A few weeks after I won the Upon a Star contest, I was scheduled to fly down to Charleston to get my Jorge Manuel wedding gown at the beautiful Maddison Row bridal salon. I took the day before off from work and went to tour the DC Design House, since I was flying out of one of the DC airports. I didn’t realize there would be a wedding connection to doing that, but it turned out that Filene’s Running of the Brides was happening nearby! I saw family trying to take a picture across from the store and noticed the girl in the middle had a garment bag in her arms. I offered to take a picture of the entire group and congratulated them on finding a dress. They were ecstatic and said they drove for hours to get there. I thought it was an interesting precursor to what happened the next day when I went to Charleston…
A car met me at the Charleston airport and whisked me to the Maddison Row bridal salon. Lindsey Nowak of the Maddison Row, Wedding Row blogger and Smitten Magazine editor Della MacNicholas, and photographer Paige Winn were waiting for me when I arrived (late due to a flight delay). After some yummy treats and some of the best mimosas I’ve had in a while, we got down to business: trying on the dress.
That display case is original to the store! / Photo by Paige Winn
For weeks, I’d been staring at the dress on a teeny, tiny mannequin and was afraid it wouldn’t fit me. The dress was actually clamped in the back for pictures and there was no reason to worry. What a relief!
Lindsey told me that no one had been allowed to try on the dress. Some brides had asked, since it was on display for the duration of the contest, but they made sure I was the first person to ever wear it.
The intricate floral embellishments were what attracted me to the dress in the first place. I have never seen a wedding gown with this sort of detail work. The swirls on rest of the dress are not part of the fabric. All of them are strips of taffeta that have been sewn in circles onto the dress. Can you imagine how much work that was?
Stunt double ring! Mine was getting sized. / Photo by Paige Winn
The top of the dress is clamped, but the skirt looks much more full since there is so much extra material. I actually wondered if it was a ball gown as I was spinning around in it for Paige’s photos. It’s a true a-line, though. It just needed some fabric removed from it to fit me!
This felt like a very surreal moment. / Photo by Paige Winn
The entire afternoon was pretty surreal. In a way, this was the ideal way to end my wedding gown shopping. I had so much fun visiting wedding salons to try on dresses that I probably would have had a very hard time picking a dress. If you remember, I had six favorite dresses from just three shopping excursions. Style wise, they were all over the map.
Me with Lindsey, the one of the Maddison Row managers / Photo by Paige Winn
Along with the dress, Jorge made a beautiful veil that has the most unique details at the edge. There’s an Irish lace mantilla in my family that was offered to me, but I am leaning towards wearing the veil that was meant to be with my dress.
Jorge even called while we were there so we could chat a little bit. Needless to say, I think he’s one of the nicest people on the planet. He told me that he enjoyed the contest so much that he’s going to make a tradition out of it, so there should be another Upon a Star winner next spring!
I could have stayed at the salon all day because it was such a beautiful space (Lindsey’s mimosas might have had something to do with it). Alas, the car showed up and I was sent to the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms for the night with all sorts of treats, including all the leftover food from Caviar and Bananas (isn’t that a great name for a gourmet shop?) and cupcakes from Sugar Bakery.
I devoured that Charleston Weddings magazine that night. / Photo by Paige Winn
I devoured those cupcakes, too! / Photo by Paige Winn
Pretty amazing, isn’t it? What do you think of the dress?
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- College Administrator
- Wedding Date:
- June 2012
- Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards