If you recall, from months and months ago, I never actually shared pictures of my wedding dress with you. I wanted it to be a surprise for the family and guests who had yet to see it. Plus the model shots of the dress aren’t very convincing and I hated all of the blurry cellphone pictures of me wearing it in a fitting room. Well, now I am very happy to finally be able to share my dress with the hive!
All photographs are by Christopher Helm Photography.
The designer is Jim Hjelm and the style is #8105. The model shot does not do this dress justice. For me, it has everything I ever wanted in a wedding dress: A-line, natural waist, romantic, soft, whimsical. It is comprised of layers upon layers of ivory silk chiffon ruffles. My absolute favorite part is the train, which stretches back behind the dress like the foamy trails of a water nymph.
This is actually the very first wedding dress I tried on, strangely enough at a very posh bridal boutique in Pasadena, California. I was there with three of my bridesmaids and honestly, 99% of the dresses in that shop were not my style and not within my budget, but one of my bridesmaids had once worked there and she was the one who kindly booked the appointment. Everything there was a little too over-the-top for my style and personality. But I figured it couldn’t hurt to try on a few dresses. My bridesmaids kept saying they wanted to see me in lace or a fit-and-flare gown but those things just aren’t my style. Lace isn’t me. Then I saw this Jim Hjelm number, which reminded me of a more elaborate version of BHLDN’s Cascading Goddess gown which was my favorite dress at the time.
So I tried on the Jim Hjelm and it was a hit, but of course you never give in after just the one dress. I tried on several more, but in the end I went back to this dress for a final look before we headed off to another bridal salon. But first, it needed a little something extra.
The dress originally had a flowery sequin applique attached off-center to the waistline. I knew I wanted to remove it and for some reason I was inspired to have a wide sash tied around the waist with a large bow in the back. Luckily the salon had a sash I could try on and the moment the bow was tied in the back I was totally sold. My bridesmaids oohed and aahed in approval. My stepsister had tears in her eyes. I had to have it and it had to have a massively long sash with a big bow in the back too. But I had made a very tragic mistake. I didn’t ask for the price before trying it on, and being a designer gown, it definitely had a price tag to match. I left the salon crestfallen, but I thought I might find something better (and more affordable) in the future.
Alas, I did not find anything that captured my heart the way the Jim Hjelm did. But luckily I was able to find a salon back in Georgia (Wedding Angels Bridal Boutique in Roswell) that carried this designer. I grabbed my one Atlanta bridesmaid, made an appointment, and went to try it on again (and was hoping for an Atlanta price rather than an LA price) but unfortunately they did not have a sample available. I was so disappointed. We were just about to leave when suddenly the saleswoman had a thought. They did have this dress but their one sample was for sale in their clearance room. What luck! In just moments my dream dress became a reality, as it was available for a much more reasonable price. Talk about fate!
I bought this dress in June 2012 and I got married in May 2013. I had a number of people tell me that I bought it too early, that I would see something else I liked more and develop the dreaded wedding dress regret. But I have to say that after nearly a year of stalking every major wedding blog you can name and of course the dress forum here on Weddingbee, I never did find a dress that I loved more than this one.
It wasn’t until later that I discovered what I believe to be my subconscious inspiration for the giant blue sash. When Marie Antoinette started to spend more time at the Petit Trianon (her small, personal palace outside of Versailles) she wanted a new type of gown that was more natural and easier to wear outside in her private gardens. As you probably know, most 18th century French women (of wealth and status) wore very elaborate, heavy gowns that required corsets, stays, and cumbersome hoops to support the weight and shape of the gowns. I can only imagine how hot and uncomfortable these types of dresses must have been! But Marie Antoinette wanted freedom from her typical restrictive wardrobe and the result was the chemise a la reine—a gauzy white muslin gown that was tied at the waist with a colored sash. This gown quickly caught on and all the most fashionable ladies were wearing them, even if they were likened to underwear or lingerie in comparison to the typical fashions of the day.
|Image source via: The Dreamstress (the last portrait is Marie Antoinette herself)|
I think these images must have been floating around in the back of my mind when I suggested wearing a sash with my wedding dress. The sash itself was custom made by my own mother. I bought the fabric in that lovely blue color that so often reminds me of Marie Antoinette, and had her make it extra long so that it trailed the ground behind me. I definitely struggled with whether or not to wear the sash. I realize it is a little unconventional and I didn’t want to look back on my wedding photos with regret. Now that the wedding is over, I have to say that I love it and I can’t imagine my wedding day look without that big blue sash. It added just a touch of uniqueness, a little dash of me. Plus it tied in so well with our wedding theme.
Well, that’s the story of my wedding dress! And now it sits hanging languidly in my closet, taking up way too much space. I am thinking of having it cleaned and reselling it, because as much as I love it, I feel bad that it will spend the rest of its days gathering dust in the back of my closet.
What were you looking for in your dream dress? Do you (or did you) plan to sell your wedding dress after the wedding?