As a Kent wedding photographer I get to visit many venues a number of times so it’s always lovely to shoot a wedding at a venue I’ve never been to before. Yvonne and Edd’s wedding at The Blue Pigeons was one such occasion. It was the perfect venue for Yvonne and Edd’s relaxed and intimate late summer wedding. Yvonne got ready in one of The Blue Pigeons gorgeous rooms with a four poster bed while Edd and his grooms’ party had congregated at nearby pub St Crispin’s Inn after getting ready at Edd’s parents house nearby. 

Edd arrived at The Blue Pigeons to traditional Chinese door games where the bridesmaids set up challenges for the groom to complete as a ceremonial demonstration of his love for the bride.  The boys had to sing a song, pass the seaweed in their mouths and drink some unpleasant concoctions before being allowed to see the bride.

I love shooting weddings that blend cultures and Yvonne and Edd’s wedding was a perfect blend of Chinese and British wedding traditions which they organised and put together so seamlessly. There was a lot to fit in so it was a blessing that the sun shone all day! The day started with two traditional Chinese tea ceremonies, one at The Blue Pigeons for Yvonne’s family followed by a second tea ceremony at Ed’s parents’ house for the grooms family. 

In China serving tea to parents at your wedding shows respect and gratitude for all the years of love and care. At the tea ceremony the couple kneel down in front facing their elders, groom in front of male elder and bride in front of female. The Maid of honour and bridesmaids assist, one holding tea and one holding gifts. The bride and groom serve tea to their relatives in order of seniority beginning with parents’ first, then grandparents, uncles and aunties. After drinking tea the relatives present gifts in the form of red packets or jewellery to the couple. At the same time they will give words of blessings and put the jewellery on to the bride. The tea ceremony at The Blue Pigeons was so intimate and emotional and was one of my favourite parts of the day. 

Yvonne looked stunning in a traditional Chinese dress in red that she wore with gold jewellery that had been gifted to her by her relatives in Hong Kong who were unable to attend the wedding.

Of course capturing the bride and groom’s separate preparations and two tea ceremonies would have been really difficult and virtually impossible for me alone so it was great to have my husband Jim there working as a second shooter.

Yvonne then changed into a cream wedding gown that looked so elegant and beautiful in readiness for the English wedding ceremony at nearby St Mary’s the Virgin Church in the village of Ripple. She travelled there is style in a vintage car owned by Edd’s uncle. 

St Mary’s the Virgin in Ripple is a pretty little church which was perfect for Yvonne and Edd’s ceremony.  The stain glass windows and stunning flower displays made for a beautiful backdrop when Edd was invited to kiss his bride.

I took some lovely images of them greeting their guests outside the church after the ceremony which was followed by a fun confetti run.  We had to be careful not to show any gravestones in the pictures of the church as it is deemed unlucky in Chinese culture to show anything associated with death on the wedding day.

Whilst everybody set off to The Blue Pigeons for the reception. Yvonne, Edd and I stopped en-route so I could get some romantic portrait images of them set against the pretty Kent countryside.

We arrived at The Blue Pigeons shortly after to join their guests who were enjoying a drinks reception in The Blue Pigeons pretty courtyard garden before everybody sat down to the wedding breakfast which had been carefully planned in advance by Yvonne, Edd and The Blue Pigeons chefs.

I loved the way the venue had been dressed with traditional red Chinese decoration. After the meal there were some very well received speeches. After the wedding breakfast and a short break for the guests we moved into cake cutting time, and what a cake from Patisserie Valerie! If white chocolate and berries are your thing then Yvonne and Edd’s wedding cake would be the perfect thing; it looked so delicious! And to add to the moment, the cake was cut with a family sword! Everybody stood well back!

The evening celebrations then moved onto the first dance and it wasn’t long before Yvonne and Edd’s family and friends joined them on the dancefloor. With the party well under way I took my cue to leave. Before getting in my car I took one last image of The Blue Pigeons all lit up with Yvonne, Edd and their guests all partying inside. It was the perfect image to close the story of their wedding day. 

It was such an honour to photograph this wedding, I loved the blend of Chinese and English traditions that added so much colour to the day. I often prefer black and white images but in this case they didn’t convey the spectacle of the day.  Congratulations to Yvonne and Edd for getting married and creating such a beautiful and personal wedding day. I hope my images will allow you relive it again and again for many years to come.

 

Venue – The Blue Pigeons in Kent

Make up – Sarah Bennett Make Up

Cake – Patisserie Valerie

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