Founder and managing director Jenny shares her own wedding dress design journey highs and lows.

A bridal seamstress becomes a bride

It feels very apt, given that we finally got married in 2020, that I sit down to write this whilst awaiting my Covid-19 test results.

Being a bridal seamstress yet to have tied the knot, the words I often heard were “surely you will know exactly what to do when it comes to your dress?”

My truthful answer always remained. “Oh, I’ve had my wedding dress designed for years…”

My Wedding Dress Inspiration

Looking back to my school years, I hated drawing figures. (My friend Alice used to do them for me and I would overlay with my designs). I was always designing what my wedding dress would look like. I had some interesting ideas of what that might be!

My wedding dress designs developed from “let’s throw everything at it in duchess satin” to “let’s add a halter neck.”

I then moved onto Vivienne Westwood: pleat it, gather it, ruche it and dye it pink. Ah, that magnificent Gwen Stefani look… I aimed for them all.

Eventually, my muse landed on this; the iconic Green Dress worn by Keira Knightly in Atonement. It is still one of the most stunning dresses I have seen in any film. This was what I wanted.

We were engaged in June 2019 and planned our big day for 2020. To quote my best friend Jess on New Year’s Eve (as so many other brides-to-be must have thought) “2020 is going to be our year!”

Getting Married During The Pandemic  

Through many months of endless wedding planning, everything changed and kept changing. I’ll fast forward to mid-summer 2020 and wedding plan number three: a 30-person wedding in my gran’s garden.

And finally I had to face the task of making my own wedding dress.

What Did I Want From My Wedding Dress?

  • No train. Ironic being a bridal seamstress I know, but I have always preferred wedding dresses without a train. Now don’t get me wrong, they are stunning. But personally, I love the fabric movement when it flows naturally.

  • Comfort. We were planning a ‘family picnic’ wedding style in the garden. I wanted a dress I could play with the kids in and just relax.

  • Simple and timeless. I wanted a gown I could look back in twenty years and feel just as confident and special as I did on the day.

So (after buying a ridiculously expensive pair of shoes) I made my wedding dress and it was almost finished.

No one other than my team (after all I needed someone to fit it to me!) had seen the wedding dress. I think, perhaps, given all the pandemic disruption, I didn’t want to get too emotionally attached to it. After all, my wedding plans might have to be changed (again), or maybe I was just too nervous. Eventually, I showed it to my sister and my mum.

From Bridal Seamstress To Bride

So, imagine this. I am standing in a studio of a bridal seamstress business that I have built from the ground up. I am wearing a wedding dress of which every detail I have designed and made myself.

My mum and my sister are with me. All of us are just so grateful that we could be there together at that moment. I will not hide it from you, I cried so much that evening because I was just so happy.

Through all the ups and downs of the year – not even knowing if we could even have the wedding – I had achieved that moment. The moment that turned ‘the’ dress into ‘my’ wedding dress.

It didn’t matter that it wasn’t The Atonement Green Dress. It wasn’t covered in diamonds or made of the finest materials. I wasn’t going to wear anything else now. This was it.

Consequently – another handful of wedding plans down – we found ourselves in late December. This was the week of our wedding.

Last Minute Wedding Dress Doubts

Now trust me on this, you will doubt yourselves about your wedding dress choice!

In the final weeks leading up to my wedding, I will admit, I spent a lot of money.

I questioned whether the wedding dress buttons were right and, as a result, I bought replacement pearl ones. I bought meters of very expensive lace in the middle of the night. I doubted everything.

Put it this way, it would have been dangerous to leave me alone with my wedding dress and a pair of scissors for too long! But (thanks to my team giving me ‘don’t do it!’ looks) I held back.

48 hours to go: Social distancing tier changes are looming. We brought the date of our wedding forward 24 hours.

30 hours to go: We had to change our guest list and subsequently our suppliers too. Then manically packed everything into the car.

12 hours to go: Driving up to the Cotswolds with the news on the car radio to hear if we could actually have our wedding the very next day.

But on Friday 18th December, we did it.

If It Matters To You, It Matters

My wedding, as it was for so many 2020 brides, wasn’t what I had first planned. And that is true for weddings that don’t happen during a pandemic! And the same principle applies for your wedding dress too.

Maybe you are searching for the wedding dress that you have always dreamed of, but you find yourself with something completely different. Perhaps you are having last-minute doubts about the fabric. Maybe you just don’t want to focus on your dress at all!

From someone who supposedly should know precisely what they are doing, I hope my story might be of some comfort to you that I was ‘there’ too.

Now, I don’t want to be cheesy and conclude this journal post with “that feeling” of seeing my other half at the top of the aisle. But truthfully, at that very moment, my dress didn’t matter at all.

But, my wedding dress was perfect to me. It was the perfect wedding dress in the end as I felt it encompassed the journey to my wedding day and told our story. The wedding dress is a journey ladies, enjoy it, all the way through the ups and the downs.

P.S. The Covid test came back negative.

We got married at Owlpen Manor, Oxfordshire, England. Our flowers were by Cotswold Country Flowers. Photography by Peter Majden.