Move over, Kate! Stewart Parvin’s PA and right-hand woman, Louisa Shipstone, reveals how to get a royal look for less!

Stewart Parvin by Stuart Conway
Royal couturier Stewart Parvin created Zara’s wedding dress

So how does one get a ‘royal’ look for the big day? Borrow one of the Queen’s carriages, marry one of her grandchildren, invite 2000 people and get married in Westminster Abbey. Easy right?! Maybe not. The Royal weddings of last year, were fabulous occasions, and not only because of the extra day off.

Who can forget waiting with bated breath to see The Duchess of Cambridge’s dress for the first time? Who designed it? What will it look like? And on a personal level, I thought I might explode waiting for the first glimpse of Zara on her wedding day. For all brides, budget is a serious consideration all the way through the planning process, but there are some tricks you can use to get that fantastic royal look AND to keep your wedding budget spreadsheet looking healthy!

1. Wear a veil

From the Duchess of Cambridge’s subtle fingertip-length veil, to Zara’s full and frothy cathedral-length silk tulle number, a veil will lengthen your silhouette (making you look taller) and make you look spectacular as you walk down the aisle. It needn’t be covered in crystals and bits and bobs, a plain tulle veil does the job perfectly well and it’s a really affordable option. Stewart Parvin always recommends you try one even if you don’t think you want to – nothing shouts bride more than a gorgeous veil, on a gorgeous girl. If you want a full frothy number like Zara’s, ask for a veil that has been ruched fully across the whole width of the fabric, and if you want something more delicate like Kate’s, you need to ask for a flat veil with no ruching at all.

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2. Accessorize!

Think about how you can accessorise your wedding dress. Not everyone has the option of having two dresses for their big day, but if your  gown looks good with a long sleeve lace jacket why not wear this during the ceremony and switch it up for the evening? I’d recommend an amazing crystal or beaded belt – then you can rock two looks in one!

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3. Ditch strapless

Straps and sleeves are the way forward if you want the royal wedding look. Adding full tulle straps to your gown is an easy and inexpensive way to get a bit more coverage, and also give you a different look for the ceremony. Tulle is sheer, so it doesn’t look heavy, and goes with a huge variety of styles of gowns. Lace sleeves look particularly elegant for church ceremonies but may feel a little restrictive at a civil ceremony.

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4. Keep it simple

You don’t need to throw bells and whistles at your outfit to get a gorgeous real wedding look. Both royal brides of last year were stunning, without being over-styled. Just one statement piece (family tiara…? No, me neither!) like a great pair of earrings, or a fabulous necklace can do the job, and gives you a really refined, regal look.

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5. Put bridesmaids in white, too!

As well as the looming loveliness of a certain lady’s bottom, the images of the Duchess of Cambridge with those beautiful bridesmaids all dressed in ivory was a real statement, and one that’s easily achieved. Even if you don’t want everyone in ivory, why not go for a really beautiful soft taupe instead? It’s a really chic colour that flatters most skin tones, and it’s really easy to wear. If your gown has a splash of colour on it, think about using a really soft tone of the same shade as a sash for your girls. You could have a beautiful neutral look for the bridal party, with little splashes of colour to tie it all in.

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So there you have it! If you want to emulate the royal wedding style we saw and adored last year, you CAN do it without busting your budget! However if you were planning on marrying Prince Harry, my best friend Jess has already bagsied him! Sorry ladies…

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