The Making of Megan Gilbride’s Bespoke Wedding Dress


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“When Andrea Hawkes, a contemporary British wedding dress designer, reached out to me about the potential of working on a bespoke design, the penny finally dropped. It wasn’t that I was indecisive or that nothing suited me, it was that designing something myself was how it was meant to go. And as soon as I […]

“When Andrea Hawkes, a contemporary British wedding dress designer, reached out to me about the potential of working on a bespoke design, the penny finally dropped. It wasn’t that I was indecisive or that nothing suited me, it was that designing something myself was how it was meant to go. And as soon as I said yes to that idea, I suddenly felt that feeling, the one of pure joy and excitement of what was to come.” – Megan

Sometimes things just click into place, you connect with the right people and create something truly special. This is exactly how we feel about our beautiful real bride Megan Gilbride and the journey we embarked on together. We had followed Megan’s wonderful instagram account for years and admired her honesty, aesthetic and ability to help others. As soon as we found out Jamie had proposed we reached out to let Megan know that we would love to create a unique, bespoke dress for their special day. Megan responded with such grace and excitement, the rest was history!

We had such a beautiful connection with Megan from the moment we started talking, we loved her vision, had similar values and instantly knew we would make a great team!

“One of the reasons I wanted to work with Andrea and her team was down to Andrea’s business values – a small, local, and independent in-house team of designers and seamstresses, working with natural, sustainably sourced silks. A slow and considered approach to an otherwise fast paced industry, Andrea and her team were a breath of fresh air.”

The Vision

When it comes to designing a bespoke dress from scratch it’s important for us to really listen to our brides and understand exactly how they want to FEEL on their wedding day. We had a lovely conversation with Megan to find out what was truly important to her and to ensure we captured that perfectly in her dress.

“What was crucial to me was creating something that didn’t feel like I was dressing up. I couldn’t have thought of anything worse than wearing a bodice dress that meant I couldn’t sit down to eat my meal, or you know, breathe. I wanted to feel myself, accentuate my shape, stay true to my style and be comfortable too.”

This is alway a great place to start, we then move onto the design and details of the dress. Megan had such a clear concept for her dress, a sleek simple and timeless design with a low back, cowl neckline, delicate straps, a long train and a bias cut silhouette made from luxurious silk satin. A total dream dress!

“It took me all of thirty seconds to explain what I wanted my dress to look like and Andrea came back with a sketch that hit the nail on the head. I can’t really explain how amazing it felt to see the design that was in my mind, sketched out on paper by someone who just got it. And that was the start of one of the easiest and most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had.”

Trying Dresses at the AH Showroom

The next step for Megan was to visit us in our London showroom to try some designs, look at fabrics and really get into the details of her bespoke dress. Megan met with our Client Manager and Bespoke Stylist Siobhan who guided Megan during the appointment. It was really important at this stage to work out the bias shaping and what felt comfortable for Megan. We tried our bias cut Wren dress (pictured above) to explore the bias shape and silk satin fabric. It was very clear when we put this on that we were headed in the right direction. Megan looked incredible!

“Our first appointment involved me trying on one of their dresses from an existing collection, with the gorgeous studio manager Siobhan. Using that dress as a muse for the visual representation of my own design, I talked through with Siobhan the main elements I wanted to achieve – and shown in the images here you can see the snippets of the features my own dress would have.”

Sketch & Toile

“Once I’d signed off the sketch design, it was time for the team to create my toile – a prototype of my dress, made from cotton using offcuts from previous designs to avoid any waste. This is a super important part of the process, to ensure you are happy with the overall look and feel as well as ensuring measurements and fit are spot on.”

A toile fitting is a really crucial part of a bespoke design. It allowed Megan to see the shaping and talk through all of the details before we made in the final silk fabric. At the toile we confirm fit, function and design ensuring each detail was perfect for Megan and her vision.

Silk Fitting

The next stage in Megan’s journey was an incredibly exciting one, seeing the dress for the first time in silk! A moment we were all building up to for so long…

“The silk fitting and the moment of truth came! And as soon I as put it on I knew all the hard work had been worth it. It was literally perfect. During this fitting we agreed the final placement for the buttons at the back, pinned the hem of the dress and agreed on where we would fix the straps.”

At the silk fitting we finalised Megan’s beautiful strap detailing, the cross over diamond design was an absolute dream both aesthetically and functionally. We also hemmed Megan’s dress so that she could walk around comfortably.

“We played around with a few options of how to have them, but ultimately went for bringing them both across the centre of the back in a diamond shape and I’m so pleased we did. It adds something even more special to the design I feel, and now I can’t imagine it any other way!”

Final Fitting

“The final fitting was more than I could have hoped for. I have truly never felt more me, more beautiful and more comfortable in anything I’ve ever worn. The team brought my design to life in the most wonderful way – and together we achieved exactly what I was searching for. A simple dress, that worked with my body, allowing free flowing movement, ultimate comfort and distinct design elements that flatter and enhanced my shape.”

To see this incredible collaborative design come together and finished off with hand made silk covered buttons & our aptly names Meaghan veilwas so special and emotional for us all. We talked through all the details and how to care for the dress now that it had been completed. Including showing Megan and her family how to bustle the train up for dancing, a vital addition to the dress!!

Gorgeous Megan on her wedding day

“The thing that I truly appreciated with Andrea and the team, was that they wholeheartedly wanted to create a dress that I would be completely happy with. Nothing I asked was too much, and when some of my ideas didn’t work as I’d hoped, they were totally honest with me about the practicalities and were incredibly supportive about making any necessary changes.”

Photos from Megan & Jamie’s wedding day were captured by the extremely talented Rosie Hardy

We are super excited to announce we will be bringing this design to the AH showroom! MEGAN X ANDREA HAWKES will be available to try in store from Mid-October. Book your appointment now!