Today we are featuring our beautiful bride Zoe in Beatrice by Sassi Holford. Her wedding was the 29th Nov 2018 on the beach at Sandals Halcyon Beach, St Lucia.

Tell us about the dress

My dress is  Beatrice by Sassi Holford.

With my Mother in America, one bridesmaid in Kenya and the other in Canada, organising a date to go dress shopping was always going to be a challenge. We set a date in early December to meet up and find the perfect dress. Appointments were made in London first, where we would all meet and then travel down to Winchester on our way back home to Bournemouth.

I had no idea what I wanted and even less of an idea what style suited me and after spending a day in London trying on dresses, I was still none the wiser. I had found a dress I quite liked but didn’t get a strong feeling about it. 

When we arrived at BOW things felt different and much more personal then they had done in London. Once again my ladies picked out dresses they wanted me to try on and I found myself being drawn to a large plain Sassi holford dress. I quite liked it on but it was far too big and heavy for a beach wedding.  That’s when Laura suggested I tried on a slightly smaller but similar version of the dress which was lighter.  I tried it on and immediately felt very elegant and special. 

I still had one more appointment that day which I wanted to attend to make sure I had the right dress.  As soon as I tried on another dress it immediately felt wrong and I knew I had to have the Sassi Holford dress, absence made the heart grow fonder!
 
It seemed like forever before September arrived and with it my first dress fitting. This went well and it was then I also managed to choose some beading for my belt. I chose small pearls which gave the dress a bit of bling but kept the original simple and elegant style.
 
For my 2nd dress fitting I organised a hair appointment just before and got my hairdresser to put my hair up as I thought I wanted it for my wedding.  I also took my “something borrowed” veil and used it as a dress rehearsal for the day and had a few photos taken on my phone.  This would be my top tip as it was after looking at the photos away from the shop, that I decided to change my hair slightly but knew the rest of the dress/veil/shoe combo worked.

How did you choose the venue?

Rich and I decided we wanted to go abroad to be married, in a nice warm climate and if people could come and help us celebrate then that was great but if we ended up with just the 2 of us then that was great too.
Why St Lucia? quite simply because it looked amazing on the internet. We chose Sandals because of the the large amount of activities there are to do and the thought of being in a tranquil couples only resort appealed to us.
There are three Sandals resorts on the island and we decided to go for the smaller greener resort, Halcyon Beach. Whilst in St Lucia we visited the other two resorts and they were very nice but we then knew we had made the right choice for us and our guests.  
 
A few days after we arrived we had a welcome dinner where everyone got to meet each other and it was our first time as a complete group. The night was a great success with everyone getting on, great food and a lot of fun. I had inadvertently created a naughty table who spent the whole dinner laughing and joking rather loudly and my biggest fear was that the wedding day wouldn’t be as much fun.  Fortunately things worked out even better.

What was your theme?

We didn’t really have a theme, it was just a relaxed beach wedding. We wanted all our guests to be relaxed and enjoy the day without being too dressed up, after all it was about 28 degrees. 
 
We decided that we wanted to have the ceremony on the beach and when on site, we decided to have it at the end of the beach that had the small Island as a backdrop.  Having the ceremony on the sand meant my footwear had to be appropriate and it was also a great excuse to wear vans instead of heels.

I bought plain white vans and decorated them myself with pearl embellishments. This made walking on sand easier and also meant I could dance the night away and not get sore feet.

What flowers did you choose?

I chose white roses for my flowers, I love how simple and elegant they look and I think they suited my dress very well. We tied my grandmothers eternity ring (something old) and my grandads veterans badge (something blue) to my bouquet so both my grandparents where with me as I walked down the aisle. 

What was your cake?

We chose a plain two tier cake with the addition of fuchsia and yellow orchid embellishments.  The base cake was a chocolate sponge with a rum butter cream filling and the top layer was a Caribbean fruit cake with a coconut cream filling. For our topper we used the Lego wedding couple that we photographed for our invites which was fun.  We cut the cake soon after people sat down to the celebration meal, so it could be served to people along with their dessert. 

How did you feel on morning of the big day?

As we were staying together in our room the night before, we decided to have a walk on the beach in the morning, have breakfast together and then go our separate ways until the ceremony. 

A close friend of ours took a few photos of us on the beach in the morning, of my wedding shoes, hand prints in the sand with rings and a few other photos we wanted but, didn’t want to spend ages with later when we were dressed up and having fun. 

Rich then went on to another resort to play Golf whilst me, my mother and bridesmaids all went to the spa for hair and make up. This was a nice distraction and we had a spot of lunch whilst being looked after in the spa.

How did you feel before walking down the aisle?

 
Taking my last selfie as a Miss with my bridesmaids as we left my room, we walked over towards the beach and I remember laughing along the way.  We waited a little while before the music started and then my bridesmaids left me for their walk along the sand to the aisle.  Then it was my turn and my heart rate did increase with nervous excitement when I heard my music start, but it disappeared as soon as I started walking and was replaced with a happy calmness.
 
I was worried that I would be emotional walking down the aisle or when I arrived by Richards side but I was just so happy all I did was smile. I remember watching everyone look at me as I walked towards them and when I turned the corner and saw Rich it just felt so amazing. 

I’m not sure if it was the music (Ellie Goulding’s “your song”) or the fact that no one had seen me look this elegant but there were a lot of tears as I walked down the aisle

The ceremony 

 
We opted for a non religious ceremony but with traditional style vows.  Our pastor was called Sherwin and he was such a great guy.  He picked up on the chilled vibe and delivered a relaxed, fun, inspiring and loving ceremony. Making sure we were both relaxed and that everyone felt a part of the wedding.

The celebration 

After the ceremony we had cocktails on the lawn whilst a steel drum band played, this was a great distraction for everyone whilst we had our photos taken but still great for us as we could still hear them and join in with some cocktails too.

What was your first dance?

We decided to have Barry White “my first, my last, my everything” for our first dance. Rich and I love dancing and have been known to clock up some miles on the dance floor.  The trouble is neither of us take is seriously or are any good at it! We are more free style and fun dancers then serious routine people.  The Monday before the wedding we didn’t have any kind of routine but a few friends said that we should put a few moves together, as most people expect that these days. After a few bottles of champagne and some creative input from friends, we choreographed a short but sweet dance that got us through the first part of our song with the emphasis on fun.   
 
After our first dance we had a disco for 3 hours and everyone had a little boogie at some point in the night, I know rich and I spent a lot of time on the dance floor having fun.
 
Once the disco had finished we went back to the beach for a bonfire and s’mores party (roasting marshmallows, chocolate and biscuits over little grills and dunking fruit skewers in chocolate, yum). This was a lovely way to end the night and have a chill and chat to everyone about how the day and night had gone.  
 
As we left the beach our friends had lined the steps and sang “your song” to us which was a really sweet surprise and a perfect end to what we thought was a perfect day. 

Top tip(s) for other brides:

If you can, get your hair done for your 2nd dress fitting to give you an idea of what you want and what it looks like. 
 
We had a Polaroid camera to take pictures of each couple to stick in our guestbook, that way if people didn’t want to write a lengthy message, we still had a record of everyone on the day.
 
We did our speeches in between courses (my mother read a poem at the start, Rich did his speech in between starter and main and the best man did his between the main and dessert).  Not saving them until the end meant the formal part went quickly and we had more time for dancing and fun.
 
Do what you want to do, it’s your wedding. Don’t let tradition or family or friends try and persuade you to do something you don’t really want to do. Make sure you take time to enjoy the day, it goes by so quickly.

Highlight of the day

We were very fortunate and everything went so well for the wedding, it is impossible to pick a highlight.  The fact that our close family and friends joined us to make the whole experience so amazing made it extra special.  As most people stayed for a week the party seemed to go on for days! 
 

List of wedding suppliers not mentioned above

Wedding, food, flowers & make up – Sandals
 
Dress – BOW  Sassi Holford
 
Favours – Etsy (flip flop bottle openers)
 
Nails – Taryn’s Beauty – Bournemouth 
 
Wedding Invites – Bakers printers Ltd
 
Bridesmaids dresses – Abigail’s Bridal Boutique Leeds

Thank you so much for sharing Zoe x

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

Get the latest news,events and offers!

Stay up to date with the BOW eBulletin. We bring the latest events and offers straight to your inbox.

Thank you!! Please check your inbox or junk mail folder.