#11 On the Beach
Our Brides – Carly
Summer might be over for another year, but in bridal that means it’s time to start planning for next summer’s weddings! So here’s some sunny inspiration from Carly and Tom’s boho beach wedding in the sands of Lagos, Portugal, with a delightful Rembo Styling gown to boot.
I love the relaxed but still very personal vibes of Carly and Tom’s ceremony, and the way they brought Carly’s little boy Max into the big-day mix. And a reading from Sex and the City?? Absolute goals.
Congrats you two! Now where’s the closest beach to Chatsworth?!
How did you two first meet?
At work. He was my boss. We worked together for 4 years, fell in love over time and got together 3 and a half years ago.
What about the proposal? When, where, how?
On a sunset cruise along the Amalfi Coast, when we went away to Sorrento for our birthday weekend. (We were born on the same day – 9th July – so we always celebrate with a weekend away for our joint birthday.)
I had no idea he was going to do it so it was a HUGE surprise! I couldn’t stop crying for long enough to say yes…
Did you have an idea of what you wanted when you first started looking for your wedding dress? And did you stick to it?
Yes: I wanted something relaxed, lightweight and flowy. Nothing structured or tight. We knew we were going to get married abroad – and on the beach – so I wanted something to suit that style of wedding.
How did you find the whole experience of searching for the right dress?
I loved it!
The first shop I went to was overwhelming, with so many styles, and they insisted I try on to get a feel for different dresses, but I knew what I wanted and didn’t find it there.
I searched online for ‘boho style chiffon wedding dresses’ as this was the style I had in my head, and came across a designer called Rembo Styling. Once I went on their site I fell in love with their designs and searched for Rembo stockists, and immediately booked an appointment when Alexandra Anne came up.
From that point on I loved every second! Jess listened to what I wanted and the styles I had set my heart on and brought me the dresses to suit that, which was just perfect.
What was it about your wedding dress that made it ‘the one’?
I knew straight away that Hada was the dress for me.
I felt so comfortable and amazing in it: it fit me perfectly and I looked in the mirror and could imagine myself walking down the beach barefoot in that dress and that it was 100% the one for me.
How did you feel once you’d made the big decision?
So happy!! Ecstatic, in fact. Couldn’t wait for my hubby to see me in it. I knew he would love it.
Do you have any top tips for other brides out there shopping for their bridal gown?
Don’t get overwhelmed. And don’t get pushed into trying on styles that you really really don’t like, because they sometimes can then cloud your vision as you have too many to think about.
Try not to take too many people with you, as everyone has different styles and opinions on styles when ultimately, as much as you want your friends’ and family’s input, it can sometimes cloud your own vision of what you like and want.
My bridesmaids actually preferred one of the other Rembo dresses on me, but I still stuck to my guns and was so happy I did – it was perfect.
Go on how you feel in a dress as well as how you think you look in it, because on the day being happy and comfortable in the dress you are wearing will make you glow and look amazing! And walking around uncomfortable and restricted will take away from however beautiful a dress may look on the hanger…
THE BIG DAY
Tell us more about your outfit on the day. How did you complete your look?
I wore a flower crown that I had made to match the colour scheme of the wedding.
I didn’t want to wear shoes so I wore some foot jewellery, and as the dress has a very low V cut at the back I wore a back necklace that dropped down.
And your bridesmaids?
They wore a dusky pink chiffon dress which was crocheted at the top, thin straps, and floaty at the bottom. And they wore hair clips with a flower on to match my flower crown, plus flat sparkly sandals.
What do you remember about the morning?
Being really excited but also relaxed actually!
As we weren’t getting married until late afternoon, the hair and makeup girls were arriving at 1pm, so I sat around in the bridal suite, wrote down my vows and cried a lot! But happy tears!
Who did your hair and makeup?
A company over in Portugal called Unique and Chic Weddings, who also did our venue décor.
Who took your wedding photos?
Did you follow any traditions? Or was there anything unusual about the ceremony?
Our ceremony was amazing and my favourite bit of the whole thing.
My dad walked me down the aisle/beach as tradition, and my flower girls laid out petals for us along the beach. My husband was stood at the front waiting for me with my 6 year-old son (who was his mini-best-man). My son stayed at the front for the whole ceremony so it was the 3 of us the whole time which I loved and the celebrant included him a lot.
We got all the kids who were going to be guests at the wedding, before the day, to write down on a big piece of pink card I had cut into heart shapes what they think love is, and during the ceremony the celebrant asked all the children to come up to the front and they all read out their own cards, which was beautiful and so cute!
We then did a sand ceremony. We had 3 jars, one for me, one for Tom (hubby) and one for Max (my son) and we each filled our own jar during the ceremony with sand from the beach. Those bottles represented each of us as individuals. We then, at the same time, all poured our sand into one bigger jar together, which symbolised unity and the fact that grains of sand can never be separated. We then put the lid on that jar and it was then our grains of sand all together forever, just like we will be as a family.
My brother also did a reading for me which was actually from Sex and the City, which made people laugh as it wasn’t a standard wedding reading – but I loved it and asked him to do it.
How did your dress feel when you were walking down the aisle?
It felt wonderful!! It floated beautifully – it wasn’t restrictive at all and I felt amazing in it.
What are your favourite memories of your wedding day?
The ceremony as a whole was just amazing. We did our own vows which I absolutely loved – being able to say everything I wanted to say to him in front of everyone we loved was amazing, but I kept getting over-emotional reading them so it took a little longer than expected! I loved the sand ceremony too.
And with the décor the one thing I remember seeing and being so excited about was the tipi wedding arch that our wedding planner’s husband made for us as I had such a set idea of what I wanted and we couldn’t find a supplier, so as a joiner he made us one and the florist dressed it!
What gave you the biggest laugh?
The party was such good fun. Everyone had a great time afterwards – including the men who stripped off and jumped in the beach club pool at 1am!!
What got the tears flowing?
Reading my vows to myself in the morning, then again reading them during the ceremony.
Tom making one of his vows to Max, that also made me cry.
Seeing my dad when he came to get me.
Reading a card the wedding planner had written to us… effectively everything!! Ha!
If there was one piece of advice you could give to a new bride-to-be, what would it be?
Don’t get carried away with the material things of the wedding. Just enjoy it.
My biggest piece of advice would be to make the ceremony about the two of you (three in our case!): make it personal, add things in to make it yours and not just the standard reading off a sheet.
Say what YOU want to say, and don’t think of the ceremony as ‘the boring bit before the party’ – enjoy every second of it because that is the whole reason you are doing it after all!
Think of little ways to make it memorable and magical for yourselves and your guests. We have been back 3 weeks and people just keep telling me still how beautiful the ceremony was and how emotional it was and they will remember it as fondly as we will.
And last but not least, where is your wedding dress now?
In the dry cleaners right now to be picked up today as we have an evening reception on Saturday so I get to wear it again! Woohoo!!!
Hada by Rembo Styling
Duna Beach Club, Lagos, Portugal
Hair and makeup
Unique and Chic Weddings
Boho style, dreamcatchers, wood and natural materials
Xeli Florist (Lagos)
Table plan theme
Rustic, hessian, flowers, tealights
Singer / solo guitarist called Max during the day
DJ in the evening
First dance song
Jason Mraz – I’m Yours
Are you a 2020 beach bride?