Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of not only attending and being a part of, but also contributing to my Best Friend's Wedding.
Rachael (formerly Fuller) the author of 'Faerytale' and other stories told in Rhyme, has been my best friend since we were in secondary school together and we spent many hours together as teenagers designing period, medieval and fantasy dresses and costumes, so you can imagine my excitement 10 years on at being able to design and make her wedding dress and other items for her special day.
Rachael was my maid of honour when I got married back in 2010, and for me the planning and lead up to her wedding was very nearly exciting as my own, it was like being able to do it all again!
As you can imagine when it comes to weddings I am all over everything like a rash! I love being involved in the creation of such a special occasion.
Example of an Alternative Period Style Wedding
In This Article: Alternative weddings, wedding, dresses, dress, weddings, theme, period, unusual, unique, groomswear, stoodleigh court, wedding venue, red, custom, costume, drama, bridesmaid, downton abbey, Wuthering Heights, legends of the fall, last of the Mohicans, the secret of moonacre, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Tudors, gormenghast, Arthur, Merlin, medieval, fantasy, russell how photography, carnmeal cottage, bridal, gowns
The wedding took place at Stoodleigh Court in Devon. When choosing a venue Rachael favoured a few places in and around Somerset and Devon, including St Audries Park, Dillington House and Selworthy Church which she has always admired. But upon visiting Stoodleigh Court, the venue stole her and her groom's heart, with it's stunning views over the valley and grand stone fireplace in the main hall. And the perfect choice it was too as it set the scene for the feel of the wedding.
Rachael has always loved costume dramas, she has been known to sit through whole box sets in one sitting of series such as Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Sharpe, The Tudors and Merlin.
She also loved films such as Legends of the Fall and Last of the Mohicans, so of course when it came to her wedding she wanted the day to be reminiscent of all the elements of these romantic tales that she loved.
Her dress too, would be heavily influenced by this romance, drama and Style. When I pictured Rachael's Wedding dress in my head, I imagined a fusion of renaissance, medieval and period styles, incorporated into a modern Gown. The dress would be ivory, with a strong accent colour, floating sleeves, a skirt with gathers on the hips to give that period feel, but only in a fine chiffon to minimize the
bulk of the fabric and lastly, the main feature of the gown would be the embroidery, custom designed be myself for Rachael's dress, the delicate but striking swirling vines and flowers inspired by the embroidery on the 'Eolande' Style would be stitched in a deep red and wind it's way up the front of the skirt, the train and down the shoulders and neckline of the bodice. The Gathers on the skirt were finished with flowers hand made from the red and black shot taffeta used for the bridesmaids dresses which tied all the outfits in wonderfully.
As well as making Rachael's wedding dress, I also had the pleasure of being invited to make many of the other outfits for the wedding. As is often the case, the bride isn't the only one who wants a unique personalized outfit! Rachael's fiance Carl
The Bridesmaid's dresses consisted of 2 adult dresses, one child's dress and one infant's dress.
Carl teamed these items with a pair of black trousers which he already had which matched the jacket perfectly. The Groomsmen wore rented black suits with waistcoats and cravats, the waistcoats which I made from a stunning black and red shot brocade and the cravats were made from the same red and black shot taffeta that the bridesmaids dresses were made from to tie everyone in.
asked me to make him a custom jacket, shirt, and waistcoats and cravats for himself and the other groomsmen. Carl sent me an amazing computerized sketch of the outfit he wanted, which comprised of an ivory shirt with loose fitting sleeves and double cuffs, a deep red waistcoat and cravat, and black trousers and jacket, the jacket being the main feature of the outfit. Carl sent me a picture of a jacket that Sir Benjamin from The Secret of Moonacre wore which he
liked features of, I used this inspiration to make a black waisted jacket, which was waist length at the front with long tails, and yoke features on the shoulders, I made a feature of the Celtic patterned metal buttons on the front to hint at a slight military style ( which Rachael and 'Sharpe' in mind!) and accentuated the sleeves with some wide and ever so slightly flared cuffs.
All of the beautiful Photos I have used here we taken by Rachael and Carl's Wedding Photographer - Russell How Photography. I made the flower arrangements for the venue and the bouquets with supplies from Carnmeal Cottage.
The Bridesmaids Jewellery, hair and make up were done by myself.
The Adults dresses were strapless made in a beautiful red and black shot taffeta, which was gathered across the bodice of the dress and down to the waistline to form a drape down the right hand side of the skirt. The same hand made flower was used at the top of the gather as on Rachael's dress.
The Child's dress was for a 6 year old and was a simple square neck with empire waist. The 9 month old's dress was the same square neck, empire waist but with a gathered skirt.
Pictured above is myself and my 9 month old daughter, both very proud in our role as bridesmaids!
and at this point I'm just thinking how relieved I am to have not fallen down the grand and highly polished staircase we had to walk down!