A Somerley Estate Wedding Editorial: Featuring Sassi Holford & Charlie Brear


This gorgeous editorial which embraces traditional wedding-day glamour with a cool, modern and edgy vibe, took place at the beautiful Somerley wedding venue, located on the Hampshire/Dorset border.

The shoot was submitted by the utterly charming Katie Rogers, the photographer who captured these images and features gowns by two of my favourite British bridal designers, Sassi Holford and Charlie Brear.

Dale Rook Films + Follow

The Concept & Planning

Luna & The Lane & Lee O’D Makeup & Hair

The focus of the shoot was to capture the glamour of times gone by and propel the traditional elements of a stately home wedding firmly into the 21st Century by adding luxurious and edgy touches for a more modern and bespoke couple. We wanted to create a shoot which was forward facing and create a ‘new luxe’.

Katie Rogers Photography + Follow

Gown by Sassi Holford

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The setting of Somerley gave the most beautiful backdrop to achieve this: not only is it such a stunning venue, but it’s quirky details and homely intimate feel (unusual for a grand stately home) was able to perfectly fit our brief.

We pooled together a fabulous team of likeminded suppliers whom we knew would allow this brief to be achieved.

We chose contemporary suppliers who have a love for detail, whose forward-facing ideas and luxury products gave us an excellent blend of creativity and playfulness.


Luna & The Lane

Our brief was all about contrasts – teaming natural textures such as silks, linens, paper, pearls, petals and foliage with matte and translucent products; using hard lines against softer forms and playing with light and dark to achieve an edgy elegance. Clean and fresh and delicate and strong.

It was important for us all to showcase the details and choices available to a Bride and Groom individually as well as a couple and provide inspiration for some of the other traditional elements, rather than replicating a traditional wedding day shoot. As a stylist, I wanted to give a brief to our fellow suppliers which would allow for creative freedom yet hit that sensuous old-school glamour feel.

I gave them a palette which was largely monochromatic but added a soft blush and warm gold to compliment the setting of Somerley and add a romantic vibe.

The inspiration for the styling came from our love of gowns with simple shapes and silhouettes. We knew that the tailoring of the gown would be the springboard for the other details and so, when we saw two gowns at Brides of Winchester by Sassi Holford and Charlie Brear with the most stunning detailing and modern design, we knew that we had to feature them.

I am a huge advocate of ensuring that any Groom has the same amount of choice and knew that I had to get the boys from Dapper & Suave onboard (more from them later) and we were thrilled when Gieves & Hawkes came on board with their Bond suit – so classic yet totally sexy!

Somerley, set in the Hampshire countryside, is a gorgeous Georgian house. It provided the most amazing backdrop for the shoot and it was important for me, when considering the styling of the shoot, to utilise the natural architecture of the venue and compliment the shapes and colours which are found within.

The main house has many natural pockets and spaces which are unique, and it was essential to showcase these, however, our main lure was the incredible Picture Gallery.

The light in here was amazing and to be able to play with the giant mirror shutters to add another level of drama was incredible. If you are looking for a venue with class, quirkiness, grandeur and intimacy, then Somerley is the place.

Crystal Hire have the most beautiful range of tableware which we knew would complement the Picture Gallery. Their range offered us the opportunity to select beautifully edged glassware and team this with modern stoneware plates.

The addition of smoky glasses and soft peony and grey linens added a softness to the palette and complimented brilliantly the tones of the florals it was set against

It was important to move away from the traditional white tableware for this shoot – white tableware has its place but the effect of using a softer palette with monochromatic touches brings the traditional glam a little more of an extra edge and up to date for today’s modern couples.

The addition of elegant Ester and Erik candles gave the drama and height the table needed in such an opulent space.

Hair, Makeup & Bridal wear

Lee O’D Makeup & Hair & Brides of Winchester respectively

As you can imagine, being a bridal makeup artist and hairstylist, bridal styling is where my passion lies.

The new Sassi Holford Riva gown is an absolute showstopper and as soon as Laura at Brides of Winchester showed it to us, we knew we just had to have it.

It’s the perfect mix of classic and contemporary: the juxtaposition of the sophisticated smoothness of the top, against the flirty texture of the bottom embodies everything we wanted to express.

To complement Riva, for hair I wanted to break away from the more traditional and popular updos and embrace the renewed popularity of Hollywood waves.

The more contemporary translation of this vintage style features looser waves with plenty of shine.

This was achieved through styling with a Stylr Pro tong and L’Oréal Professional and Kenra products.

A beautiful comb fromBotias Accessories added an extra flourish.  This look was teamed with a soft glam makeup: glowing skin and subtly smoked eyes, using mainly NARS products.

For the second look with the Charlie Brear Haliton gown and Goya jacket, I wanted to revive the good old ponytail!

I know several fellow bridal hairstylists who love this look but because it’s not seen widely in shoots (yet!), few brides are choosing it at the moment.

Just the term ‘ponytail’ can feel too simple, but this shoot shows it can be so much more than something you wear at the gym!

Styled with a bit of volume and a sexy, almost tousled texture, a modern pony is perfect for an on-trend bride.

I chose a silky bow from Botias Accessories that complemented the fabric of the gown and jacket and gave them a playful edge.

With a bow and a pony for the hair, it was important that the makeup was sexy and ‘grown up’.

Glowing skin is my signature look, and this was married with a darker, smokier eye and a beautiful berry lip from Giorgio Armani.

Other beautiful pieces from Botias Accessories were used to compliment the gowns and bridal styling, from a stunning hairpiece to statement freshwater pearl earrings.

Male styling and Accessories

Dapper Suave

The brief for this shoot gave us an elegant and sophisticated colour palette, something different from the vibrant colour and pattern clash that Dapper & Suave are normally known for.

We were very excited to be working with a Gieves London 3-piece suit for our first look. Such a timeless suit and the model’s classical features immediately made us think of a simple Greek warrior pocket square.

We then added a vintage 1960s Liebert bow tie in silver and black to keep the colour palette tight, as well as the opportunity to wear loose in classic Bond style later.

For the second look we colour matched the stronger colours in the palette to create lapel flowers to team with black braces and rolled up sleeves. We handmade a ready tied copper metallic bow tie to add texture and colour, before adjusting the look to a simple open neck with an update on our feather vase lapel using white and black feathers, creating movement with simplicity.


Katie Rogers

The focus for photography was to complement the contemporary details against the grand style of the venue, the mix of textures on the table scape, and across the bridal and groom styling. We also wanted to tell a story of a bride and groom preparing for their day, to celebrate their vows with a spectacular dinner, and modern portraiture to reflect the sumptuous styling.

The Cake

Anna Lewis Cakes

The inspiration for the cake was to create a design that was soft and romantic, in keeping with the beautiful room it would feature in. Using gentle falling sugar petals but with a contemporary neutral palette and rough style texture the cake worked well to show a fusion of old and new.


Willow & Wisps

Sepia tones and slightly faded old-school glamour vibes were the inspiration for flower choices; tones of off white, cream and toffee brown in a mixture of fresh and dried blooms reflected the juxtaposition of modern wedding trends and the traditional setting of Somerley.

I used bleached varieties of foliage such as soft ruscus and fern, deliberately avoiding greens which would dilute the palette, and Cafe au Lait dahlias with a subtle hint of blush to add warmth and femininity to what could be considered quite a masculine scheme. The spikey texture of teasels was balanced by blousy roses, further reflecting contemporary luxe combined with traditional elegance.

Jewellery and Shoes

Baroque Jewellery + Botias Accessories + Harriet Wilde Shoes

Baroque, based in Brighton’s Lanes, supplied the most amazing jewellery. We wanted to feature pieces which had an androgenous feel to them and chose pieces which would be suitable for anyone, regardless of gender.

We decided to use precious stones as opposed to traditional diamonds and chose a mixture of skull cufflinks, lion pendants and statement rings which were worn together to create a modern edginess – perfect for couples who have a unique personal style.

We absolutely adored their pearl pieces: not only were they the biggest we had ever seen, but they added a touch of luxe and old-school glamour which we paired with the incredible Sassi Holford gown.

The Sahara Mid shoes from Harriet Wilde Shoes were so versatile, and the classic satin look worked perfectly with both gowns. And Brides sharing our bow obsession could go for their gorgeous Bowe heels.


Chloe Ainsley Creative

The beautiful stationery by Chloe Creative absolutely complimented the style of the shoot and brought a sense of modern edginess whilst being true to the Hollywood glam concept.

Chloe‘s eco-friendly suites are perfect for design-led couples who are looking for stationery which is modern and creative. We loved how the sharp asymmetric edges of her designs were softened by the use of soft dusky tones and velum.

Credits & Thanks

View all Annabel’s articles

Annabel is the founder of Love My Dress. She lives in rural North Yorkshire with her husband and business partner Philip, two daughters Eska and Leanora and three dogs. She is passionate about photography, supporting women in business and in life, and is in her element being surrounded by nature and the countryside.

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