Colourful Coral Woodland Wedding in Kent: Dominic Brown and Claire Westerbeek
05 Nov 2015
No-one wants to leave a wedding party when the night comes to an end, and at Dominic and Claire’s woodland wedding, no one had to. Guests camped out in the woods after dark for a tremendous celebration with a DIY twist
With a theme that encompassed coral tones, watering cans, paper pom-poms and Rosie the Morris Minor, Dominic and Claire Brown’s country woodland wedding was a day to remember. Here they tell the story of their big day on 11 July, 2015 at St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Headcorn, and their outdoor reception at Braid Farm in Smarden.
How did you meet?
We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. Dom bought me a couple of drinks then plucked up the courage to ask me for my number.
Tell us about the proposal
We went to Brighton for a weekend. We went for a walk along the pier in the morning sun and after going on the ghost train we stopped for a drink and Dom pulled out the ring and asked me to marry him. I said yes straight away.
What was the theme and did you have a colour scheme?
We chose our venue as it had a beautiful woodland walk and we used this as our inspiration for the day. Our bridesmaids wore coral but we wanted the day to be colourful so there were lots of different colours throughout.
When did you know when you’d found the right dress?
After getting engaged I went straight out, bought a bridal magazine and saw the one I wanted in a picture. I searched Kent for it but no-one stocked it and finally found a shop in London to try it on. My mum and I went to London and knew straight away it was the one. We then found a shop in Folkestone called Wedding World that could order it in for me, so went there as going for fittings was easier than London.
Tell us about your floral arrangements
The bouquets were something I’d found on Pinterest and absolutely loved. I wanted the coral colour to stand out against my ivory dress and the bridesmaids had the same flowers in ivory to stand out against their bright dresses. We found a lovely florist in Tenterden called Flower Craft Workshop who did all our flowers. The church flowers matched the bouquets, using Miss Piggy Roses as the main colour. The table arrangements were very country. Dom’s dad hand-made and painted the troughs (twice as I changed my mind on the colour) and Juliet, our lovely florist, planted them up for us with miniature ivory roses and moss.
Often the aspect that makes a wedding original to the couple is the detail –tell us about the details of the day.
Everything on the day was DIY for us and we called in a lot of favours from family and friends. We wanted the wedding to be as outdoors as possible so we used hay bales and cable reels for outdoor furniture, and one of my amazing bridesmaids, Cat Brown, decorated the woodland for us as our wedding gift. Dom’s cousin provided us with outdoor lighting for the evening so we could continue to enjoy the woodland after dark. We gave sweet bags as our favours and had a huge sweet table which everyone loved. We wanted the day to be colourful and relaxed so we decorated the marquee and bar with paper pom-poms and flowers we bought from Tesco, and cuttings from the garden in watering cans and vases. Some friends lent us Rosie, their stunning Morris Minor car. Guests were able to camp at the site (we stayed on-site in a caravan) so the party didn’t need to end when the music stopped. The most important thing for us was to have everyone we loved there on the day and planning our wedding in this way allowed us to do that.
How did you feel as you walked down the aisle?
I felt calm in the morning and was incredibly proud to have my mum give me away. As I walked into the church I felt very overcome with emotion. It is a really strange feeling to see all your family and friends looking at you but not being able to stop and chat with them. Having said that it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and once I had taken a deep breath, I enjoyed every step along the aisle.
What was your most memorable moment?
The first look at the altar was very special and the photographer captured the moment perfectly.
What was the most challenging aspect of planning this wedding?
When planning a wedding in an empty field you have to think of every teaspoon, napkin and tea towel in the place. Very organised parents and a wedding spreadsheet helped us keep on top of all of the small details.
What was the most important investment for you? Food, drink, honeymoon?
We said all along as long as we had great food, music and alcohol everyone would have a great time. We hired a fabulous local singer, Lee Golledge, to set the mood for the day, and a Kent band called Firefly who were absolutely brilliant at keeping the dancefloor packed. We also invested in a fabulous once-in-a-lifetime trip to South America for six weeks for our honeymoon.
What song did you choose for your first dance?
Bruno Mars –Marry You. We didn’t want a big smoochy slow dance so we chose a more upbeat song so everyone could sing along.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
My mother-in-law foolishly offered to make the cake and said I could choose anything I wanted. After trawling through Pinterest for hours, I found the cake of my dreams –five tiers with hundreds of individual, handmade sugar flowers. She did a truly incredible job but I think she regretted her offer of ‘any cake I wanted.’
Where did you go on honeymoon?
We spent nearly six weeks travelling round South America:Peru (trekking the Inca trail for four days), Bolivia and Ecuador (the Galapagos Islands). The table plan featured names of animals in the Galapagos that we would see.
Do you have any advice for couples in the planning stages?
Enjoy it –it should be a fun experience and not stressful. Take advice from others but remember it’s your day, so do it your way. Make sure there is someone in charge of dealing with minor dramas so you don’t have to. I didn’t even know until the next day that the generator had broken down, the chiller van padlock had got stuck shut with all our drinks in and the beer keg delivery didn’t show up. All solved without me even noticing.
Steal Their Style:
Photography: GoWest Photography, www.gowestphotography.co.uk
Venue: Braid Farm, www.braidfarmholidays.co.uk
Marquee: John Nicholls –Vicarage Marquees, vicaragemarquees.co.uk
Catering: Richard –Fuud, www.fuudoutsidecaterers.co.uk
Event Planning: Fourjays, fourjays.co.uk
China hire: Janet’s China Hire, www.janetschinahire.co.uk
Dress: Wedding World, www.weddingworldkent.co.uk
Flowers: Flower Craft Workshop, www.flowercraftworkshop.com
Groom’s suit hire: Moss Bros, www.moss.co.uk
Make-up: Bella, Mary Kay Make-up
Entertainment: Lee Golledge, firstname.lastname@example.org; Firefly, www.kentband.com
Bridesmaid dresses: Light in the Box, www.lightinthebox.com
Wedding party gifts: Highland Angel, www.highlandangel.co.uk
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