Read all about Steph and Richard’s Chelsfield and Riverhill Himalayan Gardens wedding!
Steph and Richard’s Kentish wonderful Riverhill Himalayan Gardens wedding took place on a beautiful Autumn day in 2019. They were married at St Martin of Tours Church in Chelsfield, near Orpington and enjoyed a fantastic reception at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks, Kent. Here, Steph tells us more about the day and what made it so special…
My husband and I (still sounds surreal almost 18 months down the line!) met at university 11 years ago through our mutual hobby of church bell-ringing. He is the calm to my whirlwind, the funny to my serious, the yin to my yang. Richard proposed to me in September 2018, on Grande Rocque beach in Guernsey, my favourite place in the world. I’d got the church booked before we came home from the holiday! (Did I mention I was rather excited at the whole idea?)
One thing that was really important to us was that we did things because we wanted to, not just because everyone else did. I was going to say that once the ring was on my finger, I got planning, but to be honest, the planning had begun a *little* while before that! I knew that I wanted to be married at St Martin of Tours Church in Chelsfield; I was baptised there and it holds plenty of dear memories. A date in September 2019, a year later, was booked and then the Olympic sport of wedding planning began in earnest!
New notebook and coloured pens at the ready, we made a list of all the big things that we’d need to think of. We were keen to use local, Kentish where possible, suppliers and it felt so nice to be able to support others whilst enjoying our day.
Choosing a Riverhill Himalayan Gardens Wedding…
The first big decision was where to hold the reception – we had an idea of what we wanted to do at the reception (more on that later!) and were looking for a large open space that was a ‘blank canvas’. We looked around a few venues, but Sarah, Kate and the team at Riverhill Himalayan Gardens in Sevenoaks gave us everything we were looking for.
All about the dress!
My bridesmaids (my sister and two work colleagues) were fantastic in helping us planning the big day – we enjoyed a fantastic day at Brides Dress Revisited (see what they did there?) and then got them all dressed up at The Kent Wedding Centre. Getting married in September, our theme was Autumn so my beautiful girls were radiant in burgundy.
More pieces of the jigsaw fell into place over the next few months – we were getting married the day before Harvest Festival, so the flower team at the church kindly got the flowers ready for us, and our reception flowers were organised with Posy and Wild in Westerham.
The super suppliers…
Our wedding breakfast was to be a hog roast, with the pig coming from our local butchers in Southborough and the chef from my work put a feast together! Our marquee was booked with Manor Hire, beer and cider from Oakham Ales and Turners of Marden, we made our wedding rings from Fairtrade gold at Custom & Co in Maidstone and James and Flo from Our Day Photography in Folkestone (now Film Our Day) were getting ready to be snap-happy.
We were also incredibly lucky that our artistic friend Liz designed our order of service and name cards as well as another friend making our wedding cake. Thank you!
On the day!
That year of planning flew by, and before we knew it, the big day was upon us! After an excited morning of getting ready, it was time to go the church. I boarded a beautiful 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom convertible – cars are not my area of expertise but I wanted one that had been in Downton Abbey, and my wish was granted – it featured in the trailer for when the show aired in Australia. Tenuous, I know, but I’ll take that!
I arrived at the church to the sound of the church bells being rung by our friends and family and after a short prayer with the Rector, I made my way in. The butterflies in my tummy were having a field day – is this really happening? Richard’s friend Daniel, who he grew up with, was playing the organ and a sea of faces greeted us. Throughout the service there were little bits of ‘us’ and nods to those who weren’t able to share our day.
A Riverhill Himalayan Gardens Wedding and surprise village fete!
After photographs in the churchyard, we set off for Riverhill Himalayan Gardens and the big surprise of the day – we had put on a village fete for our wedding guests! We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and have fun, so this was the perfect thing for us.
Natalie and the team at My Wedding Fete organised a coconut shy, treasure map, splat the rat, hook a duck, tug of war and even space hopper races! It was absolutely amazing, and I cannot recommend this highly enough. Everyone got involved with something and a great time was had by all.
After our hog roast wedding breakfast, we started the first part of the evening entertainment, a ceilidh. This was the only part of the day that did not use a local group – the band, Shinjig, came from West Yorkshire! They’d played at a ceilidh we’d been to at university and we fell in love!
It was the first ceilidh that some of our guests had taken part in, but soon everyone got the hang of it and relaxed into it. We had a mixture of newbies and seasoned ceildh-ers, so it was a tall order to keep everyone under control but Shinjig pulled it out of the bag and created a fabulous evening.
The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted a pair of bride and groom pigs on top of our wedding cake. There’s method in our madness – we are both part of a light hearted running group called The Bacon Butty Brigade. After the ceilidh had finished, some of the group finished off the day with a disco. This really was ‘our day, our way’.