Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Clare & Jon

Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon

Today’s real wedding is another beauty from Gemma Ward of The Wardette Studio! This time though, it has a whole different vibe, a traditional, English Castle wedding! Dreamy.

Our gorgeous bride Clare wore a stunningly romantic Pronovias wedding gown and chose a summery colour palette of pretty pinks and pale peaches to marry her childhood sweetheart Jon.

Words by Clare. Images by The Wardette Studio.

Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon

I always knew I was going to end up wearing a lace fish tail dress by Pronovias, there has always been something about their dresses I’ve loved and I am able to spot them a mile off – so I only tried on Pronovias dresses. To begin with I tried on five different fishtail gowns and one of them I loved and thought that was it.

I then decided I should try on a big dress just to see what it felt like… When I had it on, I looked in the mirror with a grin so wide the Cheshire cat would have been jealous! My stomach fizzed with excitement, the same sensation hit my heart, my throat and then came the tears… It was the one!!!

Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon

The thought of ivory satin wedding shoes makes me feel a wee bit ill… I was going to buy amazing shoes that I would be able to wear again as I think it’s bad enough that you only get to wear your wedding dress once…

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My very generous work colleagues (love those guys) bought me a piar of Beige, Louis Vuitton’s.


My bridesmaids wore a multiway dress in pink and my flower girl a dress from BHS.

Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon

Jon wore a slim fit navy suit with a custom made peach tie and pocket square, the groomsmen wore hired grey slim fit suits again with custom made peach ties and pocket squares to match the groom and also the bridemaids dresses.

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Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
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Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon

My Daddy gave me away, safe to say he got a bit emotional on the day. We walked down the aisle to a traditional Mendelssohn’s wedding march for the entrance.


We met as School when I was 14, Jonathan was 15. There had always been something special between us and we remained good friends, but we only started dating 7 years later.


We definitely wanted a traditional English wedding – Jonathan had visited Chiddingstone Castle as a child and I was familiar with the area.

Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon
Romantic & Traditional English Castle Wedding: Claire & Jon

We wanted somewhere that was going to be pretty local to where we live which meant that the majority of our guests wouldn’t have to travel for miles of be forced to stay in a hotel if they didn’t want to.

We fell in love with Chiddingstone Castle as soon as we saw it. It was only the second venue we saw and we stopped looking immediately after. It was ‘the one’ kind of moment.


Choosing who is going to capture the wonderful memories of your wedding day so that you can relive them for the rest of your lives and share them with your friends and family is something not to be taken lightly.

With this in mind we decided that the only way to choose was through the recommendation of others who have experienced it and have got the photos and albums they wanted.


So the search began for somebody that we could entrust with this responsibility and we were quickly recommended Gemma. We arranged a meet with Gemma over an informal drink to go through plans, ideas etc. and see how the details would work.

It became apparent very quickly that Gemma was not only a warm, friendly person but also very adept at her work with loads of ideas that would enhance what we wanted and build on our base plans. We checked Gemma’s availability and got her booked up immediately.


In the run up to the wedding we were able to bounce ideas off Gemma and get her professional opinion on how/if they would work. She was also able to allay any photo worries we had about the day.

We arranged with Gemma a photo run through at the venue prior to the wedding so she could assess the best opportunities and locations for certain photos to be taken and work through any potential issues the venue might pose.


On the day Gemma was very professional and well versed in the emotions and stress that we might be going through and managed to get some wonderful getting ready shots of all the wedding party without us so much as noticing.

As the day progressed Gemma was able to capture not only the “traditional” photos but also the brilliant unplanned shots that inevitably occur at these events.


The results of Gemma’s hard work throughout the day are a fantastic set of photos and memories that have been enjoyed by not only us and all that attended that day but also by everybody we have shown them too.

These will something that we will cherish for the rest of our lives and hopefully be showing the grandchildren in years to come to prove that we weren’t always old and wrinkly.

If like us you require recommendations then Gemma is ours. Gemma went above and beyond what we expected and we are amazed with the photos we have got out of the day.

We would also like to thank Gemma for showing us how to use the SLR Camera we received as a wedding present as we were more than a little confused with all the settings etc on it, although the automatic setting is still fairly well used.


All of the wedding decorations were homemade or styled be myself in some way. Except the centerpieces which were cream candelabras dressed with fresh flowers dressed by Green on the Green.


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The wedding favours were, forget me not seeds for our guests to plant in their gardens. I wanted something that the guests could keep and certainly something to last longer than sugared almonds. I used small brown envelopes created a monogram using a free website called wedding chicks (great for printables and DIY projects).


I printed this on the front and printed a short message and planting instructions on the back. The seeds were popped into a polytheyne bag to keep them safe and then into the printed envelope. These made for a great and cost effective wedding favour.

I also placed a bunch of these envelopes in a small hamper basket filled with moss for the evening guests to take if they wanted.

For our smaller guests I made party bags out a just drawstring bags, these included things like Lego Mixales, colouring books and pencils, bubbles, magic tricks and other things to keep them entertained at the tables.


I collected Jars for months before the wedding, this meant that none of the wedding party or close family friends were allowed to throw Jars away. One of our Groomsmen Will even went to his local fish and chip shop on a regular basis to take their large pickle jars for me to use. I decorated the smaller jars with lace and used them as candles to brighten up the outside space hanging some on shepherds’ hooks and placing others on the stairs.

I frosted some of the large Jars and filled with fairy lights. Placed a circle of lace on the top and fastened with Jute string and bronze keys. These we placed on outside tables for people to sit at as it got dark.

We had wire bird cages filled with silk flowers to decorate other areas of the venue, we also used one for guests to place cards in. These were great as we were able to keep them, I have 2 in my house and gave one to Jonathan’s mum and both of his sisters.


I had bought some neutral coloured pashmina style scarfs which were placed in hamper basket for guests sitting outside to wrap up in and take home with them. (seemed my step mum collected one of each colour).

We also had a large hamper filled with lawn games for the children (and my older brother Adam) to play with as we enjoyed canapés, Peach Bellini’s and beers before the wedding breakfast and in the early evening after we had eaten.

I had a vintage style frame at home which I used for the table plan. This was covered in the same raw silk material as the boys ties and pocket squares.

Our wedding cake was a bit of a DIY job – I bought a mixed 3 tier Fiona Cairns un-decorated 3-tier wedding cake, with mixed fillings from Waitrose.


We then had the florist decorate it with fresh flowers, by Green on the Green. No one could tell it was a waitrose cake and it tasted great!

‘You Got The Love’ by Candi Staton was our first dance. It’s my favourite song and one that makes me think of Jonathan every single time I hear it.


If you could impart any words of wisdom to future brides planning their wedding days, what would they be?

Try stay calm throughout the planning, you’re bound to have some challenges along the way. I had a fair few but it all turned out great in the end.

On the day be sure to take a moment with your partner to watch all your guests celebrating your special day, it really does fly by.

What was your most memorable moment of the day?

One of the guest tables collapsed just as the head table were served their starters, less than ideal but everyone was ok.


wedding credits / photographer: the wardette studio / wedding venue: chiddingstone castle / brides dress: pronovias via la boutique bridal / brides veil: la boutique bridal / brides hair: brides aunty fiona smith / grooms suit: not specified / brides shoes: louis vutton / grooms shoes: not specified / bridesmaid dresses: multiway dress from in one clothing / bridesmaid shoes: various / bridesmaids hair: sarah roberts / makeup: meg kowalczyk / florist: green on the green / wedding cake: waitrose / catering: kalm kitchen / rings: damian hallett / entertainment: dj’s for you

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