A Whimsical Winter Wonderland Kent Barn Wedding Complete With A Sleigh
I’m so excited to share the story of my special day with you all. We got married on December 8th 2017. As soon as we got engaged we knew we didn’t want the traditional summer wedding. We’ve been to tons of them, and wanted to throw a completely different party for our friends and family.
Most girls dream of their wedding from a young age. Perhaps they pick out the details, like where they want to get married, what the theme will be maybe they even have a colour scheme in mind. For me it was different, I never had the finer details planned. I think the thing I probably dreamed about the most was my dress, and I’d always wondered how the hell you decide which way to wear your hair on the biggest day of your life.
It was only when Will and I got talking about what we wanted that we realised we wanted a winter wedding. We got so excited about the idea of a cozy, magical winter wedding with all the festive feels. I started envisioning our very own winter wonderland and that was it, we were sold on a December wedding.
How the day went down
I feel so grateful that our day turned out to exceed our expectations. It was everything we wanted and more. Leading up to the wedding I was obviously very nervous about the weather. I was hoping for a sunny, crisp, cold winter’s day – and that’s exactly what we go. Thank you universe!!! It was awful weather the day before and the day after (it snowed two days after), so we were extremely lucky.
If I look back on the day and try to pick out my best memories and what I remember most, two things come to mind. The ceremony when Will and I stood there and said our vows. We were in our own little bubble. I was super nervous walking down the aisle in front of everybody I know in the entire world, but as soon as I got to him and held his hand I was ecstatically happy.
I mean, I’ve never felt so much happiness in one moment before. It felt as though we were beaming with this warmth and love, and everyone in the room felt it. It was infectious.I have to say, our registrars from Surrey County Council were excellent, so friendly, comforting and bubbly – they carried out such a lovely ceremony.
I really loved the readings that we had too. My aunty did a reading that she wrote specifically for us about love called ‘I am in love’. Plus, Will’s siblings did a lighthearted but very sweet reading that made everybody laugh – there were plenty of smiles around the room.
The other thing I think of when I look back on our wedding is how awesome the evening party was. We had so much fun. The atmosphere in the barn was buzzing and everyone was dancing all night. We even had the sleigh (my mum’s partner made an actual sleigh for us) on the dance floor and Will and I ended up zooming around on it to Mariah Carey’s ‘All I want for Christmas’.
The speeches are also etched in my memory. My mum read out a poem she’d written about me which was just perfect. And Will’s speech melted everyone’s hearts. He keeps bragging about how hilarious he was too – I don’t think I’ll ever hear the end of it.
Oh and there was a moment in the evening where I played a rap video I made on a big screen to a clueless and rather shell-shocked wedding party, but we won’t go into that.
Anyways, in summary – it was the best day of our lives. It was so nice hearing after the wedding how much fun everyone had. It’s all you want really, for everyone to enjoy themselves. We definitely provided enough booze, food and entertainment. And our main reception venue The Plough at Leigh was absolutely beautiful (more on that below).
My wedding dress was from designer Gemy Maalouf. I initially tried on ‘the’ dress in the second shop I went to, The Secret Dress House in Reigate. As soon as I put it on my sister said, ‘I think that’s your dress, but there’s something missing, it needs something more.’ We tried it with a sequin Charlie Brear skirt (Kelly, the owner picked it out) which looked amazing, but was far too much on top of the cost of the dress.
This dress wasn’t in my budget, so the shop assistant hadn’t included it in my options because it was far too much. But when I was trying other dresses on I just happened to see it in the changing room hanging up. I was immediately drawn to the slinkiness of it and the intricate detailing on the back. I was like, can I try this one on, pretty please (she warned me it was pricey).
I put it on, loved it, then she told me how much it was. Waaayyy out of my budget. So, we let the dress go and moved on with our search. After going to this shop I probably went to four or five others, and made a beeline for shops selling Gemy Maalouf. I just adore their unique designs and the material they use really suits my figure. But I didn’t find any dress that came close.
Then two months later, I got an email from The Secret Dress House saying my dress was going in the sample sale. Wahoo!! So I went back with my sister and my mum, and there it was, sitting beautifully on the mannequin. I tried it on again and I knew.
We completed the dress by using the skirt from my mum’s 1970’s Harrods wedding dress. My sister attached to a belt I bought and my final dress vision came to life.
We got Will’s suit from Hugo Morris in Brighton, and I have to say, they matched his suit to my dress perfectly. I love how my dress and his suit compliment each other, and how well it fitted Will. The colour suited will perfectly, and it really went well with our theme. Our whole experience was extremely positive. The boy’s ties were soooo nice. A lovely silver colour and the same tie Daniel Craig wears in the James Bond movies. Although I have to say, Will looked more like a Peaky Blinder than James Bond, and I’m down with that!
The bridesmaid dresses
Oh my god, finding a bridesmaid dress was such a palaver. I think I must have ordered and sent back about 20. A word of warning, take care when ordering from America, as the charges can be a lot. We also got screwed over by a UK company who aren’t actually based in the UK and send our awful quality products – avoid Stacees.co.uk at all costs.
Finally I found some absolutely gorgeous bridesmaid dress on the Lipsy website. As soon as the first dress arrived I was sold. They are very high quality and flattering. I just adored the eyelash lace and the subtle colours. I put my sister in their pale pink dress, and the rest of the girls wore silver/grey. They’ve since released more colours. I teamed the dresses with faux fur stoles from Primark of all places. They totally look more expensive than they are (£10 FYI).
Nom nom nom. I’ll admit, I’m don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but lord, Megan’s cakes are a slice of actual heaven. I first tried her cake with a friend at The Most Curious Wedding Fair (the only decent wedding fair I went to). We tried the earl grey and lavender cake and nearly passed out it tasted so go. And no I’m not exaggerating.
So we booked to have a tasting with Megan from Blossom and Crumb, and boy did she deliver. It was virtually impossible to pick a flavour. In the end we settled for dark chocolate, chocolate porter and the earl grey and lavender cake. She took our vision and sketched out the perfect design. It looked so pretty on the day, and even matched my wedding dress! I think I’m going to be dreaming about Megan’s cakes forever more.
Umm I can 100% honestly say I didn’t do any of the decor. Except for maybe one snow globe – that’s it. My mum and sister literally made everything. Mum went completely nuts making like 90 crackers from scratch. Kalina foraged for wood and made all sorts of amazing creations for both venues, including an arch to go with our flower hanging, pom poms and the cones and ribbons that went down the aisle. Kudos to both of them, absolute legends. Our wedding came to life because of them.
Our ceremony venue, Coltsford Mill was aesthetically exactly how I’d hoped. It was beautiful and ideal for the ceremony. However, I wouldn’t recommend them due to a few things that happened that upset me – but I won’t go into the details.
Onto The Plough at Leigh. We were blown away by how incredible the staff were here from start to finish. And on the day, the barn was just magical. It was so cozy, rustic and wintery and very well designed for a wedding. There’s a bar in the barn which means no one has to leave to get a drink. This kept everyone in the room and helped create a fantastic atmosphere.
I really warmed to Hazel, the owner from the start. She was so professional and seemed to really care about our wedding coming together properly. Everything was exquisitely organised. The difference between the approach of the two venues was astounding.
For us, it really was a dream venue and proof you don’t need a grand castle to be on cloud nine on your wedding day. The pub and the barn has so much character. Oh, and the food – the food was soooo yummy. Proper British winter food cooked to perfection. Everyone was raving about how good the food was, especially the lamb main. Thank you so much to all the wonderful staff at The Plough.
Hurst Farm – wedding party accommodation
We stayed at Hurst Farm, a B & B in the Kent countryside the night before, and also used the space to get ready on the big day. You can hire out all the rooms so you have exclusive use of the grounds.
The rooms are extremely high quality, and there’s one room with an open bath overlooking the lush green countryside. Vicky, the owner was very understanding and helpful, despite us turning the place into a bit of a madhouse with all sorts of people coming and going. I can’t put into words how beautiful it is here, we’re definitely going to go back and stay when we can.
Before I started wedding planning I was always like ‘oh, I’d never spend loadsa money on flowers’ or ‘I’m totally not fussed’. I take all of this back. I am not normally a huge flower person, mainly because I kill them within days, but after my wedding, I’ve got a whole new appreciation for flowers, and that’s all thanks to Phoebe. The flowers she created were literally stunning, and they will stay etched in my memory forever. The made our day. Honestly.
They created this beautiful rustic romantic atmosphere, and I contributed to the wintery feel. I absolutely adored my bouquet, especially the colours she managed to throw in there. The dark burgundy/purple flowers were so lush. And what’s even more awesome is that Pollendenes is an ethical and eco-friendly floristry business, Phoebe sources locally grown flowers and shuns wastefulness. Seriously, take a look at some of these arrangements, particularly the floral wall hanging we had at the end of our aisle.
DJ Gary Lucci definitely deserves a mention – mainly because he made our night. He absolutely nailed the music. He really paid attention to the crowd on the dance floor and adapted his music accordingly. I think he probably quickly realised we were all nuts!
Everyone was lapping up his tunes, so much so that many people only left the dance floor once or twice the whole night. If you’re looking for a Kent wedding DJ, seriously, get in touch with Gary. He won’t disappoint. He’s got a specialist sound and lighting system set up at The Plough, and it sounded incredible.
We choose Kristida, an award-winning photographer. Her pictures are really unique. They’re like works of art, and she has the ability to capture subtle and natural moments. She was really easy to work with and made us feel very comfortable. Her pictures have captured our day in the most beautiful way, and she’s somehow made them feel wonderfully wintery.
A lot of people said they didn’t even notice her snapping away which I think is a very good thing, because it encourages your guests and wedding party to be more natural. She’s sent us all the wedding picture and honestly it’s impossible to pick which ones are our favourite as there are so many spectacular ones. It was so hard to choose which pictures to use for this blog post!!! If you love these pictures, get in touch with her today.
We also did an engagement shoot with Kristida, which I highly recommend doing because it gets you used to your photographer and taking pictures together.
I was so lucky, because one of my friends was able to do my wedding makeup, and she’s super talented. Elaine Morane makeup did my bridal makeup and I have to say, she made me feel incredible. I adore the colour she chose for my lips which was bold enough to be noticeable, but not too out there. It was ideal for our colour scheme. She made my skin look absolutely flawless, to the point where in some pictures I look like a doll her makeup is that good. Plus Elaine is so lovely, it was great having her around on my big day.
I knew I wanted Kasia Fortuna as soon as I came across her work on Instagram. I’d looked at a lot of other hairdressers but none really stood out, and I couldn’t find a look that I liked. When I went for my hair trial, she was so good at taking my feedback on board and tweaking my hair accordingly, and in the end, what she created on the wedding day was exquisite.
It was the perfect combo of a loose fishtail braid and tousled waves. She also did my mum and sister’s hair too. Check out how cool my sister’s hair was. I wanted a style that showed off her quirky personality and made her look like a warrior queen, and Kasia nailed it.
My engagement ring and wedding ring are from Number Ten in Brighton. Will felt so comfortable when he went in to the shop to choose a ring, and I’m over the moon with the result. My sapphire and diamond ring suits me so much. Plus, when we went back to choose my wedding ring, they created a bespoke ring for me – and the result was ahhhmazing. Their diamonds are extremely high quality and you can tell. Erin and Sarah were really helpful and made the whole process special.
We had pretty much a whole production crew come and film our day. The guys from Rhino TV were fantastic. They even brought a drone with them and captured some beautiful aerial footage which shows off the venues perfectly. Watch this space – video coming soon!