As possibly the most emotional clothing purchase you’ll ever make, choosing your dream wedding dress is not a decision best rushed into. Even women who are ordinarily, faultlessly confidant in ‘their own style’, can feel overwhelmed with the choice and magnitude of selecting (or designing) this future heirloom. Something they’ll look back on in decades to come, and hope to love as much as they day they wore it.
When Emma Watkins wed her love Lachy Gillespie last year, in a fairytale like celebration, our hearts stopped, lingering on the magnificence of a dream day, from beginning to end. Our eyes gravitated to ‘that gown’ and the glowing, radiant-with-confidence woman wearing the dress (rather than the dress wearing her!).
We caught up with Emma to pick her brains on tips and advice for choosing your own dream dress - and how not to become bamboozled in the process!
Selecting the right designer for you
Go with someone that you like! Someone that designs pieces that appeal to you...
Off the rack or design your own?
There is so much to be inspired from on the rack. I think there are so many beautiful designs already created and if something suits, just go for it! However if you like bits and pieces from a few then try and combine them, if you have the opportunity. Something off the rack makes it easier to try on straight away and visualise, but there is something unique and beautiful about creating your own dress from scratch.
Inspiration...if you decide to design your own
Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration, so take screen shots - but don't get too carried away! Stick with what you know looks good on you.
Consider the location & mood
It can be helpful to picture the dress in the environment of the wedding. I knew I didn’t want to be too hot if I could help it, on the wedding day, so we chose to have our wedding at Homewood House in Bowral in April so the weather would most likely be crisp. And this meant that I could have long sleeves! Which I love!
Fabric, silhouette & embellishment I love ballet and I love wearing a tutu but I quickly realised that a wedding dress has a very different structure and the fabrics fall differently. I was guided by my designer with fabric and do listen to them, as they have so much experience in the fall and movement of fabric. I’m very ‘more is more’ but i was advised ‘less is more’ and it’s very good advice! Start thinking simply and you can always add. Every detail should be for a reason. I love bows and even though my dress didn't have a bow, when the train was picked up and buttoned for dancing later, it looked like a bow bustle.
Alternatives to white?
I love antiques and old worldly things and I knew from the start that I wouldn’t wear white. My fabrics were different layers of latte hues, and quite suited my pale skin. It’s a bit softer.
Veil or No Veil?
I always love a veil, but I understand that’s not for everyone. However today there are so many pretty headpieces too. I knew I wanted to wear a crown as I love finishing an outfit off with a hair accessory!
Shoes, Accessories & Jewels
My husband, Lachy, ended up buying shoes for me which was very sweet. They were pale pink and even though they weren't seen a lot I loved that they were a bit different. I also wore a lot of antique jewellery - my nana’s watch (c1919) and my own rings. I felt that I was wearing a part of my family heritage on the day. Nana’s watch was given to her on her wedding day and my mum ended up wearing it on her wedding day too, so I continued the tradition and it’s the most interesting accessory to look at now in my photos.
Who do you to take to the appointments with you? Whose opinions do your trust?
Don’t have too many people. Bring someone who is honest though. Also Mums are very important, remember it’s a big deal for them too, it’s so nice to involve them. Generally.... they have been there and done that before so even though they might be a bit behind the times, they do have experience!
IMAGES > Erin & Tara / Emma's gown was designed by Suzanne Harward