Abi & Dave’s Preston Court wedding was absolutely nuts! Ceremony on a tiny island, human jukebox, beautiful carousel, Jabba the Hutt meeting a bridesmaid, giant vintage mechanical organs and historically inaccurate reenactment of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots by Elizabeth I – I’ll explain later – this wedding had a lot going on!
Abi & Dave got ready at The Bell Hotel in Sandwich, a short drive from their venue. The Bell is a lovely old inn, definitely a spot I’d recommend if you’re down in Kent. After beginning the morning in a slightly cramped room, the gorgeous Bridal suite was finally vacated and Abi finished her bridal prep in splendour. As the photographs attest, Abi and her bridesmaids are a gregarious bunch; the morning was a whirlwind of laughter and excitement. Once Abi was in her dress, looking wonderful – all red locks and big grins – it was time to vamoose in the direction of Preston Court.
I’ve been looking forward to shooting a Preston Court Wedding for a long time. Despite being in Kent, it was on my radar as a really exciting venue that offers a lot photographically. It didn’t disappoint! It’s such an eclectic, yet well constituted venue, a bit of a wedding playground, and there seems to be something fun or interesting around every single corner. Abi & Dave were married on the tiny Juliana’s Island, in the charming rose bower. The setup is very cool. The island is connected to the ‘mainland’ via a pretty iron bridge and the guests sit on another stretch of land just a few feet away, separated by a small stream.
During the reception Abi & Dave’s guests were entertained by the most excellent Pip and his hilarious Human Jukebox setup. Essentially live requests in a mystical moveable tent-cum-stage! Possibly the coolest thing about this ridiculously fun wedding was the Victorian carousel which is a permanent feature at Preston Court. It’s a beautiful structure in its own right but it really comes alive when included in the madness of a wedding. Riding the carousel while simultaneously trying to shoot was an interesting challenge!
After the wedding breakfast and some wonderful speeches – I particularly liked Abi’s sister’s lamentation about the trials and tribulations of who got the tap-end at bath time – it was time to ratchet the party up another few notches. Dave & Abi’s guests didn’t need to be asked twice! The dancefloor was a blast to photograph. The Kent Barn is an incredible space; wonderful high timber ceilings, two incredible ornate organs at either end and finished with tremendous decor. Outside, there was an open-sided marquee, part chill out area, part dressing up box. “Bridesmaid + Jabba the Hutt” and “Bridesmaid’s recreate historic execution” are not traditional wedding images, but, I hope you’ll agree, they are awesome!
This is quite a long blog post, with way more images than I usually post, because Abi & Dave’s wedding was simply incredible and had so much going on that it just wasn’t possible to tell the story with fewer photos than this. They’re an absolutely cracking couple who are always up for a giggle and genuinely excel at not taking life overly seriously. It was a pleasure to photograph their day, cheers for having me guys! Preston Court was chuffing amazing and if you’re in need of a standout wedding venue, I’d recommend it wholeheartedly. Anna, the manager, was fantastic throughout, helpful and welcoming, and my thanks to her for making my job easier throughout. Right… time for some photographs.