THE White Dress – Epilogue




Looking back at old posts recently I realized we are coming up on our first anniversary and I never did finish up my dress odyssey.   So here is how the story ended, or at least what came right before “and they lived happily ever after”. 

My final wedding look ended up being a collection of fortuitous “make it work” moments from a blend of talented helpers, my own editing skills and just pure luck.  As some may recall, unlike most brides who start by actually trying on a sample dress and then trying on veils, shoes, etc.  to go with the dress,  I had a dress made for me based on my own sketch, so bringing all of the elements together required some vision.  Little did I know just how much!  

Shelly, my designer, started with the bodice since we knew that getting the fit right would be tricky.  It took weeks, but it was perfect – just the right amount of detail, good fit, and the corseted design flattered my Rubenesque body.   While she worked on the dress, I ordered my tiara, made my veil myself (easy peasy), did my hair and make up trials, got my shoes and figured out jewelry.  Since the dress was to be the focal point, I was keeping the other accessories simple and classic. 

Heading into August everything was right on track.  Then, as Shelly draped the skirt, she becamed concerned, and before she got too far along she did a quick pin and baste up for me to try.  When I came to that fitting I was bubbling with excitement – things were coming together.  But Shelly was quiet, practically holding her breath waiting to see what I thought.  I put the dress on and there was a long silence in the fitting room. 

I could immediately see what she was struggling with – it simply wasn’t right.   Despite the fact that the design was made up of elements I knew worked on me, when we put it all together the overall effect was awful.  The proportions were off, somehow making me look even bigger and more ungainly than usual!  I was on the brink of tears, but I didn’t want to hurt Shelly’s feelings.  This was more about my body than her effort.  It just didn’t work.  Oh. My. Gosh.  It was the beginning of September – we had seven weeks until the wedding!!  

After the initial shock I pulled myself together – I took a big step back and tried to be rational and objective.  What could I do?   There wasn’t time to buy anything else.   We needed to make this work.   Forget my original dreams.  Forget fabulous.  Forget special.  I just needed to create something that I would not cringe about when I looked at pictures.  Shelly and I dissected what we had and discussed options.  We had some good elements that we could work with.  As for the rest, we agreed we just needed to rethink. 

Step one – simplify the top.  I had wanted a shrug or sleeves to cover up my ham-like upper arms, but everything we tried made me look squatter.  So we opted for an off-the-shoulder detail in organza – it still showed my beefy arms, but at least it broke up the vast expanse of pudgy shoulder and framed the décolletage (a bonus if you ask Mr. Commando).  Step two – redo the skirt.  Plain it looked horribly drab so we knew it needed something and after some playing about we settled on asymmetrical tiers for visual interest while avoiding having horizontal lines.  

Traumatized, I went to the next fitting in dread.  And my fears were realized when I found myself in a dress with puffy sleeves and tiers in a frilly lettuce edge which, paired with the tiara and veil, created a complete Princess look worthy of Disney.  This would have been great on someone 25, but on someone 45 it was utterly ridiculous.   I was appalled, it was soooo not me.   Shelly quickly grasped my concerns and we de-puffed and cut off the frilly finish – hmm….better.  Not wonderful but…fine.  Pragmatically I decided it would have to do. 

Thoroughly demoralized, I thought about what I could do to save this and came to the conclusion that I would use the same approach that I use for everyday.  I decied to make up for a lack of truly designer plus size clothing and my less-than-fashionable body with good styling and fabulous designer accessories.  I started a shopping frenzy to replace my understated accessories with some really posh goodies.  For jewelry I chose my Tiffany diamond heart pendant my beloved gave me and added a beautiful and dramatic pair of earrings and bracelet of delicate porcelain flowers from MaapStudio, a designer on Etsy; then I snagged a pearl encrusted heart clutch at BHDLN, and treated myself to the coolest sparkly Mary Janes in champagne from Miu Miu.  Now *that* was more like it!


But the veil had to go.  At my second to last fitting we tried a myriad of options with no awesome results.  Shelly sent me home with some stuff to play with including a beautiful handmade silk flower and a mini veil of French net.  When I got home that night there was a package from my mother-in-law-to-be.  It contained a beautiful vintage brooch – a bumble bee of topaz with jeweled wings.  It was an exquisite family heirloom with a wonderful story behind it;  I was so touched and charmed, here was the perfect something old!  And then an inspiration hit me.  Playing with the brooch and the flower, and the veiling I created a sort of hat – it was quirky and a little cool.  I took a quick pic and sent it to my wedding planner.  She LOVED it.  Then I called my hairdresser, Liz and she had me come in for a quick check – she came up with a nifty asymmetrical ‘do to work with it.  Problem solved!  And with only one week to go!!!!

When it was all put together, along with simply stunning make up from artist cum magician Jessica, the final result looked pretty good.  Of course everyone said I was beautiful, but then they have to say that, it’s a rule.  The pictures don’t make me cringe and as a bonus I came in WAY under budget for dress, jewelry, etc.  Best of all, I captured what I was going for – timeless, elegant, with just a touch of quirky and  I managed to achieve my dream of having an original and fashion-forward look top to bottom.  In fact, since the dress was created from individual layers of candlelight and blush, my wedding dress was truly a unique color and wasn’t even white.  No, my white dress was actually PINK!

brideCredits: Photos by Chard Photography, Hair – Liz Ward and Jenn Smit, Vogue Salon, Make Up – Jessica at Flawless Faces

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: