A Starburst Crown and Red Dress for a Supercool Moroccan Desert Wedding

When you hear the word ‘bridal’, what do you think? White dress? Village church? Yep - gorgeous - as are hip city unions, laid-back country celebrations and destination weekend weddings. Do you know what I love about ‘bridal’? It’s more multi-faceted, exciting and diverse than most people even begin to imagine - and why would it not be, when each and every bride is unique and different in her own right?

I have been lucky enough to work with the most fantastic array of brides, every single one of them beautiful, fascinating and inspiring, and today’s TTL Real Bride is no different. The absolute babe who is Celeste wed her love Alistair on 20th April this year in one of my favourite places on earth, magical Morocco.

The story and images I’m about to share with you have me simultaneously itching to grab my passport and a massive sunhat and jump on a plane to Marrakech, and to run into my studio and start mood-boarding the intense ochre colours, tactile textures and subtle shimmer of this gorgeous country. Celeste and Alistair were led first and foremost by the location of their nuptials when it came to styling their simply stunning day.

“The venue itself is so gorgeous we decided very early on that it didn’t need a whole lot added. When you have the natural hues of the desert and beautiful sky offset by the Atlas Mountains, the white bell tents and the Moroccan carpets, you can’t go wrong! We did want to inject some pops of greenery into the mix though, so opted for some lush palm leaves to add to the tables and ceremony chairs.”

Heaven, right? Venue well and truly nailed, Celeste discovered Tilly Thomas Lux via Instagram and got in touch to craft a bespoke commission inspired by her love of geometric shapes, stars, a show-stopping French installation, and one of my all-time favourite stones, the crystal baguette. This brief had my fingers flying over stones and shapes instantaneously, somewhat serendipitously combining so many of my own inspirations and very favourite things.

“I was originally inspired by a huge gold starburst store-front installation that I saw in Paris and I contacted Sally straight away. I knew I wanted to include some baguette crystals, which mirror the style of engagement ring my husband designed for me. I’m very much a geometric person and Sally’s style really suited what I was looking for. I also love stars and these were an important motif for me to include, since we were celebrating under the Moroccan stars.”

“I wanted something modern, classic, edgy and simple all at the same time. Sally really had her work cut out for her and I loved exchanging ideas and photos, collaborating together to make something really special. My beautiful starburst headpiece made me feel so special and since I wasn’t wearing white, it really made me feel like a bride queen!”

It’s not often a bride commissions a piece of jewellery without a dress in mind to style it against, so I was honoured that Celeste’s striking stardust headpiece actually inspired her choice of wedding gown. And what a dress she chose - a coral-hued, goddess-like flowing beauty, both delicate and feminine with soft, undulating patterns and textures - and oh-so-simply modern, toughened up with block-heeled golden Guccis and some statement, sparkling Tilly Thomas Lux arm cuffs.

“However hard I tried, I never really had that WOW wedding dress moment. In fact, I had my completed TTL headpiece briefed in, produced and delivered way before I had even chosen my dress! So, I sort of worked around that. I didn’t end up finding my Marchesa Notte dress until 12 days before the big day when my mum was visiting me in Dubai. I had been pretty laid back about what I was wearing (maybe a little too laid back!) up until two weeks before…then talk about the stress! My bridesmaids were sorted well before I was!”

“But all along I really tried to keep in mind that it’s not all about a dress, it’s much more about celebrating our love with amazing people. I chose a pair of simple gold Gucci sandals, which had a block heel and were perfect for navigating my way around the rocky terrain. They took me all the way until bedtime at 4am the next morning!”

The achingly cool Celeste was an incredibly creative bride to design for, and in fact, with - we swapped numerous ideas, inspirations and images throughout the process, crafting a unique piece that was both edgy, modern and cool, and powerfully beautiful - delicately twinkling with a collection of sparkling stars.

“The bespoke process with Sally was collaborative, creative and FUN! I work in fashion myself and am constantly inspired by so many icons. I love women that mix the masculine and feminine and really push the boundary of expectations.”

I love reading my bride’s fondest recollections of their wedding days, almost experiencing these most joy-filled moments myself through their vividly evocative words. I so hope that Celeste’s starburst crown will be an heirloom she can wear time and again, evoking these wedding day memories so utterly redolent with love. After all, ‘bridal’ these days doesn't have to mean single-use, and with each and every piece I design, I envisage a life for my designs after their ‘big days’ - parties, anniversaries, birthdays, and nights out.

“It was such an incredibly special and surreal moment walking down the aisle (to Skinny Love by Bon Iver) and seeing Ali at the altar, surrounded by our amazing friends and family in the middle of the Agafay desert.”

“Another highlight of the day for me was the moment the super loud sound system arrived and we escaped the rain by moving the party into a cosy tented space. Not everything on the day went as planned, but our guests were in such good spirits and ensured we were able to adapt and celebrate to the max. It really was a party we’ll never forget.”

Celeste and Alistair’s union was captured by Yann from Life Wedding Stories and these images are just bursting with colour and emotion, and are so wonderfully evocative of the Moroccan location. The couple knew right away that his aesthetic was perfectly suited to the vibe of their day. If you can’t get enough, you only need pop over to Instagram and search #marshmoments2018 for more captures of this insanely beautiful wedding.

With that, I think I’m off to see if I can talk my husband into helping me set up a Tilly Thomas Lux kasbah in the desert - you know, a simple little space filled with rooms and rooms of sparkling trinkets, patterned rugs and golden lamps, with the scent of mint floating on the air…

With love and sparkle,

Sally x