We caught up with Sussex bride Claire to find out all about her autumn-inspired, gin-loving wedding at Buxted Park – and that gorgeous Justin Alexander bridal gown!
How did your partner propose?
On a romantic getaway to Bath, he didn’t have a plan and wanted to find a moment that just “felt right”. We spent the weekend celebrating our little secret before returning home to surprise everyone!
What’s the best piece of advice you received in the run up to your wedding?
In the lead-up to the wedding take time out for each other. Planning can take over your life if you let it so it’s really important to take time out away from the wedding to enjoy each other’s company.
How did you go about finding your wedding dress?
I didn’t know what I wanted; I just knew how I wanted to feel. My first appointment was with Fross, a local shop in my hometown. I chose a few different styles to get a feel of what style suited me. My dress was the first one I tried and none of the others felt right.
How many dresses did you try on before you found ‘the one’?
I tried seven dresses in total but I always knew the first dress – by Justin Alexander – was ‘the one’.
What made you fall in love with the dress that you chose?
The way it made me feel- elegant and beautiful, just like a bride should. It is a classic and timeless dress with the most amazing train and bead work on the back giving it a real wow factor.
Did you wear a veil and/or any other bridal accessories?
I chose not to have a veil because it kept getting caught up in the embellished back. Instead I chose to have a hair-vine.
Tell us about your wedding day.
We have so many happy memories of winter walks and summer picnics in the parkland surrounding Buxted Park, it was the obvious choice for us. It’s beautiful inside and out. We wanted to keep it simple and let the venue speak for itself so we kept our decorations to a minimum. We chose autumn colours for our flowers and highlights and gave our florist free rein to do what she wanted. We are huge gin fans so we named our tables after our favourite gins and found a table plan, and table cards to match. We filled the bottles with flowers and fairy lights, placed them on mirrored discs and scattered autumn confetti on the tables. We kept our guestlist to 50 close family and friends for the ceremony and wedding breakfast, then had a larger party for the evening with buffet, sparklers, photobooth and live band. The whole day was just perfect, we even got lucky with the weather and had some sun compared to the storms and torrential rain the day before.
What was your favourite moment from the day itself?
It’s difficult to choose, the whole day was wonderful, but probably the ceremony. Seeing my husband waiting for me and looking so proud was the happiest of moments. My father is unwell and now unable to speak. Sadly he wasn’t able to walk me down the aisle, a role my brother proudly took on. But he was waiting down the front with my Mum and the look of sheer joy and pride he had on his face when he saw me and when my Mum spoke on their behalf to give me away is a memory I will cherish forever. Having my Dad at my wedding meant everything to me.
Is there any advice you would be happy to share with other brides?
There’s no need to stress and be nervous! Remember you’ve done everything you can to make it perfect. If you are feeling nervous walking down the aisle just focus on your future husband and enjoy the attention.
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
We took two weeks off and spent time enjoying our new home (we moved 3 weeks before the wedding) and in the second week we had a minimoon in a log cabin in Lapland, Finland. We plan to have a two-week honeymoon this year, location to be decided.
WHO WERE YOUR SUPPLIERS FOR YOUR BIG DAY?
Photographer – Leigh Mcara Photography
Venue – Buxted Park Hotel
Shoes – Rainbow Club
Florist – Louise Carter, friend and budding florist
Entertainment – Hello Gorgeous Photobooths
Live band: Midnight Martinis
Rings – Burrells, Tunbridge Wells
Hair Stylist – Elizabeth Brown
Makeup Artist – Sophie Jane Makeup