Florence Welch singing the hymns, Sean Lennon taking the photos and one rather risque wedding dress. It's safe to say when model-slash-DJ Lady Mary Charteris tied the knot in September, it was the most fashion-forward wedding of the year. Mind you, considering this was Daphne Guinness's niece marrying Robbie Furze, of rock duo The Big Pink, it was never going to be a low-key affair. So when Grazia Daily met the diminutive blonde aristo last week, naturally we wanted to know all about how The Dress came about, designed by close friend and East London stalwart Pam Hogg.
To begin with, 24-year-old Mary didn't have a dress in mind. 'When Robbie asked to marry me, I was really excited but the only thing that filled me with dread was trying to figure out what where I was going to find the wedding dress,' Mary told us. 'I’d never dreamed of getting married and it was a very out of the blue thing.'
So it was a stroke of luck that the bride-to-be attended Pam Hogg's show during Paris Fashion Week two years ago and fell in love with the brilliantly bonkers collection. 'We got chatting after the show and I asked her if she’d design my wedding dress,' Mary says. 'She was like, "Well, I have done wedding dresses but I’ve been trying to avoid it because it’s really stressful."' Somehow Mary managed to persuade Pam to take on the challenge and the rest, as they say, is history.
Part silk jumpsuit slashed navel-deep, part ruffled tulle, the resulting dress was all eccentricity. The six-month design process wasn't without its challenges, thanks to the dress's intricate detailing and Lady Mary's tiny frame. 'Without a mannequin small enough to work on, we had to do several fittings,' Lady Hogg told us. 'The frills alone took about two weeks to design and make and I had to hand sew the whole of the bottom of part of the dress. I was threading 30 needles at a time at one point to keep the momentum going.' Eek! But it all paid off and on the Big Day, the dress certainly turned heads and somehow somehow worked.
'I was worried [about the reaction] because it was so risky,' Mary tells us. 'Obviously I was never going to wear your average wedding dress, but I didn’t want people looking at me and tut-tutting because I was wearing see-through panels. I saw pictures of it and the flash of the cameras made it not work as well as it did in person. The photos didn’t do the materials justice so it wasn't how I would have liked people to see it but, y’know... On the day, everyone was really nice so that made me feel a lot more comfortable.'
Indeed, the fashion world turned out in force to celebrate the bride and pulled on their fashion-iest frocks. Auntie Daphne went for rabbit fur and a Philip Treacy hat, Jaime Winstone opted for a bejewelled skill cap with her curve-hugging gown while Poppy Delevingne looked splendid in Chanel.
'The whole wedding was very relaxed with a country vibe and a big marque,' Mary explains. 'There weren't regimented speeches, we just wanted all our best friends and family around us and to be in the house that I grew up in. It was exactly what I envisioned and everyone had a really good time. There was a lot of love.' As for Florence's rendition? She sang The Cure's 'Lovesong' chosen by Robbie. N'aww.
Mary explains that the relaxed atmosphere meant any unexpected hitches on the day were giggled away. 'My mum forgot to give me my bouquet when I went into the church because we were still sewing pieces onto the dress,' Mary remembers. 'As I was about to walk up the aisle, I felt something was missing so the bridesmaids gave me their bouquets.'
Speaking of Mary's bridesmaids, their elaborate outfits were a spectacule in themselves. 'They got some stick but I loved their outfits, I would wear those blue velvet cloaks!' One of the bridesmaids made it clear she wasn't impressed with the ensemble. 'When we were signing the register, she started crying in the middle of the aisle. It was so funny! She just hated her outfit, but I forgave her.'
Sounds like brilliant eccentricity all the way!