Hope you all had a great weekend.

We have a lovely wedding to share with you today which features Anja and Mike from the beach engagement shoot we featured last week. In this feature, we talked about the benefits of having an engagement shoot and how they can help you to feel more relaxed and prepared for your wedding photos. I hope from viewing this very chilled and happy wedding and seeing how relaxed Anja and Mike are in each and every couple shot, that you will see exactly what I mean!

When it came to planning their wedding, Anja and Mike’s main priorities were to have lots of good food, great music and plenty of booze! Held in a field opposite Anja’s parents house in the beautiful village of Brenchley in Kent, Anja and Mike focused on providing great entertainment for their guests, such as Welly Wanging and garden style games, as well as creating a chilled and relaxed vibe so people could enjoy the pretty surroundings and summer sun. They didn’t want their wedding to be too restricted by one particular theme or style. Instead, they just allowed their vision to evolve over time by being inspired by weddings they had been too, blogs they had read and of course the things they both loved….

I never really had an overall theme or ‘vision’, it just sort of evolved over time. We’d been to a lot of weddings by the time we got engaged and so knew that we didn’t want to book a ‘Wedding Package A’ type venue, and wanted to make it personal to us. I also became an avid Pinterest user and Wedding Blog Reader!

With some fantastic DIY elements such as hand painted signs, a Polaroid style photo seating plan and a desert table of homemade cakes by some of their guests, Anja and Mike’s relaxed garden style outdoor wedding certainly ticks a lot of our wedding boxes!

Look out for Mary Berry and their amazing Kransekake wedding cake!

Anja and Mike talk us through their day….

New York, A Hike, Autumn Trees and One Knee….

We were on holiday in New York when Mike proposed. We had gone for a hike in the hills north of Manhattan to see the Autumn trees. It was a pretty soggy day and Mike was being very quiet. I thought he was annoyed about not being in the city, turns out he was just very nervous! I had absolutely no idea he was planning to propose, so it was a wonderful surprise.

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A Lusan Mandongus Dress, A Handmade Veil and Peeptoe Shoes….

My dress was Lusan Mandongus found at the truly wonderful Isabella Grace Boutique in Tunbridge Wells and altered by their recommended seamstress Martine. Fittings with her were so lovely – one of the highlights of the process for me! I was horrified at the price of most veils, particularly as I only wanted a simple tulle single layer one, so I bought the tulle online and a plastic comb from John Lewis and made it myself! Again, Martine helped me to cut it length. It did the job and had lots of compliments.

My shoes were sparkly gold peeptoes by Dune. Discarded after the first dance for much comfier flip flops!

My jewellery I kept quite simple and wore a pearl bracelet and earrings borrowed from my mum. I had some pretty
beaded hair pins which I bought on Etsy.

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A Field, A Marquee and Hardy Souls….

Our ceremony was held at All Saint’s Church, Brenchley, Kent and the reception in a marquee by Maypole Marquees, in a field opposite my mum’s house!

I grew in the village, and my parents have lived there for 25 years. As soon as Mike proposed I knew I wanted
to have my reception on the land that my family owned. I was a bit worried about the suitability of the site, but my parents pulled out all the stops helping to level the ground, various stages of mowing, and even digging a trench to connect it up to the mains water supply! Maypole were really reassuring and helped give us advice about location, sizes etc.

A few hardy souls decided to brave the British summer and camped. It poured down in the early hours, but we rewarded them with sausages and cake the next day.

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70 Tissue Pompoms, Hand Painted Signs and a ‘Find your Face’ seating plan….

Mike’s gran had made some beautiful pink and blue bunting for his sister’s wedding a few years previously, so we used that as our starting point. I also made 70 tissue pompoms using online tutorials, and enlisted the help of my Nan to fluff them them all out the day before! We hung them between the poles of the marquee using fishing wire. From then I just bought or borrowed the rest of the props, trying to keep costs down as much as possible as I just did not see the point of spending a fortune on anything too ‘weddingy’ which I would never use again. My incredible brother hand painted all of the signs, including our welly wanging rules, and I used ebay for other small things. Our ‘find your face’ seating plan went down really well, and was such fun to make – I chose a picture of each person, used a company called inkifi to make a polaroid style print, and then wrote the table number on the back. I had to set it up on the morning of the wedding as the torrential rain the day before meant I was a little worried about the cards getting wet. If you are even considering doing a marquee wedding, make sure you have an army of willing volunteers to help dress it all in the days before – we were so grateful to our friends and family that gave up their time to help us. Particular mention goes to both sets of parents who spent a lot of time ferrying hay bales, strimmers, flowers, hosepipes, etc. around!

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The Great Wedding Bake Off….

Neither of us were overly fussed about having an expensive, elaborate wedding cake. I am, however, a huge fan of the Great British Bake Off and decided to hold a Great Wedding Bake Off! Our friends rose magnificently to the occasion and I was seriously impressed with the quantity and quality of the bakes that arrived. Even my dad entered one – highly surprising as to our knowledge he had never baked anything previously! I had rosettes for the winners (Best Amature Effort, Best Appearance and Overall Winner) which we announced after dinner. As I’m part Danish, we also had a traditional Kransekake (Danish wedding cake) which we forgot to cut until the next day as we were so busy dancing, whoops! I can confirm that it tasted delicious.livvy-hukins-anja&mike-75 livvy-hukins-anja&mike-76 livvy-hukins-anja&mike-77 livvy-hukins-anja&mike-78 livvy-hukins-anja&mike-80 livvy-hukins-anja&mike-81

An Extended Cocktail Hour, Kentish Lamp and Wine from France….

Pumpkin Caterers, who are based in Whitstable, did all of our food. We knew we wanted to have an extended cocktail hour instead of a starter, so we had a large selection of delicious canapes (including mini pulled pork brioches, so yummy). We then sat down to Kentish lamb with garlic and rosemary baby potatoes and a lemon mousse with crushed amaretti biscuits and coffees. It was exactly the right amount, and no one went hungry as we also had a huge selection of Bake Off cakes, plus some evening food of cheese, chutneys and cold meats. We arranged the alcohol ourselves, and decided to have one fizzy, one red and one white wine, plus beer, ale and cider. Mike’s dad ordered the wine through the Wine Society and we had a really enjoyable day out driving to their warehouse in Montreuil, France, to pick it all up. We over catered hugely, but have managed to console ourselves with the leftovers…

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An arch of flowers, wreaths and big candles….

Our flowers were put together by the truly wonderful Susanne at The Flowersmiths – she was an absolute gem. I loved all of the flowers, and she liaised with the church incredibly professionally. The arch of flowers above the lych gate was breathtaking. I hadn’t originally wanted one, but my mum insisted and I’m so glad she did! The centrepieces on the tables were wreaths around a hurricane vase with big candles inside, which looked beautiful when it got dark.

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A Talented Young Lady….

Livvy Hukins was our wedding photographer. An extremely talented young lady who is destined for huge things! It’s tantamount to her ability that I have had several engaged friends ask for her details. She was so professional and captured so many important moments.
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The Fabulous Fug Band….

Mike’s cousin used to play in the Fabulous Fug Band, and they had played at his sister’s wedding a few years ago so we knew how amazing they were! They were brilliant fun – it was impossible to leave the dance floor. One of Mike’s friends DJ’d until the early hours after the band finished their second set.
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Favourite Moment….

Too many to list – everything from waking up in the morning and seeing the sun shining (it had poured down the day before!) to the ceremony, to the drive from the Church to the field – my dad had very generously had Mike insured on his pride and joy (Ferrari) for the day. The drive was only a mile and went so quickly, we decided to go for a bit of a spin for a little while longer. We were both laughing the whole time! Overall, it was wonderful just seeing how many of our friends and family had travelled from around the world and gathered to help us celebrate.
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Any Advice….

My only regret is that I didn’t hire an on-the day coordinator. Luckily everything went without a hitch but, as we were totally DIY-ing, it would have been helpful to have someone on-site to coordinate all of our suppliers so that
we didn’t have to keep running to the door and making emergency phone calls when we thought someone had driven off with the generator key (they hadn’t, phew!)

Don’t listen to suppliers who try to pressurise you or freak you out. A few that I first contacted wasted no time in telling me I ‘had left it quite late’ and that ‘I didn’t have long’ to plan (we had 10 months!) Needless to say, the suppliers I did eventually use were absolute gems and put me at ease immediately. I think the quality of my suppliers made my big day so special and stress free.

The Line Up

Photography: Livvy Hukins 
Ceremony Venue: All Saint’s Church, Brenchley, Kent.
Reception Venue: Parents Field
Marquee: Maypole Marquee
Brides’ Dress: Lusan Mandongus from Isabella Grace
Alterations: Miss Kay Seamstress
Brides’ Veil: Handmade
Brides’ Shoes: Dune
Hair and Make-up: Fran Carter
Bridesmaid Dresses: Next
Groom: Austin Reed
Catering: Pumpkins Caterers
Wine: The Wine Society
Flowers: The Flowersmiths
Band: The Fug Band
Seating Plan Photos: Inkifi

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