I tried on my wedding dress 20 years ago – this is what I would do differently now

When I first suggested to my editor that I could clean my wedding dress and try it on for the first time since my big day, the Beckhams had not been photographed in their own wedding day attire, twenty-five years in one after the other. own wedding. Neither was Fearne Cotton or Jesse Wood, who followed suit a few days later for their tenth anniversary last week.

So I like to think I started this trend of taking photos in vintage wedding dresses. My husband, Mark, however, had no interest in wearing his suit and taking his picture with me to celebrate twenty years of marriage in September. So instead, you have me and Grenson the dog.

The Beckhams recently rocked their memorable purple wedding outfits to mark their 25th anniversary

The Beckhams recently donned their memorable purple wedding dresses to mark their 25th anniversary – Instagram / @davidbeckham

Why did I dig my suit? I wanted to work out how I would do it differently if I were planning my wedding now, all these years later. I didn’t work in fashion back then, and although I didn’t work in sustainability either (which I do now), I was determined not to waste, although I hoped not to waste money rather than wasting. things.

We didn’t have cake (who eats cake?) and opted for a mini-sized baklava instead. Instead of having a DJ we used a cool new thing called an iPod. There was no bond, because I was in one as Mark did, and as my father did, so between us, we made a brand new family. Both of my wives wore scalloped oyster-colored dresses and could wear them again, if they wanted to. But there was one area where I wanted to spend a little more money: my own suit.

Hannah RochellHannah Rochell

No need for a band: Hannah playing on her wedding day

Here’s the thing about wedding dresses that I didn’t think about at the time. They are usually a single-use item of clothing (we spend £2.7 billion on 50 million of them every year in the UK). And while I spent a lot of time thinking about how I would feel looking at my pictures in twenty years, I gave little thought to what would happen to my traditional dress after the big day.

I designed it with a local maker. One detail – revealing a contrasting pink lining on the underside of my train by tying a loop of fabric around my wrist – meant it could technically be worn inside out. I really liked this idea and at the time I had every intention of doing that after the wedding, imagining the balls and feasts that we could suddenly be invited to as a newlywed couple. That’s what married couples do, right?

Of course, my wedding dress would stay packed away in the attic, never to be worn again. I didn’t bother to clean it, so it remembers our dirty dance floor right there.

Hannah tries on her wedding dress (the pink side), 20 years after her weddingHannah tries on her wedding dress (the pink side), 20 years after her wedding

Hannah tries on her wedding dress (the pink exterior), 20 years after her wedding – Christopher Pledger

With the benefit of hindsight, if I had gone for a dress design that was a bit more “me” than “classic bride”, perhaps with straps or sleeves and a more manageable hem length, I might have worn a pink side of the outside it. to a friend’s wedding in later years. It might go well with trainers and a denim jacket (the jury is out on that one). If my music career had taken off, I might have even worn it out of ivory on stage at Glastonbury (see PJ Harvey’s recent performance for details). Sadly, though, I haven’t played bass guitar in ten years and I’m still waiting for that banquet invitation.

However, our anniversary got me thinking: if we were getting married again, this year, what would I do differently? For the most part, I wouldn’t change anything (it was a BIG wedding), but I would definitely add a more sustainable hat to my dress (I probably wouldn’t wear an actual hat, mind you).

Make-to-order with a mind to pass it on

I don’t want to discourage people from creating the dress of their dreams, especially if it means using the skills of a local dressmaker who can create something unique for you. I loved the experience and I don’t think it’s any coincidence that shortly afterwards I started a career in fashion.

Hannah teamed her wedding dress with a denim jacket and Adidas trainersHannah teamed her wedding dress with a denim jacket and Adidas trainers

Hannah completes her wedding dress with a denim jacket and Adidas trainers – Christopher Pledger

But these are the hardest dresses to know what to do with them next. At one point I was planning to frame my dress and hang it on the wall, and I also thought that I might pass it on to my daughter in the future, but we ended up being lazy with wall hangings and not having children, and thus languishing in the attic was his miserable fate.

After I got it out for this shoot, I think it’s time to sell it or donate it so someone else can use it. Although it was a custom fit, it is attached with lacing rather than buttons or a zip, which means it could technically fit a range of bodies (my body is definitely not the same as it was twenty years ago). If you’re planning to repurpose your wedding dress, it’s worth thinking about details like these that will make it wearable for more people than just you.

Buy second hand

We all know that the second-hand clothing market is thriving, and wedding dresses are no exception. From charity options that support the idea – Oxfam and Barnardos have a great selection – to designer stockists such as The Loop and Retold Vintage, there are plenty of options out there. For example, Vestiaire Collective currently has a ruffled silk Dior number for less than five hundred quid that would do the job very well.

This is where your local tailor comes into their own again, as you may want to adjust the fit to perfection once you have a second-hand beauty in your hands or any damage it may have picked up on the last big day to repair. You could try one of the increasingly popular tailoring apps: Sojo will collect from your door if you live in London (you can post from elsewhere), and The Seam will connect you with a local studio on you can visit it in person.

Rent it

Renting wedding dresses is nothing new, and renting a wedding dress is a great idea that I would definitely consider if I were getting married now. It would give me the option to be really glamorous for the day, although I’m usually more into casual vibes. It would also mean that I could afford to think about something that I would never be able to consider if I were buying new.

Browsing Cycling, for example, I love the look of a £20-a-day Rixo Bridal dress and an off-the-shoulder number from Sleeper for £25 a day; at those prices, you could rent a few options to try them out, or switch into one for the evening reception (and increase the bar tab to boot).

Rixo wedding dressRixo wedding dress

The Rixo Bridal gown is available to hire for £20 per day on Three Rotations

Sleeping wedding dressSleeping wedding dress

A shoulder sleeper can be hired for £25 per day on Cycling

Something I could wear again

I left the option that I think is most likely to last: investing in a casual bridal outfit that is versatile enough to wear again. A top and skirt in a more laid-back fabric like white linen, for example, would be appropriate. Take this top and skirt from Roake Studio, which would look lovely for nuptials and equally well styled with jeans/T-shirt afterwards.

Studio roakeStudio roake

Studio roake

‘Saffron’ skirt, £125 and ‘Millie’ top, £75, Studio roake

This independent brand makes it to order, so you have the flexibility to add or remove lengths to suit you. In fact, white linen is an option for all of her designs, so if you prefer a sweater, dress, or pants and top, that’s possible too.

Plus, this type of outfit is much more likely to go with a pair of shoes I already own – these have been a favorite for the last ten years and I’ve seen through many weddings as a guest. Unlike my own wedding shoes, a truly awful pair of £30 strappy high street kitten heels, which I took off as soon as we had the pictures done, leaving the reception barefoot…

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