Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBridE Tess
Flower crowns, kilts, and ceilidh dancing made the marriage between Tess & Scott one for the books! After a beautiful ceremony at the chapel of the school where Tess & Scott teach, guests were treated to teas and coffee to celebrate their nuptials! The reception took guests to Home Farm Glamping in Elstree, complete with tipis and an unforgettable sunset. The music-loving duo spent the night dancing as well as enjoying a silent disco with bottomless prosecco!
Our blushing bride walked down the aisle in the Payton dress, with our Voulaire overdress and Voulaire capped sleeves.
Tess & Scott's photos were captured by UK-based photographer, Hannah Mia Photography.
Can you describe the style of your wedding for us.
Our wedding didn’t follow one particular style or theme, but incorporated elements that represented us. It was also important to us that it was a relaxed and fun day, and we didn’t want our guests to be bored or hanging around for too long at any point. We had quite a formal church ceremony with two choirs and lots of hymns and singing as I am a chorister, and we had kilts, bagpipes and a Scottish ceilidh as my husband Scott is from Edinburgh. The reception was in a tipi at the fantastic Home Farm Glamping, and after the ceilidh we had a disco followed by a silent disco, campfire and glamping for our guests (and us).
When and where did your husband propose to you? Did he have a ring ready?
Scott proposed on holiday in August 2015 in St Malo, Brittany, at a secluded spot on the city walls. I promptly burst into tears when I saw the ring, which was beautiful and exactly what I would have chosen. I am not a crier – but I spent the rest of the night sobbing on and off. We had been together nearly 8 years by that point, and although I knew a proposal might be on the cards, all our friends were getting engaged and he had hinted that he didn’t want to do it at the same time as all of them. Therefore I had put it to the back of my mind thinking it wasn’t going to happen, so it was a bit of a shock.
Where did you purchase your dress & why?
I purchased my dress at the flagship Charlie Brear store in London. After putting it off for as long as I could, I started paying attention to blogs and Instagram posts and every time I saw a dress I liked, it turned out to be a Charlie Brear dress. So I decided to go along to their sample sale with my sisters as I thought this could be a good way to ease me into the experience. Whilst we didn’t find the exact dress that day, the staff were so nice and I was so impressed with how helpful and lovely the place was, that I then booked a proper appointment. The lovely Rachel was great and put me at total ease and my sisters, mum and aunt were all as entranced with all the dresses as I was! It quickly became a case of which dress – there was never a question that I was going to wear anything other than Charlie Brear. I loved the fact that it had a beautiful delicate lace train without needing to be pouffy, and I absolutely loved the addition of little matching sleeves. Charlie Brear is great because you can customise, mix-and-match, layer and build a look perfect for you. The shop is gorgeous and I am so proud that I never went anywhere else and have only ever tried on Charlie Brear wedding dresses!
What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
I loved the whole thing! I knew I wanted a flower crown but I didn’t expect Charlie Brear to have one in their store to help me visualise - that was a great addition. I went back to the store for my sign off appointment on my own – and burst into tears when Rachel put the veil on me. I truly felt like a bride, and was just so amazed at the beauty of all the elements I had chosen. It was a lovely moment, and I was glad it was just me as it then made it a surprise for my mum and family when I put on the dress again on the wedding day.
What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
My advice would be to not waste time trying on too many different styles in too many different places. Instead search online until you find a few key names that excite you, and then go straight to them. You won’t miss anything and you’ll probably have a lot less stress in the process. Also, although this is very hard, try not to stress about your body size/shape. If you pick the right place, the staff will make you feel wonderful regardless and the dress will look amazing whatever your shape.
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Brilliant! And so excited. We went to the lovely Charlotte Street Hotel for bubbly after choosing it to celebrate, and I then spent the next 6 months trolling Instagram for every Payton dress and Voulaire lace post I could find and looking at them constantly.
What shoes did you wear?
I knew I wanted pointy and gold, and I didn’t want too thin or high a heel due to ceilidh dancing and the field, so that narrowed my options! I searched asos, google etc trying to find a pair and in the end came up with a pair that were only £30 in the sale and exactly what I had been searching for.
How long did it take to plan your wedding?
It was nearly exactly a year from getting engaged to getting married, but I wouldn’t say we were planning for a whole year - we are teachers so we saved lots of jobs up and then beasted them fairly efficiently in half terms and holidays. We made decisions pretty quickly which we stuck to, which made it somewhat easier.
Where and when did you get married?
We got married on July 30th. We are both teachers and we were lucky enough to have the ceremony in the school chapel where we work, in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. We then got VW beetle and VW camper vans to the reception, Home Farm Glamping in Elstree. We were stupidly lucky with the weather – it had been swelteringly hot so I was worried about people being too hot in the field/tipi but it was a perfect temperature with a gorgeous sunset later on as well.
Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
I phoned Charlie Brear and they recommended me the very low back, strapless, bravissimo bra for the Payton dress which I got fitted and bought in House of Fraser on Oxford Street. It was perfect. I also bought every different type of spanx I could find so I had options on the day.
What traditions did you follow?
We followed some traditions but not all. We stayed separately the night before the big day – Scott glamped with all the guests on the field and I stayed with my sisters at home. My something borrowed and blue was my grandmother’s ring, something old were the pearl earrings I wore and something new was my dress. My mother-in-law gave me a silver sixpence for my shoe as well. Untraditionally, all the women (my mum, my sisters and me) did speeches as well as the men at the reception, and we had a ceilidh before our ‘first dance’.
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
I used Laura Hunt from Makeup by Jodie for my makeup, who I had found through Love My Dress. Laura actually had done makeup on a Charlie Brear shoot pretty recently, so I knew it was meant to be! My hair was done by Gemma Hitchins, who I had found via google.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
There are too many to choose from but I think the speeches must have been one of the best bits. My sisters’ speech, as well as both best men’s speeches were all hilarious, and I think mine was quite good too! The ceilidh was a lot of fun too, especially watching everyone trying to do ‘strip the willow’ in one massive line. I loved the silent disco as well, watching everyone swigging Prosecco straight from bottles and bopping about to no music was great fun.
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
I think a few! We had tea and coffee after our ceremony at the chapel and Scott and I were the first to leave. We wanted to be first on site to greet all our guests. My mum did a lovely speech and we cut the cake before the wedding breakfast, as it was going to be served for dessert. We had selfie sticks, funny face beer mats and a crossword activity on all the tables for the guests. I had also written individual descriptions of all the guests on their table plan wine bottle, which everyone loved, and Scott made all the place names himself which also doubled up as keyring favours. I had also never been to a wedding with a silent disco, which was fun.
Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
Hannah Mia Photography – words cannot describe how excited we were when she said she was free on our wedding date, and it turned out she lived around the corner too. She definitely is a ‘ninja’ photographer, and her photos are amazing.
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Very emotional, but trying to hold it together. I didn’t bawl the whole way down though, which was a bonus!
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We stayed in a lovely hotel in St Albans after our wedding night glamping, and then we had a minimoon to Devon afterwards. We have booked our honeymoon to India at Christmas – Delhi, Taj Mahal, Tiger safari and Rajasthan - we cannot wait.
If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
Absolutely nothing about the day, but I did lack self-confidence over the year, between ordering my dress and seeing it again. I wish I hadn’t – because it fitted perfectly when I picked it up and I had been stressing over nothing. I also don’t know what possessed me to think I needed 4 wedding certificates - it took ages to sign them all in the ceremony and I have only needed one for name changes!
Did you find organising your wedding an easy process?
I think we found the overall big decisions very easy – such as venues, food, entertainment, photographer, attire. We were set on what we wanted and the other details we staggered throughout the year so it didn’t feel too onerous. But I would say the harder parts are sticking to the budget and the pressure that brides put on themselves – not chewing your nails, growing your hair long etc. I had a really bad eye infection and tooth infection the few weeks running up to the wedding which then made me more stressed about my eye looking okay on the day. The more relaxed you can be, the better! I really enjoyed planning the smaller, funner details though - writing table plan descriptions and crosswords for the tables was a lot of fun and was possible due to being organised with the other things.
What will you do with your dress now?
I’m not really sure what to do with it, it is so beautiful and I am still totally in love with the Voulaire lace - which came back looking brand new despite having a lot of hay/confetti stuck in it towards the end of the day. I am thinking of selling it but not sure I can commit to parting with it yet!
What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
It is quite hard because we both loved everything, but we loved our individual photographs which were taken in ‘golden hour’ light just after the breakfast and speeches, and the time we had together after the ceremony in our VW - it was lovely to have that time just us. I also loved saying my vows to Scott and singing all the hymns – it is a cliché but the vows are really what the whole day is about and it was a special moment. I also adored the confetti shot that we did straight after the ceremony - it took us a bit by surprise but was brilliant.
TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK’S #FRIDAYBRIDE TESS
1. Don’t do things just because you feel you have to. Our wedding was totally different from anyone else’s and our guests loved it because of that, we had so many comments about what a fun wedding it was and how quirky it was.
2. Wear a flower crown. It was the best accessory I have ever worn, and it was perfect with a relaxed Charlie Brear style of dress.
3. Don’t spend half the year on a diet – the most beautiful brides are the ones most happy in their own skin on the day
4. Do have comfortable shoes, and a comfortable dress. You don’t need corsets and a bodice to feel like a bride and you will have a lot more fun if you don’t want to take your dress off.
5. Do make a speech if you can. I am so pleased that I did.
Ceremony Venue | St George’s School Chapel, Harpenden
Reception Venue | Home Farm Glamping and Tipis4Hire
Photography: Hannah Mia Photography
Bridesmaids' dresses | Twobirds
Music | Organist from St George’s; Bagpiper: George MacGregor; Choirs of St Lawrence’s Winslow and St George’s School; ceilidh band: Harry’s band; DJ: a friend; Silent Disco
Florist | Betty and Bear Flowers
Caterer | Hansons catering
Hair | Gemma Hitchins
Makeup | Laura Hunt at Makeup by Jodie