Finding a local venue was crucial for this Kent couple, who also required flexibility, personalisation and a stunning setting – Chilston Park Hotel in Lenham was spot-on.
Nothing is more important than entering a venue and knowing that you have found the most beautiful and memorable spot for your big day. Venue is key to creating the perfect atmosphere, while the theme sets the mood of the guests. For Jamie Rye and Courtenay Muswell, Chilston Park Hotel in Lenham ticked all the boxes in terms of the location (living just ten miles away), the surroundings and the rooms on offer, while employing pastel colours for the décor, cake and bridesmaid dresses helped to give a relaxed feel.
Courtenay takes up the story: “We fell in love with Chilston Park from day dot. Set back from a tree-lined drive, the 27 century manor house sits in 22 acres of parkland, and is very grand. It also lent itself to being picture-perfect for our photos. We wanted a sunny day but for it not to be overly hot which is why we held it in September and sure enough we had perfect blue skies.”
Hosted on a Thursday, the couple were able to take advantage of Hand Picked Hotels mid-week prices, which is something for future newlyweds to take into account if they are on a budget. With 89 guests the ceremony was held in Culpeper’s restaurant which can take up to 100 guests. Located on the ground floor of the Grade I listed old main house looking out on to the manicured lawns and lake, it was dressed to perfection with a white aisle runner, lanterns and flowers made up of ivory and light pink roses, lissy, spray roses and foliage, together with two single pink roses on the back of each chair. It made saying “I do” all the more memorable.
Making use of the entire hotel thanks to opting for the Manor House wedding package (from £7500), the wedding breakfast moved to the Fitzhammond Suite at the very heart of the hotel, boasting feature fireplaces and sash windows allowing lots of natural light to pour in, while the reception, where Jamie and Courtenay were joined by a further 35 guests, was held in the Orangery. This beautiful conservatory with its 180 degree panoramic view of the grounds and breakout area proved ideal for guests to have fun with the giant games and prop box that the couple hired.
While Hand Picked Hotels do have a suggested list of wedding suppliers and services in Kent, the couple chose to use companies that were personally recommended or from first-hand experience when attending weddings or friends or family.
In Jamie and Courtenay’s own words, their whole day was perfect although there were a few highlights – for Jamie it was meeting his wife-to-be at the bottom of the grand staircase adorned in roses before they made their vows while for Courtenay it was her husband to be putting the wedding ring on her wrong finger and seeing her 78-year-old nan getting on the floor as part of game. For both of them it was having breakfast the following day and exchanging stories.
We’ll leave the last words to them: “Whenever there was a hiccup – of which there were only a few, Revenue and Events Co-ordinator Hayley Brown, turned things around and the personal, caring and passionate touches and service that she provided deserves recognition. Without her assistance I don’t feel the day would have been what it was, she is an absolute star and an asset to Chilston Park. We loved our day and if there was anything else we would have done differently it would be to do it all again the very next day.”
ENTERTAINMENT: Harry’s Wedding Co Entertainment for the DJ and toastmaster (harrykilbweddingdj.co.uk / 01580 441053)
CAKE: Belle’s Buttercream Dreams (email firstname.lastname@example.org)
SWEETCART: Handmade Creations(handmadecreationskent.com / email email@example.com)
FLOWERS: Weddings by Amelia (bespokefloraldesigns.co.uk / 07465 257199)
HAIR: Up dos for I do’s (hairbylaurencook.co.uk / 07702 467911)
MAKE-UP: Tracey Burgess (wixsite.com/traceyburgessmua / 01233 611044)
PHOTOGRAPHY: Howling Basset Photography (howlingbasset.com / 07875 685923)
WEDDING DRESS: Bridal Way (bridalway.co.uk / 01843 850620)
BRIDESMAID DRESSES: Debenhams
GROOM AND GROOMSMENS SUITS: Tuppers Tex (canterburysuithire.com / 01227 767797)
GIANT GAMES & PROP BOX: Harry’s Wedding Co Entertainment (harrykilbweddingdj.co.uk / 01580 441053)