When I was 17, my best friend Laila Maristani told me she was dropping her science A-Level and her non-dream of becoming a doctor in favour of a Textiles A-Level and real dreams of a runway. We joked about how she’d never be able to discover a new element for the periodic table, how it would be a direct, ‘EFF YOU’ to the universe if she didn’t use that surname for fashion fame, and how one day she’d make my wedding dress. You know, just casual conversation for a couple of 17-year-olds.
10 years and a couture fashion degree later, Maristani London is a brand new label made up of rockstar British sisters Laila and Olivia Maristani, and my wedding dress is the result of 10 years of friendship and about 3 million texts about blush-coloured tulle.
For a more detailed description of the process we went through from initial sketch to final design, take a look at this post. It was a true labour of love, stretched out over 18 months and full of magic and nostalgia. In this post, I’m just going to show you a few of Tatum Reid’s incredible photographs and talk a little bit about all the bridal accessories I wore with my dress.
My bridal shoe journey started somewhere between, ‘I’m just going to wear trainers…’ and, ‘I’m going to spend £650 on Valentino rockstuds.’ I should have mentioned that as well as best friend and wedding dress designer, Laila was also my bridesmaid. Not that she should have had ANY more responsibility or anything, but I kinda relied on her for every single decision I made about the wedding for 18 months. She told me not to spend £650 on Valentino rockstuds. She also told me I wasn’t allowed to wear trainers for the ceremony because I was wearing a one-of-a-kind couture dress. A one-of-a-kind couture dress made by her. A one-of-a-kind couture dress that she probably wouldn’t give me if I didn’t agree to some kind of heel. In a happy medium that falls nowhere near rockstuds or trainers, I found these pretty New Look sandals. Actually Laila found them. I debated them with Laila for weeks until finally she just sent me an order confirmation. They were £24.99. They were also perfect.
*I’d also just like to add, as if you didn’t already love Laila enough, that she also bought and personalised a pair of converse for me to change into after the ceremony.
On the morning of the wedding, my sister-in-law came over to the bridal suite with a gift from Tom – this light blue sapphire and diamond ring. Months before, Tom and I had been walking the cobbled streets of Norwich and I’d spotted this sapphire ring in the window of one of my favourite antique shops – Maddermarket Antiques. I dribbled unattractively all over the window for a good five minutes before realising that there was a good chance I would never stop checking in on that window. Who did it belong to? Was it an engagement ring? Was their love story a happy one?
From then on, every time we passed the shop we jokingly referred to it as, ‘my ring’. If it was still there, there was a chance that one day I’d be able to afford it. One day I’d be the next chapter in its life. When I opened the ring box on my wedding day to see it sitting there, I think my heart actually stopped. As if I didn’t feel lucky enough to be marrying my best friend in the world, I was actually staring down at this antique diamond ring that had been a part of my fantasy word since I first saw it.
Tom told me he’d bought it a few months before and had been desperately keeping me away from that antique shop window to avoid the inevitable conversation about how someone else must have purchased, ‘my ring’. How freaking ADORABLE is that? I am constantly dumbfounded by my husband’s thoughtfulness.
My ‘something borrowed’ was a pair of earrings from my granny, which were super dainty and adorable. I asked my granny to show me a few options a couple of weeks before the wedding, but since I live in Norwich and my family are in Kent, we all decided to meet at Ikea. Why would you empty jewellery boxes full of antique earrings all over a regular table when you could do it on a table laden with Swedish meatballs? The three of us narrowed them down to this one pair.
Since the dress had over 800 flowers on it I didn’t want to overdo it with accessories, so the ring and my granny’s earrings were perfect. It meant so much to me that the jewellery I was wearing carried so much meaning and weren’t just frivolous purchases. After all, that’s what a wedding is about isn’t it? Bringing families and all generations together.
The dress was a creation dreamt up by Laila, Olivia and me – although I’ll happily admit that they made most of the creative decisions because I’m the only one without a couture fashion degree. The skirt was made of ivory and blush-coloured tulle and the bodice was lace adorned with 3D flowers made of organza, chiffon and tulle. The flowers continued to cascade down the skirt, totalling over 800 – each one handmade and totally breathtaking. We chose a V-neck and back and pretty lace buttons. Despite a built-in corset I was comfortable all night long and ate more than my fair share of the wedding food without ripping a seam (all the hummus, cake, ice cream, crepes and leftover sandwiches at 1am!) The Maristani sisters are absolute perfectionists and I feel so honoured to have worn this totally unique couture wedding dress on the best day of my life! For behind the scenes photos of the dress making process, the original sketch and a funny story about model-length arms, read this post.
The garter I wore belonged to my mum and was worn on her wedding day. It’s actually from Victoria’s Secret, or so the label tells me. Our wedding colours were blush, cornflower blue and natural green so the colour was perfect. The only problem was it kept falling down when I tried it on. Determined that the sentimental value was worth it, Laila and Olivia, being the rockstar sisters I’ve already explained they are, put brand new elastic in it for me so it was as good as new.
My mum is a florist at heart, so it was always going to be her who made my bouquet. I didn’t really know what I wanted. All I knew was it needed to be big and wild. She pinned it with a porcelain forget-me-not brooch, because forget-me-nots are Tom’s favourite flower, and wrapped it with ribbon and lace from her own wedding dress. It was windy and raining for the entire wedding, which meant that the gorgeous strings of ribbon flew around in the wind and made for dramatic, gorgeous photographs! It was perfect!
Thinking back, I definitely didn’t have your average wedding dress experience. I knew it was going to be made by Laila and Olivia even before I got engaged, so even whilst I was dress shopping I knew I wasn’t going to be buying anything. I tried on the final version of my dress a mere week before the wedding, which I’m not going to pretend wasn’t super weird. But I had total faith in the girls, who are absolute professionals, and wouldn’t change a single thing. I just feel incredibly lucky.