The time has come! Today marks the final fitting of Lauren's couture Phillipa Lepley wedding dress.
A medley of emotions brings us to Lepley's Fulham studio for one last time: excitement to see The Dress again; the anticipation of the big day drawing ever closer; and the distinct sorrow of the dress-making journey actually coming to an end…
Over twelve months, almost a dozen fittings and a whole lot of lace later, we have seen Lauren's dream dress take shape, come to life and become the floating beauty that hangs before us now.
Today's appointment doubles up as a fitting (one final check) and a dressing masterclass.
Before letting Lauren try her dress on one last time there are serious instructions to listen to regarding how to travel with The Dress.
She (the dress is more like a person now, and we've decided she is very much a lady) will be collected a few days before the wedding. She will be steamed and packed up, ready to make the long journey to Italy, where Lauren and George will exchange vows.
Packing her up is no easy task though: the bodice will be padded out, the train looped and wrapped carefully in tissue paper (inside as well as out) to decrease creasing, and all placed inside multiple bags - including a plastic bag - to protect her from any rain, spills or thrills that may come close to her.
Packed alongside with her will be more than enough ribbon to tie up the corset and the placket card which will instruct The Dresser (ie. mum) on how tight the corset ought to be. There will also be fabric swatches of all the materials used, should any last minute ironing be needed (it wouldn't do to just iron straight onto the dress, after all! They've thought of it all...)
Once arrived to her final destination, she should be allowed to breathe ahead of the big day, but with care not to be hung directly against furniture (should any polish tarnish her perfectly clear complexion) and only clean hands used to fasten the corset and buttons that run down the back.
After patiently listening, Lauren springs into her dress and allows the rest of the masterclass to continue - this bit is entirely for mum as she will be in charge of getting Lauren dresses and aisle-ready.
FIRST SILK FITTING
Picking up tips from Sunni, Phillipa's fittings manager, we quickly learn how to tie the corset, detach and reattach the extra petticoats (pictured) and tackle the covered buttons with ease.
"I'm trying to figure out where I can wear this again," says Lauren as she looks excitedly into the mirror. "Could I wear it to another wedding?"
She might risk never being invited to another wedding again if she did that, but the sentiment of wanting to wear this dress over and over again is one that can totally understand. She does look utterly exquisite - both Lauren and her dress.
Next up? The big day...