An English Country Garden Wedding – Kirsten and James

I love the natural beauty of an English Country Garden Wedding; it captures the essence of summer perfectly. Kirsten and James's beautiful wedding was submitted by the extremely talented Jeremy, of Mason Photography - he captured not only the beauty, but the intimacy and emotion of the wedding perfectly, which I know meant the world to Kirsten, James and their family.

I feel privileged to have become acquainted with the delightful Kirsten, as just in case I had forgotten, I was reminded what weddings are really about in her wonderful account of her's and James’s wedding day.  We can sometime lose site of the important stuff, and that is that weddings weave a special kind of magic that bonds and unites us with our loved ones and leaves us with precious and wonderful memories to be shared for generations to come.


"I knew I would marry James soon after we met...I saw it in a dream...weird but true!!!! James and I wanted to have our wedding ceremony in the beautiful gardens of James’s mother, Valerie. There is something magical in these gardens and we felt it would make the day even more meaningful for Valerie to have her son exchange his vows in the gardens that she had created.

To make this possible, we first married in a registry office and achieved our hearts desire with a beautiful ceremony usually conducted by a celebrant, but in our case a friend.  A wedding is always a magical day however our wedding had so many other incredible moments, that were shared, and are still spoken of, moments that Louise and Jeremy captured perfectly. The one thing I was most insistent on was good photography. I wanted the photographs to show what was going on in the moment not just a nice picture, I wanted to feel the pictures, smell the flowers etc and we did not want someone bossing everyone around as to where to stand.  Louise and Jeremy managed to melt into the scenery as we had to look hard to find them sometimes...they were amazing.

I think what made our wedding all the more perfect was that my father was able to give me away, it was THE most important factor to me, so the flowers, food, dress and everything else were wonderful but his presence made the day for me... and this was beautifully captured in film. As Louise and Jeremy were well aware of his illness and what it meant to me for him to be there, they took the perfect pictures with this in mind.

This was the first day I had actually shared a table with my parents and I wanted this captured. This was a day I thought I may not have as my father had terminal cancer and almost didn’t make it....that in itself was magical and then my brother managed to fly in from America to be there and it was the first time in over 6 years that we had all been together. All of these moments were captured and you can’t have anything greater than that can you ? 

We arrived two days before the wedding to torrential rain and flooding. As we sat in the marquee preparing the tables the rain just poured and poured and as the wedding was planned around being able to enjoy the views and beauty of the surroundings it was pure excitement that stopped any panic setting in. Another marquee was ordered and I purchased a pair of welly boots....just in case !

However, I woke the morning of the wedding to pure sunshine and felt truly blessed and very relieved. I managed to do my make up and hair without too much upset and two hours after this we were married in the Registry Office in Hay on Wye, surrounded my our closest family and friends.

Then the nerves clicked in. My hair was revamped by a professional and my dress was steamed, a beautiful Caroline Castigliano dress, cut on the bias that just flowed behind you. I had jewellery especially made and a necklace that dropped beautifully down my back to fit in with the dress. I arrived at the blessing early – which was against all tradition as I was so desperate not to cry as the emotions running between my father and I were stratospheric!!! The scent of my beautiful flowers managed to keep me calm- a huge spray of peonies and orchids that ran the length of my dress almost.

I nervously walked the aisle of the marquee, lined with people standing sipping champagne and Pimms, the sounds of Spanish guitar floating in the background, the scent of more peonies placed around the marquee, on the arm of my very proud father delivered to the arms of my husband. We read our vows, written ourselves and once pronounced wed, I turned and held my father and we just wept. For a moment it was just us and all the emotions of the past years of illness just came pouring out. Everyone around sobbed with us. It was the most beautiful moment and I have it cherished in a photo that I now have on my wall.(The same photo that actually made Louise cry when she saw it!!)

After being prised apart from my brother, again captured by Louise and Jeremy, we fed on the most amazing food ...spit roast pork and a buffet fit for a king and sipped on a variety of beautiful wines brought over from France where my father lived. Once the speeches had finished we tackled our first dance...the very first dance as we had not danced at all together before !!

I LUV U by The Ordinary Boys was our chosen song because it said it all, it was simple and sweet, unlike our dancing. My father and his wife had taught us a sweet little routine, at least it looked sweet when they danced, however we must have looked like Frank Spencer and Hyacinth Bouquet but we did our best and received a hearty applause !!

The excitement of our efforts soon got everyone up and the DJ kept everyone going. Soon after this I was whisked off my feet by my husband, literally and carried away into the night as everyone else continued into the small hours and some continued all night at The Swan Hotel. (The owners weren’t upset at all with the noise, having had 'rock royalty' there the previous weekend – our noise wasn’t comparable - much !)

I am still unable to say in words, what happened that day. There were moments within our Wedding Day that go beyond words and our photographs bring every one of those moments back. The scenery, the sunshine and all those closest to us, in attendance. Kids running around playing on the bales of hay set out and running around the garden in squeals of laughter. Magic happened that day and I feel really honoured and blessed".

Photography by Mason Photography
Kirsten's dress by Caroline Castigliano
Food by Chris Owen Catering Company
Flowers by The Flower Shop, Hay on Wye
Hotel where most guests stayed including myself the night before the wedding was The Swan Hotel, Hay on Wye.

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