Two Brides & Their Winter Wedding at Tythe: Honest Wedding Dress Reflections & Advice

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Sammy-Jo Altman (the beautiful dark haired bride), 33, married Rachael Charlton 30, on 2nd December 2023 at Tythe. They both wore dresses from Pronovias, Sammy-Jo a bespoke gown and Rachael the Mariona

This is part 6 in a series of 6 articles that ask brides who married at this beautiful Oxfordshire wedding venue to reflect on their wedding day fashion choices – with insights that will benefit all readers on the hunt for their wedding dress or wedding day attire. You’ll find the other brides here.

Same sex wedding at Tythe in Oxfordshire. Both brides wear Pronovias gowns.

I’ve never been the type of girl who dreamed about my wedding dress

SJ: When it came to shopping for it, my family was probably more excited about it than I was. Rachael had her appointment booked at Pronovias on Bond Street in London with my mum and two sisters, all her family live up North.

They took the dress she chose off the floor and then I had the appointment straight afterwards. I was happy to try on lots of dresses, but I had no desire to go to lots of different boutiques. My aim was to make a decision quickly.

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The dress I chose was the first one I tried on, I said yes immediately

R: Originally, I thought I would go for more of a Pippa Middleton style dress. I also considered getting a Vera Wang but when I saw other brides in the shop trying those on, I wasn’t convinced that look would work with the style of wedding we were planning.

I tried on a few others to make sure, but I wanted that first dress. It was entirely my decision. There was no communication beforehand with Sammy about the dress she might be wearing.’

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I was in shock at the dress she chose. I wouldn’t have chosen it for her at all

SJ: ‘It’s the most unlike-her choice she could have made. I never in a million years thought she would choose that dress. In fact, this is the very first time we’ve even talked about it. We wanted it to be a complete surprise for each other on the day. You only get to see your future wife once like that.

We did our reveal before the actual wedding in Tythe’s farmhouse kitchen. I was so overwhelmed and panicking. I’m not the sort of person to even get anxiety but I was scared, not of marrying Rachael but of the wedding itself. Rachael was the complete opposite to me. She was calm all day.

R: ‘It’s true, I can completely detach myself from any stress. I just trust the people who are working on everything to get it right.’

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I had an idea of the dress I wanted but I couldn’t find it

SJ: I love spring and summer so I thought I would marry in a more Grecian style dress. Rachael likes winter, so we compromised on winter! The theme became Winter Wonderland so I thought that would enable me to go quite big and sparkly with the dress.

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I wanted it to be very fitted at the waist with lots of detailing, but I didn’t want the skirt to be too big. So, they adapted one of the designs for me, removing about fifteen layers of tulle from the skirt. It was just too much dress. But in the end, we both had remarkably similar dresses somehow.’

R: We knew we’d made the right choice when I look at this picture, I feel like I belong in a magazine…


SJ: ‘Honestly, when I put the dress on and looked in the mirror, I didn’t feel like myself, I’m not someone who ordinarily wears pretty dresses or lots of make-up but when I look at this image, I think I look great.


As soon as we walked into that barn, we were just ‘wow’, this is it. We would live there if we could

SJ: ‘We really wanted a venue that would be easy for our guests, where they could drive home if they wanted to. It was just perfect for a quintessentially English countryside wedding.’

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R: ‘Tythe was the only venue we looked at. I googled barns around London, it was the first one I clicked on an I thought this looks wonderful, let’s go and see it.’

SJ: ‘I love the snow and I love the festive season with the lights. Everyone is so happy at that time of year. It was really frosty and foggy on the morning we woke up. We were so lucky that it didn’t rain. We had fake snow as we walked down the aisle.’

I felt comfortable in the dress until the dancing started

SJ: The train was very long so later it was looped onto my wrist but honestly it was quite irritating to dance with, it was heavy. I think designers should make trains that are removable because it was in the way.

It was ripped and black by the end of the night. Somehow Rachael’s was pristine but mine looked like I’d been outside in the bushes all night.’

The best advice I could give to other brides-to-be?

SJ: ‘Don’t go dress shopping with people who will overly influence your decision.’

R: ‘Trust your instinct if you feel a dress is right for you. Don’t feel the pressure to try on hundreds of dresses just because that’s what the majority of brides do or just to make other people happy. If you try on two, that’s fine.’

SJ: ‘I think people succumb to the idea of perfection and the pressure they put on themselves to achieve it. It’s so hard to be yourself and that’s why people don’t do it.’

R: ‘So many people asked us how the wedding diet was going or said you can’t eat that you’ve got a wedding dress to fit into.’

SJ: ‘Even now they’ll ask are you still going to the gym or do you not care now because you’ve had your wedding. All those things add up and you put pressure on yourself to be this perfect bride that doesn’t exist. I don’t think grooms are asked about the diet or expected to look so perfect. But we were able to share that burden a little, we could discuss it.’

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We will definitely return to Tythe, perhaps for an anniversary

SJ: We felt a real sense when everyone arrived for our wedding that there was a collective breath, that they could relax now. We were there for two nights before the wedding and that really helped, it was a great time to unwind. Everyone had their own space.

Everyone we came in contact with (the owner Emma, the general manager Enrica, the lady who came to do breakfast, the guy who brings the wood for the hot tub) was so friendly – you could tell this wasn’t just a job for them. They cared. Emma’s passion for the place is obvious. We got to know people on a personal level, and you don’t get that in most places.’

The Tythe Barn

Oxfordshire Wedding Venue

The Tythe Barn is an award-winning wedding venue in Oxfordshire, comprising a cluster of beautifully restored barns alongside a 17th century boutique Farmhouse. Tythe is one of the most impressive wedding barns in the country: elegantly rural, undeniably fun, this exclusive estate is set on the working farm of the Deeley family in rural Bicester.

Relaxed and informal, yet well-known for its incredible attention to detail. This charming venue brings together the beautifully restored thatched Tythe Barn (dating back to 1370), adjoining Cowshed with its old terracotta roof, luxury dressing room (fondly referred to as The Nook), the stunning interior-designed Manor Farmhouse offering seven double en-suite bedrooms and the cosy Shepherd’s Hut which sleeps an additional two.

Tythe can be hired exclusively for two nights and offers everything on site: licensed for both indoor and outdoor ceremonies with the flexibility to adapt to both small or larger wedding parties, dedicated rooms for the groom and the bride to get ready in and accommodation for 16 guests – including tea and cake and a farmhouse supper for residents as well as breakfast on both mornings.


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The below suppliers and venues featured in this article are part of the Love My Dress Wedding Directory.

Wedding Llamas at Tythe Barn wedding venue Bicester Oxfordshire


Additional Credits

The below suppliers and venues are featured in this article, but are not part of the Love My Dress Wedding Directory.

Wedding Dress Designer
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Jade Beer

Jade Beer View all Jade's articles

Jade Beer is the former editor of Conde Nast Brides, a role she held for eight years, keeping it at the number one spot for the duration of her editorship. Today, she is the editor of the Mayfair Wedding Guide; editor-at-large for The Wedding Edition and she writes about fashion and lifestyle for the national press and women's magazines. She is the author of three published novels including her latest The Last Dress from Paris.