I'm a wedding dress designer and here's what I've learnt from my own wedding day...
Your wedding day is such a big deal but as our very own Sabina found out, things can go wrong and some things go so right. And while you can plan for some of these, sometimes you just need to go with the flow. Discover her top tips on ensuring you really do enjoy your wedding day.
I got married last year to Stupants at the Walthamstow Wetlands and it was such a happy day, celebrating with friends and family. Having had time to reflect, there are definitely some things I would have done differently and so glad we had the right suppliers to help manage the day for us. Hopefully my wedding wisdom can help you make sure you make the best of your big day…
CHOOSE A WEDDING DRESS THAT IS COMFORTABLE SO YOU FEEL YOUR BEST SELF
I initially had another dress that I was designing for my big day - a two-piece that was supposed to be a modern taken on a lengha (an ankle length skirt). Since we didn't have the big Indian wedding when we had our Indian ceremony in the thick of COVID, I wanted my dress to reference it. But in the end, a two-piece just didn't feel very comfortable. I had hoped to have lost more weight, and so the fit of the mock-up of a new design I did just didn't feel right.
So, I changed it to our Lilian dress, dying the plant silk the same rich navy shade as Stupant’s navy Sherwani suit and felt so much happier! On the actual day, I didn’t think about my outfit once and could just get on with enjoying the day.
One other thing if your dress has a train, make sure you can scoop it up easily. This is especially important if you have to walk far to get your picturesque photos. A wrist loop would've been really - instead I had to carry it over my arm, which got a tad annoying at times!
GO THE EXTRA MILE TO FIND THE RIGHT PHOTOGRAPHER
Those planned for photos may not always happen as you envisage them, whether that’s down to bad weather or other things out of your control, but a good wedding day photographer will always be able to take fabulous photos no matter where you are.
We really wanted to have our couple photos taken on a little pier at our wedding venue as it is advertised on the venue’s website. On the day it didn’t happen as there were fishermen already using the pier, who refused to move. Luckily, we had an amazing photographer Nina Wernicke who knew how get beautiful pics anyway. We're so happy with the photos.
Even though it really irked me at the time, now it doesn’t really matter, because the photos are so lovely and it’s really all about having the best day and with that in mind, my fourth piece of advice is…
DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
It may feel like a disaster when something doesn’t go to plan at the time, but guess what? No-one is going to notice! Everyone said it was one of the best weddings they've been to and everyone had such a good time.
We ended up forgoing the group shots because it was tricky getting everyone organised after the initial reception had started, but our amazing photographer Nina managed to get fantastic images of everyone throughout the wedding.
Remember when something goes 'wrong', the only person who probably will notice is you and the groom – everyone else will be enjoying being part of your special day. Just as in life, some things won’t go to plan. There was a train strike on our wedding day, which caused all sorts of timing clashes, but it was all fine. Just hold onto those special moments and forget the stuff that didn’t quite pan out.
A CHANGE OF OUTFIT FOR THE RECEPTION IS A GOOD IDEA
I really wished I’d thought about another outfit I could wear in the evening in so I could totally relax. Especially if you've been carrying your train about, you might appreciate an outfit where you don't need to do that. A second outfit would’ve been nice as well, just to mark the change into the evening frivolities!
BE AWARE OF VENUE CLOSING TIMES
We got married in a venue that was open to the public and there was a super short time between it closing and our wedding starting. It was a super quick turnaround. My advice is to make sure there are enough people to change over the room in time for the ceremony and wedding breakfast.
Hannah from Studio Porter went above and beyond to ensue that the room looked stunning. It definitely got some gasps of wonderment from our guests! Everyone loved the venue, and for a London based wedding, it was unusual to be surrounded by so much nature and beauty. The lovely table decorations really reflected that.
Weddings are usually all-day affairs when there's ample enough time to prep for the day. If what you'd like requires more time to do and it isn't possible within the changeover time to create the look you want, either simplify your plans or find a venue that you can book for the whole day.
GET THE RIGHT UNDERWEAR
The right underwear may not seem as important as the dress, but let me tell you, it is! Try different options on (with your dress if possible) and once you’ve chosen it, allow enough time to road test it before the big day so you feel comfortable in it.
I so wish I had gone for the Ender Legard body like I advise all my brides to – I have no idea why I didn't! My large F cup boobs needed way more support than the Spanx I wore, which had no proper bra cups. Forever etched in my brain is the moment when I was getting ready and my sister was hoisting my boobs up as we tried to put the Perky Pear stick on bra on. It’s definitely one of those funny moments that will always make me laugh.
The Ender Legard body has great support for cups up to a size F, plus you can wear shapewear pants on top if you want smooth non-bumpy lines. The actual straps can also be replaced with thinner ones that Ender Legard also sell, which mimics the spaghetti straps of the Elsa. It’s perfect if your dress has no shoulder bit to cover the bra strap. This has worked a treat for quite a few brides I’ve worked with, so I am kicking myself for not following my own great advice!
PLAN SOME STRESS-FREE TIME
That time is just for you. Make sure there's no unnecessary drama that will knock your confidence. I made sure there was perfect calm before the ceremony, spending time with my sisters, who were just so amazing, supportive, and wonderful - I couldn't ask for better people to spend that time with. The last thing you want just before the big moment is anyone making a fuss that could make your feel horrible and even more nervous. Make sure there’s no chance of that happening.
This also extends to the guest list. Only invite those people who will make you feel chilled. This is your big day, so don't be afraid to be selfish and ensure there are no drama llamas invited!
SEE IF THERE’S A PLACE TO WAIT BEFORE THE CEREMONY
Because there was a train strike, I arrived at the venue exactly the same time as the groom – argh! The venue we were getting married in only had one entrance. I wish I’d asked the venue beforehand to ensure there was a room for me to wait in and steady my nerves.
FINDING THE RIGHT SUPPLIERS IS KEY
Being in the bridal industry, it was a bit easier to find amazing suppliers, but I still spent a lot of time making sure they were the best ones I could find.
Both Hannah from Studio Porter and our photographer Nina really pulled out all the stops to make the day special. Both also adapted brilliantly when things didn't go to plan such as not being able to get the photos on the pier. Hannah did such an amazing job styling the room so beautifully with flowers from Tube Rose and elegant stationery and signage from Sister Press and Six Fold Studio. I highly recommend them both for helping me bring my big day dreams to life.
AND FINALLY... ENJOY YOUR BIG DAY!
Maybe because I tend to stress about things, I really, really wish I'd just let go of all the stuff I couldn't control. It was such a lovely day, had so much fun and created lots of special memories.
If I could go back and do it all over again, I'd tell myself to chill out! I’d say ‘It's all fine, you're going to have an amazing time and everyone else will as well. It'll be a wedding with such cool, relaxed London vibes!’ And it really was. After getting a double decker bus to take us from our venue, the Walthamstow Wetlands, we all partied in Dalston until the early hours at the Kingsland Locke hotel.
All the credits:
- Photography @ninawernicke
- Design, Styling & On the Day Coordination @studioporter
- Wedding Venue @londonwildlifetrustevents
- Catering @thelarderlondon
- Florals @tuberoselondon
- Stationery @sister_press
- Signage @sixfoldstudiolondon
- Cake Design @susscakestudio
- Bridal @sabinamotasem
- Groom @vanshik_menswear
- Hair @hair_by_duboux
- Make up @kristinagasperasmua @amygoodemua
- Sound & Tech @WildingSound
- Linens @miasylviaa
- Transport Retro Bus Company @london_retro_bus_hire
- Gold bracelet and shoes @freyaroselondon
- Headpiece @kellyspencewed
- Necklace @victoriafergussonaccessories
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