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Posted by Kelly Andrews on 5 November 2021
Deciding on the ceremony venue was a no brainer for the pair! The Garrison Church is special to them both as Steven has lots of happy memories of it from his military days and Charlotte used to play just outside as a child. They had a few options in mind for the reception location, but ultimately fell in love with The BarnYard. “It was simple, elegant, quiet and spacious. Plus, the staff were lovely, which gave us a great insight into the quality of care we’d get on our big day,” Charlotte explains. At the time the venue was allowing its couples to choose a back-up wedding date as the pandemic began to worsen. This turned out to be invaluable, as the first date they chose in May 2020 fell in the midst of the first lockdown whereas their eventual wedding date on 26th September of that year fortuitously landed just before the government restricted guest list numbers to six.
Join us as the bride shares more memories of the big day...
Charlotte's favourite colour is pink and Steven's is maroon (thanks to the paratroopers), so they incorporated both in their venue styling using lots of beautiful blooms. Steven is a romantic and often bought his bride-to-be flowers, so Charlotte was keen to use all of her favourite varieties including roses and peonies, as well as poppies for the bouquet and groom's buttonhole. "My bouquet was wrapped in ivory ribbon with a charm of my grandad's photograph so that he could walk down the aisle with me," the bride tells us. Plus, the mother-of-the-bride and -groom were treated to a beautiful hand-tied corsage each.
The Royal British Legion holds a special place in the hearts of this couple so they chose the charity’s poppy enamel pins, which were attached to place cards, as their wedding favours. Younger guests had their own favours made by the bride, which included word searches and other wedding-themed activities.
Each table was named in honour of a loved one there in spirit. For the newlyweds it was a way of including some very dear people and pets: Charlotte's nan, Ethel and grandad William; Steven's grandad, Donald; their beloved dog, Gunner; and the groom's childhood friend Stephen, who was killed in action in Iraq. "It was extremely important that our day was about the joining of two families and therefore we wanted to remember those we wished could have been there," Charlotte explains.
The centrepieces were round vases nestled in palette-fitting floral wreaths. The vases were filled with pebbles collected from Whitstable beach along with a single blush rose, all submerged in water and topped with a floating candle. The table decorations were finished with a scattering of maroon and blush rose petals, along with tiny wooden Mr & Mrs love hearts.
Amanda’s Vintage Car Hire provided the transport for the day, an Austin Sheerline and an Austin Princess. Charlotte tells us, “Amanda was wonderful to deal with. I had to reschedule twice and was really indecisive with my bridesmaids’ cars – she was so understanding and fantastic!
The venue catered the event and the food received rave reviews all round. The canapés were served at the tables in line with Covid restrictions and a barbecue was the main course. "My husband is a big foodie and loves barbecue food. So, he was really pleased when we were called up to be served first," Charlotte says.
Stress over money and ideas just isn't worth it. It's about you and your soulmate joining together forever. That's the main focus.
The bride chose a beautiful blush pink Ronald Joyce gown, Nora. "It was so delicate and everything I'd pictured. I felt like it'd been designed just for me," she says. She'd actually seen it online before heading to Christina K Bridal in Maidstone to try it on, so was super-excited. It was a worrying time when the dress was held up due to the pandemic, but the boutique managed to get it in time and combined with a heroic effort from the in-house seamstress all was well in the end. Charlotte completed the look with a cathedral-length veil, droplet cubic zirconia earrings, a matching necklace, and her nan's bracelet (her something old).
Steven wore a navy three-piece suit with a subtle tan check. He paired it with tan brogues and a paratrooper-maroon bow tie. The groomsmen wore matching navy suits, which they each accessorised with a maroon tie given to them by the bride and groom. The couple's son, Vinny, looked super-smart in his matching suit, which he loved wearing.
The bridesmaids wore beautifully flattering maroon dresses. Charlotte had bought each of the ladies a pair of sandals and blush pink flowers for their hair, which were included in their thank-you gifts given to them the night before.
Celebrations had to be scaled back due to Covid restrictions, but the couple are in the process of planning a one-year anniversary reception disco, lovingly referred to as their happily-ever-after party. But all assembled on the wedding day still had a great time safely! After the wedding breakfast and speeches everyone took part in a Mr and Mrs quiz. The family had been staying in touch during lockdown with Zoom quizzes, so this seemed like the perfect activity. The winning table was awarded a bottle of wine, which the champs didn't hesitate to crack open then and there!
After they’d cut the cake the newlyweds made their way to their hotel while guests stayed on chatting, singing and generally having the best time. “What a beautiful way to introduce our families to each other. I genuinely couldn’t ask for more. My family are my world,” Charlotte shares.
Charlotte remembers, “We both thought we’d be nervous, but I’d waited a long time to marry my soulmate and couldn’t wait. Once the walk down the aisle had happened, I was relaxed all day.
“I was so pleased with all of our suppliers. Everyone was incredibly understanding at such a difficult time for the industry. I’m particularly grateful to our photographer Nandi. She made us feel so comfortable while she was taking the getting-ready shots. She just felt like one of my bridesmaids and I think the pictures turned out better for it.”
When people were losing their loved ones and livelihoods, however disappointing it was to cut things down, or worry about 'what if,' it felt minuscule in comparison to what others were dealing with.