The question we are all asking! What will Meghan Markle’s wedding dress be like! I think we can pretty much guarantee she will look breath taking (she does on a normal day!) Will she be a big influencer on the brides of 2019 and beyond? Meghan will no doubt be aiming to respect and honour the royal traditions of the family she is joining, so here is a quick look at three of the most important wedding dresses that might influence her choice!
Harry’s grandmother, married after the Second World war, so the then Princess Elizabeth had a restricted budget. She had to purchase material for her wedding dress using ration coupons! The government gave her an extra 200 to spend and lots of ordinary women sent Elizabeth theirs – but she wouldn’t use them!
Her bridal gown was put in the hands of the Court designer, Norman Hartnell. Mr Hartnell was famous for his embroidery, so embroidered motifs and scattered blossoms were sewn in horizontal scalloped lines across the skirt and train. The design was covered in pearls and diamante in flowing lines of wheat ears, the symbol of fertility. Apparently, the design was inspired by the Botticelli painting Primavera. The fabric was a soft Damasc woven from silk.
Elizabeth was a picture of modesty, with a high neckline, tailored bodice, long sleeves. The shape of her dress was a gentle A-line, skimming her hips and flowing out to a full skirt. fit and flare.
Harry’s mum, Diana. Diana’s wedding dress was by David and Elizabeth Emmanuel (yes, David of ‘Say Yes to the dress UK’ fame!). It was apparently inspired by a chiffon blouse that Diana loved, and I think that can be seen in the puff of the sleeve from the shoulder, and the bows – all the rage back in the 80s! Her wedding dress was made from woven silk taffeta and hand embroidered sequins and 10000 pearls. The lace was Carrickmacross lace, which had once belonged to Queen Mary. Diana had an incredible 25ft train. No one had planned and thought about the train fitting into the glass carriage… and Diana and the train only just managed it!! The bride had a ‘stand in’ dress made also – just in case her own was revealed by the media before the big day.
Lady Diana started a huge trend in wedding dresses of taffeta, puff sleeves and bows- taffeta remained a bestselling bridal fabric choice for a good fifteen to twenty years after!
Meghan’s future sister-in-law, Katherine, had her wedding dress designed by Sarah Burton at the Alexander McQueen fashion house. McQueen are famous for the Victorian tradition of corsetry, which could be seen on the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress. Her satin bodice was padded slightly at the hip, and narrowed at the waist. At the back there was also a Victorian mini- bustle in the design. The 19th century theme was continued in the choice of floral lace which was sewn onto silk tulle. The skirt was full of soft pleats, 58 buttons and a train that was just over 9ft long!!
Kate really wanted to combine tradition and modesty and I think she managed it perfectly, with little skin on show. She put lace at the forefront of bridal fashion, where it remains as brides most popular choice, even 6 years later!
I think Meghan may avoid lace – both Kate (and her sister Pippa) chose lace for their high profile weddings, and I think that she may go for something different in her fabric choice. Possibly returning to Queen Elizabeth’s choice of soft silk or satin. Plain fabrics are very on trend right now.
I expect beading, pearl and embroidery to feature, maybe at the waist – but hope she will surprise us by going for a fully beaded bodice and bringing a whole lot more sparkle to the look than either Kate or Diana did!
I think modesty will be important. My guess is a 1/2 or 3/4 sleeve (like Diana), and possibly slightly off the shoulder in line with current fashion. Remembering the Royals are the head of the Church of England, then shoulder’s out might be a no-no! I don’t expect an illusion panel to be in sight, nor a low back, as royal brides tend to steer away from anything sexy (understandably!). The evening dress may be a different story though!
Shape wise, all the royal brides seem to like to show their narrow waists, and then opt for a full skirt. Maybe Meghan will be the first to wear a less full skirt. She may choose a fit and flare silhouette, but I think a high fashion shape like a fishtail is unlikely. I really think (and hope!) she will embrace the princess style, full, ballgown skirt, like Diana did.
Whatever she wears, I am sure there will be a nod to the dresses of Diana and Elizabeth in there somewhere, as a way of aligning herself fully in their traditions, and I expect it to be markedly different to Kate’s.
Well… we will soon find out! May 26th 2018, can’t wait!