Olivia, in Jenny Yoo, for her Elegant Winter Wedding at Somerley House in The New Forest

Bride and groom exiting their wedding ceremony in a shower of Confetti at Somerley House in Hampshire

Olivia and Owen, both finance professionals, tied the knot on 25th November 2023, at Somerley House in Ringwood, The New Forest.

The couple both wanted to embrace winter and Somerley provided a quintessentially English location to do so. With it’s opulent spaces, roaring open fires and Christmas decorations, it would bring their trendy, modern and elegant winter wedding vision to life. 

Olivia wore a contemporary Jenny Yoo gown which she discovered at the Halo & Wren boutique in Hempstead, Hertfordshire. The couple hired videographer Chloe Rose and photographer by Marta Ilardo – who has captured some of my favourite weddings ever featured on Love My Dress.


Venue & Location

We had no ties to The New Forest, in fact our trip to Somerley was both of our first time visiting, but we both absolutely fell in love with the venue.

I had always wanted to get married on a vineyard in Italy and once we were engaged, we took a trip to Florence to look around wedding venues. There were some beautiful options, but the wedding planner who was guiding us kept talking about the possibility of rain and how you had to love your ‘Plan B’ option, should that occur.

My sister had also been to a wedding in Italy where it rained the entire weekend. The idea and stress of dragging all of our guests to Italy for a wedding that could be anything less than my dream wedding was too much (I am a massive perfectionist), and so we decided to take weather out of the equation and embrace everything Winter.

The whole day was catered for indoors so it wouldn’t matter what the weather was on our day, but we just happened to be so lucky that it was a beautiful crisp morning and the sun was shining!

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Bridal Beauty & Accessories

I wore a single tier, cathedral length veil from Poirier and a pair of sparkly Manolo Blahniks – Carrie Bradshaw-esque. My scent was the 154 Cologne, by Jo Malone – I don’t like anything too sweet or floral.

As a wedding gift, Owen bought me a necklace from The Diamond Store which I wore on the day. My mum also gave me some diamond earrings from Abbey Fine Jewellery in Berkhamsted. 

My hair and makeup artist was Catherine Adkins of A Finishing Touch.

The Dress

I am a big shoe person, and (against everyone’s advice), bought my shoes before the dress, so I knew I needed a slit up the leg of the dress that would show them off! 

My dress was by Jenny Yoo, from the Halo & Wren boutique in Hempstead, Hertfordshire. I knew I wanted a trendy and modern dress, but it needed to fit with the elegance and sophistication of the venue.

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The Ceremony

My dad accompanied me into the ceremony, to the sound of Unchained Melody, by The Righteous Brothers.

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Owen and I love this song and I kept my entrance song as a complete surprise to him.

We used the Captain Corelli’s Mandolin passage by Louis de Bernieres as our ceremony reading.

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Whilst we were signing the marriage documents, our close friend Adam Price performed the piano.

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We asked for him to play a selection of classical music from The Holiday and the music from the John Lewis Christmas Adverts – it was absolutely brilliant and everyone was talking about it all day. 

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Owen had used Aston at John Wyatt Fine Jewellery to create my bespoke engagement ring and so we wanted to use him again for our wedding rings. We have recommended him to lots of our friends since, his jewellery is beautiful.

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Bride and groom exiting their wedding ceremony in a shower of Confetti at Somerley House in Hampshire


I had met Marta Ilardo when she photographed my friend’s wedding two years previously. I had followed her on instagram since and she continues to get better and better. Choosing a photographer is all about finding a style that you like – Marta’s photos were very editorial – trendy and cool, whilst capturing the elegance of the venue.

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I was particularly uninterested in having too many posed photos, I had spent so much time organizing the day, I didn’t want to miss a second or drag people away for choreographed photos. We got our couples photos out the way in 15 mins and then could go and enjoy ourselves. (It was also freezing!) Marta blended into the background and captured every aspect of the day so that we didn’t need to think about it. 

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Somerley House Winter Wedding

How They Met

We met in Sydney in 2016. I was living there for a year after university and Owen was there for three months before returning to London to start his career in finance.

We met through mutual friends and became close friends for about two years before we started dating. We often give Owen a hard time over ‘the two year chase’, before I eventually agreed to go on a date with him. Six years later, we are married. We got engaged in July 2022, so were engaged for just over a year.

Owen had a custom made black tie and shirt from William Young Tailors in Berkhamsted.

The Best Man drove us in our Tesla, which the bridesmaids had beautifully decorated and even left a small bottle of Champagne in the back seat so that we could have a private toast in the car before joining the party! So sweet.

Tesla wedding car with tins in the back

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When we had decided on an elegant English Winter Wedding I wanted to do everything within that context to the extreme; open fires, fur, Christmas decorations and flowers, black tie, English themed food and canapes. Most importantly, we wanted it to be a PARTY! I wanted good music and the dance floor to be busy all night. 

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The Reception

Somerley House

We left personalised bottles of Lockdown Liquor Picantes in the bedrooms of all of the guests staying. I also printed out a photo of Owen/myself with each guest and left it on their table setting – everyone loved this and it was a good ice breaker to get conversation going.

I made up bags of our favourite sweets (strawbs for Owen and fizzy watermelons for Olivia) and left a ‘His’ or ‘Her Favourite’ on everyone’s seat in the Church, which everyone appreciated – especially as I was 25 mins late to the Church service.

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Rose & Beau Designs did our invitations and I designed all of the wedding day stationary (order of service, menus etc) on Canva.

We hired a harpist for our drinks reception, via Warble Entertainment.

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The caterers, Molecular Magic, were fantastic, Magic is a brilliant chef and was so accommodating – I wanted to design all of my own canapes so he gave me free reign over the menu. Chulli Pizza was our late night food – he set up his truck outside – he was a real hit with our guests!

Arcade Flowers in Ringwood made my bouquet but we were fairly tight on budget and the florist quotes we received were all so expensive.

We ended up sourcing the flowers ourselves and our incredibly talented family friend Louise made all the table centrepieces and decorated the room. The tables looked stunning, it was even better than i had imagined and all of the examples i had seen on Pinterest.

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Everything went exactly to plan – whether that is down to luck or meticulous planning – I would say the latter, but we wouldn’t have changed a thing. 

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Words of Wedded Wisdom

The best piece of advice that I was given (as a control freak/perfectionist), was plan as much as you like in advance, but on the wedding day itself, remember you are the guest of honour and not the host! 

It is so easy with weddings to get carried away with spending and everything really does add up. Pick three things that you care about, whatever those may be, and spend the money on those things – everywhere else, you can cut costs. We did this with the flowers and did them ourselves and it worked out beautifully. But if you love flowers and are really into them – spend the money on the flower ceiling and cut costs on the food/music/drinks instead! 

Also, I spent most of my time on Pinterest – you can be really specific about the themes and what you are after for inspiration.

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Annabel View all Annabel's articles

Founder of Love My Dress. Passionate Podcaster and Editor. Annabel lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, their two daughters and menagerie of furry hounds. She loves photography, meditation, walking, being outdoors and star gazing. She is fierce when it comes to championing talent within the wedding industry and when she's not working on Love My Dress, she supports her husband Philip in the running of the family's sustainable flower farm and floral design business, Moonwind Flowers. In 2013, she became a published author.