I have been SO excited to write this post…I get to show you my wedding dress (!!!) and introduce you to Alison Slaney, an uber-talented bridalwear creator. I started referring to Alison as my fairy godmother (not because she looks like this, but because she made my wish come true!) and really looking forward to our appointments in the months before the wedding.
On her career –
About 20 years ago I was designing garments for all sort of occasions, but felt I wasn’t really specialising in any particular area. so i decided to go down the route of Bridal wear, so the bride as her gown is so special for that occasion, but also the bridal party, the bridesmaids and flower girls, and in more recent years, I have started designing for the mother of the bride, as it is a terribly important day for her as her daughter is getting married, so she wants something a little unique also.
When I was put into a mermaid dress at the very beginning of my first dress fitting in a shop (you can read about that here), I knew finding my dress was going to take a little creativity. I went to 2 more wedding dress shops before deciding to design my own. Having tried different styles on I knew what suited me, and there were a few quirky features that I now could afford to look for because I was starting from scratch! Hooray!
A friend recommended Alison and our first meeting immediately set me at ease. She is warm, friendly, and I would trust her to dress me for ANY occasion – she totally ‘gets’ me (and, I assume, every one of her clients!). Having a dress made locally also means that your dress is slavery-free: which, to me, is very important. We paid a fair price (which was still less than most shop dresses) and the fabric was also a high-end product that Alison imported from England.
Alison describes the process…
Initially, the bride will come for her first consultation, where we will look at styles that will work for the bride and the style of the wedding, also a range of dress fabrics in both texture and shades to work with the design, then I draw up the design and forward that along with the fabric swatches to the bride, and generally she will decide on what design etc to go with. Then we start in to the dress fitting stages, and they range from the initial structure of the gown, and at each fitting stage the gown becomes more structured, and the detail will be added gradually, e.g it may be some lace detail, covered buttons, or embellishment such as pearl or crystal hand beading, also skirt structure may change as petticoats and hoops may be added. This process will continue until the bride is truly happy with her gown, so that she feels truly bridal!
Alison’s sketch of the front of my dress before beginning to make it.
Before our meeting, I had a picture in my mind of the dress – with 5 particular features I wasn’t entirely would complement each other. It turned out Alison made them all work beautifully! Here are her tips for choosing a wedding dress style:
When choosing styles for your gown, you need to bear in mind you will be wearing it all day, so you need to wear a gown that is comfortable, also you want to feel fabulous, so you do need a little ‘wow’ factor also so that may include a full “princess” skirt or some embellishment that make s it a little special just for you, Choosing a fabric has to work for the gown, so if it is a very structured gown then a fabric with structure is essential, if it is a full floaty style a softer chiffon fabric is essential, you work with the nature of the gown. The style of the gown will compliment your figure, so that you are happy and confident through the day.
I love that Alison, as well as being amazing at what she does, is also just a really lovely person who is so easy to get on with. All of our wedding vendors felt like friends by the end of the journey. It also helps when you are up-close-and personal with someone you don’t know to remember they are human! Alison shared one of her favourite memories from her own wedding.
My own wedding, well there are just so many fond memories that it really can’t be narrowed down to one, One really fun thing was when my Dad claimed he had two women that day, as a result of not only escorting my mother down the aisle, but also my husband’s mother too, as she had no escort.
My MOH and MOB had their work cut out from them on the morning of the wedding with working out all the little buttons. So worth it!
Finally, I asked Alison what her favourite part about her job was.
There are many aspects to my job that are so rewarding right through the whole process, really difficult to say, However, perhaps the reaction from the bride when she first sees her gown for the first time, the emotions are so mixed….from speechless, to tears of joy, excitement and amazement that this gown has come about from a discussion based around a few styles and a choice of fabric samples. It is so rewarding being part of the wedding day, and the dress being such a big part of a bride’s happiness, that you have been a small part of all of that.
My dress was accompanied by my favourite accessories of all time. Here they are…
Shoes from eBay (I also wore my £15 Topshop sale hot pink wedges for photos in the forest – you can see them in the first photo!)
Rose gold, topaz and diamond engagement ring from Etsy.
Rose gold and diamond earrings from Etsy.
My favourite perfume – Flowerbomb!
So there we go! Working with Alison and wearing one of her creations that I also got to contribute to was such a fun experience. If you get a chance to create your own dress, I say go for it! And if you are looking for someone who can really make your wishes come true, no one is better than Alison. Get in touch with her here.