Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBridE Chelsea

Friday Bride 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

charlie brear

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.

 

charlie brear

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.

 

 

charlie brear

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.

 

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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.

 

 

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Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? What parts were easy and what parts were trickier?

The hardest part of the wedding planning for me was choosing a venue and then the logistics once we had chosen Italy. A destination wedding isn't an easy option but we found a lovely wedding planner Fede from Wedding Italy who guided us through all of the language barriers and coordinated all of my ideas (wild by Italian standards).

Other than that, planning the actual wedding was so enjoyable. I'm a visual person and knew exactly what I wanted it to look and feel like. I loved researching stationary styles, flowers and tablescapes - Pinterest and instagram have been my best friends for the past 12 months. Janna Brown, florist and stylist, made my floral dreams come true. I love wild and untamed flowers and wanted an emphasis on foliage to match our surroundings and Janna did not disappoint. She got exactly what I wanted after only a handful of emails and even made me a second, surprise and totally gorgeous evening bouquet to match my lipstick!

What will you do with your dress now?

My dress is currently hung in its dress bag with my veil at home. It needs a good dry clean but other than that, I'll never part with it. I'm hoping I might be able to wear it again for another event in the future as it's not overly bridal, maybe if ash ever takes me somewhere really fancy... If not, he might come home from work one day and find me cleaning the house in it!

What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?

Chelsea: My favourite moment from the day is during our vows. A bit of backstory: I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and for those that don't know, the word 'Always' has a significant part in the story and has a strong meaning surrounding love behind it. It had gotten to the 'I do's' and Ash was first. However, instead of saying 'I do', he said 'Always'. Up until then I had managed to maintain my cool (other than my veil getting caught in the wind and almost blowing me back down the aisle) but at that moment I lost it. It was such a surprise and so touching as I knew he would know how much it meant to me. He often surprises me in little ways like that and I will remember that moment forever.

Ash: My favourite memory is two-fold, the first is seeing Chelsea walking down the aisle. She looked so happy and so beautiful and in that moment I felt like the luckiest guy in the world. The second was whilst I was getting ready. Chelsea had sent a gift to the room of a diary she had been keeping in secret since 1st July 2016, exactly 1 year to our wedding date. It was filled with heartfelt and amusing entries from the past 12 months - things we had done, the planning of the wedding and ultimately, all of the reasons why she wanted to marry me. It was completely unexpected and caught me off guard and I have to admit, I had a bit of a moment. Fortunately getting the emotions out before the ceremony meant that I could enjoy her walking down the aisle without being overwhelmed and I'm so pleased I got to experience it like that.

TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK’S #FRIDAYBRIDE Chelsea

1. Try not to have sky high expectations based on other weddings you've seen on the internet. Brief suppliers with as much information as possible and get a realistic expectation of what things cost. It's so easy to go wild and spend over your budget.


2. Have an on-the-day planner or someone you can rely on on the day to coordinate everything. Even if you think you can do it yourself, trust me - you don't want to!


3. Spend time with your new Husband. It's so easy to get caught up in the day and as everyone always says, it goes so fast, try and save a little time for you two just to soak it all in.


4. Enjoy every moment and take in every little detail because you probably spent hours and hours obsessing over the little details in the planning phase.


5. Everything happens for a reason. I definitely had to say it to myself a few times during the planning process (and certainly the few days before) but if it’s meant to be, it will be and sometimes it even works out for the better!

charlie brear


SUPPLIERS
 

Ceremony Venue: Borgo Petrognano

Reception Venue: Borgo Petrognano

Photographer/Videographer: Katie Grant

Shoes & Accessories: Office, Topshop, Boutique Alterations, ASOS

Bridesmaids' dresses: Maid of Honour - Nicole Goodwin

Rings: Anna Sheffield - Ash's was second hand from a local jeweller

Florist: Janna Brown Design

Entertainment: Florence Art Ensemble

Caterer: Class Ricevimenti

Cake Supplier: Class Ricevimenti