Presenting our real life brides #bowbride

We love it when our brides share their stunning photos with us after their big day! So each week we will be featuring one of our fabulous brides, showcasing their wedding and, of course, their dress!

This week we are featuring Matthew and Lucy were married in a church service followed by a marquee reception in the grounds of Ampfield House in Hampshire. Thanks so much to Helen Cawte Photography for sharing these stunning images and Whimsical Wonderland Wedding for featuring the wedding.

THE PROPOSAL | Matthew totally surprised me by proposing while we were in Edinburgh celebrating his birthday. It was a beautifully sunny day in November and we were at the top of Scott’s Monument overlooking the city, I was admiring the view and then turned around to find him down on one knee! I always thought I would see it coming but he left me totally gobsmacked!

THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | I wore a gorgeous Suzanne Neville dress called Stardust. It had lots of beautiful beading on the bodice so I kept my accessories simple and decided not to wear a veil that would cover the pretty back detailing. On the night before the wedding Matthew’s parents gave me a special pin that had been passed down the family for generations, so I was proud to add that to my dress on the day.

THE PLANNING PROCESS | We got engaged in November and decided very quickly that we wanted to get married the following summer, so we had to get planning almost immediately. We viewed various wedding venues and decided on that, the church and the catering before Christmas. Once we had those key aspects in place the other things were easier to decide. We are both quite organised people and enjoyed planning the wedding, though it was pretty stressful at times. In the end the day went just perfectly, so all of the hard work paid off!
THE VENUE | We got married in St Peter’s Church in Winchester and had a reception afterwards in a marquee in the grounds of Ampfield House near Romsey. From the moment we viewed Ampfield House we knew we wanted our reception there. It was December and none of the trees were in leaf, but it was so pretty we could only imagine how beautiful it would look like on a summer’s day. It was perfect for the relaxed feel we were after, having drinks and canapés outside on the lawn followed by a barbecue.
VISION | Our vision was to have an English garden party feel to the day. It was really important to both of us that it was relaxed and not too formal, whilst still having some traditional elements.
FINDING THE DRESS | I was quite a fussy bride when it came to the dress! I went shopping with my Mum and my bridesmaids looking for something quite fitted with a flowing skirt, but after trying on lots of options nothing felt quite right. The staff at Brides of Winchester were fantastic though and suggested that I try on Stardust based on my comments about other dresses. The shape and detailing on the dress were so beautiful that I fell for it immediately. I never thought that I’d pick something with so much beading and sequins on as that’s not normally my style, but it made the dress look so special and that’s what you want for your big day!
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Matthew wore a stylish slim fitted navy 3 piece suit with a champagne coloured tie to match the bridesmaids. He always looks great in a suit and tails felt too formal for what we were after. He finished his look with tan coloured shoes and belt and purple socks for a pop of colour!
THE MUSIC | We had a really fun band called Mojo Gang who played a mixture of old and new rocky tunes that got everyone on the dance floor – it was full all night long!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | I had my sister Sophie and my oldest friend Abi as my two bridesmaids. They both looked fantastic in gorgeous floor length champagne coloured dresses from Biba. They were a great support on the day helping me to relax and really enjoy getting ready.
THE FLOWERS | In keeping with the theme our florist Catherine put together simple vases of hydrangeas, delphiniums, roses and sweet peas in blush pink and ivory on the tables. The bouquets were really beautiful and had a natural arrangement of foliage and blooms in delicate pink, white and apricot colours.

THE CAKE | We chose a cake from M&S after getting lots of recommendations about how good they tasted. We had 3 different flavour layers – vanilla, chocolate and lemon, and the cake was finished with a simple floral posie that Catherine put together.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | We found Helen Cawte after a recommendation and I’m so glad we did! We loved the style of Helen’s photos, they were natural, beautiful and didn’t feel posed at all. We wanted the photos to document our amazing day without controlling it and that’s exactly what we got. Helen made us feel at ease immediately, you could totally forget that she had a camera in her hand. When we got our photos through we spent hours going through them all, they were simply amazing. They are the best wedding photos we’ve seen, but then maybe we are biased?!
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | We decorated the marquee with pastel coloured bunting, tea lights and we used bespoke whiskey corks for our table settings. In one corner we hung up old photos of Matthew and I for our guests to have a laugh at. Our table numbers were chemical elements as Matthew and I are both Chemistry graduates. We really tested our guests by making them find the right chemical symbol to locate their table!
THE HONEYMOON | We jetted off the day after the wedding and had 2 relaxing weeks in Bali and Singapore. It was the perfect mix of chilling out and sightseeing – utter bliss.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | There are so many memorable moments from our big day, but ones that I really remember are walking hand-in-hand out of the church for the first time as husband and wife, and having our first dance as if no one else was in the room.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Accept any offers that you get to save you time and money. We borrowed many of our decorations, my Dad wrote our invitations, parents gathered old photos and we got given place settings from a supplier Matthew worked with. People want to be involved and it can take the pressure off you both to allow them to help.

Photography | Helen Cawte Photography

Dress | Brides of Winchester

Suit | House of Fraser

Cake | Marks & Spencer

Florist | Catherine Coombes Flowers

Marquee | Buchannan Marquees

Caterer | Keats Event Catering

Rings | Finecraft Jewellery

Band | Mojo Gang via Alive Network

Donations | Cancer Research

Transport | Wedding Cars of Hampshire

Planner | Behind the Scenes Events

Transport | Local Haunts Bus Hire

Church | St Peter’s Church, Winchester

Make Up | Lucy Houghton Make Up

Photo Booth | Picture Blast

Hair | Helen Whitehouse Hairdressing

Thank you so much Lucy for sharing.

Why not share your own special day! Send your snaps to or tag us #bowbride