Lifestyle Magazine

A Kent Wedding Full of Creative Ideas

By Claire

Felic­ity and Simon chose Kent wed­ding pho­tog­ra­pher Rebecca Dou­glas to cap­ture all the glo­ri­ous details of their day. Before I hand over to Felic­ity I’d like to thank Felic­ity, Simon and Rebecca for shar­ing such a gor­geous wed­ding on my blog. You’re won­der­ful, inspir­ing peo­ple and you’ve really made me smile today! Thank you.

Every­one else — enjoy. This is gorgeous…

Cre­ative Kent wed­ding ideas from Felic­ity & Simon

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The wed­ding ceremony:

The Cer­e­mony was in the barn itself, with all our guests. We were lucky because the barn has two floors at slightly dif­fer­ent heights, so we were able to use a sep­a­rate area for the cer­e­mony and reception.

Reli­gious or civil? It was a civil ceremony

Which wed­ding read­ings did you choose?

We chose a poem by Cavafy called ‘Ithaca’ which com­bined my love of clas­si­cal myths with an allu­sion to the impor­tance of life’s jour­ney. We also asked Simon’s father to choose a read­ing for us, and he chose a roman­tic excerpt from the ‘Songs of Songs’.

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The bride and groom: Felic­ity (nee Adams) and Simon Howe

Who pro­posed, and how? Simon pro­posed to me on a hot summer’s after­noon in July 2010. Simon sug­gested a pub lunch and walk in the Kent coun­try­side in the area near a local vil­lage called Ship­bourne. We were out in the mid­dle of a beau­ti­ful meadow on our own when he sur­prised me with a gor­geous aqua­ma­rine and dia­mond ring.

The wed­ding venue:

The Great Barn Rol­ven­den, near Ten­ter­den in Kent. A beau­ti­ful 18th cen­tury listed Ken­tish barn in the mid­dle of a gor­geous coun­try set­ting, with a small orchard oppo­site. It’s a lovely rus­tic build­ing with loads of wooden beams and old rusty farm tools as dec­o­ra­tion (plus bats in the ceil­ing!).

Kent wed­ding photographer:

Rebecca Dou­glas, a very tal­ented and friendly local pho­tog­ra­pher. Rebecca did an excel­lent job, and we loved the vin­tage style pho­tographs she pro­duced for us, which really cap­ture the story of the day and show her eye for detail.

How would you describe your wed­ding style?

Infor­mal, fun and rus­tic. We were very much inspired by the beau­ti­ful rural Kent set­ting, which we used as a basis for our color scheme (dusky pink, cream and olive green), in the choice of dried wheat and wild flow­ers in our flow­ers, and even in our selec­tion of local wine and ale for the wed­ding recep­tion.

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Wed­ding venue styling and details:

The barn venue we hired came com­pletely empty and it was up to us to hire tables, chairs etc and dec­o­rate it.

Lots of friends had warned me how quickly the wed­ding day goes, so I was keen to share plan­ning the event with friends and fam­ily too and add our own per­sonal touches to the venue.

I have a very cre­ative friend who I asked to help with flower arrange­ments, which I planned to order from a whole­saler. She was delighted to be asked and actu­ally came up with a whole pow­er­point of plans for the venue – going far beyond my expectations!

The flow­ers on the day were stun­ning and every­one was really sur­prised she wasn’t a pro­fes­sional. We ordered a mix of dried ‘fillers’ like wheat, laven­der and poppy heads, and added some more pricey ‘show stop­pers’ like hydrangeas and spray roses through an online site,

We then used jam jars with raf­fia as vases which my mom spent months col­lect­ing for us. The high­light was a huge wreath my friend made from scratch, which made a beau­ti­ful focal point for the back of the barn that guests could see behind us dur­ing the ceremony.

In addi­tion to this, I asked one of my brides­maids to make a board for our seat­ing plan. She used a chalk­board and dec­o­rated it with Not­ting­ham lace in recog­ni­tion of the city where Simon and I met at University.

My best friend Aliki made all our wed­ding invi­ta­tions for us as she enjoys mak­ing cards as a hobby, which was lovely and personal.

I made can­vas prints of pho­tographs from our par­ents’ and grand­par­ents’ wed­ding days which I hung up in the barn as a reminder of past fam­ily wed­dings. Both our mums helped too — Simon’s mom made and dec­o­rated our wed­ding cake, and all the bunting which we used to dec­o­rate inside and out­side the venue.

My mom made a pow­er­point of pho­tos of Simon and I through child­hood until present – a lot of which she bor­rowed from face­book, which was put on loop in the cor­ner of the venue. I turned behind me briefly dur­ing Simon’s heart­felt wed­ding speech to see a pic­ture of me dressed as a duck on a night out on the screen which was quite funny!

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The wed­ding reception:

The Great Barn, Rol­ven­den. After the cer­e­mony we went out­side to the Orchard for Pimms and Gin and Ton­ics. It was a lovely sum­mery after­noon and we handed out tubs of hand­made lux­ury ice cream from an excel­lent local sup­plier which went down very well. They have a wide vari­ety of yummy flavours and I had lots of fun pick­ing out a range for our guests to choose from. We just had to make sure we got pho­tos with the chil­dren out of the way before they got their hands on the choco­late ones!

After speeches and cut­ting the cake, we served a buf­fet style bar­beque for our wed­ding break­fast, with steak, lamb, local sausages and sal­ads. It was really deli­cious and very much suited the relaxed vibe of the day, with lots of guests going up for sec­onds. For dessert, we served home­made choco­late brown­ies, which my brides­maid Tillie and I baked the day before. As well as the local wine and ale, we served a Cypriot lager called Keo to drink as this is a fam­ily favorite from hol­i­days to Cyprus (where I used to live as a child).

In the evening we served cheese, French bread and Spanoko­pita (lit­tle Greek pas­tries with spinach and cheese made by my best friend’s mom – also because of the Cyprus connection).

What were your high­lights? After the wed­ding break­fast was served, we chat­ted with guests in the orchard, sit­ting on hay bales and enjoy­ing the early evening sun. It was really relaxed and every­one was in such a good mood. It was lovely to get the chance to catch up with all our guests, par­tic­u­larly those who had come a long way.

Also, we had a pinata in the evening which was really good fun and got all the guests involved. Every­one was in hys­ter­ics watch­ing our slightly tipsy usher try and whack a mul­ti­coloured don­key – and miss­ing repeat­edly. I would really rec­om­mend it!

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Wed­ding music and entertainment:

For the wed­ding cer­e­mony, my cousins played Irish folk music on the vio­lin and clas­si­cal gui­tar, in mem­ory of Simon’s grand­mother who was Irish and sadly passed away six months before the wed­ding. For the recep­tion, we had a band ‘the Rock Pins’ who played a mix of indie hits and clas­sic pop/rock tunes which got every­one up on the dance floor all evening.

Our first dance was ‘Let’s Get it Together’ by Toots and the Maytals

What did you wear?

I wore a Mon­soon dress in ivory. It was a sim­ple style with a slightly Gre­cian and vintage-y feel to it, and pretty detail­ing on the shoul­ders. I also had gyp­sophila in my hair.

Simon wore a gray morn­ing suit and olive green cra­vat hired from Moss Bros. We had a fam­ily friend who kindly shared his staff dis­count on all the groomsmen’s suits, which was very helpful!

Mem­o­rable moments: Walk­ing down the aisle and see­ing all my friends and fam­ily – as well as see­ing the flow­ers and dec­o­ra­tions in place for the first time, I was blown away with how good it all looked, and kept peak­ing around the barn dur­ing the cer­e­mony to see it all.

Also — the speeches. My dad is a nat­ural per­former and was in his ele­ment, deliv­er­ing his speech with­out any notes! Simon and his best man Rob made a great dou­ble act and really enjoyed the oppor­tu­nity to cel­e­brate their ‘bro­mance’, hav­ing been best friends since pri­mary school.

Wed­ding day advice:

Don’t let the temp­ta­tion to do ‘every­thing’ take you over too much. At times, I realised I was get­ting a bit car­ried away with ideas for ‘small touches’ which prob­a­bly wouldn’t be noticed. What our guests enjoyed was the com­pany, the venue and the enter­tain­ment. We didn’t bother with favours, or a wed­ding car as those things weren’t impor­tant to us, but we wanted a really good band for the recep­tion, and hired a coach to get peo­ple to and from the venue.

Rec­om­mended wed­ding suppliers: — bril­liant band — local lux­ury ice cream — rus­tic Ken­tish venue — Rebecca is an excel­lent pho­tog­ra­pher and highly recommended — they couldn’t do more to help and the food was per­fect, in very gen­er­ous portions! — deli­cious local wine and cider — cost effec­tive and reli­able

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