Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBride

This week we are taking you to a medieval venue in Perigord, South of France for an exceptionally beautiful wedding. Amy & Phil said their “I dos”  in a romantic castle built in the 18th century, where a year and half earlier they had got engaged. In an intimate ceremony, Amy & Phil gathered 60 of their closest friends and family to celebrate their love for a whole weekend.

Amy looked divine in our full lace Harlyn dress, accessorised with a delicate white & purple flower crown, a simple veil and a stunning pendant necklace from Monica Vinader.

Amy & Phil’s wedding pictures were captured by Antony Merat.

When and where did your partner propose to you?
In July 2015 in the South of France. We were at the beginning of a holiday with about 10 other friends and it came completely out of the blue. Shocked is an understatement. We were alone one early evening in our room which had a lovely view out to the sea in the distance. He got down on one knee with the most spectacular ring he had been helping to design and have made for weeks....I couldn't believe it. It was perfect, it was private and it was a complete shock. What then followed was a huge impromptu engagement party with our friends once we had run downstairs to tell them. Second best day after the actual wedding without a doubt!

Which dress did you choose and why? And where did you buy it from?
Harlyn, from the flagship Charlie Brear studio. As soon as I put this dress on at the suggestion of Mandi I felt the happiest I had been in any dress and the most at ease. I wouldn't say it was an immediate 'this is the THE ONE', there is always those niggles of what if I keep looking, will I find something else I love too? But I knew it was the one in which I felt most myself and I knew that my fiance would love it too. It just felt 'right'.

How was your experience shopping for your wedding dress?
I loved it. The problem I had was that I liked near enough everything I tried on and they were all so different so that in respect it was tricky. I went to various stores with either a friend or my mum and loved every second - I miss it! In the end I knew that I wanted to feel like me but the best version of me, and I knew that I wanted my dress to fit in with our relaxed chateau wedding so this did start to help me narrow down styles and omit certain types of dress.

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What would your advice be to other brides shopping for a wedding dress?
Enjoy it, you will miss it once it's over. How often can you dress up like a fairytale princess in the most beautiful gowns you will ever wear?

How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
I'll be honest, nervous!! There was one designer I hadn't yet tried that I thought would have also been a contender for me so I did have some nervy doubts. To put these at bay, I went and tried on dresses from the other designer (risky move), but I needn't have worried, I realised straight away that my gut served me well and I had made the right choice with my Charlie Brear dress.

What shoes did you wear?
Valentino Rock Studs in Blush. It was a complete splurge but I'd wanted a pair for years and knew I'd wear them again and again.

Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
Luckily my dress was very forgiving and so I had cups sewn in which meant it was very easy on the day.

Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
Luckily for me, a friend is one half of Nala and Knot, a fabulous team of two who started a wedding hair and makeup business 2 years ago. Laura Grogan was fabulous and went above and beyond to make me feel like the most beautiful version of myself. It was more than I could have dreamed.

How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Nervous, as I don't enjoy being the centre of attention. I was also scared that I wouldn't get down to my groom before the final verse of the song I chose (Wasn't Expecting That). I did not want the final verse to play as she dies in the end and so I remember just chattering over to my poor dad about getting there before she dies. It's funny in retrospect but I was anxious on the day.

What traditions did you follow?
We loosely followed some traditions but to be honest neither of us wanted to stick to traditions too rigorously.  I wore my mum's eternity ring and my grandma's brooch in my bouquet as she passed away a few years ago.

Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
I was in a splint by 11pm! I severed my tendons 6 weeks prior in a finger in my left hand. It made for a frantic and hard run up - not what either of us would have liked and it was touch and go as to whether I would have to wear the splint the whole day....thankfully I didn't, just when the booze started really flowing. It makes for some funny pictures though.

What was the funniest moment of the day?
Two of my fabulous bridesmaids surprised us with a quiz at the start of our meal....all of our guests had to guess whether the answer was me or my groom. The final question was who can down a smirnoff ice on one knee fastest.....it went down a storm that it was me!! He will never live this down.

Who took your wedding pictures?
Antony Merat - we found he had the most original and quirky style that we really loved. We hadn't seen anything similar.

If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?
Not one thing. Although I'd relax a bit more walking down the aisle!!

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? What parts were easy and what parts were trickier?
It was easy and tough in parts. I was lucky in that my fiance was very involved and often even more organised than me. Lists and splitting tasks were key. Planning ahead also meant we weren't running around like maniacs at the last minute. I also had an amazing wedding planner, Marry Me in France. They were extraordinarily hard working planners and went above and beyond to make my perfect wedding dreams come true.

What will you do with your dress now?
I'm unsure, it held up pretty well after taking a visit to the dry cleaners and I'm reluctant to sell it. I'm tempted to dye it and keep it in the hope that one day I'll get to wear it again.

What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
The whole thing. The dance floor never got quiet, our band was awesome!!! Our parents and friends all partying together until gone 3am. Getting ready with our respective friends that morning, it was a relaxed start for both of us which was what we needed. Our vows and our wonderful celebrant presenting us with a bottle of wine in a box to be opened on our fifth wedding anniversary (beautiful touch). One of my bridesmaids did a reading which she wrote, encompassing lyrics from Fleetwood Mac songs into a story about us. So personal and emotional!
 

TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK’S #FRIDAYBRIDE AMY

1) Enjoy dress shopping, you will miss it when it's over and have no excuse to try any more on.
2) Relax! There is no need to feel nervous.
3) Have pictures in mind that you definitely want or even write a list. You don't want to wake up the next day and realise you didn't get that professional shot you wanted.
4) Splurge on food, booze and the music! For the guests these things are often key.
5) Don't sweat the small stuff. Your guests don't care that your invites and place names aren't the same font as your save the date that went out months before!

SUPPLIERS

Wedding Planner - Marry Me in France

Ceremony Venue - Chateau Saint Privat des-Pres

Reception Venue -  Chateau Saint Privat des-Pres

Photographer - Antony Merat

Videographer - Denee Motion

Shoes - Valentino

Accessories - Monica Vinader necklace

Bridesmaids' dresses - Various brands

Rings - From my mother

Florist - through Marry Me in France

Entertainment - Brightlights

Caterer - Joss Catering Service

Hair - Laura Laura Grogan. Nala & Knot