PRESENTING CHARLIE BREAR'S FRIDAYBRIDE #38

BRIGHTEN YOUR SUMMER WEEKEND!

All hands on deck for this incredibly crafty wedding! Rather than their friends' just come as guests, Claire & Tom called on them as trusty help to personalise their special day. From flowers to the cake, entertainment to decorations, this couple's zest for D.I.Y was both practical and incredibly sweet. It made for a simple and chilled day that everyone felt involved in and could further enjoy. As the people who know them best played a part in creating it, Claire & Tom's wedding was a perfect reflection of who they are.

The pair were married in early June at the Stoke Newington Town Hall and traveled in fun city style on a red Routemaster bus, through the gorgeous Alexandra Palace before arriving at their reception, held at The Alex in Crouch End. Claire found "the dress" at our London flagship showroom where she tried our flattering Payton dress layered with our lace Augustine jacket. This simplistic yet elegant look let Claire's smile shine throughout the couple's celebration.

Continue on to share in the fun at Claire & Tom's wedding!

How did Tom propose?
Tom proposed in Berlin in January 2015 at the bottom of the Victory Column. I was totally not expecting it and I had been really grumpy beforehand as the weather was cold and I wanted a coffee. I'm surprised he went ahead and did it!!!! He had a beautiful ring with a sapphire stone in it. I screamed, cried and jumped up and down all at the same time.

What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
I wasn't looking forward to this bit as I'm not a very dressy sort of girl. I tried on some very "poofy" ones that were awful, mainly to get an idea of what I didn't want!!! I knew I wanted some sort of lace detail but that was it. When we arrived at Charlie Brear I was relieved that the staff were so very helpful. I tried on a bunch of dresses that I thought would look nice but they didn't really suit my shape, so then I tried on dresses that your lovely staff picked out and we found a totally different style that worked for me. Finally, I tried on my wedding dress - my bridesmaids got that "look" on their faces and I burst into tears knowing that this was "the dress".

What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Make sure it's you! Try lots of different styles so you can see what works. It's usually the one you least expect! It might look like nothing on the hanger but once you put it on...

How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
Over the moon, it was one of the first things I sorted and I was pleased I didn't have to look in any more shops to find it. Charlie Brear was the second shop I went to.
 

Did you find lingerie difficult for your dress? 
Oh yes!!!! I have always had lumps and bumps in all the wrong places so I wanted to make sure I had a smooth outline. I decided I would have to sacrifice lovely delicate wedding underwear for something a little more robust! I realised I needed to double up so I bought control pants that went up to my bra from M&S, then a body contouring slip from Figleaves.com that went over the top. I looked like a trussed up turkey underneath my dress but I achieved the shape I wanted and I was pretty comfortable actually. It really depends on the shape of your dress & your figure but big pants are definitely the way forward!!!

Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
My hair was cut, coloured and styled over a process of a few months by my wonderful hairdresser, Katie, at Hair on The Hill in Crouch End. She's known me for a little while so I was able to discuss with her at length what I wanted. She did an amazing job. My friend did my make up, after helping me purchase lots of MAC products. Again, she has known me for many years so knew exactly what I wanted. She was fabulous and I felt amazing.

What traditions did you follow?
I borrowed a St. Christopher necklace charm from my mum which had been her confirmation present so it also doubled up as my something old. My dress was the new thing and my toenails were painted navy blue. Tom & I didn't see each other the night before the wedding either.

How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Very emotional! My best friend gave me away and I was clutching on to him all the way down the aisle! It was so lovely to see everyone's reaction as I walked in, it brought me to tears. As soon as I saw my husband, Tom, beaming at me I knew everything was going to be wonderful, and it was.

TAKE 5 WITH THIS WEEK'S #FRIDAY BRIDE CLAIRE!

Claire's #WEDDINGHACKS

1.They are expensive! I am lucky as I had many talented friends to help me out. It really saves you a lot of money if you have someone who you feel confident that they can bake your cake or do your flowers or take photos for you. Don't be shy to ask them!!!!
 
2. Write a 'To Do' list!!!!!
 
3. It's quite stressful so try not to take it out on your poor future husband. Remember, most of them don't really understand flowers (!!!)

4. Make sure your dress is YOU! Big pants over bridal ones are definitely key!

5. Also it's YOUR day. The biggest compliment we received from lots of our guests was that the whole day just 'felt like us' and showed off our personalities and our relationship.

Did your wedding have any unusual features?
We had an amazing Jazz band, Limelight Live, fronted by a very good friend of mine. As part of their set we asked them to do a 'Jazzeoke' section (this is an event they run throughout London). So when it came to my speech (I should also mention at this point I am an actor/singer by trade) I said a few words and then burst into a rendition of 'Natural Woman' (which unbeknownst to my husband I had been practising with my friend and bridesmaid). This led nicely into a 30 minute set of guests getting up to sing Jazz standards with the band, it was fantastic!!!!

Who photographed your wedding?
Again, a fellow actor who dabbles in photography, she went above and beyond to get the shots, squeezing herself into the most ridiculous corners!!! She was amazing.

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? 
I gave myself plenty of time so I didn't find it too difficult. The trickiest bit was liaising with 3 different companies at the same time (Town hall, Routemaster & reception venue). It was mainly just sorting out all the logistics and timings.

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We had a mini moon to St Ives in Cornwall for 5 days straight after the wedding, it was absolute bliss. We are going to St Lucia in January for 2 weeks for our honeymoon, we are very excited!!

What are you and your husband’s best memories of the day?
Having all our friends and family in one place! The routemaster bus! The speeches! Singing a duet together (we did 'Let there be love'). Dancing! Lots of tears, laughter and love all in the one place!

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Suppliers
Venue Stoke Newington Town Hall
Reception The Alex 
Catering The Alex 
Photographer photos taken by a Friend
Routemaster Hire Traditional Travel
Cake Made by a Friend
Florist James Bernard Floristry
Hair Hair on the Hill, Crouch End
Make Up MAC
Shoes Office
Band Limelight Live
Lingerie Figleaves