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The Secret Of Winter.

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This year I’ve had the pleasure of attending two friend’s “winter” weddings, styled and planned around the inevitability that it will be chilly, the very real possibility it will rain…and hell, based on recent years maybe even snow.

As a bride there is some comfort in the inevitable I think, I know when I was planning my own end-of-May day it was very much a case of making a lot of plan B’s should Mother Nature decide to not bless us with blue skies and sunshine.

To get the best of both worlds then I guess you could aim for both, a secret ceremony in Sydney Australia and the opportunity to experience re-living some of those intimate moments in the frosty folds of the Peak District.

This is exactly what RMW reader Sophie and her husband Matt did last year, and as you know – I love something W-day that’s a bit unusual, especially when paired with a beautifully written account.

And this folks is beautifully written.

Besides, who can resist a bride in mittens?! Seriously, these should be the new accessory du jour.

And for all of you October through February brides out there, I have some wee questions at the end of this post that I wouldn’t mind you dropping me a response on in the comments section when you have a minute.

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Sophie The Bride: When Matt and I decided to get married we knew from the start that we wanted something relaxed, intimate and fun. We also had a serious case of itchy feet, so when we were finally able to take a month off to fulfill our long-held dream of travelling around Australia we decided to combine the trip with a small and very secret wedding.

We got hitched on the shores of Sydney Harbour opposite the Opera House, on Halloween (our 9th anniversary) before celebrating with two friends who were in on the secret, plenty of bubbles and dinner overlooking Bondi beach.

We were still on a high when we got back to winter in the North. We hadn’t had a professional photographer on the day, so when my friend Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers suggested a post-wedding shoot as a way of capturing some special keepsake photographs we could treasure we knew she was on to something.

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It sounds strange as someone who chose to get married in sun-drenched Sydney, but I’ve always loved winter, especially the crunchy frosts and twinkling lights of Christmas. We also thought it would be lovely to have some wintery shots as a contrast to our summery wedding day ones. So we opted to organise the shoot quickly and make the most of the season.

We decided to brave the bracing weather and shoot in the Peak District. Matt hails from Derbyshire and as we met and now live in Sheffield it’s a part of the world we love spending time in, so it meant a lot to us. As a massive book-geek it also appealed as part of my favourite book Jane Eyre is set there- a novel we also took one of our wedding readings from.

The Peaks also influenced our colour themes and choice of flowers. Inspired by the way they come to life with rolling carpets of heather in late summer Tracey and I decided on a purple theme for the bouquet, Matt’s buttonhole and arrangement.

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I’ve long been a fan of Tracey’s vintage, cottage garden style of design and knew it was a look that would work perfectly with my dress. I also loved that she champions British blooms and works closely with local suppliers. After a consultation in her girl haven of a workroom we had picked pale pinks to compliment the purples and settled on a wild, straight from the meadow bouquet to really work with the rugged beauty of the Peaks and moors. We also choose a cascading style of bouquet (Tracey tells me it’s a bit of an upcoming trend for next year) as it felt gloriously informal and reflected the flowing nature of my train.

In the end the floral designs featured lavender, vintage-look pale pink Sweet Avalanche roses, lilac Memory Lane roses, pale pink veronica, purple lisianthus, white aster and ferns along with the purple heather that inspired them to represent Derbyshire and eucalyptus for Australia. Antique-look lace and purple ribbon finished everything off perfectly.

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Getting the chance to get dressed up again in our finery was a total treat- I think I’ll always be looking for any excuse to wear my dress again! It was a 1940s French Mousseline gown from Abigail’s Vintage Bridal with the most amazing train. I’d always known I’d wear a vintage wedding dress- I just love the romance of wearing a dress with history and other bygone love stories attached. As well as stocking the most gorgeous collection of dresses Abigail worked wonders with alterations, lowering the bust-line to suit my height and transforming the full-length princess style sleeves into cute cap sleeves better suited to tropical climes.

On the day of the shoot I teamed it with a Coast faux fur shrug to ward off the chill and add a wintery feel as well as my wedding shoes- retro-look teal peep toes from Topshop, although my leopard print wellies did make a cameo appearance! Matt wore his Topman suit and tan brogues by Poste.

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Our photographer for the day was the incredible Jess Petrie. I’d seen her work before and been blown away by the beauty of it and the way she manages to capture brides’ emotions. As I’ve never been that comfortable in front of the camera I was a bit nervous about the shoot, but Jess really helped us feel relaxed from the start and enjoy it.

After doing my own make up for the wedding it was so lovely to be pampered by a professional before the shoot. The lovely Jenn Edwards suggested we kept the vintage, old-school glamour look that I loved, but tied in the colours with the flowers and wintery look of the shoot. So the postbox red lips I wed with were transformed to a deeper, almost berry hue. Jenn also created pretty pin curls in my hair, which sadly got blown out into a more windswept style when we braved the blustery weather of the heights.

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Not only was there more than a bit of breeze, but snow had settled across the area we shot in (mainly at Surprise View in Derbyshire), despite a winter sun shining- the result was a slightly eerie, ethereal beauty that summed up everything we love about that part of the world. It couldn’t have been more perfect, and gave the shoot a bit of a Wuthering Heights meets Snow Queen vibe as Jess worked her magic.

The whole experience of the shoot from planning with Tracey and being pampered at the start to the amazing photos we will always treasure was so special and something we will always remember. It really was the best (early) Christmas present we could have hoped for. I can’t recommend it enough to other brides out there- runaway or otherwise!

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Photography: Jess Petrie Photography
Floral Design and Planning: Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers
Hair and Make Up: Jenn Edwards – Bridal hair and MU artist
Dress: Abigail’s Vintage Bridal
Shrug: Coast
Shoes: Topshop
Suit: Topman

So wintertime lovelies, what did you think of this floral colour scheme for the coldest months? I love it, striking, contemporary and pretty all at the same time.

What made you decide to have a winter wedding?

Will you be accessorising with items such as shrugs, scarves and gloves to keep you warm?

Do let us know….and please leave Sophie and Matt some love if you enjoyed their story.

Big Secret Love

Charlotte xxx