Today’s wedding is ever so pretty, I think you’re going to fall in love with it! Claire and Kevin chose Preston Court for their nuptials as they loved the beautiful setting (I think the carousel might have clinched the deal though!). On the 25th August 2018, our pair tied the knot on a stunning island then partied with their nearest and dearest and had plenty of fairground fun.
I’m absolutely loving the soft pink colour palette, it’s just so summery and has got me longing for the warm weather. Gemma from Cotton Candy Photography captured their day with all its pastel hues beautifully. Don’t you think her fine art style complements their day just perfectly? Thank you for sharing with us Gemma.
Aren’t Claire and Kevin a rather stylish pair too? Claire’s dress is a boho dream and I just adore her flower crown. Kevin totally looks dapper too, the slim fit trouser choice obviously paid off!
We were staying in a friend’s apartment in the 5th arrondissement. We had been to Disneyland and he thought of proposing there but it didn’t feel right. Then we went on a boat trip along the River Seine, but it was a boiling hot day and we were really worried about our kids getting sunburned.
Additionally on the way back to the apartment after the boat ride, I had my phone pick pocketed! Kevin was just pleased he didn’t have his bag snatched as the ring was in there!
He decided Paris wasn’t the place to propose but on the last morning, while we were sitting on the sofa with our two children, Oliver & Elizabeth playing at our feet, he did it. In that moment Kevin told me that’s when ‘it felt right’.
I was in total shock…I wasn’t expecting it at all! I said yes right away and burst into tears. The kids didn’t know what to make of it! Ha.
The ring is a Tiffany three stone ring, featuring a diamond in the middle with a sapphire either side. I once pointed it out in Tiffany on 5th Ave on a trip to New York and he remembered! Apparently, it had been in his bag hanging on the staircase in his work bag for two weeks before the trip!!
We wanted something that didn’t feel ‘package’ or ‘wedding conveyer belt’ and when we discovered Preston Court we realised that we could really make our own mark- let our personalities come through and create something in the style we wanted.
The Planning Process
We decided to find a colour scheme first and work outwardly from that. Claire – ‘I fell in love with this colour palette I found on good old Pinterest and went from there’
We found The Lovely Drawer on Instagram and loved her style. Claire had attended one of her brush lettering workshops and really fell in love with her stationary. Teri designed our save the dates and invitations with a hand drawn carousel and created a beautiful Claire <3 Kevin handwritten logo which we used on out wedding website and on the bottom of our photo booth photos! We also used Teri to do our table names. We have some framed and in our bathroom – I love them so much.
Claire – I did lots of the planning while at work, I was working for White Stuff at the time (sorry guys!) as we found it tricky planning a wedding with two kids running around! My sister and bridesmaids were really helpful too. Finding the hotel for us to get ready in (The Salutation in Sandwich, we stayed in the Gardiners cottage) and various other bits and bobs.
Kev found the car! He has a real passion for cars and I really wanted to arrive in a London black cab as a nod to our home in South East London but it was proving super tricky. In the end he found a white cab which I think I loved even more!
Well, we set a budget, but in the end we went well over that to get the wedding we wanted!
The beautiful Preston Court in Kent. A friend ( Rida of @beforeandagain_) sent me the link and the rest was history! It was wonderful and just what we were looking for. We had looked at two other venues but this had everything.
To be perfectly honest, the part of the wedding that lasts forever is recording of the day- the pictures and videos, and Preston Court is THE venue for pictures.
There is the stunning Julianna’s Island for us to get married on while our guests looked on from across the water. A beautiful barn to hold the wedding breakfast and the evening party and a separate bar area and outside space for us to set up some garden games. It was just picture perfect and to top it all off… a working carousel too! It was instant love and the team there were so accommodating and helpful.
We even spent the night at the venue with some of our guests in the glamping fields behind. So much fun and it was unbelievable to wake up at the venue the morning after.
We are lucky enough to count the owners at Floral Explosion as friends and they did the most amazing job on our flowers and table decorations. It was exactly as I had imagined and still make me smile when I look back at our photos.
I had a hand tied bouquet in a loose rustic style, created using ample foliage and a blush pink and white theme using Prince Jardinière roses, stocks, veronica, ami majus, sweet peas and lisianthus. The stems were left splayed with hanging satin ribbon in old gold, pale pink and grey colours.
My bridesmaids had pretty hand tied bouquets in a loose and rustic style following the floral theme in mainly ivory with touches of blush pink. The stems were bound with an ivory satin ribbon.
The groomsmen had buttonholes with a rose and Oliver had one too. The mums had corsages and my daughter two year old Elizabeth had a small gypsophila hand tied bouquet with trailing ribbons.
Each table featured a gold geometric lantern with a candle in the centre. Around the lantern there was a loose and rustic arrangement in the blush pink and ivory theme along with hydrangeas and ample foliage
I also had a flower crown of eucalyptus & roses tied with a ribbon. One of my favourite touches ever! I loved wearing it and felt so ridiculously happy when I caught site of it. Even if it was a little heavy!! Ha. I changed to a sparkly Jenny Packham headpiece for the evening.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My wedding dress was from Belissima Weds in Essex.
I knew I wanted a boho flowy style dress but set about to try every single style I could…just in case! From short to slinky but when I saw the Deirdre by Maggie Soretto I knew it was the one! I sashayed and swirled around and it made my mum cry (definitely the one!) It had long sleeves (which I don’t think Kev expected) & a low back with lace then a long skirt. It was perfect! Everyone commented on how the dress really suited me and of course I’d pick a dress like that! Amazing. It makes me smile just typing this up!
For my shoes. I searched high and low for the right pair! Even the many shoe shops in New York City didn’t turn up anything. Thank you to my sister in law for traipsing around with me!
In the end I went for a custom pair from Jimmy Choo on New Bond Street. I chose the style, heel height and the fabric for a class pair of satin ivory court shoes with our wedding date on a little gold bar at the bottom. I wanted something classic, elegant and simple & fell totally in love with them.
I don’t tend to wear a lot of jewellery so I chose a simple pair of drop earrings from Accessorize and as my dress covered my arms and top, I felt I didn’t need much more than that.
Kevin – My suit was a three piece matching from River Island. Skinny fit to give a better shape on the legs!
I found my hairdresser via the Vicki Lord website and the lovely Amy came to do my hair trial. I knew I wanted some kind of braid but wasn’t sure how to work it in exactly. We tried one style with braids either side that met in the middle but it didn’t feel right. Then we opted for a crown braid and I just knew that’s was it! The style I’d be looking for. It used a lot of my hair so we decided to opt for some clip in hair extensions for some length. We used Balmain extensions with a slight wave in them. They worked perfectly with the flower crown and braid and made me feel utterly bridal on the day!
Sylwia Kunysz was my make up artist and I was so happy with her work. I went for my trial in Richmond and felt so intimidated by all the makeup laid out that any ideas I’d had in my head flew out the window. We discussed what I wore usually and went from there. We decided upon a natural look with some lashes (which I loooooved!) and a slightly pink lip. I don’t usually wear lipstick so I took some convincing, but it really did look lovely in the photos!
Ed and James were the best men. Kev’s younger brothers. Ed and his family live in New York so it was super special to have them both together. The speech they did was just brilliant, so funny and heartfelt.
James – groomsman and my soon to be brother law. The day was great practise for his wedding in August this year.
Suits were from River Island and their pink ties from TM. Lewin. Kevin and our son Oliver wore matching bow ties from the Belfast Bow Company.
Shoes were from Office.
My younger sister Fiona was my maid of honour and two of my oldest friends from junior school Amy and Eva were my bridesmaids.
The bridesmaids’ dresses were from the wedding collection at Oasis. Such a great price and they fitted the colour scheme perfectly! A total steal I thought at just £90 each….they later went into the sale but we won’t talk about that!
Jewellery was from H&M! I hunted high and low but found some simple earrings and gold infinity necklaces for the girls to wear and keep.
Shoes were from Office. Simple sandals as the dresses spoke for themselves.
The Details & Décor
Claire – I knew I wanted ribbons on the backs of all the chairs. It was an image I stumbled across on Pinterest and just fell in love with it! Each of the chiavari chairs for the wedding breakfast had garlands of ribbons matching the ones on my bouquet in old gold, pale pink and grey colours. Then we had lanterns hanging from the roof of the barn in our wedding colours. It really set the barn off perfectly.
Garden games were provided by Tiggiwinkle. We had hoopla, stand the bottle, beat the buzzer, hook a duck and a kissing booth. The adults loved them more than the kids I think!
Flip flops in a wooden box by Frederick Designs provided some much needed rested feet at the end of the night. We used one of his boxes for the card and gift tables too.
We didn’t do wedding favours but made a donation to Cancer Research instead. It’s a cause that’s important to us both.
We also had a photobooth from Victoria Lily Events. It was a open one so you could watch everyone pose! It was hilarious watching the props people chose. The photo reel we got back from brilliant.
The Readings & Music
My Mum did a reading of Shakespeare’s sonnet 116. We really both loved the line ‘love is not love which alters when it alteration finds’
“Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d”
I then said some words….from my favourite TV show! Grey’s Anatomy of all things.
I slightly changed the speech that Burke makes for his impending wedding to Dr. Christina Yang. They didn’t make it down the aisle! So was a risky speech to choose. I had to take the bit out about him being a heart surgeon to make it work! Ha
“Kevin, I could promise to hold you and to cherish you. I could promise to be there in sickness and in health. I could say ’till death do us part. But I won’t. Those vows are for optimistic couples. The ones full of hope. And I do not stand here, on my wedding day, optimistic or full of hope. I am not optimistic, I am not hopeful. I am sure, I am steady, and I know. So of this, I am sure. You are my partner, my lover, my very best friend. My heart, my heart, beats for you. And on this day, the day of my wedding, I promise you this: I promise you to lay my heart in the palm of your hand. I promise you me.”
I couldn’t make it through without getting emotional and while I was worried it was a little bit cheesy I totally loved saying those words!
Music is really important to us and played a big role in our day. We’ve spent countless date nights at gigs and take our children to music festivals.
I walked down the aisle to a ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want by The Smiths but the Vitamin String Quartet version and we walked back down the aisle to ‘You & Me Song’ by the Wannadies. Songs that played while we signed the register was ‘1234’ by Feist, Sea Of Love by Cat Power, Answering Bell by Ryan Adams & Anyone Else But You by The Mouldy Peaches.
Our table names were all song titles by bands we have been to see live.
- Youth by Daughter
- Blues Are Still Blue by Belle & Sebastian
- Boyfriend by Best Coast
- Finally Moving by Pretty Lights
- Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes
- I Found You by The Alabama Shakes
- Lay Your Cards Out by Polica
- Pegasi by Jesca Hoop
- Shelter by The XX
- Such Great Heights by The Postal Service
- Emmylou by First Aid Kit
We went for a DJ and the fab ‘Wedding Smashers’ didn’t disappoint!
With any music by Ed Sheeran fully banned, our DJ Patrick was amazing. A real mix of indie classics, pop, some old school garage to please the Essex contingent of our wedding then a real funk and soul finish. The last song of the night was California Soul. Perfect way to end the night.
The lovely Nicola Tester from The Cake Witch made our wonderfully yummy wedding cake. We went for a semi-naked ivory buttercream cake with a sparkly cake topper I found on Not On The High Street. Nicola also added flowers from her garden to really set the cake off. The flavours we went for were….
Peach Melba with gorgeous Italian peach jam, raspberry jam & peach buttercream.
Honey and Orange Madeira with orange honey syrup, vanilla buttercream and caramel sauce.
Pink Velvet (raspberry and elderflower) with raspberry jam and butter cream
Smashing Lemon with lemon Syrup, vanilla buttercream
Four tiers of utter perfection. It was all gone! We were worried we had missed out but our super thoughtful caterers left some slices of each tier on our tent! Thank goodness!
The amazing Gemma at Cotton Candy Photography. Kevin was really involved in choosing the photographer and we both loved the softer, documentary style that Gemma’s photos had. She totally put us at ease both in our meeting before and on our wedding day. She caught so many fun moments and captured the day in its entirety so simply. Having Gemma at the Salutation was so fun, she captured some great photos of us getting ready and loved that she caught my Dad’s reaction of seeing me on film. She wasn’t intrusive and even when we went off to do our couple shots I didn’t feel posed or like I was forcing a smile. It all felt really natural. Also, she did the edit so quickly. I couldn’t believe it when the photos landed in my inbox not long after the wedding.
Will Cummock from Cinereportage was our filmmaker. We wanted something a little different from our wedding video and loved the idea of super 8 and old school film to remember our day by and Will didn’t disappoint! He was amazing and even helped us transport our many bags to the wedding venue. A total gent and our guests loved his array of cameras.
Dhiagli in the Maldives. Eight nights of all inclusive childfree bliss which we’ve not long got back from! It was a nice way to stretch out those wedding vibes.
Kevin- The first sight of Claire as she walked onto the Island- the tree on the island hides the view of the bride and bridesmaids walking over the bridge. My heart skipped a beat. Claire looked stunning, even more beautiful than usual, which I didn’t think was possible.
Oliver and Elizabeth stealing the spotlight during the speeches. They both had microphones and when Kevin’s Mum took the stage for her speech, Oliver was still on his so Kevin went to unplug the cable from the back of the Mic and smashed Oliver in the face accidentally! He recovered soon enough, but it was fodder for the Best Men speech when Kevin’s brother Ed said that Kevin was the first groom he’d ever seen get booed at his own wedding…
Advice For Other Couples
Make sure you get some wedding cake! Sneak away and take some time for yourselves & watch your guests. It was so nice to spend a few moments watching everyone enjoy themselves knowing that we had a hand in creating their joy.
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Cotton Candy Photography
Amy Huttley Hair
The Cake Witch
So special Kevin and Claire! Your day looks like it was just fabulous and we’re really grateful to you for sharing it with us today. Rachel x