Thirteen years ago today, Greg and I were married in Cape Town, South Africa. The church service was held in one of the oldest remaining stone churches in the country and we had the reception at a restaurant right on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. Like most wedding days, it felt perfect in every way even though it was over so, so fast. It’s astounding how much preparation can go into a mere eight hours of your life.
Because the day is over so quickly, my late Mum suggested that I try to enjoy the process of planning the wedding event instead of getting all stressed about the details. This was brilliant advice and I ended up enjoying the planning process as much as the day itself. The best part was thinking about my frock. I designed my own wedding dress and knew exactly what I wanted from the word go. I wanted to be “a modern vintage bride”, which is a contradiction in terms, but it made sense to me.
I always saw myself walking down the aisle in a veil-free, fairly narrow-fitting gown with vintage detailing and lots of pearls. So I worked with an experienced, rather deaf and stubborn, eighty year old seamstress to make this happen. She was fabulous. The dress was vintage in styling, but the fabric was modern (an off-white stretch bridal satin). The back square neckline was cut low and had thirty covered rouleaux loop buttons and a train that was almost double the length of the dress. It had special loops sewn into the hem so that I could loop the train around a few fingers when I walked so that I wouldn’t trip over it. I had vintage lace attached to the neckline and wore my Mother’s long drop pearl earrings. And that was the last day I wore earrings. I also wore my very first real pearl necklace and bracelet, which my boss at the time gave to me as a present.
You can’t really see my shoes in the picture below, but they were almost the best part of the outfit. I managed to find chunky, retro, strappy matte gold 70’s sandals with huge square ankle buckles. I loved how they were an unexpected element of surprise each time I sat down and crossed my legs.
I had very little to do with Greg’s wedding outfit. How’s that for trust and love! His instructions were (1) to surprise me and (2) to make sure that he wore good shoes. My sweetie did a superb job and I wouldn’t have changed a thing about his outfit.
This picture of Greg and me is my favourite wedding picture because it captures a perfectly down to earth and fun moment. I’m pulling a face saying something to the effect of: “I think a rose petal went down the front of dress”, and Greg thought that was hilarious.
I only realized much later that my wedding dress ended up being very similar to my Mum’s 1963 wedding dress. Crazy. If I could do it all again, I would probably design a very similar dress and still walk down the aisle without a veil.
Your wedding dress style is very personal and there is no right and wrong in my book. In fact, I’m all for non-traditional wedding attire. As long as you feel beautiful and dress appropriately for the dress code you choose for the big day, it really doesn’t matter what you end up wearing. If it’s not a timeless silhouette, that doesn’t matter either because you’ll look back on it and remember that it was trendy at the time.
I’d love to hear about what you wore on your wedding day, the preparation that went into your wedding style, and how you felt about the outcome. And if you haven’t yet walked down the aisle, but have some thoughts about what you would like to wear should the special day come around, I’d love to hear about those too.