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Article: Q&A with Castigliano Bride Jessica - The Founders Daughter

Q&A with Castigliano Bride Jessica - The Founders Daughter

Q&A with Castigliano Bride Jessica - The Founders Daughter

We're thrilled to feature an extraordinary real bride, Jessica, the stepdaughter of Caroline Castigliano, who has grown up amidst the wedding industry. Uncover the creation of her dream dress, be captivated by her stunning wedding, and delve into the details that made her day exceptional, including the incredible suppliers who brought it all to life. 

Questions for the bride, Jessica

You’ve grown up in the bridal business and been in the middle of the bridal hustle and bustle for years, surrounded by fabric swatches and being amongst the samples. Tell us a bit about what it’s like to have a wedding dress designer for a step mum.

It been great fun, from a young age my sisters and I have enjoyed getting involved with whatever is going on in the business, I’ve been on some brilliant trips with Carrie from Paris to look at fabrics to New York to show the new collections. I worked in the Knightsbridge boutique for a couple of years after university and really enjoyed meeting and working with brides to make sure they found their dream dresses.

Carrie is incredibly inspirational in how she works and her attention to detail is second to none, she really understands what works best on different bodies and how to achieve different visions, which is why I knew my dress would be perfect in every way!

Real Bride

Because your step mum is a wedding designer, you must have a first-hand experience in becoming a bride and seen many girls going through the journey of choosing and having their wedding dress fitted, right? Or wrong? Did this make organising your wedding easier?

I have been around wedding dresses for forever and you would have thought that made it easier to pick my wedding dress or that I would have known what I wanted but I had no idea!

I originally chose a different dress but went back a few weeks later and changed to my one as it was much more me and I felt like it was a bit different. I think one thing I had taken way from seeing other brides go through the dress process is that its quite rare to have the full blown emotional response to finding ‘the one’ i think we can sometimes get caught up in expecting that moment but just because you haven’t had that doesn’t mean that you haven’t found your dream dress. 

Tell us about your engagement – how did Jonny propose?

Jonny booked a beautiful shepherd hut in Dorset and surprised me with a weekend away. Whilst I was in the shower he lite lots of candles and proposed as the sun was setting.

Real Bride

What did you want the vision of your wedding dress to be, what was the statement you wanted to make?

I think I had always imagined getting married in a dress with a big organza skirt, there’s something so magical about the way it moves. I’m not sure that I had a specific vision but I knew I wanted it to be elegant and classic and go with the setting of our wedding which was in an English garden with lots of flowers.

How about the moment you tried your finished dress, knowing this was the gown you would be married, in what was that like?

Its an overwhelming and exciting feeling as it was the week of the wedding that I picked up the dress so it all starts to feel very real!

Real Bride

Share a funny story about the planning process and your dress were there any funny stories along the way?

One day a few months before the wedding Carrie accidentally sent a picture of the dress to a Whatsapp group that Jonny was in. Luckily we deleted it before Jonny saw!

Real Bride

Tell us a little about your wedding: where was it held and why? What made this place the location you wanted to get married in?

We got married at Saint Andrews Church in Cobham, both Jonny and his parents are from the area and we had our first date in Cobham. It was really special to get married in our local church and for us both to be able to get ready at home. We then had the reception at my Dads house. I’ve always imagined getting married at home, Jonny and I have so many memories there and it was really special to be able to have our wedding there.

Real Bride

Describe the reception area for the party?

We had a marquee in the garden which was filled with gorgeous flower installations from our florist, Catherine Coombes. The garden is over two levels so we had a large marquee which was double height over the patio which is where we had the reception drinks, band and dancing. We had a large flower hoop hanging over the dance floor and another hanging flower installation over the dining area at the top of the marquee. When everyone arrived back from the church we had a sushi and ceviche bar and a tapanaki bar (not sure this is the right word – grill/bbq) supplied by our caterers, Vanilla Bean which was a hit with our guests!

Real Bride

How were the celebrations?

Amazing! It was the best day of our lives and incredible to be able to celebrate with all of our favourite people.

Did you have outfit changes?

Yes I changed in the evening into another dress Carrie made for me. It was a short dress which I absolutely loved! It was in silk Mikado with a corset bodice and box pleated skirt I adored my main dress but it was so fun to be able to change after our first dance and be able to dance with all of our friends and family.

Real Bride

Any advice for brides to be? What’s one thing to make sure to do and one thing to avoid?

Trying on dresses can be quite overwhelming, its such an exciting time for everyone but I would recommend limiting the number of people you take with you to appointments, especially the first ones as it will give you more of chance to figure out what you as the bride wants and what is right for you before opening it up to other opinions.

What’s it like to be married now?


Looking back on the wedding day what have you learned about the wedding planning process?

It can take up a lot of brain space!

Describe your wedding dress in one word:

Timeless (with a modern twist)

Real bride

Describe your wedding in three words:

Fun, classic, floral , …rainy


Questions for the groom, Johnny

Did the wedding dress align with what you had imagined?

To be honest I’m not sure what I was expecting, I had seen shoots of previously Castigliano brides and they all looked stunning. I think that was what I was expecting and Jess and the dress did not disappoint.

What was your favourite moment or memory related to the wedding dress on the wedding day?

Jess walking down the aisle is a moment I will cherish forever. The second dress was just as much as a surprise, it was great to see her dancing and moving around our friends and family during the evening.

Real Bride

If you could use three words to describe how your bride looked in her wedding dress, what would they be?

Quite simply perfect

How did you feel when you first saw Jess in her wedding dress?

Like the luckiest man on earth.

What did you wear on the wedding day?

A blue three piece suit

Real Bride

What did your groomsmen wear?

The same blue suit without the waistcoat

Looking back on the wedding day what have you learned about the wedding planning process, is there anything you would do differently?

It can feel a bit overwhelming but its all worth it in the end.

Describe Jess’s wedding dress in one word:


Describe your wedding in three words:

Personal, joyful, celebratory

Real Bride


Questions for the designer and step mum, Caroline

They say a dress silhouette says a lot about the bride wearing it. What makes the dress that Jess chose perfect for her body shape and personality? Tell us about the fabric and finish.

Jess has a great height at 5’8” she is slim and has a small bust. Jess’s style is very simple and understated. The first dress she choose was strapless with a satin bodice and full silk organza skirt, it is very Grace Kelly in style and everyone at the first appointment including Jess’s mum on FT from South Africa loved it on her. I have to say she looked fabulous, we went a head and measured for the dress.

A few weeks later one of her sisters asked me if I had heard from Jess, when I said no is there a problem she said it was best I called her. It turned out she was so worried about being exposed in a strapless dress and felt she would feel totally conscious of herself. So the two of us went alone to the shop to try again. This time I made suggestions and worked more on Jess’s true style. So we tried high neck shrugs and dresses and the perfect dress was Idolize. The gown is based on a bustier stretch corset in nude with a lace crew neck top with soft frills in lace and tulle around the neck and arms. The lace was Italian with embroidery and tiny sparkles that are very subtle, this was teamed with a full silk organza skirt, she looked absolutely stunning. 

Real Bride

You’re a bridal designer that’s been in the business for more than 33 years – did that help make your daughter’s wedding less stressful? Did you act and react the way you thought you would?

I think it is stressful dressing your daughters, because I want to make the experience exciting as it is for our clients but because they have been in the business their whole lives it is slightly more difficult.In their eyes creating bridal gowns is just what the family does! So that part is hard, then ensuring she( Jess) wore what she loves was vital to me not what I thought she should wear, although that is what she ended up wearing, it was just great that it was what we both loved on her.

How much say did Jess have on the way her dress looked?

It was 100% what she wanted that was very important to me.

The old adage goes: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue – did you do any of this?

Yes we did all of it. Something old was a bracelet from her mum. Something New the dress. Something Borrowed the headpiece by Marie Elena. Something Blue – I had a piece of organza embroidered in blue with the date of the wedding and sewn into the dress. I am now having it removed and sewn onto the T shirt of a small teddy bear so she has it with her all the time.

What was the design process like between you both?

Once the gown was chosen we went straight to toile, this was fitted, admittedly in the family kitchen and we then proceeded straight into production.The dress fitted perfectly at the first fitting so it just needed a hem.

Real Bride

What was it like to see Jess in her dress for the first time – what was your exact reaction?

I just thought she looked the vision of perfection, I was very proud.

How were the fittings? Was it easier to do them or did you feel a bigger sense of pressure around creating the perfect wedding gown because you were creating it for your step daughter?

The fittings were all very simple and there was no pressure we had fun.

Real Bride

What did you wear on the wedding day? What made this outfit the one for you and why?

A red lace dress with a layered tierd skirt to just above my knee with long fitted sleeves and circle bell cuffs – I made it because it was simple and pretty but definitely a special occasion dress.

Describe Jess’s wedding dress in one word:


Describe Jess’s wedding in three words:

Family – Happiness – Celebration

Jess Real bride

A special thanks to the suppliers who helped create this magical day




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