The Princess And The Soldier.

Claudia Rose Carter Photography

It’s always a real treat to blog a wedding by Claudia Rose Carter; she’s adept at capturing, for eternity, those sacred, intimate exchanges that could so easily be lost – a blink and you miss it kodak moment if you like. Instead she records them with such love, such care that you almost feel as if you’ve keen granted a privileged peep into someone else’s world for a short while.

One of those worlds is of Christopher and Alexandra, also affectionately known as Louie & Shep respectively and their big day and folks trust me when I say that there are plenty of kodak moments in this little beauty.

There’s the morning cup of tea with the girls – the last as a single lady, the blissful confetti moment filled to the brim with post-wedding elation, the youthful high fives with the boys and then there’s ‘the one’ where Louie sweeps Shep back into his arms.

Trust me when you see it you’ll just know; it made my heart melt.

Well what are we waiting for, let’s get going…

Claudia Rose Carter Wedding Photography

Northbrook Park

Shep the Bride: We chose the 18th century Northbrook Park venue because of the setting; the grade II listed estate is set in acres of green fields with beautiful walled gardens full of lavender and rosemary bushes. When we first came to view the venue it was in the Summer so all the flowers were in full bloom and it looked and smelt amazing, and they have wild peacocks!

Claudia Rose Carter Wedding Photography

The venue unusually had the option of two rooms for both the ceremony and reception. The Vine Room, a white, light filled marble room was a perfect setting for the formal part of the day and the Orangery with exposed brick walls with trailing ivy and white tented ceilings provided the ideal informal setting for the reception. By having the two rooms the day was a seamless transition from Vine room, to the gardens for the champagne reception, to the Orangery.

Claudia Rose Carter Wedding Photography

Soft And Natural

I had decided from an early stage I wanted a 1920s inspired headpiece so when the veil was off there was still something going on, I chose a Jenny Packham head piece called Acacia II but rather than buy it for £480, I rented it for a week for £60 from Elegant Wedding Creations.

Claudia Rose Carter Wedding Photographer

It made much more sense as I would never wear it again! This was worn with a simple updo based on a style Kate Middleton had worn, it was important that it didn’t look too finished or prom-like to keep it soft. My bridesmaids all have beautiful thick hair so we went for a mixture of hair down; some curls, waves or kept natural. It was important to me they felt happy with their hair so gave them a pretty loose rein.

Dakota Wedding Dress Bridal Gown Enzoani

Make-up was initially a disaster, we had several trial sessions at Benefit makeup and all ended up looking like drag queens! I decided I would do my own as Louie was used to seeing me the way I apply it, so I wanted him to recognise his bride! I went for a natural base with heavier eyes and tried to keep it looking healthy with a glow, rather than an evening look.

Northbrook Park Wedding Venue Surrey


The dress was Dakota by Enzoani which I bought at JS Couture off Oxford St, London. I am very picky with all things bridal and had seen more dresses I hated than I liked in the magazines. After trawling the internet I saw the Dakota dress and was the first one I loved, it was the first I tried on and knew it was the dress!

Northbrook Park Wedding Venue Listed Mansion Surrey

It was a classic sweetheart neckline with a tight body into a dramatic fishtail hem. The lace was inspired by early 20th century French lace so was thicker than the usual lace you see all the time. I loved the dramatic silhouette it gave me and thought it had as much impact as a ‘princess dress’ without being too Disney. Louie being in the Royal Artillery was in military dress on the day so it was important to have a timeless dress that would match the heritage of his uniform.

Jim Hjelm Grey Bridesmaid Dresses

My shoes were a bargain from Vera Wang on a shopping trip to NYC to visit one of my bridesmaids, Courtney, who was living out there. They were charcoal satin sandals with a jewelled strap to match the design of the Jenny Packham headpiece. The veil was a cathedral length with tiny crystals for a subtle shimmer as we came down the aisle.

Claudia Rose Carter Photography

Guys And Gals

We had four bridesmaids, Heather – my maid of honour and my oldest friend (we met at school aged 6), Isabelle my little sister, Gaynor a very close friend, and Courtney my best friend from University. They all wore dresses from Jim Hjelm – a beautiful dove grey floor length chiffon dress which was ruched at the bust with a single strap over the shoulder.

Dakota Wedding Dress Enzoani

The groomsmen were Louie’s two brothers Nick and Jamie, Ben, Will, James and Jamie (best man) were all best friends at school. To tie in with Louie’s blue uniform they all wore navy morning suits with a dove grey waistcoat and a royal blue polka dot tie.

Being a military wedding we also had a Guard of Honour of six men, traditionally there to ‘protect the wedding day’. Each of these guys wore the uniform from their regiment with a hat, white gloves and silver sword.

Nursery Fresh Wedding Florist

Silver, Grey And Cream

To keep the day classy, the colour scheme was various tones of silvers, greys and creams. I really hate the cookie cutter ‘colour theme’ approach where everything is the exact same tone of a colour and thought it much fresher to have differing tones of a neutral palette.

Gypsophila Wedding Bouquet Northbrook Park Wedding Venue

Flowers again were kept to volumes of the same flower to give it both impact and a contemporary twist. My bouquet was white anemones; they look a bit like white poppies with a navy/black centre. The girls had white ranunculus which looked beautiful against their dresses. All of our other floral decorations such as the table centres, the podiums along the aisle and above the fireplace were Gypsophila. The delicate size of the flowers looked great in volumes and created a cloud like puff of flowers which worked so well. We had a florist called Nursery Fresh do these for us.

Modern Wedding Decor Grey Silver Colour Scheme

Crazy Love

The best part was the vows as we had waited over a year to say them and it really had such sentiment and meaning. The 3 readings were read by my close friend Francesca, my brother Patrick and Louie’s brother Nick. We chose a mixture of sentimental, funny and optimistic.The first one was An Indian Wedding Blessing, then I’ll be There for you by Louise Cuddon and finished with These are the Hands.

Claudia Rose Carter Wedding Photography

We had a band called Academy Allstars – they were great and had a male and female lead singer so could tailor any song we asked for. We had Van Morrison Crazy Love as our first dance, it is a classic song and had a slow enough beat for us to dance to!

Anemone Inspired Wedding Cake

An Edible Feast

The food was an important factor for Louie so we didn’t scrimp in this area. We had a selection of European style canapés to be served with the champagne followed by a three course meal of red onion and gorgonzola tartlet, butterflied lamb with pesto mash and spring vegetables and lemon tart with a vanilla clotted cream. This was all provided by So Tasty.

Romantic Wedding Portraits Dakota Dress

Family Bakers

The wedding cake was a wonderful gift from my mother in law Jenny and Nick’s girlfriend Charlie who are both excellent bakers. In the past I had seen lots of cake designs all of which didn’t resemble something edible – the hard icing didn’t seem very appealing or tasty. We wanted the look of a delicious homemade cake.

Northbrook Park Wedding Surrey

We went for a simple sponge with lemon and vanilla creams running through alternate layers of the sponge. They create a four tier cake with vanilla butter icing slathered on and finished with tumbling icing Anemones to match my bouquet. It looked and tasted so beautiful we were very happy! For favours we had grey sparklers and our photographer Claudia Rose Carter got some great pictures of us with them outside.

Military Wedding Surrey

Setting The Scene

Being a designer the initial look of the wedding invitation was quite important in telling our guests what they could expect. A pet hate of mine is heavily scripted fonts for wedding invitations so we went for an invite style which looked more like an exhibition invitation and was quite masculine. A graphic designer I work with helped me design a set of stationery, which was monochromatic, masculine and chic; it was a nice and unexpected contrast to all the very feminine elements of a wedding.

Wedding Band Surrey Academy Allstars

One Last Thing

Try to remember the day as it flies by.

We also booked a photobooth which was fantastic to put people at ease and also get a more ‘real’ version of the day once people have let loose!

Academy Allstars Wedding Band Surrey

Click here & view all images from this wedding

Venue – Northbrook Park
Dress – Dakota by Enzoani
Boutique – JS Couture
Headpiece – Jenny Packham from Elegant Wedding Creations
Maids – Jim Hjelm
Florist Nursery Fresh
Band – Academy Allstars
Catering – So Tasty
Photography – Claudia Rose Carter

You loved it right?

Who am I trying to kid, of course you did.

Doesn’t Shep’s dress look like it was made for her – a real life princess marrying her beau. And I adore the idea of sparklers for favours – perfect for evening portrait shots and general high jinks.

Here’s to your happy ever after you two.

All my love Lolly xxx

Author: Lauren Gautier-Ollerenshaw
Lolly is a self-professed frustrated florist and styling maven with an endless passion for all things pretty.

24 thoughts on “The Princess And The Soldier.

  1. Wow. This is so elegant and pretty – Loving the blue of the BM’s dresses, it’s very unusual, It’s all a bit like a fairytale isn’t it?

    Charlotte xxx

  2. Stunning wedding – that dress is gorgeous! I’m getting married at Northbrook in a few weeks, this has got me very excited! Did you get ready in the cottages there?

  3. I’m completely smitten with this wedding. The flowers. The dress. The Bridesmaids. The uniforms. The cake. And THAT sweeping moment… Perfection x

  4. Love how natural these photos are, feels like I’m peering through the window and spying on the day! Like beautiful glimpses of a secret event.

    Makes me very excited as Claudia has just photographed a wedding with our ‘LOVE’ letters in.

    As for that dress – stunning @Lolly you’re right looks like it was made for her!

  5. Oohhh – Claudia’s work always catches my eye – saw the wee preview on FB and had to come look at the blog – SO SO SO beautiful, the whole day looks so gorgeous – love the happiness and love you have seen, and captured so beautifully x Congratulations to the newly weds xx

  6. This makes my heart sing. Lolly, what beautiful things you’ve written about my work. Thank you so much. Louie & Shep were an absolute pleasure to work with and I’m so happy that this captures their day as they saw it.

    Yay RMW!!! xx

  7. Holy moly! Alexandra’s figure in that dress is incredible!!!! And those bridesmaid dresses are absolutely beautiful. Really elegant but also a little bit different. x

  8. I just wept buckets looking through this storybook – and I am the bride’s father! It was an amazing day, beautifully captured in Claudia’s images and Alex’s words. Northbrook looked after us really well and could not have been more helpful. Having so many of us staying overnight in the lodges was brilliant, and meant we did not have to worry about driving home (we only live 3 miles away). Alex forgot to mention the three brilliant speeches though!

  9. The dresses… the dresses!!! what a wonderful wedding the brides dress couldnt have been more perfect for her and those bridesmaids dresses. Perfect.

  10. I LOVED everything about this wedding, absolutely gorgeous! I would love to know the style number of the bridesmaids dress if possible. I know that they are Jim Hjelm, but I can’t find them on the website. Help please?!

  11. Our lovely bride Alex and girls and looked out of this world!!!!
    It was a real pleasure meeting you and all your bridal party. Its nice to know that JS Couture had a little help in making this wedding beautiful and classic, yet vintage and sophisticated!!! We do feel like bridal fairies:)

    Good luck to happy couple!!!!

    Giedre & Jessie @ JS Couture

  12. I’m getting married next September and I’m so excited!!! What A beautiful wedding 🙂 is this dakota dress in Ivory or white? I’m having difficulty on choosing what colour to have…. Beautiful dress! x

  13. What a wonderful wedding, the attention to detail is amazing and so wonderfully put together. The dresses are superb. I’m trying to find the bridesmaids dresses, do you know where they were purchased?

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