A COUTURE WEDDING DRESS STORY

If you read this post, you’ll know that my wedding dress was made for me by new fashion label Maristani London. The Maristani sisters are two of my best friends and my one-of-a-kind dress was a meticulous labour of love involving many sleepless nights and many monkey-with-hands-over-face emojis. Be sure to read this post to see all the professional shots of my dress…then when you’re ready, here’s the design story that went on in the background.

My wedding dress journey began here, in Pronovias on Bond Street where my mum kept missing my curtain call and no-one could stop my granny from browsing in the strictly prohibited areas.

I went to Pronovias on Laila’s advice – to try and get a feel for the type of wedding dress I wanted. Turns out she was right to send me there because I was a clueless bride and came away with absolutely no new information for her. It was a good job there was champagne.

Never one to panic, Laila suggested I try again and the second trip involved far less squeezing my bum into fishtail gowns and far more twirling around in dresses made of tulle. Mum and I went to Mirror Mirror, and I came away with a much better idea of the sort of dress that suited me, and the sort of dress that gave me ‘the feeling’. I even concluded that I liked a ‘blush’ tone rather than standard ivory because it really complimented my fair skin tone. Full of butterflies and happy feels, I fed my research back to Laila and Olivia.

A couple of weeks later I received this…

You have to understand, with absolutely no dress in existence to base my daydreams on, this sketch was EXTREMELY exciting. It detailed everything we had discussed and everything I wanted my dress to have. I could almost see it come to life on the page and start dancing around.

With a design in motion, it was time to get my measurements. The girls came over to my mum’s house and measured me in about a hundred different places. In places I didn’t even know I had. We discovered I had ‘model length’ arms, to which my mum and Tom responded with immediate curiosity and were subsequently measured to discover whether they too had model length arms. Turns out we are a long-armed family and everyone was satisfied – especially Tom who doesn’t like to feel left out.

The next step in making a couture bridal gown is a ‘toile’, which is not pronounced at all how you think it is. I know this because my mother calls it a ‘twirl’ like the chocolate bar and I call it a ‘toil’ like double, double, toil and trouble and neither of us are even close to the right pronunciation.

Regardless of our inability to say it, the toile is, “the first version of a garment – made out of cheaper fabric than the real garment and used to adjust the fitting and design as needed to create the final pattern.” Thanks Lails!

I would have happily worn the toile in all its floaty dreaminess. I mean, wouldn’t you?! Next came the readjustment of the toile, because we decided to move the waistline down a smidge. Whilst ‘moving the waistline down a smidge’ sounds like a simple adjustment, it meant Laila and Olivia had to make a whole different toile to reflect the chance. I still don’t know what their reaction truly was when I suggested this adjustment because even when I was being a little bit difficult I only ever received smily face emojis and the odd monkey-with-hands-over-face emoji if there wasn’t an immediate solution to the problem. You can see the difference in the two pictures below.

With the shape of the dress sorted and all the measurements exactly right, we started to talk about all the exciting bits. The lace, the 3D flowers, the shade of blush we wanted, the buttons, the bodice…even what the flower stamens would look like.

Whilst this was the seriously exciting part, it was also the part that required Laila and Olivia to spend many sleepless nights making the 800 silk, tulle and organza flowers that adorned the bodice and the skirt.

I only saw the final version of my dress a week before the wedding. Needless to say emotions were high. Everyone cried and I swished around in the the girls’ atelier for hours.

My dress was one of the best parts of my wedding day, and right now it’s hanging in my wardrobe coated in mud and memories. Knowing that there is no other dress like it makes me feel like the luckiest bride in the world, with the best friends in the world for making it a reality. Maristani London gave me a truly enchanting service from sketch to finished gown. It’s a story of love and friendship that i’ll never forget.

Can I do it all again now?

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