An Off-the-Shoulder Maggie Sottero Dress for a Rainy Day Family + Woodland Inspired Wedding

What happens when you take whimsical woodland inspiration and pair it with a glamorous Maggie Sottero gown and touches of metallic shimmer? It is my privilege to share the results with you today, so relax and enjoy this countryside wedding.

Today’s bride and groom are Charlotte, a hairdresser, and Ollie, a bank manager, who chose Red Brick Barn at Sutton Hall, Rochford, Essex for their wedding on 22 September 2018. The beautiful barn and its garden setting were the perfect location for the couple’s vision of a relaxed, whimsical woodland wedding, with a rustic tipi reception bedecked with fresh foliage and fairy lights.

Photography Gemma Giorgio Photography

Red Brick Barn was local to us and the perfect size and look for the type of wedding we wanted.”

“We had a relaxed, whimsical woodland theme. I knew I wanted it to be totally different from the usual church or manor house wedding.”Charlotte chose a romantic, off-the-shoulder gown in a subtle ivory and gold hue from Maggie Sottero, with a delicate trailing appliqué of vines and flowers. She looks simply beautiful.

“I found the ‘Saffron’ dress myself online but had it ordered it into a bridal shop I loved – Bellissima Weddings in South Woodham Ferrers.”

“It was the perfect shape for me. It showed my waist but hid my tummy in case I didn’t lose my baby weight, had a built-in corset and a flattering sweetheart neck with off the shoulder straps.”

Charlotte’s daughter makes an adorable flowergirl in her dainty white and pink lacy dress, found at Elsie’s Closet. She wore it with a magical foliage crown, whilst her brother dressed in a blue three-piece suit and bow-tie from Roco Clothing, complete with his own leafy buttonhole.

Charlotte and Ollie met ten years ago and have two adorable children together – who take centre stage in these charming photographs.

“We met through friends at a local nightclub. A long eight years and one child later Ollie finally asked me to marry him. Two years, another child and a house move later we got married.”

Whilst the bride and the rest of the bridal party prepared, the groom and his groomsmen got ready and had some wonderful photos taken in the gardens surrounding Red Brick Barn. He chose a modern, blue Ted Baker suit, worn with a ‘Liberty Chive Green’ bow-tie from CatkinJane on Etsy and a full, natural buttonhole from Miss Fleur Floral Design. His groomsmen and best man complemented his look in blue suits from M&S and matching CatkinJane ties.

The wedding ceremony was held in the 17th century brick barn, and the bride travelled there in a Bentley Mulsanne from Diamond Luxury Travel. These photographs of the bride and her father walking down the aisle are so special. They entered to an acoustic version of The Beatles’ ‘Here Comes The Sun’, sung by The Jet Fighters to meet Ollie and their son.

The bride’s bouquet and the subtle foliage touches around the venue are a lovely touch, with Miss Fleur Floral Design creating natural, hand-tied bouquets of pastel blooms and lots of leaves.

“As soon as I saw Kelly’s flowers online I knew she was the perfect florist for me. For two years she put up with my constant emails and Instagram messages of all the new and different things I wanted. I wanted flowers in season, blush and pastel tones but with a pop of colour from blues and lilacs. I had beautiful relaxed bouquets, two foliage crowns, hoops with foliage and fairy lights in my ceremony room and huge foliage garlands running down trestle tables. I didn’t want too many flowers as I wanted to keep the look as natural as possible.”

The grown-up bridesmaid wore an elegant Floryday gown in the deepest of greens, along with a foliage crown from Miss Fleur Floral Design, Sparkle La Vie earrings and a full bouquet of flowers.

Charlotte and Ollie exchanged their vows against a magical backdrop of foliage hoops, lit by fairy lights. The bride and groom visited Warburtons of Leigh Jewellers for their wedding rings.

“Ollie went for titanium with a white gold band as he doesn’t wear any jewellery normally so wanted it lightweight and simple. I went for a diamond wedding band as I felt it complemented my engagement ring from Hatton Jewellers, the best.”

A sheer finger-tip lace veil, chosen from Bellissima Weddings, flowed over the full skirt. I love the romantic simplicity of this look and Charlotte wisely let the detail of her gown shine through by just adding earrings from Sparkle La Vie and a pretty hair vine from eBay. Oh, but her shoes! Absolute beauties of gold glitter heels, ordered online from Badgley Mischka.

After the ceremony, the newly-weds emerged into the September day as a family, with their son between them and Ollie carrying their daughter. It doesn’t seem as if the rain dampened their spirits, or the confetti throwing. Thankfully the drizzle abated for them to get some beautiful portrait shots in the venue’s woodland whilst the guests enjoyed the gardens.

“We had garden games and photobooth from Forget Me Not Props.”

The wedding breakfast and party was held in an intimate tipi from Events Under Canvas. It was simply decorated with long trestle tables with swathes of foliage, balloon table numbers from Balloon-a-licious Events and pretty fairy lights for a natural look. Charlotte had made her favours herself.

“I sourced small glass jars with lids from eBay and filled them with Limoncello for the adults and jelly beans for the kids.”

The stationery was designed by Heather at Leigh Calligraphy, with thoughtful games dotted here and there to keep the children entertained, including ‘Wedding I Spy’.

The couple had taken care to add some personal touches to the grounds, displaying family photos as a ‘family tree’ and hanging woven dream-catchers for a magical vibe. Wooden palettes were repurposed for the table plan and on-the-day signage.

Limeberry Catering served up the wedding breakfast and a pretty wedding cake was baked by local cake maker Wilma’s Bakery. For a touch of fun competition, the couple hosted a ‘Great Wedding Cake Off’. I went to a couple of weddings last year where we were invited to bring along our own bakes, and it was such a fun way to celebrate.

“We opted for a ‘Great Wedding Cake Off’ where we encouraged our guests to get involved and make a cake if they wanted to win a prize. We ended up with two tables full of cakes so it ended up better than we ever expected!”


The day turned into evening with a fairy-lit first dance.

“We had a slow version of Fat Boy Slim’s ‘Praise You’ which gradually got faster. We felt it was the best fit for us and the vibe of our wedding to get the party started.”

“Being able to get all of our family and friends together is always amazing but being able to share the day with our children was the best feeling in the world. We wouldn’t have done anything differently… but if we could change the weather so it wasn’t raining all day we would have!”

Words of Wedded Wisdom

“Don’t listen to anyone else’s opinions; go with your gut as you only get one shot!”

“If you think it’s ‘not traditional’ or a ‘normal idea’ it doesn’t matter. It’s YOUR wedding day you can do whatever you like.”

Charlotte and Ollie, what a beautiful wedding. I’m sending you and your gorgeous children so many congratulations and thanks for allowing us to share your day here. I’m sure that our readers will join me in thanking Gemma Giorgio too for these wonderful photographs.

Lovelies, do you love the natural vibes of this woodland-inspired wedding? If you’d like to see more then please click here to see more weddings with a similar aesthetic.

Ele xx

Credits & Thanks

Eleanor Crossland

Eleanor Crossland View all Eleanor's articles

Ele lives in the Lincolnshire countryside, close to the beautiful coast. A qualified Pilates teacher, she loves fitness, yoga, Pilates and has a healthy addiction to baking, writing and travel.