There is nothing better than hearing from real brides about their wedding, when planning your own. That’s why each week, we share our real brides wedding days with you, with all the tips and highlights of their big day.

This week we are featuring gorgeous Jessica who wore Alexandra by Sassi Holford. Her wedding was on Saturday 27th May 2017 at the beautiful Pitt Hall Barn in Basingstoke. Her fabulous photographer was Lloyd Richard.

Tell us about the dress

I purposely hid myself from any pictures of wedding dresses or styles before I started looking. I had spoken to so many people who said that they went for the exact opposite of what they thought they wanted that I wanted to go in with a completely clear mind.

It was just my mum and I going to look at dresses so we looked for the most central town between us with dress shops. As soon as we walked into BOW to book an appointment we didn’t feel the need to even visit anywhere else. I knew they would find the dress for me and I was right!

Hayley and Lauren were just amazing. As I had no idea what I wanted we started with one of each style and they just fed off my reaction to each dress to work out what I wanted. I was torn between two but I went back soon after and decided on Sassi Holford Alexandra. Hayley and Lauren described it perfectly. One dress looked stunningly beautiful on me, the Alexandra made me look and feel beautiful.

It loved the lace, the beading, the neckline, the back, the way it held my waist, the skirt, the train, the hemline. Everything. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted in a dress. I felt amazing every time I put it on for a fitting and for my whole wedding day.

How did you choose your venue?

Our venue requirements were

-Hampshire

-Barn

-Accomodation

-BBQ

We realised fairly quickly that barns don’t often have accommodation and that was the element we were willing to compromise on. A venue which had BBQ as a menu option was important for us as BBQ and meat smoking is a bit of a hobby for my husband and we wanted that relaxed informal feel to that part of our day.

I was doing the usual searches and Pitt Hall Barn came up on my list. I liked it on paper and added to the list of venues to see. It was once we arrived that I actually fell in love with it. The barn ceremony area is so authentically and naturally beautiful. When I walked into the large barn and saw the twinkly lights in the ceiling I nearly cried! I whispered to David that we weren’t leaving without booking! I would have waited until 2018 if I needed to!

How did you choose your photographer

The photography of my wedding day was quite important to me from the beginning. Maybe its because I have an appalling memory, I don’t know but its something I wanted to book quite early on. I made a few enquiries but no-one was really jumping out at me. I came across Lloyd Richards facebook page and I immediately liked his style of photography. I didn’t want a bunch of photos where I would look back and remember standing with my family. I wanted to remember the joke we all laughed at or the love I felt when I saw my daughters dressed up or the pride I felt listening to my son doing his reading and I could see from Lloyds photos and blog that he would capture those moments for us.

Who did your hair and makeup and where did you find them

I am very lucky that my best friend and bridesmaid Sarah is a beauty therapist and hair dresser so she ticked off a lot of my beauty regime. She knows me and she understood what I wanted everything to be like. Nothing to was big an ask and I couldn’t have been happier with everything she did for the bridesmaids and I.

I took personal recommendations from friends who had been married to find Lucy Workman to do my make up. Looking through her Instagram and facebook sold it for me and she did an amazing job. I have never in my life looked how she made look. It finished it all off for me and I felt stunning the whole day.

What was your wedding theme and how did you create it?

I know it sounds like a boring colour but I like grey. I don’t know why, its unoffensive and peaceful and I love a blue suit. My husband wasn’t keen on just the two as he thought it looked a bit plain so we added the pink for accents and I’m actually really glad we did. David was happy for me to make a lot of the decisions but pretty much everything he did add was useful!

Our overall theme was to stick with and use the barn and its rustic surroundings. I loosely described it as rustic, relaxed and classy.

What flowers did you choose?

I don’t have a flower preference or a favourite flower and its not something I even know the slightest thing about. I felt like I could educate myself on a lot of the wedding areas but flowers was not one of them! I booked Claire from Miss Mollies relatively late in the whole process but she was the recommended supplier for Pitt Hall Barn. I wanted to keep things relaxed and rustic but I had no idea other then that. Claire was amazing and I just looked through her photos and pinterest and showed her bits I liked – I still couldn’t name them now but she used what was in season and what worked well together to create her masterpieces. I 100% trusted her and it was well placed.

How did you feel on the morning? Walking down the aisle and during  the ceremony

I surprised myself on the morning of the wedding. I had a really good nights sleep and woke up at a respectable time. I was genuinely calm and relaxed and I think it was because of the wonderful people I had around me. Everyone knew the plan for the day and I only had to ask and one of my bridesmaids/man would help.

Seeing my dad for the first time was a bit of a moment for me. Pitt Hall Barn has a beautiful garden next to the room where we were getting ready so my dad waited there while I walked around the corner. It was probably one of the most emotional moments of the day. We both barely managed to hold it together. I think if one of us had gone, the other would too!

During the ceremony, I felt on top of the world. Seeing everyone looking at me while I walked down the aisle was quite over whelming. My main focus was David waiting at the top of the aisle. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much love in his eyes. I felt really calm until it came to saying the vows. Hearing David make those promises really made me feel emotional so I had to take a few deep breaths to hold it together before I said mine.

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was John Legend – All of me. We just think it’s such a beautiful song. We didn’t plan how it was going to go but our 2 oldest children said that they wanted to dance with each other at some point. After the first chorus my daughter got a bit shy so we picked them up to dance with us. My mum came over with our youngest daughter and we danced as a family for the first time. I always thought I would feel a bit self conscious about the dancing but we did just feel like we were in a little bubble.

What was the funniest moment of the day

One of the funniest moments for me was whilst we were getting ready in the morning. We have 3 children, a boy and 2 girls. The children were with other people the night before the wedding then were dropped off with us to get ready for the day. Before the girls arrived with me I was telling the bridesmaids how I had given my son a present to give to David and given David a present to give to our son. I also had presents to give to our daughters. I was almost certain that David hadn’t arranged a gift and I was ok with that but I joked that after keeping all this a secret, someone better have got me a gift! Anyway, once my daughters arrived at the venue, I was having my make up done and one ran up to me very excitedly with her backpack in her hands. I got excited and began to wonder what she was doing. She said she had something in her backpack and started to unzip it. I couldn’t believe it, David had actually done it! Then she pulled out a packet of BBQ beef mini cheddars that grandma had given her! The whole room cracked up into laughter. She had no idea what we all found so funny. Lloyd captured the moment I saw it perfectly.

Top tip(s) for other brides:

Its great to plan and arrange a lot of things yourself but you have to know when to hand over to others. We set up our venue the day before the wedding. Once we left there I knew I was done. Anything else was up to the venue or my bridal party.

A friend said to me the week before the wedding – Even if you do forget anything or run out of time for anything, no-one apart from you knew it was going to be there. No-one else knows what you had planned. If you forget to buy the flip flops for the dance floor – no-one will know!

Highlight of the day

The highlight of my day – apart from marrying my best friend and the father of my children – was my husbands big surprise! After the meal, I could see the DJ’s lights flashing through the curtain between the barns. I was apprehensive about the DJ because we had really wanted the band The Cobbles to play but as is often the way with weddings – nothing came in under budget so we just didn’t have the money. Everyone was having a little mingle and chat after the meal while the DJ set up. Amy the coordinator told me that it was the DJ and reassured me that he looked good so I just chilled out. A short while later, David came over to me and said Amy needed to chat about the cake. I was confused but went along with him. When I got there, the curtain was pulled down and the band started playing! I couldn’t believe my eyes! I love surprises and I genuinely had no idea that he had been planning this. David and Amy told me afterwards that it had been a bit of a nightmare making sure people closed the doors behind them and for them setting up an entire band without making a noise. The drummer told us that he drove round the back of the barn to park and suddenly realised the entire back wall is glass. He slammed his brakes on and nearly put the guitarist through the front window!

List of wedding suppliers

 

Lloyd Richard Photography

Miss Mollies Flowers

Jessica’s Cakes and Bakes

Lucy Workman Mua

Pitt Hall Barn

Thank you so much Jessica for sharing.

Why not share your own special day! Send your snaps to mydress@bridesofwinchester.co.uk or tag us #bowbride