When Heidi and Angie from Simply Irresistible Cakes were given the opportunity to organise a shoot at the beautiful Court Lodge Estate, they jumped at the chance and after a site visit to the location, they just knew that an elegant and timeless colour palette of white, green and gold would be perfect!
Set in the Kent Countryside, with far-reaching views stands Court Lodge Estate, a grade II listed, historical mansion house with connections to author Jane Austen and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
The house has a stunning ceremony room, a separate room for the wedding breakfast as well as extensive gardens and a parterre in which to take your photographs. There is a sunken garden too, believed to have been designed by James Pulham and Sons who were well known for constructing rockeries and elaborate water features and had designed gardens for many notable locations, including Buckingham Palace.
The house and gardens have been lovingly restored by the owners, Phil and Kim Beckingham who have turned it into a home and want to share it with couples who want to declare their love to each other in front of their nearest and dearest.
From the impressive entrance, you step into a stunning fernery with beautiful plants, such as bougainvillaea and then into the main hallway with its archways, wood panelling and amazing staircase at the end, which has the most beautiful crystal chandelier and huge arched window, which floods it with light. Upstairs there is a self-contained bridal suite, perfect for getting ready and then to spend your wedding night later on. The scale and grandeur of this building is incredible and yet, it feels cosy and intimate, which is so difficult to achieve – they have done a truly remarkable job, and we hope that our shoot shares the beauty to its full potential.
The gowns were provided by Blackburn Bridal an intimate and bespoke boutique, based in Blackheath, London. We had 2 looks, both designed by the boutique owner, Russell Blackburn from the in-house Blackburn Bridal Couture Collection, which draws upon his 17 years of experience dressing thousands of brides and giving them something that they simply won’t find anywhere else- the label is exclusive to the boutique. The ceremony dress is called Petal, she is a beauty, with her plunging back and floral applique, it was just right for this romantic and elegant occasion epitomising grace and class. The evening look was a stunning pale gold, fully sequinned dress with gorgeous drapey fabric, which sparkled with every movement our bride, Ellie felt like a queen in it, as she enjoyed the admiring looks from everyone – it was perfect!
The shoes were provided by the immensely talented Diane Hassall, who has designed with Jimmy Choo and has shoes in London’s V&A museum’s permanent collection. Every shoe is designed and handmade by Di Herself. Simply stunning, the shoes were adorned with pearls and flowers, there were 2 styles, one with a bow ankle strap and one, slightly higher pair without.
The Bridal Details
A beautiful detail for the bride was the handmade silk floral crown and a hair vine, both from Silk and Purl which hairstylist Sarah Daniels expertly plaited into her beautiful long hair. Sarah did 2 looks for Ellie’s hair, which were both equally beautiful _ one for the day and then a different style for the evening – it’s worth considering choosing a style that could be adapted later on in the day, especially if you’re having an outfit change.
The rings and jewellery were provided by Varoshe, who are bespoke designers, the stunning diamond and emerald rings, fitted together perfectly, and the delicate, intricate pendant and chain were just beautiful and complemented the dresses so well.
The Venue Styling
The venue was styled by Janet of Show Off, who used her incredible skills to dress the tables in the dining room and the ceremony room – she absolutely nailed the elegant vibe we were going for and paired it with Kellie’s amazing flowers (of Twisted Tulip Designs) it just looked stunning, a floral explosion in the ceremony room with an a-symmetrical arch, aisle meadow and 2 styles of bouquet! We moved the florals around to frame the cake in the window and then outside, to get different shots, moving flowers around means that you get the best value for money.
Stationery was provided by Jane, The Oxford calligrapher, who made us a beautiful, mirrored table plan, menus, place names and stunning holders with tassels to hold the bride and groom’s vows. She finished the place names at the venue, so we could see her craft, it was so relaxing to watch.
We had 3 cakes, each with some handmade details such as sugar flowers and ruffles – a labour of love! The smallest, single-tier had oversized flowers and a stunning silk ribbon from Silk and Purl, a single-tier cake alongside your main cake can provide extra drama as well as catering for additional dietary requirements, don’t put your cake in the corner, give it somewhere centre stage!
The vows were written by Katie of True Blue Ceremonies, who injected a little humour into them, as Ellie and Charlie wanted something fun and not too formal, a celebrant can write the perfect words for you both, it’s just so personal and often gives you goosebumps!
The Harpist, Lucy gave us some incredible and beautiful entertainment, for the arrival of the bride and some music while drinks were enjoyed on the terrace outside afterwards. She even matched her outfit to complement the colour scheme! Music really does add special meaning to the day, and each stage of it.
(Capturing) The memories
Photographers Charlene Webb (Fine Art Style) and Rachel Billings (Documentary style, Rebel) worked alongside each other to get their shots, which are rather different in style and yet, it worked so well, documenting the details and the unfolding of the day in different ways, giving us these wonderful results.
Videographer Robert Kaminski captured the day on film for us, he was working away in the background and was such an unobtrusive presence, it was amazing how he got all the shots without us noticing – I would definitely recommend having a videographer, you can relive the day over and over again!
Planning and Cakes: Simply Irresistible Cakes London
Photography (Fine art style): Charlene Webb Photography
Photography (Documentary style): The Rebel
Bridal dresses: Blackburn Bridal Couture
Tableware and Glasses: Steelite International
Venue styling: Show Off
Videographer: Your Love Story Pictures
Bride: Ellie Fox
Hairstylist: Sarah Daniels
Shoe Designer: Diane Hassall
Florist: Twisted Tulip Designs
Silk Crown and Bouquet Drape: Silk and Purl
Rings and Jewellery: Varoshe Bespoke Jewellery
Stationery: The Oxford Calligrapher
Harpist: Harpist Lucy
Venue: Court Lodge Estate