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.