Jackie and Graeme met via a dating website, My Single Friend. “Some people are sceptical when it comes to online dating, but at the time Graeme was living in Hythe and I was living in Orpington, so without it we’d never have met,” Jackie says. After several weeks of exchanging messages, the pair arranged to meet up one Sunday lunchtime and spent the whole afternoon chatting and laughing together. “We found that we had so much in common and that there was a real connection between us, so we couldn’t wait to see each other again,” Jackie explains. After a year of whizzing back and forth up and down the M20, the couple decided to move in together, and the rest is history.
To celebrate their sixth anniversary together the pair arranged an afternoon tea at the Ritz, and it was there, after the champagne had been poured, that Graeme got down on one knee and produced Jackie’s beautiful engagement ring. She tells us, “There was no hesitation in accepting his proposal as I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him.”
Join us as the bride shares her account of their wonderful wedding day…
After looking at several different venue styles Jackie and Graeme decided their location of choice would be somewhere with an abundance of character. They booked an appointment for a viewing of Lympne Castle and fell in love with it as soon as they set foot inside the main gate. "It's a beautiful Grade I building, dating back to the 12th century, set in stunning grounds with the most amazing views. Plus, there's a summer house, which can be used for outdoor ceremonies. This was something we particularly wanted, and we were fortunate that the weather was good enough to make our wish come true," Jackie explains.
The wedding's colour palette was inspired by a beautiful old bicycle the couple saw at a wedding fair at Detling. It had a large basket on the front filled with hydrangeas, foxgloves, roses and other gorgeous blooms, all in a mixture of lilacs and mauve. "As soon as we saw it, we knew it was exactly what we wanted," Jackie remembers.
As the Castle's Great Hall is so full of character, with high ceilings, wood panelling and ornate windows, the pair decided to avoid gilding the lily. They opted for tall antique gold candelabras, which were decorated with hydrangeas, roses, lavender and gypsophila and adorned three of the tables. The remainder were dressed with low centrepieces, which comprised a mirror base, candles and the same flowers. Further decoration included a gorgeous floral garland on the Hall's old fireplace mantelpiece and their beloved bicycle, which sat outside in the courtyard holding a welcome sign.
The table plan and numbers boasted the same floral theme and palette as the invitations. The former was displayed on a white easel at the entrance and the table numbers sat in antique gold stands, which complemented the candelabras beautifully.
Graeme loves cake, so it simply had to the be the highlight of the day! Jackie tells us, "We chose The Cake Witch after meeting her at a wedding fair where her skill in cake making blew us away." The couple opted for a four-tier semi-naked bake in three different flavours – rich chocolate madeira with chocolate buttercream, carrot cake with an orange cream frosting, and lemon with lemon curd and buttercream. The showstopper was decorated with halos of gypsophila, lavender, herbs and foliage for a whimsical look.
Lympne Castle does its own catering and provided a selection of canapés for the drinks reception, followed by a wedding breakfast menu featuring a choice of three starters, main courses and desserts. Later in the evening, guests were served an array of accompaniments to go with the cheese and pork pie wedding cake. Jackie says, "All our guests were very impressed with the quality of the food and the way in which it was served, some even said it was the best they'd ever had at such an occasion."
Jackie and one of her daughters headed to Victoria's Bridal Boutique in Orpington for the big dress shop and selected Goldie by Stella York. "I wanted a colour and style to complement the castle setting and being a pale antique gold, it suited perfectly," the bride explains. Since the gown was already quite detailed, Jackie didn't feel the need to accessorise much more. She simply wore a hair clip and a gold locket, which belonged to her mum, along with a gold bracelet, which belonged to Graeme's mum. The final touch was another gold bracelet given to her by her daughters on wedding morn.
Graeme asked his son, Harry, to be his best man and since it was an intimate wedding, they chose not to have any other groomsmen. The gents hired navy suits from Well Suited, which they paired with brown shoes. Harry's waistcoat matched his suit, whereas his dad's was a fine blue check. They accessorised with ties and pocket squares to match the bridesmaids' dresses.
The bridal party consisted of two gorgeous bridesmaids: Gemma and Jess, Jackie's daughters. Although the dresses were identical in style they opted for two complementing hues: one in sweet pea and the other in lilac.
The bouquets and buttonholes were all carefully planned and coordinated beautifully. Jackie's bridal bouquet contained amnesia and quicksand roses, purple clematis, lavender, gypsophila and eucalyptus tied in a loose, natural style. The bride tribe's bouquets were smaller versions of this, and the chaps' buttonholes tied in with amnesia rose, lavender and eucalyptus for Graeme, with gypsophila for Harry.
Classical trio Trifonics brought an elegant ambience to the ceremony and drinks reception with the melodic strains of the violin, flute and cello. For the evening bash acoustic duo The Jetters entertained the newlyweds and their guests. Jackie recalls, "They were very talented and played a great mix of music that got everyone up on the dancefloor."
The bride tells us, "When our guests started to arrive a mixture of emotions took over. I'd been planning and looking forward to this for so long and I wanted to take everything in as I knew it would go by so quickly. As I walked across the lawn and all eyes were on me, all I could think about was seeing Graeme waiting for me and I knew this was going to be the best day of my life."Graeme says, "I didn't feel nervous as I waited in the Summer House for the ceremony to begin. I had time to think about my life with Jackie and it was the first time I can honestly say I was 100 per cent sure I was doing the right thing. I was buzzing with excitement!"
"As I own my own travel business the honeymoon was left to me. We decided that doing a safari in South Africa would work well with a visit to Cape Town and the Winelands." – Jackie
"Throughout the planning process we had lists on our phones, which we shared, updating one another on our progress. We found this invaluable as we knew exactly what had to be done and when so nothing was ever forgotten."
"When choosing suppliers, make sure you've got a good rapport with them, as you'll probably need to make changes and seek reassurance. On the day it's important to have great suppliers by your side like our wedding coordinator, Aimee and our photographer, Nicky. They'll take control so that you don't need to think about anything other than enjoying yourself."
Venue and catering