Even at 39 weeks pregnant, I attended my weekly ballet class. You couldn’t have stopped me. I’ve always loved dancing – the sense of freedom, the beauty, the spectacle (I suspect seeing my bump bounce around the space was far more spectacle than beautiful!) Pregnancy aside, dancing has been my passport to feeling elegant and graceful, an escape from my usual clumsy self. There was no way I wanted to feel clumsy on my wedding day. Looking back, I would have loved to have planned a ballet themed wedding like this…
Step 1: Find Your Flower Fairy
Just as principal dancers need their corps-de-ballet, brides need a flower girl to prelude their walk down the aisle. Cute with quite a bit of pretty, these tutus and dresses will turn even the most tom-boyish of attendants into the sugar-plum fairy. Either choose a complete dress such as those by British designer, Sue Hill, or opt for an embellished leotard with separate tutu by Precious Li’l Things. This can be a preferable option for more budget conscious brides, though ultimately the final cost depends on just how many layers of tulle your flower girl demands of you.
Step 2: Wear Your Hair High
The dance exam; memories of leotards, nerves and hairspray – lashings of it! Before the ‘donut’, my insignificant amount of hair was routinely scraped back, twizzled into the world’s tiniest bun, then secured with an unnecessary amount of kirby-grips – and hairspray. Do you remember hearing about the hole in the ozone layer when you were little? Yes, that was the result of miniature ballerinas and their hairdresser mums going crazy with a can of Rave.
Thankfully, bridal beauty does not call for such harsh treatment. The perfect bridal bun is high, relaxed and embellished with sparkly headpieces rather than hairnets. Debbie Carlisle advises classic brides to choose a headpiece with bugle beads which creates a pearly shine for understated glamour. Alternatively, a statement headpiece pairs perfectly with simpler, less ornate dress.
Step 3: Dress Your Chairs for Dinner
Wedding chairs are a little pet hate of mine. They often get forgotten and wind up looking drab and unimaginative. Tempt your guests to take a seat by adding a spark of creativity to your bottom’s best friend. Tie some soft tulle or secure a brocade of feathers to your chair back and finish with a blush carnation or a dash of sparkle. Think about turning your chairs into a feature worth photographing.
Step 4: Adorn Yourself in Tulle
Zac Posen designed Portia de Rossi’s blush pink wedding gown for her marriage to Ellen DeGeneres in 2008. With a full tulle skirt and backless, halterneck style, it was romantic, elegant and whimsical, perfect for a ballet themed wedding. Blush is a great colour if you wish to avoid the usual whites and ivories, whilst still looking like a grown-up bride. We should be thinking exquisite pink not poodle pink!
If you are looking for a dress similar to Mrs DeGeneres but can’t quite afford the price tag of a stunning Lazaro gown (above), then you might like to check out the american dress house Cleo and Clementine (formerly known as Ouma). Chief designer, Monique Sandoval, specialises in creating glamorous dresses with comfort and individuality in mind. She aims to “make every woman feel special, authentic and confident while evoking that nostalgic feeling of playing dress up. But above all else, [make] them stand out from the crowd in a genuine way.”
Step 5: Pointe Your Toes
If like me, you are a petite bride, then you could be forgiven for thinking that a pretty pair of flat ballet pumps would be the wrong shoe for you. However, as well as ensuring that you will be exceptionally comfortable on your big day, a the right pair with a low front over the toe will elongate your legs, making them a great choice for us shorter brides.
But, if you should insist on a heel for the big day, these pastel pink stiletto peep-toes (below) with an embellished toe and slight platform might provide the glamorous edge you’re seeking. I also love the decadent ‘Francesca’ shoe by Emmy. The vintage styled leather sandal is finished with Swarovski crystals, mother of pearl embellishments and has a metallic rose gold trim. They may have a beautiful price tag attached to them, but with good reason: the clever shoemakers at Emmy apply a special finish to the shoes minimise catching, so you and the hem of your delicate tulle dress can relax a little and enjoy the party.
Step 6: Lift the Curtain on Romance
White dahlias are reminiscent of a ballerina’s tutu and snapdragons suggest a graceful développé extending to a pointed toe. DIY flowers often have a wonderfully romantic charm about them, plus a simple arrangement can save you pounds if you are able to cut back on your florist. Mason jars or even old jam jars are easy to source and make perfect centrepieces. Decorate them with scraps of vintage lace or mix and match textures such as burlap and satin ribbon. You could add interest by overlapping fabrics in different ways or selecting jars of different shapes and sizes. If you prefer being bold to subtle, go all out on a pretty pink extravaganza: Peg tutus to lengths of rope as a backdrop, or use candyfloss on sticks as favours.
Step 7: Slice Through the Air
Sadly, at 33, no amount of ballet training is likely to land me a role in the Royal Ballet. However, it does mean that I’m not limited to just one slice of cake! A ballet themed wedding requires a ballet themed cake. Try combining ruffles and swirls with ribbons and pearls of icing, or mixing plain tiers with more decorative layers. I’m sure you’ll agree these cakes are all gorgeous – it would be a crime to avoid them. Then again, if I ever wish to stand a chance at performing a grand jeté gracefully, maybe limiting myself to just one small slice would be a wise move.
Images courtesy of: Annabella Charles, Sue Hill, Precious Li’l Things, Krikor Jabotian, One Love Photo, Ann Kathrin Koch, Debbie Carlisle, Taylor Made Soirees, Lazaro Bridal, Love and Lemonade Photography, Cleo and Clementine, Kelle Sauer Photography, The Nichols, Emmy London, White Sparks Photography, Cakes by Krishanthi, Bobbette and Belle, Melanie Gabrielle Photography