Sarah Willard Couture

The Best of 2018, Another Wonderful Year At Sugnall

Sarah ShorttComment

What a year! It was perhaps our busiest and most creative to date. We’ve sewn hundreds of meters of fabric and many miles of thread! We’ve made pretty and ethereal dresses in french lace, bridal jumpsuits, Dior inspired couture dresses, and all with pockets! And silk chiffon capes, flower embellished veils and sparkly headdresses too! 

#bestnine2019, on Instagram @sarahwillardcouture

#bestnine2019, on Instagram @sarahwillardcouture

Detail of a bespoke veil with hand appliquéd lace flowers ©Sarah Willard Couture

Detail of a bespoke veil with hand appliquéd lace flowers ©Sarah Willard Couture

I feel so lucky to have found my studio opposite Sugnall Walled Garden, on the Staffordshire - Shropshire border. It’s so peaceful and quiet, and I love throwing the windows open and working whilst the birds sing. Occasionally I hear the clip clop of horses hooves going by , the odd tractor and moos from the fields nearby. And all this only a quarter of an hour from the M6 motorway.

#bestnine2019, on Instagram @sarahwillarddesign

#bestnine2019, on Instagram @sarahwillarddesign

The light there is beautiful too, and it’s only on a rainy day in January like today that I have to turn the lights on, otherwise the studio is bathed in gorgeous natural light.

French Lace and Pearl Buttons
©Sarah Willard Couture

©Sarah Willard Couture

French Lace Sleeve With Covered Buttons

We were blessed with creating some of the most beautiful dresses we have ever made, and we’re so lucky to work as couture designers and dressmakers, it really is the best job ever!

Image by  Oxi Photography
Katrina lace and tulle dress ©Sarah Willard Couture

Katrina lace and tulle dress ©Sarah Willard Couture

Silk Mill Studios, Froome, © Sarah Willard Couture 2018

Silk Mill Studios, Froome, © Sarah Willard Couture 2018

We headed south in May to work on a fine art photoshoot at the Sill Mill in Frome, the hedgerows were laden with white flowers all the way. It was a real treat to work with a wonderful team, but as we’re waiting for the images to be published there under wraps for now.

And can we talk about the summer? It seems like ages ago, but for weeks on end it was sunny every single day, and I could throw the door and windows open and enjoy the weather.

Image by Weddings By Amber  @bellesandconfetti

Image by Weddings By Amber @bellesandconfetti

So a huge thank you to our wonderful brides who put their faith in us to create the most important dress of a lifetime. (Oh and we just LOVE seeing your happy confetti photos!!)

Thank you to our loyal couture customers, our families for enabling us to sew through the summers, and to everyone who likes our posts and follows us, tells their friends about us and supports this artisan business.

Simply can’t wait to see what 2019 brings! Wishing you all the Happiest New Year!

Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg

Living Coral, Pantone Colour of the Year 2019

Sarah ShorttComment

It's here! Pantone have recently announced the colour of the year for 2019, and it's coral! It is the most gorgeous accent colour, and perfect for a summer wedding.

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 12.03.47.png

Here’s what Pantone had to say:

“An animating and life-affirming coral hue with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge. Vibrant, yet mellow PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral embraces us with warmth and nourishment to provide comfort and buoyancy in our continually shifting environment.

In reaction to the onslaught of digital technology and social media increasingly embedding into daily life, we are seeking authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy.”

A good colour for a wedding then!

Screen Shot 2018-12-14 at 12.11.13.png

So how do you incorporate coral tomes into  a wedding colour scheme? Well, can I suggest little and often!!  A little of this vibrant hue goes a very long way, (you'll see the board I've been pinning on Pinterest illustrates that.)

Think of peonies with coral tones, delicate and translucent Icelandic poppies and David Austin roses, It looks wonderful with berry toned florals and jewel brights, but a few in a creamy yellow or blush bouquet would be wonderful too.

Flowers by Bramble and Wild | Bowtie and Belle Photography | Styled by Kate Cullen for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique

Flowers by Bramble and Wild | Bowtie and Belle Photography | Styled by Kate Cullen for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique

Coral peonies, roses, daisies and achillea | Photo by  Amy Arrington Photography

Coral peonies, roses, daisies and achillea | Photo by Amy Arrington Photography

Photo via  Floral Magic

Photo via Floral Magic

David Austin roses and coral bougainvillea

And then there’s fruit on a cake - figs cut open, apricots and berries… even autumn leaves…

22 visually superb drip wedding cakes |  You and Your Wedding

22 visually superb drip wedding cakes | You and Your Wedding

Mountain Elopement in the Swiss Alps | Ruffled Blog |  David and Kathrin Photography and Film

Mountain Elopement in the Swiss Alps | Ruffled Blog | David and Kathrin Photography and Film

A ring box, silk ribbons (oh and those gorgeous poppies again!) …

Stationery Gemma Milly | Bowtie and Belle Photography | Styled by Kate Cullen for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique

Stationery Gemma Milly | Bowtie and Belle Photography | Styled by Kate Cullen for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique

A coral lip or nail varnish…

Rouge Dior Vernis in Coral Crush |  Feelunique

Rouge Dior Vernis in Coral Crush | Feelunique

The ideas are endless! It’s a perfect shade to add vibrancy to an English Country Wedding with gorgeous florals. And it’s a perfect accent for a Modern Minimalistic celebration too.

I have to admit that I struggled with Pantone 2018 Ultra Violet, but this uplifting shade makes my heart skip a beat! And remember Pantone 2017 Greenery? At first glance we were all a little worried, but then foliage became an ongoing trend that was and is much loved and here to stay. 

So aside from finding  perfect excuse to fill the studio with coral charm peonies and ranunculus, and pop out to buy a new lipstick, Living Coral is a colour that I can’t wait to see more of. Happy wedding planning!

Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg

A Thomas Hardy Inspired Bridal Shoot

Sarah ShorttComment

“She heard footsteps brushing the grass, and had a consciousnesss that love was encircling her like a perfume.”

Thomas Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd

Inspired by English Romance and the work of Thomas hardy, this bridal shoot is full of atmosphere. Shot at Hatch House in Wiltshire by The Barefoot Brunettes, it’s a very modern take on Victoriana too.

Reminiscent of Thomas Hardy Country, there’s mist on the hills and a bride with flushed cheeks running barefoot in the rain. Her veil billows in the blustery wind.

And there’s a contemporary take on Victorian fashion too, with romantic, soft and feminine styling, with our “Whispers of Love” lace separates and a high necked cape. The attention to detail is exquisite, with references to the Victorian fascination with taxidermy, and the pastime of pressed flowers too.

Although we dream of the perfect sunny wedding day, in our very English climate this isn’t always a reality. But these images are still incredibly beautiful! What’s not to love about the beauty created by the mist and the rain and the soft winter light on a grey January day?

Sarah Signature

Featured Suppliers

Photography and Styling: The Barefoot Brunettes

Venue: Hatch House

Bridal Dresses: Sarah Willard Couture

Veil: Sash and Veil

Hair Accessories: Victoria Millesime

MUA and Hair: Fiona Lucy Clark

Model: Make Up With Martha

Flowers: Martha and The Meadow

Linens and Table Runner: Kate Cullen

Calligraphy and Stationery: Oh Wonder Calligraphy

Cake: My Baking Chic

How To Put On Your Couture Dress

Sarah ShorttComment
Lace wedding dress detail
  1. Allow plenty of time! Allow at least 15 minutes and you should be fine. Bear in mind though that time on the wedding morning goes so quickly.

  2. Undo the zip carefully and fully.

  3. Step into the dress without shoes on, making sure you are inside the petticoats. Only put your foot to the floor when you are sure that you’re not standing on the dress.

  4. Arms through straps and tuck hanging loops inside.

  5. Start lacing the bodice together, starting in the centre of the lace at the top and working downwards diagonally.


6. Don’t worry if the dress seems much too small at first, gradually as the laces tighten it is possible to do it up. If you put your hands on your hips and push the dress backwards it helps the person lacing you in a lot.

7. Keep lacing and tightening from top to bottom until you can get the hook and eye done up. Don’t start doing up the zip until the hook and eye at the top is done up.

8. Leave the dress on for a while before you tie the bottom of the laces as the dress warms up the dress will change and ease slightly. Tie the laces in a bow, so that it’s easy to loosen or tighten them if need be.

9. Hook and eye at the top of the zip, zip slowly and carefully and it’s done.

10. If there’s a buttoned section start by doing up the hook and eye at the top, and then buttoning the bottom button first. If you work your way up one button at a time it’ll be easier.

11. Shoes on, and a final check in the mirror, and you’re all ready for your wedding day.

Treasure every second of your special day, and have a wonderful time.

Sarah x.jpg

What A Year! 2017 Was The Best Year Ever!

Sarah ShorttComment

Wow! What a year that was! So many lovely brides, and some stunning bespoke designs await for 2018!

2017 has been a rollercoaster of a year, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. It began with a big shiny award... (drumroll required!) Wedding Dressmaker Designer Of The Year at The Wedding Industry Awards .

Sarah Willard Best Wedding Dressmaker Designer.JPG

That was swiftly followed by a studio move in February that made us nervous, but in the end was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made and has meant that we have the most tranquil work environment and the prettiest space for you to visit. And I get to walk and dream in the garden most days.

Sugnall Walled Garden Surrounds.JPG
Sugnall Studio

Sugnall Studio

Our bridal separates collection has gone down incredibly well, as have our ready to wear evening wear tops that sold well not only in the UK, but have been also sent across the pond to America and around the world to Australia! We're proud to now be a member of the Make It British community. 

On a balmy evening in May we took part in a charity fashion show at Eccleshall Church with the " A team" -  Anna, Laura, Summer and Tash,  you were amazing! It was a lot of fun!

We’ve been involved in some stunning inspirational shoots organised by members of the Fine Art Wedding Boutique. We’ve been featured in major wedding blogs, and even on Channel 4’s Escape To The Chateau. We can now add “as seen on TV”!

Image by Bowtie and Belle Photography for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique

Image by Bowtie and Belle Photography for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique

Image by Sara Cuadrado

Image by Sara Cuadrado

We became more than a little addicted to Instagram! Oops! We’ve connected with so many like minded creatives around the world and it’s a constant source of inspiration. Here are our most popular nine instagram posts from 2017. Most loved were glimpses of work in progress on bridal separates in our new studio, taken on my trusty Nikon on days when the light has been simply magical and I just had to grab a camera, record it and share it with you. We are so proud be be artisans and we really do make everything by hand ourselves! Oh and dreamy back details from inspirational shoots we’re well received too ~ I’m a bit obsessed with what happens at the back of a dress too... buttons, roses, lace cutouts and appliqué, soft silk ribbon ties...

sarahwillardcouture best nine.JPG
Sarahwillarddesign Instagram Best Nine.jpg

We were blessed with creating some of the most beautiful dresses we have ever made, and we’re so lucky to work as couture designers and dressmakers, we really do have the best job ever!

So a huge thank you to our wonderful brides who put their faith in us to create the most important dress of a lifetime, our loyal couture customers, our families for enabling us to sew through the summers, and to everyone who likes our posts and follows us, tells their friends about us and supports this artisan business.

Simply can’t wait to see what 2018 brings! Wishing you all the Happiest New Year!

Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg

"Ultra Violet" ... Pantone Colour of the Year 2018

Sarah ShorttComment

It's here! Pantone have recently announced the colour of the year for 2018, and it's a purple not seen on the visual spectrum! I know... seriously!

Here's what Pantone had to say:

"A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own."

 A mystic shade with visions of the future, this isn’t cadbury’s purple. It’s greyer than that, bluer than plum, aubergine and fig, and reminiscent of a  dark lavender. And 

“the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now”

seems an appropriate sentiment for a wedding. 

So how do you incorporate this other-worldly and potentially tricky hue into  a wedding colour scheme? Well can I suggest that you stop and think before you order that full on purple marquee lining or a tribe of bridesmaids dresses? A little of this vibrant hue goes a very long way, (you'll see the board I've been pinning on Pinterest illustrates that.)

 But all is not lost, Ultra Violet can add  wonderful accents when used in small amounts in a  neutral colour scheme.

Dark and Delicate, a blog on Rock My Wedding. Photo by Sunshine Photography

Dark and Delicate, a blog on Rock My Wedding. Photo by Sunshine Photography

Think of springtime flowers, hyacinths, bluebells, honeysuckle, delphinium and lavender. Hydrangeas, sweet peas and thistles too. It looks wonderful with moody florals and jewel brights, but a few in a  cream or blush bouquet would be wonderful. And then there’s fruit on a cake - blueberries, blackberries, blackcurrant macarons too.

Flowers by Breige | Light and Lace Photography

Flowers by Breige | Light and Lace Photography

Indigo Silk Ribbon, Kate Cullen Styling

Indigo Silk Ribbon, Kate Cullen Styling

Flowers By Breige | Light and Lace Photography

Flowers By Breige | Light and Lace Photography

Or a soft silk ribbon trailing form a jewel bright bouquet perhaps? Quartz and amethysts, an unexpected purple calligraphy ink on ivory handmade paper, watercolours on invitations? So many things spring to mind.

So don’t discount this purple hue with its connotations of the future - I can’t wait to style with it. Happy wedding planning.

Sarah Signature

The Goddess's Garden on Rock My Wedding

Bridal Inspiration, FeaturedSarah ShorttComment

Simple, chic, modern couture gowns, with immensely beautiful flowers - a heavenly interpretation of beauty styled by Kate Cullen for the Fine Art Wedding Boutique.

I'm so proud to be a member of this team of incredibly talented artisans, who are completely passionate about their art and striving for perfection in everything they do. 

So one sunny day back in the Spring I headed south with a  car full of dresses to spend the most magical day in the heart of the Cotswolds at Cornwell Manor. It has to be the prettiest house in England, the sun was shining, the daffodils we're bobbing in the breeze and fluffy lambs played in the fields nearby. And I got to meet so many people I had been communicating with on Instagram for months. 

The Godess' Garden

I knew we'd created something wonderful that day, but didn't realise the beauty of the shoot until these images by Bowtie and Belle Photography landed in my inbox. I've been sitting on them for months, like an excited child with a surprise that's almost too big to keep! 

So finally!! I'm completely thrilled to be featured on Rock My Wedding, and now I can share these wonderful pictures with you!

So it's time to pour yourself a coffee and find a quiet moment to enjoy...


Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg


Creative Director: Kate Cullen

Photographers: Bowtie and Belle Photography

Videographers: Baxter and Ted

Hair and Make Up: Victoria Fergusson

Stationery: Gemma Milly

Floral Design: Bramble and Wild

Shoes: Love Art Wear Art

Hair accessories and jewellery: Victoria FergussonTilly Thomas Lux

Cake: Curtis and Co Cakes

Silk ribbons: Kate Cullen

Bridal wear: Sarah Willard Couture, Tara Bardley-BIrt

Venue: Cornwell Manor

Props: WedheadVintage Gold China

Ringbox:   La PetitBox

Cookies: Didis Cookies

We Did It!

Sarah ShorttComment

We still can’t quite believe that this happened last night!


Thrilled and very excited to say that this beauty is now sitting proudly in the studio. We’re regional winners West Midlands best dressmaker designer at The Wedding Industry Awards. Again!!

The biggest thank you to our wonderful customers who voted for us, not only have we been privileged to make perhaps the most important dress of a lifetime, but you have been amazing to work with. And to our past customers who helping us to shape the business we have today. And last, but not least to our nearest and dearest that have supported us through wedding season after wedding season.

And a huge thank you to The Wedding Industry Awards for understanding how important recognising quality is in a crowded marketplace, and especially to an artisan business like ours. Next stop - the national finals in London in January!

In the meantime we’ve some beautiful dresses to finish, and some stunning toiles on the go for next year.

But this evening the celebrations continue! Pass the bubbly! 

Sarah Sign Off.jpg


Sarah ShorttComment

My head is still spinning from a recent trip to London to view the new fabric collections.  

Twice a year the fashion production world gathers in London for a very special event, Textile Forum is THE trade show for Couture and bridal designers. So off to London I go, armed with a cappuccino, a notebook, and that modern day visual recorder, my trusty iPhone.  

It's held in a  very special place. One Marylebone sits at the top of Great Portland Street, with all the hustle and bustle of Euston Road passing by. But inside it is the most stunning space, with architecture that just inspires. The staircases are a magical place to pause for a while, they are straight from a fairytale.

Fabric Trends - 11.jpg


So here's my guide to the latest fabric trends:

Guipure Lace

Pippa Middleton was ahead of the trend and before the curve! There was Guipure lace a plenty in both traditional and more modern geometric designs. This is a fabric trend of the moment.  

Guipure lace

Guipure lace


 Made popular by the bohemian trend, often in softer fibres such as cotton  so that they drape and flow. But now with a clean and modern feel to them, more  city chic modern bride.

Geometric lace designs

Geometric lace designs

Modern organics

Laser cut motifs are everywhere too,  leaf patterns falling down a panel of soft tulle, and 60s inspired florals too.

Modern organics with laser cut leaf shapes

Modern organics with laser cut leaf shapes


Silver, gold, rose gold on tulle. Subtle colour with tiny beads and sequins that glint in the light. Often in modern and clean shapes and designs, perfect for a bride with a fine art vibe. They could be used to dramatic effect in an all over design, or shapes could be cut from the Lace to add subtle accents. This is so much more subtle than diamanté bling, and I can’t wait to incorporate this into my designs. 

Gold embroidered tulle

Gold embroidered tulle



Re-embroidered Lace

With gorgeous surface texture, with large scale flowers, cording, beads and sequins. 

Re-embroidered lace

Re-embroidered lace

Large scale flower designs

So romantic and pretty, large floppy laser cut flowers and leaves on soft tulles and on Lace backgrounds. A modern take on the country bride.  

Large scale embroidered tulle

Large scale embroidered tulle

Three dimensional large scale flowers with beading and diamante detail

Three dimensional large scale flowers with beading and diamante detail

Fabrics that float

Tulles and soft fabrics galore, all waiting to be incorporated into the trend for softer skirts and more floaty bridal gowns. 

English Lace

Think of the reinvented Burberry coats of a couple of seasons ago, the geometric patterns in Cluny Lace put Nottingham Lace back on the radar. But there’s softer floral laces too, and edgings a plenty, which could be used to great effect with soft tulles and chiffons. And it’s made on old fashioned Leavers looms in England! Yes! 

Cluny lace edgings

Cluny lace edgings


Perfect for a winter bride, allover feather embellished fabrics, perfect for a bridal cape or collar, and fabrics embellished with soft wispy feathers for a soft romantic feel. 

Delicate  feathers and pearls on tulle

Delicate  feathers and pearls on tulle

So I headed home with a notebook full of scribbles, an iphone full of images, and a happy heart from catching up with old friends. 

And I'm left feeling so inspired that my head is full of design ideas! It is the perfect designer day out! 

Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg

Edwardian Bridal Inspiration

Sarah ShorttComment

“I knew I was destined to love you.”
- Gwendolen Fairfax, The Importance of Being Ernest

A gorgeous Oscar Wilde inspired wedding shoot designed by Sarah Mitchell of Three Graces Events featured on Bride Magazine with gorgeous natural light images by Matt Lee.

The shoot takes the Edwardian theme, and Oscar Wilde's inspiration of the delicate and fragile nature of love. There's nod to the softer more flowing clothes of the Pre-Raphaelites, the tablescape and decor reflect the Arts and Crafts movement. 

Featured are our separates from our Whispers of Love Collection; a Lily slip dress in silver blue satin and a Naomi top in delicate spotted tulle and French lace, fastened with tiny pearl buttons. And those lace boots by House of Elliot are quite simply divine! 

Calligraphy, candles, a stunning meringue cake and some beautiful flowers by Sarah Maylin, this shoot has everything! Enjoy! 

Edwardian Styled Shoot Naomi Top


Sarah Signature.jpg

Creative Team

Styling and coordination: Three Graces Events
Photography: Matt Lee Photography
Ivory lace “Chatterton” gown: Joanne Fleming Designs
Silver-blue gown with lace blouse: Sarah Willard Couture
Suits: The Vintage Suit Hire Company
Accessories: Donna Crain Surrey
Lace boots: House of Elliot
Hair styling: Sophie Murray Hair & Make-up
Make-up: Grace Hayward Suzanne Dusek Hair & Make-up Team
Flowers: Sarah Maylin Flowers
Confetti: Shropshire Petals
Cake: MonAnnie Cakes
Hand-dyed silks: PomPom Blossom
Pewter dinnerware and glassware: Jones Hire
Ring box: The Mrs Box
Stationery: By Moon & Tide
Venue: Wasing Park Estate, Berkshire
Models: Katja CemicDeen PontefractFelipe Oliveira; Sophie Murray

Autumn Wedding Inspiration On Love My Dress

Bridal Inspration, FeaturedSarah ShorttComment

September is one of my favourite months, with misty mornings, dewy cobwebs, long shadows, golden light, and fruit and berry colours. So this shoot by the Fine Art Wedding Boutique is something that is so beautiful, and I am so excited to be able to finally share the images with you. It featured recently  on Love My Dress.

I am thrilled to be a member of the Fine Art Wedding Boutique. Not only is it such a talented group of designers, but also there is a  real creative vibe and we inspire each other. So being involved in an inspirational shoot is a dream come true.

This autumn bridal inspiration, with it's jewel colours, autumn leaves, fruit and an orchard setting is just sublime.

Sarah Signature.jpg

Featured Suppliers

Fine Art Wedding Boutique

Creative Director: Kate Cullen

Photographers: Bowtie and Belle Photography

Videographers: Baxter and Ted

Hair and Make Up: Victoria Fergusson

Stationery: Gemma Milly

Floral Design: Bramble and Wild

Crockery: Classic Crockery

Hair accessories and jewellery:  Tilly Thomas Lux Judith Brown Jewellery

Ring: Sarie Joynes

Cake: Vanilla Pod Bakery


Silk ribbons: Kate Cullen

Bridal wear: Sarah Willard Couture


Introducing our Brand New Collection "Whispers of Love"

Featured, Bridal InsprationSarah ShorttComment

With soft layers of sheer fabrics, "Whispers of Love" is a play on transparency and luminosity. There are separates and overdresses in soft silk organzas, French chiffons, delicate tulles and fine laces, with glass pearl buttons and tiny crystals that catch the light. These can be worn with silk slip dresses and with corseted dresses too for a more structured silhouette. It is perhaps our most romantic collection to date and perfect for the fine art bride.

We are so thrilled that this collection featured on Love My Dress. The dresses and separates are all available to try on in the studio, and they are also now stocked at Iris and Belles in Eccleshall. If you would like to try them on, or discuss a design further please get in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg

Creative Team

Bridal wear: Sarah Willard Couture

Photography: Jade Osborne Photography

Flowers: Flowers By Breige

Silk Ribbons: Kate Cullen

Hair: Gillian Roslan

Make Up: Sarah Dunn

Accessories: Clare Lloyd

Venue: Gathmyl Hall

A Real Bride On Whimsical Wonderland Weddings

Real Brides, FeaturedSarah ShorttComment

Our very beautiful bride's English wedding featured on Whimsical Wonderland Weddings

We had so much fun creating  Sophie's bridal outfit for her. She knew she wanted something very simple, chic and elegant - she chose separates from the bridal collection. In the end we didn't quite dress her from head to toe ( as she found some incredibly pretty Ted Baker sandals to wear with her dress) but her dress, overblouse, hair accessory were all very Sarah Willard Couture. Sophie's mum didn't miss out either, we created a dusty pink silk silk dress and jacket for her to wear too. 

Steve Bridgwood is a legend! Sophie and Daryl, in fact the whole family are so much fun, and Steve completely captured the love and laughter of the day. And Sophie's bouquet by The Mulberry Tree is beyond beautiful. So put the kettle on, grab a coffee and enjoy! 


Sarah Sig Mailchimp.jpg

Featured Suppliers

Photography Bridgwood Wedding Photography

Venue Dunwood Hall

Flowers The Mulberry Tree

Car Princess Wedding Cars

Church St Chads Church, Longsdon

Grooms Bow Tie Mrs Bow Tie

Bride and Mother of the Bride Sarah Willard Couture

A Couture Wedding Dress Designed For You?

Sarah ShorttComment

Are you thinking of having a beautiful bridal gown, designed and handmade just for you? 

You may have fragments of ideas about your dream dress – images from childhood, dreams, a time period in history or style icons; pages ripped out of glossy magazines, or doodles on a page?

Our skill is the ability to capture these ideas and use them to create an elegant and stylish gown that reflects your personality and ensures that you will see your dream dress become a reality.

Or you might be struggling to find your dream dress?

You like the top of one and the skirt of another, in the fabric of a different dress, and instead of that feeling that you’re supposed to get when you’ve found “the one”, you just feel a little anxious, bewildered and confused! You might just be “a bespoke bride”!

Don’t panic. Having a dress made for you is like going on a journey – you may not quite know your destination, but you will discover things about yourself on the way and when it is over, take with you a fabulous array of memories and experiences. It’s exciting and a lot of fun! 

Sarah is amazing, she has that rare creativity and I walked down the aisle wearing a very special dress. The whole process was an amazing experience from the first appointment through to the finished dress. I knew my dress would be just perfect.

Having my dress made by Sarah was an amazing experience – she knew what I wanted even before I did and the end result was perfect.
— Couture Brides 2016

“Sarah is amazing, she has that rare creativity and I walked down the aisle wearing a very special dress. The whole process was an amazing experience from the first appointment through to the finished dress. I knew my dress would be just perfect.”

So how does it work?

We begin to develop your design by listening – we want to know what ideas you might already have, what the dress will be expected to do and what the wedding venue will be like. It does help if you bring some ideas too, whether that's pictures in magazines, images on an iPad or Pinterest.  Do you have anything in your wardrobe that makes you feel great? And if that all sounds a bit daunting thinking about what you think you definitely don't want is often a great starting point! 

There are plenty of dresses to try on, books and designs to look at, Vintage dresses for inspiration and rolls of fabric to choose from, beads, laces, trimmings. And we usually end up doodling our ideas on paper. Above all it's fun! You will be able be to talk through your ideas and thoughts, before having the opportunity to try on dresses and separates from the Collection. This allows you to play with different ideas and find out what style of dress will suit you – you may be surprised at how your original thoughts change in the first stages of the couture experience! 

Design Sketches

Sketches are then drawn and your measurements taken. It’s also the time to choose from an extensive range of luxurious fabrics including silks, lace and velvets; browse through boxes of trimmings; tip out jars of pearls, beads and crystals and let your imagination run wild.

I went to Sarah with a vague idea of a look I liked, and she worked so quickly and with so much vision that it wasn’t long before we came to something truly beautiful. On our big day and still now, I have comments about how beautiful my dress was, many saying it was the loveliest one they had ever seen.

Once you have chosen the style and design of your dress, the next step is a block pattern fitting, an important first stage in the couture dress making process. This isn’t very exciting, but vital as the block is the first draft of the basic pattern specific to your measurements. It’s often a simple shift dress, and nothing like your wedding dress, but it’s really important to get the fit of the block right, as all the patterns for your dress come from this master template. 


For your next fitting, a ‘toile’ (a mock-up of the dress design in cotton calico) will be created. The toile fitting ensures that we are on the correct wavelength and you will begin to see the ideas that we had on paper spring into life as the is tweaked so that it is the perfect fit for you. The design can then evolve, as we keep working on this stage until we are all happy, the toile looks amazing on you, we’ve finished pinning, and usually you are so excited you want to wear the toile home! 

Beads and Sequins

Only then do we begin the dress in it’s actual fabric. The first silk fitting is exciting, as you begin to see how you’ll dress will look, how the fabric feel and falls. The dress will not be finished at this stage, but we begin to make alterations to ensure that your dress fits perfectly. There may be a couple more fittings depending on the complexity of the design, as details are added, any necessary alterations are made and the hem is finished. 

Wedding Dress Work In Progress

You will be made to feel extremely special at each fitting and be able to have an input at every stage of your dress’s development. Once all the work on your dress is complete and your anticipation and excitement levels have reached their peak, you will be able to collect your finished dress. Not only will you be thrilled with the result, you will also never want to buy another dress off the peg again! 

I expected a nice dress for my wedding... What I received was a one-off, special, intricate masterpiece! I’ve never seen another dress like it which is exactly what I wanted! I feel very honoured to wear such a beautiful piece of fashion led wedding style!

Unsure whether you’ll like your dress and unsure that all this may be a bit of a risk? Well we have plenty of happy customers who say that they loved the experience and that it was one of the best things about planning a wedding. And our advice, start early. If the toile stage is completed several months before your wedding date, then when people start asking about your dress you already have the answers… you’ve seen the prototype, and already know that having a dress made for you is a dream come true! 

Sarah x

Introducing The New Home Of Couture HQ

Sarah ShorttComment

We've moved! Up to the prettiest attic opposite the magical Sugnall Walled Garden. With beams, light, and the most wonderful view that it's hard not to feel inspired. On a sunny day we can throw open the windows and listen to the birds sing!

Sugnall Walled Garden Collage.jpg

My designs have always been inspired by nature and the beauty and fragility of flowers. So I simply can't wait for a spring afternoon that's warm enough to ponder on a bench in the garden with my sketchbook. And I can even sit in the coffee shop making plans with my notebook, a lovely cup of tea and scrumptious cake! How I love my "job"!

Atelier Sarah Willard

In fact my heart misses a beat every time I turn the key in the lock... it really is a dream come true. Our brand has always been about creating dresses with love in the heart of the countryside. And now we do!

We'd love to show you are new home. As always you can contact us, we'd love to hear from you!

Much love,

Sarah xxx

Wedding Dressmaker Designer Of The Year - A Win For Sarah At The Wedding Industry Awards

Sarah ShorttComment

WE DID IT!!!. We won it !!  (Finally!) Wedding Dressmaker Designer of the Year at tThe Wedding Industry Awards! Whoop!

Our couture bridal business has reached the National finals of the Wedding Industry Awards for four years in a row, and so Mr Couture and I put on our finest rags and headed for the big smoke. And enjoyed an amazing evening at the Cafe De Paris in Piccadilly. There's one thing for certain, the TWIA brigade definitely know how to put on one heck of a party! 

So the rest of the evening is a bit of a blur! Apart from trying to negotiate a staircase in heels after too much fizz to collect this stunning trophy. 

TWIA National Trophy 2017 Wedding Dressmaker Designer of the Year

The following morning we sat down to read our voter feedback. It's often an emotional moment, but ladies you reduced me to happy tears! Here's what the brides of 2016 had to say:

“Sarah truly understand my idea for an elegant classic couture dress, and made the dress exactly as I envisioned it. Her advise regarding material and cut of the dress was superb. I knew from her collection that she would be my ideal designer for what I had in mind, and she didn’t disappoint at all.”

“The moment I entered Sarah’s shop I knew I would find the dress of my dreams.The shop was different from any other bridal shop I went to,filled with creative and original dresses and the added details of buttons and thread lying around.Sarah was so friendly and exciting!After discussing what I was looking for a trying on numerous samples I honestly felt like Sarah knew what I wanted and what would suit me more than I did myself! She created the most perfect dress and visiting the shop was a joy!”

“Sarah did an amazing job for my dress and my mum’s outfit. We both felt truly spoiled by the experience and were sad when it was over because we enjoyed the whole process so much! Sarah was so friendly and clearly talented, we felt she understood exactly what we wanted and made fantastic suggestions. I had an incredible response to my dress at the wedding, much better than I could’ve imagined. I felt completely comfortable in my dress. I wouldn’t hesitate to use Sarah again. Highly recommended.”

“Sarah was fabulous, showed a genuine interest in me and my day and was always available. It was lovely having a dress designed and made just for me and any ideas I had were always taken on board and incorporated into the design. The whole process from start to finish was very exciting and always felt special.”

“Sarah made me feel completely at ease from the moment I met her. She made suggestions and the whole process was so easy and stress free.”

“Sarah was amazing. I told her what I wanted in the style of my wedding dress and she made it. It was very fitted and backless and It fit like a glove and the tailed flowed at the back just how I wanted it to. I had so many comments not just from guests but from strangers as I was going into the registry office in Stafford. I am so particular with what I wear I was so confident that Sarah would make exactly what I wanted. The dress was amazing, stunning, and I felt so special, Thanks to Sarah”

"It was a wonderful ’experience’ to work with Sarah as we evolved the design of my outfit together - nothing was too much trouble. I felt comfortable and relaxed during the whole creative process; she kept me informed at every stage, she made me feel good and we always had fun. Quite a joyous experience.” 

“Sarah is amazing. She understands exactly what you are thinking and interprets your ideas into a stunning dress and with wealth of experience she help you create the perfect dress for you. Totally bespoke. The quality of her work is outstanding. I would recommend Sarah to everyone. She makes you feel so comfortable and gives so much time to you and makes you feel so special. You never feel rushed or that you have taken too much of her time.” 

“Sarah was incredible, from the moment I walked into her shop, I knew that I was in extremely professional and talented hands. Within about 20 minutes Sarah had designed my dream dress, I received a gorgeous hand drawn design to take away with me which I’ll frame and hang up, as its totally gorgeous. Sarah kept me informed and I felt totally at ease and included in the design process. I could not have asked for more from her. My dress was incredible, so many lovely comments from our guests."

“Working with Sarah to design & develop my dress was without doubt the most enjoyable experience of planning my wedding. I knew I wanted something unique, stylish & ’vintage with an edge’ & I wanted to show my shoes off but that’s all I knew! Sarah interpreted this patchy brief with talent, flair, & patience. The result exceeded all expectation. I loved wearing my dress, it fit perfectly & I felt special & beautiful. The groom cried & his mates are still talking about it - that’s how good it was!”

“I have definite ideas of style that aren’t always easily understood by others. My brief was a tough one - a two piece with pockets that was super comfortable but also made me look fabulous. It needed to be edgy and modern with a bit of boho thrown in. It had to be a wedding dress without being ’weddingy’!! Sarah patiently extracted my ideas to gain an understanding of what I wanted whilst also guiding me on what would and wouldn’t work. The outcome was truly unique & amazing! And a lot of fun!”

“Sarah totally understood what I wanted for the day and was always offering ideas. My dress was original and I felt really special wearing a dress that was made just for me.”

“The originality of my dress was unlike any other dress I had seen before (and there were a lot!) I knew it was original and was designed and created with real care and love. She was able to sketch out what I was describing putting the picture in my head onto paper, a real expert. Sarah herself was so friendly and warm but she also had a real buzz for her work and I could feel the energy coming from as the dress evolved. I honestly looked forward with excitement to the appointments with Sarah and miss visiting the shop. The shop its self is an Aladin’s cave of buttons, pearls and vintage charm. I couldn’t stop looking around in awe whilst I was there. Thank you Sarah, I’d lost all hope of finding an original dream dress before I found you.” 

A huge thank you to our wonderful bride who took the time to vote for us, it really does mean the world. And to The Wedding Industry Awards for recognising that it is about providing an honest award that recognises quality and customer satisfaction regardless of the size of your business. It enables the little guys to compete on an even playing field, which makes winning a national award possible for a passionate artisan like me! 

So we'll celebrate for a while, but we won't let it go to our head. Winning an award does bring lots of opportunities, but don't worry we won't let it go to our heads! There's some beautiful dress designs to be created for our bespoke brides this year and we can't wait to get sewing. 

With lots of love,

The award winning and somewhere over the moon but back soon Couture Girls


Don't Miss Our Sample Sale!

Sarah ShorttComment

Our wedding dress sample sale starts this Saturday 7th January at 11am.

Many of our past season's dresses will be reduced at prices of up to 70% off. This is an great opportunity to own a silk designer wedding dress at a fraction of the price. 

Here's a few of the dresses in the sale:

We have made the dresses with lots of love and know them inside out! So we are able to undertake alterations and re-trimming too, which means a sample dress could easily be transformed into the dress of your dreams! 

“On the first visit I found a sample dress I loved and after the initial consultation Sarah took time to understand the look I wanted, and explained her ideas and the process. After this first meeting I knew that Sarah would be an excellent choice - exceptional service made completely individual and unique.”

— A Sarah Willard bride who wore a sample dress 2015

And then we only have a few evening wear pieces left, but these will be in the sale too, both online and in the studio in Eccleshall. 

We have a handful of spaces left for bespoke wedding dresses for 2017 and are now booking to the autumn of 2018.  

During the January sale new orders for bespoke or made to measure wedding dresses will also qualify for a £175 voucher for accessories, which could be a veil or a headdress to coordinate with your dress. 

We don't hold our sales very often so if you would like to book an appointment please contact us or call 07815 740116 to reserve a time .  We'd love to meet you and help you find the dress of your dreams! 


The Best Of 2016

Sarah ShorttComment

Wow! What a year that was! So many lovely brides, and some lovely designs await for 2017! And we created a new bridal ready to wear collection, a gorgeous new logo and rebranded our website. And winning the regional finals at The Wedding Industry Awards for the fourth time in a row!

Fascinated to see that the most popular images on Instagram were glimpses behind the scenes of our couture atelier!  We are so proud be be artisans and we really do make everything by hand ourselves!

A huge thank you to everyone who supported us this year, from our suppliers, fellow industry friends, our loyal customers, and most of all to the brides who trusted us to make the dress of their dreams. Can't wait to see what 2017 brings! Wishing you all the Happiest New Year!


A Christmas Wishlist For A Couture Girl...

Sarah ShorttComment

Here's our edit of present ideas for Couture Girls! Now is the time to drop that subtle ( or not so subtle?) hint! Or go on, treat yourself. You're worth it! 

What about an evening wear top? Perfect for layering for Christmas and New Year parties, and as there are only a few ready to wear sizes left, they're 25% OFF!

Stocking fillers

Or a little something for a Christmas stocking!

And it's not too late!


Europe including Ireland 18th December
UK mainland 20th December
or 21st by next day delivery (£5)

Happy last minute shopping!