Lauren & Michael booked me to photograph their wedding after finding me via Llyn Gwynant Barn’s Recomended Supplier list. Cooling Castle Barn is in Kent. Llyn Gwynant Barn is in North Wales. They were considering getting married in North Wales in the early days of their planning, but then changed their minds completely. So I’m very pleased that they found me!
I had such a great time hanging out with them. Everyone made me feel like one of the family right from the start. Stand out moments for me were Lauren’s entrance – she got a round of applause! And Mike’s speech, he absolutely nailed it. Although the whole day was absolutely perfect, really relaxed thanks to Lauren & Mike’s attitude and really well organised thanks to Holly (Cooling Castle Barn’s wedding co-ordinator) and of course Dave Mote their toastmaster.
I’ll now hand over to Lauren & Mike to tell you all about their wedding day and how they planned it…
Lauren & Michael’s Wedding Story
- Can you tell everyone a little about yourself?
L: Mike is a personal trainer, however when we met he was a soldier in the British army. I was certainly attracted to that! He had not long got back from Afghanistan. At the time I was in university studying psychology and working in a pub to support my studies. We actually met through my older sister Sammi. Mike was a friend of hers and she specifically told him to leave me alone. Of course, that only made Mike more curious! I am now a cognitive behavioural therapist in the NHS. A job I absolutely love. We also have a 7 month old daughter called Hattie. She is the best!
- What about the proposal?
M: I proposed to Lauren whilst on holiday in Italy. Our holiday was a bit of a road trip starting from Sicily, and driving north through all the major cities, I had planned it for quite some time and we were going to climb Mount Etna on the first day of the holiday so it was the perfect place to do it. I told the tour guides of my plans so they were able to film it on my phone. When we got to the top of the volcano/ mountain I gave my phone to the guide to take a picture (actually a video) and whilst posing I turned to Lauren , got down on one knee and proposed! Lauren was very surprised and it all went perfectly and we now have a video of the moment which is great.
L: It was amazing! However I was fuming about the spot Mike wanted to “take a picture” from. I’m not a huge fan of heights and it was like an overhang over a big crater. It was beautiful though. My shaky legs after he proposed did make it a struggle to get down though haha!
Planning your Cooling Castle Wedding…
- How long did you spend planning your wedding?
L: We were engaged for a total of 2.5 years. We chose Cooling Castle pretty quickly. I think we booked it in the November 2019 and we got engaged in the September so we moved pretty quickly! Everything then went pretty quiet on Tuesday wedding front. Covid hit and it felt like ages until our big day. Then it crept up like noones business. We started proper planning about a year before we tied the knot.
- What were you most looking forward to about your wedding?
L: Most looking forward to about the wedding was having a good old knees up with our family and friends. And finally being Mrs. PAGE!
M: Seeing all our friends in one place and being centre of attention haha!
- Where did you find inspiration when planning your wedding?
L: We didn’t really. We basically winged it. We just tried to weave our likes and interests in to the day. I remember doing a spider diagram at one point to try and get some themes/ideas going but I think we had both had a few drinks and I don’t recall ever looking at that again haha! I think by being a bit more blaze about the whole thing and having faith that it would just all come together meant that we could enjoy the build up more and not stress the small stuff. We’re both pretty chilled people so that worked for us.
- Did you do anything to make your wedding unique to you or your story as a couple?
L: Not massively. We tried to just add little touches such as a secret pink freesia on our Stationary and in my bouquet to commemorate my late grandmother. We had a couple of little touches like that. We knew about them but didn’t shout about them. We wanted everyone to just have a good time so tried not to put any pressure on anyone. However I did ask my mum to paint a leather jacket for me for the evening. She is a brilliant artist and she done such an amazing job. It’s something I’ll cherish forever!
- Did you enjoy the planning process?
We didnt hate it.. we didnt thrive on it. We just winged it. And it all worked out perfectly.
Choosing your Wedding suppliers…
- How did you choose your wedding venue?
We looked at a couple.. I think 2 before we found Cooling Castle Barn. As soon.as we went in to Cooling Castle we just loved it. The staff were amazing, the location perfect, and the fact it was all there in one place ticked a lot of boxes. Also we got a wedding coordinator and a toastmaster included which we loved too! What we loved most about the venue – the fact it was all there in one place. No faffing driving between ceremony and reception. It all ran so smoothly!
- What advice would you give to couples looking for a wedding venue?
Don’t overthink it. Trust your judgement and your general feel for the place. You can put your stamp on any venue!
- What was your biggest worry or concern when choosing a photographer?
That they fit our style of natural photos, we didnt want anything too staged or formal. It was important that we felt a connection with the photographer. Chris ticked all those boxes for us! He was great and a lot if our guests commented on how professional yet friendly he was. He felt like one of our guests!
- What advice would you give to couples who are looking for a photographer?
Not sure. We feel we got very lucky finding Chris!
- Would you like to give a shout out to anyone in particular? Did anybody exceed expectations or go above and beyond?
M: The staff at the venue were so helpful and made the day run smoothly. We didn’t have to worry about a thing.
L: Everyone was great! My twin sister, my maid of honour Missy was incredible. She organised amazing hen parties fir me. I felt so loved. Big shout out to my mum too who looked after the baby on the wedding night. Thanks mum!! Super Nana!
Your Wedding Day…
- Where did you get ready?
L: In the bridal dressing area with my lovely mum and my 3 bridesmaids. Oh and Hattie the baby. It felt very special. I was so giddy. I got giddier as the morning went on! My cute little flower girls came up about 1pm to get dressed. They made me smile so much and calmed all my nerves. The whole morning was just magical. Even the fact Hattie wouldn’t sleep apart from in my arms whilst my hair was being done… even that was pretty magical now I think about it.
M: The Groomsmen and I got ready in the groom suite at the venue. It was nice we had a few drinks and had a good laugh, which was nice as it helped ease the nerves. I was actually more excited by this point as we were fairly confident we had done all the planning and I was just wanting to enjoy the day.
- How did you feel when you saw each other for the first time?
M: I first saw Lauren when she was coming down the aisle and she looked absolutely amazing, I must admit I had a lump in my throat but as soon as she got up to me and I held her hand I was fine. I was so happy and grateful I felt so lucky that I was about to marry my best friend.
L: Absolutely bewildered. I must admit I couldn’t really look at Mike until I got to the bottom of the stairs as they felt like a hurdle!! I was just smiling from ear to ear. Then I saw him and I just felt so so happy. He looked so handsome. I couldn’t wait to get to him. I felt like running down the aisle to him!
- Was there any part of the day you were particularly nervous about?
L: The stairs! Then it was just pure excitement.
M: The speech definitely! But it all went fine! I think it’s only natural to be nervous about that one. Afterwards I felt great!! And was looking forward to enjoying the rest of the day.
- Did you or Michael plan any surprise for each other?
L: We gave each other a gift on the morning of the wedding. Mike got me some beautiful pearl earrings. I got Mike a bottle of tequila that he had been talking about for ages. I was secretly nervous he might accidentally drink the whole bottle and not make it to the wedding haha!
- What was your favourite part of your day?
L: After we got married and the celebrant announced us as Mr and Mrs Page! We got such a huge cheer from our family and friends as we walked down the aisle. I felt on cloud nine. Then we went and had 10 minutes together and had a catch up and a drink. I loved this moment. It felt like the world stood still for us for just a moment.
M: Lauren stole my answer
- And finally… Any words of wedding planning wisdom?
- Just wing it. Dont overthink it! It worked out for us!
Congratulations & Thank Yous
I’d like to say a massive congratulations to Mr & Mrs Page!! And a huge thank you for choosing me to photograph your wedding. You welcomed me with open arms and thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with us all. Oh and for reminding me to pay the Dart charge ?
I’d also like to give a shout out to all the other suppliers who helped to make their day so perfect!