The story of how the bride got her candy floss wedding look is as joyful as the dress itself. There was only one style of matelassé silk organza dress left in the UK, and Rhodes had to track it down. An alert came from Dover Street Market to say that the store had obtained a new sample in which it would be interested. “I trudged in, disheartened by my failure thus far to find the dress, and there it was in all its glory.” It was Valentine’s Day 2020.
Anna’s wedding to Fred Scott at Hauser & Wirth in Bruton was postponed twice, but her confidence in the dress never wavered. On the same day, Anna felt otherworldly in her Cecilie Bahnsen cotton candy and accessorized with ice white accessories to up the bridal factor. A pair of Jacquemus Manosque sandals with a bon-bon-like sculpted ceramic heel, an AM Faulkner polka dot veil and a Shrimps Antonia bag add to the romance, as do her flower girls’ angelic white dresses with flower crowns roses, the reverse of their own color scheme. “To be honest, I never wanted to take the dress off,” she says, reflecting.
For rebellious bride Harriet Hall, who navigated her wedding planning amid lockdown, the dress came before the engagement ring. “I want to marry this,” she texted her friend after laying eyes on the bright pink tulle party that flowed down Molly Goddard’s Fall/Winter 2019 runway. Marriage was somewhere on the horizon, but Hall had struggled to see herself as a bride… until that flash of glittering tulle melted her heart.
“I’ve always felt that I lacked the elegant nonchalance that most women seem to exude naturally, and which is unleashed on their wedding day when they transform into ivory swans,” explains Harriet. “This was a dress so in-your-face that it rejected any suggestion of virginal purity, the subjugation of women or the impassiveness that white dresses can come to symbolize. It was so strong, it was subversive.” Accessorized with a real pearl tiara and a Simone Rocha clutch bag, the final look, Hall says, is how she imagined Queen Elizabeth I might have worn had she been a millennial.
Fellow pandemic bride Charlier Porter similarly chose her fuchsia polka dot Carolina Herrera dress, which she picked up on sale from Matchesfashion.com, because it felt charming against a sad news cycle. In the run-up to their small wedding in London, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, Porter felt unwell and didn’t know why. As soon as she put on her happy wedding dress, she “felt right at home.”
Four different weddings, one shared narrative. These women chose their pink wedding dress because they did not relate to the conventional parameters of wedding clothes. “Whenever I tried on something more bridal formal, I felt like I was playing dress-up,” shares Rhodes. “I just wanted to feel authentically me instead of some version of the archetypal ‘girlfriend’ that I didn’t identify with.”
This is not a new thing. Fellow alternative bride Jamaica Walden eloped to California wine country last summer and wore Christopher John Rogers’ 004 Strawberry dress as a tribute to her mother, who wore vibrant pink on her wedding day many years before Jamaica’s now-husband Barry Mottier was left speechless when he saw his partner having a high-fashion moment that described ‘bride’ on her terms, exactly as it should be on a day when two people they committed to each other, exactly as they are.