by Holly Thorne
When Jim proposed, it took me completely by surprise. We hadn’t spoken about getting married – we were happy as we were – and I had never had the young girl’s dream of my wedding day. Not only did he surprise me by proposing, he was super sneaky and had contacted a good friend of mine who is jeweller (Nikki Stark) and arranged for her to design a bespoke engagement ring. He must have been pretty sure I’d say yes!
We did some research online and found some lovely hotels, but we just couldn’t find a venue that stood out. That’s when we came across Ufton Court. It was the only venue that we visited, and we knew straight away it was perfect. The backdrop of the Tudor Manor House was beautiful, and the Tithe Barn gave us a blank canvas to create the day we wanted.
As Nikki had made my engagement ring, it was a no brainer that she would make our wedding rings, but it didn’t stop there. I am incredibly lucky to have some truly talented creative friends and family, so I was keen to involve them as much as I could. All in all, most aspects of the preparation for our big day involved friends and family: the wedding stationery, cake, photography, flower girl’s dress, vases for our table centrepieces, our wedding cars and the buttonholes. In addition, I made my own bouquet with crochet flowers (the buttonholes were made to match!).
When it came to my dress, I had no idea what I wanted. My mum took me shopping and although I tried on some beautiful dresses, I just didn’t feel comfortable in the traditional styles. I’d heard people talk about how they just knew as soon as they tried a dress on, but I didn’t find one that gave me that ‘wow’. I had a formal dinner to attend prior to the wedding and I went to a vintage boutique to find a dress for that. I tried on a beautiful 50s Frank Usher gown. As soon as it was on I had that ‘wow’ moment. However, it was made of a thick velvet fabric in dark colours – not quite right for a summer wedding.
I spoke to my close friend, Megan. She had been taught to sew by her mum and was always making things, so I asked her if she’d consider making my wedding dress. I knew it was a huge ask and I made it clear it was OK for her to say ‘no’! To my delight, she agreed and got to work creating a pattern using my Frank Usher dress as a template. She’s an engineer by profession, so it’s second nature to her working out which shapes to put together to create a pattern.
We ordered lots of samples of lace and fabrics and had fun working out what would work. I don’t suit white or cream on its own, so we chose a coffee satin to sit under cream lace. Megan made a mock-up of the dress in cheap fabric to get the size right and check the shape. Then she set about the scary task of cutting the actual fabrics and making my wedding dress.
I was really pleased with how it turned out and it was truly special to wear something made by one of my closest friends. Even better than that, it has given Megan the confidence to start her own business making bespoke clothing.
Megan Hadley Bespoke Dressmaker:
Nikki Stark Jewellery: https://nikkistarkjewellery.co.uk/
John Williams Photography: