonymous authors. We felt both readings really reflected our personalities and our life together whilst also being humorous.”
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
“Food is very important to both of us, but as a wedding and events planner myself we wanted something different from the norm, and which would suit the relaxed style of our wedding. We had lots of canapés during the drinks reception and opted for a high end barbecue for the wedding breakfast. Meats and fish were served to the table on wooden chopping boards and guests were able to help themselves to platters of salads placed in the middle of the tables. Dessert was a lovely Eton Mess served on black slates.
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
“We opted for mini heart shaped topiary trees which were inspired by the outdoor surrounds of Chafford Park. We had created a logo with our name and date and painstakingly stamped this on every tree as a memento for our guests.”
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
“Our cake was made for us by the Groom’s mother. We both love fruit cake but know that not everyone does, so as well as our traditional iced fruit cake which created the top tier, we opted for mini sponge cakes flavoured in lemon or chocolate and individually iced; served on the lower tiers of our six tier cake stand!”
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
“We picked Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking out Loud’ – Sarah always loved this song so there wasn’t much discussion to be had!”
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
“We really have to say the weather! We had such a perfect day and the venue looked resplendent. Everyone was so relaxed and even late into the evening, guests were able to be outside playing garden games.”
What led you to choose Nick from Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on the results? .
“We were instantly impressed with Nick’s work when we looked at his website. His reportage style suited us perfectly and we could see from looking at his portfolio that he would be the right photographer for us. Nick is relaxed and unobtrusive and manages to capture so many amazing moments.”
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
“The day goes so quickly that it’s hard to talk to everyone, with hindsight I would have started just a little earlier and had a longer drinks reception.”
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be?
“If you think you’re organised you’re not, start doing things earlier… and no matter how hard you try, you’ll always blow the budget, accept it, it’s the best day ever!”
– Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique) Mikaella Bridal. Sally at Helena Fortley in Caterham https://www.helenafortley.co.uk/
– Jewellery (Designer & Boutique) Lido Pearls, John Lewis
– Shoes: also John Lewis (own brand bridal range)
– Perfume: Babydoll, YSL
– Hair & Make-up Artist: Christina Jessell, hair & make up http://www.christinajessel.com/
– Florist: Katherine Bly flowers http://www.katherinebly.com/
– Rings: Engagement ring by The Diamond Store. Wedding rings by Chisholm Hunter (Bluewater)
– Venue: Chafford Park, Sarah Swiderski http://chaffordpark.co.uk/
– Décor / Styling: Not Your Average I Do. Kelly Kearly http://notyouraverageido.com/
– Cake Maker: Mother of the groom!
– Caterer: Red Anywhere, Imogen Boath http://www.redanywhere.co.uk/
– Bridesmaids Dresses: http://www.alexiadesigns.com/Bridesmaids/Junior-Bridesmaids/
– Groom / Groomsmen suits: Groom – Ted Baker. Groomsmen – Dickies of Crawley http://www.dickiesofcrawley.com/
– Stationery: designed by a friend
– Entertainment: Buffalo Tale band, Brian Walters http://www.buffalotale.co.uk/