Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Kent Wedding Venue Leeds Castle

I recently visited Leeds Castle in Kent, a fabulous setting near Maidstone. I've visited Leeds Castle in Kent on a number of occasions, the grounds are great for picnics and family days out with its maze, grotto and great children’s play areas (the entrance fee is for a year), but what many visitors may not realise is that Leeds castle is available to hire for weddings including being licensed for civil ceremonies.

View from across the lake as you walk up to the Castle

To get to the main castle you walk through the immaculately kept grounds, pass the lake through the Gatehouse over the moat  and up to the Castle. What struck me most on entering the castle is that despite being a medieval castle it feels fresh and airy (with no musty old building smell). Your wedding is spread across a number of rooms; guests are led through the Library into the Dining room where ceremony takes place, which is delightfully decorated in pastel shades, having been redesigned for Lady Baillie by a leading interior designer of the time.

The Dining Room

The day is timed so that although on arrival the castle and grounds are still open to the public by the time the ceremony is over all the public have departed and you have exclusive use of the grounds. Following the ceremony guests are taken on a private tour of the castle (giving you plenty of opportunity for photos in the grounds) before being escorted by the in-house butler to dine in Henry VIII's Banqueting Hall overlooked by a painting of Henry VIII above the log fire and amazing views across the grounds through the fabulous bay windows.

Henry VIII’s Banqueting Hall

After dinner guests are then invited for drinks in the main hall and to celebrate the rest of the evening by dancing in the Heraldry Room or lounging in the Yellow and Thorpe Hall Drawing rooms.

There are also 20 rooms available to use in the Castle, on a bed & breakfast basis. The rooms range in sizes, five have four poster beds and the large bridal suites are large indeed and beautifully furnished with genuine antiques, again with stunning views of the grounds. There are also further rooms available to hire a short walk away from the main castle, some of which have recently undergone a lovely refurbishment. If you are having a destination wedding with guests coming from abroad you can even hire out vacation cottages in the grounds on a weekly hire.

Castle Accommodation

As well the Castle there are also three other spaces available for weddings. The intimate Gatehouse, one of the oldest parts of the castle, for up to 50 guests and the Fairfax Hall, a restored Kentish timber-framed barn which when used with the Terrace room, an open terrace that overlooks the castle island, can accommodate up to 170 guests. You can also combine the spaces and have a small ceremony in the Gatehouse followed by a larger reception in the Fairfax Hall

The Fairfax Hall

With such large grounds there is also the option of hiring a marquee from mid June to early July on the Cedar Lawn. There is also the Leeds Castle hot air balloon available to hire for weddings, what better way to wow your guests.

Catering is done in-house by Leith’s, a well established catering company that work throughout the country and having tried the food the day I visited it was very tasty. They are very flexible and open to suggestions when it comes to your menu choices and include a tasting in the wedding package. There is also an in-house florist that will supply all your floral needs for inside the Castle, if marrying in the Fairfax Hall you can have your own choice of florist.

View as you walk back down towards the Castle from the Fairfax Hall

For further details of the packages available see the Leeds Castle website here

To see a wedding at Leeds Castle, Kent take a look at this fabulous wedding via The English Wedding Blog.

Thank you to Rita for taking the interior shots of Leeds Castle on my camera, exterior shots by me.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Adorable Finds: Slinks Sandals

With all this beautiful weather we're having I've been thinking about my summer footwear so I was delighted to discover Slinks, they are a great little sandal that comes in 4 different colour ways and with interchangeable straps, so you can completely change the look of the sandal.

Katie Rose

I think they’d be a great honeymoon shoe or make a lovely gift for bridesmaids as they come in lovely silk carry cases.

Silk Bag containing a pair of leather bases, Katie Rose & Mowana Moon Uppers

Colours available are Black, Chocolate, Truffle and Ivory and they come with 2 styles of upper included, Katie Rose and Mowana Moon and you can choose from a selection of different uppers to add to your collection.

Adeline Dew

Judith Ann

If you're having a laid back beach wedding this could even be the perfect wedding shoe.

Slinks can be purchased online at Slinks, John Lewis and at various boutique outlets, contact Jane Rafter for further details.

All images Courtesy of Slinks by Jane Rafter

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Wedding Inspiration Buttonholes

Get creative with your grooms button holes, incorporate more than just a single flower consider the interesting choices of leaves, berries, feathers, stems…I could go on, here are few for inspiration.


Friday, 16 April 2010

Wedding Words: ‘Destiny’ by Zero 7

'Destiny' by Zero 7

Now I dream of you
But I still believe
There's only enough for one in this
Lonely hotel suite
The journey's long
And it feels so bad
I'm thinking back to the last day we had.
Old moon fades into the new
Soon I know I'll be back with you
I'm nearly with you
I'm nearly with you

When I'm weak I draw strength from you
And when you're lost I know how to change your mood
And when I'm down you breathe life over me
Even though we're miles apart we are each other's destiny

On a clear day
I'll fly home to you
I'm bending time getting back to you
Old moon fades into the new
Soon I know I'll be back with you
I'm nearly with you
I'm nearly with you

When I'm weak I draw strength from you
And when you're lost I know how to change your mood
And when I'm down you breathe life over me
Even though we're miles apart we are each other's destiny

I'll fly, I'll fly home
I'll fly home and I'll fly home

Lyrics by Zero 7, have been edited, find full lyrics here, see video here

Photo by Cameron Ingalls, here- check out the rest of the photos, it is a beautifully captured proposal and their gorgeous wedding photos are here

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Adorable Finds: Spring Colours

Following our Spring Colour Inspiration board a couple of weeks ago here are some adorable finds

Colourful and funky bridesmaid dresses, from Forever Unique

Vintage Floral Invites from Ivy Ellen

Cute cupcake toppers from Millalove at Folksy

Flock felt multi-coloured garland from dot com gift shop. Ribbons from VW Rouleaux

Combine these cute garlands with different types of ribbons in coordinating colours and hanging votives against a plain background to create a fab wall display

Morrocan Painted Tea glasses from Lavender Room

Also love these beautiful tea glasses, would look great with single stems of perfect spring blooms such as ranunculus or anemones.

Flower Power Biscuits in tin from Biscuiteers (Photo: Big Fish)

Beautifully iced chocolate flower biscuits, wrap in little clear bags with name tags for place cards and favours in one

Biscuiteers are one of the great suppliers who’ll be at Luella’s Boudoir and Cosmopolitan Bride’s reader event at One Marylebone in London on Wednesday 21st April 6-9pm. It’s sure to be a fabulous evening with lots to see and do so well worth a visit.

Tickets cost just £10 – to book, email weddingevents@natmags.co.uk or call 020 7312

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Always Asks Gorgeous Films (Part 2)

In our last post we were talking to Jo from Gorgeous films, we rejoin her again to ask those important wedding planning questions such as how to choose a videographer …

What do you think couples should be looking for when hiring a videographer?

First and foremost they should see a comprehensive DVD show-reel, containing several full length films so they can be sure of the quality of the filming and editing. It is fairly straight forward to make a series of shots to music look good but much harder to deliver a beautiful feature length film, which both looks and sounds great.

After that it really depends on the individual couple and their personal tastes. Everyone has different ideas of how their film should be and it’s really just a case of hunting for the supplier who can deliver this expectation.

What advice would you give to couples when planning their wedding?

Do what makes you happy, you can never please everyone all the time so please yourself first and the rest will fall into place. You're the most important people involved in the day so don't let anyone tell you what you should do or who you should invite if you don't feel comfortable with it.

What do you wish couples knew already when working with you?

How difficult it is to make a fantastic film! It’s really hard work and the prices we charge are reflective of the time and effort we put into each project, as well as the high standard of the kit we use to get the shots and record the audio. Sometimes a client will think that you should charge the same as another videographer they have found because they’re offering the same service but there is a vast difference in the quality of suppliers and the work they produce - their prices reflect this.

Some couples feel uncomfortable at the thought of being filmed, how do you deal with this?

On the actual day we film extremely unobtrusively, capturing everything on a zoom lens. Included in our state of the art kit is the latest Canon stills camera, which also shoots video. This camera produces the most stunning cinematic film footage and it is no bigger than a normal stills camera so at times we look like any other guest taking a few photographs. The way our camera crew works on the day means that our clients and they’re party are generally unaware of being filmed, which puts everyone at ease and produces beautifully natural shots.

Also, we work closely with each couple before and after the event to ensure everything is perfect both on the day and in the resulting film.

What would you say to couples who don’t want a video because they are having a photographer?

Apparently, not having a film made of the wedding is the number one regret of couples after the event. A wedding planner told me that. Photographs are a must but I genuinely think a well made film is too. The day goes by in a blur, you will forget so much, miss bits of the day entirely and, yes, photos will bring back frozen moments in time but you can’t hear the ambient noise of your party on a photo, or the vows or amazing speeches.

Wouldn’t you like to re-live the day over and over again and really savour all those details which made your day incredibly special?

I can’t wait to show my children our wedding film, it’s so special, unrepeatable and not worth missing out on for the sake of a bit more money.

Where do you see the future of British wedding videography?

I think the production quality is going up in the industry and thankfully wedding films are losing some of their cheesy image, but it will be a while before couples have the same choice of good videographers as they do photographers.

Thanks Jo, for more information do visit the Gorgeous Films website

Film Stills courtesy of Gorgeous Films

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Always Asks Gorgeous Films (Part 1)

I recently had the pleasure of working with Gorgeous Films a Dorset based wedding videography company who can cover the whole of the UK, including London, Surrey and Kent.

I caught up with Jo Barr who runs Gorgeous films with her husband Gary, to ask her few questions about Gorgeous Films.

What’s your background?

Gorgeous Films consists of professional documentary filmmakers who have been producing high-end wedding and event DVDs for over six years, following successful careers in network television.

Why did you get into wedding videography?

Mainly because we realised there were no decent wedding videographers out there and we felt we could provide an excellent service to couples looking for a high-end film of their wedding. We also wanted to bring the very best in broadcast production standards to personally commissioned films.

How would you describe your style?

Unobtrusive, romantic and natural. We want our clients, and their family and friends, to be completely engaged in their film from beginning to end. They should laugh, they should cry (in a good way!) and most importantly it should bring the day back to life.

Where do you find your inspiration?

We simply love our jobs. We love filming and editing, the whole process involved in making a great film. Weddings are so filmic and amazing to shoot. Everyone looks gorgeous, the venues are stunning and the stars of the show are completely in love – what could be more inspiring?

What has been you best experience at a wedding?

Impossible question! They all bring something different to the table, no wedding is the same. When the couple looks very much in love and don’t seem to notice anything around them but each other, they are our favourite films to edit because we are romantics at heart!

What has been the most unforgettable/memorable moment at a wedding?

There are so many highlights – we have shot over 400 weddings and pinning them all down to one unforgettable moment is impossible. I suppose one of the most memorable things we’ve seen is Westlife performing a set at one wedding we shot but there really are so many other moments – too many to recall.

What have you found the most challenging at a wedding?

Every wedding is extremely challenging to film because we care very deeply about getting it 100% right. Not only do you have just one chance to capture shots visually but you also have to record the audio clearly too, which is no mean feat, especially when there is only one or two cameramen present.

Plus it’s a live event so you can’t control any aspect of it - being on your toes at all times and super organised before you even get there is par for the course.

Added to all of this is the pressure of it being the most important day of the couples’ lives and you alone are responsible for producing a beautiful film for them to remember it by. Photos are fantastic but a film brings the day back to life in a way no other format can; it’s a huge responsibility, which we take incredibly seriously.

What would you like to do of it you weren’t a videographer?

Honestly? This is my dream job and I can balance it with bringing up my two young children so it is perfect, I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What’s your one obsession at the moment-something you just can’t live without?

Sky + and my Blackberry!

Come back next time for some great advice from Jo on wedding planning and choosing your videographer

Film Stills courtesy of Gorgeous Films

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Wedding Cake Inspiration from your Wedding Dress

If your looking for inspiration for the design of your cake your dress can be a great starting point. Little details like the pattern of the lace, coloured sashes & ribbons, appliquéd flowers and ruffles make great creative elements to adorn your wedding cake with.

Dress by Oscar De La Renta (Images via Brides) Cake ‘Couture Lace’ by Peggy Porschen (Photo by Georgia Glyn Smith)

Dress ‘Macarena’ by Pronovias (Images via The Knot ) Cake ‘Brooch’ by Maisie Fantaisie(Image here)

Dress by Eugenia Couture (Images via Brides) Cake ‘Daisy Embroidery’ by Peggy Porschen (Photo by Georgia Glyn Smith)

Dress ‘Twilight’ by Monique Lhuillier (Images via Brides) Cake ‘Frill’ by Maisie Fantaisie (Image here)

Other great details from your dress could be the fabric's texture or pattern especially a brocade or damask detail and jewellery elements such as brooches and clasps,  even decorative buttons.
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