Ally & Jo…. Sopley Mill garden inspired wedding…

Ally & Jo had the most relaxed wedding at Sopley Mill a few weeks back… They went for this uber rustic, natural vibe, with textures, plants and a home grown flower feel… I chatted with Ally about her dress buying struggle, wedding planning, and their big day…

Tell me about your dress buying journey? – I always imagined my Mum would make my wedding dress, having made her own, plus several cousins and friends over the years. I imagined fabric shopping and designing my dress together. Unfortunately after loosing my mum three years ago, this couldn’t happen. So looking for the ‘perfect’ dress seemed like a daunting and impossible task. I didn’t know what what would suit me. I decided to go it alone, thinking if mum can’t do this with me then no one else will match up to the task. I started looking online for ideas, not sure what I’d end up with. After several Pinterest albums and a few designers I liked the look of, I looked for a stockist locally that had the designers I liked . I went with open eyes and tried some on. These dresses didn’t feel quite right. After a few dress shops and about 10 dresses, I decided to give it a rest for a while. I then came across Minster Brides and went to see them in November 2018. As soon as I started trying on the dresses in there, I just knew I’d find a dress that I’d love and that my Mum would have too. I narrowed it down to 2 dresses there, I loved them both. I admired the detail, felt the fabric and they both looked as close to perfect as I could imagine. I knew I couldn’t make the decision between them on my own. I wanted someone to share this moment with me after all. So I called upon my maid of honour, Naomi. We went back to Minster Brides two weeks later and I tried them both on for her. I knew it would be a special moment and it really was. As soon as she saw me in ‘The’ dress, she cried. We knew it would be that one! Everything about the dress was ‘Me’. The details, the fit, the design, the colour…EVERYTHING! I didn’t want to take it off. I felt the same on my wedding day.

How important were the flowers to you? – Flowers were always going to be important to us. Both sides of my family are keen gardeners and we all appreciate flowers and nature. Jo and I are from the countryside, surrounded by nature, natural and raw were how we wanted it. We didn’t want any colour as such,  just simple, raw and natural…nothing formal, we wanted texture combined with wild simplicity!

How did you choose your wedding flower theme and florist? – I searched for local florists and had several Pinterest ideas for flowers. I had come across Clair and when I saw her work, I knew straight away it was meant to be! When we spoke on the phone, Clair just got it and I had complete faith she would deliver exactly what we imagined. Freesias needed to play a part in our wedding flowers, these were my mums favourite flowers and are now mine. I grow them in my garden every year in her memory, the scent makes me think of her and how lucky I was to have a mother like her. We wanted them nestled amongst a variety of other flowers to create that raw, natural, country feel. We also then found out that Jo’s dads favourite flowers were freesias and roses… guess what… theses also featured in our flowers. Perfect!

Tell me about choosing your venue? – As we are both from the countryside, we knew we wanted a wedding that was at a venue with outdoor space and lots of open areas, with no other buildings around it. We didn’t have a particular place in mind, so being so lucky to live in Southbourne, so near to the new forest and so many other open spaces we started looking for ideas online. We started with a few places in the New Forest. We went to Sopley Mill, it was our first venue viewing. We both loved it. Everything about it and could imagine ourselves, family and friends there. We didn’t want to rule out anywhere else, so we visited three more venues. But Sopley Mill had already captured our hearts and we started planning the day in our heads. It was a joy, simple and easy and the beauty of it is that you can choose everything yourself so you are not tied to any particular supplier. It meant we could use all our own ideas and make it a wedding with lots of touches that were personal to us.

What was your favourite part of the day? – Too many favourite parts. Seeing my Dad and hearing him tell me how beautiful I looked when he first saw me in my dress and ready to marry Jo, the tears in his eyes as we looked at each other, the proudness I felt from him. The moment I saw Jo as I walked down the aisle, as he turned and we caught each others eye. The moment my dad gave me away, how my heart filled up as the two most important men in my life stood either side of me, safe in the knowledge that these two men love each other too, they are pals, friends, buddies and that in itself is enough for me to know that Jo is welcome in our family and that he loves my dad as I do. Seeing all the hard work over the past 12 months all come together, in perfect harmony. Each and every touch was perfect and the wedding had ‘Ally & Jo’ all over it. The freesias, the music, the honey, the seeds… the hidden touches, that were there for our missed loved ones.

Images by – White Chalet Studio

Very responsive and flexible

Clair is extremely passionate about what she does, which is highly infectious... She knows her craft and is very responsive and flexible to additional ideas... Everyone commented that they were the most stunning wedding flowers they'd ever seen!

We met Clair and clicked immediately

We met Clair and just clicked immediately with her. She had prepared ideas based on our description of the wedding and she was one of the few suppliers we met who genuinely tailored her approach as soon as she got the brief.

She is an extremely talented artist

Even after my own wedding over a year ago I still follow Clair on all her social medias... seeing her new work with other brides and feeling like she keeps re-investing herself, nothing is ever alike! She is an extremely talented artist.