Find an artist for your event...

Disney Country Garden Wedding - Secret Garden, Ashford, Kent

Natasha & Paul

From Belle to Toy Story, this summer wedding is a Disney-meets-P.Diddy affair, with a club DJ taking their party to another level, and all the cools of Latin vibes courtesy of our Spanish bride. Think open-air garden ceremony, mojito drinks reception, and croquet on the lawn, followed by a picnic wedding breakfast, and a cigar photoshoot.

Find out why the bride dons her mother’s never-before-worn vintage wedding dress, and get DJ hacks to ensure your playlist is all Beauties and no Beasts.

Plus, can you get any cooler than wearing blue suede shoes and walking in to Elvis?! Spot the pop-culture tributes in this awesome day (clue: Bridesmaids, Reservoir Dogs, & DC Comics’ Harley Quinn).

Alastair Ladd Photography catches the magic at the Mersham Estate’s award winning Secret Garden.

Shop the Style...

The Playlist

Prelude/Guests Arrival: Be Our Guest, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Bridesmaids & Mothers’ Processional: Piano/cello cover of A Thousand Years by Christina Perri

Groom’s Processional: Bad Boys For Life by P. Diddy

Bridal Processional & Recessional: Cello cover of Can’t Help Falling In Love by Elvis Presley

First Dance: Cello cover of Tale As Old As Time, from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

Mother-&-Bride Dance: Gipsy Kings version of You Got A Friend In Me, from Toy Story

The Entertainment

“We had various lawn games during the day... bowling, giant jenga, a coconut shy, cricket, and croquet – there’s a picture where I’m wielding the croquet mallet like Harley Quinn!

“We chose Anthony Parella to DJ because he explained in his bio that he stays clear of cheesy wedding music and welcomed mine and Paul’s ‘banned list’ which was lengthy. I was worried I was coming across as a Bridezilla however when we met him, he said he agreed with my list and would ensure that if anyone did request ‘500 Miles’ he would charge them, which would go to mine and Paul’s gin consumption!

Anthony was amazing – he played every song we requested and I felt that the music was very ‘us’. He was very sweet to ask if I was okay with particular songs that guests had requested too. My lovely Maid of Honour saw that my banned list was missing a cheesy song, so she used this as a playful loophole to be able to request a particular song. Anthony kindly asked what we thought. Since it was my maid of honour and sister-in-law, I thought one cheesy song would be fine!”

Anthony was brilliant...Everything we asked for. Music was on point!

See Anthony Parella’s reviews here

The Music

“For our ceremony, mothers and grandmas of the bride and groom plus the Bridesmaids walked up the aisle to The Piano Guys version of A thousand Years. Paul had his own entrance music – P. Diddy’s Bad Boys for Life, which had people laughing...he did have a strut as he walked down the aisle to P. Diddy! Luckily it was filmed, as I didn’t get to see it live. The music then changed to my song which was Vesislava’s cello version of Can’t Help Falling In Love. That song also played when Paul and I walked back down after being married.

“We chose Vesislava’s cello version of Disney’s ‘Tale As Old As Time’ for our first dance, which Anthony played for us. It felt really special and beautiful, due to the weather and background. We danced in the courtyard after making our entrance from a separate room...it felt like the entrance to the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast!”

DJ Anthony Parella’s Top Tips...

  • Read reviews and make sure you choose the right DJ who can cater for your tastes. An experienced DJ will have played in various venues and in front of crowds.

  • Like anything, communication is paramount. Before your wedding, make sure you and your DJ are both on the same page regarding the music, as everyone’s perception of songs/genres can vary so much.

  • Try not to be too over-prescriptive in your song choices, but do give your DJ a firm idea of what you want and don’t want. Then your DJ can read the dancefloor and play just the right tracks to get everyone up, and keep you happy!

  • If you’ve booked a band as well, make a clear distinction between what the band will play and what the DJ will play. A song won’t have the same impact the second time it’s played.

Wedding DJ, Anthony Parella

The Photography

“We were very lucky to have family members who knew our photographer, Alastair Ladd, and paid for him as our wedding gift. There were certain shots I wanted; I wanted the bridesmaids captured individually...the moody bridesmaid picture was meant to be a homage to the ‘Bridesmaid’ DVD cover! I also wanted to be captured with the groomsmen smoking their cigars. My family are from Spain, where it’s a tradition to give the male members of the bridal party cigars. Paul and his best man enjoy a cigar when celebrating milestones, so it was fitting to get them all cigars.

The Venue

“We were blown away by how beautiful The Secret Garden was. The staff are so helpful and they do feel like a little family. There weren’t any hidden costs...everything was laid out to us, and they were so accommodating. The best thing by far was that our wedding planner, Laura made us feel like we were the first wedding she was a part of. She was excited by our suggestions and it just made us feel really special.

The Decor

“We had a subtle Beauty and the Beast theme at the wedding – it’s my favourite movie...I’m torn between the original and the new version. (I am a little obsessed, luckily Paul doesn’t mind it...especially as we had a Disney World Honeymoon!)

“The tables at our wedding breakfast were dressed with blue and gold runners. The centrepieces were teapots filled with red roses. All our decorations were handmade. We had napkins folded into roses, which took us hours to fold! We wanted a subtle Beauty and the Beast dinner feel, but in a very intimate way, so we had picnic baskets at the tables.”

The Outfits

“To go with our theme, Paul wore a royal blue suit, and his groomsmen wore dark blue tuxedo jackets with yellow bow ties. The Bridesmaids had beautiful yellow dresses from Asos.

“My wedding dress has a bit of a story... it was my mum’s but she never wore it. My dad was in the army and a property came up on the barracks, but at the time you couldn’t live together unless you were married, so my mum and dad eloped before their wedding date. I think my mum regrets not having a special day, so wearing her dress meant a lot to me. It originally came with an umbrella (?!), and still had tags on! I had it altered... it was made strapless with a corset, and I wore it with a hoop. I also had a cathedral length veil with lace trim. I didn’t intend to look like Belle, but it really worked in the end.”

The Ceremony

“I didn’t feel nervous until I was on my own with my brother at the venue, then it really hit me. I could faintly hear Paul’s ceremony music, and I really wanted to see him walk down the aisle but we couldn’t from where we were standing. My brother had to talk to me as we walked down the aisle – I was really worried I would cry and not stop! It went so quickly and I didn’t have time to process the emotional moment. I just couldn’t wait to hear what Paul thought about my dress and have a mojito!”

Find more Country Garden Ceremony ideas here...

The Food

“We chose a garden party picnic to be served at the table, which was intimate and got people talking as they had to nominate someone at the table to be the chief picnic server. We offered mojitos and beers at the drinks reception. As part of the wedding favours we gave them all gin teabags to enjoy either at the toast or at home, and sunglasses.

“We are not big fans of traditional wedding cake so we had cake pops covered in edible crystals from Costco, which saved us a lot, and were delicious.”

Favourite Moment

“The ceremony – I didn’t realise how quickly it would go, and wish we could have slowed that time down. And our first dance – it felt really special.”

What We Learned

“I didn’t spend much time just relaxing with Paul. My top tip is to plan your couple photos to be taken after all the group shots. We had the guests go off and have drinks while we had our photos done and then we took 10 minutes out while the guests were seated for food to chat and finally hear what he thought of my dress and makeup.”

Love For Alive

“Finding our DJ on Alive was easy. Our Coordinator Clara really listened to what we wanted, she didn’t try to push entertainment that was out of our budget, and I appreciated that.”

Your Ultimate Guide to Wedding Entertainment

Lily Atkins

Wedding Editorial Team

The Magic Makers

Music, atmosphere and vibes of love and fun Alive Network, UK-wide | Wedding DJ Anthony Parella, Alive Network | Photographer Alastair Ladd Photography, London & the South-East | Venue Secret Garden, Kent | Wedding dress Bride’s Mother’s own dress, altered | Blue bridal shoes by Office | Adult bridesmaids' dresses 'Maya’ in yellow by ASOS, UK-wide | Bridal veil by Kiss The Bride, Rochester | Bride’s wedding ring H Samuel, UK-wide | Groom’s wedding ring Love2Have, Hereford & UK-wide | Groomsmens’ outfits Next, UK-wide | Groom’s outfit ASOS, UK-wide | Groom’s shoes Black ‘Derby’ style, Amazon, UK-wide | Hair The Hair Shop, Ashford | Beauty Makeup By Lottie, Crowborough | Artificial Flowers The Brides Bouquet, Derbyshire & UK-wide | Stationery Hobbycraft, UK-wide | Favours Amazon & sunglasses from Wholesale Sunglasses UK, UK-wide | Wedding cake pops Costco, UK-wide

Join the Insta party! Tag us into your build-up and big-day moments

#alivebrides