I Always Knew.

Sunshine bride Hollie (named as such because she is one of the smiliest ladies I have ever set eyes upon) found her dress before she was even engaged.

As in – she saw a picture of a gown and thought “One day….”

And one day she did. Hollie took that much loved picture to a dressmaker and literally had the frock of her dreams made from scratch.

There are capped but kind of off-the-shoulder beaded sleeves. There is a Lana Del Rey-esque floral crown. There is a whole bunch of country bumpkin chic and guests having an awesome time.

Hollie and Oli ( I know – love!) were married in the Spring and all of their joy and happiness was captured beautifully by Rachel Hudson.

Oh The Dress!

The dress! Oh the dress! One of the hardest decisions I would say…there are SO many beautiful dresses! And being a typical girl I love all dresses! Saying this…a few years ago I stumbled across a picture of Olivia Wilde in what I thought was one of the most gorgeous dresses I have ever seen. I knew in the back of my mind (even though I was not even engaged!) that this could be the most perfect wedding dress and I never forgot it! So although everybody told me I just try different styles etc I actually didn’t listen! I can honestly say I didn’t try on one single wedding dress apart from my own, a risky little business seeing as I ended up having it made from scratch and had nothing similar to try on nor had any real idea how it was going to look!

Through a friend I found out about a local amazingly talented dressmaker and all round wonderful lady called Valerie Bannister. She agreed to meet with me to see if she may be able to help and all I had was the picture of this dress and nothing else. And then it all began! Valerie loved the dress as much as me and although she told me it would be a challenge I 100% trusted she would do a perfect job and decided to go with it! I was able to choose the silk and then we had it sent away to be pleated, the skirt was so gorgeously full there was about 25 metres of it! I was able to choose the beads, pearls and crystals and Valerie tirelessly hand sewed to create the beautiful bejeweled sleeves. I loved every second of wearing it!

Shoes And Sticking To Your Guns

Similar to my dress I remember seeing a few years ago a deliciously pretty flower garland and knew if I ever got married I would like one! However, I spent a good couple of months umming and aahing as although I knew I absolutely wanted this I mentioned to a few friends about my plan and they kind of tried to put me off! Only because I think the only picture I had of my dress was very glamourous and Olivia Wilde had a proper updo. I stuck to my guns however and am so happy I did! My flower garland was just lovely and I think so fitting with the country feel of the day but also complimented the glam-ness of my dress!

Although I am definitely a shoe person I found it quite hard to find a ‘perfect wedding shoe’, I didn’t want shoes that were too wedding-y and the ones I really wanted were the cost of a small one bedroom flat. If I had hunted them down I fear I would have had to live off baked beans for the beginnings of married life! So I went for a simple nude satin pair from Kurt Geiger that were actually in the sale! There was a bit of sparkle on the bow just to make them slightly princess-esque.

A Swoony Groom

Oli would happily admit I like to be his Gok Wan! In fact it was only the other day a friend commented on his new pink shorts/denim shirt combo saying that he had become much more stylish since we got married! I think it helps that he generally looks hot stuff in most things (aside from the silver bomber jacket he sported in 1995) so I knew he would be a swoony groom! We took a little day trip to the big smoke to hunt down a Reiss Suit I had seen online and knew would look fantastic. When we saw it gleaming there in Selfridges I loved it, Ol was not convinced! It was “too much” of a colour apparently!

I however was not perturbed and after a few flattering words he had the suit on and of course loved it and purchased immediately! I know he enjoyed wearing it and had many fantastic comments on his brilliant suit!

Collecting Pretty

As with all suppliers we used for our wedding, we wanted to keep it as local as possible. Elworthy Flowers (based in Bedford near to us) was no different and was the perfect choice! I knew I wanted to ask Catherine (owner) to do our flowers as soon as we got engaged! From our first meeting Catherine completely understood the kind of thing I wanted and had a whole ‘mood board’ filled with ideas for me!

I had no preference in terms of colour or bloom but I knew I wanted it to look as though it had all been picked from a beautiful overgrown, huge country garden. Quite a hard task for a florist when your customer likes everything but Catherine made it so simple and easy and a joy! I (and a gaggle of wonderful friends and family) then spent the whole of our engagement collecting jam jars/milk bottles/coke bottles/baked bean tins as I wanted all these to fill the flowers with.

Oli was not convinced of my plan (a baked bean tin with flowers in it?!) but seeing them come to life he realized I was right (again) and we loved it!

Get Lashed

I always knew I wanted to do my own makeup, I am obsessed with eyelashes (my friends will vouch for this) and love a good pair of falsies (always MAC), nearly every day of the week! I have always been a cheap ‘n cheerful kind of girl when it comes to make up however what better excuse to change this than being a bride! So off I went to John Lewis and lovely Bobbi Brown were there to help me with everything I needed. Did you know if you are having photos you should avoid face make up with an SPF? You learn something new every day!

With my hair although I was toying with the idea of wearing it up I knew deep down I would feel more like me wearing it down. I am much more of a ‘hair down’ girl than a ‘fancy updo’ lover and when my Dad told me I should wear my hair down I knew this was the right decision, he would never normally dare comment on such a potentially dangerous girly topic! The girls at Curls Aloud in Olney Town (where we live) were absolutely brilliant. They understood exactly what I wanted and also did my bridesmaids hair too. It can be harder than you think to do hair that you want to look like it isn’t done but they got it! They even stood outside at 1pm when I was leaving the house so as I passed they could wave me off!

Focus On Fun

The truly fabulous Rachel Hudson was our photographer and she was utterly brilliant. We found out about her through one of my lovely bridesmaids and I consider myself lucky that we did! As soon as I had a sneaky peak on her website I instantly knew I wanted her to capture our day. For our wedding we wanted nothing formal with a focus on FUN and Rachel got this straight away. As soon as we met it was like catching up with an old friend. And on our day we were not even aware Rachel or her assistant – only when she offered me her lip gloss as I had left mine in the car! I cannot recommend her enough but I hope our pictures speak for themselves!

Dance Off

As guests walked the 2 minute walk from the church to the marquee Mr Dean Elliott was there to welcome them strumming our favourite tunes. We found Dean through our local village pub (The Cowpers Oak in Weston Underwood) as on special occasions you will find him (on his own or with his band) there doing his musical thang. Alongside being the nicest guy ever he is hugely talented and created the perfect atmosphere for bubbly time! Once we were seated in the main marquee DJ Sammy Nkire was there to entertain us and he certainly did! There was an organized “dance off” before our first dance…need I say more!

A Teenage Dream

Oli and me would both say we have “a song” but it is way too slowmo mushy to put our guests through watching us for three minutes awkwardly on the dance floor! So we went for something fun and silly but that I think sums up our little love story! “Teenage Dream” – Katy Perry.

Country Chic

For decor we had Hay Bales, Bunting, hessian, chalk boards, baked bean tins, bottles, jam jars, hearts, paper pom poms, spotty paper napkins, individually ink stamped luggage label name tags, old frames table plan…”Pick a Prop, Pout & Pose, Pin Your Photo” (Dressing up corner with huge old frame – a big hit)…a countrified shabby chic haven!

There Is No Better Party

All you need is your beau, your Bill (our naughty choccie labrador), your bestest friends and family all in one place. And all there because they love you and want to celebrate with you, there is no better party. Enjoy every second!

Groom – Reiss

Brides Shoes – Kurt Geiger

Brides Hair – Curls Aloud

Photography – Rachel Hudson

Blooms – Elworthy Flowers

Yes. I would like to be sporting some kind of floral crown ASAP please.

Also the blooms in general, you can’t beat a tin wrapped in twine and filled with daisies to create that whole back garden pretty vibe.

Big Lana Love

Charlotte xxx

Author: Charlotte O’Shea
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.

33 thoughts on “I Always Knew.

  1. Love, love, love the dress – might be my dream dress too. Well done to the amazing dressmaker! Definitely the smilest bride ever and loving the groom’s suit, very dapper – women are (usually) right!!!

  2. Oh wow, this is just gorgeous! Love love love the dress. Where did you find your dressmaker? Flowers and decor are lovely and it just looks like such a fun relaxed atmosphere. Congratulaions! x

  3. Hello! Like everyone else I would love to know the name of the dress maker!
    I have been hunting for the orginal Reem Acra Olivia dress! This looks just as amazing!

  4. I too saw the Olivia Wilde pictures and had this exact dress made for my 3 bridesmaids. I think I like them more than my actual wedding dress!! Mines are in grey though, obviously. It’s all about the grey as far as I’m concerned.

  5. Oh, oh, OH, the dress! I seriously want one – those beaded shoulders, the pleating… Just beautiful.

    But why no photos of the naughty chocolate labrador?

    Bloody Mary chicken sounds bloody delicious, yum.

  6. Gorgeous bride & groom and gorgeous pictures 😀
    Just love all the little decorations and obviously love a good ‘photobooth’!

  7. The dress is exquisite isn’t it.

    I’m actually experiencing major dress envy! And flower envy too – Hollie’s bouquet is sublime – don’t even get me started on her amazing floral headpiece.

    To use Charlotte’s catchphrase – I die!

  8. the dress is gorgeois!! very similar shoulder jazzles to my friend’s dress which was Ellis

    (can’t remember the actual dress name/number so this is a fairly pointless comment)

    beautiful bride and total floral crown envy! xxx

  9. I adore every detail of this wedding, thanks so much for sharing it. We have an eclectic mix of jars and tins on the ready to be used for hand picked blooms on our big day and are mixing country chic with wedding festival fun – can’t wait! What a stunning couple, wishing them an abundance of love, laughter and happiness ahead x

  10. Had the same picture of Olivia saved on my computer for years and love the dress but couldn’t afford Reem Acra!

    You look beautiful, your dressmaker did a fantastic job! Congratulations 🙂

  11. That dress! Oh my, it’s beautiful!
    Would it be possible to get contact details for the incredibly talented woman who made the dress?

  12. What a beautiful wedding! Is the suit the ‘Denton’? My fiance is wearing the same one! But there weren’t any waist coats left anywhere in the country 🙁 I don’t suppose you would be interested in selling it Hollie?

  13. Can you please provide contact information for Vallerie Bannister? This, too, is my dream dress and would love to have her make it!

  14. Hi There,

    I too have had a picture of this dress for the last few years and now i finally have the need for it. Could I get the contact details for the dressmaker please please please. I know the original is still available however it’s slightly out of my budget.

    Thanks so much – you look divine

    Lucy x

  15. Your wedding photos are so beautiful!!! I wondered if you had the contact details for your dressmaker Valerie Bannister at all? Many thanks Helen

  16. Congratulations!! That dress is absolutely stunning!!! Who was the dress maker and how can I find her?!
    Thank you!

  17. I loved the feel of this wedding. Hollie and Oli I wish you many happy years together!

    Like every other girl I would love to know the details of the seamstress! I could not believe my luck when I opened this page and saw that someone had my dream dress custom made here in UK! It came out beautifully, I could have sworn it was an original.
    I would love a reply. Pretty please with a cherry on top!

    1. Hi, amazing wedding. Desperately want he Olivia dress bit can’t afford 6k. Please please please can I have the dressmakers details. You look so amazing xx

  18. Hello
    Again it does not look like anyone is responding but if anyone knows the details of dress maker or if Hollie could reply I would be so appreciative. STUNNING dress.

  19. Hiii girls, so I also really wanted to know who made the copy of the dress, so I emailed the photographer, Rachel, who in turn hunted down Hollie’s information and text her asking who it was by! She just messaged me back tonight and said that the lady who made her dress isn’t doing dress making anymore, only alterations and bits and bobs now 🙁 such a shame, but hopefully you can find somebody else local to make it!
    Good luck ladies! X

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