Friday’s don’t get better than this you guys! Where to begin with Christopher and Kimberly’s amazing big top wedding? Well there is just SO much to share about their spectacular wedding day, which was held on the 11th August 2018 at The House Meadow in Kent. With The Greatest Showman as their theme with a touch of fairground and circus for good measure, they really went to town. They firstly held their memorable ceremony outdoors with hay bale seating next to the lake, they added The Greatest Showman songs to their readings and music for a really special nod to their favourite film. They then hopped aboard the vintage carousel before partying in the colourful big top tent.
They added beautifully quirky décor to the big top with cats making an appearance on their helter skelter cake, décor on the tables and giant cardboard cut outs to name a few. To really encapsulate the circus theme they had fairground ride centrepieces that incredibly came alive too, candy floss favours, acrobats for entertainment come evening and raffle tickets on the tables. Wow wee! Finally didn’t Christopher and Kimberly along with their wedding party look just incredible in their chosen outfits too?
There really is so so much to be inspired by here today, but most of all I just love how much personality has gone into Christopher and Kimberly’s day. I cannot thank Anna Pumer Photography enough for sharing these simply amazing images with us.
Sometimes I feel that Kim is actually an Agatha Christy character! She loves a good mystery. So trying to organise the proposal without having her know what was going on was always going to be difficult. I decided the only way I could set this up without raising suspicions was to get Kim to organise some of it herself (without realising it of course). She had booked us a trip to Munich for my birthday back in November so I chose to highjack the trip, she’d never see it coming! I got in contact with a local photographer in Munich and organised for them to be covertly positioned inside the Hofgarten so that when we would arrive we could get some photos of the proposal. The time was set, the location chosen, I’d found the perfect ring (got in big trouble for going awol from tidying the flat when we had guests coming around to go get it and couldn’t exactly explain why I had to go out. It was definitely touch and go that day) surely it would be plain sailing from here?! February comes around and we are packing up our suitcases to go to Munich and Kim doesn’t feel very well. She’s lost the colour from her face and she’s feeling pretty ill. I think we chose to abandon the holiday about 3 times on the way to the airport, but Kim felt so bad about it being my birthday present that she somehow managed to board the plane and get to Munich. We spent the rest of that day in the hotel with Kim running a fever. I managed to reschedule the photographer and the restaurant back a day so that Kim could have some time to recover. The next day we manage to get out into the city and buy Kim some new boots to cheer her up but it took a lot out of her so I was glad to have rescheduled. The 18th finally arrived and Kim was feeling more herself so I pocketed the ring and we headed off into the city. It was all planned for midday so we had to kill some time so I chose for us to view the city from the top of the St Peters Bell Tower, (great reviews online) Big mistake! The climb was gruelling and not at all fun, but I had the plan and I was beginning to get nervous so I had to cling to it. We finally got down a bit hot and bothered but it was finally time to head to the gardens. We have a little stroll, holding hands, sharing a kiss or two, all normal behaviours but now with a touch of nervousness to them. Kim kept asking if I was okay, I thought she was getting suspicious. We head into the Diana Temple and I asked Kim to come into the centre of the gazebo. I knelt down on one knee and I asked her if she would be my wife. She said yes. At that moment there was only her and me in the entire world. When the world started moving again there were a couple of old ladies clapping us, just outside. The photographer appeared and introduced herself and took us for a little photoshoot around the gardens before showing us to the restaurant. Kim would later tell me that she had spotted the photographer as we had walked into the gardens and thought that she had snapped a picture or two of us! I swear she was a spy in a former life!
It started off as a funfair theme and developed into a funfair/circus theme part way through with the release of the greatest showman (our now favourite movie) We wanted to have a unique wedding, one that wasn’t a convey belt produced wedding that could have been anyone’s. We wanted it to reflect us as a couple, to not take itself too seriously at times, to be fun and memorable and when we look back at it for years to come we’ll think yeah “this is me! “ (well, ‘us’ but the quote doesn’t work quite so well otherwise.
The Planning Process
Chris and I came into our own during the wedding planning. I had already started googling everything wedding and started a Pinterest board the day after we got engaged! We were picking up bridal magazines on the way home from the airport! The wedding book was a lifesaver. Having one place that everything was recorded down in made things a whole lot easier. Pinterest was a godsend and a curse. By the end our board took a good 5 minutes to scroll from top to bottom. It also meant that we kept finding incredible ideas and little touches that made sure it was never going to be a simple stripped back affair. We knew finding the right venue was going to be so important so this was our number one priority at the beginning, then it was the photographer as we’d heard how quickly they can get booked up. We used basic timings from magazines and Pinterest and tried to stagger when we did bits so make it a little less overwhelming. Having a theme to build our ideas around made it easier to envision and it made everything feel like it connected together too.
Highlight of the planning, food tasting for the wedding breakfast! Oh my word, the spread that Maryanne put on for us to try her canopies, Chris was in heaven! Glazed chipolatas, goats cheese tartlets with red onion marmalade, halloumi and roast pepper skewers, homemade scones with jam and cream, my mouth is watering just remembering it all!
We were so lucky to find our incredible venue. We had almost booked a different venue, in Kent, seemed to have ticked all the boxes but when I came to making decisions we felt very restricted by their pre-approved supplier lists and scheduling plans that weren’t up for negotiation. If there was one thing we wanted our wedding to be it was “our wedding” and that is where The House Meadow and the owner Claire Offen came in. Gazebo out on a lake for the service, gorgeous rustic barn and the Kent countryside as a backdrop. A beautiful flowering meadow for the bride to walk through as an aisle, a huge oak tree with a swing for those memorable photos, and a large open space for us the make our dream a reality.
Claire informed us on our first visit that she would be able to help us get a carousel from John Mills and we could tell that she was almost as excited about our wedding ideas as we were. Hand on heart, we could not have pulled off our wedding if it wasn’t for Claire. She was amazing throughout and the personal commitment that she puts into her business is a highly undervalued quality that we cannot thank her enough for.
Your Outfits & Accessories
Groom: white linen shirt from Moss Bros. , mint green chinos (hand dyed as couldn’t find any for sale anywhere the right colour) Mint green braces and mint bow tie from eBay. Bright tan shoes from Peppeshoes.com and mint laces from Mr-Lacey.co.uk. I wanted something that wasn’t too formal and suited being outside for lots of the day. I felt it had a modern twist to a 1920s fashion style.
Bride: A Phoenix wedding dress from Tantrum and Tiaras. It was a princess style ball gown with lace corset, glittered skirt and sweetheart neckline. I also had a custom made veil from Crown and Glory it was an orange ombre long veil with turquoise and silver stars. Shoes were Candy Whistle in gold with red stars by Irregular Choice. I wanted to keep a princess theme but I wanted my quirky influence to it too.
My hair was styled by Vicki Lord. An alternative style based on the trapeze artist from The Greatest Showman, with a braided side and stars from my face and into my hairline.
My makeup was by Helen Lee and was a glamorous look to compliment the hair.
The Readings & Music
We selected the lyrics from A million dreams – the greatest showman as our reading performed by Jenny East, the best man’s wife.
As for music we had:
Before service: I’m yours – Jason Mraz All you need is Love – The Beatles
Let there be love – Nat King Cole Are you ready for love – Elton John
Everybody wants to be a cat – The Aristocats soundtrack Paradise – George Ezra
Yellow – Coldplay
Flower girl procession: songbird – Eva Cassidy Bridesmaid procession: if I ain’t got you – Alicia Keys Bride procession: It must be Love – Labi Siffre
Signing of the register: Once upon a dream – Mary Costa, sleeping beauty chorus Here comes the sun – The Beatles
Mr Blue Sky – ELO
Tightrope – Michelle Williams, the greatest showman Just the way you are – Billy Joel
Recessional: You make my dreams – Daryl Hall and John Oates
Guests entering the reception tent: Come alive – Hugh Jackman, the greatest showman
The greatest show – Hugh Jackman, the greatest showman Be our guest – Beauty and the Beast (original) soundtrack
Meal music: vitamin string quartet album and organ funfair music by Claude Berget First dance: Never enough – Loren Allred, the greatest showman
Live band in the evening – The Soundcasters
My bouquet was made up by Jane at Graham Greener and the bridesmaids had giant pinwheels made by Chris. The outside setting and the amazing flowering meadow meant that we didn’t feel we needed any other flowers.
Peach dresses from eBay with a corset back so if they got a bit full from our wedding breakfast that could be let out a bit in the evening as it was important to me that they were comfortable. They had a choice of pretty flat sandals from Freemans or high heels from upper sole.
The flower girl dress was also peach and came from Monsoon.
Your Photographer & Filmmaker
Anna Pumer assisted by Danny Jack (Anna Pumer photography).
The Details & Décor
Where to start?! We had giant cardboard cut-outs of our cats as they couldn’t be at the wedding, a big top tent for the reception, a vintage carousel, acrobats, motorised fairground rides as centrepieces built by the groom and made to come alive by the grooms father, beat the buzzer fairground game, VW beetle and camper van for bridal transport, multi-coloured ribbons on the back of white wooden chairs for the reception, hay bales for the ceremony, home brewed beer by the groom for after the ceremony, the most scrumptious rhubarb cider from The Kent Cider company, candyfloss as wedding favours, mini pinwheels as name place holders, picture frames on ladder seating plan, retro raffle tickets as table decor, chequer board dance floor, aerial hoop for acrobatic performance after the wedding breakfast, stringed festoon lights.
Flossie pops made our spectacular helter-skelter wedding cake including cat figurines of our 4 boys joining the bride and groom on the slide. Chocolate layer, lemon layer and red velvet layer (working light in the top).
We wanted the groomsmen to match in with the groom so the same stone chinos from Matalan (just not dyed) same braces and bow ties, and same laces. The master of ceremony was dressed as the ringmaster. Top hat from Amazon, waistcoat and tie from dobell.com and a cane from a boot sale.
As part of Kim’s family tradition, the groom has to organise the honeymoon and have it as a surprise for the bride. This sounds like a lovely tradition on paper but the logistics of keeping something like that secret from the super sleuth that is Kimberly is less than ideal! Every other week she’d try to catch me out by asking something about the honeymoon “where are we going?” “if its a city break I’ll need to pack differently to if its a beach holiday”. I had to resort to having a go to response… “we’re going to Bogna!” We actually went to Playa Del Carmen in Mexico for two weeks. We stayed at the Paradisus La Perla hotel and enjoyed visiting Chichen Itza and learning about the Mayan people that built it, swimming in a senote, having an incredible time at Xel-Ha and Xplor where we zip lined above the treetops, snorkelled with colourful fish, swam through underwater caves and took a speedboat ride. We enjoyed delectable local foods, ventured out into the local towns to do tequila tasting and picked up a huge sombrero hat and hammock chair (needless to say we didn’t consider how we would get them back to the UK in our luggage!) The highlight though had to be swimming with the whale sharks, which were the size of a London bus and getting some amazing footage of them up close and also of a manta ray swimming along with them.
There were so many to choose from, having our first carousel ride as husband and wife straight after getting married, watching people walk into the tent and see their faces light up as they saw all that we’d put into it, our first dance that we’d been practicing for months and months to learn, only to forget half the steps and truly having to dance it instinctively for the first time and nailing it (minus Chris slipping on my dress) or when the acrobats did their amazing display only to then invite Kim to sit in the hoop and be hoisted up into the air.
Advice For Other Couples
Make sure you plan a wedding for YOU. Enjoy the process and add all those little details that will make your wedding remind everyone, and you, of how unique you guys are. Be in the moment on the day and soak it all in. Do what you want to do and don’t be dictated by others because you cannot get this day back to do it differently. And finally, however simple or crazy you make your wedding reception, don’t forget that getting married is the reason you’re doing this so make sure you are ‘present’ for that part and forget about the rest for that half an hour. Oh and get wedding insurance, it’ll give you so much peace of mind.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Anna Pumer Photography
The House Meadow
Jam and Tea
Crown and Glory
Have you seen The Greatest Showman yet? I have to say I fell in love with it when I first watched it and the songs are just some of my faves ever. What a brilliant theme for a wedding day.
Christopher and Kimberly, thank you so very much for sharing your wonderful wedding day with us xo Lou