You’re going to want to settle in for this wedding – it is an utter beauty and one I’ve been desperate to share with you for some weeks now.
This breathtaking day full of effortless elegance and featuring no less than four bridal outfits, including couture gowns by Phillipa Lepley and Caroline Castigliano, was held in the beautifully manicured grounds of the bride’s parent’s home in Herefordshire.
This wedding was also the first post-pandemic wedding, for luxury wedding planner and event stylist, Jessie Westwood of Studio Sorores. Jessie is a dear friend of Love My Dress – we are in awe of her work and think you will be too, once you see these images.
The couple hosted a wedding weekend over 2nd, 3rd and 4th July at Charis’s family home in Herefordshire, making the most of its gorgeous grounds and space.
Both bride and groom were keen to create a classic but modern and sustainable day with a touch of city slick to reflect their London home, adding so many personal details to make the celebration unique to them.
Before we share more of this beautiful day, we invite you to enjoy this exquisite film, created by master filmmaker, Philip White.
The wedding film was by Philip White Weddings.
“He is so talented – we cried at every one of the videos in his portfolio, even though we didn’t know the people. He was so great on the day, even giving my dad a bit of a pep talk. The finished film is unbelievable, like a movie trailer – so epic and true to the day.”
Charis explained the ethos that informed her wedding decisions and styling choices.
“We are quite traditional and liked the idea of a classic day but modernised. The main thing is that we wanted every element of the day to feel special across all the senses, timeless and smart, with a hint of fashion.”
Photography Katie Julia Photography
“Rose & Ruby did all of our stationery and it was beautiful, from the hand-illustrated map and gold foil and edging, to the pale buff envelope and the monogrammed wax seal detailed with gold leaf.”
“We went for a classic green and white colour palette with neutrals, evolving (thanks to Jessie at Studio Sorores) to a darker green, more-exotic after-party in line with our love of jazz and reminiscent of the emerald green dress I wore when we got engaged.”
The garden had two distinct spaces, an elegant and airy marquee for dining and an open-sided canopy for the ceremony.
“JB Marquees were amazing. They did the most incredible 3D visualisations to help design the space and were so flexible – we could literally have and do whatever we wanted. We chose to have two, totally separate spaces. The wedding meal was in a light, bright, glass section with a canopy of greenery above our heads. We later revealed a moodier after-party area with a star ceiling, a bespoke gold dance floor, a round bar and green velvet lounging areas, inspired by our love of jazz clubs. The luxury loos were also the best marquee bathrooms we have ever seen!”
“The structure was even more impressive once it actually went up – so imposing and tall, it looked like a permanent structure. My dad was particularly pleased that after take-down, there were no marks on the grass and after pacing the area, he only found one rogue peg.
Day One: Pronovias Tuxedo
With a three-day wedding, the bride was lucky enough to choose four sensational outfits.
“I love fashion so I knew I wanted several looks; one dramatic, traditional dress; a power suit/ jumpsuit was also a must; and a more fun, festival-style Sunday dress. I loved changing my makeup, hair, jewellery and accessories to go with each look.”
On Friday, the first day of the couple’s wedding weekend, the couple had a church ceremony in the thirteenth century church next to the family home.
“We held a very intimate legal church ceremony the day before, It was meant to be very low-key and we went for a rehearsal dinner afterwards at Glewstone Court, where the groomsmen stayed and we had our bridal suite.”
“It ended up being one of our favourite parts. It helped with nerves and emotion so on the Saturday we could really just relax and enjoy.
Day Two: Caroline Castigliano
For the marriage blessing on day two, ceremony, Charis wore a traditional gown and French lace veil, both from Caroline Castigliano.
“To walk down the aisle and for the drinks reception, I went for a very classic, simple and show-stopping Caroline Castigliano Mikado gown. I knew it was my dress straight away and my sister even picked it out without any hints when I took her to the store.”
“Very traditionally, I wore the veil over my face as I made my way down the aisle. It was a last-minute decision because I hadn’t been keen on the origins of the father of the bride presenting the bride to her husband as a possession, but I loved the drama and mystery of it.”
“In the end, I decided that the origins didn’t matter because I knew that wasn’t the way we were marrying and doesn’t represent our relationship.”
The bride sourced all her hair accessories from The Bobby Pin, wearing a delicate hair vine for the church ceremony.
“I adore shoes so had to have amazing shoes. I had a classic pearl pair of Jimmy Choos for my first dress then changed to an incredible pair of limited edition, twenty-year anniversary Jimmy Choos covered in Swarovski crystals.”
The main styling element for the garden weekend was flowers and foliage, with a fresh foliage arched walkway, hanging garlands and pure white, cream, peach and pale pink flowers creating a romantic, light feel.
“Studio Sorores did our flowers and it was what I was pickiest about. I even sent a Powerpoint presentation of everything I wanted and the flowers I liked and didn’t. They delivered above and beyond what I had asked for – incorporating soft pink and peach shades into the cream, white and green. It was very natural and green. The round ceremony stage and aisle flowers were probably a highlight but the after-party installation above the bar also looked incredible.”
The bridesmaids were elegant in ivory Ghost ‘Salma’ dresses, with pearl The Bobby Pin hair pins in their hair.
“We were looking for the same colour in different styles but in the end, all five bridesmaids chose Salma. We loved that it was worn by a James Bond girl in ‘Spectre’! We gifted our bridesmaids Christian Dior pearl earrings with a gold ‘CD’ on them (also for Charis and Dan).”
Picking the venue was easy as we wanted a classic English Country Garden wedding and my family home in Herefordshire has gorgeous grounds. We loved the idea that we could keep re-living the day every time we go back and walk around the garden. Charis, The Bride
“A dress code of morning dress was an obvious traditional choice for us. We created a bespoke waistcoat that was ivory to match the groomsmen, but with a sage green trim for extra detail and to stand out.”
“He wore a green Hermès tie I gifted him a few years before and we focused on details like his new initials embroidered on the shirt, beautiful gold and green enamel cufflinks and a jade tie pin. I gifted him a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch that I knew he loved.”
The wedding ceremony was held outside and the bride walked down the aisle with her father.
“My dad accompanied me down the aisle – this was a very emotional bit for him because I was his first daughter to get married. The bridesmaids and groomsmen walked before us in groups and actually got interrupted by one of my dad’s peacocks who walked across the procession.”
“The aisle walk was one of the highlights for my husband and he had always known it would be important. He was adamant he didn’t want to know anything about my dress, make-up or hair. He chose the song ‘Speechless’ by country favourite Dan + Shay.”
“My favourite part of the day was walking down the aisle, a little nervous, seeing Dan smiling and the nerves just being replaced with total happiness. Then, the realisation that we had the promise of the whole amazing day (and rest of our lives) ahead of us.”
“We wanted the ceremony to be outside and really intimate. The style and feel was luxurious but understated, with a lot of amazing flowers as I love them.”
“We chose lily of the valley as our wedding flower in a nod to the timeless and traditional, and jasmine for the heady scent to highlight the slight twist we wanted to put on things.”
The celebrant was a family member who is a vicar.
“That was lovely and we were able to work with her to really make the ceremony personal and beautiful to us.”
The couple exchanged vows they’d written together.
“We wrote our own vows together to make sure they were really meaningful and used a metaphor of a garden to link to the garden setting we had chosen for the ceremony. We learnt the vows by heart so we could look at each other properly while saying them.”
The ceremony had readings from some of the couple’s closest friends.
“We chose my two closest male friends and Dan’s best girl mate to read them so they had a part in our wedding. We had ‘I Like You’, having heard it at a close friend’s wedding – so real and sweet. We asked one of my friends who is a great writer if he would like to write his own.”
“He wanted to keep it a secret so it was a surprise on the day. Finally, we had a Wordsworth poem, ‘The Sun Has Long Been Set’, which he wrote while visiting the Wye Valley where we were marrying. The words resonated so much to end the ceremony.”
Charis and Dan gave each other rings they’d designed at Graff.
“Dan wanted plain and slim gold. I had two rings created in a V-shape to go either side of my oval engagement diamond. We were thrilled with the result – so unique.”
After the ceremony, the newly-weds hosted a cocktail hour, with the bride changing into a fitted, corseted Phillipa Lepley fishtail gown with an incredible pearl and beaded cape.
“My Phillipa Lepley dress was the most amazing experience to create because I was able to place every petal and pearl on the cape with the ateliers. My mum sadly passed away several years ago so the incredible team at Phillipa Lepley designed and embroidered a beaded magnolia hidden into my Lily of the Valley cape. I also loved having a tulle cape because it still felt bridal but was much easier to wear and not feel constricted by.”
The guests moved into the marquee for the elegant dinner, served by Social Pantry.
“Food was also a big focus for us. We love going out for meals and spending time together, enjoying good food and wine. We wanted a caterer that could produce a stunning tasting menu with an accompanying wine flight.”
“It was amazing and so personalised. We wrote personalised poems for all of our guests. It took us ages but was so worth it and very special.”
Working With Studio Sorores
The couple worked with Jessie at Studio Sorores to bring their vision to life.
“We were so happy to have found Jessie from Studio Sorores. We wanted to be able to relax and enjoy the day without having to deal with any issues. Having the wedding at home brought up loads of additional challenges we didn’t know how to manage – from hiring in a backup generator to all the chairs and cutlery.”
“Although we had a good idea of a lot of the detail and wanted to be really involved, we wanted to find someone who could elevate our imagined designs and ideas – which Jessie absolutely delivered in spades.”
“It turned out to be an even more successful decision once we realised we had to postpone due to Covid. At this point, Jessie was incredible, dealing with all the difficulty and getting us every single supplier for the postponed date so we felt there was no compromise (except waiting a year to be married).”
“Covid-19 hit when we had four months until our original wedding date. We were lucky in that we only ended up with the one postponed date. It was also fortunate that we didn’t have to worry about venue dates and because we made the decision quite soon after the pandemic, we were able to stick with our chosen suppliers.”
“We were really careful that we didn’t want the stress of planning to take away from how exciting and what an important commitment and happy day we were working towards.”
“I can honestly say that Dan and I didn’t argue or get upset about anything once. Even when we postponed, we decided to be positive and just enjoy the ride.”
A Sustainable Wedding
“We had touches throughout, sourced all the food locally, had a zero-waste amuse bouche and one of our gifts to the groomsmen were vintage Hermès ties in co-ordinating shades of green. We also gifted the flowers afterwards to neighbours and locals around the village to enjoy afterwards.”‘
The elegant and modern, four-tiered cake was by Lagom & Love.
“Lydia does beautiful, simple, modern cakes in delicious local flavours like carrot cake with Herefordshire honey, and rose, raspberry and gooseberry.”
“Almost everything was bespoke – we had a menu booklet explaining all the menu and choices, inspired by our most-loved restaurants and dishes. We incorporated my favourite flowers and wrote our own vows together. We had ‘his and hers’ cocktails created, that our bridesmaids and groomsmen helped name during a party we hosted to introduce everyone properly and enjoy our wedding cocktails in advance.”
“We even served Harrods still and sparkling water as a nod to one of our more extravagant weekend activities of strolling through the food hall and trying the different restaurants.”
Capturing every single, glorious detail of the wedding weekend was Katie Julia, having fallen in love with her ethereal, artistic style.
“We chose Katie Julia because her work is timeless and beautiful but still romantic and natural. I can’t recommend her enough; she was amazing. We are thrilled with the results and she was also such an angel keeping us excited after postponing with her positive energy and happy personality. She’s become a dear friend since the wedding and is a very special lady. She also made everyone look beautiful!”
I’m delighted to learn that Charis frequently visited Love My Dress for styling ideas and advice on restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We loved the community and bonding with other couples going through similar things. We found some of the advice so valuable. I adored reading the real wedding write-ups. I read them religiously up to our big day and still do.”
“My favourite thing about the site is how down to earth and helpful the advice is – both in the articles and from the real couples. There is so much positivity and happiness which is lovely. We followed all the work Love My Dress was doing fighting for wedding restrictions to be fair and based on science throughout the pandemic – truly inspirational.”
Words of Wedded Wisdom
“Make all the decisions for you two alone. If you try to make everyone else happy, you will end up compromising on what’s perfect for you. We were both clear from the beginning that we were totally open and happy to discuss ideas and opinions with family and friends, but the end decision was ours alone.”
“We were given such great advice that you should invite the people you see in your future and not your past. This is the most amazing mantra and worked so well for us. Everyone there was genuinely so special to us both and will be in our lives for years to come.”
“At the end of the day, lots of details and changes don’t matter. A wedding should help bring the two of you together ready for your married life so enjoy the engagement and planning. It’s such a happy but short time in the grand scheme of your lives together.”
“We felt everything went so fast and were really pleased to have held the wedding over three days. We made sure to regularly step back and take it in. We really enjoyed the run-up to the wedding too, being mindful of how lucky we were and spending the once in a lifetime period with close friends and family. Enjoy it and don’t get caught up in the stress and pressure.”
The run-up to the wedding was such a special time because we and our bridal party were able to stay with my family for the weeks(s) up to the big day, which really elongated the happiness and memories.”
“Keep to any traditions that you like and resonate with you but don’t be afraid to not follow any that don’t suit or fit your day or you as a couple.”
“Also, if you can stretch to it, get a planner.”
Charis and Dan, thank you forever for so graciously sharing your beautiful wedding and so much amazing information with us. It’s been fascinating to hear the different influences that led to this gorgeous celebration and Charis, what utterly exception style you have.
Love Annabel x