Realise Your Fairytale.

This is the uber elegant wedding of RMW reader Jessica and her husband Gavin. Not only does Jessica have all kinds of ballerina over-sized bun action going on (loves) but she also opted for a simple and beautiful full-skirted gown and the loveliest lily of the valley bouquet…the ultimate fairytale princess as it were.

And you know that whole “To veil or not to veil” fandango? well, this is why I guess lots of brides just can’t resist a full cathedral length number – to achieve images like some of these.

Oh and there is some awesome bridesmaid statement neck candy too.

The happy couple were married at Gaynes Park in Epping in Decemeber 2011, enjoy the pretty folks.

Make A Statement

I always wear my hair down but on the big day I wanted to look a bit different and also Gavin loves it when I wear my hair up so I went for a big statement bun (again the height issue meant I couldn’t have it on top of my head as I would have liked).

My Make up was perfectly done by Katy. I love make up and love doing my own make up but am useless at making it stay put for more than an hour. I got in touch with Katy through RMW and was so pleased that I didn’t have to touch up my make up once throughout the day (and I cried ALOT) except my lip gloss. I wanted the look to be natural with lashes and it was!

My nails were Hollywood red- I never have French manicured nails so didn’t want them on day. With my dress being quite 50s inspired the red suited it perfectly (and as they were shellac they lasted the whole of the honeymoon too!)

Pearly Queen

I always knew that I wanted a long veil and as my dress was so simple I chose a veil with diamantes that picked up the light and made it twinkle but not excessively so. My tiara was a bespoke design by Julia Beazley which incorporated my something old (vintage broaches from the 20’s and 50’s) on a pearl headband. For my jewellery I stuck with what I know (I’m never without my pearls!) which were a present from my parents the previous Christmas and saved for the day.


My dress was by Justin Alexander and from our local bridal shop in Bexleyheath, Bella More. I was very lucky to meet the designer of the dress in person and even have a sketch of me in it! I really thought I was a cream lace, vintage kind of bride. After trying on 3 of them they just weren’t right. When I tried on ‘my’ dress I cried. I’m not a crier and so knew it was ‘the’ dress. I have quite simple tastes and it was the simplicity (and also the big bow on the back) that made it a winner! Everyone said it was completely different to what they imagined I’d go for as well.

The Valley Of Lillies

My dream has always to have lily of the valley as my bridal bouquet and seen as I was about to become Mrs Lilley it was a must. The problem was having the flower of May in December but the amazing Stacey at Designer Flowers not only got them for me but made the most simply perfect bouquet I had dreamed of. I borrowed one of my Nan’s broaches and had the ivory ribbon hanging down rather than just tied around it.

The button holes were all calla lilies but varied slightly. Some had berries and some two calla lilies. Gavin’s had lily of the valley on as well so on the day only us two had that flower.

The bridesmaids bouquets were a mix of calla lilies, anenomes and peach roses with the black ribbon hanging down like with my bouquet. They were beautiful. The same flowers were used in the big flower arrangements which flagged the ceremony table.

A Modern Twist

We decided early on that the groomsmen wouldn’t wear morning suits as it just wasn’t us. They wore black 3 piece suits from marks and spencer with a grey tie from Tie Rack to match the bridesmaid dresses.

When it came to bridesmaid dresses I originally wanted ivory but just couldn’t find one that would work for all of the girls. Then one day I walked into Monsoon and there was the dress! Not ivory but a light grey that had a 50s feel but with a modern twist. One of We added a black sash and the girls wore statement black, silver and pearl necklaces from Coast.

Gavin very rarely wears a suit so it was big deal for him to wear the perfect one on the day. He wanted to stand out from the rest of the wedding party so went for a charcoal grey suit which was made just for him by A Suit that Fits. He topped it off with a pocket watch which was a wedding gift from his parents.

I knew what the suit looked like but we decided I wouldn’t see Gavin in it until I walked up the aisle. I can honestly say I’ve never seen him look so smart and gorgeous. Cue the tears (again!)…


Our photographer was David Jones based in Dulwich. He photographed our friends wedding the previous year and after seeing all of their photos and how well their day had been captured we knew we wanted David and his assistant Lucy to photograph our wedding. We wanted reportage style photography as Gavin is a bit ‘Chandler from Friends’ when it comes to a posed smile. The pictures were just perfect and everything we wanted and more.

Love Light

We had Mike Georgiades play for the ceremony and throughout the drinks reception and wedding breakfast. We really wanted an acoustic guitarist that played both modern and classical songs that was a perfect background to the day. We had loads of amazing comments about how relaxed the music made our guests feel.

In the evening Lovelight provided some amazing lighting of the venue and also a great mix of music for all of our guests including an old school garage set for those of us who would have been found at a garage club ten years ago….

Stay Together

Our first dance was Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together. It’s always been our song but neither of us really knows why! Being a dance teacher I think our guests expected me to have choreographed a routine but we kept it simple (even if we did have a little practise in our living room!)

The Perfect Picture

Early on I wanted little frames as favours that the guests could take home and put a picture of them in to remind them of our day and would double as their place name cards on the day. After nearly giving up home I found the perfect ones from Kate Aspen. Our guests were really pleased that they got to keep their frames and we didn’t have any left at the end of the night. We surprised our guests with a photo booth in the evening so they had a great picture to go in their frames!


I will be the first to admit I got a little obsessed with decor in the lead up to our wedding and in particular frames! As well as frames for the favours, frames (mini frames in a huge frame) for the table plan, table name frames and quotes in frames it all got a bit frame tastic! But they did all look great…

My bridesmaids and I hung long lengths of peach, ivory, dark grey and light grey ribbons to the trees that framed the garden aisle and the wind on the day made them look so pretty. We also used the same ribbons on the backs of our chairs and to decorate the Christmas tree with bows. We hung hearts and glass bauble tea light holders all over the Orangery where the ceremony was held and tea lights all along the back wall.

For the wedding breakfast we moved across to the Mill Barn where the theme changed from ribbons to candelabras. Each table had a black candelabra draped in pearls and the tables were named after varieties of lily’s. The Menu’s were designed by Abbey at Sugalily who was the one to help us set the peach and black theme in the first place with our bespoke peach and black invitations that really did stand out from the crowd.

The Fairytale

When we started planning our wedding I saw a quote that really stuck in my mind (and was framed on the day!)

‘Once in a while, right in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale’

Gavin and I are normal people- we work hard, we have great friends and family and most importantly we have each other. On our wedding day we wanted the fairytale. I wanted my lily of the valley bouquet, Gavin wanted his made to measure suit. I wanted ribbons in the trees and Gavin wanted lots of alcohol! We wanted our guests to have as much fun on our day as we did and for our wedding to be relaxed and intimate with great food, great friends and lots of fun and that is the day we got. Smiles didn’t leave our faces all day (even through the tears) and my one piece of advice would be to have your fairytale wedding. It is about you and your new husband/wife and the day that you always dreamed of. Enjoy every moment because it all goes so fast.

Realise your fairytale!

Photography: David Jones

Venue:Gaynes Park

Make-Up:by Katy

Brides Gown: Justin Alexander at Bella More

Grooms Suit: A Suit That Fits

Blooms: Stacey at Designer Flowers

Favours: Kate Aspen

Ribbons….I love them.

Especially when draped along tree branches and on the backs of chairs. And how chic is the peach, ivory and grey colour scheme?


Big Today RMW Are Going On A Road Trip That Involves Amongst Other Activities, Picking Up Three Retro Hoovers From A Man Named Bill….. Love

Charlotte xxx

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

18 thoughts on “Realise Your Fairytale.

  1. Ahh…I knew I would love this Wedding, I started having palpatations when I read full skirted fairytale and over-sized bun! This makes me so excited to wear my cathedral length sparkly veil! Eek! Jessica you looked gorgeous and I am sooo having that hair!! True ballerina princess hair! Xxxx

  2. Ahhh, I recognise Jessica from school! She was a couple of years above me. I laughed about the old school garage set- my other half wants one as well. Must be a Bexleyheath thing!

    You looked beautiful Jess- a gorgeous, chic wedding and I love the ribbons! Xx

  3. Oh my gosh, I have been so excited to see this feature as I was away when Jessica and Gavin were married. I wasn’t at all disappointed, except that I didn’t get to see everything in real life as well! What a beautiful wedding and oh my, Jessica looked stunning. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!

  4. Definitely having peach and grey now 🙂 can I ask where you sourced all the ribbons? and how did you get them ready on the chairs and trees, was it in the morning or the night before? sorry for all the questions! Thanks x

  5. Claire-How exciting you are going to feel a million $’s in that dress! I want to wear it again!!x
    PrincessBride-It’s ALL about the over sized bun…especially as I teach ballet for a living!!x
    Sama-HELLO!! What a small world…I hope you are well? I’m guessing you will be getting wed soon? I’m so excited for you xx
    Liselle-Words will never be big enough to describe how wonderful Gaynes park is-totally our dream venue. Thank you so much xx
    LouiseT- We put up the ribbons the day before-it took a while but was well worth it! I ordered all of my ribbons online after working out how many metres I would need (alot!) I always had this thing about peach and grey and I have no idea why-that all came together only a couple of months before as well. Enjoy the ribbons!x

  6. My sister had this dress and its beautiful! I love this wedding especially the ribbons on chairs and the stationery. The colour palate is also gorgeous!

    I adore the veils shots – i’m having one too!
    Rachie xo

  7. Hey Jessica…We’re getting married at Gaynes this August and were actually at the venue on the morning of your wedding for a tasting session. We absolutely loved your decor in the Mill Barn, especially the suitcases for the card table. We’ve spent hours on eBay since looking for a vintage suitcase set as nice as the one you had but are struggling to find anything that looks this good….would you mind letting me know where you got them from? Did you hire or buy? Thanks, Denise. Love the photos by the way..Gaynes is such a great venue, we cannot wait for our big day there!

  8. Oh this is truely gorgeous! Jess, could you let me know which Justin Alexander number your dress is? It’s beautiful and might be the one to help aid my dress wobbles! xx

  9. Ribbon love!

    Also, total envy of the gorgeous peaches and cream complexions of the bride and all her bridesmaids! x

  10. Jessica – you have the MOST amazing back! Please may I borrow it for my wedding? 😉

    Seriously though, you look fab-u-lous! That bun is all manner of awesome!

    Loving the veil too and that quotation is lovely – I’m running out of space at the wedding for all these lovely quotations I keep hearing/seeing!! 🙂

  11. MrsA-to-be- Thank you so much!! I also got a bit quote mad before the big day…was even thinking about giving everyone a quote at their place but couldn’t have dealt with more frames!!x
    Rachie- Is it the little black frames that you mean? If so they were from Kate Aspen online and they come in white as well. We didn’t have any of them left over-every single person took theirs home which made me very happy! The bigger frames for the table names were from paperchase!x
    Karen-Thank you so much…I still have huge ribbon love 4 months later, hehe x
    Lucia- The dress is Justin Alexander 8502. I hope you ease those wobbles soon x
    Marine-Thank you so much, your comment has literally made my day x
    Denise- I can’t believe you were at Gaynes the morning of our wedding, how funny!! The suitcases are actually a friends and she picked them up at a car boot fair I think and they weren’t overly expensive. I was in Rye recently though and saw very similar ones in one of the junk/antique shops there and I know Hastings have lots of similar shops so they might be your best bet. You’re going to have an absolutely amazing day at Gaynes…I wish we could do it all again!! x

  12. oh my goodness I don’t know how I missed this!

    Beautiful pictures..

    With my hand on my heart, Jess is one of my all time favourite clients, an absolute pleasure from start to finish…from moodboard to proof, printing and delivery… one of those totally seamless and thoroughly enjoyable design briefs..

    I love that we were a small part of her and Gavin’s beautiful day.

    Lots of love, Abbey xx

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