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Our Castle Barn Wedding July 19


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Wedding addict



So having been totally addicted to lots of wedding threads since I came across this forum I thought it might be fun to write my own one. If anything to look back at our planning journey as the wedding still feels so long away at present but I’m sure it will fly by!


How we met!

I‘ll call my hubby to be M. Around 4 years ago we were both on a little dating app called plenty of fish I saw his profile and sent him a message after a couple of weeks of texting back a forth we arranged our first date!

He worked near where I lived at the time so we arranged to meet at a restaurant. Having now been on a few first dates I was on the verge of giving internet dating a break having said that there were some entertaining dates in there. Whereas M was soo nervous it was his first date it had actually turned out he’d be single for so long his friends secretly set up a dating profile on plenty of fish and put it on his phone without knowing! The first he knew if it was when he recieved a notification the message from me lol. 

We got on really really well that night the meal was lovely and we went to a bar afterwards. The rest they say is history we’ve gone from strength to strength!

When we meant I was the process of buying a new build house (always take ages until completion) so we were out all the time as I hated the house share I was in at the time. We moved in together (or he moved into mine) after a year together and it has honestly just been the best time ever!



Wedding addict

The proposal

So the subject of marriage had come up a few times in our relationship and we both knew it was something we both really wanted at some point. There were a few holidays were I actually thought oh this would be a nice place to propose but it never happened. We went on a big trip to New York last year and my friends were even commenting where’s the ring on my facebooks photos (as a joke he actually found it funny) we happened to come across Tiffany’s (well I was looking for it as I’d been there before I knew where it was lol) their signature Tiffany setting rings were in the window I said to him if you ever want ideas of a ring to get me this would be it I love them Think they are so classy and elegant. I didn’t think anymore about this as an actual Tiffany ring would be way out of budget!

A few months after this we found out I was pregnant with our little girl so all thoughts of engagements or weddings were put out of my mind and replaced with alll the preparation for becoming parents! This was why it was such a surprise to me when he did propose as I wasn’t expecting it at all!

So imagine my surprise I’m about 7 months pregnant and arrange an impromptu night out with a couple of friends to see the new fifty shades film (loved the books lol) where funnily enough they get engaged and being all hormonal thinking it was all lovely so I get home and the house is quiet. 

I turn the lights on and there’s rose petals and chocolates trailing up the stairs to our closed bedroom door which has a card on it. At this point I’m giggling my head off wondering what he’s up to as he knows I’ve just seen fifty shades so I thought he might be playing a joke!

I open the card it says to open the door slowly so when i do I’m speechless as there’s candles dotted and rose petals on the bed spelling out marry me! His ipad was showing a slideshow of pictures of us with some music and there he is down on one knee in a tux holding a box with the most gorgeous ring! This is the point where I burst into tears (of happiness) he’s crying too and can’t even get his words out so we just stood there hugging each other at first! When we’d both calmed down he asked me I of course said yes!!! 

It was and still is such a happy memory still is! I loved the fact it was in our house and just us two such an amazing moment!


Wedding addict


So it turned out that M had even surprised himself that night as he didn’t initally plan to do it that night either but this was the night before Valentines and we had arranged a meal where we first met for valentines night. He wanted to do it then but then thought he’d never have enough time to set up that evening without me becoming suspicious so after speaking with his sister he decided to do it and had 1 hour to set it up before I got home (petals are a pain apparently!) 

i am soo glad he didn’t actually do it on valentines it wouldn’t have had the same impact I was so surprised and for us it was perfect!

He had been planning the proposal for ages (6 months) and had asked my dad the traditional way (my mum was beside herself wondering when he was doing it!) but what took the time was the ring which he designed and sourced the diamond himself which makes my ring even more personal! 


Wedding addict

The ring!

So having taken note of the Tiffany ring I had pointed out in New York M did some research. Having decided that at actual tiffanys ring would be way out of budget he decided to go down the bespoke route. 

So M took it upon himself to become a bit of a diamond expert in his search for the perfect ring! researching colour, cut, clarity etc. Honestly when he explained it to me it even went over my head mind boogling! His sisters partner likes to design jewellery so he enlisted his help they went to Hatton garden in search of the perfect diamond picked one and designed it with the Tiffany setting which has become so popular. He’d also sneakily involved one of my friends in getting my ring size she did well as I don’t even remember having a convo with her about ring sizes but they got it spot on! 

The photos don’t do it justice but here’s my 0.7 carat round cut flawless diamond encased in a platinum Tiffany cut setting! I love it to bits and it’s soo sparkly 

Wedding addict


So the week of our actual engagement turned out to be a bit crazy work was crazy busy (I’m a nurse) and I then had a surprise baby shower too! To say I was surprised and overwhelmed was an understatement! The day turned into a bit of an impromptu engagement celebration too as the shower was in a hotel so drinks at the bar followed and everyone ended up at my parents house for a Chinese that evening! 


All thoughts of any wedding related was then put on hold while we welcomed our beautiful little girl Amelia into the world in April. She is honestly the best thing ever!!! 

After the shock, joy and thousands of other emotions that you got through in those first few months of parenthood in July we found we was able to focus more on our future and decided to start making plans for the wedding and being that I would be on maternity leave for a while this was a good time to start

We decided summer 2019 as this gave us time to save and Amelia would be a bit older we always liked the thought of a summer wedding but the question was where?

Wedding addict

So the next step we took was working out or numbers namely budget and number of guests we will have on the day. Both of us have fairly large families so it was never going to be a small wedding although that would be amazing budget wise if it was! We were Realistically looking at a venue that could accommodate around 100 guests. 

In terms of a venue we are not religious and the idea of a church wedding would make us both feel uncomfortable and a bit hypocritical so we decided and civil ceremony would be for us. We were also really keen that the ceremony and reception should be in one place we have preferred that with other weddings we’ve been too.

I did a lot of research online for Kent and Essex venues as our families are spread around these areas and we literally live right next to the Dartford bridge so either area was good for us. There was one venue I always wanted to look at as I’d been there before for other weddings a few years ago so in July we looked at our first venue.

Cooling Castle Barn

The idea of a barn wedding was something that really appeals to us both so off we went one morning baby in tow who slept through it Luckily.

We both loved it but it was a bit of a rushed look around and as it was our first viewing we had no idea what questions to ask so was a little overwhelming. Then she showed us the availability for summer 2019 and there was something like 4 days left! This is a venue that has weddings everyday even so the thought it would be so booked up shocked us so we provisionally reserved the last date available in July giving us 2 weeks to confirm! 

The venue certainly ticked all the boxes in what we wanted in a venue. There’s 3 beautiful barns one for the ceremony one a bar area and the most stunning one is a big barn where the reception would take place. The outside is beautifully landscaped and the gatehouse of Cooling Castle which is now in ruins stands at its entrance and looks stunning so there’s history there too. There’s accommodation on site and beautiful suite the bridal party gets ready in which is stunning although we could not see this area when viewing. 

We did however have a couple of viewings lined up at other venues so felt we could make a decision within the two weeks they could hold our date for. My mum then tried to put me off by saying so many people we know have got married surely there’s somewhere better! So we kept an open mind on that one!


Wedding addict

Second viewing

Gaynes Park

So a few days later we had a viewing at the lovely Gaynes Park! Pulling up it looked lovely it was when the lovely lady was showing us round that really sold this place to us. She showed us the cottage the bridal party get ready in and the walk I would take with my dad “down the aisle” now the aisle here is through their beautiful gardens which leads to their beautiful orangery the path through the garden is the aisle and ends inside the orangery. I thought this was completely stunning and I’m not gonna lie it gave me goosebumps from the way she was selling it. There is then a lovely open sided barn and a barn where the wedding breakfast and reception would take place. The Accommodation onsite was also out of this world so lovely! 

We both left there feeling very excited as we both loved it but it had a big negative the price! After a lot of discussion this was deemed out of our budget the orangery and accommodation had the wow factor but the wedding breakfast would have been cramped for 100 people and we decided that the barn at cooling castle was nicer and it is where we would spend the majority of the day.

Gaynes is also tied to a specific caterer and this was what really put us off for starter the catering alone was the same price as the whole package at cooling. I was a bridesmaid for one of my friends who used the same caterer at her venue and they were a nightmare! 

So with a heavy heart we turned down a Gaynes Park and decided to go back to Cooling for another look as we decided we could do so much more with our budget at cooling and have the day exactly how we want it so off we went back to Cooling Castle with our parents in tow!

Wedding addict

I will just say we had a viewing at another venue which really was not us so I also feel its not worth writing about on here needless to say it was back to Cooling for us! 

So a couple of weeekends later we went back to Cooling Castle with my parents and Ms mum and step dad to look around. This time we were left to our own devices and that worked better for us as we really had time to look around we weren’t pushed around the venue. 

It was a lovely hot sunny day and as we got there the wedding party from the night before were just leaving this meant 10 minutes of chatting in the car park with their family and they had nothing but praise for the team there and the venue itself well this got off to a very good start! 

They were setting up for another wedding whilst we were there and you could really see the organisation in the place. We found with this second viewing we had a much stronger vision of our day being here and knew exactly what we wanted. 

Both sets of parents loved the venue and my mum was placated she forgot how nice it was so everyone was happy. We booked and paid the deposit so our wedding is officially booked for 02/07/19!

Wedding addict


So as I’m currently on maternity leave I had a lot of time to research and have definitely become a Pinterest addict! We were keen to look at certain aspects of our day and secure bookings for our date as and when we saw the right people. We know the wedding is a way off yet but looking at florists photographers before they get booked up seemed like a good option. 

As as we were at the venue with the parents M and my dad had a lengthy chat with one of the suppliers setting up at the venue M got his card so we looked them up. It’s important that during our day all our guests are entertained and thought what better way to do that than a photo booth! We’ve been to a few weddings with them it’s great fun! 

This company do all sorts of things so in keeping with what we want for our day we managed to book a magician for drinks after the ceremony during the lull of the photos, some 4ft LOVE letters, a magic selfie mirror for the evening and a white led dancefloor.  So this was all booked literally 24 hours after securing the venue!  

Wedding addict

Thought I would share some photos of the venue

Wedding addict

What a lovely proposal, so sweet. And your venue is absolutely beautiful, really stunning x

Wedding addict

Ahh thanks Hannah343 I’ve read your thread too! I love a barn wedding (or any wedding) yours will be beautiful too love reading the updates x

Wedding addict

Thanks VegasLou, I’ve read your wedding thread too! I love love love Vegas I’ve been 3 times amazing place so much fun! 

Wedding addict

Venue open day

A few weeks after booking our venue the venue had its annual open day so one Sunday we took the parents and future in laws along with us to check it out. So we knew how popular our venue was due to it being so booked out all year but nothing could have prepared us for exactly how busy it was! This was the date they opened their diary for 2020 and the queue was phemonmenal for bookings in fact people had been queuing since 7am to secure their date (opened at 11!) The world of weddings is crazy sometimes!

There were people everywhere it was actually difficult getting around inside the barns so we took it upon ourselves to get a drink and sit outside and soon enough the crowds died down a little. All the recommended suppliers for the venue where there so it gave us a good opportunity to scope them out. The entertainment company we’d already booked were there and really busy so we took that as a good sign. No other suppliers particularly stood out apart from a florist who is award winnning and seems to dress the majority of weddings at the venue also being there midweek supplier too. They had an amazing table centrepiece which I absolutely loved so we made an appointment to see them a month later (they are that busy!)

Thinking similar with flowers to compliment our colour scheme I love the floating candles on the bottom looked so pretty.

The open day also enabled us to see all the accommodation offered and the amazing moat house a suite where the bridal party get ready as these were in use on previous viewings, not forgetting the honeymoon suite and lounge for after the ceremony.

Everytime we see the venue there are more things we absolutely love about it although I’m glad we saw the venue before the open day I would have been so put off by the craziness otherwise! 

Wedding addict

First wedding show

So after seeing the national wedding show was going to be at the Olympia in September my Mum booked VIP tickets for me, her, my aunt and one of my bridesmaids for that weekend as a treat. 

We were all so excited going up there and it was a good girly day the VIP aspect was good and I certainly came back  with a few goodies! 

We did however find certain aspects lacking the fashion show seemed so high end it went away from bridal and went to the bizarre. Some of the models were so skinny the dresses were too big it was not a good look! I thought the show would provide so much inspiration but we came away with none at all. It was a good day none the less


Wedding addict

Colour scheme and stationary

So the aspect of a colour scheme came fairly easy to myself and M.

Grey and white features heavily in our home so that was a no brainer alongside blush pinks and silvers. Probably very common wedding colours but we like what we like! 

We started looking at what we would like for stationary probably seems so early but me and M know what we like and don’t like so are very unlikely to change our minds on that front. The more we looked at stationary wise the more we throught it would be more cost effective to design ourselves to get the look we want plus its something we‘ve spent time doing together. We also wanted all aspect of the stationary to match and flow through to all aspects of the wedding save the dates/ invites and signage table plans etc

After a few nights of M designing and a trip to hobbycraft/paper chase and sourcing some bits online we actually added marble into the mix with a silver foiled effect for the writing. I wouldn’t have necessarily put marble with a barn wedding but it matches our colour scheme well and has the classy elegant effect we were looking for. These are what we’ve come up with so far 

We are hoping the invites will have ribbon encasing it instead of cardboard but are just playing around with them at present

Wedding addict

Thanks Britbird I’ve been reading your thread too! we bought a hot foil machine from hobbycraft as I love that look initally wanted rose gold but silver looks so much better. Might be cursing it by the time we send the invites out though as it’s quite time consuming it works the same way as a laminator I’d say 95% come out really good! It’ll defo be a labour of love lol!