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The Orchard, Spot Lane, Otham, Maidstone, Kent ME15 8SE

A day in the life of an Orchard Wedding

7:30am Wake up and have the first coffee of the day…the first of many!

8:15am Start the journey to work feeling excited for today’s wedding. It’s been months of planning with our couple and the novelty of seeing their dreams come true on their big day, never gets old. During the journey, we are thinking about the bridal party who have likely been awake for some time now, feeling excited and a little emotional, drinking morning mimosas, eating a continental breakfast and enjoying having their hair and makeup being done ready to look and feel like royalty for the day. The groom joked about playing a round of golf this morning and rolling up to the venue at the last minute. At least, we think it was a joke…we hope it was a joke!

8:45am Arrive to work and make the second coffee of the day ahead of our first morning appointment. The Starlight Suite is set up ready for today’s wedding breakfast, the chosen coloured sashes are on the chairs, the crisp white linen is gleaming, and the fairy lights are lit throughout the ceiling adding that magical touch, even this early in the day

9am Our first appointment of the day arrives, a lovely couple seeking their perfect wedding venue. They have seen our website and read through our amazing packages online. We show them around the venue, explaining how we utilise each part of the venue perfectly for every element of the big day. When they see The Starlight Suite, they say the pictures online just don’t do it justice……we have heard that one before, yet it still is so nice to see their pleasantly surprised faces as they begin imagining their big day in this beautiful, fairy lit venue. After a good chat about the packages, this loved up couple book their preferred date there and then! You would think the novelty wears off when you see how excited they are, knowing they have secured their wedding date, but it doesn’t, we still revel in their excitement every time! We truly believe that when you know, you know!

10am The third coffee of the day is made, and a quick slice of toast to soak up a little bit of the caffeine entering the bloodstream…

10:15am The florist is in the midst of creating some absolutely stunning centrepieces within the suite. We have 9 round tables and one long top table within the room to suit todays couples guest numbers perfectly. The flowers chosen are just perfect for this summer’s day wedding and pulls together the pretty and elegant colour scheme the couple have chosen for their big day

10:30am The operations team are putting the finishing touches to the tables, adding all the personalised stationary, table favours and all the bits that make our couples wedding their wedding

11:30am It’s all hands-on deck in setting up the ceremony area. Today’s ceremony is based on our beautiful water terrace and the sun is shining! The chairs are set, and the registrars table adorned with a gorgeous long and low floral arrangement

11:45am This is the perfect opportunity to gather some lovely images and videos of the outside area before guests start arriving, so we have plenty to share on our social media channels (not on the day of the wedding of course) and show future couples how we do things here at The Orchard

12noon Our Head Chef arrives on site, ready to create his stunning dishes for the day. The canape prep starts first, ready for the ceremony to end, before the preparations begin for the three-course wedding breakfast the couple have chosen

12:15pm Our toastmaster has arrived, equipped with their smart red suit which naturally commands attention ready for the day ahead

12:30pm The registrars have arrived on site and have begun their paperwork, ready to have all in place for the groom’s arrival

1pm The groom has arrived! He and the groomsmen are making their way up the grand stair case looking very smart in their suits, a tad nervous and very excited…we feel a pint of something may be in order. The groom and his best man have their interviews with the registrar, ensuring they are equipped with the information they need ahead of the ceremony

1:15pm The pints are going down nicely, and our Toastmaster is kindly organising the buttonholes for the groom and his party. Guests have started to arrive, all looking wonderful and the atmosphere is great, everyone is so excited for the day ahead

1:45pm Guests are invited to be seated as the bride has arrived in her stunning vintage bridal car with her father. The mother of the bride and bridesmaids are not far behind in our Orchard mini-bus, equipped with all the lip gloss, deodorant and tissues a bridal party could possibly need! The bride will meet with the registrars in our Oak Rooms for the formalities ahead of the ceremony before having a quick pep-talk from her Orchard planner and of course her dad, a quick glass of water and a lip gloss touch up from the maid of honour…that final lip gloss touch up is fairly integral

2pm Guests have been invited to stand, the brides entrance music has started and it’s a stunning acoustic number, perfectly complementing this stunning day. The bridesmaids make their way up our grand stair case….no one trips, despite all being convinced they would do so! After a couple of moments of building suspense, a quick wish of good luck from the Orchard planner who is right by the brides side, she makes her way to the top of the steps holding the arm of her father who is bursting with pride, gliding beautifully with her long train sitting perfectly behind her as she walks along the red carpet to her husband to be. The groom has a tear in his eye as he sees his stunning wife-to-be walking towards him

2:30pm The ceremony goes off without a hitch with a fabulous cheer from the couple’s guests as they were announced as husband and wife! After a group shot taken on the grand staircase, orchestrated by our Toastmaster and the professional photographer the couple had included within their package, the bride and groom jump into the vintage bridal car which waits for them at the bottom of the steps and go for a short drive with a glass of bubbles to take in the moment they became husband and wife

2:40pm Bubbly is flowing, canapes are being enjoyed, the bar is open, and guests are enjoying the sunshine throughout the grounds of The Orchard. Giant games are being played in the gardens, the kids are happily amusing themselves and the group shots are being taken to ensure those lasting memories can be kept for years to come. The team have put all the ceremony chairs back into the main suite, ready for the wedding breakfast. Candles are being lit, the wine buckets prepared and the final touches for the ultimate ‘wow factor’ as guests enter the Starlight Suite

2:45pm Coffee…

3:45pm The rest of the service team arrive for their shift in time for a smooth delivery of dinner service

4pm Guests are invited to take their seats for their wedding breakfast and the couple are announced into the room by our Toastmaster. The couple have opted to deliver speeches first as the groom and the father of the bride were a tiny bit jittery so we recommended they have the speeches first to ensure they can enjoy their meals. The speeches go down fantastically with the assistance of our brilliant Toastmaster. The Best Man delivers a speech suitably close to the mark and the Father of the Bride brings a tear to the eyes of all those guests listening to his beautiful words. The Groom ensures he calls his wife, ‘his wife’ for the first time which of course is greeted with huge applause!

4:30pm The starters are served by our operations team. The Chef has ensured the local produce and seasonal ingredients have been maximised for the tastiest dishes for our guests. The wedding breakfast is enjoyed by all, with wine being poured, the bar being open to those looking for local ales or something a little different…tequila shots were in fact a regular order for this wedding breakfast! Everyone is relaxed and thoroughly enjoying the day with their loved ones and newly made friends. The Orchard wedding planner is on hand throughout, overseeing the smooth service, ensuring the couple are happy and that everything is going just as they have all been planning together for the last 18 months

6pm Guests are invited to our cosy and relaxed Oak Rooms to enjoy teas and coffees and let their food go down. Evening guests are due to arrive for 7pm so it’s the perfect opportunity for the newlyweds to mingle with their day guests and make the most of the dusky light for some gorgeous evening shots by the lake – the swans were sure to make an appearance for an even dreamier photo experience!

6:15pm The evening Operations team have arrived, rested and ready for a busy evening of drinking and dancing ahead…for the guests…not them

7pm The newlywed couple are invited back to the Starlight Suite which has had a little tidy, but all tables and chairs left to ensure plenty of seating for guests throughout the evening, particularly the ladies who may or may not have worn new high heels for the first time and deeply regretted their decision fairly early on in the day…

7:10pm Upon instruction from the couple’s planner, having checked they are ready for the next part of the evening, our resident DJ invites the couple to cut their cake which is greeted with cheers. Their three-tiered wedding cake was a gorgeous iced cake covered in sugar flowers which was included within the couple’s package and they chose one of our talented cake suppliers to bring their design to life. With layers of chocolate orange, cherry Bakewell and lemon drizzle, we can see the guests eyeing up the cake ahead of it being served on the evening buffet

7:15pm The first dance begins…It’s a choreographed dance!!! We absolutely loved it, as did the guests! We are fairly confident this will be an online hit, particularly given all guests are uploading their videos and pictures from the day with the couples personalised hashtag!

8pm The evening buffet is served, and guests are at first too polite to flock towards the team as they are laying the food out…however once one guests picks up a plate, they are all enjoying some late evening, alcohol soaking, good old-fashioned carbs!

The night is full of laughter, dancing (sometimes questionable) and enjoying the atmosphere of this incredible day.

01:00 comes around more quickly than the newlyweds had ever imagined it would, and guests are starting to depart feeling full, a little tipsy and like they have enjoyed the best day of their loved one’s lives.