A Wedding Dress: from Inspiration to Reality at the Hands of My Mother

So I shared with y’all some of the wedding dress contenders I tried on, then dropped the bomb that I didn’t have a dress, but that my mom was making it. Then I went all radio silence, and left you hanging about the dress… sorry! I kept my dress top-secret under wraps, not just from the hive, but from everyone. Only my mom and I knew anything about it, and only my bridal photographer saw it before our wedding day.

I originally kept the dress details quiet because I wasn’t exactly sure what the final product would be. I had a style in mind, as well as a couple of alternates, but knew that there was a chance Mom would get a bee in her bonnet, or I would get re-inspired, and we would change direction. And I didn’t want to take the chance that Mr. Archer would manage to find out anything about it, so that was good motivation for my secrecy. I was super-open about my wedding planning process, not just on the blog, but in conversation as well, so this was something private and special. I occasionally wished I had shared my dress with my bridesmaids during the wedding windup, but that was just because I am terrible at keeping secrets, and it was hard to get input on accessories when the main part of the outfit is a mystery!

I’m aware how incredibly lucky I am. I got to imagine and have created my absolute dream dress, and I’m hard-pressed to come up with something more sentimental than having your mom make your wedding dress.

When it came to vision, I drew inspiration from a variety of styles. I loved the low back of Winnie Couture’s Emily, the restrained-but-floaty tulle of Monique Lhuillier’s Candy (both of which I tried on), as well as the silhouette of Enzoani Cincinnati and the lacy straps of Enzoani Diana.

Cincinnati and Diana, both via Enzoani

I imagined all these and more when I thought about my dream wedding dress, and did my best to translate it for my mother. Once we had a plan in mind, she set to work, beginning with a giant pile of white textiles—bridal satin, tulle, and Chantilly lace.

My mom, rockstar that she is, cut the pattern for my dress freehand, and the fabric likewise.

She then pieced the panels of fabric into what would become the underlayer of my dress.

At this point, it looked more than a little rough, but it was just the lining. With a few additional layers of silk tulle, the dress of my dreams began to take shape.

The next step in the dress was lace, and a good bit of it! Mom and I spent a few movies painstakingly cutting the Chantilly lace appliqués from their tulle backing, and then she pinned them, one by one, onto the dress.

From here, she re-appliqued the lace onto the dress, by hand. This shows the dress with only about 40% of the lace basted on…Mom would add lots more lace, as well as some tiny seed pearls.

If this dress was not a labor of love, no such thing is. I remember my mom stepping back and tears filling her eyes—there were no words for that moment.

Up next…my wedding dress, all my mom’s hard work, at my bridal session.


Mrs. Archer

Los Angeles/New Orleans
Wedding Date:
October 2012
PaC Man & Wife: Moonlight Serenade
We Do(e): The Tossin' Songs
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  1. Member
    Dela2012 133 posts, Blushing bee @ 4:04 pm

    It looks amazing so far!

  2. Member
    sherryberry 3255 posts, Sugar bee @ 4:09 pm

    My jaw dropped. Wow. Your mom…your dress… so amazing!

  3. graywolf Member
    graywolf 725 posts, Busy bee @ 4:27 pm

    oh. my. goodness. im so glad you took pics of the process – i might not have believed you. kudos mom archer!

  4. msdragon Member
    Mrs. Dragon 814 posts, Busy bee @ 4:39 pm

    Wow! Your mom really is a rockstar!!

  5. Member
    pinkmoon 10748 posts, Sugar Beekeeper @ 4:39 pm

    Holy. Wow. That’s amazing!

  6. Member
    lealorali 4827 posts, Honey bee @ 4:43 pm

    Unbelievable. I feel like people with those seamstress talents are a dying breed. How incredibly special!!

  7. Member
    sweetkaraline 103 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:04 pm

    Your dress is gorgeous! Even not finished, it is beautiful!

  8. Member
    Miss Care Bear 193 posts, Blushing bee @ 5:46 pm

    WOW. Just. WOW. That’s amazing! I can’t wait to see the finished product! What a beautiful gift and quite a labor of love indeed!

    Maybe your future daughter(s) will want to wear it someday :)

  9. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:53 pm

    Ohmygosh. Incredible. You mom is so talented!

  10. bracelet Member
    Mrs. Bracelet 279 posts, Helper bee @ 6:17 pm

    Oh wow. I’m wordless. Such a great dress and your mom is so awesome!

  11. mstoadstool Member
    mstoadstool 2485 posts, Buzzing bee @ 6:26 pm

    I must say I forgot about your mom making your dress and when I say your wedding pics I looked at the straps and thought how beautiful it looked and tried to remember the designer.
    It is not only beautiful but it looks designer quality, unbelievable she made it.

  12. scone Member
    scone 184 posts, Blushing bee @ 6:36 pm

    I have to tell you that is freaking awesome!

  13. scepter Member
    scepter 333 posts, Helper bee @ 6:37 pm

    Your mother is amazing. Even 40% finished it looks gorgeous!

  14. Member
    bridesmomma 476 posts, Helper bee @ 6:41 pm

    W.O.W.!!!! Your 40% finished dress looks awesome!!! Your mom is definitely a rockstar!!!

  15. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 8:02 pm

    Your mom is amazing, I can’t wait to see the final design, because this is incredible.

  16. Member
    4evaurs 71 posts, Worker bee @ 11:28 pm

    Oh my goodness. You r blessed!!! I can’t wait to c the final product. Simply AMAZING!!!

  17. Guest Icon Guest
    Shelly, Guest @ 4:02 am

    How lucky are you, to have such a talented mother! You’re right, it is very sentimental. And it’s gorgeous on you.

  18. panda Member
    Mrs. Panda 1359 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:35 am

    holy cow, that’s amazing! your mom is insanely talented!

  19. Member
    vintagefair 751 posts, Busy bee @ 6:11 am

    Its beautiful so far!! Cant wait to see the next update!!1 :)

  20. Member
    Miss Canaras 75 posts, Worker bee @ 6:20 am

    Aww, gorgeous! My mom’a making my dress too, and I am so excited for it… She used to make wedding dresses for a living, so I know it’ll be fantastic. I know what you mean about the labor of love — she’ll work on that every night until it lives up to her perfect standards.

    This post just made me so excited for it! :)

  21. Member
    Miss-Mauverick 1479 posts, Bumble bee @ 7:59 am

    Wow, what an amazing experience for you and your mother to share together. Priceless! And your dress looks stunning!!

  22. Member
    superduperbrit 2466 posts, Buzzing bee @ 8:35 am

    Oh my goodness, she made your dress?! It’s gorgeous!

  23. Member
    steph01924 308 posts, Helper bee @ 12:02 pm

    That is beautiful!!!

  24. Member
    stephk527 987 posts, Busy bee @ 12:14 pm

    This is so awesome, Mrs. Archer! Your mom absolutely rocks.

  25. sunhat Member
    sunhat 1453 posts, Bumble bee @ 4:32 am

    So amazing! How special to have your mom make this for you.

  26. coyote Member
    coyote 1930 posts, Buzzing bee @ 10:03 am

    Oh my gosh A, I love seeing your dress literally come to life with each step. This is so, so special that your mom made it for you.

  27. Member
    josh3yn3 3 posts, Wannabee @ 5:40 pm

    I love it!

  28. Member
    amvanzo 17 posts, Newbee @ 11:59 am

    beautiful! where did she get the fabric?

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