Catherine and Charles' wedding was a real pleasure to photograph, and for many reasons: They're a lovely couple that I've thoroughly enjoyed working with, from their the pre-wed portrait session to the wedding day itself. (I also found out during their wedding that I share a love of open water swimming with Catherine, and a love of gaming with Charles. Although I haven't played much since my son was born, that trend is now reversing as he's getting older.) Then there was Catherine's pre-ceremony prep location in Tunbridge Wells being just 7 minutes drive away from my home (who doesn't love a short commute?). Their ceremony was at one of my favourite churches, St. Paul's in Rusthall, Kent (a beautiful church and Rev. Ronnie always conducts a great ceremony). And finally, the rest of their wedding day took place at the beautiful Wadhurst Castle, East Sussex - a venue that I have photographed many weddings at, and love more and more with return there.
Before the ceremony, Catherine was joined by 4 bridesmaids at her mum's house, where Kate Beaumont and Harriet Rainbow were applying their hair & make-up skills. One of the best men then adopted chauffeur responsibility & drove Catherine to the St Paul's church on the outskirts of Tunbridge Wells.
After the service, Catherine and Charles joined their guests on a classic red London Double Decker bus, that took them the short distance to Wadhurst Castle. Everyone arrived smiling and in celebration mode, so the bus was clearly a winner.
They then enjoyed drinks, canapes, photos, & croquet on the lawn, before the first of the speeches. This was from the father of the bride and took place on the steps leading from the Winter Garden to the lawn. I love this location for the speeches. It really utilises the aspects of the venue; an elevated position for the speaker and the castle as backdrop, & plenty of room for the guests, with incredible views across the countryside behind them. It also brought everyone together nicely before they were ushered in to the barn for the next speech. This was by Catherine and Charles, and flowed beautifully into the meal, before the best-men's speeches between the main and dessert. The food was provided by Amuse, and as per usual was absolutely amazing.
As the sun began to fall from view, I then took the newlyweds for some portraits around the grounds, before they started the evening off with their first dance. Then it was full on party mode with a rammed dancefloor, & guests enjoyed drinks from the bar in the Winter Garden.
Congratulations Catherine and Charles - wishing you lots of happiness together!
Here is more about their day and wedding styling choices in their own words:
How did you meet, & how did you become engaged?
"Charles and I met in 2013 during our first year of university where we were studying biology. We (finally!) got engaged 9 years later on a trip to Iceland. Charles planned a wonderful walk to a secluded lighthouse and popped the question in front of the beautiful mountain range backdrop. We celebrated by enjoying a tasting menu at an Icelandic restaurant."
How long did you take to plan your wedding?
"Around 18 months"
What made you choose your wedding venues and how did you decorate them?
"Growing up I attended my local village church with my family, therefore I always knew that I would want to get married there. When choosing a reception venue we looked for somewhere within a half an hour drive of my local church. Nature and the countryside were a huge part of both of our upbringings and something we both enjoy exploring together; therefore we instantly fell in love with the gardens and scenery at Wadhurst castle. We organized for our florist, Kim, to provide a selection of flowers which could be utilized in both locations to cut down on waste. We were keen to minimize the environmental impact of our wedding so wanted all of our decorations to be used throughout the day."
We hired decorations for Wadhurst from Helen Tinworth; these included a croquet set, lanterns and a vintage letterbox for our guests to post their cards."
What inspired you to style your day the way you did?
"Stylistically we aimed to complement the natural greenery of Wadhurst along with our love of nature. We wanted as many local suppliers as possible and to hire/ reuse as many aspects of the day in order to reduce waste."
How did you decide on your dress and accessories?
"I found my dress through Isabella Grace, it was actually the first dress I tried on, I instantly fell in love with the elaborate train and low back. I felt like it complemented by personality with the sparkles and lace and I felt truly comfortable in it. As the back of my dress was elaborate, I knew that I wanted a simple veil, I found this at Britten Weddings."
I already followed Eden b on social media after I had previously tried on their hair accessories in a hair trial as a bridesmaid. We visited their shop and Hannah and I experimented with different flowers/ styles before settling on a mixture of two of their bespoke clips. I wanted accessories which I could use again in the future for special occasions, and these were perfect."
My jewelry consisted of a pair of earrings lent to me by my mum, and a necklace Charles had bought for me recently."
I bought my shoes from Lace and Favour after trying them on in their store in Crowborough. It was very important to me that they were comfortable and I rarely wear healed shoes. We found a suitable which they were surprisingly comfortable which meant that I stayed in them until after out first dance before changing into my old faithful white trainers."
How did you decide on the outfits for the groom and groomsmen?
"Charles wanted to have a suit made and chose the company Edit suits to do this. We chose the suit colour and lining together, with the idea that Charles would have a suit which stood out on the day, but also could be used in the future. He picked a green tie to match the bridesmaids dresses.
We hired the best men/ groomsmen’s suits from Moss; we felt like the sage colour would match the aesthetic of the wedding well. We allowed our younger groomsmen to choose between ties or bow ties depending on their preference."
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 Pachelbel’s Cannon played on the organ."
Would you like to share anything about your vows? Did you tailor your own?
"We did not tailor vows, we stuck with the traditional religious wording, but made sure to pick the ones which represented our marriage. We chose not to have a specific person ‘give us away’ instead opting for our whole congregation to ‘support’ our marriage."
Did you have any readings? If so, what were they and why did you choose them?
"We chose two readings a biblical reading, Collossians 3, 12-17, read by Charles’ father, and an extract from Cosmos by Carl Sagan, read by a close friend. We felt that both had words which resonated with what we wanted from our marriage. In particular we chose the reading from Cosmos because it incorporated our interest in science and the meaning of life."
Please describe your wedding breakfast and the reasons behind it?
"Our catering was provided by Amuse. We decided with Sarah and Mike that our menu should be light, fresh and made up of seasonal ingredients. We chose a potato and pea terrine to start which was full of summer flavors, then our favorite meat, duck, for the main, with red cabbage, which is a popular vegetable in my family. For dessert we wanted something smooth and delicate so opted for the berry panna cotta, which was my favourite of all of the courses."
Did you provide wedding favours? If so, please provide details or what and where you sourced them
"We did not provide wedding favors, in my opinion these often get left behind at weddings and we wanted to be mindful of waste."
Please describe your cake and why you chose it?
"Our wedding cake was a two tiered semi-naked gluten free sponge, one tier had lemon curd and the second tier had raspberry jam. We have used the Eat’n’Mess for cakes previously as my sister is a coeliac and Danielle makes lovely gluten free cakes. Danielle decorated the cakes with fresh flowers to match our florists style. I conceded to allow Charles to include a miniature model of our cat on the cake – he wasn’t allowed to join in person, but we still wanted to include him."
What was your first dance track and what did it mean to you?
"We chose Ben Howard's ‘Only Love’. This song came out when we were at university and we both loved it."
What was your favourite part of the day and why?
"My favourite part of the day was the actually church ceremony. Having all of our family and friends supporting us in that moment was very special to me."
Charles’ favourite part of the day was Alan’s speech, followed by Catherine’s successful sabrage."
What led you to choose Parkershots as your photographer and please can you comment on their work?
"We wanted a photographer who had experience with Wadhurst Castle and knew the grounds and suitable places to take photographs. We spoke to several photographers and felt that Nick best suited us – the perfect balance of professional direction, whilst listening to our suggestions. We both felt instantly comfortable and relaxed chatting to him and trusted that he understood our vision for the day. We are incredibly happy with the photographs he produced and would recommend him in the future."
On reflection, is there anything you would have done differently with foresight?
"Nothing that would majorly change the day, I would have been less focused on the small things, like tablecloths, as I barely noticed these 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?
"Relax and enjoy yourself, trust that the vendors you have chosen know what they are doing and want you to have the best day possible."
Is there anything else you would like to add?
"A continued massive thank you to you Nick!!"
- Bride’s gown (Designer and boutique): Designer: Essence of Australia; Shop: Isabella Grace, https://www.isabellagracebridal.com/
- Fitting: Delphine Couture, https://www.delphinecouture.com/
- Jewellery (Designer & Boutique): Bridal necklace: Tiffany and Co; Bridal Earrings: family heirloom;
- Shoes: Lace and Favour, https://www.laceandfavour.com
- Veil / Headpiece: Veil: Britten Weddings, https://www.brittenweddings.com/; Hair piece: Eden b, https://www.edenbstudio.com/
- Perfume: Chloe
- Hair Stylist: Hero Hairstylist (Kate Beaumont) , https://www.herohairstylist.com/
- Make-up Artist: Harriet Rainbow , http://harriet-rainbow.co.uk/
- Florist: Kim , https://www.theflowerhouse.biz/
- Rings: Bridal rings: Taylor and Hart; Grooms ring: family heirloom
- Venue: St Pauls Church Rusthall , https://www.stpaulsrusthall.org.uk/; Wadhurst Castle , https://wadhurstcastle.co.uk/
- Décor / Styling: Helen Tinworth
- Cake Maker: Eat’n’Mess , https://eatnmesscakes.co.uk/
- Caterer: Amuse , http://www.amuseprivatecaterers.co.uk/
- Bridesmaids Dresses: Oasis
- Groom / Groomsmen suits: Groom: Edit Suits , https://www.editsuits.com; Groomsmen: Moss
- Stationery: Ophelia London
- Entertainment: DJ Lewis (Function Central)
- Transport: Brian Jones Coaches , https://brianjonescoaches-com.stackstaging.com/info
- Photographer: Nick Parker/Parkershots , https://parkershots.com/ ,
- Honeymoon: Mauritius and Reunion
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