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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 www.roseandrubypaperco.com)

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