This summer we’ve been lucky enough to attend three beautiful weddings and I’ve watched three of my lovely friends walk down the aisle towards their groom. Each of them looked completely stunning and wholly themselves in the dresses they had chosen, and it suddenly hit me that pretty soon I’ll be the one in white…
With this and a head full of inspiration in mind, I decided I’d put my pinterest happy fingers to good use and pull together some of the designers I’ve been coveting ever since we got engaged (and if I’m completely honest, maybe a little while longer than that), to help arm myself and other J&J brides to be with some dresspiration (James stop reading, NOW!).
“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream, William Shakespeare
Oh JP, shall I compare your dresses to a summer’s day, they art more lovely and more temperate… I’ve loved Jenny Packham since the moment I was lucky enough to attend a press event a few years back and since then I’ve been waiting for the day I could try one on. The 2016 collection is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream which is my favourite Shakespeare play (I played Hermia in a Uni production don’t you know) and the blush tone silk chiffons married with signature antique opalescent beadwork, really are gowns fit for the queen of the faeries. In fact there’s even a dress in the collection named after Titania, complete with a winged silk cape to flutter elegantly behind you.
I know J&J editor Sarah has a bit of a girl crush on dress designer Charlie Brear, and after meeting her and viewing her new collection a few months ago, I’m a pretty smitten bridal kitten as well. A Charlie Brear gown is perfect for a bride looking for a gown she can put her own style stamp on as you literally build your bridal look from the bottom up, starting with one of the luxurious silk slips and adding a tiered tulle overskirt or glamorous sequin overdress, layer by elegant layer. There’s an effortlessly cool aesthetic with an emphasis on tailoring, fine fabrics and drawing out the individual couture style of the bride inside the dress.
Following a recent instagram trawling session, I saw a picture of Kristen Cavalleri (the scary one from The Hills) wearing an impossibly gorgeous red Grecian inspired dress to a premiere – cue frantic googling of the designer to see if she made bridalwear as well. Luckily for me (and you) the dress was a custom design from Tatyana Merenyuk’s Beach Bliss Bridal collection – Halleluiah! Originally from the Ukraine, Merenyuk now lives and works from NYC where she transforms her feminine designs into classic gowns with clean lines and an organic, natural feel to them. She wants her brides to standout, and to feel comfortable in what they wear; “I want to showcase the body and the beautiful lady wearing the dress. Movement, beauty and that natural, effortless look are what is important in the end.”. UK brides can get their hands on a Merenyuk creation by ordering directly from the designer via her etsy store or from Coco and Kate who stock a few samples from the range here in the UK.
I’ve never really see myself in a ‘proper’ wedding dress as I’m slightly concerned at how my 5ft 3 frame will stand up against a ball gown of meringue worthy proportions. However there’s something to be said for the fuller, more traditional shape gowns, you can’t help but look at them and think ‘WOW, that’s one heck of a dress!’. Enter Naomi Neoh, master of the classic full skirted gown, fashioned from flowing fabrics that are as light as my mum’s eton mess and effortless to wear, whilst giving you an incredible shape thanks to the lightweight but effective hidden corsetry. I’ve come over all Kate Middleton and fallen hard for ‘Grace’, a beautiful full length Chantilly lace dress with a peach blossom underlay, although if I’m honest, I’d happily twirl my way down the aisle in any one of Naomi’s creations.
I hope this has given you a little bit of dresspiration and I’d love to hear which designers you have discovered and will be wearing on your big day! I’m off to tackle the great bridesmaid dress conundrum next week with an epic shopping trip to Westfield accompanied by my maids – wish me luck and more on this to come if I make it out alive…