The world of wedding dresses is an evolving one.
Where once it was the bigger the better in white, now it seems anything goes.
“People realise they can have what they want and that now there aren’t any rules when it comes to your dress you can have long, short, separates or colour,” explains Emma Guard of Emma Guard Design, based in Worthing.
Recently she has seen brides opting for light grey and blush undertones and choosing to go for separates over one dress.
“It means that brides can mix up their dress and opt for different tops or skirts depending on the part of the day,” reveals Emma.
“I have also had a few brides asking for a tea dress length (short) and then asking for an overlay to make it longer for the evening.”
Emma describes the style of dresses she makes as ‘quite modern’ compared to traditional wedding dresses, with much of it done by hand.
“No two dresses are the same,” she says.
“Even if two brides have the same style they may opt for different lace or embellishments.”
One of the exciting parts of Emma’s job is finding out what the bride wants.
“Sometimes they come in and know exactly the dress they want to wear, whereas others we talk, create a mood board and I go and design it.
“If they want lace I show them what is available and they can choose.
“The supplier I use, Michael’s Bridal Fabrics, has 1000s of lace and you can have anything from Chantilly to guipure.”
Both Emma’s mum and grandmother were seamstresses and after enjoying textiles at school she decided to pursue a career in design.
“I did art at BHASVIC in Brighton where you did a bit of everything from fine art to textiles,” she reveals.
“It was here that I did pattern cutting and knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.”
From here Emma went to London College of Fashion where she learnt how to make loads of items from scratch.
“I worked for designers after college including Pam Hogg where I was a pattern cutter by hand, which I enjoyed and she was really interesting to work with,” she says.
“Then I went to Alice Temperley, who had a completely different style to Pam, but here as there was more money they had patterns cut by computers, it was a great learning experience.”
After a job selling fabric, Emma moved to a Worthing business making dresses, which sparked her to start out on her own.
“It was a hire shop and they decided to focus on menswear but the owner was really lovely and told me I was good enough to do it on my own,” she explains, “so I did.”
The business was launched in 2014 in Emma’s home, and she now has her own store in Chatsworth Road.
Alongside the bespoke wedding and bridesmaid dresses Emma also undertakes alterations, and has plans in the future for her wedding line.
“I am thinking about making separates that brides can come try on and then buy off the shelf,” she reveals.
Emma ideally likes brides to come to her nine months before the big day and the dress is created within six to nine months.
“Nothing is set in stone though with the dress, when they come to try on the first version they can change what they want be that different sleeves, longer or shorter, we can have a play.”
She adds that she doesn’t like to have more than four dresses being made at the same time so that she can focus her energy into what she is doing.
“I love seeing them in their finished dress,” Emma smiles.
“I feel honoured to be part of it and create something for the biggest day of their life.”
To view more of Emma’s work visit her website emmaguarddesign.com or ‘like’ her page on Facebook www.facebook.com/EmmaGuardDesign