Presenting Charlie Brear's #FridayBride

Happy Birthday #FridayBride!

Has it really been a year already? Over the last 12 months we have featured 51 beautiful Charlie Brear Brides, who have shared their tips, tricks and most memorable moments. Today we have number 52 - a particularly special #FridayBride for this anniversary edition!

How fitting it is that this couple are about to reach their 10th wedding anniversary! Not only partners in life, but also in work, this busy couple are our Creative Director and Managing Director! We are so excited to exclusively share their beautiful day with you below and let you see for yourselves, where the magic began all those years ago...


Allow me to introduce this week's #FridayBride - Charlie Brear!

How did Jamie propose?
We had only been together a year when Jamie proposed to me. We were on holiday in Antibes in France and it’s a typical comedy story where everything you plan pretty much goes wrong! He had booked a beautiful restaurant for dinner by the port and there was going to be a firework display on at a certain time, so he had thought that we would have dinner then go out to watch and he could ask me during, as I love them so much. However, the meal took forever and everything we ordered was wrong, it was really hot as we sat near the kitchen and Jamie was sweating and stressing about the time. We missed the fireworks so he then thought that he could propose on the beach (where he had hidden a bottle of champagne and glasses for after) I was really grumpy by this time and wanted to go home! Thankfully, I agreed and he didn’t have to abandon the whole plan! It actually ended up being the perfect place to do it as there was no one else around and the moon was really bright so it was beautiful. He had a gorgeous dress ring that he had bought for the occasion. When we got home he took me to choose the diamond from a selection he had put together and I got to design my own ring, he knew I would want to do that!

When & where did you get married?
We got married 10 years ago in December 2006 at Chelsea registry officeon the Kings road in London. Our low key, family orientated service was held at 10.00am with 40 people and we then had lunch after with around 70. We left at 6.00pm and went off to a hotel to enjoy our evening together, we ate burgers, opened presents and fell asleep to the final of X Factor, it was brilliant!

Tell us about your dress?
My dress was an original from the 1960s. I had just set up 'The Vintage Wedding Dress Company' and it was one of the first pieces that I sourced. I loved it because it reminded me so much of my Mother's dress from the same era, hers was plainer, without the trims and applique, but I think I always loved the black and white images of them on their big day so much that it just felt right to me.

What was your best experience when trying on dresses?
I didn't go anywhere else to try on dresses. I think as a Stylist at the time I knew exactly what I wanted to wear so it wasn't relevant. I think we were so much less bombarded with images 10 years ago as well, so it possibly made it easier to conjure up in your own head what you wanted to look like. Having Instagram and Pinterest can be amazing for gathering ideas but I think it can also confuse you.

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?
4 months, we got engaged in August and married in December. I started planning in September.

How did you feel when you found your dress?
Sorted! I think it's the main thing that you want ticked off the list. For me once I knew what I was wearing everything else about the day was much easier to decide on.

What would your advice be to other brides about shopping for a wedding dress?
Go with how you feel in a dress not how others' see you. If they all love something and you don't, make sure you stand your ground. If you can pay for the dress yourself and have your Mother, Father or family pay for another part that's personal - like bridesmaids' dresses (so they can be gifts) or the venue - then do! This means you are in control of what you look like on your day.

Limit how many people you take with you dress shopping and limit how many places you visit even if you are just doing it for fun. Incorporate something else in the process like go for a fabulous lunch or a spa afternoon and do your research prior to visiting if you have a group wtih you. The best thing to do is go for one friend who's honesty and style you love or, if you can, go at least once on your own to have an idea of what you want before involving others.

What shoes did you wear?
Gina London, classic round toe courts in satin. They really worked with my dress. Their couture service is still available today!

Did you struggle finding the right lingerie for your dress & what would you recommend for other brides-to-be?
My dress was really unstructured so I didn't need anything specialised underneath. Our stylists would recommend Ultimo shape wear as a bra and smooth line, nude underwear.  

Who did your hair & make-up and how did you find them?
I did my own make-up which I think was a mistake! You don't want to wear too much but you also need enough and probably more than you would normally wear to last through some possible tears and all the kissing. Plus, it's quite a fuss getting yourself ready and everyone else so it is nice to put yourself in some else's hands. My gorgeous friend, Maria Comparetto, did mine and my bridesmaids' hair. I should have let her do our make-up as she is a very successful make-up artist and I would have looked amazing!

What traditions did you follow? 
All of them! Jamie stayed at a hotel with his best man the night before and I stayed at home with my sister. My dress was something old and I borrowed an antique handkerchief from my Aunt and I sewed a little blue ribbon into my dress inside the seam. I am a bit of a traditionalist at heart, which I think quite surprises people as I also really love getting rid of things and moving on. I am super sentimental about some things and totally uninspired by others.
 
How did you feel walking down the aisle?
Really happy and excited. It was so lovely walking in to the really small room with 40 friends and family.

What was the most memorable moment of the day?
I have two. My Father's speech which was very emotional and when Jamie called me 'Mary' during our vows, it's my second name but also his Mother's which caused a huge laugh!

Who took your fabulous wedding pictures?
Robert Lawler. I met Robert through a friend, not only does he capture all the little things that happen around you but you don't even realise he is there. He is also a really nice guy, and he used to be a hairdresser which came into its own for me as I had my fringe cut the day before and it really was really wonky and too short. I didn't really mind though for some weird reason, when I look at the pictures it makes me a bit annoyed that I didn't take more care but it also makes me laugh, it's kind of part of what happened that day.

Take 5 with this week's #FRIDAYBRIDE
Charlie!

Charlie's #WEDDINGHACKS
 
1. The guest list can be the hardest part - approach it together with honesty and try not to get too hung up on it. You will look back in 10 years time and wonder why you invited certain people, all of my friends say the same...there will be at least a few who you don't see anymore because life moved on.

2. Remember your dress is also a moment in time. You will always think I could have worn something else, so go with what you want and feel works for you now.

3. If you're short on budget or time, look for a venue that looks good without extra fuss. We got married just before Christmas and the registry office and restaurant were both already decorated.

4. If you are both involved in the organizing, allocate areas and try to stick to them. If you are fortunate enough to have a partner who lets you get on with it count yourself lucky. Give them a few logistics so you don't resent their lack of involvement!

5. Spend the biggest portion of the budget on yourselves or the part of the day you are most into, be it your dress, suit, rings or your honeymoon. Unless having a party is really what makes you tick, all the drink and food and venue cost so much and people tend to feel like they have to come and stay late out of duty. Weddings are expensive for your guests too.
 

Did your wedding have any quirky or unusual features?
The original Routemaster buses in London were withdrawn from service in 2005 the year before we got married and sold off to companies for private hire. My grandfather was born and brought up at The Tower of London (his father was a Yoman Warder) and my Nanna was a huge fan of them. She was too frail to attend our wedding but we hired a bus and showed her after, she really loved that we had that nod to London history. I still think it's a really lovely thing to do if you have a London wedding.

Did you find organising your wedding an easy process?  
I love organising things and as we had less time I think it made it easier to make decisions.  As we kept things really simple and had quite a small wedding it was very straightforward. The only thing that was trickier than I had anticipated was that our parents were quite opinionated about the guest list, this really surprised me as I hadn’t even considered that the day was also about them. That sounds really selfish but I was an adult and I saw it as our gig.  In retrospect, I do see where they were coming from but at the time I really didn’t!  Luckily, Jamie was really chilled and just let me get on with it. Sometimes it's much easier if one person takes the reins on something.
 
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We went to High Road House in Chiswick the night of the wedding. It looks out over the church where my parents were married so it was another nice piece of history for me to feel part of. The next morning we went straight to the airport and headed to Thailand and Malaysia.

What will you do with your dress now?
I have three children, a boy and 2 girls, and my sister's boys are like my own too. I am hoping that one of them will want to cut it up and use it for something at some point in the future.

If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
Probably my biggest regret was playing it down quite as much as we did. I had fallen out with my oldest friend of 20 years but we still invited her to the wedding even though she was less than positive about it and I felt really heartbroken about the situation. I felt that it was the right thing to do but I really didn't think she would accept! As a result I think I tried too hard to not do anything showy or spend too much money on myself. If I did it again now, I would probably freakout about the dress as it would be too much pressure having so much choice to hand! But I wouldn't invite anyone I really didn't want to be there and I would make more of a fuss of myself and Jamie before and on the day. That said, I loved how small and intimate our day was and I wouldn't change anything about that.

Dreaming of being our next #Friday Bride?

 Why not share your story with enquiries@charliebrear.com