Wedding Weekender

Anna & Brad celebrated the best things in life at their fun-filled wedding weekend. High on this couple's 'must-haves' list was good food, drinks and music, so they decided to do it themselves! The weekender began at Christ Church Portsdown, an incredibly sentimental venue for Anna & Brad to say their 'I do’s, followed by an Afternoon Tea styled reception in the local village hall. Continuing on with the celebrations, the party strolled to their family farm where bell tents were set ready for a weekend of camp fires, sing-a-longs and glamping!
We adore Brides-to-Be who are willing to try our styling pieces. Anna built on that concept, and with the help of our Flagship stylists, customised a look that suited her style. She wore our champagne Payton dress with our Voulaire Overdress, blush sash and long lace sleeves layered over the top, to create the vintage-inspired look that she’d dreamt of.
See what else this loveable duo got up to at their summery wedding with photography by Mason at instaweddings, below. 

When and where did Brad propose to you? Did he have a ring ready?
Haha! He just amazes me! Brad is not at all romantic but ended up doing the most incredible proposal! I still can't quite believe it! We were skiing in the French Alps and were at the top of a glacier admiring the views. As I turned around he was on one knee asking to marry me! It was like something from a movie! My brother had brought up champagne (as they were all in the know!) so we toasted looking out over snow-capped mountains. Unbeknown to me, he had got my best friend to help him pick the ring beforehand and had followed a family tradition of picking a second hand vintage ring. Such a perfect day!

Where did you purchase your dress & why?
My dress was from Charlie Brear's studio. I absolutely love her free form romantic styles and had previously been there to a sample sale with my cousin (it was the most fantastic girly trip!) I then visited with my mum to get an idea of what would suit me. I tried on two dresses, and that was it for me. It was definitely a case of knowing as soon as I tried on the second one, that I’d found my dress!

What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
The Charlie Brear showroom itself was just magical. I loved just having my mum with me. I value her opinion the most and it was one of the best memories in the pre-wedding preparations to have shared the day with her. I also can't thank the staff enough. They suggested I try the overdress on with a champagne coloured bias cut dress instead of ivory, which I would never have thought would work - it highlighted the lace detail and was the perfect combination for me. Clearly they know their stuff!

What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Oh it's a tough one. There are so many styles and shapes that it can be a minefield! I think a bit of prep helps. Thinking about what shape would or wouldn't suit you can help narrow down your options before you hit a shop. Also, you don't have to try on a million - if you fall in love with one then stop looking. I bought my dress two years before I got married (and had another baby in between!) and still would have picked the same dress now.

How long did it take to plan your wedding?
We got engaged in 2014 and married in 2016. Aside from getting my dress early, the other bits were done it dribs and drabs over a year. The biggest thing for us was all of the help we received. The day before our wedding the village hall was full of people helping us make sandwiches, decorating, flower arranging, setting tables etc etc. As it was a DIY wedding the most planning was around logistics and delegating jobs!

 How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?

What shoes did you wear?
Rainbow club kitten heels with a soft lace detail.

Did you struggle finding the right lingerie that worked with your dress, if so would you recommend anything for future brides?
A little, but the best advice was from the staff at the Charlie Brear studio. Hannah recommended going for classic seamless, short type underwear and go for 2 sizes bigger than you are! That way they smooth over your skin rather than digging in creating a seamless look.

What Traditions did you follow? 
I loved the traditions! I sat with my mum sorting through my nan’s button tins for old buttons, I then had them sewn into my flower crown which looked beautiful. I borrowed my mum’s lipstick (which I still have oops) and had blue flowers in my bouquet. I stayed at my parents’ the night before and didn't see Brad until I was walking down the aisle.

Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
My friend, Alice, did my hair, which was beautiful. I think she must have gone mad over the number of trials though! Angie from tantastic did my make-up, which was brilliant. I had thought about doing my own but was so glad I didn't, it really took away the stress of getting it right. Plus it lasted all day, which I'm sure if I had done it, it wouldn't have!

What was the most memorable moment of the day?
Too many to list! The best man’s speech was hilarious. I also took three attempts at throwing the bouquet - one of the men snuck in and caught it! We had guests’ horse racing on the green, which was also brilliant, and walking through the woods at midnight to get to our tents was very funny - everyone was tipsy and it was pitch black!

Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
I think the fact that we did it DIY was unusual, and we picked a very low-key ‘non-wedding'y’ venue. Although it took a lot of effort from a lot of people and that made the day very personal. It also showed me that you don't have to spend crazy amounts of money to have an incredible day! I loved having the reception in a village hall - we had use of the outdoor space such as the green and the park for the children! We also had hay bales, deck chairs and lots of colour from our flowers and lanterns - we went brave not beige! We also made a whole weekend of it by camping, which doesn't immediately scream 'wedding' but sitting around a campfire at the end of the day, laughing and singing, was perfect.

Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
The amazing Mason from instawedding! He was incredible and such a cool photographer. All the guests commented on how nice he was and captured the little details and atmosphere of the day perfectly. They also are doing our wedding video, which I cannot wait to see!


How did you feel walking down the aisle?
That was the most wonderful moment! Our three children were bridesmaids’ and went down the aisle before me, so walking into church with all of the people I love the most waiting for me was very emotional. I felt so calm and joyful holding on to my dad and seeing Brad at the end of the aisle. 


Take 5 with this week’s #FridayBride

Anna’s #WeddingHacks

1. Think about music!! It's not just for the disco, but as guests enter the wedding venue, during the service, the reception, during the meal, before the band etc etc. We spent a long time planning the different playlists and it meant we could set the tone of each part of the day.

2.. Be organised. We had meetings every couple of months with my best friend and mum (in reality it was a good excuse to catch up and drink prosecco!) but helped to keep on track. 


3.. Involve the husband to be (if he wants)! It's both of your weddings. Brad wasn't really fussed about a lot of the 'detail' but was keen to go wine tasting in France and to pick up the booze! We made a weekend of it and had so much fun. 

4. Remember it's one day. Focus on the fact your celebrating your MARRIAGE rather than putting on a wedding, it helps to keep things in perspective.

5. Enjoy DIY! It gives you such a lovely opportunity to tie in sweet, personal and unique touches to your day.

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

Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We are going to north India and the Maldives in March. It's been so nice to have something to look forward to after the excitement of the wedding.

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process? 
I found it all a lot of fun!


What will you do with your dress now?
I'm keeping it! The bias cut dress is champagne coloured so I can wear it alone as a dress - I'm actually taking it on our honeymoon!

What are you and your husband's best memories of the day?
For me it was walking back down the aisle as husband and wife to Stevie Wonder’s 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered' and the party starting. Knowing that from that moment on I could always call Brad my husband. Incredible! For Brad I'm pretty sure it was the best man’s speech!


Dress Champagne Payton dress, Voulaire Overdress, Voulaire sleeve and silk sash by Charlie Brear
Ceremony Venue Christ Church Portsdown Widley
Reception Venue Southwick d-day memorial hall, Southwick. Camping afterwards we hired from 'baylilybelltents' (worth a look!)
Photographer/Videographer Insta Wedding
Bridesmaids' dresses coast
Music band - "the English quarter"
Florist Wholesale suppliers, 'nursery fresh', hot dean
Cake Supplier Neal’s Yard Dairy, Borough Market
Hair Alice Cowell
Make-up Angie 'tantastic', Drayton
Transportation KM wedding cars