Instagram has the delicious power to turn us all into fans of the most incredible artisan designers – even before we dare to dream of having something made just for us. I LOVE Ailsa Munro‘s beautiful bespoke wedding gowns. There are so many talented makers and designers I follow on social media – your wedding is the perfect opportunity to discover them too! Recently I’ve discovered the incredibly talented Sarah Brown Jewellery and I was thrilled to bits when Ailsa told me she’d commissioned a bespoke engagement ring from Sarah herself.
Ailsa’s story is a beautiful reminder that every wedding ‘transaction’ is an experience – a personal journey which really means something. It’s also a wonderful insight into the process of having something made for you, and I hope you love reading her story.
My job is making bespoke wedding dresses, so it should come as no surprise that when my boyfriend and I decided to get engaged I had very specific ideas about what I wanted for my engagement ring.
I knew I didn’t want diamonds, I knew I wanted the setting to mimic my Great Grandma’s ring (which I wear most days I’m not sewing), and I knew I wanted it not to catch on fine fabrics when I work with them (every day). I even knew who I wanted to make it, having been a fan of Sarah Brown Jewellery for a long time and even doing styled shoots with her.
What I hadn’t appreciated was how much I would learn about the bespoke process along the way, and how it would help me be a better dressmaker.
Trying to communicate what you want is really really tricky.
I had a very clear idea in my head of what I wanted and how I wanted it to look and absolutely none of the technical language to communicate that with the very patient Sarah. I was left babbling nonsense (“I like the blobbly bits along the side” being a particular proud point) and sending picture after picture pointing to bits and going “like this!”.
This is something I ask my clients to do on a daily basis, and yet here I was, completely out of my comfort zone. I often ask brides to describe what’s in a picture rather than just showing it to me, because the adjectives they use are really helpful pinning down what it is that they like about the image, and I now appreciate how hard that can be. (It’s still really useful so I’m not going to stop but now I see why it’s hard.)
Waiting, and keeping it secret, is really hard.
When we ordered the engagement ring we hadn’t told anyone we were planning on getting engaged any time soon. I knew it would take a while to have it made, so I wanted to wait until it arrived before spilling the beans to friends and family.
As Sarah made my ring she sent me pictures of the wax and the first cast of the ring and it was amazing to see it being built and made from nothing specifically for me.
Every email made my heart giddy with excitement, but I still wasn’t telling people about it. Now when I send brides the sketches of their dress, or little snapshots of the workshop I understand that inner battle!
It is completely, completely worth getting something bespoke.
My ring wasn’t exactly the most expensive ring money could buy, but I am completely in love with it. It isn’t like shop bought rings, it’s completely unique and different.
I am absolutely sure it is not the ring anyone would have picked out of a shop for me, because they just don’t have anything like it on the high street.
Everyone who sees it tells me it is beautiful, but also that it is really “me”, which is the perfect compliment for a future heirloom. It’s something we only plan to do once, and I’m so glad I went for something so personal and beautiful.