As Tom so aptly pointed out in his speech, the weather for their wedding was "well hot". For some reason, it seems to always be nice weather when I'm photographing weddings at Blackstock Country Estate, but the temperature on Saturday was definitely a new record high. We didn't mind though, and were actually counting ourselves very lucky as the forecast had been showing thunderstorms for the whole day throughout the run up to the wedding.
Lauren got ready with her bridesmaids on site so I joined her there in the morning, before photographing Tom & the groomsmen with an amazing classic Bentley that they had arrived in.
They had their ceremony in the barn with Lauren's mum having the honour of walking her down the aisle and the guests gave the couple a confetti blessing down the aisle at the end. Everyone then enjoyed drinks and canapes on the patio before heading into the Granary barn for the wedding breakfast and speeches. The speeches were all very good, but the best men were truly on form. Tom looked shocked at times that they actually 'went there' with some jokes, but they had everyone laughing across the room.
Lauren & Tom then got the evening party started with a first dance, but as it was still so hot, everyone remained outside, and queued up for ice-creams & sorbets from a classic ice-cream van. This addition was a touch of genius considering how the weather turned out, and was extremely popular with all guests.
As the sun drew closer to the horizon, it revealed faint clouds across the sky, and made the perfect backdrop to a portrait of the newly weds.
Congratulations to Lauren & Tom & wishing you lots of happiness together!
Here is some more about the couple and their wedding choices in their own words:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
"We first met on a night out in Tunbridge Wells in 2017 as we had a few mutual friends. Tom proposed in December 2021. We flew to New York on boxing day and he proposed the day after in Central Park."
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
"We visited a few venues in Spring 2022. After choosing Blackstock, it only took us a few months to book our main suppliers after visiting spring wedding shows and researching online / social media."
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
"We choose Blackstock Country Estate as it ticked all of our boxes. We wanted something with a beautiful outdoor space and view, in the hope we would have sunny weather. We also wanted somewhere private, without hotel guests or members of the public being around. Blackstock also provides food and drink, meaning we didn’t have to find caterers or source our own alcohol.
Inspiration Décor is one of the recommended suppliers for Blackstock. Joanna was incredible, she had some many options in terms of colours and flowers, it was a really easy and stress-free way to decorate the barns.
I made all of the signage myself using Canva and had them printed locally."
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
"We wanted fresh, subtle yet summery theme. I knew I wanted light pink to be the main colour for everything. Roses and peonies are my favourite flower and are in season in June. Everything was based around light pink roses, from the save the dates and invites, to the signage I made, the flowers in the ceremony barn, our centrepieces and the sugar flowers on our cake.
We love to travel so we decided the best theme for us would be travel. Our tables were named after countries we had visited together. Each table had a photo of us in the named country/city."
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
"I always knew I wanted a mermaid style wedding dress, even though they say you never know until you’ve tried a few different style on. It had a few layers, including shimmer, two different layers of lace and finished with a few pearl details.
I wanted to go for something I loved in the moment, rather than playing safe and opting for something overly plain or traditional. I wanted to feel special and glam as I’m not planning on being in a wedding dress again!
Accessories were very difficult to choose. I work in a jewellery store so am constantly seeing new pieces I like. I ended up going for simple diamond earrings and a single pearl pendant."
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
"Tom always wanted a navy blue suit and as our theme was light pink, we thought this would go best. We went to London and Tom tried a few different suits and shades of navy. He opted for a slightly more vibrant blue, whereas the groomsmen suits were a more muted blue."
Who gave you away / walked you down the aisle? And did you walk down the aisle to a particular song?
"My mum walked me down the aisle which was a very special moment for us both. We walked down to ‘Can’t help falling in love’ by Elvis, but an instrumental version. Tom and I love the song and it reminds me of my grandparents. Mum & I also visited Graceland when touring Memphis – we aren’t crazy Elvis fans but was something we had to do while there, so that is another little reason it was the perfect song for us all."
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
"As we weren’t having a church wedding, we were unsure exactly what the registrar would get us to repeat. The registration office weren’t overly helpful in providing options or a rough script before the wedding, so as we wanted the wording to be something we liked we decided to write our own vows."
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
"During the ceremony we had two readings. One was a poem read by Tom’s mum Judith, named 'On Your Wedding Day'. Our second reading was a poem written by Lauren’s mum Tina, read by Lauren’s aunt Karen. This was read after we were married, celebrating us as newly weds and wishing us happiness."
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
"We had a three course wedding breakfast, we wanted to choose dishes that we would enjoy but of course were conscious of trying to cater to everyone. Our starter was a duck and pomegranate salad, we thought this was something a little different but light and refreshing. Main course was lamb shank with crushed potatoes and vegetables. For dessert we chose shortbread with fresh strawberries and cream. Again, something summery that tied in with our colour scheme!"
Did you provide wedding favours?
"Our wedding favours were small shot bottles of Tequila Rose. I purchased the bottles on Amazon, had personalised labels printed from Etsy and we made the bottle up the day before the wedding. We thought this was fun idea, pink to match our theme and something we thought most would enjoy. We didn’t want to purchase anything that would get left behind."
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
"Our wedding cake was three tiers, the flavours we chose white chocolate and raspberry, red velvet and passionfruit. Tom doesn’t eat cake at all, so these were my favourite flavours from the tasting and also flavours I thought were summery.
I ordered a personalised laser cut cake topper from Etsy. We met our cake maker at a wedding fair an hour from home, turns out she lives in the same town as us! The icing was very similar, just off white icing on all tiers, with the centre having a dusting of shimmer added to match my dress. Debbie made beautiful pink roses as sugar flowers to match my bouquet."
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
"Our first dance track was John Legend 'Nervous'. The words are really beautiful and particular lyrics have a lot of meaning to us. We saw John Legend perform the track live a few months before the wedding and we knew from then that song would most likely be either our aisle track or our first dance."
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
"It’s hard to pick just one party from such a big busy day. Lauren’s highlights were getting ready with the girls in the morning, walking down the aisle and seeing Tom’s reaction, having time together on the grounds at Blackstock in the golf buggy on the way to take photos, sitting for the wedding breakfast and seeing guests enjoy themselves and when the ice cream van arrived in the evening knowing we had the rest of the night to dance, drink and relax.
Tom's highlight were arriving in the vintage Bentley and having photos in front of it with the groomsmen. Having all of our family and friends together in one space but also being able to spend time just with Lauren on the day. The food, including the amazing ice cream van and all of the drink!"
What led you to choose Parkershots as your photographer?
"Finding a photographer was surprisingly the hardest of suppliers to choose as there are so many and it felt like the biggest decision to make, other than the venue. We spent ages looking through Instagram to find the work of local photographers. We actually just stumbled across Nick’s Instagram page as he was tagged in someone’s wedding photo that was posted by a local bridal boutique. He very quickly went to the top of list of potential photographers. After looking at his website, testimonials and after a quick zoom meeting with him we knew we had to secure him for our wedding date.
When searching for a wedding photographer we were looking for someone to capture timeless, non-fussy shots which is exactly what Nick has provided us with. He was so professional and lovely to work with, we are both genuinely so happy that we chose him. Not only do we love the photos, but he helped the day run smoothly and organised the guests for all the group shots we wanted. It was a pleasure having him at our wedding to capture the day.
We opted for an engagement shoot just to get to know him and to practice having photos taken together so we could relax on the wedding day. He put us at ease straight away and it didn’t feel uncomfortable or awkward at all. This is something I would recommend if possible. Nick kindly allowed us to bring our puppy to the engagement shoot, which is something I doubt all photographers would have had the patience for!"
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
"No. Well, maybe the registrar but that isn’t blog worthy!!"
If you could impart any words of wisdom to a bride to be planning her marriage and wedding day, what would they be?
"We didn’t have a huge wedding, just 60 day guests then 50 extra in the evening, which we thought was perfect. You do spend a lot of time having photos and chatting to guests, you can get carried away inviting people but I would say you wouldn’t be able to appreciate everyone with too many guests.
We were unsure on having a ‘theme’ but I think ours was subtle enough but had meaning to us as a couple it was nice to have something unique to us. We also had an ice cream van arrive in the evening which was perfect as it was such a hot summers day.
I’m naturally very organised so I enjoyed planning every step, but if you aren’t organised I’d recommend trying to kept on track by using notebooks or a spreadsheet to keep notes and to budget. Two suppliers accidently tried to overcharge me but I had notes on deposits paid which is the best way to check people are invoicing you the correct amount!
Etsy is a great way to purchase personalised items from small businesses, especially if you aren’t overly creative yourself. There are also a couple of Facebook groups for Brides which can be helpful."
- Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique) – Lucia Veil Bridal
- Jewellery (Designer & Boutique) - W.E. Clark & Son
- Shoes – Paradox London - Debenhams
- Veil / Headpiece - Etsy
- Perfume – Miss Dior by Dior
- Hair Stylist – Emily @ Emily Rose Hair
- Make-up Artist - Marzia Este (friend)
- Florist – Uckfield Flower Shop
- Rings - W.E. Clark & Son
- Venue – Blackstock Country Estate
- Décor / Styling – Joanna @ Inspiration Decor
- Cake Maker – Debbie @ CakeBoutiqueSussex
- Bridesmaids Dresses – ASOS
- Groom / Groomsmen suits – Charles Tyrwhitt & TM Lewin
- Stationary – Etsy and Canva
- Entertainment – Dave at Unlimited Production
- Transport – Chris Lunn (family friend)
- Videographer – Katharina – FilmsbyKatharina
- Photographer – Parker Shots
- Honeymoon – Maldives with TravelBag
Share this story