Hello lovelies! I have a hunch you’re going to adore this wedding. It’s the perfect blend of art deco glamour and rustic floral prettiness, held at the most fabulous venue I’ve seen in a while. Spoiler: there is a peacock. And a fairground carousel. And a bridesmaid you just might recognise. In short, a wedding blogger’s dream.
Gemma, a textile print designer, and Graham, a project manager, married on 17th May 2014 at Preston Court, Canterbury. It’s a unique venue – as you’ll see from these gorgeous images by Red on Blonde Photography – and its character and charm really set the tone for the day.
“We loved Preston Court from the moment we saw it: the rustic barns, art deco organs, and the small, intimate island for the ceremony. Not to mention the carousel and the resident peacock! It had a really relaxed atmosphere and that was exactly what we were looking for. It had so much character and really lent itself to lots of colour and vintage styling. And the team there, Holly, Jenna and Anna, were absolutely brilliant too!”
Photography Copyright (c) 2014, Red on Blonde Photography
Like many great romances, Gemma and Graham’s story began on a hot and sticky dance-floor. “We met nine years ago on a Saturday night at the student union at Nottingham Trent University, where I was studying. Graham proposed the day before our seven-year anniversary with the words ‘will you marry me’ written in candles on our living room floor. We were engaged for two years before our
With such a stunning venue to work with, all the couple needed to do was add a few crafty touches to make it their own. “I handmade giant lanterns with coral and mint tissue paper. I also made two lanterns from cafetiere filters and a glue gun!”
“Our florists were Lorraine and Nicky at Shrinking Violet. We wanted soft, romantic, vintage-style flowers to match the dress and the venue, and asked for a fresh spring palette with coral tones to match the bridesmaid dresses. The flowers were stunning!
Our florists also provided the old books, vintage cups and saucers and storm vases that we used to decorate the tables.”
Gemma wore the beautiful Jenny Packham Eden dress – a firm favourite with Love My Dress brides – which she purchased from Morgan Davies in Islington, London. “I loved the 1920s vintage style of my dress. I loved the shape and drape of the beadwork and the way it gave a subtle shimmer under the sunlight.
“My silk tulle veil was handmade by my bridesmaid Nikki Lewis, who’s the head designer at Vivien Sheriff. She created a bespoke version of the ‘Sencha’ veil just for me.”
Gemma hired her Jenny Packham headpiece (what a great idea!) from Miss Lemon Brides. Her belt was by Kobus Dippenaar bought from Morgan Davies and her pearl earrings were a gift from bridesmaid Gillian.
Speaking of brilliant bridesmaids – regular readers will have noticed the popularity of wedding ‘bake offs’, where handy-in-the-kitchen guests each make and bring a cake for the dessert table. Gemma and Graham went one better!
“Our cake was made by Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn, who is a friend from uni and was one of my bridesmaids. She made the most amazing Victoria and lemon sponge filled with strawberries, raspberries and fresh cream, decorated with shortbread hearts and flowers.”
The bridesmaids’ coral dresses from Monsoon inspired the colour choices for those gorgeous flowers.
“Hannah and Toby of Red on Blonde Photography did a fantastic job of capturing our day – they didn’t miss a thing! Most of the time we didn’t notice they were there, they’re both very creative which is why we chose them, we knew we wouldn’t be disappointed.”
Further splashes of colour were added in the form of the bride’s wedding car – a beautiful 1963 split-screen VW camper called Abigail, hired from Quirky Wedding Cars – and the groom’s braces. That pop of red looks very dashing with his custom-made suit (the work of the aptly named Cad and the Dandy, stylish grooms take note).
Gemma made her entrance to ‘At Last’ by Etta James. “My favourite part of the day was walking over the bridge with my brother Wayne next to me and my best friends in front of me, with Graham smiling at me the whole way, ready to say our vows in front of all our friends and family. The sun was shining and it was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.”
The couple had one reading, ‘On Your Wedding Day’ chosen by Graham’s sister:
‘Today is a day you will always remember
The greatest in anyone’s life.
You’ll start off the day just two people in love
And end it as husband and wife.’
“I designed all the invitations, table plans and place cards and screen printed them by hand. Graham’s mum and sister baked heart-shaped biscuits and iced them with the guests’ names in pastel colours. We also donated to Cancer Research and gave each guest a pin as a favour.”
Guests were well fed and watered with canapés and cocktails during the day and a three-course wedding breakfast of goats cheese salad starter, rack of lamb and a trio of desserts. Later in the evening there were hot dogs and burgers. All food was taken care of by Pantiles Catering Company.
“We chose Katy from Soulstar to play an acoustic set outside in the sunshine, and later on she was joined by her fellow musicians to create a five-piece band. They played a variety of music from every era including Motown, current and some rock and roll classics. Our first dance was ‘Signed Sealed Delivered’ by Stevie Wonder. We wanted something upbeat that we could actually dance to and that would get everyone else up on the dance floor too.”
Words of wedded wisdom…
“Spend lots of time researching your suppliers, go to meet them and trust them to do an amazing job – if you find the right people you will have nothing to stress about on the day. Also, let friends and family help you – you can’t do it all and most of the time they’ll be desperate to get involved.
I read a few blogs in the run up to the wedding and loved checking out the sponsors of Love My Dress – that was so helpful and inspiring. And of course the real wedding features – again, a big inspiration.”
I can see exactly why Annabel chose to feature this wedding – it’s classic Love My Dress! Thank you very, very much to Red on Blonde (who you really should check out if you’re looking for a photographer) and to Gemma and Graham for sharing your beautiful day.
Love Kate xx
Photographer – Red on Blonde Photography
Venue – Preston Court
Dress – Jenny Packham bought from Morgan Davies
Shoes – Rainbow Club
Hair – Elise Bull
Make-up – Lucy Jayne
Groom – Suit Cad and the Dandy + shirt Reiss + braces Bromleys Braces + shoes Jones Bootmaker
Rings – engagement ring 77 Diamonds + wedding rings Beverley Hills London
Flowers – Shrinking Violet
Cake – Frances Quinn (Great British Bake-off Winner of 2013)
Stationery – designed and screenprinted by the bride
Caterers – Pantiles Catering Company
Transport – Quirky Wedding Cars
Entertainment – Katy at Soulstar
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