The secrets of designing a royal wedding dress

Sassi Holford knows better than most the pressures of making a wedding dress that the world will analyse, pick over, love or hate.

The designer who’s based in Taunton in Somerset, was asked by Autumn Kelly, the then fiancée of Peter Phillips, the Queen’s grandson, to make her wedding dress a decade ago.

Sassi Holford designed Autumn Kelly's dress for her wedding to Peter Phillips.

I visited her at her studio and workshop, a hive of activity in the midst of wedding season.

With Meghan Markle’s dress about to be unveiled on Saturday, she remembers every detail of her royal experience, and in particular, the demands for total secrecy.

Sassi could tell only a select few who the dress was really for, and they had to do their work before normal office hours, sometimes at daybreak, to avoid the rest of her employees.

She even had to give the bride a false name - they chose Kelly Winter for Autumn - and keep away from windows, and prying eyes and cameras, by working on the first floor.

The dress itself had to have covered shoulders as befitting a wedding in a royal chapel, and it had to have a design that would work in a large room, with TV cameras trained on it.

Sassi Holford recalls how the design and work were a closely guarded secret. Credit: ITV News

Oh yes, and then there was the royal tradition of having to get a thumbs up from the Queen.

It may be more of a courtesy, but Sassi was informed the Queen always likes to see the dresses worn by brides about to join her family, before the big day.

Fortunately Autumn's dress received the royal seal of approval, and the designer was then invited to take her entire workforce by coach to Windsor for the wedding.

Although Holford was already an established dress designer when she got the royal commission, her profile soared internationally.

She says she doesn’t know who’ll be going the designing duties for Meghan, but doubts it’s Ralph and Russo, the British based designers who are the bookies favourites.

The Queen likes to see bride's wedding dresses before they enter the royal family.

Instead Holford believes it will be someone who is a good friend of hers, perhaps Stella McCartney.

She also predicts the dress will be simple, with long sleeves and a high neck - though she’s hoping for some kind of Hollywood homage in the design.

Like this rest of us, Sassi will have to wait until the bride arrives at St George’s Chapel on Saturday.

Complete with showstopping dress.