Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBridE Chelsea
This was a wedding to always remember. An informal, Tuscan dream, with Chelsea and Ashely surrounded by their closest friends and family at the Borgo Petrognano estate in the Chianti Hills. Chelsea even got her husband in on the Friday Bride action to write about his favourite moment of the day... his answer was two-fold: "She looked so happy and so beautiful and in that moment I felt like the luckiest guy in the world". You'll have to read on to find out what else made Ashley the happiest groom in the world on their wedding day!
What else makes this bride and her wedding stand out? Chelsea and her bridesmaids made sure to make a splash... dressed in Beyonce-esque one-pieces. They all earned the title of ultimate #BRIDESQUAD.
The beautiful bride turned heads in the iconic Charlie Brear Torum dress.
Chelsea & Ashley’s unforgettable wedding pictures were captured by Katie Grant.
Please describe the style of your wedding
Intimate, informal and stylish. I desperately wanted an outdoor wedding as I'm so fussy about interiors (carpets can put me off a venue!) and Italy is one of the most beautiful locations we've ever been. I really wanted to show off the gorgeous countryside but to add a little modern twist; I love the juxtaposition between the natural greenery of Tuscany with our modern monochrome gowns and tuxedos.
It was also really important to both of us for the day to feel relaxed, we didn't want a formal, stuffy day and we knew that being outdoors - and on holiday - would help to give the informal atmosphere we were after.
When and where did your partner propose to you?
Ash had got home from work at about lunchtime on our third anniversary, which also happens to be Christmas Eve. We were sat in the living room to exchange cards and Ash sat on the coffee table opposite me rather than on the sofa, which at the time I thought was a little odd. We don't really do anniversary presents but I'd picked up a book that I knew he'd like so I gave it to him and he explained, a little embarrassed, that he hadn't got me anything. He then said 'oh actually' and reached into his pocket, at the same time getting down on one knee. It was very us; no fancy location, no grand gesture just me and him in our own little home and it was perfect... As was the ring!! Ash knows I don't like anything run of the mill and I'm not personally a fan of traditional diamonds and so he surprised me with a beautiful rose gold and black diamond ring from jewellery designer Anna Sheffield in New York.
Which dress did you choose and why? And where did you buy it from?
I visited The White Closet in Didsbury as a last minute panic stop before going to say yes to another dress - which I was really, on reflection, settling for as I felt like I was running out of time. On that visit is where I found the beautiful bias cut Torum gown. I was on my own as I couldn't drag anyone around with me anymore and the girls in the store were unbelievable with me. I honestly think I'd have bought anything from them but the second I put on my gown I knew it was the one and everything that I'd been searching for - I just felt like me in it. The only thing the dress was missing was a super low back and the very talented Tusneem at Boutique Alterations made the changes perfectly - as well as making a custom choker out of the left over fabric.
How was your experience shopping for your wedding dress? ( was it easy, was it memorable, was it fun?, was the decision tough?)
Dress shopping for me was not easy; I must have tried on over 100 gowns. I'm very fussy and very indecisive which is not a great combination. My personal style is very simple and I wanted something less bridal and more effortless and fashion forward. All of the dresses I had tried on previously were either too traditional or too fussy and just not me. I knew in my head what I was after but really struggled to find anything even similar.
What would your advice be to other brides shopping for a wedding dress?
Don't be like me!! Haha. No, my advise would be to take one or two people who will be really honest with you and who's opinion you value but listen to yourself when it comes down to it. It took my bridal party a lot of convincing with the dress I chose as they all thought that it was too plain but I knew it was what I wanted and on the day they all loved my look and completely agreed that I'd chosen the perfect dress.
Also, don't look at Pinterest until you've started shopping! Some of the gowns I saw online were so beautiful but either extremely expensive or impossible to find and it set a bit of an unrealistic expectation in my head.
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Relieved!!! I knew it was the right dress and I was so happy I couldn't take it off. My grandparents purchased my dress for me as a wedding present which just made it extra special.
What shoes did you wear?
I wore two pairs! A beautiful rose gold strappy stiletto from Office for the ceremony and during dinner which looked amazing but certainly didn't feel it and then changed into the most comfortable sparkly mules from Topshop that had a gorgeous metallic, hexagon heel perfect for dancing - and dealing with the Tuscan olive groves for our photographs.
Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
I didn't wear any! I have a small bust so I didn't require the support and the dress was so clingy and had such a low back that you could see anything and everything so I opted to go without.
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
I did my own hair and make up with a little help from my maid of honour. I don't wear or suit a lot of make up and I just wanted to look like me. I actually hadn't even decided how to have my hair until it came to doing it on the day, I wasn't sure how the heat and humidity would play out so decided to do what I felt most comfortable with at the time.
Where and when did you get married?
We got married at 4pm (ish!) on Saturday 1st July 2017. We viewed 8 venues on a flying visit to Italy 12 months before our wedding and fell in love with 2. We decided upon Borgo Petrognano, a beautiful private estate in the middle of the Chianti Hills, for its exclusivity and it's ceremony location; a dreamy foliage covered archway in the gardens. Our ceremony was conducted by a family member which made the whole thing so much more special and personal.
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
So, so happy. We were running a little late as I was having way too much fun at the pool (my maid of honour had arranged, as a surprise, for all the girls to have matching Beyoncé inspired 'Bride Squad' swimsuits) to start getting ready on time and I didn't even see myself fully dressed in a mirror before we left. The second I saw my dad, before we walked down the aisle, I told him that I couldn't cry or get emotional as I didn't want to ruin my make up because there wasn't time to fix it and so he had to hold it together too!!
Walking down the aisle is a bit of a blur but I just remember that I wasn't nervous or scared, I just couldn't wait to get to the end to Ash and marry him.
What traditions did you follow? (Think something old, new, borrowed and blue.)
I think because we opted for a more relaxed, informal wedding all of the usual traditions went out of the window. However, my dad walked me down the aisle and gave me away which was important to me and Ash didn't see me in my dress before the ceremony which was important to him.
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
I guess 50 of your closest friends and family flying out to Italy for a three-day wedding weekend is pretty unusual? The most unusual though would be that my bridesmaids wore jumpsuits! Again, I'm not really a fan of traditional bridesmaid dresses and wanted to do something fun and cool but still super stylish. My maid of honour, who is a women's wear designer by trade and so talented, made the two jumpsuits from scratch and they looked incredible!
I wanted the whole bridal party to be themed and asked all of the women to wear ivory and had the men in a black tuxedos, the overall look was gorgeous and exactly as I'd imagined.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
My dad's speech! He was first up and I know that he was overwhelmed with the entire day and I think to put everyone else at ease and to also help calm his nerves, he opened with a 'bit'. His phone rang about 15-20 seconds after he'd stood up (much to my mums horror) and it was 'Beyonce'. I later learned that it was a last minute addition inspired by the swimsuits earlier in the day. It was just a hilarious one sided conversation which did the job in relaxing everyone into the speeches and SO my dad. The rest of his speech was beautifully heartfelt and funny throughout.
Who took your wedding pictures?
Our photographer Katie Grant, a destination wedding photographer, was honestly my God send on the day. We found her by chance as she's based in Australia but was already scheduled to be in Italy at the time of our wedding.
On the lead up she was so helpful offering advise and styling ideas but on the day she went above and beyond. Katie ran the entire day, making sure everything was exactly how I wanted it, refusing to take no for an answer and just being a general dream.
If you could do it all again, would you do anything differently?
I work in events for a living and so I was super organised and wasn't stressed out or worried about anything - until it rained! Ashley and I, with a few close family members, headed out to Italy a few days before the wedding and we arrived to thunder storms. I became so worried and stressed about the weather and back up plans for our completely outdoor wedding that I forgot about everything else I was supposed to do. If anything, I'd want to go back and not be worried about the weather and just enjoy the first few nights more with our friends and family as on the day the weather was perfect.
However, I do think that in a way, worrying about the weather did me a favour. I'm a total control freak and have a tendency to try and micromanage everything, a few things during the day did go wrong or weren't exactly as I'd planned but the second I saw the sunshine I wasn't bothered about anything else and just enjoyed it all for what it was.