PRESENTING CHARLIE BREAR'S FRIDAY BRIDE #20

 

AN AUTUMNAL PARK WAS THE PERFECT SETTING FOR THIS SPORTY COUPLE.

Jo married Alex on the 6th of November 2015 at Gaynes Park in Epping followed by a reception in the rustic style barn. The bride wore our Versailles dress paired with a simple up do and a richly-toned, seasonal bouquet. 

Having just bought a house in the area, they spend their free time running and cycling around the Essex countryside. So where better to have the big day than in the beautiful, open spaces of Gaynes Park. Continue reading to find out about Jo and Alex's wedding day and see some beautiful photographs by Lily and Frank.

What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
My best experience was obviously when I tried on THE dress at the Charlie Brear showroom in London. I had a budget in mind and Mandi at Charlie Brear was really helpful in suggesting dresses as close to this as possible.

Given that we were planning the wedding in 5 or 6 months, I knew timings would be tight if I didn't choose a dress 'off the peg'. So when I tried on my dress from their 'last chance' rack and it fitted, it just felt perfect! My mum crying sealed the deal on the dress really.

How did he propose?
Being keen runners and triathletes, every March since we met we have been to Lanzarote on a training holiday with other members of our running club. We always incorporate a date night into this holiday to make sure we get to spend some quality time together and whilst we were walking along the coast towards a village for dinner, we stopped at a bench by the sea where he got down on one knee and proposed.

He had a ring with him that was the right size as a result of him stealing one of my old rings and taking it to a jeweller. It was such an amazing experience and I'm hugely impressed he got it all the way to Lanzarote without me suspecting a thing!

What would your best advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress? 
I would recommend having an idea of the type of dress you'd like - I used Pinterest for this beforehand - and let that guide you to which designers you should book appointments with. However, when you get to your first bridal shop, try on as many styles as possible!

How did you feel after you had ordered your dress? I felt really excited. For me it was the 2nd biggest thing after the venue and I looked forward to putting the other pieces of the jigsaw puzzle into place.

Did you struggle finding lingerie that worked with your dress? I thought that white lingerie would be fine, however it really wasn't! Definitely go nude coloured and seamless! I also tried wearing a bra, however realised at my first fitting that is was a lot easier to not wear one. 

Who did your hair & make-up? My hairdresser did my hair. I have been getting my hair done by Nicola at Biyoni for years and knew she'd do a good job. My bridesmaids, mother, sister-in-law and I took over the salon in the morning to get our hair done!

One of my bridesmaids, Leah, did my makeup. She has a real passion for makeup and has been on courses at Chanel. Having done the makeup for about five of her other friends' weddings I knew she would do a great job.

Did you follow any traditions? 
We followed most traditions. We didn't see each other the night before, which made it really special walking down the aisle. I borrowed my mum's bracelet, had a blue bow pinned to the underside of my dress, my friends bought me a new pendant and I wore my old favourite pair of pearl earrings. 

What was the funniest moment of the day? 
As I was quite nervous beforehand, my hands swelled slightly which meant that my ring wouldn't go on during the ceremony, much to our and everyone else's amusement!

How did you feel walking down the aisle? 
Very nervous, but so excited. At Gaynes Park the aisle is a long walk through a beautiful walled garden. A few times my dad had to tell me to slow down!

What are your favourite memories of the day? 
I think the cake, made by Jemz Cake Box, will always stick in our memories. It was just amazing, working with the feel of the day and capturing our hobbies beautifully. But in addition, the whole experience of having all of our friends and family in one place, relaxed and enjoying themselves for one day is so special! 

 

What great piece of advice would you pass on to other brides who are planning their wedding (#weddinghacks)?

Make a budget and stick to it as much as you can, write lists to make sure you keep as organised as possible. When you're 'sweating the small stuff', try to recall those things from previous weddings you have been to. If you can't remember them, then stop sweating over them!

If you could do it all again what would you do differently?

I honestly don't think I'd do anything differently. We came in on budget and wanted our wedding to be more of a big party with our closest friends and family, which we achieved. 

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process?

I think organising our wedding in 6 months made the process easier because we didn't have the time to mull over suppliers and venues for too long. I wouldn't say that anything was tricky, however narrowing down suppliers was difficult at times seeing as everyone offers more or less the same thing at similar prices. 

What will you do with your dress now? 

I would love to be able to wear my dress again but as I can't think of an occasion when I would, I think I might sell it so that my dress can be worn and enjoyed by someone else for their special day. I'd hate for it to stay in a box gathering dust!