Driving up to the reception venue – which for the day doubled as a salon, hair studio and wardrobe – we knew instantly it would make a beautiful location for after the ceremony. Nuthurst Grange is a country hotel, surrounded by greenery. It features the so-called ‘Hen House’, a private, tailored space for brides and bridesmaids to prepare for the big day. This was where we found the dress we had spent six months perfecting. The family had arranged the gown on the mannequin and extended the train to show the dress in all its glory. It was quite an impressive sight.

The bride and groom, Shakira Doherty and Johnny Casey are Irish travellers. Being known for their extravagant and impressive weddings, this was no different. The dresses, including Shakira’s, we ensured were grand and majestic, worthy of a wedding that would certainly be.

The venue, The Stables (an annex which housed the Hen House) in particular, was decorated tastefully in a yellow and white theme, with pretty blossom trees. The cake was a sight to behold, a six-tiered masterpiece with yellow roses and a wealth of smaller cakes surrounding the feature piece.

Our day started with seeking out the mother of the bride to deliver her outfit for the day, which we had altered and beaded. We then headed over to the hen house and began dressing the bridesmaids in their bespoke lemon, duchess satin dresses. The diamanté detailing on the trim of the skirt, the neckline and the bow looked incredible. The bridesmaids ranged in age, but all looked in symmetry with their matching gowns, hair, and makeup. Of course, getting dressed couldn’t happen without a little photoshoot, see little Santana here. 

Once the bridesmaids had been dressed and sent off to help the other members of the family, our attention shifted to the bride, Shakira. 

Because of the beading, diamanté and numerous layers of skirt, the dress weighed a significant amount. It was a challenge then to try and get her into it without ruining the efforts of the hair stylist and makeup artist! We ultimately decided that Shakira should step into the dress rather than us try and lift it over her head. So we endeavoured to remove the mannequin from the dress without disturbing it so it remained as upright as possible. 

After a flurry of photographs and videos taken by the wedding photographer, it was time to dress Shakira. She slipped on her fully diamante Jimmy Choos and then with a graceful sort of leap, she stepped into the skirt. We then lifted and laced the skirt and petticoat, securing them in place. Next was the crystal stoned bodice. With a deep breath, we zipped up the back. The last element was the incredible 5.2 metre, pearled veil. With the expertise of Jay of Jayheir and Taylor Made Solihull, the veil was fastened just under her gorgeous head piece. 

The next challenge was trying to get Shakira and the dress down the stairs and out of the Hen House. This involved gathering the train and carrying it as Shakira walked. Once outside, there was a white carpet rolled out – the perfect opportunity to snap a few photos!

We made our way up the driveway to the main hotel then, train and veil in arms. As we rounded the corner, we met the convoy of Bentleys ready to escort the bride and bridemaids to the Church. They were beautifully adorned with flowers provided by Julie-Anne florist. 

Now with the bride, bridesmaids and family in one place, the photographers got to work in capturing the scene. We also got a couple of shots ourselves. Although I don’t think everyone was quite ready… 

Of course, we couldn’t leave without getting a photo with the bride! Pictured is below Helen, the woman who made much of the magic happen regarding the incredible dress, and Shakira, the Bride. 

Once the shots had been taken, we set about trying to fit the grand dress into the back of a Bentley convertible, a tall order as you can imagine! But with some adjustment and help from Helen, we managed it. Though it was a squeeze! With our work at the hotel accomplished, we drove on ahead to the church in waiting of the bride. 

To be continue in Part 2

#junepeonybrides #realbrides #wedding #weddingdressbirmingham #bigweddingdress

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