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Personalize your wedding dress, because it’s your wedding, and it represents who you are

My dear brides, if you are like me, you have gotten a callus on your index finger from flipping through bridal fashion magazines and clicking on your computer mouse while browsing the world wide web for the prefect dress! Some of us brides are “just too picky”!

But why shouldn’t we be? The way I see it, this is one of the very few events in our lives when we can justify being very particular because we are spending a lot of money on a dress. Why not give it a try and personalize your wedding dress?

For most women, this is the only time in their entire lives they will ever wear an extravagant, glamorous and red-carpet worthy gown. In the real world of an average woman, the little black dress is a staple closet item, that is why most of us gals drool over celebrity award ceremonies and haute couture runway shows. Celebrity tabloids & fashion magazines give us our daily fix of unattainable glamor designs. Balls and galas are generally reserved for the privileged few like royalty and the “upper classes”, which today is defined by who you know and how much money you earn. So there comes a single day in a woman’s life to feel this prestige and play princess for a day…your wedding day! So be creative! Go “all out”, even outside-of the-box! This is what I intend to do and I would like to share how.

As some of you already know, in my former life I was a “bridal consultant”. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of gowns, from the most expensive Haute Couture gowns from all 4 corners of the globe, to the more generic “ready-made” gowns brought to you courtesy of Asia. While the couture gowns are definitely more unique, its the craftsmanship and quality that makes them stand out and puts them above the “ready-made” wedding dresses. Nonetheless, almost always you can find a visually similar ready-made dress at a fraction of the price that has striking similarities to a couture gown. For example, Israeli Haute Couture designer label Inbal Dror wedding dresses are all the rage right now at a price tag of $9500 +. One of their most popular sellers is the V.I.P model


Personalize your wedding dress - Inbal Dror V.I.P Wedding Gown


The comparable Aleeza wedding dress by Watters & Watters is $2000+


Watters & Watters Aleeza Wedding Gown


What I am trying to say is that regardless of designer, overall, bridal gowns look the same. Ask the average groom and you will hear it over and over again: “Wedding dresses all look alike! I don’t know why you fuss about it so much!” I even hear some brides say this after they begin trying on wedding dresses. At the end of their appointment they can’t even recall which gowns were tried on and which were not.

I know that some of you fashionistas are more discerning with your bridal dress shopping, but every bride can still make her wedding gown more personal, more special, a true reflection of her self. Now I am getting to the juicy bit of this blog. Let’s talk about HOW.

One thing I am well known for is my love for antiques and vintage clothing. Craftsmanship of the past was more intricate, one-of-a-kind, and exceptional. This is why it was so unique and this is why modern mass-made can’t compete. I urge you to purchase an affordable ready-made gown or  (if you have no taboos and reservations) perhaps even a preowned/recycled/used wedding dress for a steal. If you are not handy yourself, find a seamstress who has a creative touch and work with her to make your vision come alive.

My mecca for bridal accessories and embellishments is etsy, an online marketplace of everything craft related. If you have cash to spend you can find a talented team of artisans to make various pieces (veil, sash, garter, bouquet, shoes, hair-piece) to complete your full bridal ensemble. If you are more thrifty and artsy like me, you can use this site to find supplies such as millinery tid-bits, beaded appliques, laces, ribbons, etc, to help you pull your look together.

I am obsessed with antique fashions from the Victorian and Art Nouveau periods. French ribbonwork and intricate detailing defined the fashion trends of those belle epochs. So for my wedding dress I have scoured for antique lace appliques and ribbonwork appliques to add to my gown. I wanted something extraordinary, whimsical, ethereal, and colorful.

White or ivory is the traditional choice of color for a wedding gown, falsely believed by many, to be of religious symbolic origin. It was actually introduced and popularized by Queen Victoria in 1840 when she married Prince Albert. She wore a cream-colored satin wedding gown with flounce lace trimmings. It was a symbol of opulence and luxury because only the nobility could afford one refined outfit for one special occasion. Most women were lucky if they could wear their “Sunday best” on their wedding day.

I did not want yet another white dress, perhaps because I have been around them for so long they slightly lost their appeal. On the other hand, when I tried on gold and colored wedding dresses they lacked a sense of “bridal” which is so iconic and obviously deeply ingrained into wedding traditions throughout the world. So I opted to marry my need for an original dress with a touch of the conservative streamline “bridal” by making the lining of my dress a light creamy blush tone with an overlay of ivory lace. It has an overall bridal affect, yet looks very fresh and fashion forward. What I love about this coupling is that one can really appreciate the minute complexities of the pattern and design of the lace because it stands out against the darker tone of blush as its backdrop. I will be adding Venice Lace appliques in strategically placed areas of the gown.The Venetian lace is characterized by thick scrolling floral patterns creating a three-dimensional relief effect. This in fact is intentional and I use it to my advantage to disguise and enhance areas of my figure as I see fit. To further enhance the color palette of my gown, I chose the signature “Marie-Antoinettesque” pastel colored ribbon flowers as the final touches to my masterpiece. I will reveal the dress after my wedding day on my blog if you will be interested to view it. There are few surprised in our daily lives, and I would like to leave this one for my fiance to discover.

Small delicate touches or ostentatious ones, whatever your little heart desires, your gown should reflect you. Let your creative juices flow and let your wedding dress become your self-portrait, your craft project, your masterpiece.

Feast your pretty peepers on these eye candy dresses for inspiration.


Colourful wedding dress


Pastel coloured wedding gown


Blush colour wedding dress


embelishments by Carol Hannah NY

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