bride and groom first dance at east quay wedding venue in whitstable

How to Plan a Wedding That’s Personal to You

A beachfront wedding at The East Quay Venue in Whitstable

Planning a wedding is both incredibly exciting and just a little bit daunting at the same time! And it’s made more difficult by the fact that we have so many more options available to us nowadays. From llamas to doughnut walls, it’s safe to say that most young couples want to take a step back from the traditional ‘big white wedding’ and plan a wedding that’s personal to them. 

But with so many expectations from all angles, it’s hard to stay on track. Caught between every family member offering their own advice, and centuries of tradition nipping at your heels, how do you ignore all that and plan a wedding day that really means something to you? One that’s truly a celebration of your lives together, and a reflection of who you are as a couple? It’s tricky, right?

Well the good news is, everything you need to know can be learned from this one wedding! With a unique beachfront venue in Kent, tonnes of handmade wedding details and countless unique touches that made the day special to them, Lauren and Adam delivered a masterclass.

So I’ve taken some tips from the masters! Here’s a step-by-step guide for you on how to plan a personal wedding that is unique to you.

Step One: Choose a unique wedding venue

I’m torn on this one. Because on the one hand, as a destination wedding photographer I’m here to say the world’s your oyster! If you want to get married on a beach in Thailand, do it! And take me with you! I’ve captured weddings all over the world – I’d love to travel the globe with you and capture your love story.

But as a wedding photographer based in Kent, the good news is there are plenty of unique venues right on your doorstep! And of all the unique wedding venues in the Kent area, The East Quay Venue in Whitstable has got to be one of the finest. 

As one of Whitstable’s oldest buildings, the East Quay’s rustic brickwork dates back from when it was an oyster grading house. And its direct access to the beach allows you to simply step outside onto the shingles. So while your guests watch the waves and sip prosecco, we can take a wander along the beach together for your couple portraits.

It’s this blend of rustic charm and ideal location that made East Quay the perfect venue for Adam and Lauren. Because their whole day was rustic, laid-back and personal, just like the East Quay.

But of course, the main thing is you choose a wedding venue that feels personal to you. You should fall in love with it when you see it. It’ll be the setting for one of the most important days of your lives. Not instantly besotted with the venue when you see it? Keep looking. Your perfect venue is out there for you somewhere!

Step Two: Choose a photographer you love

Choosing a wedding photographer is the most important decision you’ll make when planning a wedding. So it isn’t one you should make lightly! I’d recommend looking at different styles of photography and finding one that you love.

As a romantic, documentary photographer, I believe the most beautiful thing about your wedding day will be your love for each other. That’s why my goal will be to capture all those emotional, intimate moments of the day in the most natural way possible. I don’t spend the day directing you into poses and ‘creating’ moments. I prefer to let you enjoy your day and capture those beautiful, unforgettable moments as they come. This way, your wedding gallery will be as much a celebration of your love for each other as the wedding itself. And when the confetti has settled, and the cake has been eaten, you’ll be left with stunning photos you’ll cherish forever.If you would like to have a chat about how I can be a part of your special day, I’d love to hear from you. Please get in touch.

Step Three: When planning, forget tradition

I don’t mean you have to intentionally break tradition for the sake of being original! But rather to put out of your mind what you’re ‘supposed’ to do. 

I mean, is it strictly tradition for there to be a dog at the altar? No! But Adam and Lauren weren’t about to let Peggy miss out on all the fun, were they?! Is it traditional to skip the sit-down pudding? Maybe not, but not a single person was complaining when they saw the awesomely delicious dessert table from Bombshell Bakes!

Step Four: Be as involved in the planning as possible

Lauren and Adam were deeply involved in their planning from beginning to end. And it meant the styling of the wedding was a true reflection of who they are as a couple. 

Lauren’s gorgeous dress from Grace and Lace Bridal, the elegant yet rustic floristry from Jane at Graham Greener and the beautiful cake from Finest Layers (complete with a Peggy the Dog figurine) all came together to create a day that Lauren and Adam handpicked themselves. 

There were also a great many nods to their shared passions that made the day theirs. My favourite of which was the table names based on their favourite bands, with a different song quote from the band on each table.

And this is the best way to make sure your wedding is personal to you. Be as involved in the planning as possible, and choose every detail yourselves. Obviously, this requires a lot more effort than just hiring a planner. But it’ll all pay off when you look around your wedding and love every detail.

Step Five: Make as many handmade details as you can

Lauren and Adam made so many of the wedding details themselves, and this extra effort made the day truly special. 

With Lauren’s crocheted lobsters for the gift table, the hand-painted oyster place settings, and Adam’s beautifully crafted table plan, the whole celebration was filled with countless labours of love from the bride and groom. They even made their own limoncello favours for the table!

And of course, this all took time. But it’s little details like this that will set your wedding apart.

Looking for a photographer?

It’s weddings like this that make me LOVE what I do. A day full of emotion, love, laughter and friendship. It was my privilege to be there to capture it. I love working with couples who are fun and adventurous. And most importantly, very much in love. I’m based in Kent but travel worldwide, capturing romantic, emotive photography you’ll cherish for decades to come. If you love my work and think we’d be a good fit, I’d love to hear from you.