Abigail Bates and Thomas Bates married in Italy in July 2022 their wedding vibe was Rustic Italian chic.
Our wedding day was truly a day we will never forget! Our venue Castello di Rosciano, settled in the heart of Umbria was something out of a fairy tale. The combination of exceptional wine, mouth-watering food with all our loved ones to celebrate with, made our wedding better than we could have ever imagined.
I had a wonderful time choosing my dream wedding dress. May & Grace Bridal Boutique in Haslemere, was the first out of 3 boutiques I visited, and I cannot fault the attentiveness and experienced guidance of Emilie throughout my appointment. She offered suggestions without being pushy and helped me select my perfect dress. I would recommend May & Grace to anyone – you really can’t beat the thoughtful and experienced service of an independently run business!
I thought I knew what style of dress I wanted before I started my search, but I was conscious to keep an open mind. As a jeweller at Harper, my family run jewellery business in Cobham, Surrey, I so often see people try on engagement rings they thought they would love, only to realise it’s not the style for them and subsequently purchase something entirely unexpected! This is precisely what happened in my case. I selected 5 dresses to view prior to arriving at my appointment, all a similar style – simple, sleek, figure hugging with a fish-tail design. The first dress I tried on however was given to me by Emilie to just “see how I feel in something different.” Of course, this ended up being the dress and so the first dress I tried on, in the very first boutique I visited ended up being my dream dress.
I’m thankfully quite a decisive person and so the ostensibly daunting task of choosing my wedding dress turned out to be quite a simple and highly enjoyable one. I was lucky enough to have an exclusively private appointment, allowing my mum and I to take our time browsing the dresses in the boutique and with a glass of bubbles in hand, we felt relaxed and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. As soon as I tried on that first dress, my mum (in her joyfully Jamaican, yet brilliantly blunt way!) succinctly said “that’s the one.”
THE SUPPORT NETWORK
I kept my cards very close to my chest with regards to my bridal look, with only my mum having seen my dress before the wedding day. My bridesmaids tried to convince me to show them pictures but ultimately loved the fact they had the surprise of the dress reveal on the actual day! I also found there were so many external resources that flood you with endless advice and opinions (often unsolicited) about what a bride should or shouldn’t do or wear. The only thing that was important to me was how I felt in my dress, on the day I married the man I love.
THE EVENING LOOK
I decided not to have a 2nd dress to change into in the evening, quite simply because I adored my dress and wanted to wear it for as long as possible. This was made easier by the fact that the A-line design of the skirt meant I could move and dance freely without a long train restricting my inevitably wild and boisterous dancing!
Once I had chosen my dress, I had a very clear idea of what accessories I wanted to complete my bridal look. I felt a simple veil with a subtle beaded lining complimented my dress without taking anything away from the drama of the design. As I live and breathe jewellery, I was passionate about finding the perfect suite, and so I personally designed a bespoke white gold diamond collar with a matching pair of diamond drop earrings and matching bracelet.
ADVICE FOR BRIDES
The only advice I would offer future brides looking for their dream dress would be to try to relax and to not take it too seriously! There is so much pressure around finding the dream dress, but all that matters is that you feel comfortable and confident on your special day. If your dress can make you feel that, then you can walk down that aisle with a huge smile on your face and with your head held high.
THE SECOND DAY OUTFIT
I absolutely love getting dolled up and so took great pleasure in planning my outfits for the events we had organised for either side of our wedding. I wanted to stay in white for the duration of our wedding and so for our Welcome Dinner chose a backless midi-dress with a cross-over halter neck at the front and a Victoria Beckham inspired zip that travelled down to the bottom of the dress. For the day after our wedding, we visited a local vineyard Arnaldo Caprai for a wine tasting lunch and I wore a floaty white broderie maxi dress and a wide-brimmed hat – this was a life saver with how hot it was that day! Our pool party followed lunch into the evening, and I took the opportunity to wear a white silk skirt with a bridal-style train. Our entire stay out in Italy was over 10 days and I wore nothing but white for the entire trip!
FAVOURITE PHOTO (OF THE DRESS)
My absolute favourite photo from our wedding day is the moment Tom lifts me into a spin during our first dance. The shot highlights the elegant back of my dress while the skirt fans out in a wonderfully dramatic way. The pure unbridled joy on our faces was captured perfectly, and I know it will be a treasured memory for years to come.
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