It was a mix of emotions walking into the bridal boutique. I had spent weeks looking through numerous magazines and websites, narrowing down what I thought would be the perfect dress. However, as anyone knows who has gone through this exciting process, what you think you may like typically changes when you begin to try on the gowns. Sometimes I looked like a sheet was draped over me, and others left me wondering where my tiara and castle were.
As a child, I had always dreamed of my Aunt Barb making my dress. She is the jack of all trades in our family- proved by the amazing window treatments that adorn my cousins home, the wedding dress her daughter walked down the aisle in, or the quilts that lay at the end of our guest beds. She had hand crafted my mother's wedding dress, and I loved the idea of having the same gift given to me. After my mother and I visited numerous boutiques, we walked out thinking, "well if we could put two of those dresses together, change that train, add those buttons, remove those straps..." My mind retreated to my childhood dream.
It was a much needed toast. Clinging the champagne glasses together was like music to our ears. While I was in Virginia planning our wedding, my dress was being hand crafted; possibly a larger task than planning the 350+ person party. The work that went into this dress is incredible; 100's of man hours, countless restless nights, and many glasses of much needed wine. After seeing the entire process month after month, I was so humbled at everything that went into this one dress. Two days before our big day, I was able to see my naive childhood dream brought to a reality. I stood in front of the bedroom mirror, tear filled eyes, with a smile as wide as could be. In 48 hours, I would get to walk down the aisle to my future husband in it.
It was much more time consuming and expensive of a process than purchasing a gown, but the memories were certainly worth it. (I think my Aunt would agree- even if she needed weeks of recovery after the wedding! ;) It was one of the greatest gifts someone could have given me.
We walked into the fabric store and my Aunt Barb pulled a list out of her purse and starting throwing out words I've never heard of. What can I say, she's no rookie.
Brought in from all over the world, the choices of chiffon, lace, taffeta, and silks were endless.
(*note to those curious. These pictures were taken from camera phones and random point&shoots on various days)
Playing dress up with different laces
The preliminary stages of the dress:
The manikin was sized exactly to my measurements. This inexpensive fabric was used to get the simple style and fit of the dress.
From there, there is alot of pinning, folding, and adjusting...
The preliminary dress was set; now it was time to begin with the real dress fabrics. I was in Virginia, so my mother & Aunt made the trip back to the fabric store in Detroit to pick up all of fabrics I already had chosen the month before.
And my next few trips to Michigan looked a little something like this....
Something about that french lace makes me swoon. Look at those eye lashes... they scream bride:)
This lace was hand cut into smaller pieces and one by one, hand sewed onto the chiffon. That way, she could place it exactly how she wanted it without dealing with the laceless areas of the overall piece.
The final fittings the week of the wedding
And the final result: So much more than fabric, sore hands, design ideas and measurements, but a dress that reflects the ties of love, family, and memories.
Forever grateful, thank you Aunt Barb