The Galapagos Islands, Sailing and Benjy the Dog


This fabulous wedding was sent to us by Dorset Wedding PhotographerLinus Moran.  It has a little bit of everything and was an absolute joy to edit.

It began with a passion for sailing, a wedding theme stemming from a trip to the Galapagos islands and their dog Benjy playing a big part of the day too. This wedding oozes personality and Tess tells their story in her own words.


The Bride & Groom: Tess and Richard

Wedding Date: 14th September 2012

Venue: St Andrew’s Church in Weymouth, Dorset followed by a wedding breakfast at Castle Cove Sailing Club in Portland Harbour





We met whilst sailing. We were going across the Solent from Gosport to Cowes in a 68’ yacht!  I first met Richard when he was skippering a 68’ Clipper yacht during a Regatta for the weekend.  The morning after entailed us returning the boat from the Medina River in the Isle of Wight, across the Solent and back to Gosport.  
After a VERY alcohol fuelled night, there were lots of sore pounding heads, and this coupled with a force 7 wind, was making a lot of the crew quite ill.  Having just met the skipper, I was trying very hard not to be sick despite being very green!  I just about made it back in one piece!  It obviously worked as we then exchanged contact details!  I met up with him two weeks later.


On a dark, wild & woolly night at Ringstead Beach, Dorset in February.  He got down on one knee, popped the question  and handed me a ring.  It was so dark that I couldn’t see what it was.  It was way too big and turned out to be a plumbing brass olive bit and which come in standard sizes.  The 15mm wouldn’t have fitted so I got the other size – 22mm!  We did of course go and get a real ring!
We had talked about it previously and had recently been on a nine week trip where we  visited some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  I thought he might ask at one of these sunny and warm locations rather than a dark and cold English winter’s night!  In hindsight, it was nice that he did propose on a local beach down the road where we often go walking along or sailing past!  We often laugh about that night!


The colour turquoise was derived from the colour of the Blue Footed Booby’s feet that we encountered whilst travelling in the Galapagos Islands in 2011.  Their beautiful turquoise blue feet and captivating love dance enchanted us.  As we are both keen sailors, our wedding theme was the beach and  the table names were various islands that we visited in the Galapagos Islands.




I had two ‘grown up’ bridesmaids wearing turquoise dresses- my best friend from school Debbie and my old next door neighbour Su.  I also had my two nieces as flower girls, Amelie and Jemma wearing ivory and turquoise dresses and my two nephews as page boys, Ben and Luca






As a Bride Over 40 I wanted something simple and practical but elegant.  I’m not into lace, sequins or general bling and just wanted a relatively plain dress.  First off I went to a shop with my mum where all the dresses were everything I didn’t want and was feeling disappointed.  
I then went to Butterfly Brides and narrowed it down to two. Both with a corset style back. My mum took pictures so I could compare at home.  Once I saw the pictures my decision was easy – “Clara” by Mori Lee.   I re-designed the strap into a halter neck as it suited my shape better and wore the halter strap in church and then removed it for the reception.
I wore a simple pearl necklace and bracelet.  My shoes were some comfy cream & gold wedges that I already owned – these gave me the height with comfort, and this also meant I could dance!  I wore turquoise and ivory flowers in my hair.




My friend Helen who is a hairdresser came across from Hampshire to do my hair on the day as well as all the other important females!  (six in total).  She put half of it up using flowers clips and then curled the remainder.  As I have naturally wavy hair – this was quite simple. 


If you don’t wear make up – don’t feel pressurised into wearing loads on your day.  Just wear what you feel comfortable with.  Waterproof mascara is a good plan though! 




My Dad walked me down the aisle and we had a religious ceremony with one bible reading ( Mark 10. V6-9) and a poem ‘Come and live with me and be my love’  by Christopher Sousa, to carry on the sailing theme.









The surprise on our guest’s faces when our dog was the ring bearer.  Benjy, our Labrador / Lurcher cross came running up the aisle with our rings attached to his collar.



Come live with me and be my love,
We’ll lay and watch the skies above.
I’ll take you out upon the sea,
And show you what it means to me.

The wind will be calm yet lightly blowing,
The cabin’s warm with oil’s glowing.
Just think of us upon this ocean,
Sipping tea as a soothing potion.

I’ll climb up high into the rig above,
To share the starry night with you, my love.
The sails will be full with autumn’s breeze,
Our bow dipping gracefully into the glowing seas.

And as we dig into my coffers’ deep,
You shall behold the things that make women weep.
Bottles of wine from the finest vineyards,
And wool from only the most renowned spinners.

These things and more can be fully your own,
But mostly the beauty that the sea has shown.
The most graceful porpoises will be swimming by,
As the sea birds sing with their siren-like cry.

Precious few have answered our ocean’s calling,
Shouting out with eyes bright and bawling.
So take this proposal and fly like the dove,
To come with me and be my love.

by Christopher Sousa


My brother drove us to the church and from the church to the quayside in Weymouth Harbour in his (well) polished BMW.  We then travelled by boat from Weymouth Harbour around into Portland Harbour to arrive at the sailing club.  The boat even had ribbons on it!


I really wanted silk flowers so we could keep the flowers afterwards.  My original florist let me down and so I looked into making them myself.  I was asking for some advice from my sister in law (who used to own her own flower shop) about how to create a bouquet and she offered to do them for me.  I sent some pictures to her and she did an amazing job.  They were Gerbera’s and as you can’t get turquoise Gerberas, she bought out the colour using ribbon, voile and even fake snails!  They are displayed in our lounge now.  She also made the button holes and corsages. 



Richard’s friend Sue from Tiers of Delight in Kent made our cake.   We sent her eggs laid by our chickens in the post and she then put them into the cake.  She made an amazing pair of Blue Footed Booby’s to put on top of the cake.  It was a well traveled cake delivered from Kent!  It was perfect and it tasted divine too!



We had 70 guests for the wedding breakfast and Helen, who is sailing secretary at the sailing club  was in charge of our catering. (Rollys Cake Company).  We had arrival drinks of Pimms on the deck overlooking Portland Harbour.
We had a selection of pates for starters. Main course was chicken in a herb crust Wild Mushroom parcel served with new potatoes and mixed leaf salad and  New York cheesecakes with redcurrant & raspberry compotes for dessert.
In the evening we held a BBQ for 120 people.
Our dog Benjy also delivered Dad’s speech at the Reception.



During the wedding breakfast, I had made up a compilation of songs from Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2’s Live Lounge songs which played in the back ground from my ipod.  In the evening we had a DJ, Luke Berry from Lux Disco.




We danced to  ”Make you feel my love” by Adele.  It is a stunning song with beautiful words.



For the Bride:  It’s not about having the most expensive reception venue, designer dress and high-priced stationery. Your budget can easily get swept away on and swallowed up in no time.  I believe your wedding is about making your day personal to you; including what is special and memorable to you and your fiancée.
For the Groom: Just be warned, that the consequence of one small question of ‘Will you marry me?’ will end up dominating & taking over your life for some time before the big day.  It is all worth it though!
Top budgeting tip: Make your own things like stationery and decorations.  We made everything ourselves.  Our invites, order of services and menu cards were made using pictures of pebbles we took in New Zealand.  Guest’s name tags were grey pebbles collected from a beach in Devon and then labelled using silver 3D paint.  The candle table decorations were made from driftwood that we collected from various beach locations around the UK and then drilled out to hold t-lights.  The turquoise runners were voile purchased from eBay and my mum sewed them and also made table clothes out of linen sheets. It is more personal and your guests do really appreciate the time taken. 

Top planning Tip:  Use a countdown planner. We downloaded ours from the internet so we knew when certain things had to be done by.  We only had six months of planning so had a very tight schedule.  Also, don’t try and get married in a sailing club in Weymouth when the 2012 Sailing Olympics are on.  It was very difficult to come up with a date!

Choose a photographer you can trust and get on with and who listens to what style you would like the photos to be. We chose Linus Moran who also did a  photofilm
On the big day, don’t forget to…  Enjoy the day and time with your family and friends.  You spend a lot of time preparing for it, so make sure you relax and enjoy it.  Things may not go entirely to plan, but actually, those moments make it more memorable and make you smile all the more afterwards!












To feature your wedding in our REAL WEDDINGS –  See ‘Tell Us Your Wedding Story‘ 


“All our features are aimed towards our readers being Brides Over 40. (40 plus brides). Rather than calling these fabulous ladies mature Brides we call them ‘Beautilicious Brides’ who are marrying later in life, whether it be a first or second time wedding or even a celebration ceremony for renewing vows”                                                

 (Janet – Creative Director at Beautilicious40 Bride)





A DIY Wedding for a Bride Over 40


The latest Beautilicious40 Wedding was sent to us by Summer Lily Studio from Bedfordshire. 
Mandy and Nick married on 4th August 2012 at Waddesdon Church followed by a reception at Waddesdon Village Hall. 
The wedding was a small intimate affair with close families and friends and was about celebrating the joining of two people and their children and families.  
The wedding was low budget with lots of DIY aspects and everyone chipping in to lend a hand.  The bridal car was offered by the local farrier and the the bridesmaid dresses made by a family friend.  
The colour scheme was blue and white and the evening meal was a buffet followed by a disco late into the night.  Summer Lily Studio offered daytime coverage and Mandy and Nick had cameras on the tables for guests to take pictures of the evening antics.























Summer Lily Studio photography packages are £750 for full day coverage (morning prep till first dance) and include an edited disc of approx. 400 pictures plus an online password protected gallery and a pre wedding engagement shot with approx. 50 edited pictures on disc. Optional extras such as albums start at £150.

Summer Lily Studio can offer  Beautilicious 40 bride readers a discount of 15% off wedding coverage for bookings made before the end of 2012 for weddings taking place before the end of 2013.  

Please email Terri at for bookings.


“All our features are aimed towards our readers being Brides Over 40. Rather than calling these fabulous ladies mature Brides we call them ‘Beautilicious Brides’ who are marrying later in life, whether it be a first or second time wedding or even a celebration ceremony for renewing vows”                                  (Janet – Creative Director at Beautilicious40 Bride)


A Bridal Headpiece Workshop

As a woman who has a creative mind I love to attend workshops and I’m finding some lovely ones aimed at DIY Brides and Hen Parties at the moment. 
The most recent one was organised by Nicola from Silver Sixpence in her Shoe  who specializes in vintage inspired accessories. 
The venue was the lovely bakery And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon, in Didsbury, Manchester,  where we were offered tea and cake before we set to work on creating a headpiece of our choice.  Quite possibly the best carrot cupcake I’ve ever tasted… Yummy!
There were five of us in total. One bride was marrying at the end of the month and was hoping to create the perfect piece. The other three brides were at different stages of planning their wedding but wanted to learn how to create the look they wanted for their big day.
After we had a good rummage through fabric and embellishments in vintage crystal dishes or teacups, we set to work with the help and guidance of Nicola who is extremely knowledgeable and offered as much help we needed.  
The Bride workshop lasted three hours in total and we had a leisurely chat as a group as we sewed and created. Our conversation was mainly about wedding plans which helped to create an exciting atmosphere very fitting with the occasion. 
Its amazing how time flies when you are concentrating on something so intricate. Before we knew it we were up against the clock to complete our masterpiece.  My attempt at a birdcage veil is below.  

Me and my finished head piece


We all enjoyed the experience and we were really happy with the finished results. For those that ran out of time, they left with everything they needed to finish the piece at home rather than rush.  
The Headpiece Workshop would suit anyone and is a great way to include young flower girls, bridesmaids and mother of the bride or groom for an alternative hen party
Don’t panic if you have never picked up a sewing needle in your life. Nicola is on hand to make sure you feel at ease and will offer as much help as you need. 
Parties can be tailor-made to suit your specific requirements and can be held in your home or Nicola could recommend alternative hotel or bakery venues that she works very closely with.  
For more information contact Nicola at Silver Sixpence in her Shoe 
If any of our Beautilicious Brides Over 40 attend any of these events we would love to see your photographs. 
We are looking for more Hen Party or DIY Bride ideas all over the UK. If you are interested in featuring on Beautilicious40 please email me on
“All our features are aimed towards our readers being Brides Over 40. Rather than calling these fabulous ladies mature Brides we call them ‘Beautilicious Brides’ who are marrying later in life, whether it be a first or second time wedding or even a celebration ceremony for renewing vows”                                  (Janet – Creative Director at Beautilicious40 Bride)

An Era of Experience…. Hen Party idea for Brides Over 40


I’m always on the look out for new features and that ‘something special’ for our Beautilicious Brides-to-be and this is no exception.  If you are in the North West and looking for a fantastic Hen Party idea then look no further than ‘An Era of Experience’ 

The business brains behind An Era of Experience are four Manchester ladies united by their passion for vintage. Separately, each of them are proud owners of successful independent businesses and have decided to join forces to offer ladies of the North West something a little bit different.



Let me introduce you to the starlets:

Sharon Lomas, owner of vintage china and prop hire company “For the Love of Vintage.

Bethany Jane Davies, the glamorous make-up artist behind “The Vintage Beauty Parlour.

Nicola Wellard, a bespoke bridal accessories designer for “Silver Sixpence in her Shoe.

Anna Gill, the baker and owner of boutique bakehouse “And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon”.





In a nutshell… What is An Era of Experience?

An Era of Experience is a travelling vintage party service that promises to offer an authentic vintage experience. Whether you are looking to host a Secret Speakeasy Social or Perfect Pin -Up Party, the An Era of Experience ladies have got all the ingredients to ensure you and your guests have the most wonderful time.

Our lovely ladies will arrive, kindly ask you to leave the room and start working their magic to transform your house/hotel/other into an authentic vintage setting using an array of original décor.





And The Dish Ran Away with the Spoon will prepare a varied selection of baked goods taking inspiration from the era of your choice.




The Vintage Beauty Parlour will perform mini-makeovers including both hair and beauty to ensure you resemble your favourite vintage starlet.



Silver Sixpence in her Shoe will run a headdress workshop for you create something fabulous to take away with you.





For the Love of Vintage will provide all the relevant teapots, teacups and cake stands from your chosen era as well as all of the vintage props to dress your room.




Party Package Prices 

An Era of Experience party packages are priced at £60 per person for minimum party numbers of 15 people (alcohol not included)

The service is available anywhere in the North-West. Please note there is a small charge of 40p per mile per car outside a 20 mile radius of Didsbury, Manchester.

To enquire or book An Era of Experience please contact Rachael Adams (event organiser) via


Photographer – Katy Lunsford

Flowers – Laura Coleman Flowers 



“All our features are aimed towards our readers being Brides Over 40. Rather than calling these fabulous ladies mature Brides we call them ‘Beautilicious Brides’ who are marrying later in life, whether it be a first or second time wedding or even a celebration ceremony for renewing vows”                                  (Janet – Creative Director at Beautilicious40 Bride)

It’s ‘Cupcakes Galore’ at Leah’s Pantry

Leah Stevenson shares her cookery secrets and techniques in her countryside kitchen called The Pantry at Harrop Fold Farm.


Here, she offers a range of cookery demonstrations, tastings and Cupcakes Galore’ days, all of which use the very best local produce.  Her training and experience combine to produce an outstanding portfolio, leaving you with no doubt that what you will taste is exquisite perfection.
Leah graduated from university with a first class degree in Food Marketing before going on to gain a diploma at Le Cordon Bleu, London. She was then employed as a buyer of pantry and confectionery goods in the Harrods food hall followed by a spell as manager of the Rivington Deli in Shoreditch. Leah has also trained with Slattery’s Manchester and has obtained John Slattery’s prestigious Course Skill in Chocolate. Are you drooling yet? 
Harrop Fold Farm nestles in 20 acres of its own land on the western side of the Peak District National Park and has magnificent views over the Cheshire Plain to the Welsh Mountains.  It is a jaw-droppingly stunning vista.

The farm itself is home of the Stevenson Family and has been sympathetically restored in the spirit of the original 17th century buildings.

It offers award winning bed & breakfast as well as self-catering cottage accommodation, with each room individually designed to make your stay welcoming and luxurious.

There is a vast choice of food, all of which is prepared using the finest local ingredients, whilst the Stevensons also use their own free-range eggs and home-made preserves.  Leah also offers a service providing picnic hampers for your stay.
Leah’s Pantry was highly recommended to me by a friend and, after browsing their website, I booked myself and my family on a ‘Cupcake Galore’ course for St Patrick’s Day/Mothers Day weekend.
So on a very sunny spring Saturday morning, me, my 2 children (aged eleven and 15), my mum and my future mother-in-law all headed off to the farm. As it was St Patrick’s Day we listened to The Pogues riotous Gaelic stylings as we drove through the beautiful Cheshire countryside. 
The drive itself is breathtaking, but on a spring morning with the sun shining, daffodils nodding at the roadside in the gentle breeze and lambs leaping in the fields, it was quite simply Britain at its beautiful best.
On arrival at Harrop Fold Farm, we avoided the hens in the courtyard but were surprised to see three peacocks on the doorsteps and patio of the main house which added to our excitement.
We were greeted by Leah and welcomed into her pantry, a lovely retro farmhouse kitchen with views across the Cheshire countryside.
Everything was ready for us. Ingredients ready measured, recipe folders, lovely retro pinnies and a cup of tea served with a home-made biscuit.
Another three women joined us on the day making it a total of eight. One of them was a bride wanting to learn how to create perfect cupcakes for her own wedding cake, which filled me with great excitement to see how she would get on.
Leah explained every aspect of cake making to us, ensuring that whether you are a beginner or master-chef equivalent, you would not feel intimidated. And because of that, it was fun from the off.
We had four batches of flavours to make between us; I chose lemon.  The other delicious flavours were blueberry and vanilla, raspberry and white chocolate and good old milk chocolate. We all had a giggle stirring our mix and spooning it into the cake cases before they were to be introduced to the oven.

As the smell of slowly baking cakes began to waft through the kitchen, we began our lesson in cake decorating using coloured rolled icing.


This is where everyone’s creativity came to the forefront.
We were all shown how to make an iced rose (easier than I thought!) before we went on to create a variety of decorations like butterflies and caterpillars, doves and leaves, bunnies and easter nests.  It was so much fun for everyone.
A lunch is included as part of the day so we headed across the courtyard into the dining room of the farmhouse B&B where we enjoyed two delicious courses. The carrot & coriander soup was served with walnut bread (wow!), followed by chocolate brownies (double wow!), all washed down with locally-pressed apple juice. The peacocks in the garden then managed a full on pose as my children snapped away at them on their cameras.
It was then back to the pantry for the finishing touches and to attempt to master the swirly buttercream icing topping. We needed a few tries to get the hang of the technique, but looking at the final results we were all blown away at what we had achieved in our novice statuses. 
The lemon cake had the centre scooped out and was filled with lemon curd and topped with swirly meringue (yummy!) whilst the chocolate cakes were rocky road style, topped with chocolate ganache, marshmallows and sweets.

The bride-to-be who was sharing our experience had also made her decision on what to create for her big day, as she chose a simple design of pale pink buttercream sprinkled with little white edible pearl balls and white doves. They looked beautiful and I could imagine them done as a bulk batch.
We each came away with a confectioner’s box of twelve cakes, comprising three of each flavour that we had decorated ourselves. We all agreed that it was an amazing experience that we had loved.
The whole atmosphere was idyllic. Leah’s professionalism and attention to detail was outstanding; she makes everyone feel welcome from the moment they arrive. I could not recommend this course highly enough to anyone.
We enjoyed it as a family experience but it would work brilliantly as a group of women on a hen party, perfect for our Beautilicious Brides Over 40 ( there is a max of eight), whether it would be just for the course itself or to hire a cottage and stay overnight.  It would also suit DIY brides that want to make the cakes themselves and save on the expense of having one professionally made.
Our day cost £65 per person including ingredients, recipe file, tuition, two course lunch and  twelve cakes. In my opinion was great value for money, but it’s tough to put a price on a fabulous, fun experience in which you learn a new skill. 
One thing’s for sure – I won’t be buying any birthday cakes for a long time yet, thanks to Leah.
Leahs Pantry –
Harrop Fold
All our features are aimed towards our readers being Brides Over 40. Rather than calling these fabulous ladies mature Brides we call them ‘Beautilicious Brides’ who are marrying later in life, whether it be a first or second time wedding or even a celebration ceremony for renewing vows”                                  (Janet – Creative Director at Beautilicious40 Bride)