Your Kent Wedding - March/April 2023 (Issue 107)

Nicola and Andrew’s relationship began when they met at work and became firm friends. A few years down the line this wonderful friendship unexpectedly grew into something very special. Nicola remembers, “He was my friend, colleague and union rep at work. He helped and supported me with time off so I could be with my mum in hospital before she died. He was a great support through my darkest days. If it wasn’t for him I would never have had that time with my mum. He’s got a big heart and always respected me.” Andrew proposed during a festive get-together at a friend’s house. Nicola shares, “We were playing games and out of nowhere he started making this big romantic speech about what I meant to him. He was shaking like a leaf and then got down on one knee.” He asked Nicola to be his wife with her best friends and their partners looking on, as he knew they were the most special people in her life. “I was gobsmacked and, of course, accepted,” Nicola continues. The couple wanted something different for their big day, something small and intimate with bags of personal touches. In a venue, they looked for somewhere they could feel safe and at ease. “We both suffer with our mental health and wanted a calming and quiet location for our celebration,” the bride explains. They were aiming for an informal, relaxed, chilled vibe similar to the experience of having a barbecue in the back garden surrounded by best friends, and Lost Village of Dode proved to be perfect. Nicola continues, “There’s so much history and a strong spiritual presence. Plus, we could have the whole day there, everything we needed was included and we could stay on site. It was the perfect hidden gem.” The date was set for 10th September, 2022. Here, the bride shares her treasured memories of the big day... “Having a hand fasting meant more to us as it was personal and the vows are a much more realistic reflection of a marriage.” SETTING THE SCENE The couple decided on an enchanting, magical theme, with a palette of dusky mauve, magenta, aubergine and tranquil taupe. The stunning centrepieces reflected this ambience beautifully featuring tall conical vases, hessian, moss, roots and vines, sprinkled with shimmering dusts and topped with twigs, finished with the deepest aubergine hydrangea heads. Globes containing LED tea lights were suspended from the twigs and roots to create a mystical ambience and complement the beauty of Dode. “I really didn’t want anything to out-shine the venue and wanted everything to blend in rather than stick out like a sore thumb,” Nicola explains. The flowers contained a combination of fresh and faux blooms. The bridal bouquet included premium VIP Westminster Abbey roses, dark chocolate cosmos, astrantia, aubergine/ruby hydrangea, Blue Chateau double lisianthus, deep plum scabiosa, ptilotus Matilda, rosemary, olive, panicum grass, and mimosa foliage. The bridesmaids’ were the same minus the roses. Inside the church, mossed candelabrum held votives and two urn arrangements helped with the natural, timeless design vibe. Meanwhile, outside the church were two more natural arrangements with grasses, hydrangea and a handmade bespoke dragon sculpture. REAL WEDDING 33