a rustic and pretty wedding at Swarling Manor, Canterbury | uk wedding blog

facebook-profile-picture By Phoebe
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Afternoon all, how has your week been thus far? Swarling Manor is not a venue I am familiar with but judging by Katie and Karl’s wedding it looks like a fantastic place for an outdoor wedding. The backdrop of the manor makes for beautiful photos but you have the flexibility of the land with a marquee. Katie looked gorgeous in her Maggie Sottero gown and I love the hints of grey and yellow throughout.

photography | Nick Beal Photography

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I chose Wild Daisy Florist in Herne Bay, Luisa was fantastic from day 1, I knew from the moment she offered me a cup of tea that she would produce exactly the look I wanted. She designed my bouquet from my endless pinterest pictures and was very patient with me at every visit and at the end of very email. I chose to have a subtle yellow theme, incorporating yellow ranunculus, anemone, white astilbe, white veronicas, white lisianthus and daisies. This theme ran through the bridesmaids and the groomsmen. For the tables we kept the theme and went with jam jars filled with daisies and gyp. On the top table we put flowers from my bouquet into vintage bud vases.

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As my friends and family know I don’t enjoy shoe shopping, with this in mind i was dreading the ‘wedding shoe’ shopping trip I was to embark on in January. The first shop we went into i fell in love with a pair of court cream and gold kitten heal shoes in L K Bennett, it was a done deal. I have still not changed my overall views on shoe shopping but this was a successful experience.

I found my dress in a wedding dress shop in Folkestone, Maggie Sottero ‘Melaine’, lace with a beautiful lace back.

Bride’s hair accessories/veil: My family hairdresser and friend did my hair, two trials was all it took to get the look I wanted. We used fresh flowers to decorate and a simple veil partly edged in lace.

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I initially bought two dresses from an online shop, however a couple of months before the wedding I changed my mind and bought new ones from BHS. For or flower girl she had a beautiful dress from Monsoon.

Again they all had fresh flowers in their hair and wore handmade necklaces from a small supplier on Etsy.

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After an eventful trip to Slaters in Canterbury, we chose dark grey tails with ivory waistcoats, Karl had a slate grey cravat and he groomsmen had light grey cravats.

Groomsmen’s outfits/accessories: The men wore different cufflinks with sport symbols representing their hobbies or how Karl had met them. They also wore grey and yellow socks to link in with the slight colour theme.

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St Mary the Virgin Church, Reculver, KENT & the reception was held at Swarling Manor, Petham, Canterbury

Karl had previously worked alongside our vicar who initially trained as a teacher before becoming a vicar full time. It gave us that personal touch we were looking for during the build up to the big day and on the day itself.

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One of my best friends from University made a 3 tier cake (chocolate, Victoria sponge and Lemon) with vintage style butter icing and decorated with fresh flowers from our florist.

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I really struggled to find a picture online which matched the image i had in my mind, luckly my sister suggessted her friend who is a grapic designer to design the image which I could use which is simply what happened. We had a beautiful had drawn bunch of county flowers in our wedding colours which i used to produce our invites, menu cards, order of service and our favour jar labels.

Place names were made from hundreds of small triangles used to make bunting across brown luggage tags which my sister then wrote our guests names on.

Myself and Karl produced and printed the order of service and hand tied each one with twine.

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We had three different wedding favours, cactus for the men and either homemade chili jam (by my mum) for the ladies or pots of mini eggs all with our stationary flower label.

The children had Easter eggs and the top table had individual egg cups with cream eggs and wooly hats with our initials.

We had a sweet cart which went down a treat!!

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We did not have a colour theme as such, however the bridesmaids wore grey which lent itself to yellow which we integrated into the handmade items along the way. We went for a vintage/rustic theme, family and myself handmade a lot of the favours and decorations. Karl’s mum knitted over 50 wooly hats for our wine bottles, we used log slices and rustic jars for the centre pieces for our guest tables and for the top table we had individual bud vases for flowers in a row. The table names were after famous cyclists as Karl is a keen cyclist; we had an Easter egg hunt for the children during the canapés to keep them entertained.  We just wanted the day to feel very relaxed and represent who we are as a couple. 

We handmade the bunting for the marquee which was a lovely thing to do with my mum and added that personal touch which we can enjoy for years to come.

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That’s a tough one as the whole day was amazing, however if I had to pick one thing it would be decorating the venue the day before and on the day having all our friends and family in one place celebrating our marriage. We also had perfect weather for April 1st which just added to the atmosphere of the day.

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We used Herb Garden Caterers for our wedding breakfast, they were FANTASTIC throughout. Karen who manages the weddings was always on hand to give us advice around flowers, table designs, napkin suppliers, as well as the food itself. We chose them because their food presentation was ‘individual’ and ‘quirkey’.

In the evening we had a cheese tower from ‘the cheese box’ in Whitstable, along with pork pies and sausage rolls from ‘Hedges butchers’ in Canterbury. These were accompanied by breads, crackers and pickles.

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Nick Beal, we found Nick after many house of searching through the internet, looking for a photographer who produced relaxed photos and documented the day rather than lots of formal photographs. We initially met him in a little pub in Faversham and bonded over mutual friends, we then went on to have our beachside engagement shoot before the big day.

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We came across The Rockpins after hours of searching, they were probably one of the best decisions we made, they were fantastic and kept the dance floor full all-night long. They also learnt our 1st dance song ‘the one’ by Kodaline

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Enjoy the process, don’t fall out with your fiancé over things, and try on lots of dresses (my one regret). I would also say, remember you cannot make everyone happy and it’s your day so don’t let others influence you, if you really want it then have it/do it (within reason).