From the proposal to the big day, every wedding is as unique as the couple tying the knot. We hear from bride Kim Chatfield about how she and husband Jason enjoyed the wedding of their dreams when they said ‘I do’ at a thousand year old church, before dancing the night away at Bradbourne House…
How did the two of you meet?
My husband and I met when we were at college; I was 17 and he was 18. We were together for 10 years when we got married, so it had been a long time waiting, but so worth it! Everyone was so happy for us, and they said it was the best wedding they’d ever been to! I think it helps that I’m also a graphic designer, so had lots of creative ideas – the key is to be organised!
Tell us about the proposal
The proposal was perfect; Jason chose Bournemouth seafront, which is a place close to both of our hearts, as Jason has family down there who we regularly visit and love spending time with. That day, we were all having drinks in their hot tub, and in the evening we headed down to the beach, where Jason went down on one knee and popped the question every girl longs to hear! He then presented a truly special diamond ring that was worn by his grandmother – it fitted perfectly and was a truly lovely moment.
Where did you get married and how did you choose the venue?
We got married at Jason’s local family church in Hadlow. Jason is very traditional, so it had to be a church wedding (he was more the bride!). The church is called St Mary’s and is over 1,000 years old; it has a beautiful cobble street situated in a lovely old village. We had glorious flowers throughout! Our florist and cake maker was a family friend who has a business called April Haven in Hadlow (www.aprilhaven.co.uk). Our flowers throughout were just so beautiful and colourful – perfect for our summer wedding!
And the reception?
We had our wedding reception at a stunning venue called Bradbourne House in East Malling, which we found online via a Google search. I knew straightaway it was the one for us! It had a traditional stately home feel, with stunning ornate pictures, perfectly sized rooms and plenty of room outside for games, a lake for pictures and an area for everyone to relax and enjoy our day – we had the whole venue to ourselves!
Any key highlights from the wedding day?
Our big day had a lovely natural and relaxed flow to it. My parents, bridesmaids and I stayed in The Hadlow Manor Hotel, so we could all wake up together and get ready.
We had beautiful classic cars to pick us up and take us to the church which we hired from First Choice Wedding Cars (www.firstchoiceweddingcars.co.uk) and Aarion Wedding Cars (www.aarionweddingcars.co.uk). I was very early and very keen after 10 years!
We also organised a classic red double-decker bus from Red Route Buses (www.redroutebuses.co.uk) to chauffer our guests to the wedding reception – it was packed full of Moët Champagne for all our guests to enjoy. On arrival, they were greeted by our lovely toastmaster and even more drink!
I did a lot of research on costs, styles and interior colours to complement my dress, because you can get some vintage cream cars that look stunning from the outside, but inside they’re a horrible dark brown and red, or some of them are even black!
The sun was shining, so everyone headed outside to play games and enjoy a close-up magician. We sat down in the traditional breakfast room to a silver service wedding breakfast. Our guests were given personalised mini folders with a scratch card, personalised chocolate M&M’s and a fun table quiz!
I designed, printed and produced everyone’s favours and wedding invites. Being a graphic designer, I had lots of ideas, but the key is keeping it simple, elegant and classy! All my ideas were fun and engaging, which created a fun atmosphere for everyone. It’s creating a talking point for everyone – from the scratch card and table quiz to the bubbles and personalised chocolate treats.
The atmosphere was amazing – everyone was cheering throughout the speeches (I think the free Moët helped!), and after dinner we had a balloon release and the bouquet toss. Everyone just carried on enjoying the sun and games, then in the evening we had a huge hogroast, the amazing Motown Sensation band and fireworks, which lasted for over ten minutes!
Which destination did you choose for your honeymoon?
We went to Sardinia in Italy. It was stunning and Catherine Zeta-Jones was there at the same time!
Talk us briefly through some of your key suppliers and how they helped make the day special
Our photographer Steven Duntan (www.duntonsphotography.co.uk) was amazing – we even had a pre-wedding photo shoot, and on the day he captured photos so quickly and in the perfect way! Our florist had a big job on her hands and did a wonderful job, with stunning flowers everywhere! My dress was from Isabella Grace; I recommend this place to all future brides! Transport for everyone was key and the wedding flowed seamlessly.
Finally, describe your partner in five words
Ambitious, inspiring, loving, traditional and very, very tall!
HITCHED WITHOUT A HITCH
KIM OFFERS HER TOP FIVE TIPS FOR TYING THE KNOT
1. Preferably fall in love with a venue with no corkage fee! This will save you lots of money!
2. Do not buy bridesmaid dresses from China
3. On one occasion, go wedding dress shopping on your own, or just with one person – if too many people go, it can be a nightmare!
4. On your wedding day, take five minutes to sort out your hair and take extra clips etc.
5. Hire a band! Everyone dances and the atmosphere is amazing
Have you recently got married? We are looking for brides to feature in an upcoming wedding feature. Email email@example.com with your details and we’ll get back to you