When you think about a beautiful bush wedding, a heavy woollen wedding dress might not seem like an obvious choice. But for Grace Ridge, it was the only option.
- Grace Ridge married her husband Will in Louth, western NSW, by the Darling River
- Both children of wool growers, they decided to celebrate Australian wool with their wedding dress and suit
- Sydney designer Anna Maurer created the 15 kilogram wedding dress over five months
For her wedding last spring, the daughter of wool growers wanted to celebrate the wool industry so chose to commission an intricate wedding dress made from more than 25 metres of 100 per cent lightweight Australian Merino wool crepe.
The outback bride’s gown weighed an incredible 15 kilograms.
“I grew up down at Louth and have now married a grazier from the Enngonia area,” Mrs Ridge said.
“We got married by the Darling River at my parent’s place — it was a fantastic bush wedding.
“I really wanted to celebrate the Australian merino wool industry by wearing wool on my wedding, as did my husband Will with his suit.”
The opulent gown was created in five months by Sydney wedding dress designer Anna Maurer, with the bride and dressmaker navigating nine hours distance between Bourke and Sydney to make the magic happen.
A wedding dress with a difference
The gown had a skirt made of seven half-circle sunray pleated panels, with a hem circumference of over 30 metres.
“I like doing things that are a bit different and that’s definitely what Grace wanted – she has high-end tastes and I like her style,” said Ms Maurer.
The designer said wool was “beautiful to work with”.
“The lightweight wool crepe can be stretched and shaped into anything, once a corset is underneath you can mould it in the body, it’s nice to stitch and you get a great finish.”
Ms Maurer said she asked the bride if she was willing to “suffer for fashion” and the answer was a resounding yes — leading to the immaculate woollen creation.
The bride said she would highly recommend wearing wool on your wedding day.
“I wasn’t super hot. It was heavy but other than that it was a really comfortable dress to wear,” she said.
Ms Maurer, a self-described “fabric snob”, said she refused to create custom-made wedding dresses from polyester or other synthetic fabrics.
She said wool was beautiful to wear, even in summer, when the finely woven fibres made it cooler than synthetics.
“It’s a real shame wool hasn’t been accepted as much as it could be in our clothing.”
Time to celebrate wool growers
The dressmaker said the federal government needed to support Australian wool growers and recognise the quality fibres produced locally.
“It’s also quite ridiculous that Australia exports all our beautiful high quality wool to mills in Italy and all over the world to make beautiful fabrics we then need to import back. Why aren’t we manufacturing beautiful fabrics here?”