We ask Alice for her pearls of wisdom
The quest to find the perfect dress can be overwhelming – especially if you dive in without being certain what you’re looking for.
Who better to advise a bride-to-be than Alice Temperley? Here, Alice shares her insights, both as a designer and as a bride who chose three dresses for her 2002 wedding…
I’m trying to find a wedding dress… Where do I start?
Ask yourself: what aesthetic are you drawn to? Bearing in mind your usual style – are you more into earthy linens or slinky silks? Which silhouettes do you gravitate toward? What type of wedding are you having and where is it set? Is it a formal day in keeping with family tradition? Or are you having an intimate ceremony mid-week and a day of celebratory revelry at the weekend? Do you want to change into a party dress in the evening? And, not last or least, what are you thinking in terms of budget?
Trust your intuition – these are simply considerations to save you falling in love with a gown that doesn’t serve your needs.
What am I looking for?
Ultimately the aim is to feel truly amazing in whatever you choose to wear – like a second skin, not body-conscious or restricted – and that will be unique to you.
What catches your eye and just feels right? Some of you will be comfortable in something elegant yet understated to avoid attention beyond the inevitable. Others will embrace the opportunity to dress up and have your time to shine.
Self-expression is paramount, so there’s no need to conform or cave to external pressures. Wear a suit if you want! And remember to experiment with veils, headpieces and shoes (if you’re wearing them) as you go.
What should I avoid being tempted by?
Unnecessary but somewhat inevitable stresses aside, be wary of trends and trust your judgement. It’s impossible to take every single suggestion from family members and friends on-board – however well-intentioned – and they can knock your decision-making off course. Don’t settle for something if it’s not quite right or not what you envisioned, regardless of what others think.
You could have found the most beautiful dress in the world, but you want it to be comfortable, so it doesn’t hold you back on your big day. Practice walking, dancing, hugging, sitting, having your arms in the air…
Short or mini wedding dress
See: Dreamer Mini Dress
After a period of uncertainty, we’re seeing the safe return of celebrations – and partywear has followed suit. A chic option if minis are your hemline de choix, especially for polished city ceremonies or weddings in sunnier climes, they’re modern yet classic – made famous by Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow.
Off-the-shoulder wedding dress
One of the more Bohemian bridal features, off-the-shoulder necklines suit all body shapes — including bigger busts. Embrace alfresco freedom with frou-frou and frippery. Ruffles and frills a-plenty.
Cold shoulder wedding dress
Relaxed yet feminine, with floaty silhouettes crafted from diaphanous fabrics, the cold shoulder feature gives countryside celebrations a contemporary twist.
Boho wedding dress
Joyful, fresh and freeing, Bohemian details call out for a sun-dappled walk down the aisle. Look not only for off-the-shoulder necklines, but also for beautiful embroideries, bell sleeves, lots of lace and warmer whites.
Printed wedding dress
In keeping with the one-to-wear-again way of thinking, printed wedding dresses transition more easily into party- or formalwear than the traditional white.
Lace wedding dress
Overtly feminine, with traditional undertones, lace – in layers, panels or tiers – is the red-blooded romantic’s choice.
Beaded wedding dress
With a subtle nod to embellished Art Nouveau designs, beaded wedding dresses represent a marriage of modernism and romanticism.
Embroidered wedding dress
On a backdrop of delicate invisible tulle, intricate embroidery can provide a pretty focal point for a summery or even barefoot beach ceremony.
Silk wedding dress
The epitome of understated elegance, the classic bridal fabric has been reinvented in sleeker, almost sculptural silhouettes and with more modern necklines. The silvery finish complements a wintery setting.
The most important thing is: make it work for you. I had a theme to encourage everyone to dress up when I got married in 2002 – mostly as an excuse for me to justify three outfit changes. Go for it. You don’t want to look back and have any regrets. Lean into the fantasy and have fun with it.