Wedding Yoga, why not?

Planning at wedding is hard at the best of times, but during a global pandemic it can be even harder. I planned my wedding 5 years ago now, and whilst some bits went smoothly others were an absolute disaster. As someone who spent 5 years installing large events at a theme park I thought it would help me to plan my wedding. Whilst in many ways it did, what I hadn’t banked on was how much it would affect me trying to plan something that was so incredibly personal.

As a designer I actually found my wedding dress the hardest choice of all. I put so much pressure on myself to have the ‘perfect’ dress and it took me a long time to realize i'd never find ‘the one’. For me now the phrase ‘the one’ when finding your wedding dress is actually something I hate, and I feel like it puts unnecessary pressure on brides to find something that might not exist for them.

Feminist photoshoot featuring our Christine dress

For mental heath week I asked my friend Dr Naomi Middleton a Clinical Psychologist and Yoga Teacher, about how to approach planning your wedding to help ease any feelings of anxiety, stress and depression that can often show themselves when planning one of the biggest events in your life. Here’s what Naomi had to say -

'Planning a wedding invites a number of different emotions to show up, it’s normal to experience both stress and anxiety alongside excitement and joy! One of the things that often triggers stress and anxiety is getting swept up in everyone else’s idea of what your wedding should be. Added to that, right now we also are living in a global pandemic with a lot of uncertainty surrounding social contact. This is bound to increase any feelings of stress you might already have!

So what can you do to help manage any wedding related stress and anxiety?

1. Remember that anxiety is normal and inevitable. A wedding is a big deal right? It is important and matters deeply to us. Where there is anxiety, there is excitement. Where there is love, there is pain. It’s like two sides of a coin, we can’t have one without the other.

2. Breathe. If the stress or anxiety start to feel overwhelming, take 3 deep, slow breaths. Our breath is an anchor to the present moment. Anxiety often shows up when our mind starts racing to the future, imagining all sorts of different scenarios. Being with the breath helps to keep you focused on the here and now.

3. Reflect on your values. Spend some time thinking about why your wedding is important to you. What qualities would you like to embody on your wedding day? What matters to you most about your wedding? Love, joy, celebration, connection, romance, tradition or non-traditional...? It’s your wedding, so let those values help guide your decisions. If there is a lot of uncertainty around your wedding due to the coronavirus pandemic, keep coming back to your values. The actual day may look a little different, but the underlying values remain the same.

4. Share how you are feeling with people you trust. One of the biggest challenges I had was finding the right dress. I felt deeply uncomfortable trying on traditional wedding dresses. Fortunately, my mum and best friend were great allies when dress shopping. They knew it wasn’t for me and helped me to explore other options that felt right to me.

5. Practice acceptance of what is. Try as we might, there are may things that are beyond are control when planning a wedding and on the day itself. Change what you can and accept what you can not. Regular meditation practice can help you to practice acceptance and reduce stress. Try an app like Headspace or Calm to help get you started.

6. Let go of perfectionism. Nothing will ever be completely perfect. It is so easy to get stuck going round and round making decisions and striving for perfection. You are perfectly imperfect just as you are. So is your wedding.

7. Take care of yourself. It’s easy to get caught up spending all our time on wedding plan. Remember to take regular opportunities to take care of yourself, however, that looks for you. You could try an yoga class or listen to a relaxation track.

8. Connect with your partner. The stress of wedding planning can sometimes put a strain on your relationship. Remember to communicate how you feel with your partner. Spend quality time together, go for dates. After all, a wedding is about celebrating your love.

9. Move your body! Moving your body is a great way to de-stress and manage anxiety. Even better if it’s outdoors in nature. Movement and nature are natural ways of boosting our happy hormones. Whenever stress or anxiety feel overwhelming, get out of your head and into your body. Dance, run, jump around, walk in a forest. Your mind and body will thank you for it!'

Naomi and Josh's Relaxed Woodland Wedding

I hope that Naomi’s words can really help you during this time.

The biggest thing for me was to not put pressure on myself to have ‘the best day of my life’. So many phrases like this are thrown around when it comes to weddings. The expectation to follow traditions; the (sometimes unwanted) input from family and friends; pressure from magazines and social media showing perfect visions of weddings, whilst giving wonderful inspiration can also add to the fear of not creating a perfect wedding. The most important thing is that you have a day that celebrates your love and its as you as a couple want it to be.

If you’d like to hear more from Dr Naomi Middleton you can find her on Facebook and Instagram. She does some fantastic yoga practices, meditations and gives regular advice on looking after yourself and your body that have been invaluable to me during this time.

Naomi in Bridal Separates

#weddingadvice #managingstresswhenweddingplanning #relaxedwedding #bridalseparates #weddingplanning #yourweddingyourway #feministwedding #weddingplanningadvice #weddingdressadvice

There is so much choice in the wedding industry today when it comes to finding your dream wedding dress; this can only be a good thing when it comes to choice, and having the freedom to be able to find your dress, within your budget. However wouldn’t it be great if things were that simple? Finding a dress for your wedding day can be exciting, and at times stressful – sometimes it’s hard to imagine why the dress of your dreams costs so much?

Here at Marie Chandler Bridal, we pride ourselves on our customer service and the unique dresses that we create for our brides, and although going to a bespoke designer is definitely not your cheapest option, we can confidently say that our prices reflect our time, effort and love which we put into each and every dress that is made for you as a bride! Here we talk about what the benefits of going to bespoke designers are, and why your dress costs what it does; an enlightening insight into each and every aspect of the process of your dress. You will see from the points below that it all takes a lot of time, care and attention to detail adding to the cost every step of the way.

The Design

The design of your dress comes from hours of inspirational trips, fabric sourcing and creative flair, as well as years of design study and experience. Designers listen to brides, as well as working behind the scenes to bring new and exciting ideas to the bridal scene. Every aspect of your dress has been considered in the design process, from neckline shape and sleeve style, to fabric choices, button size and trims!

Personal Touch and Customisation

Bespoke designers have the freedom to create and evolve your dress as you require. Working with brides on such a personal level and being able to create something that fits both you and your personality perfectly takes time. Whether this be designing a dress from an initial idea or changing a dress from the collection, there are alterations and tweaks that can be made to get the desired design. It adds the personal touch to your gown that makes the dress yours, something you wouldn’t necessarily be able to do with a mass-produced gown.

Attention to Detail

Working on one dress and seeing it develop from the pattern to the production means the attention to detail to designers is paramount when creating wedding dresses. Ensuring everything is just right, every step of the way is hugely important to us. We are so passionate about our work that you can guarantee every stitch is given as much love as the last.

The Production

The production of your gown is done in house, in excellent working conditions and from people that we trust! We source and work with the best fabrics, meaning that you can get the desired look and the quality of your gown is spectacular! It is important to us that we know that your dress has been made without cheap labour; we will never support anything where workers aren't safe or adequately paid.

Getting the Perfect Fit

A must for all of our clients! The perfect fit can make or break a dress. The fitting process allows us to nip, tuck and alter where needed – sometimes this can take up to four fittings and may include pattern amendments along the way. The cost of your dress is not only just the dress itself, but the fittings and amendments along the way and the whole personalised process.

Peace of Mind

Having the peace of mind that you know exactly where your dress is at all times, is one less thing for you to stress over! There are no overseas deliveries or relying on another company to get your dress to you in plenty of time. You can see your dress develop through the stages of your fittings from a dress, to your dress.


And as we said at the start, all of the above takes time… the time involved in creating a collection of dresses or a one-off dress is huge. Every detail must be considered, from the initial design, to the pattern being constructed, the fittings, and then creating the dresses themselves, making sure that every tiny detail is just right. For a designer it’s about getting all these things right for each and every bride and this takes lots of time and careful consideration at every stage. Designers are not only connected with you as a bride on a personal level but with their craftsmanship and creation of your dress. Nothing makes up happier than seeing you smiling and feeling your absolute best in something that we have created!

Header photo by Lauren Perkins Photography

Designing a bespoke wedding dress really is such a special way to create your wedding look; it gives you the opportunity and freedom to express who you are as a bride and come away with something that truly is yours, and unique to you. It is an exciting process for both me as a designer and you as the bride, as the creation and vision you have can be brought to life throughout the bespoke process. If you’re thinking of going bespoke, you will not be disappointed. Here we have created a step by step guide to show how the process works here at Marie Chandler Bridal, and what to expect when shopping for, and creating your bespoke wedding dress.

1. Enquiry

The process always starts with an initial enquiry from the client (you!) either by phone or email where we would discuss any ideas you have, and your vision for your dress.

This helps me to create an image of the garment and I can get to know you, and what you have in mind for your big day.

2. Consultation

This is an informal consultation which takes place at our friendly studio in Reading, Berks where we would discuss your ideas further and would go through any visual inspiration you may have.

I would normally have created a mood board before the first consultation based on your enquiry, then we would collate all the inspiration we have to make sure we are on the same page with themes and ideas.

We would also discuss fabric samples, shapes, colours, fit and style at this stage. This way, I have all the information I need to go away and design with. It will also allow me to give a guide price for your bespoke dress at this point. The initial consultation is always complimentary, and you are under no obligation to book at this stage.

3. Design Stage

At the design stage we will work through designs, alter and refine, until you are happy with the choices made. We will also go through final fabrics and bring the design choices together to create your bespoke wedding dress. All our bespoke garments are one of kind and are never replicated for another client.

A final costing will be given at this stage - prices for bespoke include consultation, design, fabric, pattern cutting, construction, fittings and the garment handed to the client in a high-quality garment bag to keep it safe.

Fittings will then be arranged, and the construction of your bespoke wedding dress can begin.

The design stage fee is £60 which is redeemable against purchase. This allows us to spend time working on both your perfect design and selecting the right fabric for your bespoke dress.

4. First Fitting

At the first fitting we would try on the toile of your gown – this is a mock-up of the final dress made in a cotton calico. From this we ensure that we get a good fit of the dress, which helps define both the shape and design. Doing a toile gives the opportunity for any changes to made to the design – lowering necklines, making sure sleeves are the correct length or the width of the strap is just right – we will now define all the finer details. Once we have done this your dress can be made in your final fabric – which will be ordered after the appointment.

5. Second Fitting

The second fitting will be in the final fabric chosen. More tweaks and alterations will need to be made at this stage and minor alterations can be discussed if required. This is the first time you will see your dress coming together – an extremely important and exciting stage of the bespoke process.

6. Third Fitting

At the third fitting your dress will almost be complete! We allow for any adjustments at this stage but it’s all about the look and the feel of the dress and perfecting the smaller details, for example the hem length, sleeve length buttons and any other fine details you may have on your bespoke wedding dress. Occasionally a fourth or even fifth fitting is needed – this all depends on the changes made and the complexity of the dress.

7. Final Fitting and Collection

After you are 100% happy your dress will be steamed and packed for collection before your wedding day!

The process of a bespoke garment would normally take around 3-6 months. All our costs are inclusive, and our made-to-measure process means there are no hidden alteration charges. On average a bespoke wedding dress cost at Marie Chandler Bridal is £1750.00, however this all depends on design and fabric choices and could start from as little as £300 for a tulle skirt and anywhere up to £4000 for that show-stopping gown.

If you’re thinking of going bespoke, you will not be disappointed, our relaxed, friendly and professional service will allow to have the freedom of choice and give you a special and unique product that you can cherish forever.

Here is a bespoke dress we made recently. Bride Keeley wanted something completely unique; she had never seen herself wearing a white dress and trying some on at a local wedding shop just confirmed this. We worked together on the design, using Pinterest for inspiration and discussing shapes and styles that would suit her and her personal style. From the off we were both on the same page: gold, sequins and tulle would play a big part, and an overall look of ‘Hollywood Starlet’. We certainly created this and when Keeley entered the ceremony for the first time she got an audible gasp from her friends and family. We even created groom Trevor a matching sequin tie! The whole process took around 4 months. Look out for the making of Keeley’s dress on the blog soon!

For more inspiration for your bespoke wedding dress why not have a look at our Pinterest board here.