Tell us about your dress

My wedding dress was bespoke Alexandra by Sassi Holford. When I got engaged I spent loads of time on the internet, (mainly pinterest!) to see what styles of wedding dress I liked.  I immediately fell in love with a dress by a well-known designer, so tracked down the only store in the area that stocked her (at the time) – and it was awful! I looked like I’d gained two stone in weight. I tried to recreate that dress and started to realise what elements I was drawn to; I wanted a playful A-line dress with a femine top-half that echoed the rest of our wedding. I had tried on a couple of full-lace and mermaid dresses but being very tall it didn’t look quite right – like a nice white evening gown but not a wedding dress. Brides of Winchester was the third shop I visited (and the best!). Hayley and the team were great and within minutes of explaining what I had in mind I was in ‘Alexandra’ and it looked and felt amazing! We altered the top of the dress to feature white flowers and leaves with soft pearl detailing and it was perfect!

How did you choose your venue?

We got married on 11th June 2016. We had always wanted to get married in a church, so our local parish church was first choice. It has beautiful stained-glass windows and my dress and the groomsmens’ morning suits fitted perfectly. Our reception was held at Sheepdrove Organic Farm, a self-sufficient eco-centre. It has beautiful gardens and a lake within the grounds. We knew it would be perfect and didnt’t view any other venues! Sheepdrove grow all of the food they serve, so we were able to have the freshest ingredients for our wedding breakfast and created the whole menu ourselves. We loved the little touches, like edible flowers on the salad and rosemary butter with the artisan bread. We had a Mediterranean-style menu with stone baked-pizza and a cheese tower in the evening (with a red heart-shaped Edam on top). It was us to a tee.

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

We wanted a traditional but rustic, laid-back wedding. We both love the outdoors and wanted a venue that had wonderful grounds but was beautiful indoors too. Sheepdrove has large planed wooden beams which were perfect for wrapping foliage around. We both like greenery more than flowers – I actually had a rule, no pink and no roses! – so we used ivy, sweet peas, ruscus and simple white flowers together with fairy lights and apple crates to give it that ‘rustic’ feel. We used logs for place card holders and reminded each guest of their food choices with a menu wrapped in white ribbon and rosemary. Our favours were home-made lemon soap.

What was your first dance?

Our first dance was ‘Wonderful Tonight’ by Eric Clapton. We aren’t a couple that have ‘a song’, but one day I came home from work and it was playing in the kitchen whilst Sam was washing up. The lyrics were simple, and it was gentle and romantic and I loved it straight away. We played it several more times and knew that it would be our first dance. We didn’t tell anyone though. It was probably the only thing we kept just for ourselves until the big day.

What is your top tip?

I have only two tips. 1 – often, the most spontaneous decisions are the best – if you don’t love it, don’t have it. 2 – don’t sweat the small stuff! Just enjoy the day! It goes so quickly and if you’re not shattered by the end of it then you’ve done too much posing and not enough larking around with your guests who are there to CELEBRATE with you!

What was the highlight of your day?

Its hard to choose just one point in the day, but I think it was when we keeled together at the altar for our blessing, having just been pronounced ‘man and wife’. Although we were in view of our guests, it felt like we were the only ones there during the blessing – our own little precious moment together. We also loved driving off the following morning in our 1976 yellow Mini with all the cans clattering behind!

Thank you so much Rhiannon for sharing.

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