The “Forgotten Bride”

4 Sep

MelissaAre you walking down the aisle for the second time, or marrying for the first time as an older bride? Do you sometimes feel the wedding vendors and magazines just aren’t speaking to you and your vision for the big day? This week, UK wedding gown designer Sassi Holford guest blogs about “forgotten brides”; there’s a huge gulf between the dresses designed for a twenty-four year old and “mother of the bride” dresses, and some brides may feel like they fall through the gap…

Second marriages account for four out of every ten weddings in the UK.  If you are about to be married for the second time, or getting married later in life, you may have a hard time trying to find a dress that makes you feel celebratory and young at heart without looking incongruously girlish.  I am regularly approached by brides who are trying to find a gown that makes them look both womanly and bridal.

A woman getting married for the second time is not trying to hide, or deny her first marriage, or recapture a day that she may have mixed emotions about.  This is a new relationship and she is a different bride, emotionally, mentally, physically and probably financially.  She doesn’t want to look like she is fresh out of college but wants to celebrate her life and the experiences that have made her the woman she is.  Equally, she does not want to look like the mother of the bride.

Style: "70's look"Brides in their mid to late forties and fifties tend to fall through the net, which is why I refer to them as the ‘forgotten brides’.  Wedding magazines feature young, glowing models draped with lace and covered in embellishment and this does not strike any sort of chord with the older bride, or the bride on their second wedding.

There appears to be very few options for these brides, and it is not the sizing that is the issue, it is the styling.  They want to look stylish and glamorous but still grown up – they have a wealth of life experiencebehind them and want to show that 50 can be the new 30.

In fact, for many mature brides their second wedding is a more enjoyable affair.  They have more confidence, they know what they like and they are much less likely to accept other’s expectations.  These brides have learned a great deal about their own style, and what looks and feels good on them, and they want to look age appropriate.

Sadly, often when I get to meet the ‘forgotten bride’ she is disillusioned by the choice of wedding dress offered to her – despondent in some cases and ready to consider opting for something more daytime occasion wear because it can seem on the high street that the older bride don’t count.  By working with them to create the gown they have in their minds I aim to restore their confidence in themselves and in my industry.

Sassi Holford portrait 2012When a very young and broke friend of a friend was getting married 27 years ago, Sassi Holford, who had then just finished her A levels in North Devon, boldly volun- teered to make the dress.  She ran up a very traditional dress with a high neck, long sleeves and a long train with veil, all made out of “what was probably net curtaining at 20p a metre!” Sassi ran up five more dresses and drove them around nearby shops. This was the start of a career dress- ing some of society’s most eligible brides from around the world, including Autumn Kelly when she married the Queen’s grand- son Peter Phillips. Recent clients include a Romanian Princess and a bride marrying an Italian Prince.  Sassi also designed the gown for cricketer Marcus Trescothick’s wife Hayley Rowse, and Holby City and Extras star Patricia Potter. Sassi’s studio remains in Taunton where all the dresses are made and hand-finished. Sassi’s bespoke collection starts from £5,000. Sassi is married to Martin, has three children and divides her time between Somerset and London. / Twitter @sassiholford

(All images provided by guest blogger.)

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