Thursday, January 28, 2016

My Wedding Dress HUNT

There are so many decisions to be made for our upcoming wedding, but one of the most daunting was choosing 'the dress'.

I was just turning twenty the first time I got married, it is an understatement to say that I was too young. I don't even remember buying my wedding dress. There is no memory of a thrilling, exciting moment a'la 'is this THE dress'  kind of scenario.

Vintage Lanvin - The dream dress design.

So now, here I am at 57 shopping for 'my wedding dress'. It really is a 'ta-da' kind of experience this time. It's taken me a bit to wrap my mind around what I think is appropriate to wear at this time of my life.

I had a what-not-to-wear list in my mind. I didn't want to wear typical white wedding dress, a veil, a mother of the bride dress, or look like a guest. This seriously narrowed the options, I needed an intervention. This is were my daughter began to coach me and became my cheerleader (and isn't that why I asked her to be my Maid of Honour). Monique listened to me talk my way through the idea's and continually told me 'it's your special day, go for it. You need to feel special and have a pretty wedding dress'. I love that we shared this experience together.

Let me cut to the chase and say - I've ordered a dress and I'm excited about my choice. It is soft, romantic, and a bit of a vintage style; exactly the way I want to feel when I meet Richard to take our vows. I'm not sharing the colour because I think it should be a sweet surprise on our wedding day. But as I stood in the dress starring at my reflection in the mirror, I thought - 'he would so love this on me'. And I knew that it was a special dress for our special day.

But, I LOVE VINTAGE ......... so I digress.

The straight lines of a sheath dress with a bustle skirt makes my heart skip a beat. These silhouettes were the inspiration for my dream dress. 

My dream dress wish list hinged on this vintage style - a sheath style gown with a bustle skirt to flow gently off at the hips. Why is it that the models in most vintage fashions have 20 inch waists. Even with a stringent exercise/diet program I will never wear a pinch waist gown, but maybe a hint of the silhouette could be achieved.

The dream dress was of course not going to be found on a rack anywhere -
well, at least not in this era.

We all know our body type well, what we feel best in, what makes us shine. And for me the Lanvin v-neck sleeveless gown with bustle skirt (in the first picture) was like a skin crying out my name. OK - maybe a bit dramatic, but I knew it would work without even putting the dress on. My tenacious soul always has a plan B, and I knew if I wanted this dream dress it would have to be custom made.

I lined up the possibilities of two well noted bridal dressmakers. And I had in my back pocket the brave request of a friend (who is a couturier in Toronto) to make the dress to my specifications. I was certain he would be less than thrilled to have me design the dress and cramp his creativity.

I loved the idea of having a large garden print, perfect for our summer wedding. The perfect combination - vintage allure, large floral pattern, a dress with colour. In my mind I had visions of me hunting for months to find the perfect fabric to capture the look ... and then of course driving a seamstress crazy getting it to match my dream.

Look at these stunning frocks. Once again, here is the very strong evidence that I was born in the wrong era. My Vintage Love pinterest board is visual proof.

Love the neckline and the floral pattern.

After searching the images of bridal designer styles for the upcoming season, I realized they design very few gowns a bit off the beaten path. And I wanted to go way off the path with a sheath style dress in large floral and a bustle train in a soft sheer fabric. The Dream Dress was getting complicated.

So instead, maybe something like this......

soft floral, flowing style

or a print in the sheath style....

this print in a sheath style

LOVE this fabric

At my daughters urging I decided to try on various styles, fabrics, and colours to explore all the possibilities.

Keeping an open mind to something other than the dream dress was important.

Designers are adding more gowns with colour to their collections, soft pastels that compliment soft fabric details. Maybe they are beginning to understand that brides - second time or not, want something unique. I'd love to see designers play with generous floral patterns and revisit the pages of vintage couture for upcoming bridal designs.

Love the lines of these two gowns.

My dress is on order and it is beautiful.
It's very different than the floral print dream dress and much more 'bridal' than I imagined. I have to admit I've had a few 'what the heck was I thinking' kind of moments after I ordered it. Maybe it is just that buying a wedding dress is not an everyday occurrence.

My wedding dress is soft and feminine with a romantic vintage vibe that I love. I'm excited about slipping it on this June and meeting my groom at the alter to take our vows.


  1. Whatever the dress, I know you will be a stunner in it Katherine! Can't wait for pictures!!!
    sending hugs...

    1. I'm getting asked a lot about the dress, so I thought a little teaser of the wedding dress hunt would be fun. I'm excited about it all and can't wait for our special day.

      hugs to you.

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  3. I really liked reading your post on the wedding dress hunt. Finding the perfect wedding gown is truly a difficult task. I am also having hard time in finding the vintage themed gown for my big day. Actually I will be having vintage wedding at some popular historic wedding venues NYC.