Chattos Celebrate 20th Anniversary

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats Anniversary

Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones and Daniel Chatto were married in London on July 14, 1994 and celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary yesterday. In celebration of this milestone, let’s look back at their wedding.

Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, who is the only daughter of the late Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon, met Daniel Chatto while working as a wardrobe assistant on the Merchant Ivory film Heat and Dust in India. Their wedding was a family affair that reflected the artistic tastes of the couple (both are professional artists). This was immediately evident in their choice of venue, St. Stephen’s Walbrook, a small 17th-century church in London built by Sir Christopher Wren. Lady Sarah’s dress, designed by British designer Jasper Conran, was inspired by a Holbein portrait. Made of white silk georgette, the dress featured a square neckline, ruched corset bodice, long sheer sleeves and the most beautifully draped skirt that flowed into a train. Even in photos, we get a sense of the effortless movement of the skirt. I remember being awed by the graceful simplicity of this dress and by how authentically it seemed to capture Sarah’s streamlined and unfussy personal style.

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats

Lady Sarah topped her dress with a full length silk tulle veil and the Snowdon Floral Tiara. The brooches that make up this tiara were a gift from Lord Snowdon to Princess Margaret when they married; Jasper Conran suggested they be put together to create a tiara for Sarah’s wedding and the Snowdon Floral Tiara was born. The floral tiara gave such a feminine touch to Lady Sarah’s bridal ensemble and I loved the addition of greenery in her hair. The greens seemed to make the diamond flowers almost come to life.

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats

Lady Sarah’s bridesmaids wore gowns also designed by Jasper Conran. The fitted corsets, long sleeves, open neckline and flowing skirts of their white silk dresses closely replicated Lady Sarah’s dress. Their hair was pulled back into low chignons and studded with the same pink garden roses that made up their bouquets. These floral headpieces, which looked so painterly and romantic, remain one of my favourite royal bridesmaid headpieces of all time.

Lady Sarah Armstrong Jones and Daniel Chatto, July 14, 1994 | Royal Hats

Lady Sarah’s dress, veil and the Snowdon Floral Tiara are on display at the Victoria and Albert Museum until March 2015. If any of you have seen it in person, I would love hearing your thoughts! To see the hats worn by Lady Sarah’s royal relatives at her wedding, check out this post.

Photos from Chip Hires and Adrian Clack via Getty; The Royal Forums; and Tim Graham via Getty

20 thoughts on “Chattos Celebrate 20th Anniversary

  1. My most favorite wedding dress.Simple and so elegant.The dress suited Lady Sarah perfectly.
    I have a few others including Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy’s wedding dress.

  2. This wedding dress is on my all time favorite wedding dresses list. There are only six dresses on my all time favorite list. This dress is simply gorgeous. It is so simple, but so feminine. It just seems to be flowing when she is standing still. Absolutely gorgeous. I have four other royal wedding dresses on the list: Grace Kelly’s dress, Mette-Marit’s dress, Charlene of Monaco’s dress, Princess Anne’s dress when she married Mark Phillips. The sixth dress on my list is probably not known to the commenters on this site, but it is Luci Baines Johnson’s dress when she married Patrick Nugent in 1966. Luci was President Johnson’s youngest daughter. Her Priscilla of Boston all lace dress is beautiful. I was only 16 years old at the time she got married and when I saw her dress I thought, “This is what a wedding dress should look like”. There are other dresses that I think are very pretty, like Catherine Middleton’s and Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden’s dresses, and Countess Stephanie who married Prince Guillaume of Luxembourg and also Claire who married Prince Felix of Luxembourg, who both wore Elie Saab dresses, but they don’t quite make my all time favorite list. Looking forward to seeing what Sophia Hellqvist, who is marrying Prince Carl Philip, will wear and if her dress will make my all time favorite list.

  3. The dress is beautiful, and in the exhibition, the tiara is displayed at exactly the right height so that one can inspect it closely. It is unusual because it is exactly as described – three diamond brooches mounted on a tiara frame. They even have their pins still attached, so that they could be taken off the frame and worn as brooches immediately! Unexpectedly, they work very well together, despite the fact that each is an individual piece, different in shape, form and size. So, the tiara is not exactly symmetrical, but it works splendidly and the diamonds glitter and sparkle beneath the lights of their display case.

    • Thank you so much for sharing these observations about this dress in the V&A exhibition. I’m fascinated to hear that the brooch pins are still visible on the tiara!

  4. This is my favorite royal wedding gown of all time! It is perfection and I can’t imagine Lady Sarah in anything else. And yet despite the gorgeous dress and one of my favorite tiaras also, all I can see is her radiant face. That’s what a good wedding dress is supposed to do!

  5. It’s a regular favourite this one – I’m off to the V&A next month, and looking forward to seeing it. I also was unaware of the story of the tiara, makes sense why we never saw Princess M in it ever. The bridesmaids headdresses were very clever, just that splash of colour which made them stand out from what Sarah was wearing. I also visited St Stephen Walbrook recently, it is a beautiful church with the altar in the middle – very different, and very them I think.

    • I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the Snowdon Floral Tiara, JamesB, particularly if it looks like a unified tiara or a bunch of brooches bunched together.

  6. Went to see the dress at the V&A a few weeks ago. It really stole the show alongside Camilla’s Service of Dedication Dress and Halo.

    Well worth a hour to go and see if you happen to be in London.

    • I can only imagine how spectacular the dress is. What was your impression of the tiara- do the brooches work as a tiara or do they still look like brooches?

      • The dress was set quite high up in a display case on the upper level of the exhibition so it wasn’t particularly easy to see the tiara. Though I think from the brief glance I got of it it works very well.

  7. This is one of the best wedding ensemble I have ever seen.the picture with the bridesmaids is to die for.sarah & daniel chatto are one of my most favourite royal couple.thanks so much for this post.

  8. I have always disliked the bodice and the sleeves. The bodice looks uncomfortable and does nothing for her bust. The sleeves look like an afterthought that was tucked in. Interesting about the tiara – I didn’t know it’s history.

  9. I had just started university when this wedding happened and I remember being blown away by how beautiful this dress was. I went out and bought a copy of Majesty magazine because wanted to have pictures of this dress to take to a dressmaker when I eventually got married. It was so refined, elegant and beautiful and SO different from the royal wedding dresses worn in the 1980s. This dress totally changed my picture of a dream wedding dress!

      • Yes, something similar with very clean lines and a beautifully draped skirt. Thankfully, when I got married in 2001, simple and elegant wedding dresses along this vein had come into fashion and were fairly easy to find. It seems from the recent royal weddings that lace is now “it”. No one does a lace wedding dress and veil like a royal bride! It’s interesting to see current fashion reflected in the royal brides.

  10. stunning! Absolutely stunning. That last picture of Lady Sarah with her attendants could be a painting by a master. so lovely and romantic. Loved seeing that again. Thank you.

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