I love to celebrate the unusual and quirky here at Whimsical Wonderland Weddings and I have to say I really do love a Halloween wedding. There is something so atmospheric and moody about the season, with a dark romance and beautiful autumn colours. Autumn after all brings so much in the way of pumpkins, orange leaves and golden sunlight. So I am over the moon to be sharing WWW followers Kiera and Gökhan’s Halloween wedding with you, which was held on the 30th October 2019 at Cooling Castle Barn in Kent.
The barns were decorated beautifully with a magical fairy light canopy, an abundance of pumpkins and opulent centrepieces. In fact their flowers were just magnificent, I especially love Kiera’s bouquet with feathers, eucalyptus, pin cushion, berries, protea, lilies and amaranthus, oh so pretty! Also look out for gorgeous attire, sweet treats in the form of a sweetie cart and chocolate fountain (yum!) and a really stunning cake.
I am so stoked that WWW fave and Supplier Love wedding directory member Thyme Lane Photography captured their day, these images really are truly beautiful. Would you look at those smoke bomb portraits?! Woah!
Gökhan proposed to me in Istanbul, in front of a landmark called Kız Kulesi (The Maiden’s Tower – it has a great story if you check online!). It was a simple and romantic proposal; we had spent the day in Istanbul sight seeing the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia and he had kept the ring hidden in his jacket all day waiting for the perfect moment. On the way home, we passed the Kız Kulesi, and we had stopped to look at the city at night (so I thought) and then he proposed! There was no gimmicks or big surprises, just us two sharing a lovely moment together.
Halloween is my favourite time of year and we wanted something different from a typical wedding. We are not soppy love people, and we like to do everything different from the norm. We didn’t want white flowers, and Adele and Ed Sheeran were strictly off limits. We wanted something fun and energetic, and luckily Gökhan agreed to my Halloween plans. We wanted dark themes, and a barn wedding. We wanted succulents and leaves rather than roses and sunflowers. And lots of pumpkins!
The Planning Process
The planning process was relatively quick and easy – I’m a natural organiser and within one month of being engaged everything was booked and organised. I added some things on down the line, but our florist, chocolate fountain and sweet cart provider, venue, and all other main things were done within the first month. We got engaged in February 2019 and wanted to get married in October 2019, so things had to be done quickly. Luckily our favourite venue was available on the date we wanted so we went ahead and booked. We are both pretty laid back and didn’t put too much pressure on things, so the planning process was easy as if something didn’t work or was out of budget, we just moved on. I personally really enjoyed the planning process and would happily do it all again!
We didn’t set a budget in stone, but as we were having two weddings (one in Turkey where we live, and one in UK) we had to be sensible with our spending.
We chose Cooling Castle Barn in Kent as our venue as we really wanted a barn wedding, and a friend had worked there before and had really recommended the venue for weddings. They were great throughout the whole planning process and on the day – we did the ceremony room decoration ourselves as well as our cards and gifts table, and the staff were so happy to help with setting up on the day to save us some time. The venue is beautiful with indoor and outdoor areas, the food was fantastic, and they had lots of recommendations for suppliers too. It was a perfect venue; from the way it fitted our Halloween theme to the amazing staff who were happy to help all day long. At the Wedding Breakfast, they had placed our tables under spotlights, meaning that the tables all lit up individually and it looked great; it really helped our centre pieces to stand out.
Your Outfits & Accessories
My dress was purchased in Turkey from a private dress maker (Berlin Moda Evi in Marmaris). I purchased 3 dresses in total (2 for Turkish Wedding, 1 for UK) and they were custom made, altered, and she created my veils for me as well. My UK dress was a mermaid style lace bodice, and we opted to do the corset up with black lace, to match my black shoes and veil. My veil was also custom made, it was a white tulle veil with black lace and rhinestones added around the edges. I originally wanted a black dress, but my mum wasn’t too into that idea, and so I budged on that, as long as I could keep black accessories! My jewellery was either family heirlooms or wedding gifts, and my pieces of hair jewellery were also purchased in Turkey from small accessories shops. My head piece was a birthday gift from Gökhan, and the hair jewellery wrapped around the bun in my hair was a gift I bought myself – myself and my bridesmaids had matching hair jewellery in different colours. I made my shoes with my mum – as I wanted black bridal shoes but of course could not find those, so we bought some black stilettos and added lace to the body of the shoe and glued rhinestones one by one, it was a time consuming job but they looked great! I bought materials on Amazon and we then customised them.
We had a fantastic team of girls for hair and makeup on the day. Our ceremony was due to start at 1PM, the girls arrived at 8AM and managed to squeeze in 7 ladies each in that time (we may have been running a tiny bit late, but nothing to make the groom sweat!). I have used Jordan (MUA) previously and so have my bridesmaids, she is a fantastic makeup artist and we didn’t really give her a look to follow as such – we told her what sort of colours we wanted and she went with it and did a great job! Jo (our hair artist) also did a great job with all the hair. We went for a half up half down do, with the girls having a twisted plait horizontal across the back, and I had a high bun.
We did not have any groomsmen – Gökhan had two outfits. He opted for dark smart chino jeans, a white shirt, and two jackets – one navy blue, and one grey, all purchased from Damat’s in Marmaris. He jazzed his outfit up with suit chains and an awesome pair of shoes, made by a private shoemaker in Marmaris. He even managed to find a tie to match his shoes!
The Readings & Music
I chose the music myself, and as we were already married in Turkey, our UK wedding did not have a legal ceremony – it was just a blessing. The blessing was read by my uncle, and I wrote it up myself after some research online. As above, we didn’t want any Adele or Ed Sheeran and wanted some more unusual music for our special songs. I chose to walk down the aisle to Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray, and our first dance was to a cover of Controlla by Drake, performed by Andrew Garcia. Controlla was our favourite song when we met and so it is a special song for us, and we decided we had to have a cover version of this. We had another first dance song right up until 3 weeks before the wedding, when I luckily found this awesome cover on Youtube and we both loved it!
I purchased the bridesmaid’s outfits from Bella Grace Event Dresses. We took a while to decide on the right dress for the girls, and we knew we wanted black, but finding a style that everybody liked was a little more difficult. In the end we decided on a simple off the shoulder chiffon dress. Sizes for bridesmaids dress can be strange and I was struggling to work out the correct size for the girls, so I contacted the shop and sent the girls measurements and they recommended what size to order and also sent the measurements to their supplier and the dresses were custom made to fit the girls perfectly. We had them taken in a tiny bit when they arrived (as they recommended to order a little bit big just in case) and they were perfect. Great quality dresses and affordable – the bridesmaids looked amazing!
Our flowers were by the resident florist at Cooling Castle, Danny Watchorn. I sent him some images of the styles I liked and told him to go with it, so the flowers were a bit of a surprise on the day as I hadn’t been too specific with what we wanted, and just let him do what was best. He did a fantastic job, and everybody complimented us on the flowers, they were so unusual and pretty and we really loved them. He also did all the centre-pieces at the wedding breakfast, and I had told him from the start that I loved pumpkins – he put more pumpkins than I could’ve imagined, and it just looked fantastic! He also added the light canopy across the barn, and even hung my flags for me on the back wall. He was great throughout the planning process and as I wasn’t 100% set on what I wanted, I gave him plenty of creative freedom to do what he thought looked good and he got it spot on.
We didn’t want a typical wedding cake, so we went with a vanilla cake covered with black sugar paste. The matte look of the sugar paste just looked fantastic, and we did not have any decoration completed by the cakemaker, as Danny the florist was also supplying the cake decoration. He supplied the large wooden log that the cake stood on and decorated not only the cake but also the table around the cake. The cake was delicious, and I used a local cakemaker (Homemade with Love Cakes and more) who I had used for birthday cakes previously and she just makes the best cakes I’ve tasted. They worked together to make sure that the cake could support Danny’s decorations, and I didn’t have to be the messenger as they were happy to speak with each other, which was great, because I don’t know much about cakes or flowers! The cake was so pretty I didn’t want to cut it. It was so beautiful.
Our photographer was the lovely Noemi from Thyme Lane Photography, and she also bought Alex as second photographer. When looking for a photographer, I had looked at many different pages and taken lots of quotes, but Noemi’s style really stood out to me as it was a bit more dark and moody, which is what we wanted. Light and airy photos would not work with our theme, and I wanted something that captured our day as it was – dark and moody! Noemi ticked all the boxes, and she was so on-board with the Halloween and dark wedding ideas (which a lot of photographers would maybe be scared away from!) that we just knew we had to go with her. She was so lovely on the day and her and Alex worked non-stop and really delivered fantastic images from the day, and we couldn’t be more pleased! I would definitely recommend Noemi to those looking for someone with a different eye for weddings – she just sees light and locations in a way that not a lot of photographers do, and she really does deliver something unique and spectacular.
We did not have a film maker. Gökhan is a wedding film maker here in Turkey (hence why we really wanted something different from a normal wedding!) and he decided he wanted to make his own video on the day. As our weddings were spread over two weeks, with three different celebrations in total, it just made more sense to do our own video that could include everything. Don’t get me wrong, again, it is not your standard wedding video, but that’s exactly what we wanted. Shooting wedding videos is great fun but it just didn’t feel like us as a couple – we wanted something more relaxed and fun. So we made a sort of vlog/short movie style of video!
The Details & Décor
The décor and details at the wedding breakfast were all done by Danny the florist, however we added some touches ourselves (Turkish and UK flags, we designed the cards and gifts table ourselves with memorial signs, social media signs, our guest book, and small personalised chocolate favours, the designs were done by me). I also designed our table plan myself and had it printed, and all signs were designed by me. We went shopping in places like The Range, B&M, and online on Etsy to get a lot of inspiration and ideas. We purchased wicker baskets and sprayed them black ourselves to fit the theme, we ordered signs and painted them black. For the table names, each table was named after our pets (we are huge animal lovers!) and I ordered custom MDF laser cut names from eBay and we painted them and mounted onto small slices of wood. I also took photos of all our fur babies and had them printed and put into frames, for those that didn’t know our pets, so that they would understand the table names.
We also decorated the ceremony room completely ourselves – most materials were bought from The Range, B&M, Amazon and Etsy. I wanted a woodland, nature sort of look, with lots of pumpkins. I found a local PYO Pumpkin farm, and pre ordered lots of pumpkins, and then picked them up two days before the wedding. We then decorated the ceremony room with pumpkins, lots of fake ivy, fake flowers, and I also ordered 1000 black silk rose petals and we decorated the aisle with those (my dress was carrying black rose petals around all night!). The staff at Cooling then moved most of the decorations into the other barn where the rest of the wedding was to take place, making sure our decorations got full use. There were so many pumpkins that day, which is exactly what I wanted! It looked amazing. After the wedding, we were left with lots of pumpkins of all sizes and types, and we donated them to a local animal sanctuary to feed the animals.
Yet to be confirmed!
The whole day was memorable, but bridal prep was so much fun. We all got ready together – there were 9 of us in the room, me, Gökhan, 3 bridesmaids, my mum, my dad, Gökhan’s mum, and my nan. It was a pretty busy room, but we had so much fun in the morning. Gökhan and my dad stayed with us until 11:30AM when they then went to their own rooms to get ready, and to let me get into my dress (as we did uphold that tradition). Bridal prep went so quickly – there was so much to do, and we were having such a laugh, it went way too quickly. The bridal prep room at Cooling was beautiful and spacious and the breakfast and elevenses were delicious – they really do look after you at Cooling!
I had also arranged for a Turkish band to play a small section of traditional Turkish music – in Turkish weddings, a drum and wind instrument is often played at the reception, when the groom comes to get the bride in the morning, etc, and I wanted to give Gökhan and his mum a little taste of home at the UK wedding, so I had arranged for the band to come in as a surprise after our first dance, and everybody loved it! Everyone was up dancing and the reaction was so much better than I had expected – we hired Ahenkli Music for this and they were so friendly, and such a great band.
My auntie and uncle also secretly learnt a fully choreographed dance, and had lessons in secret before the wedding, and performed it after our first dances. It was a great surprise and they shocked everyone, it was so great to watch!
Advice For Other Couples
Appreciate the moments outside of the big moments – enjoy the bridal prep and the greeting the guests, enjoy the last song of the night, and enjoy the good conversations around the table during the breakfast. Spend as much time together as you can – wedding days can be really busy and so many people want to see you, but this is YOUR day, so make as many memories together as you can. Dance together, drink shots together, get ready together if you are happy to break that tradition – it makes it so much more fun!
Credit Where Credit Is Due
Cooling Castle Barn
Choc Fountain & Sweet Cart
Olly’s Elegant Hire
Make Up Artist
Jord Rogers MUA
B G Event Dresses
Berlin Moda Evi (no website or social media)
Personalised Gowns & Fans
Personalised Boxes, Flutes, Mugs, Hangers
Handmade by Helen
Personalised Bags, Two Flutes, Champagne Bottles
Personalised Makeup Bags
Cards For Boxes
Balloons On Gift Bags
Signs & Table Plan
Designed by Me, Printed by Printed.com
Just sensational and so so many magical Halloween wedding ideas too. A really wonderful Cooling Castle Barn wedding indeed.
Kiera and Gökhan, thank you both ever so much for sharing your unique and special wedding with us xo