XOXO staffer Melanie recently said ‘I Do’, yay, and shares with us her unique experience when she decided to get her wedding dress made for her from scratch!
The last time I’d worn a wedding dress was two days before my 25th birthday. This past March, I was 31 and wearing a totally different wedding dress. So we can probably all guess how that first time went.
I was never the little girl who dreamed of her wedding, so I had no sense of direction when I was planning my first—even for the wedding dress. I was just going to wing it! But that didn’t fly at 24 with an overextending mother. Instead, I went to a bridal store for a couple hours and just picked the one that made her cry.
No one tells you that one of the benefits of having a 2nd wedding is you get a complete do-over. All the choices I’d made before got a complete overhaul. And haul-over I did. Nearly every detail was the polar opposite of what I’d done the first go-around—especially the dress.
My first dress was poofy, sparkly, strapless, and from a generic bridal store. Not an especially risky choice.
But I took a crazy chance with my 2nd dress: I had it made.
So how exactly does one get a wedding dress made? I’m fortunate to live in a city full of amazingly talented artists, and was able to find Ty Scott through a former co-worker. My timeline (and budget) was fairly tight, with an engagement in early September, and a wedding date of mid-March.
I first met with Ty in November, where he took my measurements and I showed him a dress from Bloomingdales that I wanted it to be modeled after. He was incredibly encouraging and didn’t seem like making a dress from scratch was as big a deal as it was in my head. That’s why he’s the artist and I’m, well, not.
The next time we met he had made me a sample dress using just one sheet of purple cotton. This was so he could confirm my measurements, make any changes to the fit, and just generally keep praising how gorgeous this cut was on my figure. Friends, if you want to feel super good about your body, go to someone who is put on this earth to appreciate all bodies and the clothes they are dressed in. It’s. The. Best.
Next was selecting fabric. We started at the most famous of them all, Mood, but quickly left realizing their pricing reflected their fame. In the same neighborhood known as The Garment District, there are tons of other little stores that carry the same materials, but with a lower price tag. We selected a silk lining and applique and decided to meet again after the New Year.
January and February was a series of fittings, as I watched my dress come together piece by piece. Adjusting the hemline a few times until it was perfect. Adding in a zipper and hooks-and-eyes. Hand-sewing the bust. It was strange to see something go from rolls of fabric mere weeks ago to a wearable piece. I guess that’s why Project Runway has been on the air for so long.
On the day of, there were a few hiccups with the dress, mainly related to the zipper (that story’s for another time) but having my dress made just for me made me feel unique and special in a way that bridal store dresses can’t. It’s the only thing I’ve ever had made (and possibly ever will have made) just for me. I did it initially save money—and because bridal stores scare me a little—but I found that it ultimately gave me a wholly individual experience that most brides don’t get to have. For that, I felt even more special, which really is what being a bride is all about.