Bridal Indulgence Bride Karen wearing Papella by Willowby

Bridal Indulgence bride Karen met James on a dating app which uses Facebook to match singletons who share mutual friends. When Karen and James matched, Karen realised that their mutual friend was her best friend, Jo, who died 10 years before. 

Having never heard of James, Karen looked him up on Facebook and found pictures of Jo and James together. Trusting Jo’s judgement, Karen decided she’d at least give James a shot. 

After a whirlwind first year together, Karen and James were engaged. Fast-forward another 18 months and the pair are happily married and telling us all about their big day. We gave Karen a post-wedding phone call to get a low-down on the day, and here’s what she told us.

Bridal Indulgence bride Karen and James at altar

How did you choose your wedding dress?

I chose the Papella by Willowby wedding dress with an open back complete with butterfly wings. I saw a picture of the front of the dress in the bridal gowns section of the Bridal Indulgence website and I always wanted a lace wedding dress so thought it was perfect. 

Bridal Indulgence bride Karen wears wedding dress with wing details

When I saw Papella by Willowby in the shop and noticed that it had an open back, I loved it. I tried on five or so dresses and when I put that one on I came out of the changing room and my older sister Helen was already crying. 

Bride wearing Papella by Willowby on wedding day

Only then did I realise that the back was designed like a butterfly. My friend Jo had a thing about butterflies, she loved them. It just all felt right, it was almost like Jo had led me to the guy and could now be a part of the wedding too. 

When I explained it all to Kerri she started crying with us too. 

What was your experience shopping at Bridal Indulgence like? 

It was amazing. Kerri has really put her heart into finding each of the dresses in the shop and it means that every dress in the shop is gorgeous!

Confetti being thrown over a bride on her wedding day

Find out more about Bridal Indulgence here

What accessories did you choose? 

Kerri put a little belt with my wedding dress to nip my waist in and give it a little sparkle. It was just amazing, it was just the best dress ever!

Bridal Indulgence bride Karen with a horse on her wedding day

I didn’t have a veil because I wanted the back of the dress to be a statement, but I did have a flower crown from Sophie and Luna and I went over to her studio in Wimbledon and picked all of the flowers and she made it. My bridesmaids also had flower crowns from Sophie and Luna as well.

Flower crowns from Sophie and Luna

And then I had pale blue suede shoes but then from LK Bennett for the reception high top Converse that were custom-made with pearls because I just wanted to take my shoes off and just be in my trainers for the festival. 

Personalised high top Converse for wedding

Tell us all about your wedding day

We got married in our local church which is opposite our flat. I’m Catholic and James isn’t but bless him, he came to church every week for 18 months so that we could get married there. 

Bridal Indulgence bride at church ceremony

The reception was at my work, where I train horses to do dressage and show jumping. My landlord rented me one of the fields at work. We had three tipis from Love Tipis, two of which had long tables in and then the other one was a dance tipi with a band and the most incredible disco ball which I wanted to take home with me.

Wedding guests at festival wedding

I really wanted it to feel like you were at a festival with your mates, so we had a BBQ from Monsterfoods as the meal and then we had a converted horse trailer as our bar.  

Mobile bar in converted horse trailer

We had a band called The Kicks that we found on Alive Network who playing foo fighters, bastille etc. The band did an acoustic set in the afternoon, so they were just sat on straw bales just singing with their guitars. 

Wedding band, The Kicks, at festival wedding

I made a lot of things myself. I made signs out of pallets and we had blackboards that I sanded down and all of my clients collected jam jars for me. 

DIY wedding decorations and signs

Where did you get your hair and makeup done? 

My makeup was done by a friend called Lorna Crowther. And my hair by Laura Gibson, a close friend of mine! It kind of just felt like we were playing dress-up and having a few glasses of champagne and then suddenly it was like, ‘okay, off you go to get married now!’

It was nice because I didn’t want a load of people in my Dad’s house that I didn’t know. 

Who was your wedding photographer and how did you choose them? 

My photographer was also a friend of mine: Tess from Catchlight35. She was also at my house in the morning so that was also really relaxed and nice. 

Wedding photography from Catchlight35

How did you choose your flowers?

I got my bouquets and buttonholes from Fleurs Amanda in Weybridge. I just wanted wild flowers, nothing too manicured. I saw this bouquet on Pinterest that I loved and I took it into her rustic and shabby chic shop. 

Bridal Indulgence bride Karen with her dad

Within 10 minutes I’d ordered the bouquets and buttonhole variations for the boys. She was really good and easy.  

The flowers for the reception were grown in my dressage trainer’s garden. There were millions of them. I said I just wanted wild blue and white flowers and he grew them and I drove there in my lorry the day before and picked them up.

Tell us about your cake

I wanted the cake to be a statement. So many cakes are overlooked and no one eats them. That’s why our cake was also dessert! It was made by my very talented friend Meera’s Cakes

Chocolate wedding cake for festival wedding

I told Meera that I wanted a chocolate cake because who doesn’t like chocolate? And then I just gave her free rein to do whatever she liked! Meera knew it was a festival wedding so  she decorated the cake with colourful flowers. It was amazing and everyone commented and how cool it was!

Tell us about your bridesmaids

I had two bridesmaids – my older sisters. I didn’t want them in traditional bridesmaids dresses as I wanted them to be able to wear their outfits again. 

Bridal Indulgence bride Karen with her bridesmaids outside the church

Their dresses were the first dress I saw on Monsoon’s website. I ordered them and sent them both straight to their respective homes and they Facetimed me when they tried them on! 

I didn’t actually see the dresses in the flesh until about a month before the wedding but I trusted that they would look lovely.

What transport did you have and why?

My car was a Volkswagen Campervan called Mae from Borrow Mae. We meet Mae and her owner Angie at a wedding fair and instantly knew that we wanted her for the day! It also meant that my dad and sisters could all fit in one car. 

Borrow Mae wedding transport

We meet with Angie and her husband Ralph before the wedding day and they were so lovely and made sure every detail was checked. They even played our playlist in the car from the church to the festival!

Love Volkswagen? Our Bridal Indulgence bride Hannah borrowed her mum’s adorable convertible Volkswagen Beetle for her wedding transport. 

How long did it take you to plan your wedding?

I got my dress a year to the day before my wedding, and I ordered the tipis over a year in advance because Love Tipis are the only country in England that do the off-white tipis. 

White tipis by Love Tipis at festival wedding

And then I sat back and relaxed until January! And then in January this year, I did everything else. 

What was the most memorable moment of your big day? 

When we arrived at the field and saw all our lovely friends and family sitting on the straw bales enjoying the sun with a glass of prosecco! Knowing that all our hard work had paid off and everyone was enjoying themselves and was there to celebrate with us! 

Paint bombs at festival wedding

Finally, what’s your wedding advice for brides getting married?

Try not to overthink things and get worked up! It will be your favourite day ever so just enjoy the process. Also as long as you have music, food, drink and your best friends, it will be one hell of a party!

Wedding guests dancing inside Love Tipi wedding tipis

If you loved reading about our real bride Karen, check out Bridal Indulgence bride Jayne’s wedding story or book an appointment at the boutique to become a Bridal Indulgence bride yourself!  

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