Rachel and Craig’s Cooling Castle Barn wedding was an unforgettable day! The couple run their own martial arts school and the references throughout the day made it a truly unique affair.

As they celebrate their first wedding anniversary in a few days, I caught up with Rachel who shares the details of their amazing day.

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Rachel, tell us how you met

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We met through martial arts. Craig was teaching my niece and nephew and I went to watch a few times. We got talking and also saw each other on a couple of nights out. We started training together and it went from there really!

And what about that proposal?

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Craig suggested we go into London on Christmas Eve in 2013. I thought things were a little strange as my mum waved us goodbye from the door on what I thought was just a ‘normal day out’. Once it was dark, Craig took me onto the Millennium Bridge (because he knew my favourite view of London was Tower Bride). There were people singing Christmas carols nearby, and the bells of Saint Paul’s Cathedral were chiming as he pulled a ring out of his pocket and got down on one knee.

When and where did you get married?

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We were married on 3rd July 2016 at Cooling Castle Barn, Kent.

Did you have theme for your wedding day?

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We didn’t really have a theme as such but a few bits were martial arts related, such as our table names and cake toppers.

Tell us how you chose your wedding dress?

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I only went to one and I found the perfect dress straight away. It was completely different to the style I thought I was going to have. I took my mum and two of my bridesmaids. I found a dress I really liked in the style I originally saw myself wearing… but thought it was just too typical and what everybody would have expected me to wear.

One of my bridesmaids kept pushing me to try on this specific dress, which I really didn’t like the look of. Anyway, I tried it on, and fell in love with it instantly. It was strapless, fitted at the top with lots of detail, and come out a little at the bottom. I knew straightaway that was the dress I wanted to walk down the aisle in.

Who did you have as your bridesmaids?

I had eight bridesmaids! My three nieces, Craig’s sister, and my four closest friends. The two youngest nieces had ivory dresses, whilst the other six had mint green floor length dresses with one strap. They all looked beautiful!

What did you love the most about wedding planning?

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I loved planning our wedding. Visiting the venue was always so exciting, and choosing the decorative things was fun. We also loved going to wedding fairs.

What 3 top tips would you offer other brides?

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Definitely attend some wedding fairs in the area of where you are looking at getting married. Don’t rush the planning because you’ll be sad once it’s over. And also just go with your gut. If you think it’s the right venue it probably is. The same goes for the dresses and everything else. If you want something, have it, because it should be your perfect day.

How did you decide on Marc as your wedding photographer?

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We met Marc at a wedding fair in Bluewater. He was so friendly and we thought his work looked so professional. After having the engagement shoot with him we knew he was definitely the photographer for us. He was very relaxed and wasn’t pushy about how we needed to pose for the photos. It was all very natural which suited us. The photos we had from each shoot turned out amazing so it’s hard to pick the ones you want to put in your album. He is amazing at what he does and I would recommend him 100%.

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