Joanna Nicole Photography Festival Brides Paper Mill Bloomsbury Biddenden (62 of 122)

Afternoon Lovely People, I hope you all had a lovely weekend.

We have a very special wedding to share with you today. Special because Amelia and Andrew got married at the first ever venue that Festival Brides took under their wing when we launched our venue and land hire page back in 2012. They booked The Paper Mill in Kent, a stunning licensed woodland which is also home to In The Woods Festival, and I personally did their viewing! I was pregnant at the time and Amelia and Andrew were so lovely and patient whilst I waddled through the woods. Seeing them so happy in these images and bringing the venue to life in their individual and elegant way has been awesome. The bluebells were also out in full bloom so the backdrop to their ceremony with the woodland and carpet of blue is just beautiful.

We love Amelia’s vintage style wedding dress by Sabina Motasem with it’s elegant cut and lace bodice. We also love her Kelly Spence headpiece which adds just the right amount of bohemian glamour to her overall bridal look. Despite wearing a vintage style dress, there is something so earthy about Amelia and it matches the venue so perfectly.

Look out for their AMAZING wedding cake made by Amelia’s Mum and the fantastic readings they chose for their ceremony. Two words…..Led Zeppelin!

Captured by Joanna Nicole Photography, get ready to be lost in this charming woodland wedding.

A Treehouse, Chilled Champagne and A Birthday Proposal….

Andrew proposed to me on my 30th birthday. He took me away for a surprise weekend to stay in a beautiful luxurious tree house in Norfolk. We had a lovely birthday meal at a local pub and when we got back to the treehouse he produced an amazing cake, some chilled champagne and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! He had picked out a unique and beautiful antique engagement ring circa 1910 from Berganza in Hatton Garden. We were engaged for nearly 2 years before our wedding day as we knew that we wanted to take our time planning the wedding.

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A Princess in The Woodland….

I knew that I wanted an unstructured and elegant dress that I would be comfortable in for the whole day, and as soon as I put this dress on it felt really special. I had originally planned to look for a vintage dress but being 6ft 1″ that proved quite difficult so I decided to look at designers who had a vintage and elegant feel about their designs. As soon as I saw Sabina Motasem‘s collection I fell in love with every single one of her dresses. My mind was made up about the designer; next I just had to pick which dress! After a long visit with a very patient Sabina I had narrowed it down to two options. Another teary visit with my mum and mum-in-law confirmed that I would go with The Elsa dress with the Evelyn bodice. The Elsa dress is made from a beautiful heavy silk which felt so warm and luxurious to wear. I felt like a princess in the woodland.

I did my hair and make up myself, so treated myself to a GHD Creative Wand for a beachy wave. I also had a wedding makeup trial at my local Bobbi Brown counter and bought my make up from them.

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A Bluebell Ceremony in The Woods….

I love the outdoors and the English countryside, and always had a dream of getting married in the woods with the bluebells in full bloom. When Andrew proposed, we both agreed we’d like to find a venue that was outside, natural, simple, beautiful and private. I love rustic, vintage, weird things, so the wedding ceremony took on an otherworldly ethereal feeling. It wasn’t intentional, but the venue was just so magical that I couldn’t help buying small fairies from Etsy to hide in the trees!

We also knew that we wanted a festival vibe to the weekend so looked for a campsite to hire nearby the woodland which is when we found Bloomsburys in Biddenden. An amazing glamping site, with a restaurant and bar on site. Claudia at Bloomsbury shares my love for interesting and unusual old ‘stuff’ and so the restaurant was completely unique and fitted with the relaxed elegance of the rest of the wedding.

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Yes Dear I’ll Marry You…

For our readings my mum picked Yes Dear I’ll marry you by Pam Ayres (read by my mum, Diane) as we both thought it was quite funny, and a light hearted reading than some of the more cheesy ones! Extract below…

“It’s you who has to work the drill
And put up curtain track,
And when I’ve got PMT it’s you who gets the flak,
I do see great advantages,
But none of them for you,
And so before you see the light,
I DO, I DO, I DO!!”

Andrew picked Thank you by Led Zeppelin and asked one of his best friends to sing it during the ceremony accompanied by acoustic guitar. It was a really beautiful moment which allowed Andrew and I to sit down, look around, see everyone’s smiling faces and take it all in. Extract below…

And so today, my world it smiles
Your hand in mine we walk the miles
Thanks to you it will be done
For you to me are the only one

Happiness, no longer sad
Happiness, I’m glad

If the sun refused to shine
I would still be loving you
When mountains crumble to the sea
There’ll still be you and me, and me

Finally we picked A Lovely Love Story by Edward Monkton for the end of the ceremony to be read by two of our close friends, Rob and Mel. I went to school with Mel so have known her a long time, and we share a love of children’s stories. Extract below…

Together they stand on the hill telling each other stories and feeling the warmth of the sun on their backs.
And that, my friends, is how it is with love.
Let us all be Dinosaurs and Lovely Other Dinosaurs together.
For the sun is warm.
And the world is a beautiful place.

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Wild Flowers from One Flew Over….

I had planned to make my own bouquet but as the wedding drew nearer and I ran out of time to practice I decided to find a florist. My friend recommended One Flew Over and I’m really pleased she did. I met Jess and Charlie in a pub for a drink the week before the wedding and had a chat about what type of flowers I’d like. I didn’t really have a specific flower in mind, but I wanted to go with a wild, loose bouquet. I suggested the shapes I liked and the colours I’d like and I left them to it; having seen their previous work I completely trusted them to make something beautiful! The button holes and bouquets were beautiful.

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Natural Photography from a Perfect Photographer….

Our photographer was Joanna Nicole Photography. Jo was the perfect photographer. In the nicest possible way, we didn’t even really notice that she was there. She has captured the day and the emotions of Andrew and I and all our guests perfectly in a wonderful natural style. I couldn’t have hoped for better photos to remember the day by.

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A Barn Dance and Dirty Soles….

We had a Barn dance band during the day by Abbey Capers. The band who played in the afternoon for the barn dance were amazing. Ruth who did the calling was great at giving us instructions to explain what we should be doing and when!

In the evening we had a band called Dirty Soles who played at a friend’s wedding a few years ago. They get better and better every time I see them.

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Mexican Paper Flags and A Comic Strip….

For months before the wedding we saved jars from the recycling, and cleaned them up and used them as vases, hanging in the trees.  In the barn we had some beautifully delicate Mexican paper flags that my godmother brought back for us from Mexico.

I commissioned a very talented friend of ours, Chris Devlin to create Andrew a framed comic strip for the wedding day which covered lots of the adventures that we’ve shared together. Andrew has a love for comics, and his favourite character is Judge Dredd so when Chris and I were planning the comic strip together I knew he was the right man for the job when he suggested that Judge Dredd could marry us! Chris was a legend to work with. I was really involved in the design so that it included some key moments of our relationship and he turned the artwork around really quickly.

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Picnic Platters, A Hog Roast and A Huge Cheese Board….

We ordered some platters of picnic food from Marks and Spencers for the woodland during the barn dance and one of our ushers collected it on the morning.

Bloomsburys catered for the wedding breakfast and the evening buffet. The wedding breakfast was a hog roast with a selection of delicious salads and the evening buffet was the biggest cheese board I have ever seen!

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Favourite Moment….

It’s really hard to pick a favourite part of the day, but it would have to be the wedding ceremony and the ceilidh afterwards. Listening to the readings during the ceremony was a really special time. Andrew and I had just said the most important words we’ll ever say to each other, and then we had some of our closest friends and family reading some beautiful words to both of us. I found that was the time that everything felt real (it had all felt a bit surreal up until then). Looking around the group of guests and catching people’s eyes, sharing smiles and tears, and gripping onto Andrews hand was a perfect moment.

The other favourite part was the ceilidh that we had after the wedding ceremony, it was a lovely way to get all the guests mixing, dancing and laughing. It meant that we could pop off and have our photos done without anyone really noticing. It set up the atmosphere of fun and partying that we took through the whole day.

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Any Advice?

I ended up being quite late to the ceremony as I hadn’t really planned the morning well enough. As I was doing my own hair and make up, we didn’t really have a time schedule. It meant the photographer had to leave to get to the venue before I was able to put my dress on which was a shame, but also, Andrew and the guests were left waiting. If you are thinking about doing your own hair and make up, I would recommend it, but just make sure you know how long it will take you and schedule the morning properly, and perhaps ask a bridesmaid to keep an eye on the time and keep you on track!

Before doing any research or making any decisions, I’d recommend trying to visualise the whole day, not just the venue, but the atmosphere, vibe and feel that you want the wedding to have. Try to stay true to that visualisation throughout the planning. I found it best to avoid looking on Pinterest and in wedding magazines as I found them a bit confusing. If I felt overwhelmed I’d just stop and think about that first visualisation and that kept me true to myself, and true to my perfect wedding.

The Line Up

Photographer: Joanna Nicole Photography
Ceremony Venue: The Paper Mill
Reception Venue: Bloomsburys Biddenden
Bride’s Dress: Sabina Motasem
Bride’s Headpiece: Gin Fizz by Kelly Spence
Bridesmaid Dresses: Frock and Frill
Flowers: One Flew Over
Rings: Aurum Jewellers
Cake: Handmade by Bride’s Mum
Barn Dance: Abbey Capers
Evening Band: Dirty Soles

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