Harriet & Giles’ Laid Back Garden Wedding Photography

Everything about Harriet and Giles' wedding was relaxed. From bridal preparation through to the evening reception, these two were the personification of chilled. Of course, I knew this was the plan for their wedding from the pre-wedding meeting, but to actually see it in fruition and see how much their guests and the couple themselves enjoyed the day was truly special. Looking back at the photos now, I'm still amazed at how completely calm Harriet was before the ceremony and the photo of that moment is one of my favourite bridal portraits. I think a lot of us get caught up in trying to create the perfect day, when we could all learn a thing or two from this couple about enjoying it the perfect way.

Here's what Harriet had to say about their beautiful wedding:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged? "We met through my brother, being friends for years before. Giles proposed on a surprise stay at the fisherman’s huts in Whitstable, Kent, where my side of the family are from. He proposed with my great grandmother’s engagement ring."

How long did you take to plan your wedding? "11 months"

Alternative wedding photography

What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them? "Horsmonden church is my family village church, so that was an easy decision. It’s a beautiful church tucked into the countryside between Horsmonden and Goudhurst. Also another easy decision was to hold the reception at my parents' garden in Horsmonden! We’ve both got lovely memories in the garden including a bonfire party 6 years ago before leaving to go off travelling the world together. The marquee fit perfectly into the garden (with the help of a few trees being chopped down) and we could use the farm across the road for parking.

We wanted to make as many of decorations ourselves as possible, so we painted tin cans with lace as the flower holders both in the marquee and church, and wove jasmine hoops cut from the garden to hang with flowers on. Signage and seating were made from old palettes lying around the garden. Other than that the garden provided much of the decoration itself!"

Wedding breakfast marquee

What inspired you to style your day the way you did?"We wanted a relaxed English country garden style wedding, from there pintrest is a great way to get inspired for things."

How did you decide on your dress and accessories? "I picked one of the first dresses I tried on in Frou Frou. I had gone in knowing I didn’t have the biggest budget and thought I’d have a look at the sample sale gowns and luckily found one. It was a few sizes too big so my mum and a family friend did the alterations and added a few touches, such as pearl buttons at the back. I don’t usually wear much jewellery, so I opted for some pearl stud earrings and some pearls in my hair dotted in between gypsophila."

Bride having make-up applied
Bride in dress in Kent

How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen? "Giles wanted something a little less traditional, he wanted something in a slightly lighter blue and lucked out finding them in the M&S sale."

Classic wedding car for relaxed wedding
Portrait of bride and car from wedding in Kent

Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song? "My Dad, Steve, gave me away. We walked down to the Prince of Denmark’s March which we picked purely because it was a bit more upbeat but still traditional."

Would you like to share anything about your vows?
"We used the traditional CofE vows but the special part for us was that Giles’ Dad, Clive, who is the Archdeacon of Tonbridge lead the ceremony."

Groom and groomsmen
Before the wedding ceremony

Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them? "We had one biblical reading by Giles’ Godfather (also a vicar!) who read the ‘Marriage in Cana’ (John 2:1=11) and my brother and sister read a non-biblical reading ‘Your Walled Garden’ which we read and just really liked and brought in the theme of the garden wedding."

Wedding Photography in field overlooking goudhurst
Bride and groom Confetti Kent

Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it? "Rather than a seated 3 course dinner we opted for larger canapés on arrival as a starter, followed by a buffet hog roast which gave people the chance to chat and mingle. We had dessert which people could sit back down for or take outside, and then later on in the evening there was a grazing table with cheese, pate, breads etc."

Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them "Yes, it wasn’t a hugely elaborate favour but more a gesture to us as a couple and being able to bring in a touch of Giles’ Yorkshire roots. We love a cuppa so we had individual Yorkshire teabags and individually wrapped biscuits (a good dunker) in a light brown card pillow box with one side stamped ‘Brew the Love’ and the other side for the guests name stamped on which then doubled up as a place setting. Teabags and biscuits were through amazon/supermarket and the pillow boxes were from hobbycraft so worked out at about 40p a head!"

arrival of bride and groom at wedding in garden
the wedding speeches
the wedding speeches at relaxed garden wedding in kent

Please describe your cake and why you chose it? "Naked cakes are everywhere now and we really love them and naturally this was also homemade by our mums. A little tip – if it’s a hot day keep it refrigerated and get the caterer to bring it out later; the top layer slipped off onto the floor as guests were arriving! Although this didn’t put a dampener on the day at all, when you are just enjoying the whole thing!"

alternative wedding portraits of bride and groom
portraits of bride and groom in orchard in kent

What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you? "Our first dance was to Ben E King’s Stand by me. It’s Giles' favourite song and was performed by our good friend Ed Gamwell’s band, 'The Way'. Although neither of us were massively keen on doing a first dance with everyone watching it really was beautifully played and meant a lot to us."

What was your favourite part of the day and why? "All of it!"

Wedding photography in field in Kent

What led you to choose Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on their work?

"Our friends got married just before we got engaged and they had used Parkershots. The photos were brilliant; the right amount of posed vs natural. We were really impressed with how Nick could get those 'in the moment shots' without being imposing!

From our enquiry to the pre-meetings to the actual day itself, everything was very relaxed and easy, which is a god send when you're juggling all other parts of the preparations! We were so pleased the finished photos; they truly are a testament to Nick's eye for detail."

wedding photography of first dance

On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight? "I’m sure lots of bride’s look back and think "oh I wish I’d done this and that" - I think it would drive me mad if I did! I like to think your day was made special by all those choices you make as a couple"

The Suppliers

  • Bride’s gown (Designer & boutique) Frou Frou, Chapel Place Tunbridge Wells
  • Perfume - Chanel
  • Hair Stylist - Emily Wood
  • Rings - Goldsmiths / engagement ring reset by Terry & Ian Read, Horsmonden
  • Caterer - Caton Catering
  • Bridesmaids Dresses - ASOS
  • Groom / Groomsmen suits - M&S
  • Entertainment -The Way
  • Honeymoon - Californian roadtrip

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