Presenting Charlie Brear's #FridayBride (08/07/2016)
This city never goes out of style! Delight yourself with Lily & Simon's lush modern wedding - London style with touches of Chinese tradition through out. The pair were wed and continued their celebrations at the gorgeous Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green in May this year. The venue's minimalistic vibe lent itself to Lily & Simon's vision. After many painstaking hours, the couple had hand punched piles of red confetti and personalised individual wedding favours handmade in the shape of their guests' zodiac animal. These unique bursts of red were scattered through out this couples incredible day and were truly brought to life by the stunning monochrome backdrop of the Town Hall Hotel.
Simple and preferably reusable were key to Lily's dress choice. She fell for our stylish one-off raglan sleeve, silk dress in blush from our Ready-to-Wear collection and purchased it on the spot! Proof that you can find a dress as unique as you! Lily didn't stop there with her Charlie Brear obsession though! With her bridesmaids in tow to see her dress options, our stunning platinum weave midi length skirts were spotted and adored which then became her bridesmaids' outfits. What a bridal party to be jealous of!
Fall back in love with London by scrolling through this gleaming couple's gorgeous day as captured by the incredible Beccy Goddard.
How did Simon propose?
My husband proposed to me during a weekend trip to Edinburgh for my birthday. Edinburgh is one of my favourite cities! He had told me that he was taking me away for my birthday and where, but as the trip was my birthday present - he kept everything else a surprise. We stayed at the gorgeous Old Town Chambers and after an afternoon walk up to Arthur’s Seat, I was surprised with a beautiful Annina Vogel ring in the privacy of our room . The ring was perfect and better than anything I’d have picked myself. Annina Vogel is one of my favourite jewelry designers, she recycles vintage diamonds and resets them on modern settings so every single piece she does is a one-off and totally unique.
What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
Not being biased, but Charlie Brear was seriously my best experience, that and the honest support of my bridesmaids and friends. I also did not go to that many bridal boutiques or showrooms as my ‘dream dress’ was always going to be simple, preferably reusable, and the antithesis of all things ‘bridal’. The re-usability of the dress was of particular importance to me, because I did not want the dress just to sit in my wardrobe forever gradually fading away. I came across Charlie Brear on Instagram (in fact, I found all of my suppliers via Instagram) and instantly thought it would offer something that aligns with my vision. Charlie Brear was also the first showroom I visited and the best thing about my experience is that I knew what I did not want and had very honest friends around me to advise. Within minutes of walking in and speaking with Hannah at Charlie Brear, I was very confident that she ‘got’ me and therefore I trusted her advice too. I actually fell in love with another dress on my first visit, and it wasn’t until my second visit that I found ‘the one’.
P.S. - We ended up getting bridesmaids skirts from Charlie Brear too! We all fell in love with those skirts when we tried them and I am forever jealous of their outfits! This is not just a Friday CB Bride, but a CB bridal party!
What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Think about what you want first and then pick your bridal boutiques or designers accordingly. I know it might be hard to envision what would suit you as it is not something most people have tried on before, but if you narrow it down to couple of styles, it does help. There is nothing worse than trying on beautiful wedding dresses that don’t suit you.
How did you feel after you had ordered your dress?
I didn’t order my dress, I just bought it! I was on my second visit to Charlie Brear. I was actually going back to try on another dress thinking it would be the one - but I stumbled upon my dress and fell in love with it after trying it on. As the fabric was a one off and not originally intended as a wedding dress, it was not one I could order. I could either buy it there and then or leave it and risk it being gone. It was scary and exciting at the same time. Scary because we hadn’t even decided on a venue at that point and I promised my then fiancé before stepping out that morning that I wouldn’t be buying a dress. Exciting because I could not believe I had found my dress! As Hannah from CB very wisely said, “Once you have the dress, it will help you decide on the venue”. She was so right! We decided on our venue that weekend!
Did you find lingerie difficult for your dress?
Yes, that was a major struggle for me. For all the simplicity of the dress, it was a very difficult one to find lingerie for. As the dress is not lined and very fitted, everything shows. The slight blush colour of the fabric meant I had to be very careful about colour of underwear as white would show and so would dark nude. I visited so many lingerie shops and departments and finally found some adhesive cups from Rigby & Peller which worked very well on the day. They stuck well all day and I was not worried. I wore it with some standard nude seamless knickers. They were also the best lingerie shop I visited (no wonder they have a Royal Warrant!), very helpful and took time to understand what suited the dress and the look I wanted. I would recommend thinking about lingerie when picking the dress. I definitely didn’t! In my opinion, practicality always comes before beauty when it comes to bridal lingerie.
Did your wedding have any unusual features?
We didn't plan for this however, our venue had a balcony so we had a bit of fun and gave them a royal wave!
The other 'unusual' / amazing feature was having my bridesmaid, Rosie, sing our first dance for us. Rosie has an incredible voice but would never volunteer to sing in public. I thought for a long time before I asked her and when I did she agreed without thinking. I know how difficult it must have been for her so we really appreciate her doing it for us. We don't have a 'song of our own' as it were, so Rosie's beautiful rendition of Elton John's "Your Song", made it so personal for us and it will forever be 'our song' because of that.
What traditions did you follow?
I wore my mum's blue sapphire wedding/engagement ring as my something borrowed and something blue. In China, the tradition of engagement and wedding rings is a very recent discovery. In 1980s China, when my parents got married, it was very 'avant garde' of my Dad to have bought a ring for my mum to mark their marriage. My Mum is not one for jewellery so has not worn it much over the past years which made it even more special to see it 'resurface'.
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Extremely nervous. I only had a short aisle to walk down, but when the doors opened and I saw everyone standing up waiting, the nerves hit!
What shoes did you wear?
I wore Bionda Castana 'Bay' 100 leather and mesh nude courts. I came across Bionda Castana on Instagram again when I saw a photo (taken by my photographer) of a bride putting on her BC shoes, and that was my wedding shoes and photographer picked.
Take 5 with this week's #FRIDAY BRIDE
1. Use social media platforms such as Instagram for wedding inspiration and supplier research.
2. Practicality over beauty when it comes to choosing suitable bridal underwear.
3. When dress shopping, think about what you want first and then pick your bridal boutiques or designers accordingly.
4. Narrow your dress choices down to a couple of styles that you know suit you.
5. Work with suppliers that understand your vision and you click with!
Who took your gorgeous wedding pictures?
The amazing Beccy Goddard! She is incredible! I wanted someone who not only takes good posed shots but who can also capture the little moments of the day. She did exactly that. Looking through the wedding photos made us so emotional as we relieved and discovered so many tender little moments. The wedding is as much about us as it is about the coming together of all our friends and family, it was important for the photos to depict just that.
Did you find organising your wedding an easy process?
Overall, the organisation of the Wedding was very enjoyable and easy. The most difficult part is picking the venue as there is so much on offer and it is easy to be lured into all these different styles of weddings. At the end of the day, stick with your vision and what you want and you can't go wrong! I particularly enjoyed discovering more about the wedding industry and all the suppliers. I found Instagram incredibly helpful and found all of my suppliers on there. My wonderful florist, Palais Flowers, was a joy to work with. They were the first company I met and we clicked instantly. We had so many compliments on the wedding flowers and I am so impressed at how my gibberish of a brief can be turned into something so beautiful! I've decided that Florists and Photographers are the happiest people in the world!
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We are not beachy people, but as we are relocating to Asia soon, we originally planned to do a mini moon in Europe. That soon turned into a month long EPICmoon in Japan and Italy due to the last minute discovery of some very economical flights! We spent 10 days in Japan and split our time between Kyoto and Tokyo! Amazing country, full of contradictions and fabulous food! This was followed by a week long group holiday in Italy, Amalfi Coast. The latter was much more honeymoon-like, but we loved both and had an incredible May!
What will you do with your dress now?
I have cleaned it and it is now hanging in my cupboard waiting for the next black tie event. I did consider dying it to another colour, but for now, I'm too obsessed with the subtle blush to change!
What are you and your husband’s best memories of the day?
When we first saw each other at the ceremony and when everyone gathered outside to throw confetti.
Venue – Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green
Caterer – Corner Room restaurant, Town Hall Hotel
Florist – Palais Flowers
Photographer – Beccy Goddard
Cake – Lily Vanilli
Hair & Make Up – Jay Zhang
Shoes – Bionda Castana
Earring & Wedding Band – Laura Lee
Engagement ring – Annina Vogel
Bridesmaids necklaces – Laura Lee
Bridesmaids skirts – Charlie Brear
Bridesmaids top – Raey by Matchesfashion
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