Presenting Charlie Brear’s #FridayBridE Christianna
A laugh-a-minute day punctuated with unexpected, thoughtful highlights was how Christianna and Jack celebrated saying ‘I do’. At their barn venue in leafy Surrey, they invited guests to carve the meat for their table (sporting personalised aprons) and danced to a rock and roll band interspersed with Greek music that brought out the crazy dance moves in everyone. As the first bride to walk away with the new, neck-plunging Arla gown, Christianna styled this beautiful dress effortlessly. Read on to discover how Christianna chose her gown and how she and Jack brought their big day to life.
Their wedding was captured by Matt Tyler, a photographer the couple cannot recommend highly enough.
What was the style of your wedding?
I’d sum it up as rustic/homemade with a touch of glamour! The details made the wedding: we had Winnie the Pooh quotes and around the world themes. It was a real mix of who Jack and I are individually, yet how we literally fit together. The venue was the glamorous part! It’s absolutely stunning and would have been regardless of what we added to the decoration.
Where did you buy your dress and what made it ‘the one’?
I bought my dress at the Charlie Brear flagship store in London. I had tried some Charlie Brear dresses at another stockist and loved them so thought I would see the full collection. My Mum came with me and Hannah looked after us. She knew exactly what would suit me and left us to it just at the right moments. The style I chose was brand new to the collection and I was the first person to buy it. The dress didn’t have an official name so my receipt for it actually says ‘no name’ until I went back to collect it some months later where it had been named Arla.
What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
I had mostly lovely experiences trying on dresses. I had been to a few shops with a few different people. My Grandpa even came to one, which was lovely! The best experience of course was the dress I ended up in. I actually returned to Charlie Brear alone and decided on the dress by myself, which at the time felt completely crazy but Hannah shared the excitement with me and I left feeling completely on cloud nine!
When and where did your husband propose to you? Did he have a ring ready?
We were in America for a friend’s wedding and had planned a three week-long trip afterwards. As part of the travelling Jack had arranged a surprise trip to New York! On our second day there we were exploring Central Park. It was February and absolutely freezing, with snow covering the park and no-one around. I am oblivious at the best of times, but unknown to me Jack was trying to find the best spot to do it. We were overlooking the lake and completely alone. I was just casually taking photos when he said my name and I turned around to find him being on one knee in the snow! He had not only designed the amazing ring himself but had somehow managed to hide it throughout the holiday until proposing two weeks in. He always says he is extremely grateful for my obliviousness or he would never have been able to pull it off!
What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Try everything! Why not? After all, you only get this experience once. And take people whose opinion you really value.
How long did it take to plan your wedding?
We were engaged for about 18 months. We booked the venue and our photographer very early on while all the little details were finalised in the last four to six months. It was very much a homemade wedding in terms of finishing touches - my Mum made all the bunting and tons of little clay hearts which were hung around the rooms. All the women’s place names were clay hearts too, which she made and glazed as a keepsake. Jack’s Mum made elderflower gin for favours and I attempted the calligraphy for the labels.
How did you feel after ordering your dress?
Sweaty! My heart was pounding and my palms were so clammy! But I was over the moon. As it was a decision I had come to on my own, I just felt so excited to share it with the people closest to me.
What shoes did you wear?
I had a pair of suede, strappy heels in pastel blue from Office for all the formal stuff. They were comfortable enough and I could have lasted in them but I live in Converse, so I bought myself a metallic gold pair, which I switched into more or less as soon as the formalities were done with! I felt right at home from then on!
Did you struggle to find the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
My dress was cut in a low V at the front and back so I just went braless! And as I had quite a full skirt I didn’t need to worry about hiding any lines knicker-wise, so I just wore a pretty (and comfortable) white pair.
What Traditions did you follow? Something borrowed, something blue or not seeing each other until the ceremony for example.
We didn’t stay together the night before, although we did go out to dinner with our entire wedding party. We ended up in rooms next to each other at the hotel and when the boys came in at 1 am, I tried to see Jack but he sent us away claiming it was bad luck! Charming! I also borrowed a beautiful dainty watch from my Mum, which was actually once upon a time my Grandma’s and it was blue. So that was something borrowed, old and blue in one. My Dad also walked me down the aisle, where we both just beamed the whole time.
Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
My make-up was done by ‘So Chic’ by Courtney. She was amazing. I don’t usually wear any make-up usually so I opted for a natural and fresh look. Courtney was so attentive to everyone’s wants and she did a brilliant job on all of us. Our hair was done by a friend’s recommendation, Louise. She had a lot of us to get through (seven in total!) and my Mum’s hair is crazy long and thick so it became a bit tight for time towards the end! It all worked out beautifully and the girls looked fabulous.
Where and when did you get married?
We got married on September 10 at Millbridge Court in Frensham.
What was the funniest moment of the day?
So many to choose from! One outstanding moment is my Dad: obviously super keen to give me away, he interrupted the registrar with ‘I am’ before he had even been asked if he was happy to give me away!! The other would be when Jack’s best man recalled how Jack had wanted to be a musician... at the end of his speech he played out one of his songs from MySpace and the entire room were clapping along whilst Jack had his head in his hands!
Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
Our food was served slightly differently… Instead of being traditionally plated and served we had chosen a person from each table to be the official ‘carver’. We made them a personalised apron, which they had to wear to collect the food from the kitchen and carve up at the table. It went down a treat, everyone loved it and really got involved! We also had a ‘50s and ‘60s-themed rock band, Cockney Treble, who were brilliant. As soon as they started playing the dancefloor was full for the entire night. My Mum is Greek and whilst the band took a break we had Greek music playing. There was plenty of clapping and stomping and crazy dance moves, in particular by my Dad, who has never quite mastered the art of Greek dancing but amazed with some spectacular jumps!
Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
Matt Tyler. I cannot recommend him highly enough! He was unbelievably professional yet fitted in with the wedding as if he was meant to be there. The photos are beyond this world and although it was excruciating waiting for them to come, the turnaround was super quick and efficient. As we had also booked the evening’s ‘Instabox’ with Matt, where all the guests took crazy photos and stuck them in our guestbook, he continued to photograph the party so we have unbelievable photos throughout the entire day and evening fun too!
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Very bizarre. Watching my Mum and grandpa then the girls all walk through the door first was totally overwhelming. But once my Dad and I started walking and I saw everyone’s faces smiling at us I totally relaxed. My Dad was great, holding my hand tightly and really slowing us down so we could take it all in as we walked. I must be honest, I didn’t really even look for Jack until we were half way down the aisle. Once I caught sight of him though, the smile literally stuck to my face and that’s pretty much where it stayed for the entirety of the day!