Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Erika Gerdemark Photography
This is the first post of a new series where you can follow me as we look at several gowns made from start to finish. We'll kick it off by looking at Elin's gown from our initial consultation to the excitement of her wedding day. It made me so happy to see Elin married in such an enchanted setting in a gown of my creation. The back drop of the rustic old Kalmar castle in Sweden seemed a perfect match for the vintage chic of the 'Mira' Gown she chose.

We started from this sketch planning the ballerina length skirt out of six yards of silk chiffon over a full crinoline underskirt. This Chantilly lace was chosen in ivory for the bodice

Elin's gown was fashioned out of yards of fragile ivory silk chiffon and delicate lace. While most custom gowns crafted by a designer take anywhere from four to six months to complete, Elin needed her gown in two months. Despite the time crunch, we still had enough room for collaboration with decisions regarding fabric, silhouette and style. This was, as most custom gowns are: typically 80-90% handmade. Hand made means machines do some work like the side seams, cross seams, etc. There are however stitches on these one-of-a-kind gowns only expert handwork can touch in order to produce that exquisite finish

With a great deal of hand work, the bodice here is nearly complete. With all linings and boning in place, buttonhole looping has been added to the center back as silk covered buttons are sewn on.

Bodice and skirt have been joined before adding the crinoline underskirt

Voila! Elin's gown is complete with the addition of a separate underskirt and tie belt.

Elin in her gown. Doesn't she look stunning?
Erika Gerdemark Photography
Erika Gerdemark Photography

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Stephanie Williams Photography

What could be more feminine on a bride than lightweight, sheer fabrics. They have an airy, wispy look and feel that sets a light tone. While we're looking towards Winter, I know a lot of you are contemplating Spring 2010 weddings. Take a look at some of these gowns.

Digital She/Sweet Light Studios
Embossed silk chiffon gown with silk gauze train.
Chiffon-Lightweight and transparent, the delicacy of this fabric makes it best for billowing sleeves, cowl draped necklines, ruffles, ruched bodices and long, airy trains. See-through dresses worn over slips can be made of chiffon. Full skirts in chiffon are ethereal and can be layered.

Ron Greystar Photography
Lace and chiffon gown with detachable organza train dappled with rose petals

Organza-Shown above and below, organza is a light, springy and transparent fabric. Once considered suitable only for summer, organza is now year-round and widely used in gowns requiring full skirts, A-lines, trains, veils, drapes and overlays.

Stephanie Williams Photography
All over embroidered chiffon dress with full skirt
Ron Greystar Photography
Tulle-Fine mesh netting with hexagonal pattern that comes in silk or nylon. Tulle is standard material for bridal veils. Also used in bouffant skirts like the one pictured above, proffering that ballerina look Vera Wang popularized a few years back. While the big tulle skirt is classic, edgier versions of late suggest special effects like draping, rouching and pick-up treatments over more modified skirt silhouettes. Not to be overlooked for trains done in layers.

All gowns by Amy-Jo Tatum Bridal Couture

Monday, September 28, 2009





I've been waiting to run this piece for a long time. Chyna Darner is a photographer whose work follows that flow of photojournalistic style I love so much. She caught Krista and Jeremy's marina wedding story so beautifully with her keen eye for detail . When I first saw these images, I was blown away by the simplicity of Krista's gown by Amy Kuschel. Also the sense of fun shown through this whole wedding is an inspiration . . .

All photos copyright by Chyna Darner Photography

Sunday, September 27, 2009


Want to wear your hair up on your wedding day but don't want that same up-do look of every other bride? Check out a little bit of Sunday hair raising chic. A floral in the top image along with relaxed curls pull this look together. Below, braids are back and never looked better . . . .

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Found this on Grant-Riley Weddings and fell in love with the color combos. Brown and pink work together to set a calming mood for me most probably for the reason that these colors invoke the taste of chocolate and parfait. Add the champagne and you really have a sweet treat awaiting . . .

Friday, September 25, 2009


A vintage touchstone, Timeless Vixen has some of the best 1950s chic around. Yes, they do carry other eras--1870s to the 1970s--definitely worth checking out. All their pieces are the real deal which means genuine retro finds from the ages. They've gathered the most unique collection I've ever set eyes on. Collectors as well as private clients are wowed by their finds which include cocktail, bridal, lingerie and suits and day wear. All these gowns would be bridal stunners, surprisingly affordable . . .

Thursday, September 24, 2009


The ultimate essential for a bride: A Swarovski crystal tiara
When Sarah Ferguson married Prince Andrew in 1986, she wore a wreath of flowers on her head as she processed down the aisle of Westminster Abbey. Once she emerged from the registry after signing the marriage certificate, she had changed into a tiara for the recessional. Sarah went to the altar as a young lady and emerged on her husband's arm a married woman. Her statement was simple: According to custom for last two hundred years, the tiara has been the official headpiece of married women, and, ahem, dowagers. So why do Miss America winners get to wear them? Maybe because tiaras, aka diadems have always been worn by nobility and very important people. These jeweled crowns are as ancient as civilization itself. The earliest were found in the Greek/Roman world. Goldsmiths created them to crown the heads of statues of their Gods and priests. The Greeks also awarded them to Olympic champions, and higher-ups wore them to mark celebrated occasions. In Egypt the tiara was a symbol of respect to crown the heads of royal and noble mummies. Fast forward a few centuries and once the Bourbon monarchs returned after 1815, it spun off a real show of elaborate jewelry found in the tiaras of the French court. The British likewise made up some of the most memorable and stunning tiaras of the 19th Century. During this time tiaras became associated with weddings, ushering in the birth of the 'matrimonial tiara'.

sourceThe current Miss America . . . getting crowned with this particular tiara means everything.

Queen Alexandra's Kokoshnik Tiara

The following photos and descriptions come from Mandy's "Queen Alexandra, the wife of King Edward VII, commissioned Garrard's to create this tiara in the style of a Russian peasant girl's headdress. Her sister Princess Dagmar, who had become Empress Marie of Russia, had a similar tiara which was the inspiration for the Kokoshnik.
It is composed of sixty-one platinum bars and filled with 488 diamonds. It is often worn by HM The Queen today.

Queen Mary's "Girls of Great Britain & Ireland" tiara

This tiara was given to Princess May of Teck as a wedding gift. Lady Eve Greville's committee raised the money from "the girls of Great Britain and Ireland" for the tiara, which garnered more than £5000.
May, a German princess, was engaged to Prince George, son of King Edward VII. She would be known later in life as the formidable Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth II's mentor in all things royal.

This tiara was made by King George III for his wife, Queen Charlotte.

The Cambridge "Lover's Knot" tiara

Queen Mary instructed Garrard's to create this tiara in 1914, copying the design of a tiara worn by her grandmother, Princess Augusta of Hesse.
The tiara is named for the Cambridge side of Queen Mary's family, of which Princess Augusta was a part. She was married to the first Duke of Cambridge, a son of King George III. Her tiara was set on a base of pearls to match the hanging drop pearls that were suspended from diamond lover's knots. Queen Mary's design for the tiara did not have a base of pearls, but diamonds instead.
This tiara was frequently worn by Diana, Princess of Wales. It was a gift to her from Queen Elizabeth II. "

Russia in the mid to late 19th century had a real Renaissance of jewelry designers. This group of artists brought us some of the most magnificent tiaras and settings imaginable. With the crowning of England's King Edward II in 1902 and King George V in 1911, new tiaras incorporating the royal jewels made history. The Paris Opera, became the epicenter for head chic with many a jeweled and plumed woman, strutting one-of-a-kind tiaras. At the turn of the 20th century, more tiaras were worn than ever before. By the 1920s they were still with us but had evolved as elaborate fashion statements worn on bobbed heads some as bandeaux and aigrettes.

1920s tiara
Of course nobody gets a better deal or selection of tiaras than the royals. Shown above is Princess Margaret Rose wearing The Poltimore Tiara. Made by Garrards in 1870 for Lady Poltimore, this tiara made the real headlines when HRH the Princess wore it for her wedding to Anthony Armstrong-Jones in May 1960. Margaret's children let go of this grand and beautiful crown at an auction at Christie's in 2006.

HRH: A beautifully tiaraed Princess Grace of Monaco

My Fair LadyHere's the Great Audrey. The pageant tiara or more commonly known Holly Golightly pictured below, is the tiara we associate with brides today. She was somehow regal, whether faking it til she made it in Breakfast at Tiffany's, or the European aristocrat in Roman Holiday. Note how Audrey could wear these three very different tiaras in the roles she played.

Roman Holiday
Below are two versions of tiaras by contemporary designers.
True Blind Faith

Amy-Jo Tatum


I'd call this Lady above the ultimate tiara wearer . . . . She wears this ring of copper not because she is nobility but noble in all she represents which for me transcends any configuration of jewels and settings . . .

For a further, deeper read on this fascinating subject check out, Tiaras, A History of Splendor by Geoffery C. Munn. He's written two books on tiaras, both with some stunning photos and surprising info . . .