For The Wedding Of: Countess Giada Dobrzensky de Dobrzenicz & Prince Marcantonio del Drago - Part 1

Recently we were very pleasantly surprised by the story from one of our clients and would like to share it with you; she writes about her wedding, her dress and the whole experience and we believe it’s interesting and useful!

For The Wedding Of:

Countess Giada Dobrzensky de Dobrzenicz
Prince Marcantonio del Drago

Sitting down now to write a reflection in response to a lot of compliments and inquiries about my dreamy wedding dress.
Let’s go back to the beginning when I got engaged and started to think practically about where I could get married and what I would wear for it.
In the early days it was looking like maybe a barefoot hippie jungle elopement wedding in Bali wearing a custom couture Kabaya-if my fiancé was willing and able to fly to Indonesia and have that kind of low key wedding.
I had also long imagined and dreamt of myself getting married on the farm where my Mum grew up in California, which would have called for a romantic eclectic vintage cowgirl bride look and feel.
In the end my fiancé and my family convinced me that going back to my paternal family roots in Bohemia, Prague The Czech Republic would be a very special idea as nobody of my generation or the one before mine had thrown a big family wedding in that part of the world.
A date was set, the church and celebration locations were booked and “save the date” announcements were sent out.
So next was logically- the dress- and who would make it…
I had done some modelling in Paris as a teenager for Givenchy Couture, where I developed an appreciation for beautiful fabrics and tailoring.
I went on to study at St. Martins College of Art in London and befriended many fashion students, going on to produce, direct and co-create several short fashion films to present the concepts behind designers’ new collections.
My dream couture labels were Valentino, McQueen or Pucci but upon inquiring I learnt that these couture dresses would cost around 50,000 pounds so they were completely out of the question!
I made a shortlist of couture dress designers I knew well and felt might want to make a wedding dress: Nadya, Erdem, Sorapol, Ada Zanditon, Basso & Brooke, Julian Smith, Mei Hui Liu.
I sent messages out to let these designers know I was getting married and looking for a dress. Then I had a quiet think about the process of co-creating with or buying a wedding dress from any of them.
Even though I personally knew these designers, I imagined their creation of a custom wedding dresses would still be very expensive and conceptually “designer driven”.
I realised what I wanted most was to be the creative director and find someone who would be willing to bring my own dress ideas to life.
I spent some time with pinterest, creating mood boards of the type of dress I really wanted to wear.

I began to research on google looking for seamstresses, pattern cutters and tailors in London and my research led me to the mother daughter team of Snezhana and Lily at Finiks.
Our first meeting at their studio opposite the BBC headquarters in west London was exciting; the building is full of film and tv production and pr offices, so I felt good inspiring vibes there.
We discussed my ideas, I showed them my pinterest pages and a lot of inspiration images I had been gathering.
They supported my ideas and they gave a very reasonable quote within my budget so I liked them immediately. Their small studio was crammed to the rafters with beautiful handmade wedding, bridesmaid and ball dresses with sketches and fabric swatches and photos of happy customers lining the walls.
Based on my image ideas and mood boards, they narrowed down some fabric samples, laces and silks for me and I selected from those, but when they returned with feedback on the cost of making a dress out of the fabrics I had chosen, well... I found a new appreciation for the actual cost of certain heavy, intricate laces and silks and realised why a couture wedding dress could cost so much -affected by the quality of the fabrics.
They then suggested I go and visit some fabric shops and look for similar to what I had liked but cheaper.
With an idea of the dress in my head and some rough sketches, I headed over to the closest fabric shop to my home in London called Joel and Son. This shop is HUGE and amazing with roll after roll of texture and colour, buttons, ribbons- it is fabric heaven.
I discussed my very 1970’s bohemian couture dress ideas with a shop assistant who informed me that my idea was actually going to be very costly as it involved many peplum layers of varied embroidered laces in different textures and so I told her about my plan B idea for a dress that had the same sleeves and bodice and neckline but was more flowing and medieval with a train rather than layers of eclectic embroidered lace.
I was totally stuck on the idea of having a square neckline and transparent, puffy, halo, wing-like 1970’s bell sleeves and kept returning to this favourite retro picture as a reference.

I called Finiks for a bit of a consultation and some moral support on my new fabric and design direction- goodbye to heavy peplum lace layers and hello to organza, silk and chiffon medieval bohemian.
I knew I didn’t want to have a white dress as I had seen blue and white dresses in my dreams- shades of blue at the front with a white train at the back.
On top of the base layers of blue grey silk, we found the end roll of this incredible hand woven embroidered white silk with blue flowers from Italy for the ball gown part of the dress. After much contemplation, I settled on this embroidered organza for the sleeves and top of the dress.

I left the shop with a beautiful bag of fabrics, exhausted from being way in deep over my head in the land of textiles, but so inspired by the experience of such a creative process and grateful for the amazingly helpful and informed fabric shop assistant and the team at Finiks just a phone call away.
I returned a few days later to the studio with the fabrics and further discussed the new design ideas. Snezhana got back to me a few days after with some sketches so we could agree on and lock down the design including which bits of fabric would be going where.
Once all the design aspects of the dress had been agreed I was measured again but in very specific detail and I left them to it for a few weeks until I was invited back in for a toile trial of a plain cotton version of the dress, very simple and pretty.

A few weeks after that, I returned to the studio for a fitting of the dress made using the fabrics I had bought and was very pleased with how it was all coming together perfectly.

Then…. a few weeks before the wedding I was the victim of a hit and run in London whilst on a zebra crossing. It was a really random and traumatic experience and for nearly 2 weeks I was bed ridden in agony, crying a lot, broken, bruised and wondering/doubting if I could get over to Prague and actually get through all the wedding hullabaloo that I’d been planning for was definitely an unexpected low point and threw a spanner into the works. Luckily my parents and Prague based team ensured that all the last minute wedding details were locked down. I was forced by this accident to focus on healing and to let go of trying to be in control of my wedding.
Snezhana and Lily were very comforting and kind when I explained that I would probably not be able to wear heels or lift my arms up above my head to get the dress on because I had sustained several injuries from the crash. They offered to customise the dress so I could easily get in and out of it.

I was very impressed to see the solution they had come up with by adding a transparent zip going all the way from the cuff of the sleeve down under the arm to my waist for ease of getting in and out of the dress as well as simplifying the buttons on the cuffs of the sleeve and extending them on one side to fit around the cast- the solutions were genius, worked really well and were very discreet.
Getting out of my recovery mode apartment eventually, to try that customised genius of a dress on cheered me up so much. It also made me really want to get better physically and mentally as quickly as possible and get over to the Czech Republic and marry my wonderful man in a beautiful dress in Bohemia.

They also put in a small lightweight hoop so I wouldn’t trip on the dress if I ended up wearing trainers instead of high heels. I had bought a beautiful pair of custom handmade lace covered wedges on etsy which I wore only for the ceremony and although beautiful, due to the accident it was far too painful wearing heels.
They also made me an organza sling, so that the wedding guests wouldn’t constantly grab my arm when saying hellos and congratulations, which I discovered people naturally do when leaning in to kiss or try and hug a bride. The organza sling was helpful in keeping my arm in place and a subtle reminder not to grab onto me too tightly and kept my arm elevated in a much more chic way than the navy blue felt NHS sling.

And the silk veil was the perfect icing on the cake really…

The hairstylist on the wedding day pinned the veil on my head literally 2 seconds before I made my way to the church and she tucked it into my hair bun instead of tucked right behind the tiara. Unfortunately when it was put over my face for the ethereal church entrance, the veil was suddenly much shorter in the front then intended, it still covered my face though. I learnt that it’s important to practise the hairstyle with the veil and tiara to avoid any last minute wardrobe malfunctions.
I knew that with a beautiful big draping bouquet, I’d be able to hold it in front of my cast and hide it for most of the wedding photos so I commissioned a bouquet in my favourite primary colour combination of red, blue and yellow with a bit of white. This was also the colour theme for the wedding party outfits and all flower arrangements.