Sharlene & Jonathan

Leeds Castle

leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer

Small and extremely beautiful!!

Whilst I know Covid has thrown many plans into disarray, Shalene and Jonathan were determined that it would not stand in the way of them getting married.  Having rescheduled their big family celebrations to next year, they contacted us to ask if we would be available to shoot their ceremony in the grounds of Leeds Castle on their original wedding date this year.  We absolutely jumped at the chance and were honoured to be there alongside them and only two witnesses during a ceremony and morning that Duncan and I will never forget.

Sharlene and Jonathan got ready together, but dressed separately and when ready, Jonathan waited in the garden for a first look before they walked together to the Ceremony.

This was particularly special for us, as we have never had the opportunity for a first look, and I must say, I wish we had the chance to do it more.  It was like they were the only two people in the world as they set eyes on each other and they were able to really take the moment in.

They walked hand in hand to the Castle to meet their witnesses, Jonathans two sisters, before entering for their ceremony together.

The ceremony, although shorter, was beautiful and felt so incredibly intimate.  There were none of the usual distractions, just pure and focused attention on the reason they were gathered on the day – to make their vows to each other.

After the ceremony we wandered the grounds of Leeds Castle in an unhurried way, stopping to chat and shoot in as many places as the couple chose.  Again this made such a welcome change from the time constraints of a wedding day in usual times.

Sharlene and Jonathan were over the moon with the shots we captured on the day, but most importantly of all are so happy to have started married life together.  And they and us, are so excited to see them again next year for their rescheduled celebrations with family and friends.

If any of our other couples would like to hear more about how Sharlene and Jonathan made their wedding day so incredibly special, they will also be featuring in the next edition of A Kentish Ceremony Magazine.

leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer

Whilst we postponed our wedding celebrations due to Covid-19, we didn’t want to wait any longer before tying the knot.  20-08-2020 is our original date – which fortunately we were able to stick to.  Leeds Castle kindly allowed us to proceed with our legal ceremony since we are having our wedding celebrations at the Castle next May. Our original vision is still intact – with our arrangements simply pushed back. Bridesmaids, groomsmen, family, and friends from all over the world will join us in our Chinese wedding ceremony and vow renewal ceremony next year. We have lots planned but it is all a surprise!
This ceremony was, of course, very different, being a much smaller and more intimate arrangement than our plans for next May. Whilst we would have liked to have had the celebrations as well, our main focus has been on getting married. Life happens, and there will always be hurdles, and we wanted to remain positive and maintain as much normality as we could, like how we will approach other challenges in the future.  With Jonathan’s sisters, Marissa and Phillippa, as witnesses and Louisa and Duncan, our photographers, it worked out perfectly. The fact that it was such an intimate ceremony made the occasion more momentous and special.  It was a huge bonus to be able to get married at all this year and start our lives together as a married couple.

After our plans changed, I knew I wanted a dress that’s “me” but sufficiently different from my dress for next May and one that doesn’t detract from it. I wanted it to be elegant, fun, fuss-free, yet still provide that sense of occasion.

Suzanne Neville’s dress delivered on all of the above and more. It was impeccably tailored, gave such a great sense of movement when I walked, and it had pockets! It was the first dress I tried on in my search this time around. I tried on 6 others that day, because – why not?? They were all gorgeous designs and fun to be in, but I knew my gut instinct was right all along. Suzanne Neville and her team paid such close attention to the details and tweaked the original design to suit my body type and taste; no request was ever too much. They also managed to get the dress to me within weeks! The dress looked even better than I had imagined, I also plan to wear it again!

Our first look!

leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer

We wanted a venue with significance and meaning to both of us. Jonathan grew up nearby and we went there together on one of our early dates. We fell in love with the place and kept going back.

It is a stunning castle, the hospitality team have been very accommodating to us and our plans. We love how all the people working there have such a genuine love for the castle and the grounds.

leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer

The ceremony room was breath-taking. The morning sun shining through the bay windows gave the room an almost ethereal feel. We decided to walk down the aisle together. Sharlene will be walking down the aisle to Jonathan in May 2021. We have been through such a challenging period together, and we wish to start married life as we mean to go on – by each other’s side. There was no panic, no unnecessary pomp and circumstance, yet it felt all the more momentous and significant. There were a few moments in the weeks leading up to the ceremony when we thought we would not be able to go ahead as planned, so being in the room with each other felt a bit surreal. Everything went smoothly – it was perfect. We only had two guests who were also our witnesses.

Having such an intimate ceremony was so romantic. We cannot wait to celebrate with our family and friends next year!

leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer

After the ceremony, we had a lovely couple’s photography session with Louisa and Duncan. Being recommended suppliers of Leeds Castle they know the venue inside out and all the people who work there. On top of the key iconic locations, we were also able to go take photographs in other areas of the grounds which we normally would not have the time for. They gave us clear direction and made us feel completely at ease. They always made great suggestions and really took care of us. It was wonderful to be able to be in the moment with each other and enjoy the relatively empty grounds (a rarity for this time of the year!).

After the photographs we had a small family gathering at Jonathan’s parents to celebrate! We then travelled back to London for a lovely evening meal and opened all the congratulatory cards and gifts that we had received!

leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer
leeds castle, wedding, louisa dettmer

Louisa Dettmer Wedding Photography

Website & Facebook

Brides Dress: Suzanne Neville

Jewellery: Stanley Chan of International Company