A Bespoke One-Shouldered Gown for a Modern and Relaxed London Wedding


I’m a few days late, but Happy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful break- its lovely to have you back with us for another busy year.  A very warm welcome to those of you who got engaged over the festive season and are joining us as newly engaged people too- we hope you’ll love it here as much as we do (perhaps consider joining the Love My Dress Facebook Community as well – they’re the nicest bunch).

Allow me to introduce the lovely bride and groom of my first 2018 real wedding feature.  Meet Sarah, a social media producer, and Jim, also a producer, who married on the 22nd July 2017 at The Orangery, Holland Park, London, followed by a reception at The Alice House. Sarah wore a beautiful gown designed and made entirely to her specifications by Caroline Arthur Bridal, who we are thrilled to say is a member of our Little Book For Brides.  I love the modern one shoulder look, especially in the soft tulle Sarah chose.

“I was feeling disheartened after struggling to find the kind of dress I wanted, and stressed about dedicating so many weekends to dress hunting when a friend messaged me a link on instagram to Caroline Arthur Bridal – a dressmaker with a design your own dress section on her website.”

Images by  Ben Selway Photography

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“I gave it a go, it was quick and easy to use, and submitted my design.  Sarah gave me a call and chatted me through the process and made everything so easy.  Once I went to meet them and they mocked up my design, I was hooked.  They were so nice and I felt I could totally trust them to make my dress.”“We wanted to get married in London, as we’ve lived there for seven years and grew up close by.  Neither of us are religious, so wanted to find a ceremony venue that felt modern, light and airy but also had a sense of occasion to it.”

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Hair and make up were by Jo Clayton, who was recommended to Sarah by a friend.

“Jo was a wonderful, calming presence on the morning and was incredibly professional, working with her assistant to get through four bridesmaids, myself and the mother of the bride.”

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“I had a vision of getting married outdoors, but getting married in England meant finding somewhere under cover, but that was still light.  The Orangery ticked the boxes perfectly.  Nestled in the heart of Holland Park, it’s surrounded by beautiful grounds, wild peacocks, and stunning flowers.”

“Our main thought was that we wanted it to be fun for everyone, not too pretentious or stuffy and to have a party vibe.  We went with a tropical/botanical vibe for the stationery and decoration.”

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In her hair Sarah wore a fabulous gold tiara which she purchased from Etsy which just sets of her simple dress shape perfectly.

“My ‘something borrowed’ were my friends’ earrings, and I also wore a gold arm cuff from Etsy to add to the Grecian theme.”

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“We met when we were thirteen and fifteen, and were childhood sweethearts.  We got together properly when at uni and Jim proposed on our ten year anniversary.”

“Jim is super creative and talented so designed all our stationery with a tropical/botanical vibe including little personalised pub coasters for everyone.”

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“My dress designer Caroline, made exactly what I wanted and I’m so glad I booked with her. She went above and beyond at every point and made me feel special with every appointment.”

“Her studio is based in Ham House in Richmond in beautiful surroundings and not only do they not charge you for an appointment, but they buy you a year’s membership to the National Trust too.”

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The bridesmaids looked lovely in dark green dresses from David’s Bridal, which they wore with a gold bracelet, which was a gift from Sarah on the day.

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“My dad walked me down the aisle which was a really lovely moment.  I thought I would absolutely ball it, but was really pleased that I held it together and actually really enjoyed it, beaming at all our wonderful friends and family.  We walked to ‘God Only Knows’ by the Beach Boys.”

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“We wrote our own vows to make the service as personal to us as possible and give it a modern feel.  My brother read ‘How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog’ and our best friends from university wrote a poem especially for us, full of in-jokes and personal touches that made me well up.”

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“The ceremony was lovely, the sense of anticipation, and sort of surprise of seeing everyone we love in one room, with all the flowers and décor set up for the first time – seeing it all come together.  I also loved the readings.”

“Another favourite moment has to be the Bridesmaid’s speech – seeing my besties together, killing it with their hilarious and moving words made me well up.”

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The fabulous floral arrangements were the work of Palais Flowers, who filled both venues with a profusion of beautiful shapes and colours, as well as supplying Sarah with her gorgeous bouquet.

“I’m really into flowers and so the florist was a really important decision for me.  I’m so glad we went with Palais flowers – their arrangements made me beam as I saw them for the first time coming down the aisle, and I was just in love with my bouquet.  We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

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Today’s wonderful photographs come to us courtesy of Ben Selway Photography, who we are delighted to feature for the first time. I adore the amount of life and action Ben has captured in every image.

“We met Ben when he did the photography for our friends’ wedding.  He was such a friendly presence at their day and we really warmed to him.  When we saw their photos, we were sold.  He’s a great photographer and captured the laid back style we wanted.”

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“After we booked with him, I realised he had also been the photographer at my cousin’s wedding – it’s a small world!  I’m so glad we chose him – he made everyone feel so comfortable and it was like having another friend there.”

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“We wanted the reception to reflect our personalities, so were looking for something laid back and fun where we could have a really good party.  Jim was really keen on finding a nice London pub, so when we discovered The Alice House we were sold.  Decorated with a modern edge, and with the nicest staff around, we were so glad we made the decision to have it there.  The staff went above and beyond and we’re so grateful to them.”

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Catering was the work of The Alice House, with canapes after the ceremony served by Cooks and Partners.

“The Alice House Food was incredible.  We had a delicious three course dinner made up of sharing platters which went down really well. We couldn’t have asked for a better job.”

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“To decorate our venue, we created our own tropical giant clear bubble balloons, with ivy stems and tropical leaves inside.  Tip – don’t overfill with leaves, or they’ll sink!  We also hired an awesome neon sign from Bag and Bones which said ‘and so it begins’ which the Alice House pub kindly let us install for the day.”

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“Our hilarious friends Cara and Ollie created a pub quiz to do while people were eating which kept people entertained.  It was so nice to have friends do something so personal for us, and it fitted the theme of a pub wedding to perfection.”

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“My incredibly talented cousin, Hannah Dome, made our stunning wedding cake as a gift to us as she’s a freelance chef.  We’re so lucky to have her in the family!”

“She transported it all the way from Cornwall too.  It was a delicious naked victoria sponge, decorated with fruit and surrounded by our grandparents’ wedding photos.”

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Don’t let the planning take over your life.  Wedding planning is stressful, but don’t let something that is a gift be turned in to a chore.  Start planning as early as possible, so you have time in your week to do the things you love to do together normally.”

Also, try to do the wedding your way as much as possible with a bit of flexibility.  It’s your day, as many people always say, but it means an awful lot to other people too so try to make them feel involved.”

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So many thanks to Sarah and Jim (and of course, photographer Ben Selway), for sharing this fun filled day with us all.  Is Sarah’s beautiful Caroline Arthur dress just what you’ve been looking for too, or do you adore the idea of designing your own gown?  Take a look here for an article by our lovely Tamryn about the experience, and here for a reminder of Caroline’s Little Book for Brides page.

Much love,

Shona x

Credits & Thanks

Shona Raffle-Edwards

Shona Raffle-EdwardsView all Shona's articles

Shona is a wedding admiring bookworm with a love of the countryside, flowers and all things organisational who is currently based in sunny Yorkshire with her husband and beloved cat

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