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'The One': Three Women Explain How They Found The Wedding Dress Of Their Dreams

ELLE (UK) logo ELLE (UK) 27/03/2023 Eni Subair

After lockdown-era Zoom weddings and strictly limited guestlists, statement bridalwear (and the guests to admire it) are back with a bang. Women are making up for lost time with extravagant celebrations and directional dresses – and the more looks, the better.

Alongside established brands launching bridalwear – including Molly Goddard, 16Arlington, Erdem and, new for this summer, The Vampire’s Wife – there’s a slew of emerging young designers specialising in big-day dressing. London-based Wed launched in 2019 and has become a go-to among the fashion crowd, while the capital’s Chet Lo has dabbled in making wow-worthy pieces for brides-to-be.

Meanwhile, New York designer Sandy Liang added roomy, knee-skimming dresses to her roster last summer as part of a bridal capsule collection, and says that ‘women want pieces that feel more personal, that might not follow the traditional silhouettes we typically see, and that are comfortable – something they can eat in and dance the night away in carefree.’

What connects them all is a desire for looks that showcase their style, personality and heritage. Here, three women reveal what made them say yes to the dress.


You may not believe it, but the thought of asking my brother Daniel [creative director of Schiaparelli] to make my wedding dress never even crossed my mind. He’s always just been my badass brother first and foremost. But when I called to tell him the good news he said I should let him know when I’d like him to make my wedding dress. I felt incredibly thankful. But as the pandemic began we parked all wedding planning. Then, at the end of 2021, we started thinking...

Liz Fox Roseberry on her wedding day. © Becca Neblock Liz Fox Roseberry on her wedding day.

I didn’t want to stifle Daniel’s vision in any way, but he was very insistent on my input: he wanted the dress to be tailored to me. Even if you don’t dream about your own wedding dress, there’s something objectively beautiful about them. I’ve long admired bodices and corsets, so I wanted those elements incorporated. During 2020, I took up dancing as a hobby and a form of exercise, so being able to dance in my dress was important. And I knew I wanted it to be non-traditional. I’d never worn anything strapless, but Daniel assured me it would be the perfect fit, which it was. I sent him a playlist of potential songs I’d like to walk down the aisle to and silhouettes of dresses I loved to give him a general vibe of the wedding. We grew up on Audrey Hepburn movies such as Funny Face, and the adorable pouffy gown that cuts off around her ankles was a part of the inspiration. In return, he sent me various sketches that were almost impossible to choose from. I went with my gut for one that really stood out, with embroidery and bijoux along the top of the corset.

A month or two before the wedding, I hadn’t even seen pictures of the dress. Then Daniel asked me if I’d like to come to the Schiaparelli house in Paris and try it on. I never imagined that would even be an option but seeing it in person for the first time was so beautiful. It was very surreal; the reaction from the artisans in the house was so generous.

When my dress arrived at my home the Wednesday before my wedding day, it was in the biggest box I’ve ever seen in my life. The wedding date was stitched onto the dress cover and ‘Zeebo’, the name Daniel calls me, was embroidered onto the back of the dress. The idea of including crazy accessories appealed to me and I had raised the idea with Daniel, though I never followed up. But opening the box, there was a pair of incredible gold-rendered glasses, shoes with gold-dipped toes and earrings – they were all a surprise.

Liz’s gold-dipped Schiaparelli wedding heels. © Becca Neblock Liz’s gold-dipped Schiaparelli wedding heels.

Something not many people knew about the dress is that there was a custom pocket included, to fit a family heirloom. We have a small 200-year-old purse with clippings inside from all the women in my family’s wedding dresses. My uncle keeps it, and he gives it to each woman in the family when they walk down the aisle – it’s our ‘something old’. So I carried that with me on the day.

The hardest part about planning the wedding was trying not to go too overboard. Michael, my now-husband, and I were planning on getting married at one of our favourite bars. But the moment Daniel and I started planning my dress, we realised that such an incredible look needs a bigger venue, which ended up being a place called Hummingbird House, outside of Austin, Texas. We had 15 themes and a magician at the wedding, I made paper flowers, and the women in my family wore black. Michael and I saw each other moments before the actual ceremony, and I’m so glad that we did; I was more nervous than I thought I’d be. His eyes welled up with tears. We’re both goofy by nature, so I had fun showing him my shoes and the little meaningful elements of my wedding outfit.

When people say that weddings fly by, they’re so right. For the evening reception, I had my two oldest brothers, Jed and Randy, lift me out of the gown. Everyone did a double take when they saw me in this short cocktail dress. After the reception, we held an after-party at a dive bar, and I changed into white lace-up Dr Martens boots.

Liz on her wedding day in custom Schiaparelli. © Becca Neblock Liz on her wedding day in custom Schiaparelli.

Not long after the big day, Daniel asked me if it would be OK if the dress could be hung in the Louvre as part of the Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli exhibition. My instant reaction was, ‘I can’t believe there’s more to come from this amazing day!’ I was able to go back to Paris just before Christmas last year and see the exhibition. I looked around and spotted it; someone walked past and I whispered, ‘Hey, guess what? That’s my wedding dress!’ and we had a little laugh about it.


The three dresses I wore over the weekend of my wedding each represented a different aspect of my personality. The first, a cornflower-blue Molly Goddard dress that I wore to the pre-wedding pub dinner, was the party dress I’ve always wanted. It was made for dancing. The second, a lace Simone Rocha dress for the wedding itself, made me feel beautiful, timeless and gothic. It suited my witchy style. Lastly, The Vampire’s Wife dress that I changed into for the reception was fun, frivolous and delicate; I felt like a sexy version of myself. Thanks to my job, running my own fashion PR agency, I’m lucky that I have relationships with these incredible designers, I let Simone, who I’ve known since we were five years old, take the reins and said, ‘Whatever you think.’ There wasn’t any kind of mood board; the one inspiration is that we both love ballet, Giselle in particular.

Daisy Hoppen on her wedding day. © Emilie White Daisy Hoppen on her wedding day.

To be honest, I never thought I would get married or have a fairy tale wedding, so I had no real references to consider. I ended up going with a dress style that I would have also picked to wear 10 years ago: I liked that it was very classic. On the Friday night before the wedding, we had a dinner at a pub in north London and I wore the blue Molly dress: I’ve always loved her use of colour.

Daisy Hoppen dancing with her husband at her wedding reception. © Emilie White Daisy Hoppen dancing with her husband at her wedding reception.

On one of the many occasions I visited her studio she persuaded me to try some of the dresses that were slightly larger and more voluminous, but I knew I would feel self-conscious. However, I did know that I wanted something more playful that I could wear again – which I did, to last year’s Fashion Awards. For the wedding reception, which was held at Two Temple Place on the Thames, Susie Cave designed an almost Disney-like dress for me. She just knows a woman’s body more than anyone else and she makes the naughtiest of naughty short dresses. And the beauty of The Vampire’s Wife is, when you have a dress that fits you, you can wear it forever. Budget and being able to wear the dress again were important factors: rather than a Pinterest board, I had a budget spreadsheet.

As it was a winter wedding, I had researched coats and stumbled across a picture of Jackie Kennedy in this adorable white boiled-wool coat with a little fur hood, which Hannah Weiland of Shrimps reimagined for me.

On the day itself, I was a nervous wreck. The idea of walk- ing down an aisle terrified me. So much so that I got my husband’s name wrong four times during the ceremony – he has a lot of middle names! When we got into the wedding car after the service, he couldn’t stop smiling and telling me how much he loved my dress.

Some of the food served at Daisy's wedding © Emilie White Some of the food served at Daisy's wedding

Nostalgia, comfort and creating a quintessentially British feel were important too, especially for my husband’s family travelling in from France. I wanted to be able to look back on it in 50 years and have fond memories. There were a lot of kissing pictures taken on my wedding day. The French guests from my husband’s side said they weren’t used to attending weddings where the groom was always kissing his wife. I love the fact that it was unfiltered.


As a Pakistani woman, I was adamant about wearing full Pakistani-style bridal outfits. After my boyfriend [the designer Nicholas Daley] proposed, I went to Lahore and started doing some wedding research. I’d never really thought much about getting married but once I started planning it I had a clear idea of what I wanted to wear and create, without much input from anybody else. My mum says that since the age of two I’ve always been really demanding about the clothes I wanted to wear, so unsurprisingly it was the same with choosing my wedding outfits. The biggest inspiration was my mum’s, and seeing her bridal photographs from the 1980s.

Nabihah and her husband Nicholas on their wedding day. © Fabrice Bourgelle Nabihah and her husband Nicholas on their wedding day.

The images of her stuck in my mind: I loved the colours, the trims and the bright, bold jewellery. I grew up in Regent’s Park in central London, which isn’t a very Asian area, so I didn’t have many references when it came to Asian weddings. In hindsight, perhaps it was good as it meant Nicholas and I weren’t comparing ourselves to anyone else.

But one thing I knew was that I wanted to follow a traditional route, from the colours to the henna and the jewellery, as those classic elements are the most beautiful to me. When I was in Pakistan, I began thinking about having my bridal outfits custom-made there, in the home of such a rich, deep and ancient tradition of textiles. In the end, I decided on a silk, scarlet-red sharara [a long skirt with a huge circumference once stretched out] paired with a long kameez shirt, which were both made in Pakistan. I designed them, sourced the silk fabric and then commissioned bridal- wear tailors and embroiderers to create them. In total, the process was a four-month-long journey, and I had to be patient.

There were lots of WhatsApp messages and voice notes with progress updates; in turn, I sent photos from the day so they could see the finished product in all its glory. Three days before the wedding, which was held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, I had the mehndi party with all my girlfriends and my side of the family, and had henna done on my hands and my feet by an artist called Para Manko.

© Fabrice Bourgelle

I love how the symbolism of it all gives even more importance to the wedding day and what it means; the process of applying henna is one of the most ancient beauty practices in the world. Readying myself for marriage by having intricate, beautiful designs on my hands and feet, like every single married woman in my family, connected me to my ancestors. On the day itself my stomach was twisted with nerves but I felt incredibly special and so different to anything I’d felt before. I’d never been so decorated – it really was a beautiful thing.

Nicholas and I had discussed what we were going to wear, although he didn’t see either of my outfits until the day. He worked with a Pakistan-based British designer Zain Ali. I visit- ed Ali’s studio when I was in Pakistan in May 2022 and was able

to see the fabric for Nicholas’s outfit, which he’d been working on with Ali before my trip. The shoes were ready too, so I brought them back to London with me. Seeing all the photos of us on our wedding day, I just loved how both of our looks worked together.

Nabihah on her wedding day. © Fabrice Bourgelle Nabihah on her wedding day.

As the day turned into night, I changed into my second outfit: an ornate coral gharara [a traditional outfit made up of a shirt, wide-leg trousers and a dupatta scarf] in banarasi silk brocade, which comes from an ancient hand-weaving technique found in South Asia. The party went on from 3pm to 3am, so I needed something lightweight to wear but equally as blingy as my first bridal outfit, which was quite heavy, weighing roughly 20kg.

Jewellery is a huge part of an Asian bridal outfit, and an incredible designer in Lahore called Amna Shariff worked on my pieces using techniques dating back 600 years. I incorporated heirloom pieces, including the necklace my mother wore on her wedding day, and pieces from my grandmother and great-grandmother. Looking back, I’m glad I had a budget, and I was happy with the amount I spent, considering everything was bespoke and made from silk. Going through the photos, I hope I’ll always be transported back to that day. I’d love to wear parts of my wedding outfits in the future. The evening garments I wore are so versatile, so they would certainly work for a party or someone else’s wedding. Either way, I’d like to make use of it again, and then follow in my mother’s footsteps by donating my wedding outfit to someone in Pakistan so that they can wear it on their special day.


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