Tags: Kent

On safari

03 Mar 2014

On safari

Simon Hooper and Katy Goodship took guests into Africa for their wedding at PortLympne Wild Animal Park

Simon Hooper and Katy Goodship

Where: Ceremony and reception at Port Lympne Mansion House and Gardens, Lympne, Kent

Photography: Rebecca Douglas Photography

We chose Porte Lympne Mansion House and Gardens as we did not want a traditional church/big white wedding. We have two sons, Harry and Archie, so we wanted a wedding they could enjoy too that was not stifled by pomp and ceremony. The venue is adjacent to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park which meant we could treat our guests to an hour-long African safari experience after the ceremony. An added attraction was the accommodation – 10 tents on stilts on the site of the African experience – so we could breakfast watching the zebra and rhino while reliving our day.

I wanted a dress that reflected my personality in a halter neck style, but also wanted one covered in feathers. I found my dream dress at The Bridal Gallery, in my home town of Broadstairs. My mum passed away four years ago. We would wander past The Bridal Gallery and comment on the dresses. It seemed poignant that I found my dream dress there.

My bridesmaid’s boyfriend designed the invitations, stationery and table plans. He produced some impressive invitations continuing the Safari animal theme.

I was really calm and relaxed on the day of ceremony. I knew I was marrying the man I love and the person who I could rely on through good times and bad.

The colour theme was aubergine and this was used as an accent colour in the flowers and the wedding party’s ties. The men had grey suits, but not all matching as they are all such different builds.

Photos were taken outside when the sun broke through the freezing cold clouds.

As speeches were made before the wedding breakfast we all got to enjoy the meal and appreciate it. I chose to say a few words about our mums (who both sadly couldn’t be with us as they passed away a few years ago) and raise a toast to them. It seemed only right for them to get a mention, and I’m sure they were celebrating from afar.

I wrote a 16-page newspaper that featured stories on many of our guests. I was a news reporter for eight years before the children, on the Thanet Times. I called the paper Good Times, as my surname was Goodship. My friend laid out all the pages. It was a fabulous surprise for the guests. They really appreciated the time, effort and humour. It also jogged a few memories from our youth.

We cut the cake at the evening reception. It was a simple white iced three-tier chocolate cake with a personalised topper in purple.

Entertainment was from a band called Bounce who are based in London. Our friend recommended them and they were incredible. The dance floor was filled which meant two things – we had a superb night of celebrations and dancing, and it was money well spent. Simon chose three ‘first dances’ for us – three songs that mean a lot to us: Paul Weller’s You Do Something To Me, Eric Clapton’s Wonderful Tonight and Van Morrison’s Have I Told You Lately. He kept these as a surprise as he’s the musical one. We have so many special songs from all the years we have been together, that it was hard to choose. These were performed by the band. You really can’t beat live music.

WHO DID WHAT

Photography: Rebecca Douglas Photography, 07870 537455, www.rebeccadouglas.co.uk

Venue: Port Lympne Mansion House & Gardens, Lympne, near Hythe,

0844 8424647, www.aspinallfoundation.org/weddings-events

Dress: The Bridal Gallery, Broadstairs, 01843 600529, www.bridal-gallery.co.uk

Accessories: By Jenny Packham from Teokath, Canterbury, 01227 379000, www.teokath.co.uk/canterbury

Bridesmaids’ Dresses: House of Fraser, www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Hair: Jeannie Parkes, Cuts Incorporated, Broadstairs, 01843 866174

Make-up: Charlie Pardoe, 07989 536033

Groom’s outfit: Slaters, Canterbury, 01227 765599, www.slaters.co.uk

Flowers: Dream of Flowers, 01233 731031, www.dreamofflowers.co.uk

Cake: Marks & Spencer, www.marksandspencer.com

Entertainment: Bounce, petulantpenguin@live.co.uk

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