In September 2010 I married my wonderful husband, and I thought I’d do a little post about it, primarily about my wedding dress which was completely hand made by me.
While I had done a bit of sewing before this, I was self taught and wasn’t an expert by anybodies definition. So deciding to make my own dress was ambitious, especially when I decided there wasn’t a pattern quite like I wanted and decided to alter one. I really don’t do things by halves you see.
I started with this gorgeous Vogue pattern.
Mostly because I loved the buttons on the back and thought the cut of it would suit me without wearing a corset.
I also liked that it had the option of a train, but one that wasn’t too long.
Now I originally intended to do it in a deep red or blue or green, but as I talked to people about the wedding all of them said, “what colour will you be doing? We know you won’t want white”, and being a contrary pain in the arse I decided I did want to wear white after all, and this was kept a secret right up until the big day.
While the original pattern was very pretty and classic, it felt a bit too.. normal for me.
First thing I wanted to change was the neckline, I really wanted a sweetheart neckline, but I also wanted to not be too cleavagey. So I altered the pattern, in a not too precise way, to give myself a sweetheart neckline and backed it with some black lace.
I also wanted sleeves, I knew that September could either be lovely and hot or quite chilly and didn’t fancy faffing about with a shrug or jacket, so added black lace sleeves to the dress. Normally I wear my sleeves 3/4 length, but decided to go for full drama and had very long, tight sleeves that extended just onto my hand.
While my dress was traditional, our wedding venue wasn’t.
We’d chosen to get married in Whipsnade Zoo!
It’s a fantastic location for a wedding, we got some amazing photos and even ended up getting to feed a giraffe!
Here’s the full dress, you can see I hadn’t fitted the bodice brilliantly as it’s bulging out a bit by my back, but otherwise it fit nicely. I wish I’d come up with a better solution for the straps though. I had to wear a support garment underneath the dress, to help my back so the straps were non-negotiable, and I always struggle with straps sliding off my shoulders.
The dress was dupion silk, so a good weight that didn’t cling. I got lucky with it as I spotted it on sale for half price just as I was about to buy a cheaper fabric.
The shoes were Kurt Geiger and lovely, even if I did only manage to wear them for long enough to walk down the aisle and have photos taken. It was painful but worth it, I still hadn’t come to terms with having to wear flats all the time by the wedding. In a way I still haven’t, I occasionally take these out of their box just to admire them.
I carried two items around with me on the day, a fan shaped bag I’d made using the silk and lace from the dress (I believe it held red lipstick and a mirror) and this gorgeous cat good luck symbol from one of my oldest friends.
I also had this beautiful bouquet from Arrangements in Redbourn. I loved their suggestion to spray thistles black to give a slightly gothic edge to the bouquet, and the heart shaped gems reflected both the groom’s buttonhole and his cufflinks.
You can just about see the cufflinks in this photo.
My jewellery was a beautiful pair of black stiletto earrings, and this stunning necklace from The Shop On The Hill in St Albans. Our wedding rings were also from there.
You can see in this photo that I painted my nails a deep red with the nail beds exposed 40’s style. You can also see the vintage buttons I used, according to the seller they are c.1930s and made of glass. Whether they are or not they are beautiful.
Last but not least, here’s the wedding cake. Anyone who knows me will be entirely unsurprised to see it is zebra print.
Believe it or not, about a month before the wedding I sobbed my eyes out to Benjamin because I was convinced I’d totally messed the dress up and would need to rush out and try and buy one in my size. Luckily he talked me out of it, and now I look back on the pictures with pride. I was in a lot of pain, and it took a long long time, but it was worth every stitch.