I’m delighted to share Jessica and Mark’s intimate Secret Garden Kent Wedding in June. The gardens were looking particularly gorgeous (I’m a big fan of their wild flower area, especially striking when the sunlight streams through the delicate flower heads) and the variety of fruits were plentiful. It’s a really special touch to know that some the produce used in preparing the wedding breakfast has been picked from the gardens that very same day! It’s always a pleasure to come back here and the staff are super friendly and welcoming.
I’d really been looking forward to documenting this day and it was fabulous to see all of Jessica and Mark’s planning, which we had discussed at our pre-wedding consultation, unfolding.
I started coverage at a nearby hotel, including capturing the traditional door games, which are meant to create barricades to prevent the groom from taking the bride away from her home. This section of a Chinese wedding has evolved to a session filled with fun and games, aimed to make the groom prove his love to his future wife. It involved Jessica’s maid of honour and her family members asking for red packets before letting the groom enter their vicinity. After entry was deemed permissible (!) and Mark saw his beautiful, radiant bride to be, Mark whisked Jessica off to the Secret Garden for their civil ceremony.
After their civil ceremony on the patio and some brief time with their guests, it was time for the Tea Ceremony. This is a significant part of a Chinese Wedding and is a chance for the Bride and Groom to show gratitude to their families for the years of love and support, inviting them to “Yum cha” (drink tea). Whilst kneeling or bowing, the couple serve a sweet brew of fruits and seeds to the seated recipients. The tea’s ingredients, including lotus seeds and red dates, specially chosen to symbolise the purity, stability, and fertility of this new union. The order of serving is important, honouring family hierarchy. Parents are served first, then Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles and finally older siblings. Having shared tea, the Bride and Groom are presented with gifts ‘Ang Bao’ (red money packets). jewellery – which is customarily worn immediately – well wishes, or words of advice for a bright future together.
Jessica wore a traditional dress for this part of their ceremony which was exquisite. It was so lovely to be part of this and document the wonderful interactions between Jessica and Mark and their family.
There were so many personal touches to Jessica and Mark’s wedding, including a beautifully designed programme of the day created by Mark. He’d also made some colourful Pinatas which doubled up as table place settings and added just more fun post speeches for guests to smash open to scoop up flying sweets! Garden games had been laid out on the lawns for the guests, all of which were well received. The gold coloured space hopper took me back to my youth (orange in my day!!) – great moments to capture.
A visual treat for the eyes, it was a delight to be part of Jessica and Mark’s wedding day.
Here are some of my favourite images from the day…
Such a lovely day you two and incredible attention to detail! x