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Ethical Bride’s Dream Wedding Dress – A Marriage of Eco and Vintage

From Rome, with Love!


Rome has a unique feel for Lovers. The sense of grandeur creates the ultimate atmosphere for a destination wedding background, where you can feel that romance and history here mix seamlessly, creating the ideal setting for a memorable wedding. For their special day, Lauren and Leo chose to share it with their close friends and family at Casale del Gallo, a restored farmhouse a few miles outside Rome in Italy. The rustic chic feel was centred around two vibrant and statement shades of colour: teal blue and burnt orange. 

We wanted the party to have an easy going and laid-back feel. Friendly, with lots of great food, wine, music and laughs; and that was exactly how it was” says Lauren. 

Sanyukta Shrestha, designed a stunning ethical wedding gown for the unique personality of our bride Lauren, by blending tradition with simplicity. The sustainable and eco-friendly wedding gown of Lauren was the canvas for Sanyukta to create a wedding gown with a special sentimental value; The slick hemp-silk Tamara Gown and its daring and playful character, balanced with a voluminous customised overskirt that was made out of Lauren’s mother – 45 years old wedding gown. The design process was a paramount example of up-cycling the old into current design, a creative input that aligned perfectly with the ethical philosophy of the Sanyukta Shrestha Brand. From a stunning glamorous Wedding Dress, Lauren’s design turned into a symbol of eternal love and rebirth. 


We met in London in July 2011. I lived in the States at the time and came to town to visit an old friend, Amy, who happens to be Leo’s cousin. Leo is a singer in a band and Amy suggested taking me to his gig. We did not hit it off straight away romantically, but we ended up staying in touch via Skype. The rest is history!


As with most things in our relationship the “proposal” was quite unorthodox. We legally got married in Islington Town Hall in 2013 and went to the pub with our parents and friends afterwards. When we decided to have the “real” wedding years later it was after joint conversations about it rather than any sort of proposal. Though a few months after Leo and I met, I stopped off to visit him in England for New Year’s 2012, while I was en-route moving to Rome from the USA. The last night of my visit we were in Cambridge and it snowed quite heavily. We linked up with some friends and went out to some of the cosier pubs in town. For an American it was all very charming and seemed very quintessentially “English,” the pubs with the low ceilings and fireplaces, the colleges and River Cam filled with docked punting boats, all under a layer of snow. After a bit, everyone was outside enjoying the snow, and Leo got down on one knee in the middle of one of Cambridge’s bridges and yelled out “will you marry me?”. Perhaps it might not be a sincere proposal, but it is the closest we have to a proposal story, and it was a very adorable and memorable moment!


Striving to not be too cliched, the entire day was pretty magical. We have quite a few friends in the creative industries and they were so generous in offering their talents for our wedding, which were invaluable to the success of the day. It was heartwarming to see the group effort that went into it! A chef friend made the cake (hence we got her involved for the cutting of the cake). Musician friends set up all the equipment (after having arranged for it to be shipped to Italy from England) and performed the ceremony and first dance music. For the father-daughter dance we had Van Morrison’s “Brown Eyed Girl” play. I picked this because my father and I had a weekend tradition when I was a kid of going to a diner for breakfast before taking me to my horse riding lesson, and he’d always play Brown Eyed Girl on the jukebox. We had so much fun boogying to that classic, and I think there are some very fun photos of the moment too.I long had it in mind to walk down the aisle to Mumford and Sons “Sigh No More” and for our first dance to be to a song called “Moving Together” which Leo wrote a couple years into our relationship. Hearing them being performed by our incredibly talented friends during such important moments of the day was magical.  


I was very keen to get a dress that would be as ethical as possible so when I started researching around online, I came across Sanyukta quite quickly. I absolutely loved the fabric and design of Sanyukta’s dresses though most of them were quite slinky silhouettes, I had long imagined a fuller skirt for my wedding dress. When I mentioned this to Sanyukta she suggested choosing the silhouette and customising it with an overskirt, a choice that many brides are opting for with a fabric that is sentimental to them. This gave me the idea of incorporating my mother’s vintage wedding dress into my own. My mother took her out of storage 45 years after it had been packed away and shipped it to the UK, for Sanyukta to see the design elements and incorporate them in my wedding gown. The combination of the dress plus the overskirt not only ended up not only working out perfectly for the look I wanted, it also made the dress far more sentimental for my mother and myself. Ultimately, I loved that the dress itself was so slinky, very lightweight and comfortable and it moves incredibly well. So, after the ceremony and the couple’s photos I removed the overskirt and the veil, and spent the rest of the night in just the dress and sandals, which was absolutely perfect for dancing – light weight and free moving, sexy but not revealing, and best of all, the material has a shiny shimmer that comes through beautifully in the venue’s market lights and camera flash so it looks amazing in photos from the party portion of the evening.

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I strive to make increasingly more ethical choices in my shopping habits: second-hand clothes, bamboo loo roll, green energy suppliers and cleaning products, farm to table grocery services, etc. My engagement ring is made of a lab grown (non-mined) diamond. When it came to my wedding dress, I was thrilled to discover it would be easier than anticipated to find the ethical fair traded wedding dress of my dreams while keeping in the eco and ethical theme.




I was very committed to get a Sanyukta Shrestha dress after finding her website and learning about her ethos. 


Something old was the overskirt of my dress, made with material from my mother’s 45-year-old wedding dress! Something blue were the shoes and a London Blue Topaz ring, Teal blue was the main colour of the wedding so it popped up everywhere. Something new was the dress (which my mother-in-law insisted on paying for as a gift, so my wedding dress ended up being a lovely mix between my mother and mother-in-law), the veil and the shoes. Something borrowed was a surprise of my mother in Rome, when she gave me a diamond bracelet my father had given her years earlier. 











Wedding Dress : Sanyukta Shrestha Tamara gown & Up-cycled over-skirt from Bride’s mum wedding dress.


Photographer: Alessandro, Emotional Wedding Photography


Venue: Casale del Gallo, Rome, Italy


Flowers: Diana del Gallo, via Casale del Gallo


Welcome Drinks Bar: Sebastian Squire, Through the Grape Van


Cake: Rona Jones

Ceremony Music: SJ & The Flying Pigs, featuring Piers Mortimer


Reception Music: Raffaele Magno, Tresoneros del Son Cubano,


Hair: Lucy Wilson & Phil Benton, Douce,


Make up: Lucy Joan Pearson


Veil: Alisha, One Blushing Bride, 


Headpiece: Joanna Reed Bridal


Shoes: Heals: Sophia Webster,  Flats: Delos Art


Wedding Bands: Hers: Polamai, His: Chris Powell, Della Kaur, Cambridge, 



Engagement Ring: Eliza Page Jewelry , with a lab grown diamond from Diamond Foundry


Other Jewellery:

Necklace: Hedgehog Project, London Blue Topaz Ring: Luo Jewelry


Bridesmaids: Dresses: RenzRags,  Necklaces: Green Feather Jewelry,


Wine Ceremony Box & Cake Stand: Mike’s Fine Designs


Dog’s Ensemble: LA Dog Store


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