It’s a beautiful morning, and we’re at Jacqueline’s childhood home, getting ready for a much-anticipated event. Finally, the big day has rolled around – the wedding is here at last.
It really is a beautiful spot here at Kelmscott Farm, and at 7.30am, we’re just enjoying a cup of tea in the sunshine when our photographer arrives. Chris from Dead Ready Productions will be the first of many old friends excitedly contributing to the wedding today – we’ve learned that what goes around comes around, Jacqueline’s nature has meant that everyone seems to be pulling out all the stops, now it’s her turn to celebrate!
The six beautiful bridesmaids are wearing red vintage-style dresses from ASOS with fur shrugs (an absolute bargain on eBay), and patent nude shoes from Debenhams, all gifts from the couple to their wonderful friends.
The Mother of the Bride Carolyn is looking elegant and gorgeous in this season’s Phase 8 while the father of the Bride Kevin wears a designer suit from House of Fraser. A couple for over 40 years, these two are just a little bit gleeful about their only child’s big day.
The exquisite hairstyles and make up are the work of Ela Lapus of Home Hair & Make-Up and she certainly had her work cut out with such a large bridal party today! All the ladies needed perfectly crafted curls, fastened with gold & pearl hairpins. Jacqueline opted for a half up, half down side do.
Jacqueline has always been brilliant at accessorizing, and today, she hasn’t disappointed us. Her clutch bag and the brooch on her bouquet belonged to her late Grandmother on her Mother’s side, who was sorely missed on the day. Her beautiful red leather shoes were hand-made in 1912, and are genuine Dolcis Manahattan, previously worn by her Great Grandmother on her Father’s side and then by her mother all through the 70s! In fact, the only accessory Jacqueline has that isn’t genuine vintage or antique is…some hair feathers from Poundland and a veil found on ebay for the princely sum of £8. It’s a secret that had to be shared!
After the Bride’s grand entrance, we enjoy some champagne whilst admiring one of the most beautiful wedding dresses we’ve ever seen. An absolute find from Cranleigh Bridal this Linea Raffaelli design looks simply gorgeous on Jacqueline’s curvy figure. Naturally Jacqueline negotiated a sizeable discount, in her typical style, (£1,000!) off this Belgian designer number. The beaded back is particularly sensational.
And so, the journey begins. It’s only a half hour drive to Northbrook Park in Farnham, and we have the perfect cars for the job – in our lovely cream VW campervan wedding car Lola, driven by an old uni friend, Will.
...And a gorgeous silver Jaguar, owned by the father of the Bride, Kevin.
They arrive at Northbrook Park to live music – today we have Jen, one of The Kelmsley Team and old school friend, singing Jacqueline down the aisle with Matt James on guitar. Mike and his groomsmen await her – all smartly clad in yellow ties, blue suits, and of course…bright yellow socks, why not?!
The seasonal flowers follow a red and yellow theme, the couple’s favourite colours. They were designed by Jacqueline with the help of once client (Jacqueline catered for her wedding), now good friend and resident Kelmsley Florist, Chrissy Thornton. There are roses, ranunculus, yellow daffodils, tulips, white freesias, tiny bunches of kitchen herbs and seasonal foliage grown and picked from Kelmscott Farm, they look simply sensational.
Northbrook Park’s Vine room is a stunning place for a wedding ceremony. Tall ceilings, crystal chandeliers, a roaring open fire, sash windows with beautiful views and a sophisticated cream and gold colour scheme make this the stuff of dreams. The big moment is here!
The rings, from F. Hinds, are simple, elegant and understated – Mike has a palladium band, and Jacqueline a solid gold ring.
Bob Dylan’s You Belong to Me plays live as the signing of the register takes place, and our happy newlyweds walk, or rather, bound out of the room to a shower of bubbles, confetti and hearty cheers.
After a group photo or two, Jacqui and Mike go for some private reflection time to take in the enormity of the heartfelt commitment they’ve just made to one another. According to them, this means driving off in Lola the campervan and drinking some hot mulled cider whilst looking at some ducks in a pond. This is why we love them. They’re quirky.
We all get some hot cider, too – the welcome drinks are Mulled Cider with orange & star anise and winter Pimms, served from Kelmsley’s rustic Kilner Jars, and our famous canapés are going down a treat.
The Orangery Room here at Northbrook Park is another big treat. The interior follows a kind of garden room theme, with exposed red bricks, plenty of indoor foliage and access to a charming courtyard garden – complete with water fountains and Albino Peacocks. They enjoy squawking at you at random, which makes for much hilarity.
We’ve carried on with a red and yellow theme, with quirky table decorations made of stacked vintage books, with a vintage china teapot perched merrily on the top of them filled with fresh blooms.
The floral centerpieces are surrounded by candles, with place names imaginatively drawn on Jenga blocks (the groom is a quantity surveyor and the joke is he counts bricks for a living – fitting!) The table names, surfing beaches the couple frequent, are painted on rocks from coastlines around Britain and hints at our newlywed’s love of sea. Colourful menus are printed by vistaprint to finish the look.
Now, it’s time for the sit-down meal – and the pressure is on our Head Chef for the day, Nikki, to supervise what we all know will be a brilliant supper. To start, we’ve got herb marinated olives and freshly baked bread from our local bakery in Ardingly (which, incidentally, is run by a Mr. and Mrs. Bunn! Makes us giggle every time!), served with Portobello mushroom & truffle butter.
The main course is the groom’s favourite meal – a hearty venison bourguignon, served with dauphinoise potatoes, parsnip crisps, bacon crumbs & fresh pea shoots, perfect for a chilly February day.
Dessert is a real crowd-pleaser, again the groom’s favourite sweet treat: double Belgian chocolate brownie with a drunken mango coulis, vanilla cream and salted caramel popcorn, yum!
Tea and coffee is then served in gorgeous vintage tea cups, a hired gift by our dear friend Ali, from Ali’s Vintage – you really can’t beat a lovely teacup – it’s a great way of adding colour and style to your tables, and also provides a jolly talking point for your guests. Ali also helped to style the venue with buntings, lights, hanging teacups, vases, vintage suitcases and more, it looked wonderful!
We’ve got a cool and crisp Prosecco for toasting, and we’re excited to find out who wins the sweepstake after some very entertaining and interactive speeches. You can never tell how long the speeches will go on for – it’s anyone’s guess – but all of our guesses today raised over £200 for the winner Clare, who graciously gave the cash to charity.
The bar is serving Doombar Ale from Cornwall and Heineken on draught, red and white wine, a selection of spirits and mixers and guests are helping themselves to the D.I.Y Kilner Jar drinks dispensers which are a Kelmsley favourite – Ginger beer and cloudy lemonade go down a treat.
Evening guests arrive, making 160 people in total for the evening celebrations. The band are busy setting up – we’ve got lively rock’n’roll as well as a few more modern tracks coming up from Ross and Steve of ‘Milo Max’– we’ve seen these guys at weddings before and recommend them all the time, and they really know how to work a stage! It’s going to be a good night, and there’s a real sense of joy and electricity in the air.
The first dance is to City in Colour’s ‘The Girl’, which the band learned especially for Jacqueline and Mike. It was a very special moment.
It’s not all emotional moments, though – everyone here knows that as soon as Jacqui changes into her second dress, the party is really going to get started. Our bride surely does work hard – but she plays hard too!
Jacqueline found found this little beauty for just £35 in a charity shop – it was a full-length Ronald Joyce gown, but now, it has been transformed by our endlessly talented bridesmaid Marie-Louise with the help of maid of honour Em, into a 1950s style rock’n’roll number! With the addition of red petticoats and a bright red sash, it looks fabulous as the new Mrs Naish twirls around the dance floor.
Then came our couple’s wedding favour to all of their guests – a fantastic Jive Dance Masterclass with Steve and Tara from Jive Revive! This affordable and original idea really broke the ice and got everyone in the mood for a night of unabashed boogying!
The evening buffet came out at 9pm sharp, and what else would we serve but one of our free-range hog roasts from Clayfield Farm, with more of the local baker’s bread, lashings of apple sauce, stuffing and green salad.
For something sweet, we also have a naked-style sponge wedding cake with fresh flowers and buttercream, made by the ever talented Marie-Louise. Her sugar flower skills were particlary wonderful, especially the white peonies on the top, fresh bay leaves complete the look.
And just because they can, the couple have two wedding cakes, the other is an 8 tiered organic number made of cheese! This Godminster tower is served with Jacqueline’s home-made spiced chutney, crackers, bread and fresh fruit.
After a rendition of Wonderwall from a (by this point, slightly tiddly, but ever-talented) Mike, lots more dancing ensues – and with the majority of guests staying on site, we’re in no hurry to stop the party!
The couple's VW campervan Lola, now turned into a photobooth is also prooving great fun with props galore and hilarious photos to cherish for years to come.
Jacqueline and Mike retire to their stunning Northbrook Park Bridal Lodge, to round off the end of a perfect day. They follow this celebration with a surfing tour of the world for their honeymoon - California, Fiji, Australia, Singapore and Thailand! Only made possible by years’ worth of saving and generous wedding gifts by kind family and friends.
Every single one of the overnight guests could have gladly kissed them in the morning, when we woke up in our rooms, and discovered the ingredients for full English breakfasts neatly put away in each one of our little fridges. How very organised, but we wouldn't expect anything less from Jacqueline.
Obviously we don’t see the happy couple in the morning – they are on a flight to LA, and we couldn’t tell you of two people more deserving of a holiday. Congratulations, Mikey and Jac – now for the long, happy road ahead – a house in the country, lots of chickens, constant cookery, a loving dog and a rapidly expanding business. We couldn’t be happier for you.
Blog written by Jennifer Ward of JW Blogs