A Sassi Holford Gown For An Elegant and Pastel Colour Summer Wedding

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Somehow, this time next week it will be March. The days will be longer, the evenings warmer, the flowers brighter and the sun a little sunnier. Hurrah! And with that joyous thought, allow me to introduce you to Mr and Mrs Roff, who wed on 6th August 2016 at the stately Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa.

Mrs Roff, an English Teacher, chose a whole host of our divine Little Book for Brides suppliers to help create her dream wedding to her Engineer husband. A bespoke Sassi Halford gown was paired with a pair of instantly recognisable Harriet Wilde heels (with a little help from Arabesque) and sugar sweet blooms were crafted by Bels Flowers. The elegantly feminine style of Katy Melling Photography was the perfect choice to complement and capture all of this heavenly gorgeousness. So far, all suppliers mentioned in this paragraph have been handpicked to be part of our curated wedding directory, Little Book For Brides. In other words, they come with a huge stamp of approval and highly recommended status from us.

“I wanted a wedding with classic styling, timeless colours and simple, effortless beauty. Of course, once exposed to the world of weddings as a naïve, newly engaged, bride to be, things somewhat escalated. From the moment I followed Love My Dress on Instagram, regular ideas and photographs from other people’s weddings popped up regularly on my news feed. I began taking inspiration and saving images from other bride’s wedding days and adding these to my own ideas.”

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Mrs Roff’s journey to creating her sublime custom Sassi Halford gown is a such a sweet and serendipitous story. She paired her exquisite creation with a Sassi Halford veil, bought from the flagship store on Fulham Road in London. Sassi and her team know everything there is to know about fit and fabric, crafting amazingly flattering dresses – just take a look at our Style Files and you’ll see exactly what I’ll mean.

“Dress shopping with my mum was so exciting. We spent many exciting weekends in beautiful wedding boutiques of the North East, but unfortunately each time the curtain was pulled back, the same words came to my lips: ‘it’s a 9 out of 10.’ I liked elements of many dresses, but couldn’t find exactly what I wanted. Cue trawling bridal websites and the discovery of a Clara Rosa gown online, only stocked on Fulham Road in London. Well I had no choice really did I?!

Train tickets purchased, my mum and I got up at the crack of dawn, as excited as children on Christmas morning, ready for our trip to ‘The Big Smoke’. My mum’s expression when I announced ‘it’s a 9 out of 10’ was a cross between utter disappointment and exasperation, leading us to a little pub down the road, suddenly in need of more than a couple of cocktails. Crossing the road, mum spotted Sassi Holford unobtrusively positioned between a florist and another wedding shop and she dared me to ring the bell.”“A lovely lady called Eleanor answered and within an hour I was torn between four dresses, none of which were in budget and none of which were exactly what I wanted. On the verge of giving up, how yet again I’d found elements of many dresses that I liked. Eleanor’s reply caused me to burst into tears – ‘but darling, if that’s what you want, we can make it for you!’.

Much champagne, many snotty tissues and a swipe of a credit card later, I left London clutching a folder containing the design for a bespoke dress, a list of appointments for future fittings over the next fifteen months, and a mother who was so excited she was practically bouncing off the walls. Meeting Sassi at my final fitting and having her seal of approval on my dress, veil and shoe combination was a very special moment.”

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While in the evening Mrs Roff touchingly wore her mum’s wedding shoes – a pair of satin, flat, ivory ballet pumps that her mother wore on her wedding day in 1982 – she chose a beautiful pair of Harriet Wilde heels for her ceremony.

Harriet Wilde shoes proved the perfect accessory and on one of the early trips to London, I was lucky enough to be able to visit their shop and pick a beautiful pair of Marina Cherry peeptoe heels in ivory satin. I had these hand-dyed using a swatch of fabric from my bridesmaid dresses; the company Arabesque did this for me and came highly recommended by the shoe shop.”

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“My make-up was done by an old school friend and fantastic local makeup artist, Danielle of Dani. MUA, and my hair was done by a lovely girl called Sam of Eden Mobile Hairdressing, who Danielle recommended.”

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Mrs Roff chose a simple hair slide from the jewellery counter in Debenhams; a classic pearly touch to sit over her veil. Tiffany & Co. pearl earrings, a gift from her mum and dad, were the perfect subtlety to finish her look and complement the soft, sweet shades of her bouquet by Bels Flowers. Heady roses and peonies nestled among clouds of hydrangeas and feathery astilbe – dreamy.

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“Helen, of Bels Flowers, and conveniently best friend of our photographer Katy Melling, came highly recommended from various sources and her vision for our day perfectly matched our own.”

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Mr and Mrs Roff chose Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa in rural Northumberland as their venue, where they spent a romantic Valentine’s Day night many years before. The memories of this special stay were enough to convince the couple that this was exactly where they wanted to become man and wife.

“As we arrived in our hotel room, I remember looking out the window and seeing a bride and her new husband on the lawn having photographs taken with guests in the sunshine. This memory stayed with me and when Mr Roff popped the question, I knew Doxford Hall would be top of the list.”

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“Once the venue had been confirmed, I had somewhere to base my ideas and a definite vision for the day. Sophie, the wedding coordinator, told us during an initial consultation meeting that weather permitting, it was possible to marry outside. I quickly turned to Pinterest to find ideas for outdoor ceremonies and quickly ordered silk rose petals to define the aisle.”

“Opting for an outdoor ceremony was certainly risky: the day would have been very different if we’d had to revert to the indoor plan B. That being said, would it have mattered? No. The weather added to the day but it wasn’t the be all and end all, it was simply the cherry on the cake.”

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“Mr Roff and I have known each other since school. We began dating after university, having stayed in touch as part of the same large circle of friends throughout this time. After six years together, in February 2015, he took me to Dubai for my 30th birthday and proposed in the Burj Al Arab hotel over cocktails. I spent the following five days talking his ear off about a wedding I’d been planning in my head for years that I couldn’t wait to begin organising.”

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Mrs Roff walked down the sun-drenched outdoor aisle on the arm of her dad, Graham, while the sounds of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, played on saxophone, filled the summer air.  She and her fiancé exchanged simple, classically worded vows and touchingly sang Love Is All Around with their guests during the ceremony, accompanied by saxophonist Harry Mears.

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“I asked our very good friend Amber to choose a surprise reading, ‘Love is a Temporary Madness’, which we heard for the first time on the day and provided a very emotional moment for all. We exchanged rings made by Old Eldon Jewellers in Newcastle upon Tyne – mine had to be designed to fit around my unusual shaped engagement ring.”

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“Unsurprisingly, there were many conversations between my husband-to-be and myself regarding the dreaded wedding spreadsheet and the ever-increasing budget. We were in a taxi on our way out for a rare date night in the lead-up to the big day when our taxi driver announced that at his daughter’s wedding, the magician was the best money he’d spent. Mr Roff’s eyes rolled and I excitedly rang and booked Paul Lytton, a magician I’d met earlier in the year at a wedding fair.”

“We both agreed afterwards that he was superb and that he brought many friends and family together during the drinks reception, providing an icebreaker that’s sometimes missing at larger weddings. It also helped that he’s the best up-close magician we’d ever seen. Some of our most favourite photos are of our guests’ reactions to his tricks.”

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In the week leading up to the big day, two of Mrs Roff’s bridesmaids flew over from California to help with the final details and shop for bridesmaid and flower girl shoes. On one such excursion they discovered Donna by Versace, a light, floral scent that Mrs Roff wore on her wedding day and also on her honeymoon.

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“The bridesmaids dresses were from Debenhams, as were their pearl hair slides which matched my own. They wore Debenhams pearl earrings and matching bracelets and each bridesmaid was also presented with a hand sewn handkerchief embroidered with the words ‘No ugly crying!’ This was an idea I’d seen on Pinterest and recreated using handkerchiefs purchased online. Once I got the hang of embroidering lettering, I also embroidered our wedding date.”

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“The flower girls dresses were from Monsoon and matched the satin on my gown perfectly. The page boy and the groom wore suits from Moss Bros and the groom also wore Burberry cufflinks, a gift from his parents.”

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Katy Melling also came highly recommended by suppliers in the area and as soon as we saw the dreamy, ‘taken as though through tissue paper’ images on her website, we fell in love.”

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“Attending our pre-wedding shoot in April was the perfect excuse for a wedding hair and make-up trial that morning and provided Mr Roff with the opportunity to get rid of any concerns about having his photo taken. Katy was so relaxing to be around and our photos are everything we could have dreamed of and more.”

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“Accompanied by the sound of slow jazz music, we had some beautiful intimate photographs taken and it was the first time the two of us really had a chance to enjoy being alone together. It was so nice to talk, reflect on the ceremony, marvel at the beautiful weather and get excited about what else was to come. Later on, Katy invited us to a meadow for some more photographs.”

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“This moment, as the sun was setting, was equally as special. One of my favourite photos of the day is the one where Mr Roff had to carry me over his shoulder through the meadow to get the perfect shot.”

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“After the ceremony and drinks reception, our guests began making their way downstairs to the ballroom for the wedding breakfast. The sun was still shining and the saxophonist was playing Kenny G’s ‘Songbird’. As the last guest disappeared inside the venue, Mr Roff and I were left alone with our photographer to have some couple shots while the guests were finding their seats inside.”

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The couple worked together with their very talented friend (aka Kay Armstrong Cake Design) to design a beautiful four-tiered creation based on their wedding colours. In addition to their saxophonist and their evening band, Mr and Mrs Roff also hired magician Paul Lytton to entertain their guests.

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Doxford Hall Hotel & Spa catered a delicious four-course extravaganza; parfait of chicken liver and toasted brioche, pan-seared filet of beef, caramelised lemon tart and a cheese and port course followed by coffee and petit fours. I am salivating. The couples’ love of macarons defined their wedding favours, delectable vanilla treats with a white chocolate filling and a stripe of edible gold paint.

“We were recommended a lovely lady called Petra at The Macaron House, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. The macarons she created looked perfect inside the small pink birdcage favour boxes we’d chosen. Our love of Scrabble and my job as an English teacher gave us the idea for the place settings and guest book and one of our most special details was a wooden sign post that my dad made depicting where everyone had travelled from.”

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“We danced the night away accompanied by Ask Ruby, a live band featuring our very good friend Cate on the keyboards. The groom’s rather childish love for 90s dance music (and particularly Cascada!) meant that the logical choice for our first dance was the acoustic version of ‘Every Time We Touch.’ To be honest, when we listened to the lyrics, it brought a tear to my eye and the words just perfectly sum up how we feel about each other.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Our top tips are simple: work together, have a vision, prioritise getting the guest list right over everything else, and ENJOY IT.”

“Many of our friends had joked initially about how many people were on the first draft of the guest list, and our wedding coordinator said that all brides-to-be have an inevitable guest ‘cull’ at some point. The thing is, we felt so strongly about wanting to share our special day with all of our friends and family, that we ended up adding to the list rather than taking away.”

“What we learned was, no matter what money we had saved up to spend on suppliers and details, the people we were to share our day with mattered more. Spend what you can afford, don’t start married life in debt because of one day and ensure you take care over the details; these make all the difference and make your day unique.”

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I can’t begin to thank Mr and Mrs Roff (who you can find on Instagram by the way) enough for allowing us to share their gorgeous day. And of course our absolute appreciation and indeed admiration also goes to the talented suppliers behind this beautiful celebration; Katy Melling PhotographySassi HalfordHarriet Wilde and Bels Flowers. Girl power or what!?

With love, Em x

Credits & Thanks



Emily Brown

Emily Brown View all Emily's articles

Emily covets all things Scandinavian and loves travelling, modern art, learning languages and living with her brand new husband and a collection of house plants as a Northerner in London

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