Royal wedding dresses aren’t just about what the bride wants to wear. While the woman in white has a big say in the design, her dream dress also has to fit the rather regal occasion which will see her and her intended say ‘I do’.
Autumn Kelly and Zara Phillips both had plenty of pressure on them to come up with impressive royal wedding looks even if their celebrations were more low key than the events surrounding other regal marriages. And the gowns the two women chose for their big days are well worth remembering.
Autumn was the debut royal bride of a new generation with her marriage to The Queen’s eldest grandchild, Peter Phillips. Their wedding, on 17 May 2008 at St George’s Chapel, was the first of one of The Queen’s grandchildren, and it attracted plenty of attention. So no pressure on the dress, then.
The gown worn by Autumn Phillips was made of off-white duchesse satin with Chantilly lace. It featured a fitted waist with statement sash and a full skirt which fanned out into a train. The top of the dress was covered with a lace bolero jacket with short sleeves, and the bride’s tulle veil also featured lace borders, all held in place with a tiara borrowed from her new mother-in-law, the Princess Royal.
Autumn’s dress was designed by renowned bridal couturier, Sassi Holford. Based in Somerset, she’d been known for her wedding fashion for decades, and this most famous commission only increased her profile further.
The second royal bride of 2011 didn’t face nearly as much scrutiny over her wedding dress as the Duchess of Cambridge had earlier the same year. However, there was still plenty of interest in what the Queen’s eldest granddaughter, Zara Phillips, would wear for her marriage to Mike Tindall on 30 July 2011 at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh.
This royal bride opted for an ivory gown made of duchess satin and faille. It had a structured bodice with an unusual empire line that gave way to a dropped waist. The top was finished with small cap sleeves. The gown also had a full skirt that fanned out into a very modest train covered by a silk tulle veil. Zara wore the Meander Tiara, one of Princess Anne’s favourite diadems. It originally belonged to the mother of the Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Alice.
The royal wedding dress designer this time around was Stewart Parvin, a favourite of The Queen. He had studied at Edinburgh College of Art and began his own label in 1995. His first designs for The Queen were seen in 2007.
Royal Wedding Classics
Both Autumn and Zara’s dresses were classic bridal designs that won plenty of praise from fashion critics at the time of their weddings and which continue to be popular picks even today. Elegant and rather regal, as well as suiting each bride down to the ground, they have their own place in royal wedding history.