Celebrating Happiness

Well our English summer is well and truly here, waking up to the unexpected rays of sunshine or to the downpours of the refreshing rain, either way there’s something about the summer months with the light evenings that brings happiness to us all.

Tucked away in the East of Devon is the quaint parish of Lympstone a perfect setting for a very special Wedding of Samantha and Rob. The hardest part about losing someone is trying to learn to live without them, trying to fill the void and the emptiness that’s left inside your heart. It’s something unimaginable to most of us and hard to comprehend but this happened to Samantha 10 years ago when she lost her first husband.

Samantha never thought she would be happy again let alone love again, then she met Rob. It was during her second ski season in the French Alps and as soon as she saw him she knew he was ‘the one.’ Their DIY wedding which they lovingly named ‘Oh Happy Day’ took place in the local village hall which showed where they were from whilst adding a Après ski theme to show where they live now. Samantha came across The Mews whilst googling designer dresses in the Bristol area, she was initially attracted to the simple, boho style dresses but whilst trying on several Samantha eventually fell in love with a fitted soft lace French designer dress. After thinking she had found the dress and one less thing to worry about, Samantha had to have a rethink. Unfortunately Rob accidently stumbled across a photograph of Samantha wearing it, which meant the surprise of seeing her walking down the aisle in the perfect dress for the first time had vanished!

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Having time on her side Samantha decided to find another dress and with the help from Rebecca a perfect alternative made by one of the UK’s foremost award winning bridal designers Stephanie Allin was chosen. The misty dress is a gorgeous cut which flatters Samantha’s figure, the soft flowing lines belie the structure and craftsmanship of the bodice. Samantha looks beautiful and part of the 50s glamour era with the many layers of netting giving the skirt a statement style.

Samantha’s and Rob’s wedding was a truly special day but for Samantha it was a little bit more as it was also an occasion where she could show her friends and family her gratitude for being there for her in her hours of need. The happiness which was shared and captured just shows how beautiful love can be.

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Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a 47-year-old writer and chef currently living in France. I was widowed more than 10 years ago so my wedding to Rob had a very special, emotional significance. There was a time in my life when I thought I would never be happy again. We labeled our wedding ‘Oh Happy Day’ on the invites. It wasn’t just an event where we got married, it was also a thank you to all my friends and family who had supported me when times were very bad.

How did you meet your Groom?
I met Rob on my second winter ski season working in La Tania in the French Alps. I may have told a tiny, tiny lie about my age when we started chatting. When he asked if I was: ‘…27 too?’ I said yes. I was 36! It’s corny, but I knew as soon as I saw him he was the one for me even though he was a decade younger than me!

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How did you come across The Mews?
My Dad lives near Bristol and I thought he might enjoy the dress shopping experience, so I Googled designer dresses in the area and The Mews popped up. I liked the more unusual designers they stocked plus the shop looked beautiful. It certainly lived up to expectations. It even smelt fabulous!

What styles were you channeling whilst dress shopping?
Ha! I started off saying I wanted something simple, vintage-looking and Boho. When Rebecca told me to pick a few dresses to try I made a beeline for the biggest, most elaborate princess dresses they had, absolutely nothing like I had described! My heart took over which is just as well because the Boho look really didn’t suit my body shape.

Tell us about finding your perfect Wedding dress?
After choosing what I thought was the perfect dress – a fitted, soft lace, French number, my fiancé accidently saw a photo of me in it! I called Rebecca at The Mews (I was in tears, poor girl) and, as it had yet to be ordered, she said I could come in and try and find something else. The second dress I chose was actually far more ‘me’, more 50s in style and more girly, a fitted lace bodice and a gorgeous, big skirt with tonnes of netting underneath. It was a dress Rebecca suggested I try. It wasn’t something that called to me on the hanger, so just goes to show you should take the stylist’s suggestions. I added the blush sash I had chosen to style the original dress and the same veil and it all worked together so beautifully it was an easy decision to make.

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Where did your wedding day take place? Were there any themes or inspiration behind your day?
A little village church in Woodbury, Devon followed by a reception at Lympstone Village Hall. It was a DIY wedding which is not something I would suggest for the faint hearted, the organization nearly broke me at several points, but it could not have been more perfect on the day. We wanted a Devonshire feast to reflect where we are from and an Après Ski style after party to reflect where we live now. Our band To The Sun made the night (well, an the Toffee Vodka Mono-board shots), the dance floor was packed all night.

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What did he wear?
Rob wore a beautiful three-piece Air Force blue checked suit with a handmade white shirt and a green polka dot bow tie. The tie matched our dog’s bow tie collar from Holly & Lil, which was the first thing I bought after we got engaged. Basically everything from the colour scheme to the invites were inspired by our adored working cocker spaniel Buddy, who was the ring bearer! Our one and only bridesmaid Jasmine wore a beautiful olive green Two Birds dress to match his collar too – also from The Mews.

What was your favourite detail of the day?
There isn’t one but a few – the personalized Converse my husband gave me as a wedding gift for the dancing later that evening, the gospel singers in the church singing ‘Oh Happy Day’ and ‘Happy’ by Pharell, the fact I was so excited to get into the church I forgot to take my sunglasses off, the spaniel and squirrel shaped biscuits I baked and iced with everyone’s names as place settings, the name badges we had made for everyone with their nick-names on – a brilliant ice breaker at the tables and the Krispy Kreme doughnut tower we had as a wedding cake. Oh and the flowers by our amazing florist Claire from The Wilde Bunch near Bristol. What she created with our limited budget was overwhelming! From decorating Buddy’s lead to the ‘trees’ she made in the church and then whisked over to the venue, everything was incredible.

What advice would you give to a bride to be about finding the perfect dress?
Don’t take a huge posse of people with you. In fact, I would suggest going alone the first time and then returning with someone you trust when you have whittled it down to a few favourites. You want the dress that YOU love, not the dress that someone else loves. It’s very easy to be swayed by someone else’s opinion. Also listen to the experts at the dress shop, their knowledge of what works for your body shape is invaluable – plus it is a completely unbiased opinion.

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Words of wedded wisdom?
On the day, when you are fully dressed, take two minutes out of the whirlwind to really look at yourself in detail. Check all the buttons on your dress are done up and that your veil is in the right place. I got so over excited and was having such a good time my hair wasn’t really how we had practiced it and the sash on my dress was tied too wide. But whatever – I still felt amazing. Oh and whatever your budget it’s worth every single penny booking the best photographer you can afford. Jamie Bott worked his butt off and the results are incredible. His photos remind me every day of the very special, happy day we all shared in September, plus even I look at myself and think, ‘Yes, I scrubbed up well!’.

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