An adventurous belter of a wedding with tons of fun and laughter at The Dreys in Kent
If you go down to the woods today… You know the words! No, this wedding was not the Teddy Bear’s Picnic. But it was a woodland wedding delight and there were a lot of surprises along the way! Get yourselves comfortable folks. We’re about to go on an amazing wedding adventure! Moroccan beauty, Fizz, and her English craftsman, Dan, are a couple of real adventurers. They are full of love, life, soul and heart and they don’t take life too seriously. Instead, they grab it and shake it about with both hands, before throwing themselves on the dance floor to rock out. Which about sums up their amazing day at The Dreys in Kent.
This was a wedding packed full of fun and spirit. It’s a bit hard to know where to start! But I’m going to do my absolute best because I loved every moment of this pair’s amazing day. I started the day with Fizz, her daughter Teghan, her Mum, sister and her bestie bridesmaids at a massive house in Maidstone. The atmosphere was relaxed, with lots of laughter. I spent some time capturing those little prep details, like the gorgeous succulent bouquet and flower crown from Ray’s Florist. I particularly loved capturing Fizz’s awesome custom painted shoes too. There were some great little moments between the girls, especially when Teghan had to have her armpits shaved! Those are the moments you cannot predict with weddings. They’re definitely amongst my favourites, though, because they’re always totally unique to every couple and family.
The Drey’s, an off-grid woodland venue
I left a little ahead of the bride so I could get to the venue and capture the guests arriving, and the groom of course! Let me take a minute to talk about this venue though, because it really is pretty damn special. The Dreys is an ancient woodland venue, slap bang in the middle of the North Downs in Kent, but not so far away it’s too difficult to get to. It’s classed as an ‘off grid’ venue, in that it has the space and structures to work with but you pretty much bring everything else in! Power is supplied by generators and there’s a real sense of being totally away from it all here.
I arrived as the guests were all gathering in a clearing to sample some welcome canapés and drinks. I was able to get some shots of people meeting and greeting each other, as well as the stunning details dotted about. The metres of bunting were made by Dan’s Mum (as well as the cake, I’m told!) but the bulk of the decs were made by Dan himself. He’s a VERY talented carpenter. He created the cake stand, the place names, the seating plan, the cheeseboard and ring boxes. More importantly, he even made the rings! Everything about this wedding was so personal.
The Dreys is a venue that doesn’t need a whole lot of dressing. You can’t get more glamorous than nature itself, can you? So, Fizz, Dan and everyone else involved did an amazing job of adding a few little touches (with lovely hints of Alice in Wonderland throughout) to make the space truly theirs. I was delighted to learn that the ceremony was going to be an unplugged one. Fizz and Dan were really keen for all their guests, friends and family to be totally present while I got on with taking the photographs. It’s one of my favourite things as well. I love that everyone is enjoying the important stuff happening right in front of them, while I’m capturing it for them!
Fizz and Dan’s ceremony took place undercover due to pesky legalities, but the space was so pretty, it didn’t matter. Dan’s Mum read ‘A Lovely Love Story’ by Edward Monkton, about two dinosaurs who fall in love. It’s so cute, you can read the story here. She even gifted a mildly embarrassed Dan with a stuffed dinosaur as she read it. After tons of confetti, family photos by a decorated arch in the woods and my first attempt at smoke bomb photos, Fizz, Dan and I headed off into the woods to get some couple shots. There was definitely nothing starchy or wooden (<– see what I did there!) about their shoot. These guys are clearly comfortable in each other’s company and aren’t afraid to play and be a bit silly together. LOVED that about them!
There’s so much more to mention about this wedding because it really was a jam-packed day! Highlights of the day included the motorbikes Dan’s Dad brought along. Dan is totally motorcycle mad. But here’s a real testament to his love for Fizz… he actually sold one of his bikes to fund their wedding! How amazing is that?! His Dad kindly brought along a Triumph and Harley Davidson to keep his son smiling – and to grab a few shots with, of course. There was also the ingenious idea of individual head chefs on each of the guest’s tables during dinner. One person from each table was nominated to don an apron and chef’s hat. They then carved the huge roast that was served. It was a whole lot of fun and great to photograph too.
Emotional speeches followed by their mini-Olympics!
After lots of emotional speeches, including a gnome being delivered to the groom, a cake cut and a bit of time with Dan’s beloved bikes, the entertainment kicked off with a mini Olympics! There was Tossing the Welly; a Coconut Shy; an extremely competitive few rounds of Tug o’ War; and Sack Racing, to name a few. I loved how, after the usual boys vs. girls Tug of War ended, there was a Bride vs. Groom event! In that round the groom won, but ultimately the bride won the man, so it was all good and there were no sore losers. I was able to get Fizz and Dan back into the woods for one last couple shoot as the sun was setting. It’s always lovely if I get the opportunity to do this in that beautiful evening light. It means I can provide even more photographs to such an epic couple.
I left this pair and their amazing families enjoying drinking games, nibbling on Moroccan sweet treats and huddling together around the fire pit, after they’d rocked out on the dance floor to heavy metal tunes. I seriously had the warm fuzzies which carried me home smiling after this wedding. Fizz and Dan shy away from absolutely nothing and they live every moment to the best of their abilities. I spent most of the wedding literally just trying to keep up with them and their infectious energy and vitality. Those are the best kinds of day for me. I hope the photographs have done this day justice. Fizz and Dan, all that remains for me to say is the biggest CONGRATULATIONS to you both. Capturing your day was my absolute pleasure! Thank you for making me part of it xxx