An open air countryside wedding with casual style
05 Aug 2020
Lucy McLeod and George Payne were the first people to hold their wedding in the parkland at Penshurst Place and Gardens in Kent
Photography: David Fenwick Photography
How did you meet?
We met at the village pub in Penshurst where at the time, George was the assistant manager, I had popped over to have a meeting about collaborative marketing and a few weeks later I had moved into the village itself. After that we saw each other more regularly and became friends - I remember thinking that George was easily the kindest person I had ever met, he was always smiling and had time for everyone.
We looked at a few other venues that were similar to Penshurst in that they could cater for the informal day we were looking for, or were right in the middle of the countryside, but every time we left and drove back home through Penshurst village we just thought, wouldn’t it be nice to do it here? I think there was a worry that since we live and work here it wouldn’t feel out of the ordinary enough because we see it every day, but actually it was the opposite. The Penshurst Place team were beyond helpful in helping us bring our casual countryside day to life. The flexibility made it stand out. Because Penshurst Place is set within acres of its own countryside and has lots of indoor rooms to choose from too, the scope for curating your perfect day is endless. There’s so much space and so much choice. The team are really helpful and as we were the first to get married in the parkland, everyone was so excited and were absolute stars at helping us bring it altogether. It definitely took more thought and logistical planning than an indoors ceremony, but everything was taken care of and we had no worries at all.
Our theme was bees and holly wreaths and colours with lots of soft pinks and evergreen. George and I are very outdoorsy people and love taking our spaniels, Holly and Bumble, out for long walks around the Penshurst Estate and nearby Ashdown forest. It was important to us to have them with us in spirit and so we had a bumble bee inside a holly wreath graphic created that was used on all our stationery and signs, as well as lots of other subtle references like bee pins in my hair.
I wore a mink-coloured tulle skirt from Needle and Thread, a Willowby by Watters white corset and a belt.
The bridesmaids’ dresses
The bridesmaids wore long flowing light pink dresses with layers of chiffon. I affectionately referred to them as my Beauxbatons bridesmaids due to their similarity to the fictional girl’s school from the Harry Potter series.
The suits were from ASOS and were a beautiful greyish beige with pink accents. George is one of those people who rarely gets cold and being that our wedding was at the end of May, we realised if he wore a three-piece suit it was likely he’d be hot and melting before the end of the vows. We decided not to include the jackets which also helped with the casual, rustic feel of the day. George and all the ushers wore the same trousers and waist coat with white shirts and brown shoes. George also wore his late grandfather’s pocket watch and Bumble bee cufflinks.
We got permission to source some foliage from the Penshurst Estate for the tables, as well as lots of bought-in eucalyptus. My bouquet was made by Flowers by Enchantment and featured a gorgeous array of peonies and white roses as we were married when the peonies on the estate were in bloom. The bridesmaids had handmade wild-flower arrangements.
How did you feel on the morning?
We both felt absolutely fine, honestly. I think people expected us to be nervous, but it just felt like getting ready for a family party, which is what it was essentially. We were just very excited to see each other.
Our wedding was very DIY, and rather than gifts a lot of our nearest and dearest did us favours or made us things for the wedding. One of these was beautiful Silver Birch arbour that our good friend’s dad made for us to be married at the lake. Our guests were sat on hay bales covered in hessian and we dressed the arbour with chiffon and foliage. It looked so beautiful and we were thrilled with how in-keeping and rustic it looked.
What small details really made your day special?
Getting the community involved. Our family and friends all know and love the village as much as we do and having so many parts of our wedding day handmade or donated by them was a huge part of what made our day special.
The night before our wedding when everyone had arrived we organised a pizza and prosecco party, before playing a huge game of frisbee in the parkland. That is one of our fondest memories from the whole thing, it was just so nice to have the village we love full of the people we love.
What was your favourite part of the planning and the day itself?
Dressing the arbours the day before and knowing that in 24 hours, we would be reciting our vows underneath them. On the day itself, the privilege of being able to get married outside.
What is the lasting memory of your day?
Walking to the lake. It was such a beautiful day; the weather was perfect and saying our vows in the middle of countryside next to the water was really special.
What advice would you give to couples planning their day?
Don’t be afraid to ask about changes you would like to make to make your day truly yours. If you’ve got a particular vision tell the team at the venue and most will see what they can do to help it come to life.
Steal Their Style
Photography: David Fenwick Photography
Ceremony Venue: Penshurst Place
Reception Venue: Penshurst Village Hall
Wedding rings: Etsy
Dress: Skirt, Needle and Thread; corset, Willowby by Watters
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Boohoo
Hair: Hannah Hennessy
Make-up: Jessica Powell
Flowers: Flowers by Enchantment
Cake: The bride’s mum
Catering: Blue Egg Catering
Videography: Cut Above Productions
Entertainment: Diverse Discos