Beach Boho… Part 1

It’s apt that we are sharing a wedding by Phillip Allen aka Mister Phill this week, as his weddings are amongst the most emotively shot that we ever show on Rock My Wedding.

The ethos behind this wedding makes me think of all the things I would do if I did it again… the relaxed vibe, the chilled out bride and the beautiful great outdoors playing such a big part in their ceremony.

Enjoy ladies – it’s perfect for Friday daydreaming…

We (Stephen and Beth, as we are known) got married on Thursday 21st April 2011. Despite mid-week weddings gaining in popularity (I think due to both cost and availability), we felt we’d done really well getting this Thursday to be married. It was the Thursday before Good Friday, so the following day was a bank holiday. Not only was it significantly cheaper for us to hire our venue on the Thursday (even compared to the Friday), we were also able to use all of our preferred suppliers, as they were all still available – despite us being a little bit late booking certain things!!

Bronzed and Beautiful…

Stephen’s very lovely cousin, Lou – who just happens to be an accomplished hairdresser, offered to do my hair for me, which I gratefully accepted. Lou did a fantastic job of interpreting what I was asking for – up-styles that were still quite relaxed and informal – tying in with the romance and whimsy of my dress. My hair looked amazing on the day – and still was in one piece by the end of the evening (a near miracle for my hair – I can tell you!)

Lou had also, very kindly, offered to do my make up for me. I was having a spray-tan for the wedding (off-white dress against off-white skin = not a good look!) and so needed to get some new foundation, as of course, I would be darker than my normal skin colour. I had a “practice” with the spray tan a couple of months before the wedding (something I would thoroughly recommend – it gave me the confidence that I would be a nice brown, not an orangy brown, as my Mum was so concerned I might be). It also meant that I could take myself off to Bobbi Brown, fake tan in situ, and get some foundation and conceler that were the right colours for the “bronzed” me. Lizzie at Bobbi Brown was great – and I really recommend their make-up, it lasted all day. Lou did my make-up in quite natural coulors – shimmery browns for my eyes and pinks for my lips and cheeks. My make-up looked really lovely on the day – natural, but highlighting my features, and also looked great in the pictures. Lou, you are an absolute star xxx

Simple Shoes

I stayed quite simple with my shoes – 3 inch heels to give me a little bit of height (but not too much – I didn’t want to be towering over my 5’4” father as he walked me down the aisle!), Ivory satin peep toe shoes, which I bought online from Because the bottom of my dress was lace, I was advised to stay away from shoes with anything attached to them, which might get caught in the lace! I also invested in some “clean heels” heel stoppers – hardly the most glam accessory, but they made walking on grass sooooo much easier…still had to take my shoes off for the beach though!

Finding The One

I had initially considered making my dress myself, being that dressmaking has been a hobby of mine for many years and I had always thought I would make my own wedding dress. However, on my Mum’s advice (which I would consider to be well-informed considering she made both her own wedding dress, and my sisters when she got married 10 years ago) I decided that, with all the other planning that goes into a wedding, making my dress might just be a little too much, so off to the shops it was…

I started off my dress hunt with genuinely no clue of what I wanted (other than I didn’t want it to be the same as everybody else’s!). While this was a little daunting at the time, I think it turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as it meant that I really explored every available style and possibility. I tried on dresses from Alice Temperly to Monsoon – Liberties to a Vintage Dress shop my design conscious, architect brother knew of in Notting Hill. Although so many possibilities meant making a final choice quite difficult, I was also confident when I made a decision, that I wasn’t going to regret it or see something I preferred….plus I had an amazing time trying on all those dresses!!

After such an extensive search, I ended up finding my dress in Daisy Bridal, a really gorgeous bridal shop in Bournemouth. The dress was by La Sposa and called “Denia”. It was a beautiful lace fish tail dress, with a tulle and lace overlay, which went into a beautiful train at the back. I must admit, that when I tried it on, I wasn’t hit with the thought that this was “the one” – but just that it was a really beautiful dress. It was much more “bridal” than I thought I would go for – I loved the Jenny Packham and Temperly dresses that I tried on, which were more of a Grecian style and had initially thought that this was what I would go for. My thoughts, however, kept going back to the La Sposa dress – and whenever they did, I would get really excited about it. I knew it would suit the elegance of our venue, but was also whimsical and romantic enough for our beach setting, and it was when trying it on for the 3rd time that I was certain it was the dress I wanted to get married in. I never once questioned my decision. Leanna and her team at Daisy Bridal were fantastic and gave me fantastic advice about the size, fit and style – even down to the type of accessories I should think about going for – and all their advice was completely spot-on.

Because I am quite short and petit, I was a little anxious about over-accessorizing. My fear was that jewelry, or a headpiece that was too large would simply end up wearing me, instead of the other way around, and wouldn’t suit the delicate lace of my dress. I decided upon a hair vine, worn like a delicate headband for my hair, which I bought online from Essesea. My friend, Becky, then lent me her diamond earrings and diamond pendant (my something borrowed!), which were beautifully delicate and suited my dress really well.

Finding the Perfect Venue

We got married at the Italian Villa, Compton Acres – a beautiful venue set in 10 acres of gardens only a couple of miles from where we live. Choosing a wedding venue was certainly our first challenge – and it took some time to pick the perfect one. The problem lay in the fact that, as both great lovers of the beach, the sea and surfing, Stephen and I had our hearts set on a beach wedding – currently not legal in this country (our photographer brought the Any Campaign to our attention). We briefly considered a wedding abroad, where weather is more predictable, but threw this idea out fairly quickly, as we knew it would mean that some people who would be able to attend – and it meant that we would not be able to be as involved in the planning of our day as we would like to be.

We spent some time looking at some of the beachfront hotels here in Bournemouth and Poole (thinking that, at least we’d be able to see the sea – and maybe have a drink and some photos on the beach), but none of them were what we were looking for. Either the style of the venue was wrong, or the capacity wasn’t enough. In our search, we went and looked at the Italian Villa and, although it was beautiful and perfect in every other way, it was a whole 2 miles from the beach!! We sat down and had a long think and talked it through. What we did know, was that we wanted a civil wedding ceremony, but with a Christian blessing as part of our day.

It seems so simple now – looking back on it, but it took a while for the penny to drop. We could get married at Compton Acres – by far our favorite venue, and due to it’s close proximity to the beach, we transport our guests down there for a blessing! We knew we couldn’t guarantee the weather, but we knew that, worse case scenario, Stephen and I would be there – along with my brother-in-law, Simon (who agreed to conduct the blessing) and to have just a small part of our wedding on the beach would mean the world to us both.

The beach was also really helpful to us, as it gave us a theme – a motif to run through our day.

Grey for the Groom

Stephen chose grey, three-piece lounge suits for him, our Dad’s, his best man and two ushers. The suits were by Peter Posh and were hired from “Well Groomed”, also in Poole We bought the ties and pocket squares separately online from Dessy as they did a really close match to Rachel’s bridesmaid dress colour – they did have to be fed-ex’d in from New York – but I’m afraid I’m a bit of a perfectionist, and it was the closest I could find! They looked so smart on the day, that it really didn’t matter.

Stephen looked very handsome, but the thing that touched me most when I first say him waiting for me at the end of the aisle was just how excited he looked. He also looked incredibly nervous (I was late, and that is very much unlike me, which I think threw him a little!) but just so excited!

Photographer – Mister Phill

Venue – Italian Villa, Compton Acres

Hair and Make-up – Brides sister-in-law using Bobbi Brown.

Shoes –

Heel Stoppers – Clean heels

Dress – La Sposa from Daisy Bridal

Hair Vine – Essesea

Suits – Peter Posh from Well Groomed and Pocket squares, Dessy.

No wonder Stephen looked excited, what a beautiful Bride and what an amazing day – that blessing on the beach looks so relaxed and dreamy. Part 2 coming up in just a few hours folks!

Yours Truly,


You can find Mister Phill on The List, however, all real weddings are chosen on individual merit and no part of this post is sponsored.

Author: Becky Sappor
Becky is at her happiest when dunking a slightly chilled chocolate digestive into a very warm, very milky cup of tea. She also loves her job and pinches herself every day to make sure that she isn’t in a graphic design dreamworld.

17 thoughts on “Beach Boho… Part 1

  1. I so love this. What a brilliant way to incorporate the beach into your wedding day! How much does the law need changed to make outdoor ceremonies legal in England?!

    My favourite part of this whole post is the photo with Beth and Stephen in the foreground and her mum and dad in the background (the 3rd one of the ceremony shots) – the expression on her dad’s face as he looks at her nearly made me cry!

  2. Ooh-nice to see another Thursday bride! I too am getting married on a Thursday-we loved our venue so much but couldn’t afford it on a Friday or Saturday so have opted for a Thursday instead. It has saved us a lot of money and means our guests can have an extended weekend!

    This wedding is uber romantic-with one gorgeous bride. Loving the hair and make-up-Beth-do you think you could persuade your sister-in-law to travel hundreds of miles and do mine?! 

    Love the fact that they had a blessing on the beach too. Lovely start to a wet and windy day!

    P.S. I need some heel protectors too so this post has come in very handy!!

  3. Forgot to say-am loving the shot of the bride deliriously happy as she walks up the aisle with her husband-to-be looking so proud  xx

  4. Rebecca you are right – every shot is fiilled to the brim with emotion. The ceremony picture of the father of the bride looking at the bride is so full of pride I can barely look! What incredible pictures.

    And I really, really love the hair…and the shoes. And the dress. And sand on the bottom of the champagne bottle… x

  5. I always love reading what my couples (so to speak) have to say about their wedding days when they’re featured on Rock My Wedding (much as I learn a lot along the way myself, there’s always more to learn again). I must say I’m quite amazed to hear that Beth had a spray tan; as a photographer it would have had me in paroxysms of terror had I known that in advance, worrying about how to normalise orange skin tones to sit comfortably with the skin tones of surrounding subjects. I assumed it was a natural tan on the day though, a perfect job done! I love all my commissions, this one especially so; they really did do it their way and it was relaxed and fun all the way through. One to learn from!

  6. What beautiful pictures, and the bride is stunning and the dress divine!
    I love the emotion of the dad and the groom when he has that look on his face that just says it all!

    So lucky to be on a beach and have a gorgeous day weather wise too!

  7. Oh my gosh a ceremony on Sandbanks beach!! I am so jealous, it’s such a beautiful place. And the italian villas at compton acres is a beautiful venue.

    I had a baby 2 days before this wedding so I remember that week well and it was HOT, HOT, HOT! Good job you didn’t choose to get married abroad as we had med weather here!

  8. Beuatiful wedding. Beth I would really love to know where you had your spray tan done/which product was used as it is flawless! Not a hint of orange in sight. I’m a paley myself and no fake tan I have ever tried has looked anything like natural!
    Huge congratulations on your marriage!

  9. Firstly, thank you to you all for your lovely comments – of course Stephen and I loved our wedding day, but we’ve both been fit to burst learning that you’ve enjoyed hearing about it.

    Secondly, for Sarah, GB and any other English Roses out there who would like to know, I had my spray tan done at a salon in Poole called Lavish ( and the product was called Naturasun. I think I had the second lightest shade, but the beautician that did it was great at advising what would work well with my skin tone – and the result was brilliant. Hope this helps!

    Beth xxx

  10. That is such a beautiful wedding, your dress is amazing! It’s exactly the type of thing my fiance and I want to do. :))

    Did you have to seek permission from the council to have the Blessing on the beach?

  11. Hey Beccy, thank you for your lovely comments. I DID think about contacting the council (always in fear of being “told off”!!), but decided not to in the end, in-case they said no! We figured that we were only going to be there a short time (45mins I think it was in the end), and as long as we didn’t leave mess, or get in anyones way, then what was the issue? We also thought that, by the time anyone had notified the council and they had sent someone down to investigate (worse-case scenario), we would be gone. As it was, all the people on the beach looked like they were enjoying having a nosey!!

    All the best with your plans for your big day

    Beth xxx

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