In The Garden Of Roses.

Mr O’Shea and I have three friends weddings to attend this year and another two already in the diary for 2013. Being a W-day blogger in the situation where you are asked for what might be considered your “expertise” on all things “I do” related by those you love has both its high points and its um….scary bits.

The most frequent and all encompassing question being “But Charlotte if you could do your wedding all again knowing what you do now what would you do?”

And there’s the thing. It’s not about what I would do – it’s all about what you want to do and your decisions shouldn’t be clouded by anyone else’s opinions or wishes. And the honest truth is? I wouldn’t change a single darn thing.

Yes I go through weekly phases of wishing I had incorporated X, Y or Z but in the grand scheme of things I had the best day ever – why try and change that?

There are however a few big days floating around the world wide web that make me genuinely go “Yes, if I’d had a day like that I would have been very very happy indeed” and this week I am going to share a few of those with you gorgeous lot.

The first is the timeless and insanely pretty wedding of Rose and Brendan from June 2010 – almost two years ago now. The images originally graced the pages of SMP and it is still one of the most elegant affairs I have ever seen.

There appears to be some misunderstanding that D.I.Y automatically means rustic and that is 100% untrue, there are a huge amount of do-it-yourself elements to this day from the blooms to the stationery to the entertainment, all of which looked as luxe as you like.

The couple invited just eleven guests and managed to bring the inside outside at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Sailsbury Wiltshire. Everything from Rose’s polka dot veil to her nude peep toe Laboutins is absolute Bridal perfection….. all captured beautifully by Marianne Taylor.

Time To Relax

Me and my bridesmaids did our own hair and make up – I had loads of trials with hair and make up people but each time it just didn’t feel right and I just felt too “done” so I decided doing our own would be best as again I wanted to look like me, and it was nice just to relax and get ready with my sister and best friend without having strangers fussing over me.

Chic For Petite

My dress was from Pronovias, Bond Street – the “Estepona”. It was really hard to track down as it was from the 2007 collection but I had to have it!

It was very fitted with a huge train and all made of flocked dotted tulle and cotton lace. I spent ages (years) looking for “the” dress and knew I had to have this one before I tried it on. I absolutely love dotty tulle so the fabric was perfect and it was a good compromise on lace, which I absolutely love, but when I’d tried lace dresses they felt a bit “old” on me. I think what completely sold it to me though was the grosgrain bows all down the back – I love rouleaux loops and buttons but why have buttons when you can have bows!

I knew I needed something really fitted as I am really small but I wanted the drama of something a bit giant as I knew my husband was expecting me in a very plain dress (not sure why as he knows I like to dress up!).

I absolutely loved my dress as it made me feel like a proper bride, but also felt really fun to wear. We altered it a bit as it was meant to have a halter neck (but I’m too small to carry off the straps) and we took some of the detailing off the bust as again it was a bit too fussy for my tiny frame.

Matt Maids

I bought our bridesmaids dresses from Topshop too as we didn’t want anything too “shiny” and made net underskirts to go under them to puff them out a bit, and I made their fascinators myself with millinery supplies I bought online.

Polka Dotted

I had a beautiful matching full length dotted tulle veil from Pronovias to match my dress. That was it really – I wanted a veil to make sure I felt like a bride (and when else do you get to wear one!) but I wanted my hair pretty normal then I would look like me.

The only extra thing I wore were my diamond earrings for a bit of sparkle and a tiny silver ring my mum gave me from when she was small which I wore as my something old.


Brendan wore a lovely skinny suit from Topman with a black bow tie and gorgeous shoes from River Island (they had beautiful roses carved into the leather of the soles which was a nice hidden detail). We wanted the men in a black tie look rather than morning suits as we thought this played really nicely on the theme of the day as we wanted to create a real inside outside feel – like a vintage 1940s tea dance that had come through time and ended up in a garden.

A friend described the chaps look as a bit James Bond at a garden party which I think summed it up well. Brendan looked extremely handsome!

DIY Looms

We went for Peonies, Hydrangeas, Spray Roses, Stocks and Lisianthus – all beautiful in season garden flowers to match the venue and because I love traditional flowers.

We ordered the flowers from our local market and bought them to the venue in buckets the day before. My bridesmaids and me made our bouquets and the buttonholes the night before the wedding, and then mum did all the fabulous arrangements at the venue in the morning before the wedding. We went for all white flowers with a tiny hint of pink to lift my dress and bought a bit of pale green into the palette to ground the colours with the pears we had as part of the decoration.

Mum’s The Word

We organized the chair covers through the venue and they put on the wonderful food but the rest we bought up ourselves.

Mum and I had many a “dress rehearsal” planning how we wanted the tables and what we needed and we spent months collecting vintage tea sets and cut glass from charity shops and antiques fairs as we knew the cut glass would look really nice and sparkly outside in the sunlight.

I love tradition and I’m a designer so details are my thing – I wanted it to look like beautiful formal decorative interior items had been bought outside and left to age, so everything’s a little distressed from the elements but still beautiful.

We collected the mercury glass in the run up to the wedding from various places – the silvered glass looked like it had been worn away with sun and rain and really helped with the feel of inside outside.

The chandelier candelabras I found on eBay which were a bargain. And I made all our tablecloths and linens and designed and made all our stationery and the paper goods for the table decorations (my wedding / paper goods website is

Mum did a wonderful job on the morning getting everything set up and beautiful (although she told me afterwards that she had only just removed her pinny and put the last boxes away before my car arrived so it was good timing!).

An Eye For Pretty

We booked the fabulous Marianne Taylor for our wedding after searching for the “right” photographer for over a year. I had a really clear vision of the type of photography I wanted but I couldn’t find anyone based in the UK that could do what I wanted – until I found Marianne. Her work is absolutely amazing and embodied exactly what we were looking for to capture our day and more. She has an eye for “pretty” and captured the whole story of our day in detail.

Marianne was absolutely lovely to have around and we couldn’t be more delighted with our photos!

5 Inches And Up

In the end I went for nude patent platform Louboutins. These were actually the 4th pair of shoes I bought for the wedding (don’t tell the husband)! I’m so fussy but these were really gorgeous and even with a 5 inch heel they were comfy all day even running for photos!

Garden Games

As our wedding was just a day event we just had music we chose played from an iPod from the singing theatre in the gardens, as the acoustics were amazing. Instead of music and dancing we had croquet and badminton for before afternoon tea!

Heart Shaped Gifts

We had Charbonnel & Walker Pink Marc de Champagne Truffles in the tiny heart boxes for favours. I’m a sucker for the packaging and of course they are completely delicious!

Supermarket Sweet

We ordered a plain white fruitcake from the fabulous “Asda” then bought a vintage cake topper from eBay. It was a normal fruitcake with marzipan and was very delicious for under £20! (It’s a great way to save money with a bit of imagination and it really was very tasty….)

Just Us

I think our wedding was just so special to us as we stuck to our guns and had exactly the day we wanted. We wanted the day to be exquisite but didn’t want to feel like we were putting on a big performance for hundreds of people and wanted to make sure we got the spend the day with each other rather than entertaining. So we had just 11 guests; our parents and siblings and it just made for the most wonderful day. The weather was absolutely gorgeous so we got to have our dream of spending the day outside, and when all the guests left in the evening we went out for a lovely meal together as man and wife. It was just so special to have that time together, just us, on our wedding day.

I would tell everyone to remember what the day is about and just to make sure they have exactly the day they want rather than worrying about everyone else – its so nice to be able to look back and think I still wouldn’t change anything now and it goes so fast so take in every moment (and make sure you have a fantastic photographer to capture everything, then it’s all there in pictures for ever after you to re-live and bask in the happiness!).

Brides Gown – Pronovias

Maids Dresses – Topshop

Grooms Suit – Topman

Venue – Larmer Tree Gardens

Stationery – Rose and Ruby Paper

Photographer – Marianne Taylor

Yep. All this was created with a bit of imagination and a whole lot of love.

So I guess you could say that is exactly what I would do….all over again.

Big Rose Is My Long Term Girl Crush Love

Charlotte xxx

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

38 thoughts on “In The Garden Of Roses.

  1. Oh my God… I haven’t been this excited over a wedding in ages!

    AND I’ve only just skimmed the pictures as I’m in work (shh!), but I’ll come back later for a proper perv with some (homemade) chocolate orange cake and a cup of tea.


  2. Wow- I absolutely love this Blog. I myself has begun my own and have been looking for inspiration. I am a wedding florist and have recently closed my shop to focus purely on Wedding Freelance work. I am always looking for inspiration and love the fact that following you on Facebook has indeed led to me being kept up to date with your BLOG.

    The depth you go into with your Blogs is exceptional and really helps to tell a story.

    thanks for such an interesting read

    Sarah x

  3. I want to play badminton in my wedding dress!! What a whole heap of gorgeousness. Beautiful beautiful beautiful

  4. Wow it’s like a vogue spread, absolutely stunning. There is so much pretty, I have a major crush on this wedding xx

  5. I remember this wedding from SMP, is one of only 3 I have ‘saved’ on the site. I read this and wanted the estepona gown ( big hips put a stop to that) and everything else haha! Absolutely stunning and super stylish. Badminton?…yes please!

  6. I absolutely love this wedding! Just perfect. The Larmer Tree is every bit as stunning as it looks in the photos. On the subject of ‘if I did it again’ We so nearly picked this as our venue…
    Damn my mother’s (very sensible) query: ‘Yes, but what happens if it rains?’

  7. I’m so happy you posted this! My dress is a pronovias and is similar and you have reminded me how much I love it!!! (And it came into the shop yesterday so i have my fittings booked in now!!)
    Rachie xo

  8. Shuck-a-lucks! That is some wedding isn’t it!

    It looks like it is in Italy, not Sailsbury…!

    And I am so jealous of her eleven guests…eleven guests and a small and chic, glamorous wedding would be my DREAM.

    But as I was never originally that bothered about getting married (“We have a mortgage, I’m good babe”) and the Big C had his heart set on ‘tradition and trimmings’ I capitulated and now seem to have something of a beast on my hands…

    Any advice on how to ‘scale back’ after the invites have gone out?!

    P.S. I freaking love a grosgrain bow. So much so that I have a grosgrain ribbon wrapped round my cereal bowl at work. Is that weird?


  9. I will definitely second your girl crush…she is absolutely beautiful. If I look half as good as this on my wedding day I will be thrilled!

  10. Everything about this wedding is totally dreamy…. and made much much more exciting by the fact we will be there in 18 days saying ‘I do’……eek!! xx

  11. This is one of my all time faves too, I remember when I first saw it on Marianne’s blog I was in total awe! I’m sure I posted a link to it in on a previous wedding post on this site xx

  12. I saw this wedding a while back in You & Your Wedding magazine and swooned over it even then. In fact I cut some pictures out for my scrapbook! I LOVE this wedding and think it’s so stylish 🙂 Now off to take a look at the website…

    Wedding Sparrow

  13. Oh my word….
    I had never thought to just have a day wedding but this makes me think twice!

    On the subject of venues, does anyone have any recommendations for oxfordshire/wiltshire/cotswolds?


  14. @Charlotte oh nooo- my RMW obsession is already at full on fever pitch, now you show me Style Me Pretty too? I can hear my free time tinkling off down a vortex ( a lovely, sparkly, pearl covered vortex- hurrah!) xx

  15. Oh my…

    1. The Bride. She’s so pretty my eyes hurt. And – such. shiny. hair.
    2. The flowers. Just gorgeous!!
    3. The shoes. I need me some of those bad boys.
    4. The pears. Super, super cool.

    All looks totally dreamy.

    Off to waste my afternoon away looking at SMP…

  16. This wedding is soooooo gorgeous! A study in understated pretty lightness! Also loving the size – but am super biased as we are only having 14 at ours – small weddings rock! 🙂
    Also I need those shoes in my life!

  17. Oh my goodness. I love this wedding! Rachie, isn’t this decor a little bit like the mood board you did for me for my wedding….?!

    Now, where can I get me enough mercuried candle holders for 12 tables…..? If anyone knows anywhere south west based that hire them out let me know please!


  18. I remember seeing this one before and thought it was great. But now looking back over the pictures, the only thing I can look at is that they

    MISSPELLED DESSERTS as deserts… eeeek. As an editor that would haunt me

  19. I just love this wedding. I was googling images of Larmer Tree and this cropped up, which is how I first came across Marianne’s work. Needless to say I’m now a huge fan.
    This is one of my all time favourite weddings and if I could do it all over again it would almost definitely be in this venue. There is such a sense of magic about the place, added to the fact that it’s so intimate with just eleven guests. Wow. Breath taking.

  20. @Pamela – I think you and I may have similar predicaments, I was hoping for a city-centre wedding on this sort of scale but my lorry driver has an obsession with doing it ‘properly’ – pair that with two Liverpudlian mums with giant families and we’re having a Big Fat Scouse Wedding. This feature has just made me yearn so much! I’m enjoying those pear placeholders, wonder what fruit is in season in February?!x

  21. @Lou, and Pamela, I too was hoping for a small and tasteful affair, and have ended up with 130 day guests and a further 40 evening guests, many of whom I’ll soon be related to but who I’ve never even set eyes on. Big Fat Manc Wedding is happening at a rather lovely venue off the beaten track though…so maybe some of them won’t be able to find it…;-)

  22. @Lou, and Pamela, I too was hoping for a small and tasteful affair, and have ended up with 130 guests, at least 20 of whom I’ve never even set eyes on. Big Fat Manc Wedding is happening at a rather lovely venue off the beaten track though…so maybe some of them won’t be able to find it…;-)

  23. @Louise – Commiserations, the things we do for our menfolk! I hadn’t thought of the possibility of guests getting lost but here’s hoping!x

  24. Wow ladies, you really are all too kind! Making me blush!
    Charlotte / RockMyWedding what can I say – thank you for such a lovely lovely piece. We’re blown away! And as ever, thank you Marianne for such truly amazing photos! x

  25. omg, WOOOOWSER dress, think i must have swooned over this pic a few times, the bridal hair, perfect, the gown… I want one! I am now off to scour the internet for the said gown or one similar to fit my ineee weeny frame too!

  26. This has always been one of my favourite blogged weddings, thank you for reminding me of that. Right, shall I just wait and do this for my second wedding or hope that 70% of my guests come down with flu in the next mont? 😉 he he

  27. Your wedding was absolutely stunning! So unique and the colour schemes worked so well.

    Your make-up looked flawless, i just wondered if you had a make-up artist do it for you or did it yourself?

  28. Thank you so much Tam!
    Make up was completely DIY although I did get a few great tips before hand from the Lancome lady and used my secret weapon – a stippling brush (my one is from Real Techniques) which has literally changed my life!
    It makes your skin look airbrushed everyday!
    Hope thats helpful!
    (There’s some fab videos showing how to use it on the Real Techniques website..)

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