PRESENTING CHARLIE BREAR'S #FRIDAYBRIDE

WELCOME TO FRIDAY, EVERYONE!

What a busy week it's been…here at CB Towers we are having a relaxed Friday after a crazy week building up to yesterday's photoshoot for our new bridal collection - EXCITING! We cannot wait to show you the results (keep a close eye on our website and instagram this summer for the big reveal), but in the meantime feast your eyes on this beauty of a #Fridaybride!

Modern simplicity was the order of the day for Siobhan and Rob, who married at one of our favourite venues, the Horniman Museum in South East London. Siobhan wore our beautiful Sandwashed Silk Valise dress, simply styled with a lace and silk sash and vintage veil. 

We have a fine selection of pics from the very talented Liam Smith, and some great insight from our lovely bride Siobhan, on the joys and pitfalls of a handmade wedding - singlehandedly baking 300 welsh cakes, anyone?! They also had what we can only assume is the youngest ever wedding guest, having been born on that very morning! Keep reading to get all the details of their fun and family-filled wedding.

How would you describe the style of your wedding?
We wanted the day to be modern, stylish, elegant and fun – and personal to us. Rob is a keen minimalist, and the conservatory at theHorniman Museum is already a very beautiful space without any decoration, so we decided on a clean, white theme with a bit of forest green to reflect the beautiful gardens outside.

How did he propose?
Rob proposed on the Champs-Elysees in Paris… on the start line of the marathon! He proposed, I said yes, my parents (who were there supporting) cried, and I went off and ran a marathon! Rob waited at the finish line with the ring! 

What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
I really struggled to find a dress I liked. I wanted something really simple, nothing lacy, nothing strapless, nothing big, nothing sparkly… my bridesmaids were despairing as I hated everything in every shop we went into! After a lot of internet searching, I found the perfect dress on the Charlie Brear website, but it was completely out of budget so I discounted it. By chance, the next week they were holding a sample sale so I popped along hoping they might have my perfect dress… but it wasn’t there. On the off chance, I asked if they happened to have anything like it, and lo and behold, they found the exact dress hiding in the back! It was meant to be!

What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Know what you want in advance – I found the dress selections in bridal shops overwhelming.  It really helps if you know the style and colour you want so you can discount things quickly.  I spent endless hours online looking at dresses – time well spent in the end as I managed to track down my perfect dress, and quicker than trekking round a hundred shops.  Don’t give up! 

How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Relieved!  I was starting to think I’d never find a dress I wanted to wear!  And then I was desperate to wear it, it felt like ages to wait until the wedding day!

What shoes did you wear?
I absolutely love L.K. Bennett shoes, so I was always going to wear some at my wedding. I happened upon the perfect pair really early on – slightly sparkly, cream coloured pointed toe beauties!

Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
Yes, I did struggle, mostly because I was assuming I’d actually be able to wear a bra… I went to Rigby and Pellar in the end and I’d recommend them.  I took a picture of my dress (definitely do that, it’s much better than trying to describe it!) and they were very honest with me.  My dreams of a lovely lingerie set were quickly put right!  In the end you just need to get something that works and that you feel comfortable in, which at the end of the day means not falling out of the dress at an inappropriate moment rather than something that looks pretty!

Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
I found Sam White on Rock My Wedding, and she was brilliant! From the make-up trial, where she dispensed skin care advice that has truly changed my life (really!) to the flawless job she did on the day, she was just fantastic. There is nothing that can faze her, she was super calm and organised, and has a tip or trick for absolutely everything you can think of! She listened really carefully to everything the Bridesmaids and I requested, even changing my hairstyle at the very last minute! I would highly recommend her to anyone getting married, or indeed for any occasion – I’d like her to come and do my hair and make-up every day!

What traditions did you follow? 
My Grandmother gave me a beautiful vintage bird-shaped brooch when I was 21, which she was given when she was 18 years old. I wore this in my hair as my ‘something old’.  My now husband gave me aMӧbius necklace by Georg Jensen before the wedding to wear on the day which was my ‘something new’.  My veil is something of a family heirloom, having been worn by both my Mum and my Aunt at their weddings. It’s been in a plastic bag in Mum and Dad’s loft for about 30 years so I was amazed it survived in as good condition as it did!  That was my ‘something borrowed’.  I realised on the morning of the wedding that I didn’t have anything ‘blue’, so I customised my shoes by writing ‘I do’ and our wedding date in blue on the bottom of my shoes!

How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Overwhelmed.  You spend ages organising it, to be actually ‘in it’ and walking down the aisle was a bit odd!  Also relieved in a funny way – after all the build-up I just couldn’t wait to walk down that aisle and couldn’t wait for Rob to see my dress!

What was the funniest moment of the day?
There was a lot of laughter throughout the whole day!  Our vows were pretty funny as were our choices of readings.  The speeches were also all hilarious, and my brother did an amazing job of MC for the day.  There was also a laugh when someone’s mobile phone went off just at the ‘If any person present knows of any lawful impediment…’!

Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
I sourced plain white paper bags for each place setting, adding a card printed with each person’s name tied on in dark green silk thread for the place card. Everything inside the bag was homemade – I baked mini Welsh cakes for everyone (in the course of the wedding build up I made more than 300 – I don’t want to see another for a while!), and my parents kindly provided little pots of honey from their bees back home in Aberystwyth! Rob and I love food, but whilst I love cooking he is somewhat the opposite – so we created a book of our favourite recipes, and I printed and bound a copy for each person. Half the recipes were mine, half were Rob’s – with his mostly focussing on ready-made pesto and pasta! For the children, I made colouring books instead of recipe books, and their bags had colouring pencils, bubbles and other toys inside. Finally, a few months before the wedding my parents-in-law offered to fold 100 origami walruses for us – that’s not an offer you turn down, so in a Horniman Museum twist on the traditional Japanese cranes, we gave everyone a mini origami walrus as well (in dark green and white of course!).
We wrote our own vows, and wrote them in secret so we didn’t know what the other was going to say until we were saying them in the ceremony! We kept the humour, with Rob (like a true lawyer) promising to take out the recycling when it is reasonably practicable to do so, and me promising to always bake his favourite banana bread, but with some heartfelt, tear-jerking moments too!
We chose a reading each, and also did this in secret so again we didn’t know what the other had chosen until the ceremony! Rob had my brother read “A letter from Albert Einstein to his wife, Mileva Maric” which set out some rather unreasonable rules Einstein imposed on his first wife. I chose “The Day The Saucers Came” by Neil Gaiman. Without knowing it in advance, we’d each opted for a mixture of romance and science – perfect!

Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
We found Liam Smith on Rock My Wedding – we loved his modern take on wedding photos and his fantastic use of light. Liam did a simply fantastic job photographing our wedding. He is charming, friendly, unobtrusive – you won’t notice he’s there, but will be thrilled with the photos at the end! We chose Liam because of his eye for more interesting, modern photos and we were over the moon with the results. Our friends and family all loved him too, and whilst he blended in quietly for most of the day, he was also brilliant at organising whole group shots – something other photographers I’ve met have really struggled with. Book him quick for your wedding – you won’t be disappointed.

What great piece of advice / tips would you pass on to other brides who are planning their wedding (#weddinghacks)?
Start any DIY projects as far in advance as possible. I made sure I had everything finished at least a week before the wedding as I didn’t want to be panicking and sleep deprived on the day, and wanted to spend as much time as possible with my bridesmaids and parents in the days before. Also, start looking for bridesmaid dresses early – I completely underestimated the run-in time for dresses which are made to order, it can be longer than for a wedding dress!

If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
I’d probably turn up to the ceremony earlier – I had no idea how long it would take to do the pre-ceremony checks with the registrar, I wasn’t really planning on starting the ceremony late!

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
New Zealand.  It was the best holiday of our lives!

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? 
Overall I enjoyed organising the wedding – I like organising events and enjoyed being in control of this one!  The tricky thing was deciding on a general ‘theme’ for the day and pinning down the details, but once that was done it was just a matter of making things happen.  I did take on a lot of DIY which was a bit stressful making sure it was all at the venue in time.  And I know everyone says this, but it’s true – the table plan is a nightmare!

What will you do with your dress now?
I’m not sure!  I will keep it, and have had some thoughts of shortening it and dyeing it so I can wear it again, as I am completely in love with the shape – but I’m not sure I can bring myself to do it!

What are you and your husband’s best memories of the day?
Siobhan: my favourite part of the day was the ceremony – it was one of the most emotional, happy, life-changing moments of my life. The ceremony is usually the more boring bit of a wedding when you are the guest – totally the other way round when it’s your own wedding!
Rob: My favourite part of the day was seeing Siobhan in her dress for the first time, walking down the aisle – she looked even more beautiful than she usually does. Of course, I also enjoyed my own exceptionally witty speech. I should add that my sister Jess gave birth on the morning of the wedding, but still made it to the ceremony with a new niece in tow, so that was pretty exciting too.

Want to be our next #FridayBride? Email fridaybride@charliebrear.com