Savannah Miller: “Our table plan nearly sent me over the edge”


For many brides choosing a wedding dress can be an anxiety-filled ordeal: an endless series of appointments, fittings, too many opinions and a lot of second-guessing. But for designer Savannah Miller, whose namesake bridalwear brand served as inspiration for her own gown when she married her second husband James Wheeler at the end of last year, her vision was so clear that it resulted in not one but two dresses that evolved into four looks over the day.

“I think because I do this all the time and I’ve dressed so many brides, I knew exactly what I wanted,” she explains. “It was liberating. For so long my creativity has gone into designing for other people which is obviously what you have to do when you are running a business.”

Miller trained at Central Saint Martins and cut her teeth at Alexander McQueen – the house that dressed Kate Middleton in possibly the most celebrated wedding dress of recent times. She then went on to work for Matthew Williamson and Twenty8Twelve, the now-defunct label she co-founded with her sister, actress Sienna Miller.

Her evolution into bridalwear, however, happened by chance. Molly Rosen Guy, the American designer behind Stone Fox Bride, came across an image of Miller at her first wedding – a young bohemian bride wearing a long velvet cape she had designed herself. Rosen Guy invited Miller to collaborate and the resulting seven-piece capsule collection of wedding dresses sold out almost immediately.

“I decided to launch my own label on the back of that collaboration,” explains Miller. “I don’t come from a bridal background which I think gives my designs a unique point of view – a bit of a fashion edge.” Miller’s eponymous brand, now seven years old, is known for its effortless elegance and romantic silhouettes, a nod to Miller’s bohemian background and love of vintage styling.

For her own wedding at St. Peter’s Church in Richmond, Miller created a slinky bias-cut golden satin dress with a fitted corset and plunging neckline. The dress, which had a zip hidden in the seam to be undone later to reveal a sexy slit, will be named The Savannah and added to her ready-to-wear collection.

Staying true to the modern and minimalist aesthetic of her brand, but wanting something more opulent to fit her mood, she added a fine gold Chantilly lace overlay with flowing sleeves and an antique diamanté and pearl trim. “I even wore a crown and these embroidered gloves with tiny scattered pearls over my arms.”

A dramatic liquid gold cape made up of tiny sequins and a ruffle collar was draped on top for the 120-guest dinner at nearby Petersham Nurseries. For dancing at Soho House, meanwhile, she changed into The Estelle: a backless satin slip dress from her mainline collection.

Petersham Nurseries, owned by Miller’s godparents Gael and Francesco Boglione, was an obvious choice. “I was their bridesmaid when I was three years old and we have amazing associations with the place,” she says. “It always looks incredible, the food and the vibe is amazing. London also felt like a middle ground for us because I’m from Gloucestershire, Jim is from Lancashire and Petersham feels like the countryside in London.”

savannah miller wedding

Image: Benjamin Wheeler

A December wedding naturally called for a festive theme – and Miller’s take was typically cool and understated. “It felt like a winter kingdom but not in a classic way with holly and ivy. I collected hogweed seed skeletons and spray painted them in muted gold and silver which the incredible florist, Thomas Broom-Hughes, interspersed in his arrangements.

“I wanted it to feel ethereal and really personal. We sang Christmas carols; the mood was euphoric and twinkly and so full of love surrounded by our friends and family.”

Family played an important role in the day. Moses, Miller’s eldest son from her first marriage, walked her down the aisle. Her youngest daughter, Bali, was a flower girl while her eldest, Lyra, was a bridesmaid and Sienna was her maid of honour.

“Sienna wore a 90’s inspired, open back, spaghetti strap slip dress that was a custom take on The Cerise dress from our mainline collection,” says Miller. “She wanted it in an icy-blue velvet and we cropped it to make it slinkier. I didn’t want her to look like she was wearing a wedding dress in a different colour.”

Customising her designs is nothing new to Miller, “We launched a bespoke bridal service in 2020, not just for brides but for the whole wedding party. I love being more directly involved– touching the fabrics and brainstorming ideas with brides. That’s the bit that really makes me feel alive.”

Her most popular bespoke dress to date was created for sustainability influencer Danielle Copperman and a complete departure from her usual style – a testament to Miller’s talent. “The off-the-shoulder gown with a full skirt and corset was created entirely from deadstock fabric. Danielle is very cool, she looked incredible and we’ve had a lot of requests for her dress. The whole experience taught me a lot.”

Perhaps with these high-profile clients and her sister’s red-carpet appearances in mind, and given the demand for Sienna’s bridesmaid dress, Miller will soon start offering bespoke eveningwear. “A lot of people have clear ideas about what they want to wear to an event and they just can’t find it,” she explains.

And, while her extensive bridal experience and the gorgeous images from the day may make it seem as if Miller breezed through the wedding process with ease, she admits that she was not immune to a spot of pre-wedding panic. “Our table plan alone nearly sent me over the edge. It has definitely given me more empathy,” she laughs. “My team made such an effort with me at every fitting. Everyone oohed and aahed and made me feel so special. It woke me up and reminded me that getting married is such a big thing. It’s a really sacred rite of passage and you have to make it so.”


Read more: London’s best bridal boutiques

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