Kiera and Gökhan's autumnal Halloween wedding at Cooling Castle Barn, Kent

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Mr + Mrs Karakaş 

30th October 2019︱Cooling Castle Barn, Kent

Guests: 45 for day, 110 for evening︱Photos: Thyme Lane Photography

Instagram: @kiera.karakas  + @gokhankarakasvideography 

We're so excited to share another amazing Halloween Wedding. Kiera and Gökhan wanted a dark and unusual theme and when the 30th October was the only date their venue had available last year, it seemed like fate! Their decor included tall candelabras, fairy lights, pumpkins and dreamcatchers. From smoke bombs to the dramatic black cake - we are obsessed with this wedding! The bride made lots of DIYs too, including her veil and shoes - black bridal accessories weren't the easiest to find so she decided to make them herself. Kiera tells us all about the day and shares lots of tips for brides to be...
Tell us about your wedding theme...
Our theme was Halloween and dark. We both love to be a little unusual and different and we attend a lot of weddings due to our work so we really did not want something standard – as little white as possible was best! Halloween is my favourite season and we booked our venue 6 months before we married and the only date they had available was 30th October, so it almost seemed like a sign that we had to go for that!  

  • Something Old: My great grandmothers necklace pendant 
  • Something New: Gökhan bought me my headpiece as a birthday gift a month before so used that!  
  • Something Borrowed: my friend lent me her perfume on the day!  
  • Something Blue: My mother in law pinned a lucky Turkish eye charm on my dress which is blue (and lucky!)  

What was your favourite part of the day? 

I loved every part of the day but I really enjoyed getting ready in the morning. I got ready with my three bridesmaids, my mum, my mother in law, my Nan, and my dad and Gökhan were there until an hour or so before as well so that they didn’t see my dress. It was so good to have everyone together in the morning and it went soo quickly!! I also loved the Turkish Davul Zurna band that I hired. I arranged this as a surprise for my husband and mother in law – they are a staple at a Turkish wedding and I wanted to bring a little bit of home to them both, and also a little bit of Turkey to the guests! It was such a great response and everybody was up dancing and enjoying it!  

Tell us about the ceremony...
We actually had a fake wedding ceremony read by my uncle as fake registrar as we had already married a few days before in Istanbul Turkey, where we live. So we actually got to write our own ceremony and everything ourselves, and my uncle threw a few jokes in too. It was really special and memorable!  


  • Song you walked down the aisle to: Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Ray 
  • Song for walking back up the aisle as a married couple: Rather Be by Clean Bandit and Jess Glynn
What was the funniest moment of the day? 
I would say the ceremony!  

Wedding must-have: A good photographer and a good florist!! Do not cut corners or cost and do your research before hand – they are the ultimate best thing to spend your money on!  

Best wedding splurge?

Definitely my husbands wedding shoes... he went for some funky coloured shoes which he loved and everybody loved. Also the Turkish band! They were a great feature to the day!  

What was your wedding budget – and did you stick to it?  

We didn’t really set a budget but we got lots of quotes and preplanned before booking everything to make sure we were going too crazy.  

How did you choose the venue? 

I have a specific venue style in mind as I wanted an older looking large barn and Cooling just ticked the boxes perfectly. My parents actually viewed the venue for us and booked it as we couldn’t fly back and we had to put down our deposit pretty quickly in order to secure our date as it was only 6 months away. My dad got emotional walking around the venue when they explained where he would walk with me before walking me down the aisle… when I heard that I knew it was the perfect venue. The staff were awesome throughout the whole process and did so much to help us get everything ready before and on the day. I could not recommend it enough!  

Tell us all about the dress… 

I was actually looking to purchase 3 dresses (one for UK wedding, and two for Turkish wedding). I went into one shop, tried on 3 dresses, loved all 3 and bought all 3 there and then! I’m not much of a shopper and if it ticks the boxes I wasn’t interested in searching around more ‘just in case’… I just went for it! In total it took me 1 hour, and although I was pleased, my mum felt a little disappointed that we didn’t get to do more shopping!  

Advice for future brides… 

Make the most of spending tome with your guests and friends on the day, but don’t forget your husband! You’ll look back on this day together for the rest of your lives and it’s so important to have those moments together in the midst of the madness. Make sure you pay good money for a good photographer because those are your lasting physical memories of the day, and don’t get so caught up on the day being perfect or following traditions.. just have fun and let the day flow! It’s about celebrating your new marriage and not about putting on a perfect show!  

What was your favourite wedding purchase? 

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite – I loved everything from my dress, to my veil and shoes, to the florists decorations and our own decorations in the ceremony room!  

Did you make any Wedding DIYs? 

Yes! We decorated the ceremony room completely ourselves with pumpkins, dream catchers and fake foliage. I also made my own wedding shoes and veil as I wanted black details. My veil had black lace around the trim and my shoes were black stilettos with black lace and black diamanté’s on the heel – I obviously couldn’t find any black wedding shoes so I made them! All purchases from amazon and in total cost me around £25 for the shoes! We also did the table names as names of our pets so I took and printed pictures and framed them etc. I also designed by own seating plan on photoshop and had it printed independently for around £12.  

Did you have have anything unusual at your wedding?   

We had lots of unusual things – but I would say the whole wedding was a bit weird! The décor and theming was definitely the most unusual and I loved it!  

What was your favourite wedding planning moment?

I enjoyed the whole planning experience and planned most things myself. I really enjoy organising events such as this and arranging the little details so it was a really fun experience. I would do it again in a heart beat – I didn’t find any of it stressful at all, even doing it all from another country.  

Tell us about your wedding favours...

We had personalised chocolates as wedding favours as I am a huge chocolate lover.  

Top money saving tip:  Look into doing some decorations yourself.

You would be surprised how much you can create yourself with some imagination and time using bits from amazon. All of our ceremony room decorations were from either The Range or Amazon and the lace used for my veil and shoes was from Amazon too. Don’t be afraid to try something different – you don’t have to pay big money for something unique or personalised.  

What was the most emotional moment of the day? 

I would probably say the speeches. I moved abroad to be with my husband in his home country four years ago so the speeches had a lot of admissions about how hard it is being away from family for 95% of the year and missing all of those little events that you take for granted like BBQ’s and birthday celebrations. That was a little emotional to hear!  

Tell us about the food...

I’ll be completely honest I can barely remember the sit down meal… it was delicious but I was so busy that I didn’t get to touch much of my main, but the guests were all very complimentary to the venue for the great food. All three courses were amazing at the venue and Cooling’s kitchen staff really blew the meal out of the water, they did great! For the evening buffet we had a Turkish style finger buffet to pay homage to my husbands roots!  

Tell us about the cake...

I couldn’t forget the cake! We went for a black sugar paste vanilla cream cake… which was then decorated with real flowers and mini pumpkins supplied by our florist to match our table centre pieces and our bouquets. It was so delicious and was such as stunning centre piece. I didn’t want to cut it as it was too beautiful!! We could not recommend our cake supplier enough – I have purchased plenty of cakes from her over the years and she really does make the best!  

Who was your favourite wedding supplier?

I couldn’t have a favourite! Everybody did a great job and I’m so glad I picked all of them!  

Is there anything you wish you'd done differently?

I wish I had more time in the evening to dance and enjoy the night. I also wish I had taken a break to make good use of the chocolate fountain!  

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Tell us about your first dance...

We just winged it – neither of us are really dancers. The song was Controlla cover by Andrew Garcia (when we first met, we took a little road trip to Gökhan’s mums summer house an hour from where we lived. It was 2AM and Controlla by Drake was new out and we both loved the song and sung it together in the car – it became our song after that!)  

Did you have any family dances?

Father/Daughter Dance – The Drugs Don’t Work by the Verve (my dad used to lay me on his chest when I was a baby and sing this to me when I wouldn’t sleep). 

Mum/Daughter – Slipping through my fingers by ABBA. 

Granddaughter/Grandad – The Last Waltz by Engelbert Humperdinck (my grandma passed away 6 years ago and my grandad would always dance with her to that song when they went to parties together as youngsters).   

Were there any surprises on the day?

My auntie and uncle choreographed a dance to an old favourite song of my grandma’s and surprised us with it. It was such a nice surprise and they did a great job!  

Photographer: Thyme Lane Photography

Venue: Cooling Castle Barn

Florist: Danny Watchorn

Choc Fountain & Sweet Cart: Olly's Elegant Hire

Make Up: Jord Rogers MUA

Hair: JF Hairstylist

Bridesmaid Dresses: BG Event Dresses

Wedding Dress: Berlin Moda Evi

Grooms Suits: D's Damat

Cake: Homemade with Love Cakes

Cake Topper: Cake Topper Silhouette

Smoke Bombs: Enola Gaye

Signs & Table Plan: DIY +

Place Cards: Emma T Calligraphy

Wedding Band: The Aladdin's Cave

Turkish Band: Davul Zurna

Pumpkins: PYO Pumpkins

Personalised Makeup Bags: Red Leader UK

Personalised Gowns & Fans: Didosh Tasarim

Personalised Boxes, Flutes, Mugs, Hangers: Handmade by Helen

Personalised Bags, Two Flutes, Champagne Bottles: Endless By Sophie

Cards For Boxes: Farrah and Eve

Balloons On Gift Bags: My Pretty Balloon

From Brides, With Love xo 

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