THE White Dress – Part Two

Hello all – first let me apologize for being out of touch for sooooo long.  What can I say? Between my real job, getting a nasty summer flu, and needing to plan and host a rather sizeable baby shower for a very good friend somehow June and July have run away without me!  I can’t even use the wedding as a true excuse, as my beloved wedding planner, Christie,  at Christie Rose Events (,  has that so organized that all I do is provide my input on what I do and don’t want, like or need, show up for a few appointments and let her get on with making things fabulous.

The wedding items that are my main responsibility – all things fashion, of course – are, after a few nerve wracking months, well in hand at last!  While the wedding party’s attire has come together nicely, my dress…well I guess *something* needed to be stressed about and it certainly was a bit trying there for a bit.  Let me catch you up….

As I wrote back in February I had done that first salon appointment, tried and rejected quite a bit of advice and renewed my vision.  In early March, armed with an updated inspiration board, Christie and I headed off to one of OrangeCounty’s premier bridal salons.  It was lovely – dozens of simply amazing dresses, many available in my size, some meeting some of my key critieria, and each more beautiful than the next.  But as I looked at dress after dress and worked with their terrific sales team, my spirits began to sag as still nothing was jumping out at me and yelling “YES!!! I am YOUR dress!!!!” 

Holy Moly.  I began to wonder what on earth was wrong with me – I know I am super picky but this was getting downright silly.  As I sipped champagne and we looked at my inspiration pictures, even the salon staff was in agreement, they didn’t have what I was looking for, but they DID have a great idea.  They sent me to Shelley Vann, proprietress of Dressing Up, who specializes in custom bridal and eveningwear design and alteration. 

So I sent Shelley my inspiration photos and an outline of what I was going for, and what might work in terms of shapes, style, etc.  Since I didn’t have a concrete idea of what I wanted I didn’t want to squelch her ideas by over-defining things.  Shelley and I conversed via email and I looked forward to seeing what she came up with at our face to face appointment. 

And then it happened.   The ah-ha moment.   Two days before my appointment I was watching a TV show and there it was – the perfect dress.  It had the right shape, joyous movement, and it was different.  My fiancé was watching as my jaw dropped, and my eyes got teary.  He immediately said “That’s it, isn’t it?” and I could only nod I was so overcome.  The catch – the dress was a one of a kind, for that show only, and designed for a six-foot-tall, size-two model with no chest.  Sigh….  But now I did have a vision, so I tracked down a photo of the dress and I was ready to meet with Shelley, fingers crossed that she could make magic happen.

At our first appointment we looked at the sketches Shelley had come up with and while Shelley helped another bride, my wedding planner’s concerned eyes met mine – there were three good concepts, but each was very similar to something I had already seen and not loved.  Even Shelley wasn’t totally excited by them.  I held up a finger and when Shelley came back to us I pulled out the picture of THE dress and asked “what about this?”  Shelley began literally dancing and jumping around!  Here was an idea to get excited about.  We spent the next hour sketching, discussing fabrics and construction, and how we could adapt this concept into a dress that would work for me. 

And so the adventure began.  I spent a very hot Sunday afternoon selecting fabrics at a downtown Los Angeles fabric wholesaler in the fashion district – not the swankiest place in the world, but the one place to find things like satin in over forty colors, along with every other bridal and evening fabric, trim and notion imaginable.  I have made several appearances at Shelley’s workshop – a fascinating trove of sewing materials, and all things wedding from twenty different veils to countless petticoats – for fittings.  And there are more to come.  

And the dress…well you didn’t think I was going to spoil the surprise did you?  Of course not, so let us just say it is coming along well.  Really well.  So I have been able to move on to more momentous bridal decisions and obsessions – like shoes and accessories… stay tuned!

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