Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBridE jo
This week’s Friday Bride crafted a small stylish, city wedding in Marylebone where the happy couple first met. Jo looked chic and felt confident in the Arlette dress, which perfectly complemented her personal style. With a trendy venue, amazing food and a gorgeous dress, bride, groom and guests agree that it was a day to remember. Keep reading to hear about Jo’s planning process and her wonderful ~#bridalhacks.
Please describe the style of your wedding
A small stylish city wedding
When and where did your partner propose to you?
Paul proposed on Friday 23rd December 2016 at The George in Rye. He’d planned a romantic night away, disguised as a pre-Christmas treat. We both love Rye, and spent a lot of our early dating days there on day trips exploring the antique shops. Every time we went I’d always say how much I wanted to stay at The George one day. It was a lovely crisp, winter’s morning so we mooched around the town, stopping for a bite to eat and having a look around all of the antique shops. In one, I saw a beautiful Victorian wooden jewellery box and remarked how lovely it was. Paul was VERY insistent on buying it for me, which he did. When we checked in to the hotel the concierge showed us to our room, which turned out to be the Honeymoon Suite (at which point I began getting a little suspicious!), where champagne and my favourite Rococo chocolates were waiting for us (suspicions getting even stronger at this point!). Once we’d opened the champagne and stopped running around the room getting excited about how gorgeous it all was, Paul kneeled down when I wasn’t looking and presented me with the most beautiful engagement ring. He didn’t even get to finish asking me whether I’d be his wife before I started crying uncontrollably (tears of absolute joy!) and shouting ‘yes, yes, yes!’. We spent that afternoon drinking champagne in our favourite pubs around the town and then had a wonderful dinner at the hotel. It was perfect!
Which dress did you choose and why? And where did you buy it from?
I’d done a lot of research on dresses and kept seeing one particular designer come up on Pinterest over and over again – which turned out to be Charlie Brear. I took a little look on the website and immediately fell in love with three or four styles, all perfect for the less traditional look I was trying to go for, but up to that point had failed to find. I kept looking at a screenshot of the Arlette on my phone, so I booked an appointment at the studio in North West London to see it in real life – and it didn’t disappoint!
How was your experience shopping for your wedding dress? ( was it easy, was it memorable, was it fun?, was the decision tough?)
I didn’t really enjoy the experience of shopping for my wedding dress at the beginning. I went to a few places, from bridal shops to high street collections to design studios and left each one feeling more and more despairing. I just couldn’t find anything which suited my style and shape. I wanted to feel beautiful but also stylish. I’m not a big, white wedding kind of girl and wanted my dress to reflect that, as opposed to trying to make my sense of style fit in with the traditional bridal look. After an unsuccessful trying on session in another shop where I ended up crying and completely losing any confidence I had in myself and my body, I started researching alternatives online, which is when I came across the name ‘Charlie Brear’ over and over again. The minute I walked into the studio in Queen’s Park I felt instantly calm and at home. My stylist, Hannah, completely put me at ease and made me feel a thousand times better about the whole experience. When I tried on the Arlette, I knew it was the ‘one’, I felt like a bride but I also felt like myself, my mother-in-law even had tears in her eyes!
What would your advice be to other brides shopping for a wedding dress?
Don’t compromise on your own style! Keep searching until you find the dress that suits you – there is something perfect out there. Consider different options, such as a jumpsuit or separates if you don’t feel comfortable in a dress. Who says you have to wear a full length, strapless white dress? It’s your day!
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Elated, and a little bit emotional as it all felt very real at that point, and relieved that I’d found something I loved.
What shoes did you wear?
I was very lucky because my best friend, and bridesmaid, is a footwear buyer so she had a pair of nude, suede pointed stilettos made especially for me by one of her Italian suppliers. They were the absolute perfect pair of shoes to offset the dress, and anyone who knows me knows that I love a nude, suede pointed stiletto!
Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
I tried a couple of waist slimmer pants on, and backless bodies but nothing felt right, so in the end I just went for a lacy pair of knickers and no bra!
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
Again, I was very lucky because I knew people who could do hair and make-up. My make-up was done by a friend called Suzanne, who is an absolute make-up genius. As soon as I got engaged, I knew it had to be her and no-one else! She’s done all of my bridesmaid’s friends’ bridal make-up so I knew I was in safe hands. I had my make-up trial really early, as well, which gave me plenty of time to get my skin into good shape. It also meant I could trial certain make-up, such as the Tom Ford lipstick I wore on the day, which my sister bought me for my birthday. It’s still my absolute favourite lipstick of all time. For my hair, I knew the only person who I would trust to do it was an old colleague of mine, Lou, who, quite helpfully, had launched a hair styling business a few years before! I had in mind the sort of thing I wanted (a messy, low knot) so it was a case of trying a few versions before settling on the final style. The best thing about Lou, apart from her huge amount of talent, is how calm and relaxed she is. She completely put me at ease on the day when I was a little anxious, and suggested extra little tips, such as putting perfume behind my ears for when guests came to congratulate me. She also didn’t mind when my sister, the Chief Bridesmaid, made her change her hairstyle three times on the day!
Where and when did you get married?
We got married in Marylebone, central London at 4pm on Saturday 9th September. We had the ceremony in the beautiful duck-egg blue Library at Asia House, followed by drinks at a pub opposite called The Cavendish, and then dinner and drinks (and a little bit of dancing) at The Grazing Goat. We decided upon Marylebone because that’s where we had our first date, three years previously, so it held a special place in our hearts, plus I had been to The Grazing Goat for a work lunch years before and had always thought it would be a great place to have a wedding reception. It also meant my bridal party could stay the night before and then the night of the actual wedding day at The Grazing Goat– which was very convenient! Our main goals for our wedding were amazing food, lots of booze and our very best friends and family around us, and every venue on the day itself made that possible. I had originally wanted to get married at Marylebone Town Hall but it was closed for refurbishment, and was a bit disappointed at first, but when I walked in to Asia House to have a look I knew it was the place! The big red doors at the front also made for some fabulous photos!
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
I felt so happy and content walking down the aisle. My sister walked out just before me, and just before she went, she turned round to me and told me how beautiful I looked and then started to well up – so I jokily pinched her and told her to pull herself together! I thought I would be an absolute mess walking down the aisle, especially as my father passed away a few years previously and I had decided to walk down the aisle by myself, but I couldn’t stop smiling. It was the best feeling, having everyone you love the most in one room waiting for you, and walking down the aisle towards the love of your life. I tried to enjoy every moment so that I could relieve it over and over.
What traditions did you follow? (Think something old, new, borrowed and blue.)
We didn’t intentionally follow any traditions, as we weren’t having a traditional wedding, but we did spend the night before apart so that we didn’t see each other until the ceremony itself; Paul wore a blue tie, but it wasn’t specifically for the ‘something blue’ tradition; and I had the bible my Grandmother walked down the aisle holding, in the pocket of my dress.
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
Because both of our Fathers are no longer with us, my sister organised framed photographs of each of them which we placed on the mantelpiece at The Grazing Goat; she also had a handkerchief embroidered with some (very emotional) words my Father used to say, which I kept in the pocket of my dress so that he felt close to me all day. Instead of a wedding cake we asked Cutter & Squidge to create some personalised ‘biskies’ in rose and pistachio flavours (to match the colour scheme) which acted as both a nod to a wedding cake and favour for each guest. They had our initials on and were individually boxed and tied with green ribbon – we’ve kept one in the freezer as a memory from the day.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
According to the guests, it was when the ceremony finished and I apparently did a fist pump (which I genuinely don’t remember so it must’ve been ‘in the moment’!). Also, when we got to 10.30pm and the restaurant manager said we were £1,000 off the minimum spend with only an hour to go and we had to ask everyone to drink more (not really a hardship – and we did it!) – it was a welcome challenge! The speeches were also quite memorable, in particular my sister’s. Halfway through I realised that my Mum was in the loo, so we stopped, waited for her to come back (to huge cheers from everyone!) and then made my sister start all over again!
Who took your wedding pictures?
The fantastic Annelie Eddy! I found her online after a thorough Google search. We wanted a more candid style, not too many posed photos. We met for a coffee after the initial email conversations and she put us both at ease (Paul and I both hate having our photo taken!). On the day itself, we couldn’t have asked for anyone better. The photos are perfect, exactly what we wanted.
TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK’S #FRIDAYBRIDE
Put together a document detailing all aspects of the big day, from table plans and budgets, to supplier contact details and critical paths. Taking the time to do this saves anything going awry on the day, and having it all in one place makes it easier to refer back to.
Decide what is most important to you before you start planning. Is it great food? Is it the location? Is it having a DJ? Once you have that sorted, it makes it easier to build the event around it.
Don’t feel pressured into doing what other people say you should do! We essentially had a 33 guest dinner party with no DJ/dancefloor, cake cutting or other ‘traditional’ aspects, which people couldn’t get their heads round before the day itself. However, every single person has said it was one of the best weddings they have ever been to because it was fun, intimate and the food was amazing.
Choose a dress (or suit or skirt and top!) that you feel incredible in. You don’t have to conform to other people’s expectations of what a wedding dress looks like.
If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?
I wouldn’t have been quite so strict with the guest list…there are a couple of people we would’ve invited if we had the chance to do it again, but we were worried about the cost. As it turns out we could’ve done with those extra heads to help us get to the minimum spend!
Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? What parts were easy and what parts were trickier?
I work in PR and organise events as part of my job, so found the process pretty easy. We had an idea of what we wanted, in terms of it being an intimate dinner, where we wanted it (central London so everyone could get their easily) and colour schemes, so it was just a case of putting it all together! I am notoriously organised and had a detailed budget tracker going. I also put together the Beamish Wedding Plan for the bridal party and suppliers, which detailed everything from how the table should look (overhead diagram included!), the full guest list with all allergies noted, and a three day critical path! My over-zealousness paid off though, because absolutely nothing went wrong! And all my suppliers said they wished every brides would do something so thorough because it makes life for them a little easier.
What will you do with your dress now?
I wore it again for a second family celebration two weeks after the main wedding day, which was really lovely. I am definitely going to keep it because I love it so much – I might just put it on when I’m having a bad day to cheer me up!
What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
Jo – For me it was walking around Marylebone with Paul and our photographer, Annelie, having our picture taken in a variety of locations. People stopped us in the street to and cars slowed down to congratulate us. It was so magical – I felt like a movie star! Paul - My best memory of the day was seeing how happy Jo was, with a beaming smile, as she walked down the aisle towards me. Also, just how much fun we had with all of our closest friends in the area that we first met.
Ceremony Venue- Asia House
Reception Venue- The Grazing Goat
Photographer/Videographer- Annelie Eddy
Shoes & Accessories
Shoes: Courtesy of my friend / Veil: Britten Weddings / Garter: The Wedding Garter Company by Britten / Earrings: J Crew
Bridesmaids' dresses- Topshop Bridal
Rings- David M Robinson
Florist- Rose & Mary
Entertainment- My spotify playlist!
Caterer- The Grazing Goat
Cake Supplier- Cutter & Squidge
Hair- Love Hair By Lou
Make-up- Suzanne Smith MUA
Transportation- Addison Lee
jo WAS A VISION In a Mainline collection dress
Browse our Bridal Collection to find a style like Jo's dress and see many more options
Did you catch last week's friday bride, jennifer?
Our cool bride walked down the aisle in an Mainline Collection dress