This Hadlow Manor Hotel Wedding was my last wedding of 2016 – and what a wedding to finish my season!
A day filled with fun, laughter and bucketful with emotive moments.
I met David & Jackie at Dom & Clare’s Beechwood Park wedding in 2015 when David was one of two best men for Dominic. A few months afterwards David enquired to see if I was free to document their wedding at Hadlow Manor and the rest, as they say, is history.
So on the morning of my birthday, I travelled down to the Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath for the preparations of both parties and then took the 30 minute trip further south into Kent for their Hadlow Manor Hotel wedding & reception. David has provided some answers to my usual questions below.
So, how did you meet? – tell us a little more about yourselves.
“We met in a school production of ‘the Wiz’ (a musical based on the Wizard of Oz). I was the Tinman and Jackie was the Scarecrow. Even though there was a difference of 3 school years between, us, we didn’t let this phase us and have been in love ever since!”
The proposal – who proposed, where, when & how?
“I proposed to Jackie in traditional fashion. Having just left her job to work for herself, I took Jackie to Edinburgh for the weekend under the pretence of celebrating her new freedom. Under the guise of some celebratory cocktails, I got Jackie into a fancy frock and up to a sophisticated cocktail bar with a beautiful view of Edinburgh Castle. After enough alcohol to work up the courage, the proposal was made and thankfully accepted, and some tears of happiness shed.”
How was the wedding planning process for you?
“We tried to keep things as simple as possible and focused on the marriage and everyone having fun rather than it being some perfect day. So, therefore, it wasn’t very stressful, and bridezilla never made an appearance.”
Where did you get married and what was it about the venue(s) that appealed so much?
“We got married at Hadlow Manor Hotel in Kent. We mostly loved it because it had enough bedrooms to accommodate the majority of our guests and we could have the whole hotel to ourselves. It also had an excellent chef, so the food was top notch and we could even bring our own wine for the day (which I am pretty fussy about!). Lastly, it wasn’t too expensive, and they had a good offer available for wedding guests staying overnight.”
How would you describe the style of your wedding and what made you decide to go down that route?
“A classic and personal Hadlow Manor Hotel wedding. The ceremony was small with only 60 guests and we took a lot of time to choose music that meant something to us and many of our amazing & talented friends played and sang for us. We wrote our own vows too which helped make it particularly personal.”
Cuisine. What kind of food and drink was served and why?
“We went down the traditional English/French cuisine route, with a three course sit down meal and 3 options to choose from for each course. The chefs on the day were fantastic, and we were so pleased with the quality of the food!
We opted to take our own wine for the reception and meal, which was painstakingly chosen over many months of trying many different wines before we finally chose ones that we thought everyone would enjoy.
We ended up with a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc called The Gooseberry Bush, and a Spanish Rioja Reserva called Lagunilla for the guests while the top table had a French Bordeaux called Chateau D’issan 2001, and a Kiwi Sauvignon Blanc called The Duck and Pheasant.”
What were the most memorable part(s) of the day and what was the funniest moment?
“The most memorable part of the day was watching the musicians playing during the signing of the register – once we’d finished signing and we could just enjoy the music. The funniest moment was the best men’s speech, power point presentation and all!”
Did anything go wrong on the day and were there any surprises?
“Jackie’s carriage to the hotel was a 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow owned by my mum. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get out very much, and while it was serviced just before the wedding, we still had an engine warning light come on en-route to the wedding. Thankfully it just about made it without breaking down, although it did take a full hour to get it going the next day again!
As for surprises, just one – which was an excellent song written and performed by the best men at the end of the evening. Very amusing!”
Is there anything you would have done differently?
“Nope, it was incredible!”
Do you have any advice for other couples in the stages of planning their own wedding?
- Be clear on your priorities before you start planning as you can’t have everything, especially when keeping to a budget!
- In the end, only things that are truly important to you will matter on the day. We didn’t aim for perfection, only to have a beautiful day. Therefore it exceeded our expectations, and this is what made it so perfect.
- Also, having everything in one location made everything much easier on the day, so consider this if you aren’t having a church ceremony.
“Ian was the perfect wedding photographer! The ideal blend of being there for every important moment but never feeling intrusive or in the way. His photographs capture the magic of the day in every way as well as the story behind it. A truly skilled artist, Ian clearly cares about doing an amazing job for you on this most special of days and every photograph reflects this. We couldn’t recommend him highly enough. Thank you so much, Ian!”