Real Wedding: A black tie celebration at Cowley Manor
A black tie celebration within the stunning setting of Cowley Manor, Kurt and Jonathan's big day featured a cheese wedding cake, sambuca shots and an appearance from their dog, Digby.
The happy couple: Kurt Rimell, 33, in recruitment, and Jonathan Lejeune, 30, a teacher, from Barnt Green, Worcestershire
Wedding date: Thursday 22 February 2018
Ceremony and reception venue: Cowley Manor
Wedding theme: Black Tie
Photographer: J S Coates Wedding Photography
Videographer: Blue Ridge Wedding Videography
Flowers: James Birch of Silver Birch Bouquets, Evesham
Groomsmaid dresses: Black, high neck lace maxi, with a scallop back
Grooms' outfits: White tie jacket with Eaton Marcella Waistcoat, and Christian Louboutin Dandelion Patent shoes
Cake: Tom and Becky Cumberland, Wayside Farm Shop in Evesham
Entertainment: Sarah Chandler aka The Swarovski Saxophonist, and John Johns DJ
Hair and beauty: Kate Richards and Laura Leigh Hairdressing
Favours: Shot-sized individual bottle of sambuca for toasting
Rings including engagement ring: Tiffany & Co, Rose Gold band
When and how did you first meet?
We first met in Worcester over 10 years ago when I was living/working there and Jonathan was at university. As we went to greet each other a seagull deposited himself all down my face and jacket! We went to a nearby bar to wash it off and have been with each other since.
Who popped the big question and how did they propose?
We got engaged on Jonathan’s birthday in 2016, which is just before Christmas. We went for a walk with the dog in the Lickey Hills near our house. Jonathan didn’t want to go as we were having birthday drinks in the pub in the afternoon, and he moaned the whole way!
We got to the top which has got a beautiful view across Birmingham and the surrounding countryside. I had the ring in my pocket and got down on one knee and just did it. On the walk back down, I’d arranged for some family and friends to pop out the bushes with some champagne.
We walked back through the woods to the Barnt Green Inn where we carried on the celebrations late into the night. One of the best days of our lives.
How long did it take you to plan your wedding?
A little over 12 months, although for the first six months we really didn’t do anything at all – apart from confirm the venue!
Why did you choose your venue?
It was always going to be Cowley Manor. We both have fond memories of the place which goes back seven years. We just love it there; the spa and grounds are spectacular and the accommodation far surpasses any other wedding venue we’ve been to.
We like that it’s got quite a masculine contemporary feel and not ‘chintzy’ like a lot of other venues. It also has a very calming feel to it and the staff are fantastic. We just feel at home there.
Was there an inspiration or theme for your wedding?
We chose black tie as we wanted a dress style that suited the sophistication of the venue. It was also a great excuse for everyone to get dressed up in their finest.
What made you choose your photographer?
Jonathan Coates had done one of our friend’s wedding’s the previous year and we liked his style of photography. Very natural and innovative. He created some spectacular shots and for most of the day he was so discreet we really didn’t notice him there.
We stayed together at Cowley the night before as we wanted our portfolio shots done in the morning, before any guests arrived, so we didn’t have to disappear after the ceremony and leave our guests.
He arrived early and made us feel instantly at ease, he did an efficient job in making sure we had enough time to do our photos, without being rushed.
How did your wedding photographer capture your big day memories?
Jonathan asked us for a list of shots we wanted prior to the day, along with whom, so he came well planned and even scouted out the venue beforehand. He captured the day perfectly with his style of natural in-evasive photography and has a keen eye for being able to capture people’s emotions.
We couldn’t have wished for a better photographer and can’t recommend him highly enough. He’s a lovely guy and wasn’t afraid to boss us about a bit (in a nice way) – he got some amazing shots which we wouldn’t have even dreamt of.
Did you hire a wedding planner or was it a DIY affair?
Nicola Jones at the venue did an incredible job and went above and beyond to make sure everything ran smoothly. Other than that, we did everything else ourselves.
Did you make, design or create anything yourself?
We did – we had a K&J logo for the stationery and wedding favours which Jonathan designed. We designed an order of service, welcome board and ‘find your face’ seating plan with was all uniformed and in the style of black and white.
What did the grooms wear?
We both wore the same, a white tie tail jacket with Eaton Marcella Waistcoat, white bowtie and Christian Louboutin Dandelion Patent shoes. The suits were a nightmare to find. White tie isn’t a very popular dress code in the UK and as we are both slim everything we were able to find was a very poor fit.
In the end was had to source them from a European tailor and they only arrived a week before the wedding. Thankfully after a last-minute nip and tuck they were a perfect fit!
Did you have something old, new, borrowed and blue?
No – although Jonathan did give me a very nice Mont Blanc brief case on the morning of the wedding which was nice. My gift was the Christian Louboutin shoes!
What song did you walk down the aisle to?
We had ‘You’ve got the Love’ ft Candi Staton by The Source.
Did you have any special readings during the service?
Our friend Julia Marino read ‘I’m So Lucky’ by Ms Moem. She did an amazing job and it was really nice to have a little breather during the ceremony, when everyone’s eyes are on someone else for a few minutes.
It was an incredibly emotional ceremony for various different reasons and it gave us a couple of minutes to compose ourselves and mop up some tears!
What did you have for your wedding breakfast?
We had a crab salad to start which was lovely and light, venison for the main, and a gorgeous chocolatey nutty creamy thing for desert which was to die for! We also had the choice of a vegan menu which was very nice as well apparently.
What kind of cake did you go for?
Our very good friends Tom and Becky Cumberland from Wayside Farm Shop Evesham made us a six-tier cheese cake made up of cheddars, ricottas, French brie and even a couple of giant pork pies! They’d dressed it with fresh figs, grapes rosemary and raffia and it looked incredible. Not to mention tasted delicious – everyone was wowed by it.
What was your first dance song?
We had ‘Jubel’ by Klingande. It reminds us of happy times on summer holidays and Sarah Sax played along to it on the saxophone.
What was your favourite part of your wedding day?
As we stayed together the night before we had all morning until around 1pm being just me and Jonathan. It was nice spending that time together just us before all the guests arrived. I really savoured that time as the rest of the day just goes in the blink of an eye!
We didn’t have to rush to get ready and we took our time with the photographer having our photos done. We even managed to get our dog Digby in for a few of the photos as well – he looked very smart in his bow tie. Spending that time together on the day was lovely as for the rest of it you’re busy chatting to everyone!
Did everything go to plan?
Yes it did, one or two little things if we were to be really picky but nothing that was noticeable.
What advice would you give anyone planning their big day?
Have and do exactly what you want to do. It’s your wedding day and don’t settle for second best if it’s something you really want. We spent much more than we planned in certain areas but it was all worth it – I wouldn’t have been happy if we didn’t have exactly what we wanted, so if you want the designer shoes – get them!
Also, definitely have a videographer to film the day. We used Blue Ridge Wedding Videography who were fantastic. It’s not cheap, but what they have produced is just incredible – it’s like a movie! It was definitely money well spent.
Is there anything you know now that you wished you’d known before the big day?
Everyone tells you to savour every moment as it goes really quickly. It really does. You don’t appreciate it until the DJ starts packing up and everyone starts leaving then you wish you could do it all over again.
And finally, where did you spend your honeymoon together?
We had a ‘mini moon’ in Barcelona after the wedding and are going on a cruise in the summer.
For more information about J S Coates, visit jscoates.com directly.
Wednesday 30 May 2018
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