Ok, babes. This designer has our heart, so prepare to fall in love (again!) with the gorgeous Francis Bridal. Sure, so Trish designs stunning bohemian wedding gowns, but why has she stolen our hearts so completely?! Well! Seen as you asked (kinda?!) in a nutshell:

Because this woman knows.

She knows what it’s like to have curves, and want a gown that doesn’t just ‘sorta’ fit those curves, but feels like it was made to fit those curves. Francis Bridal wedding gowns are designed as a size 12 and then graded out, rather than starting life as a size 8 and then grading up.

She knows what it’s like to have searched high and low to find a dress that has that relaxed bohemian vibe, but is comfortable and can be worn with a bra.

She knows fabric, and very well too! With a background in fashion, Trish already new the right fabric suppliers and crafters to create her dream dresses and has devoted so much time and attention to her fabric choices and designs, always with the bride in mind.

So, whether it’s ensuring the fabric feels lush while not easily creasing, or her effortless-while-practical bohemian designs that have caught your attention, know that the Francis Bridal gowns have the bride herself at their heart.

Sound good, but you don’t have time to read the post? Then head straight over to our wedding directory to get the bitesize lowdown on Francis Bridal and all her links/contacts.

Otherwise, grab yourself a coffee and let’s hear more from the lovely, Trish…

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

At the moment its just a team of me! I’m originally from NZ but have lived in London for the last 11 years. I love it when people hear my accent and say “so much makes sense about your dresses now.” Apparently beachy antipodean vibes are coming through! I can’t tell, but I’m glad other people feel that way! Although I am the most non-fashion, jeans & t-shirt person you can imagine, my background is in luxury womenswear as a creative pattern cutter and in production.

Some random facts about me:

  • I’m a bikram yoga addict and try to go 5 times a week
  • My husband is from Belgium and we are both massive Belgian beer fans (my favourite is La Chouffe.)
  • At University I majored in English Literature because I love reading so much.
  • I recently got an e-reader and it has transformed my commute from something to dread into extra reading time!
  • When I was a teenager, I was a surf lifesaver at a beach with no surf.
  • For the past couple of years I’ve been making lots of ferments, filling our little flat with jars of kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and kimchi bubbling away. One day when we can finally afford to buy a house I dream of having a massive veggie garden, some chickens and a couple of beehives.
  • This Easter I’m working on home made creme eggs filled with cashew creme and no sugar. Its either going to be a massive hit or I’ll be banned from the kitchen.

If you had the chance to go to any music festival, which one would it be and why?

The last music festival I went to was End of the Road in Larmer Tree Gardens a few years ago. I think the smaller festivals are more my style! It was a really low key, intimate atmosphere in beautiful surroundings.  Everyone was really chilled out and there were just so many amazing bands playing. It was also the first time I heard Father John Misty (but he was still Josh Tillmans then). His song “Real Love Baby” is the soundtrack for Practical Romantics, I probably listened to it about 200 times while I was designing the collection! The lineup for this year looks great too …. love Yo La Tengo.

The music festival I most want to go to is Elba Sonica. Some of my friends went last year and it sounded like the best festival ever. Really small and chilled out with lots of amazing garage bands playing in venues around the town, and lots of sunshine and sea = my idea of heaven.  Unfortunately they are taking a break in 2018, but I’m watching out for the next one.

What made you decide to start Francis Bridal?

When I was looking for my own wedding dress I couldn’t find anything low key, relaxed and elegant that you could wear a bra with. Because of my background in fashion I already knew the fabric suppliers and right people to make the dress so I decided to design my own wedding dress and it kind of just grew from there. The first collection was mostly me thinking what do I want to wear on my wedding day? I wanted to wear something really amazing but still feel like myself and that’s still the driving inspiration, to use great shapes and silhouettes that look good on normal people. So when I’m designing I start on a size 12 and then grade it out to the other sizes, because I figure that its easier to take curves out than put them in, whereas usually brands design for a size 8 and then grade it up. I think those few centimetres do make a difference to fit!

How would you best describe a Francis Bridal Bride?

She’s happy to be herself and doesn’t have to shout about it. She wants to look amazing on her wedding day and also be comfortable and have room to dance and eat and drink. I think its really important to know that you look absolutely beautiful in your wedding dress, put it on the morning, then forget about the dress and enjoy your wedding day. I want the brides to be happy and confident and feel like themselves rather than feeling restricted and uncomfortable and like they constantly have to fuss over their dress. The brides who are drawn to my dresses tend to be pretty relaxed anyway, it’s a low key bridal style, quietly confident rather than shouty and showy.

Tell us about your beautiful collection of wedding dresses and the design process behind them?

With Practical Romantics I wanted to explore the beautiful & relaxed vibe even more. Everyone loved Carbonne from the first collection and it was my favourite dress too. I’m always drawn to really beautiful laces. I think because my dress shapes tend to be quite simple the detailed lace is a nice balance. I work with a team of amazing women from my fashion days who cut and sew the dresses. It was really important for me to work with people who I know and trust on the brand. Because all of our production is local in London, we are able to maintain really high quality standards and can also usually be quite flexible with orders and turn them around fast.

The fabrics have to be lightweight and drape well, but also be durable. I want the dresses to feel incredible on (and they do because the silk we use as lining is gorgeously soft against your skin – one of our models said it felt like the dress was giving her a hug). I make sure to use fabrics that won’t crease just from being looked at so that the dresses can easily travel to weddings and will make it through the whole day without crumpling and looking a bit tired.

When I’m designing I tend to choose the fabric first and then put it into a shape. The designs get mulled over and refined for months before they are toiled (a mock up version to test the pattern and design). I try to be ruthlessly practical and think about the end product because what looks good on paper won’t necessarily work on a real person. When I’ve picked the fabric I’ll usually drape it on a mannequin to get an idea of how it will fall on a human body too. I’m always drawn to quite 70’s style shapes because they look good on a lot of people and work well with the fabrics I use.

We especially adore your Skye and Carbonne dresses. They are so perfect for a boho bride. Do you have a favourite in your collection and why?

Great choice I love those two! The embroidered georgette we used for Skye and Carbonne is just so beautiful, and totally low maintenance so it kind of sums up the brand in one fabric! They also travel really well, so its a really practical dress too. But I think my favourite might actually be the Paradise dress. If I got married again that’s probably the one I would choose. I really love the patterns in the lace and it’s a really flattering shape, particularly if you’ve got boobs and hips (like me!). Having said that, I’m totally getting myself a custom Skye dress to float around in this summer!!! 

What’s your best piece of advice for brides trying to choose their wedding dress?

  1. Do you feel your most amazing shining self in it?
  2. Can you afford it?
  3. Is it comfortable?

If the answer to all 3 questions is yes, you’ve probably found the one.

I also recommend doing a bit of research before you go shopping. Find some styles that you like or shapes that you like and then try on as many dresses as you can! Don’t be surprised if the one you go for is totally different to what you initially had in mind. You should be able to figure out the vibe of the boutique through their website. Don’t waste your time in places that are totally not your style. Rock The Frock bridal boutique stock the Practical Romantics collection and their vibe matches the dresses perfectly. They are all kinds of AMAZING.

Where can brides find your dresses?

Currently from me in Kew, SW London and the amazing Rock the Frock Boutique in Chelmsford. We also have trunk shows lined up with cool little independent boutiques around England and are hoping to add another couple of retailers by summer – check out our trunk show schedule for details.

A little bit about the shoot….

For the Practical Romantics look book I wanted to really empahsize the care-free boho vibes of the collection.  We used The Dreys in Kent for the location and it couldnt have been more perfect. They have lots of different spaces for you to create the festival wedding of your dreams, its all beautifully styled, and in a secluded woodland – what more could you need? I’ve worked with Kirsty MacKenzie photography before and her very low key natural style works really well with my dresses. Somehow she managed to make a very cold windy day look like a balmy summer afternoon, glowing in golden light. Vanessa, our model, was the total hero of the day, smiling and dancing in arctic winds while looking genuinely happy! I know that I couldn’t have done it – and she didn’t complain even once. Candra from Wildrose Bridal Hair specialises in boho hair styles and she made these lush natural looking waves for our shoot. She also does a wicked plaited messy bun, flower crown and fishtail braid! I wanted really natural makeup that emphasised Vanessa’s gorgeousness and Kerry from Blue Vanilla Beauty did exactly that! She was incredible and knew exactly what to do. We had an amazing day shooting the look book and lots of love to this incredible team!

The Line Up

Wedding Dresses: Francis Bridal
Location: The Dreys
Photographer: Kirsty Mackenzie Photography
Model: Vanessa Shaw
Hair: Wildrose Bridal Hair
Makeup: Blue Vanilla Beauty
Crowns: Howling Moon UK

 

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