Claire and Jim’s charming intimate wedding in Dorset

Some weddings just have that special extra little bit of magic. Sometimes it’s in the images, or in the stories my brides and grooms tell me. Other times there’s a gorgeous detail which wins me over, something I’ve never seen before or a special touch which is really personal to the bride and groom. Sometimes it’s just everything. Claire and Jim have everything… their relaxed and intimate wedding in Dorset has an amazing atmosphere, and just looks wonderful. I know you’ll love it!

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Congratulations to a stunning, smiley, and fabulous bride and groom! You’re both just awesome and I’m so proud to be sharing your wedding on the blog today. Thank you so much for the wedding report as well, and for all of your stories, tips and advice.

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Thanks as well to lovely Dorset wedding photographer Paul Underhill for submitting such a brilliant wedding for the English Wedding Blog. Everyone – enjoy!

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Paul Underhill Dorset Wedding blog (3)

Claire and Jim – a wonderfully personal wedding in Wimborne, Dorset

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Your wedding photographer’s website:

Wedding venue:

The Town Hall, Wimborne Minster, Dorset

Can you describe your wedding in a single sentence?

An incredibly special, intimate day, filled to the brim with lots of love and laughter.

What was your reaction to seeing your wedding photos for the first time? Were you pleased with your wedding photographer?

We were absolutely DELIGHTED! We truly feel that Paul captured the atmosphere and essence of the day perfectly, you can really see that we are all having a relaxed, amazing time. We got to see a preview of the photographs as part of Paul’s blog the day after the wedding and it was fantastic to see the day captured so beautifully, when everything was so fresh in our minds.

Your wedding style and theme:

We didn’t really have a ‘theme’ in mind when planning the wedding (perhaps because it was all a bit of a whirlwind) but the choices we made all seemed to come together on the day! We knew that we wanted to have a relaxed feeling throughout the day and really make it a celebration of our time together (9 years and 2 beautiful boys later) and of our future as a family.

Any happy tears on the day?

Oh yes lots and not just the bride! My eldest sister said ‘I never cry at weddings but I was crying at this one!’ My parents have both passed away and Jim lost his grandfather 3 years ago so we were acutely aware that there were loved ones who weren’t able to celebrate with us and this made it an even more emotional day for us. We wanted to make sure that they were still included so incorporated some pictures of them on the seating plan board, along with a ‘wish you were here!’ tag. My brother in law, who I have known since I was 9, was kind enough to walk me down the aisle and even did it in my dad’s Chelsea boots, so he really was walking in his shoes! I had to hold it together all day and I am amazed the (brilliant) MAC makeup stayed in place!

How long did you spend planning your wedding?

Just over 3 months. Jim ‘popped the question’ on our 9th anniversary on the 23 April 2013 and by the 5 August 2013 we were walking down the aisle. Jim’s sister and her husband were visiting from Australia and it was really important for us to have them there so we did a ‘rush job’ on the planning and got it all done in 3 months to coincide with their visit.

Best bit of budget advice?

Investigate all the options and if you go over budget in one area (I spent nearly 3 times the amount I thought I would on the dress!) then be prepared to cut back in another. We used the diamonds from a ring that Jim bought me when we first got together and had them reset in platinum for my engagement ring. It ended up costing 2 thirds of the price we were going to spend and I love it all the more because we have ‘history’!

Invitations and stationery:

These were created by the lovely Jackie at ‘Print for the love of wood’. ( We emailed our vague ideas and she came back with beautiful save the dates, invitations, RSVP’s and thank you postcards.

Did you fall in love with your wedding dress?

Oh absolutely! I always knew I would like a Candy Anthony dress so I didn’t even try any other dresses on. The quality, service and overall experience that Candy Anthony offered was worth every penny. I had SO many complements on the dress, I loved that it was a little different, made for me and it’s a cliché – but I really did feel a million dollars!

The experience of buying my wedding dress was just brilliant and this was completely down to Rachel and her team at the boutique. I was half an hour+ late for my first appointment due to traffic and nearly in tears because I thought I would miss my appointment. Rachel was so calm and reassuring and nothing was too much trouble. They even gave me time in the middle of the appointment to feed my son in between trying on what proved to be my perfect dress!

Glitz and sparkle: the bride’s accessories:

I wore my mum’s pearl and diamond drop earrings and treated myself to a pearl bracelet for the wedding day. The peony in my hair was a last minute creation by the wonderful florist (after I had forgotten to buy a vintage hair slide!) I called him, explained the situation and he had wired two peonies and had delivered to our house in 15 mins!

I wanted to get shoes that really complimented the dress and they had to be gorgeous because they would be on show all day. I searched all over the place for the right style and a comfortable heel height and found the perfect pair at Rachel Simpson shoes. The service was very efficient, the price – reasonable, quality – fantastic, they were comfortable all day and I loved them!

The groom wore:

Jim had a great time choosing his outfit and was even able to squeeze in a trip to London with a few friends to find a tie (and a couple of beers)! Jim’s suit and shoes were from Charles Tyrwhitt, with his shirt, tie and pocket square from Gresham Blake. He also had so many compliments, mostly for the guys on his shirt!

Beautiful bridesmaids: what did your best girls wear?

I wanted something different for my sisters and Jim’s sister who was acting as ‘best man’. Get Cutie in Brighton produce some beautiful dresses in amazing fabrics and I fell in love with their Bluebirds print. I gave the girls the freedom to choose their dress style and we then had the dresses made for them in ‘Bluebirds’. I think they looked fantastic and Get Cutie were wonderful in sending us lots of different styles to choose from and even sending Jim’s sister’s dress to Australia for her! Our sons Jack and Sam wore little Next suits and Vans trainers with matching bow ties in the same fabric as the bridesmaid’s dresses and we loved that they could share the special day with us.

Hair and make-up – did you DIY or hire a professional?

Definitely a professional! I couldn’t handle the pressure of doing my eyeliner myself – so we hired a MAC professional makeup artist to do my makeup on the day.

My hair was done by my friend and professional hair dresser, Rachel – Hardy’s Salon, Portsmouth. Rachel did a fantastic job and was so kind to keep primping me all day! She was even on hand to take my veil out after the meal (with her teeth as it wasn’t coming out!) and touch up my hair for the evening.

Wedding flowers:

My eldest sister and I had a wonderful time choosing the flowers and we were so lucky that we had such a talented florist in David Denyer at David Ragg flowers in Wimborne/Bournemouth. We had a chat about what we liked and what would suit my dress style and the colours of the bridesmaid’s dresses and then really gave David a free rein. I completely trusted him and we weren’t disappointed, he did a beautiful job and I loved all the arrangements, bouquets and button holes.

The ceremony:

This was a civil ceremony at Wimborne Town Hall, with our close friends and family.

Wedding readings?

Our friend Gary was kind enough to read ‘Oh tell me the truth about love ‘ by W.H. Auden. We really liked the fact that it had a different view on love and made us smile.

General styling – did your venue need much decoration?

The ceremony venue was very simple and just had a flower arrangement on the main ceremony table (which we recycled and walked up the road to the reception venue to use again!).

The reception was held at Number 9 restaurant in Wimborne which was only a few (very rainy) steps down the road from the Town Hall.  Number 9 is a Grade II listed property, built in the 1790’s. The décor is described as chic – yet warm, elegant and informal. This was perfect for us and with the country garden style flowers that David created for us – the venue looked simple, but gorgeous! Jamie and his team looked after us beautifully and the food and service was faultless. We also stayed in their boutique bed and breakfast rooms upstairs from the restaurant which suited us perfectly.

The wedding cake: traditional or quirky?

The cake was fairly traditional with a fruit base tier and chocolate top tier. The simple deign was accentuated by a strip of vintage lace to match my dress and David the florist chose some more of our beautiful flowers to make a real centre piece for the day. The cake didn’t only look amazing it was delicious!


We entertained ourselves! The venue was very intimate so we made our own daytime and evening playlists as background music. We had lots of fun choosing the tracks and could pick exactly the songs we wanted.

On the day tips and advice:

Take time to really enjoy the day and don’t worry about the little things! Even if someone drops the cake as long as you say I do and have a fantastic time it really won’t matter in the end!

What’s the best thing about being married?

We’ve declared our commitment to the world!

Quick supplier list for other brides and grooms:

Photographer –

Invitations – www.print

Flowers – (David Denyer at David Ragg flowers)

Cake –

Ceremony Venue –

Reception Venue –

Wedding rings – Ockenden & Hemming, Wimborne, (01202) 885051

Bride – Dress –

Shoes –

Hair – Rachel Hardy, Hardy’s Salon, Portsmouth (website in progress) – 07854 197199

Groom – Suit & Shoes –

Shirt & tie –

Bridesmaids –

Claire Gould

Claire spends her days writing - either in beautiful calligraphy or online. She lives on the edge of the English Lake District only minutes away from the beach, where she loves to escape and unwind. Claire's calligraphy can be found at Claire launched the English Wedding Blog in November 2009 - it's been a top 10 UK wedding blog ever since, with a regional focus we hope you LOVE.




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