Unique & Intimate: Safari | Real Wedding

Hello you lovely wedding people you! I’m still on a total high from the brand new blog design and have received some very lovely feedback so far, so thank you, thank you for embracing the new look and feel!

I’ve been waiting to share this unique & intimate safari wedding with you for a while now, and now I finally can, so yay! Katy & Simon chose to marry at the rather unusual wedding venue {and incredibly stunning}, Port Lympne Mansion House, which is set in the grounds of Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent! I shall now pass you over to the lovely Katy who explains the details of her big day.

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We chose this venue as we decided a long time ago that we did not want a traditional church / big white wedding. The Mansion House has an incredible ‘wow’ factor. We could have the ceremony outside, weather permitting, and there was a room that could be used as a play room for the small number of children who would be attending which sounded great! 

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An added attraction was the unique accommodation available at the venue. There is the four-bedroom Livingstone Cottage and Livingstone Lodge comprising of 10 tents on stilts  on site of the African experience. This meant we could really make our special day last as we could wake up with our family and friends the following day. We could enjoy breakfast at the Laapa overlooking the watering hole where the zebra, rhino etc grazed.

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I always wanted a more theatrical dress. Something that reflected my personality. I wanted a halter neck style as I think it is flattering to my shape. But also wanted a dress covered in feathers, I don’t know why! A few years ago I had inquired at the shop how much it would be to design /make the dress. Then I found this when I finally started looking. It was meant to be!

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I’m known for wearing bold items of jewellery/accessories and I was so excited to get something that I fell in love with the Jenny Packham Acacia cuff straight away, sadly, I couldn’t afford this and was going to wear a large pearl cuff that I’ve had for years. But… my fabulous sister and friends all clubbed together to buy this for me as a surprise! It was given to me on my local hen do in Canterbury – I was speechless. And that never happens!!

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Our wedding stationery was inspired by the safari at the venue, the grey of the suits and looked classy. We continued the theme through the order of service, cocktail menus, table plans etc and it looked super stylish yet simple.

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I was a news/features reporter for eight years. Having taken a short career break to have the children I couldn’t wait to get the creative juices flowing again! I wrote a 16-page newspaper that featured stories of many of our 44 day guests.

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I ‘cut my teeth’ working for the Thanet Times newspaper in Margate. My surname was Goodship, so it was apt that we called the newspaper the ‘Good Times’. My good friend, graphic designer Suzanne Harrington, laid out all the pages and designed it. She has a facebook page SH Design.

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It was a fabulous surprise for the guests and meant they had something they could keep from the day. Many guests text/emailed or phoned us a couple of days later to say they had finished reading it with a cup of tea and laughed their way from front cover to back page. They really appreciated the time and effort and humour. It also jogged a few memories from our youth! It was a great talking point too for some guests who had not met before but were sat together for the Wedding Breakfast.

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Simon and I met at secondary school and were friends but didn’t start dating until November 1999 when we met again at an 18th birthday party. We hit it off again and the rest is history!

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We got engaged in Venice in November 2006 by moonlight. Simon surprised me with a proposal that was truly romantic and magical.

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We have been together 13 years and it seemed apt to get married in 2013 – lucky 13 for us.

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I love natural free-flowing style flowers and the ones included in my bouquet are carried out throughout the theme of the day and all had some meaning to us. I wanted my bouquet to be quite loose and informal. I opted for a small hand tied bouquet. I then asked Angela to attach a small frame with a photo of mum and I to it. It was tied with grey chiffon and pearl pins.

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Sweetpeas – Simon calls me his ‘sweetpea‘ and it was one my mum’s favourite flowers.

Anemones – We love these and they have  great sentimental value to us. Simon and his mum (who died six years ago) planted these together in the garden of our first home, shortly after we moved in.

Ranunculus – I love Peonies but sadly they are not available at this time of year, so I felt these were a really pretty compromise – on a smaller scale. And were perfect for the boutonniere for Simon and Lee, the bestman.

Lavender – Simon’s mum’s favourite. Unique & Intimate | Safari Real: Wedding

The bridesmaids dresses were full of embellishments so I wanted a simple bouquet for them that also had wow factor. I chose hydrangeas and asked that they were tied simply. Angela sprayed them with special flower dye to get the shade of aubergine that would match the ties and  they were stunning! We were so pleased with how great they looked. The bridesmaids dresses were floor-length nude/brown evening gowns with a halter neck cross-over back, covered in embellishments and beading.Unique & Intimate | Safari Real: Wedding

Our wedding photographer, Rebecca Douglas was fabulous. She met us at our house for a cup of tea four weeks before the wedding to discuss the style/requirements we wanted from our photos of the day. She had an instant rapport with Harry which was great. She was personable, friendly and shoots in the style we love! She was also in the year below me at school! However we didn’t know each other back then.

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Rebecca’s wesbite /blog is great. It shows her skill and work to full potential. On the day she was on her own – rare for a wedding photographer who normally has a buddy to help. She was organised, calm and quietly worked her magic throughout the day, taking natural shots and key photos of our surprises etc. I cannot say enough great things about her!

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One of the most memorable parts of our wedding was the safari, our wow moment was the giraffes poking their tongues out. We also loved the fact that we could treat our guests to the hour-long African safari experience!

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Our wedding was styled by things we love – starting from the flowers right through  to the newspapers. The whole day reflected us and was personal. 

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Simon chose three first dance songs! The band learnt them ready for the day and each one has special meaning for us. The first was: Paul Weller – You Do Something to Me. The second: Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight and the third: Van Morrison – Have I Told You Lately.

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Any advice for future bridestobe?

Don’t worry about traditions – do it YOUR way. Be unique and reflect your personalities and tastes through your decorations/entertainment etc

Your wedding is one day but the memories will last a lifetime. Make sure they are the memories you want.

Also, Remember this when spending your hard-earned cash. Don’t pay for the day for years to come. You will regret it when you can’t afford to do other things like holidays/decorating because you are still paying for it. One couple we know are divorced but are still paying for their wedding – uh oh.

Don’t buy into the ‘wedding frenzy’ and the usual twee decorations. Think outside the box in terms of design and decoration and think about things you can reuse – if you host birthday/summer bbq parties etc. This will make the most of your money and make you smile when you dust them off and use them again!

Wedding shoes – avoid embellishments on shoes if you have a floor length gown as the crystals/beading etc can catch your dress and keep tripping you up. Not a good look. It also snags the dress.

Lots of the wedding stuff I found on wedding websites was what you would find at dozens of other weddings – be proud to be different!

Keep a watchful eye on budget and scour the internet for hours to get the best deals. It is time consuming but you will find some real gems. The world is your oyster.

Our wedding venue was an hour away from home, but we loved it. Don’t feel compelled to choose somewhere on your doorstep. People will travel and enjoy the change/experience.

Try to make/do things yourself to save money and do it well in advance so the last 2-3 months is about beautifying and fun :)

You do not need to have lots of decorations to make an impact. A few simple, well-thought out items will make a difference and ‘dress’ the venue space. Define spaces carefully ie Bar, sweetie table, card table. It draws attention to each space and creates focal points of key places. Our sweetie table was cleared of treats – and that was the point :)

The dress – Make sure you ask how much alterations will be BEFORE you buy the dress! There can be staggering hidden costs. I did this but did not get it in writing. School girl error! Ensure everything you discuss with your bridal shop, or any supplier, is then put in an email/writing to avoid confusion and stress later on. It will avoid bad feeling and disappointment in the the final few weeks.

Know your own style and stick with it. Don’t be forced into accessories/hair/styles that are not you. You will regret it.

Don’t panic. Everything happens for a reason, ride it out and relax. Don’t wish for the ‘perfect’ day. Just enjoy an amazing day together. This stops the pressure and allows you to enjoy it. Take a deep breath and take it all in.

Choose suppliers you have confidence in. Explain clearly what you would like and have faith they will deliver. If you are not confident, find someone new.

Have speeches before the wedding breakfast. The groom and best man can then relax and enjoy their delicious meals!

Wow! That’s a lot of useful advice Katy! Thanks so much for sharing your very unique Safari Wedding with the WTW blog, it’s GORGEOUS. So what do you think ladies? I LOVE this wedding, do you?

Wedding Credits | Photographer: Rebecca Douglas Photography | Venue: Port Lympne Mansion House & Gardens | The Dress: The Bridal Gallery {Donna Lee ‘Swan’} | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Jenny Packham Acacia Cuff | Bridesmaid Dresses: House of Frasier | Hair: Jeannie Parkes, Cuts Incorporated {01843 866174} | Make-up: Charlie Pardoe {a MAC make-up artist who lives in Broadstairs} | Grooms Suit: Slaters | Florist: Dream of Flowers | Cake: M & S | Cake Topper: Etsy | Live band: ‘Bounce’ 
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Showing 6 comments
  • Hot Chocolates - Clayton
    Reply

    Have been to this venue ourselves… gorgeous place :)

    Great pics oxox

  • I Am Into This
    Reply

    Stunning wedding and pics, we love the venue. And what a gorgeous couple they make too. Thanks for sharingx

    • Sonia
      Reply

      Thanks so much for your comment Theresa! Gorgeous couple! Gorgeous wedding :)) XxX

  • Rebecca Douglas Photography
    Reply

    Thanks for featuring Katy & Simon’s beautiful day – you’re new blog is looking stunning and you really worked up their day wonderfully x

    • Sonia
      Reply

      Aww thanks Bex! Love featuring your beautiful work :)) XxX

  • Egyptian cotton sheets
    Reply

    oh its lovely thanks for this

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