Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBridE FIONA
Gorgeous Fiona wanted a down-to-earth and relaxed feeling as she said 'I do' to her handsome man. From an unexpected dress purchase, to taking care of her own hair and makeup - Fiona gives us all massive DIY wedding goals! Keeping her family at the center of their special day, Fiona and Marcus stayed local and celebrated at Hackney Town Hall.
This week's bride found the perfect dress for her special day in our Esia dress. Modern, fun and laid back, just like her.
Fiona & Marcus' wedding pictures were captured by Charlotte Emily Gray for Instawedding.
Please can you describe the style of your wedding for us.
The aim was for a simple London wedding. Not only to keep costs down, but so as to not lose sight of what was important for us on the day. When we found the venue, keeping it simple made so much sense as it is enormous and had we tried to fill it with decorations, they would have been lost in this huge space. In the end, we just dressed the tables with really relaxed flowers and foliage and at the back of the room we used giant light up letters from Vowed & Amazed.
Where did you purchase your dress & why?
I actually went along to the Charlie Brear sample sale with a friend who was getting married 3 months before me. It was more for moral support. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be buying my own dress. Totally unawares, I tried on a few styles - and when I tried on 'my' dress, I knew it was the one. Also, the entire room stopped when I had on the dress. If you can imagine what a sample sale is like, where everyone is really focused on themselves and trying on as much as possible and then all of a sudden the whole room is focused on you. It was quite a moment.
What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
This was literally the first dress I tried on. I do not feel as though I missed out on any wedding dress shopping experience. Although it was a sample sale, the Charlie Brear stylist team were on hand and very attentive throughout.
When and where did your husband propose to you? Did he have a ring ready?
Marcus proposed after a series of events over a long weekend. It began at the Chinese restaurant that he'd taken me to on our first official date. I knew it was coming because I'd shown him the ring that I wanted, but he held out and kept me waiting. In the morning, Marcus woke me up and told me to pack a bag for a few days. So, continuing to play along I did as I was told and got a few things together. We then made our way to where we first met and he'd packed us a breakfast picnic for 2 with champagne and balloons. But still, no proposal. We then made our way to a London Hotel overlooking Big Ben. We'd had a relaxing afternoon of spa treatments followed by a private dinner with our own butler. Even the butler seemed excited. This is when I knew it was going down. Something changed in Marcus – it is almost impossible to read him when he is feeling nervous or emotional, but something was definitely up with him. Not sure why, as we have been together forever. It was all perfect. I said yes, the ring was perfect and then we spent the next few days in Paris celebrating.
What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
I definitely do not recommend going for a McDonalds just before Wedding Dress shopping….. Long story.
I strongly advise going with one friend or family member that you trust for an honest opinion. Too many opinions could end up being a disaster. Go with an open mind, and take a few types of bras/knickers with you. I went with a close friend and her opinion was enough – but in all honesty I really did miss “that moment” with my Mum and Sister. So the lovely team at CB booked me in for another appointment with them and it was perfect all over again. Getting their seal of approval reconfirmed that I’d made the right choice.
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
It was a great relief that I had the big thing of finding the dress ticked off of the list. I bought it almost a year before the big day. There’s so much pressure to find the dress and you hear stories of brides having second thoughts or complete regrets about their choice. Although I bought my dress so quickly, I definitely had no regrets and everything else seemed to fall in place once I had the dress sorted.
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
I actually had two wedding shoes. One pair that I had only worn once but I knew that they were comfortable and I could wear them all day long. I then panic bought another pair that only ended up costing me £5 in the Asos sale. They were not the most comfortable shoes in the world, but they were beautiful and lasted all day. I changed into my comfy (first) pair for dancing in the evening.
Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
My dress is backless, so I did have to do some research for a good stick on bra. A great friend of mine works in a bridal shop and she recommended Invisibra to me. It was great and stuck on all day.
One valuable piece of advice – do try on your dress with the actual underwear you are planning to wear on the day. I had spent so much time worrying about my bra that I forgot to try on my knickers and they were very visible through my dress! I ended up wearing a pair of my Mum’s.
What Traditions did you follow? Something borrowed, something blue or not seeing each other until the ceremony for example.
I wore my Mum’s garter – which was also blue. The week after our wedding was my Mum & Dad’s 40th Wedding anniversary, so it meant a lot to be wearing something from their wedding day almost 40 years ago. My earrings were the ‘old’ item – they were a gift bought from the Hammersmith Vintage Fair.
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
I did my own makeup as I do not wear lots on a day to day basis. All of the bridal make-overs that I had were a little too full on for me and it was important for us that when we look back at our photos, we both recognized the bride.
I had a slight blip with the hairdresser that I had booked to do my hair and was let down just the week before the wedding. Luckily a lovely local hairdresser, Stephanie Owusu literally came to my rescue. She certainly went above and beyond.
Where and when did you get married?
We got married September last year in London. It was really important to us to seal the deal in our hometown. We did look at other options, like barns in the country and Stately homes, but nothing felt as right – for us – as celebrating the day in London with our nearest and dearest.
The Church was St. John of Jerusalem where the children were Christened as babies and Rev. Andrew also married both my Sister and Brother.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
Definitely me wearing my Mum’s knickers. Even funnier when I told Marcus.
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
Our Wedding car was an Austin Healey replica from Bespoke Cars in King’s Cross. It was a really awkward drive for both my Dad and Marcus, but it was the perfect fit for our London wedding. We held up traffic with a seven point turn trying to get out of the Church grounds onto the main road. The very same car was recently used in Zane Malik’s music video which the children think is pretty cool.
Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
Charlotte Emily Gray for Instawedding
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
I was completely blown away walking down the aisle. I seriously underestimated the level of emotions that I was going to feel walking down towards Marcus. My Dad kept on whispering to me, “Slow down. Enjoy this moment.” I managed to hold it together, but you can see that I was holding back the tears in our wedding video.
If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
We’d 100% have a wedding planner because of the size of our wedding. We’re really lucky as I work in the Creative industry so I had contacts/colleagues/friends who helped with a lot of the planning. Even with the support we had – I still wished we’d hired someone to organize and coordinate the whole day.
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We have children, so it was a lot easier to wait until School Half Term in October. This worked out perfectly as it felt like we had an extended Summer. We went to Antigua in the Caribbean which was an absolute paradise island. We stayed at a lovely hotel called Nonsuch on the furthest point East on the island. It was a great balance of relaxation and adventure. One day we did a beach tour in a car on our own and absolutely loved stopping off at all the beautiful beaches on the way around the island.
Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? What parts were easy, what parts were trickier?
No matter how organized you are or think you are – planning a wedding whilst working a full time job is really not ideal. Luckily we had company, as friends were getting married two months before us so we were kind of on a journey together throughout the process. We both came out the other side thinking exactly the same thing and have now decided to set up our own Event Planning company (Event Bureau) with another friend. Having personally experienced how stressful wedding planning is, this confirmed what we wanted to do to help other couples in the planning of their wedding.
What will you do with your dress now?
I refuse to sell my dress. I love it so much and I am certainly not ready to part ways with it. I don’t think I ever will be.
What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
-Family and friends all in one room together on such a special day;
-How excited the children were the night before and the morning of the wedding;
-Walking down the Aisle with my Dad;
-How happy my Mum’s famous Rum Punch made everybody;
-Marcus’ favourite memory was the party. I don’t think he really relaxed until that point
TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK’S #FRIDAYBRIDE FIONA
1. Try and choose your suppliers/wedding service providers based on personal recommendations from couples that have used them previously
2. Enjoy every moment – it goes so fast
3. You need a strong team. We have an amazing family and great friends who made sure everything went to plan
4. I strongly recommend Photography as well as Videography. Both will be so nice for the kids to show their children and grandchildren one day
5. Have a big breakfast, you’ll need the strength!
Ceremony Venue – Assembly Rooms, Hackney Town Hall
Reception Venue – Assembly Rooms, Hackney Town Hall
Photographer/videographer – Charlotte Emily Gray for Instawedding
Bridesmaids'Dresses/Page Boy Suit – They were mixed: Monsoon, River Island
Shoes: ASOS & Dune
Florist – Event Bureau
Caterer – Mia Tagg and Kate Young
Cake Supplier – Mia Tagg and Kate Young
Transportation: Bespoke Cars, Kings Cross