On October 31, 19— I first became a bride. Of course it was Halloween and I was only 7 years old, but I couldn’t have felt more regal if I’d actually been getting married. (Forgive me, but I’m not quite bold enough to fill in the remaining two numbers of the year.) At the age of 23, I fulfilled my bridal fantasies by walking down the aisle decked out in a fabulous gown – my first venture into bridal sewing. Unfortunately, I soon realized that particular walk was inspired more by my need to play bride than to become a wife. Several years later I found true love and reprised my favorite role for the third and final time. I made that dress as well, although in keeping with my status of “recycled” bride, I created something a bit less grand.
Even after two trips down the aisle, I still had an unquenchable lust for wedding gowns. (I was also equally infatuated with horses and eventually managed to satisfy that obsession as well – but that’s another story.) When my friend got married, she was thrilled to have me make her gown, and then came another friend, a sister-in-law and soon a new career was born.
I spent 30 happy years designing and creating wedding gowns, headpieces, bridesmaids’ dresses and even an occasional prom dress. I never thought I’d get sick of the thrill of being such an integral part of someone’s wedding, but I did. As you can well imagine, this is an extremely stressful enterprise – emotionally and physically. Hundreds of thousands of hand sewn stitches took their toll on my hands, forcing me to close up shop. Although I filled my now-free hours with horses, jewelry-making and writing, I missed being a part of the bridal world.
Luckily for me and the thousands of other wedding-obsessed women, the media is pandering to our passion by producing shows like, “Whose Wedding Is it?”, “Four Weddings”, “My Fair Wedding”, “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Bridezillas” just to name a few. These shows allow me to still feel that I have my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the bridal world- which brings me to my first gripe. STRAPLESS DRESSES!! Do designers and salons think that sleeves, straps and yokes have been outlawed?
Yes, of course you want to look stylish, but remember, styles come and go and more importantly, not everyone should be wearing a strapless gown. Your wedding gown is the one dress that should be flattering and look chic forever, regardless of the current fashion trends.
Remember the gowns of the 80s? Many were liberally decked with dangling silver beads – often strategically placed on the groin and bustline. They also had HUGE puffed sleeves that defied gravity – but so did the bride’s hairdo. Of course we can’t overlook the requisite bow on the butt large enough to shelter a family of four. Guess what? They were the height of fashion at that time. I’ll bet many, many of those brides wish they could have a do-over every time they look at their wedding album.
If you love the look of sleeves and/or hate your arms, don’t just settle for a strapless gown because “that’s what they’re wearing”. I assure you; soon you won’t be able to find a strapless gown for any amount of money.
My only daughter is newly-engaged. Hurray! Can you imagine the creative overload that is surging through my mind? Not only does this impending event open a tidal wave of creativity, it also places me into the role of Mother of the bride. I’m ready to take on the challenge and happy to share my experiences with you.