When a drama teacher and a music teacher decide to tie the knot, you know things are going to get creative.
Richard Gregg and Mark Andrew, who live in Dartford, started their journey to their nuptials after a night watching School of Rock on Broadway - and ended with a musical speech they performed together on their wedding night to more than 100 guests. Richard popped the question to Mark in New York as they started a six-week road trip in the summer of 2018.
After eight years together, the pair, who met through their local theatre group work, incorporated their love of travel and their theatrical talents for a one-off wedding to remember.
They had six weeks together to discuss what they might want - and not want - while on their trip, but once back in the UK they spent the next year organising the production themselves.
“We had a lot of time to talk about it,” said Mark. “We wanted it to be unique, to be personal to us,” said Richard. “And we wanted our guests to enjoy it.”
After their respective stag dos - Richard’s in London, taking in a drag show and cocktails, and Marks, an 80s weekend in Butlin’s, organised by best man and long-time school friend Danny - the pair opted for the Oak Barn in Benenden, near Ashford, as their venue. But it took vision to see how their service and reception could look when they booked it, as it was still undergoing renovation for its first year as a wedding venue.
“We looked around a lot of venues and when we went to the Oak Barn it was a building site,” said Richard.
“We were taking a bit of a risk but we liked the owners. There were also cottages around the site and so we had an idea of what it was going to look like.”
They booked the venue for the whole weekend and so were able to stay with family and friends, and also it meant less rushing.
Mark said: “As we had the whole weekend together it was so much more relaxed and so we could set up on the Friday.”
Family and friends played some starring roles in the wedding. The couple were both given away by their mums, while Richard’s grown-up daughter and step daughter gave readings and Mark’s nieces, aged 13 and four-year-old twins, were flower girls, while friends also performed pieces of music.
After initially aiming for a small wedding, their list expanded and in all 106 guests were there to see them tie the knot.
The well-travelled pair used travel as their theme, with guests being presented with boarding passes. They also sang and played their speech together, with Richard singing and Mark playing the piano.
Richard said: “We realised we were trying to say the same thing so we thought it would be nice to sing together. We thought it would be fun.”
Their piece de resistance was a six-minute video projected onto their wedding cake, showing images of their lives together up to that point, incorporating the many countries they had visited and snaps of them together and with friends and family.
The outside space at the Oak Barn lent itself perfectly to their evening reception, including an R and M lit up outside.
“It was a beautiful evening,” said Richard, “and it was nice to make the most of the venue.”
Ironically, the couple, who love travel so much, began married life with a ‘honeymoon’ of a week in Norfolk with family...but did follow it up with two weeks in Hawaii.
Photography by: Tom Cullen Photography facebook.com/tcullenphoto
Venue: The Oak Barn in Benenden go to the-oak-barn.co.uk
Catering by: Kitchen of Kent visit kitchenofkent.co.uk
Flowers by: Seerose floral design visit seerosefloraldesign.com
Richard and Mark also had designer cocktails for their reception by Capital Cocktails visit capitalcocktails.co.uk