The Secret Of Winter.


This year I’ve had the pleasure of attending two friend’s “winter” weddings, styled and planned around the inevitability that it will be chilly, the very real possibility it will rain…and hell, based on recent years maybe even snow.

As a bride there is some comfort in the inevitable I think, I know when I was planning my own end-of-May day it was very much a case of making a lot of plan B’s should Mother Nature decide to not bless us with blue skies and sunshine.

To get the best of both worlds then I guess you could aim for both, a secret ceremony in Sydney Australia and the opportunity to experience re-living some of those intimate moments in the frosty folds of the Peak District.

This is exactly what RMW reader Sophie and her husband Matt did last year, and as you know – I love something W-day that’s a bit unusual, especially when paired with a beautifully written account.

And this folks is beautifully written.

Besides, who can resist a bride in mittens?! Seriously, these should be the new accessory du jour.

And for all of you October through February brides out there, I have some wee questions at the end of this post that I wouldn’t mind you dropping me a response on in the comments section when you have a minute.


Sophie The Bride: When Matt and I decided to get married we knew from the start that we wanted something relaxed, intimate and fun. We also had a serious case of itchy feet, so when we were finally able to take a month off to fulfill our long-held dream of travelling around Australia we decided to combine the trip with a small and very secret wedding.

We got hitched on the shores of Sydney Harbour opposite the Opera House, on Halloween (our 9th anniversary) before celebrating with two friends who were in on the secret, plenty of bubbles and dinner overlooking Bondi beach.

We were still on a high when we got back to winter in the North. We hadn’t had a professional photographer on the day, so when my friend Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers suggested a post-wedding shoot as a way of capturing some special keepsake photographs we could treasure we knew she was on to something.


It sounds strange as someone who chose to get married in sun-drenched Sydney, but I’ve always loved winter, especially the crunchy frosts and twinkling lights of Christmas. We also thought it would be lovely to have some wintery shots as a contrast to our summery wedding day ones. So we opted to organise the shoot quickly and make the most of the season.

We decided to brave the bracing weather and shoot in the Peak District. Matt hails from Derbyshire and as we met and now live in Sheffield it’s a part of the world we love spending time in, so it meant a lot to us. As a massive book-geek it also appealed as part of my favourite book Jane Eyre is set there- a novel we also took one of our wedding readings from.

The Peaks also influenced our colour themes and choice of flowers. Inspired by the way they come to life with rolling carpets of heather in late summer Tracey and I decided on a purple theme for the bouquet, Matt’s buttonhole and arrangement.


I’ve long been a fan of Tracey’s vintage, cottage garden style of design and knew it was a look that would work perfectly with my dress. I also loved that she champions British blooms and works closely with local suppliers. After a consultation in her girl haven of a workroom we had picked pale pinks to compliment the purples and settled on a wild, straight from the meadow bouquet to really work with the rugged beauty of the Peaks and moors. We also choose a cascading style of bouquet (Tracey tells me it’s a bit of an upcoming trend for next year) as it felt gloriously informal and reflected the flowing nature of my train.

In the end the floral designs featured lavender, vintage-look pale pink Sweet Avalanche roses, lilac Memory Lane roses, pale pink veronica, purple lisianthus, white aster and ferns along with the purple heather that inspired them to represent Derbyshire and eucalyptus for Australia. Antique-look lace and purple ribbon finished everything off perfectly.


Getting the chance to get dressed up again in our finery was a total treat- I think I’ll always be looking for any excuse to wear my dress again! It was a 1940s French Mousseline gown from Abigail’s Vintage Bridal with the most amazing train. I’d always known I’d wear a vintage wedding dress- I just love the romance of wearing a dress with history and other bygone love stories attached. As well as stocking the most gorgeous collection of dresses Abigail worked wonders with alterations, lowering the bust-line to suit my height and transforming the full-length princess style sleeves into cute cap sleeves better suited to tropical climes.

On the day of the shoot I teamed it with a Coast faux fur shrug to ward off the chill and add a wintery feel as well as my wedding shoes- retro-look teal peep toes from Topshop, although my leopard print wellies did make a cameo appearance! Matt wore his Topman suit and tan brogues by Poste.


Our photographer for the day was the incredible Jess Petrie. I’d seen her work before and been blown away by the beauty of it and the way she manages to capture brides’ emotions. As I’ve never been that comfortable in front of the camera I was a bit nervous about the shoot, but Jess really helped us feel relaxed from the start and enjoy it.

After doing my own make up for the wedding it was so lovely to be pampered by a professional before the shoot. The lovely Jenn Edwards suggested we kept the vintage, old-school glamour look that I loved, but tied in the colours with the flowers and wintery look of the shoot. So the postbox red lips I wed with were transformed to a deeper, almost berry hue. Jenn also created pretty pin curls in my hair, which sadly got blown out into a more windswept style when we braved the blustery weather of the heights.


Not only was there more than a bit of breeze, but snow had settled across the area we shot in (mainly at Surprise View in Derbyshire), despite a winter sun shining- the result was a slightly eerie, ethereal beauty that summed up everything we love about that part of the world. It couldn’t have been more perfect, and gave the shoot a bit of a Wuthering Heights meets Snow Queen vibe as Jess worked her magic.

The whole experience of the shoot from planning with Tracey and being pampered at the start to the amazing photos we will always treasure was so special and something we will always remember. It really was the best (early) Christmas present we could have hoped for. I can’t recommend it enough to other brides out there- runaway or otherwise!


Photography: Jess Petrie Photography
Floral Design and Planning: Tracey Campbell of Campbell’s Flowers
Hair and Make Up: Jenn Edwards – Bridal hair and MU artist
Dress: Abigail’s Vintage Bridal
Shrug: Coast
Shoes: Topshop
Suit: Topman

So wintertime lovelies, what did you think of this floral colour scheme for the coldest months? I love it, striking, contemporary and pretty all at the same time.

What made you decide to have a winter wedding?

Will you be accessorising with items such as shrugs, scarves and gloves to keep you warm?

Do let us know….and please leave Sophie and Matt some love if you enjoyed their story.

Big Secret Love

Charlotte xxx

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

22 thoughts on “The Secret Of Winter.

  1. Ahhh beautiful! Me and my boy are getting married in 2 weeks today, we had wanted a spring wedding, but the venue we had our hearts set on didn’t have availability, so we decided to go for a winter wedding instead. We’ve had a few people question the choice, especially relatives from warmer climes, but I think it will be really romantic. We’re hoping to make the most of it be creating a warm, elegant candle-lit feeling inside after the early sunset. And of course it gives me the perfect excuse to wear an opulent fake fur coat that I don’t think I will ever find another suitable occasion for!
    Sophie and Matt have gone for very similar style choices to us, pin curls, bold lips, a pale suit, dark puples and dusty pinks for the flowers – its great to see it all works so well together here!
    Congratulations to Sophie and Matt – what beautiful photos!
    now – just got to look for some mittens…

  2. Oh my golly gosh!
    Snow??!!! SNOW!!!!!!
    I am well and truly jealous of this one!
    My dream wedding was always one full of snow and fake fur coats! But we had so many friend’s weddings lat year that to have a winter wedding we would’ve needed to wait until winter 2013 & Dave was not having any of that!!! (apparently I’m not a bad catch & he wants that ring on my finger quick sharp!! haha)

    So we thought we’d have a fabulous wintry e-shoot, hopefully with snow & we probably would’ve done if both our photographer & I hadn’t both broken our wrist/arm!!!!!! So now I am desperate for mother nature to bring us another spell of snow for early March (please, please, please with cherries on top!)

    Back to this shoot – well I have to say I ADORE everything about it!
    Sophie, you look stunning & those mittens….who knew they’d work so perfectly!
    The flowers are gorgeous & I love the colours

    And the photography….bang on!

    All in all I think you can safely assume I LOVE it ! 😀 xxx

  3. i am a 4.1.14 bride – love the fact that our wedding date has a symmetrical feel to it…!!! the future husband and i are currently having our ‘forever’ house built and the idea of moving house this summer AND getting married could never work. there was never a moment’s hesitation in picking january as the month we get married – plus it means (fingers crossed) that the future husband’s sister and her family can come over from NZ and join us too. guess another factor was that we will be able to the type of wedding that our budget would never have given us in june or july…
    it is so true that all plans for a winter wedding involve being indoors – with the bonus of standing outside under outdoor heaters if the weather permits. i don’t plan to have a shrug etc, but do want to have knee high socks and baby hunters to wear under my dress for the pics outside (fingers crossed, again). after seeing today’s pics mittens will be added to the excel spreadsheet too!
    bring on january – nearly 11 months to go
    L x

  4. Gorgeous story and stunning photographs. Sophie you are seriously, fabulously hot! even if your curls got blown away they were worth it for those opening shots!

    I am a March 2014 bride so I guess I count as a spring bride, but having our wedding recepction in the Scottish highlands we are just as worried about snow preventing us from getting to the venue as a winter bride! Our reason is very much similar to those above, we had planned for August but house buying and the costs meant we could not do them both by August and we are refusing to wait any longer than March, especially since I wouldn’t put it past the Scottish weather to snow in summer if we did wait! Our family and friends think we aree crazy but I am now so excited for everything that comes with the begining of the new year and spring, especially the flowers!

  5. We got married in October this year, we never even considered getting married in the Summer. We choose October as it was nearly a year after our engagement so gave us time to have an engagement party, celebrate Christmas and then get onto planning. We had thought about a Christmas wedding (on the 23rd December) as this is our anniversary, but selected for October so people did not have to worry about travelling home on Christmas eve. It’s also such a lovely time of year.

    One main reason we decided on October was the temperature. My husband and I dislike being too hot, so the thought of my husband being in his 3 piece suit and me in my dress on a hot day didn’t appeal.

    As our venue had massive windows overlooking the River Thames we were really excited about being able to watch the sunset as we were eating our dinner. We could then bring out the tea lights and up lighters to change the atmosphere of the room for dancing later. As the wedding was in October, I wanted bold colours so had a palette of purple, blue and lime green.

    On the day itself we were really lucky to have a perfect clear day. I had a white shrug to wear when we walked from the church to the park for photos, but didn’t need it in the end. In the evening as the temperature dropped, we had a short walk from the venue to our hotel for the night, but as our flat was just round the corner I picked up my red coat and trainers to keep me warm for the walk back with my new husband!

  6. I got married on 27th December last year and it was amazing! Sadly we did not have the snow or bright, crisp clear day I had envisaged all through my planning. Instead we had torrential rain in the morning but the sun came out just in time for our ceremony and we were able to have some pictures outside. I loved being able to embrace the season and plan a snuggly, wintry day. I had a dress with full length lace sleeves, an extremely cosy fake fur coat, warm winter pimms, a hearty wintry meal of venison and red cabbage and candles all around (and now I’m wishing I had some gorgeous gloves like Sophie’s, how awesome?!). Instead of embracing the traditional red and green Christmas colours we had deep blues and silvers with bouquets of anemones and silver brunia berries ad foliage.

    I love Christmas so it was great to combine some festive elements in the day and everyone was in good spirits so there was a great party atmosphere. For any brides considering a winter wedding I cannot recommend it highly enough!

  7. Hi lovelies! So nice to hear all of your stories and thanks for all of your feedback, I am just having a cup of tea and a read of all your comments…

    Charlotte xxx

  8. Beautiful shots! I am getting married in Sheffield next month- and the very talented Jenn is doing our makeup too (I am marrying another lady. Though nowt wrong with chaps wanting a bit of slap on their big day, too!). Looking at these photos, I am so glad I changed my mind from “I’ll just do my own makeup, how hard can it be?!”. Sophie, you both look gorgeous, as do the Peaks! Beautiful frock, it made me gasp a bit in that first shot (curls intact). What a fantastic shoot x

  9. Stunning pictures!! What a beautiful bride and a lovely story. Loving the mittens!

    We are also from Sheffield and getting married in the Peaks in August! Seeing your fab pics has made me very excited for a spot of photography in the Peaks on our day!

    Once again beautiful shots!!

    Hmmmmmn now would mittens work in August :)!


  10. Gorgeous photos! I feel really inspired by them. We’re getting married in December this year and I was adamant I wanted a an autumn or winter wedding when we started planning. I think there is something so romantic about the cold breeze and chilly atmosphere, warm coats, scarves and cuddling up together to keep warm. I also wanted a venue with crackling open fires and sparkling lights; no matter how cold it is outside we’ll be all warm and snug inside – perfect!

  11. This made me laugh because I’m planning on the opposite- a cold wet windy England celebration with friends and family, and a hot beautiful photo shoot in the south of France!

  12. Lovely to see a winter wedding post – not enough of these in my opinion. We’re getting married in two weeks – 16th Feb – and praying for it to be bright and sunny, with clear blue skies. Definitely preferable over grey skies and rain – but we’ll make the best of it. Went for a winter wedding as saw no point in waiting till summer, and it seemed as good a time as any. We’re having similar flower colours to others – dusky vintage roses (amnesia roses) with pink ranunculus, so good to see something similar here!

  13. My partner and I are getting married next January, and for us it was a pretty easy decision to make. Summer 2014 seemed too far away to wait. We both love winter – cold, frosty mornings, beautiful clear days where you can see for miles, and most of all, snow! Yes, we actually want it to snow on our wedding day. It would look brilliant for the photos! And call me crazy, but when we were picking dates last November, there were more sunny days than there were in the summer! We’re getting married in the centre of Edinburgh, so we’re not too worried about being able to get there or supplies and deliveries getting to the hotel, although the guests coming from Aberdeen might have a bit of a challenge on their hands if the snow does make a significant appearance!

    We had initially wanted a Christmas wedding, because we love our city at that time of year, but unfortunately no Saturdays were available at the venue, so we went for the next best thing. Because the hotels in Edinburgh get pretty booked up when the rugby is on, November, February and March were out, and October just seemed a tad too soon. And the price factor played a big part too – there’s a huge difference between getting married in January and June!

    Neither of us like being too hot either, so we can be pretty certain that we’re don’t have to worry about that! Another big added bonus is that there is not a hope in hell of my hay-fever making an appearance, so no blurry, red eyes in the photos or spending the day being doped up on antihistamines and not being able to drink.

    All the styling options that go with winter appeal too – silvers and blues, bare branches, twinkling lights… And after seeing this, I think I’m totally going to have to invest in a pair of mittens! Woolies FTW!

    All of this said, my mum still thinks we’re nuts.

  14. You’ve just made me sooooo excited for my wedding on 19th October!! 🙂 What a fabulous photoshoot and I’m in love with the flowers! Just been emailing my florist about wanting to see samples of amnesia roses and memory lane roses for my bouquet and came across the post in a google search! So glad I did as the bouquet is STUNNING (as it the bride/dress/overall shoot!). My colour scheme is plum as my bridesmaid will be in a plum dress so want dusky pinks, purples and ivory in our bouquets. Great inspiration here! LOVE IT! xxx

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