If your future mother-in-law offered to make your wedding dress, how would it make you feel? That was the unusual position I found myself in earlier this year after my [then] boyfriend popped the question. For me, it was a no brainer. I was in safe hands, after all. Angela Vickers has been designing and hand-making wedding dresses for more than 20 years. She even made gowns and bridesmaid dresses for several of my friends over the years.
Her taste is impeccable and the quality is of the highest standard. I had nothing to worry about. Apart from the fact that I’m not really a ‘pretty’ dress type and have never been the sort who hankered after walking down the aisle. Never in my life had I daydreamed about the kind of wedding dress I might one day get to wear. I was worried I might offend (would she think I was ungrateful?) and therefore slightly nervous before our first ideas meeting.
Related: wedding guest dresses you'll want to wear again and again
I failed at the first hurdle and didn’t bring one single tear or reference (I can honestly say it hadn’t crossed my mind.) But Angela is the kind who is unflappable. I explained that I was definitely not the meringue type, nor did I want something of the bodycon variety. I also didn’t want to wear white or even ivory: too girly. I’m also definitely of the less is more mindset. Plus, I had to feel comfortable on the day. We sat and brainstormed for half-an-hour or so, flicking through pictures on her iPad. I was frankly amazed when, after just one meeting, we’d got a pretty solid idea of what I was after.
Over the next month, we had various fittings. 'Am I going to have to get naked in front of your Mum?' I hesitantly asked my other half Nick before the first. 'How the hell should I know?' came his reply, although, as he’s never been fitted for a wedding dress, I suppose he had a point.
After the shape of the slip had been decided upon, I was more than happy for Angela to guide me on the finer details. Soon, we had chosen the material in pale silver grey silk [by Henry Bertrand] and she designed a delicate silver and ivory antique lace jacket [from Northern France] to go over the top, both inspired by the Twenties period.
Angela’s studio is like a treasure trove of bridal silks, toile’s and accessories and it was her genius idea to include in the mix an ostrich feather boa (in ivory) whilst she also whipped out a vintage Twenties-inspired diamante headpiece. I loved it… but continuously worried it was too much. Take it anyway, she advised, and decide on the day if you want to wear it.
InStyle's fashion director, Arabella Greenhill, helped me choose my shoes (a silver pair of open toe slingbacks from Mui Mui) and Angela advised on the underwear (something that wouldn’t show up under the silk slip; I would never have even considered this.)
Thus my perfect wedding outfit was complete months before the big day. And it was such a fun experience. I may well be biased but Angela is the perfect confidante to have by your side if you’re unsure - insecure, even - about how you want to look on your special day. And I say this even though I did have to get [almost] naked.