In my mind I’ve worn a thousand different outfits to my wedding. A tea length dress with a ballet tulle skirt, very Dégas. A white dress and leather jacket, heels not included. A sleek two piece outfit, no top underneath because I’m chic and risquée. The very real short, sparkly, 70s style minidress I saw online but couldn’t track down. These flitted in and out of ideas of weddings I had but never planned, with men and women I’ve never known or met. Just daydreams, really! And the real thing couldn’t have been more different. In my dreams, my outfit was so clear. The aesthetic was there. In real life, it was a bit of a jumble to get to the classic wedding outfit I ended up with. Let me explain.
All photos were taken by Lina Hayes. Discover her work on her website, linahayes.com. She’s fantastic, and based in Scotland and Australia.
My wedding day
I got married in lockdown. We got engaged in February 2020 and married in July 2020. Some of the family at our wedding hadn’t actually seen us since before we got engaged. I didn’t get to go to bridal boutiques with friends and drink champagne. There was no final fitting. This was not the outfit I wanted.
I felt pretty and comfortable on the day. I’ve had tons of compliments and for both of those things I’m thankful. However, I would have really liked to support more local makers and small businesses when I bought my outfit. But our budget, and the fact that all shops were shut in lockdown for all of our engagement, meant I had to order from places I wouldn’t normally buy from.
Firstly, I ordered my dress from BHLDN. They were repeatedly recommended to me as a well known online bridal retailer. Their dresses aren’t that much cheaper than elsewhere so I wouldn’t have bothered, but I found a bridesmaid’s dress that came in Ivory that I liked. It was cheaper since it was a bridesmaid dress so I reasoned that if it didn’t work for the wedding, I could just keep it for other occasions. It arrived in a scuffy cardboard box, packaged like something from ASOS and didn’t fit well. Big disappointment, but I made do.
This is not an endorsement for BHLDN. I’ve found out since that BHLDN is owned by Anthropologie. During the BLM movement of June 2020, the company which owns and operates Anthropologie and a number of other high profile stores (hello Urban Outfitters) was outed for having a policy that required store assistance to racial profile shopppers. As a teenager, I was followed around Anthropologie whenever I went in. It was annoying. It made the shopping experience no fun. But, it ended when I got older. Black People and POC don’t get that experience. For that reason, I couldn’t in good conscious promote BHLDN or any of their other businesses.
What I would suggest is taking inspiration from the slip dress I wore and looking in local thrift shops (they’re often there!), vintage bridal shops and boutique bridal stores. Even shops like Sézane and Rouje may occasionally sell a white slip dress, it doesn’t have to be bridal!
My ideal place to shop would have been Edinburgh’s Those Were The Days Vintage Bridal in Stockbridge. It’s the first place I’ll look for a dress for our Canadian celebration!
It is very me to always be in a jumper, even on my wedding day. Surprisingly, this was not the original plan. A jumper became necessary when all weddings in Scotland had to be moved outside and our date forecasted cold rain. While I loved wearing a jumper, I hate that it’s from Zara.
I got the week of our wedding at a bargain of £9. I wore an old belt under it and tucked it under. Again, it wasn’t feasible to order a jumper in from Etsy or elsewhere as they wouldn’t arrive on time. If you have the time, there are so many fantastic sellers on Etsy that create beautiful white jumpers just like mine. They’re more expensive, but they’re higher quality and supporting a real person behind the business. Here are some of my favourites…
- EdelweissBride Bridal Cape
- RDesignStore Mohair Jumper – most similar to mine
- LenaFelice Bridal Ballerina Wrap
I love so much that I’ll be able to wear this jumper for the rest of its life and remember that I wore it on my wedding day. It’s a little secret me and the jumper have, because when you throw it on with some jeans it really doesn’t look like much. For that reason alone, you should invest in something more expensive that will last longer, fit more comfortably and just be a bit more special.
Finally, my shoes were £30 on offer from Aldo. I was going to wear my infamous yellow velvet heels with a giant bow, but when I tried them on I just didn’t feel like a bride. I don’t own any other heels, so I ordered these. They were affordable, weren’t too high of a heel and could be easily returned if they didn’t fit. Again, I looked at places like Everlane, but I couldn’t get them shipped to me in time. If you had a budget for it, I would wholeheartedly recommend you buy a pair of luxury heels for your big day. Especially because they tend to be quite classy, and you’ll be able to wear them again if they’re simple! I’m already looking forward to wearing these with jeans and a t shirt when I go out, and have the shoes do all the outfit’s work for me.
Although I do think the ultimate wedding shoe shop is Harriet Wilde and I still want a pair of those shoes even though I’m married………. They’re just SO pretty!
Accessories and flowers
My hair accessories were either vintage or from etsy. The hair comb I wore was my mother’s. She sent it to me very last minute, and it arrived just in time! I’d purchased these gypsophila hair pins from LunaandWild on Etsy. I only got three because we really didn’t think the comb would get there on time. In retrospect, I wish I would have had more! They were fantastic. I also purchased the ‘Honesty’ dried flower hair comb and matching button from thekraftflowerco. Angus wore his button hole which matched my flowers, and I hope I can wear the hair comb sometime in the future. They also make beautiful flower crowns… just saying!
My flowers were from Narcissus Flowers in Edinburgh. They’re known for their amazing wild bouquets, and they made the most gorgeous bouquet for me! Originally I planned for red flowers, eucalyptus and some white, but I changed my mind last minute to purple. Not a clue why. I don’t even like purple. But, they went with the flow and I ended up with the most beautiful bouquet. Out of everything I wore, the bouquet was what made me feel most like a bride. I was sad to put it down at the end of the day.
A less classic wedding outfit, perhaps?
And with that… we have my wedding outfit! Certainly not what I expected, I wasn’t sure how it would look but I really liked the end result. As you may have noticed, I mentioned a ‘Canadian celebration’… just an excuse to wear another (much more over the top) outfit! And to celebrate with my family of couse. I’m thinking Canadian barn wedding. Everyone wears a Canadian tuxedo. There’s a lot of sequins and glitter and Canadian barn dancing. Good post-Covid party, no?
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