We hope you are loving our #bowbride emails and blogs. We’ve had such a good reaction from our brides and we love sharing their weddings with you.  Today we are featuring the gorgeous Hannah who wore Suzanne Neville Novello. Photos by Andy Rapkins.

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

What was your wedding date, venue and photographer?
We got married on Friday 6th May 2016. We wanted a late spring wedding as we love that time of year when it’s starting to warm up, the exact date was down to venue availability.  Our ceremony was held in the great hall at Highcliffe Castle in and our reception was at Sopley Mill.

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Our photographer was a guy called Andy Rapkins, who was so great. Mat works with his wife and knew of his photography beforehand.  Andy’s style of photography is photojournalism-a visual way of telling a story, and that’s exactly what our photos did!  Andy was fabulous both before and on the day. We had an engagement shoot prior to the wedding where we were able to get to know Andy and discuss the wedding photography, he was so friendly and laid back and made us feel really comfortable doing something that we weren’t familiar with. On the day he was super, we barely knew he was there and he captured the day so well in the photos, the photos showed so much emotion.

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Tell us about your dress

My beautiful dress was designed by Suzanne Neville, from her 2015 Novello collection. The dress was called Novello. Brides of Winchester was the first bridal shop I visited,  to begin with I picked several off the rail to try on but my dress I chose was not one of these! My dress was totally opposite to what I initially envisaged I would wear. I had in mind that I would wear a fish tail style dress with lace but my dress actually had a full skirt and no lace at all! I tried on several fish tail style dresses, all were beautiful dresses but none for me really had the WOW factor. Hayley chose Novello off the rail for me to try on, I didn’t think I would be keen but was happy to try all styles on, how wrong was I, I loved it! I didn’t buy my dress on that occasion as I did want to have a look around in other bridal shops. I went to 4 shops in total but none of the other dresses I tried on gave me the same feeling to that when I put Novello on- I didn’t want to take her off!  I wore a long veil which finished the dress of beautifully it had small little diamantes sewn on to it which added a little bit of sparkle!

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

How did you choose your venue?

We wanted to get married fairly locally to where we live. Living in Bournemouth we are very lucky to be right on the coast and to have the new forest on our door step so there were lots of lovely venues to choose from. We loved the grandness of Highcliffe Castle in particular the Great Hall with its high ceilings and stunning stained glass window. The location is fantastic right by the sea and on a clear day like our wedding day was the view from the castle is beautiful out across the sea over to the needles on the Isle of Wight. From the castle you can take a short walk down to the beach at Highcliffe which was perfect for photos. We live a short distance from the beach and enjoy spending time there, so to be able to have wedding photos by the sea was something we were keen to have.

I fell in love with Sopley Mill when we went to view the venue. The mill is set in such beautiful surroundings amongst the water meadows. The Mill has so much character, with the wooden beams and the Works of the Mill all still in place, the water runs through the centre of the mill which is a lovely feature. We loved the fact that essentially it was a blank canvas and you were able to make it totally your own for the day, from the way it was decorated to the style of catering you wanted. The castle and the Mill were only a short ten minute drive from each other so both venues worked great together.

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

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

We didn’t really have a wedding them as such. The decorations that we used at Sopley had a rustic element to them which I think went well with the character of the Mill. We had petal filled lanterns with candles lining the stairs. The table name holders were made of small pieces of log and our place names were slate hearts which I got from Hampshire Slate. I wrote each name in a chalk effect pen and tied ribbon to each heart using the wedding colours Coral and Green. The ladies had coral ribbon and men the green. The table plan also had a chalkboard background to it.  We struggled initially with what to name each of our tables and then decided to go for places/holidays we had been together. The top table being Thailand where we got engaged!  We also had bunting hung across both bars, the Mill provides lovely fairy lights around the wooden beams of the ceiling and outside in the trees and on the fence which are so pretty lit up at night.  We didn’t go over the top with decorations as the Mill naturally has a lot of character which we didn’t want to cover up.

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers. When Mat and I were newly dating we watched the film Ghost together and Unchained Melody features on the soundtrack, the song stuck from there. We actually had some dance lessons and had a dance choreographed which was great fun to do together!

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

What is your top tip?

  • Start planning early, venues/photographers/cars etc get booked up incredibly quickly.
  • Use Pinterest, so many lovely ideas you can get from there.
  • Try on all wedding dress styles, you may not come away with what you had in mind!
  • Take time on your wedding day to stop and take in each moment, the day flies by so quickly.
  • Buy your dress from Brides of Winchester, it’s a lovely shop and the ladies are fabulous!!

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

What was the highlight of your day?

The whole day was a highlight from start to finish, it really was the best day ever I didn’t want the day to end! A particular moment that stands out was when the doors to the Great Hall at Highcliffe opened and I was waiting at the top of the aisle, I looked through and the room was so beautifully decorated with all our family and friends inside with Mat waiting at the end of the aisle for me. I was nervous but it was such a fantastic feeling I was overwhelmed with emotion. I don’t think for the whole day there was a moment that passed where I wasn’t smiling!

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Thank you so much Hannah for sharing.

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

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill

Suzanne Neville novello andy rapkins highcliffe castle sopley mill