January: Nice Day for a White Wedding

Do you know what has always been one of my pet peeves? Brides who get married in the dead of winter in strapless or spaghetti-strap gowns. I know, I know, it's YOUR DAY, and you can do whatever you want, but is "whatever you want" to go around with goosebumps in all your pictures and a honeymoon with a brand-new head cold? (And no, a shawl doesn't really work.) I always think "Oh, she looks so beautiful … and she'd look even better if she wasn't shivering …"

Enter a dress like this, which is so gorgeous I almost want Mr. Dress A Day and I to renew our vows so I could get away with making (and wearing) it. (Although it's a BIT ostentatious for a vow-renewal …)

I'd make it in peau de soie, maybe with little white velvet buttons (or, ooh, ooh, white velvet *piping* and midriff band).

If you're getting married in early 2008, you probably have plenty of time to make this or have this made (I'd wait until the weather cools off a bit before tackling velvet, but that's just me, still in Taipei, where it's 90F and even thinking about velvet leads to heatstroke).

The special bonus you January brides will get for picking a dress like this, and not something strap- or sleeveless? You won't have to spend every minute of the next five months doing (or thinking you should be doing) triceps dips.

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0 thoughts on “January: Nice Day for a White Wedding

  1. I’ll admit I’ve seen some pretty hideous things at weddings in the shape of brides but I don’t want to jump on the bride bashing wagon.My first wedding dress was lovely, white, some fancy beading on the bodice and a steal at $500… My second wedding I wore J. Crew’s Sophia long silk dress in brilliant coral they don’t seem to offer anymore. I looked absolutely fabulous – the dcolletage was very becoming. This dress is lovely and elegant but I don’t think it would necessarily be great on a larger woman. I know my currently huge biceps would not carry off those sleeves the way the waifish model’s are doing.

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  2. The Houston Chronicle carried a write up of a bride who wore a lovely black gown to her non-goth wedding. The announcement noted that the bride, a popular bridal gown designer, had requested that all the women who had a bridal gown that had been made by the bride in the past were asked to wear the gowns to the wedding in November. The bride’s wedding announcement picture was her in her tiara with black tulling and gown, cuddling her cat. Apparently the cat was more photogenic that the new Mr.?

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  3. My mum married in ’72 in a beautiful dress – white broderie anglaise, square neck, puffed sleeves, empire waist, tiered skirt – and a big, floppy, seventies hat!I love the dress, but after a mortifying experience of trying it on as an 11-year-old and finding not just the sleeves but the bust too small for me, it went back in its bag in the back of mum’s wardrobe. Since it was a first wedding, and the dress will never fit me, she may well have given it away. 😦

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  4. First of all, I LOVE this website. I am planning to buy a sewing machine when it’s feasible and this site is really boosting my interest in dress making.Anyway, the wedding dress debate. I got married this January, and wore a cream satin dress with a black net overlay. It was a sleeveless dress with wide straps going into a v neck, but as I was getting married in Hackney & it was forcast to snow, I made damned sure I tracked down a cream wool coat with black buttons.I would have sweltered in the registery office wearing long sleeves, but finding the right coat pulled the whole thing together.

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  5. Amen to the idea of something other than strapless wedding dresses. Every bride for the past 6 or 7 years looks like she is wearing the same exact dress as every other bride out there. When you look at photos of decades gone by you see all sorts of styles long sleeves, short, cap, off the shoulder, low waist, empire, you name it. How luxurious to think of a velvet gown or trimed with fur!!thanks for bringing up this topic.

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  6. I love this site, too. Robinson – I agree, the J Crew long Sophia silk dress is absolutely lovely… it’s been my fantasy wedding dress for some time now. I think they’re phasing them out because chadwicks.com is selling a knock-off version, a choice of several colors, for $130 (rather than $225). The site also offers it in a knee-length dress, which might solve bridesmaid dress problems. (Um… no, I do not work for chadwicks!)

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  7. In 1975 I found the perfect wedding dress on sale for $45 at JC Penney. At the time huge pouffy things with lots of petticoats were in vogue, which was NOT my style. My dress was an empire with a long satin bow at the bodice. The top was little pleats with a square neckline (a nod to daring dcolletage) with shear sleeves. The skirt was straight and smooth, with a shear piece over the skirt that formed a short train in the back. Our flowers were daisies, and I had a ring of them in my hair.

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  8. wow, i never thought i would love short sleeves on a wedding dress. it’s so classy. i would almost consider having a winter wedding just because of this dress. how tasteful.

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  9. Late here, but I have to comment from the perspective of a recent bride. In January, I started shopping for dresses for my June wedding, and I was completely against strapless. But every dress I tried on with straps or sleeves made me look like I was attacked by a giant marshmallow, head-to-toe white was NOT a good thing for me. This dress, (I do agree it is gorgeous!), would have done the same. I ended up strapless because it really looked good on me, once I found the right one. Granted, I also liked the low back because of the reaction it got from my mother and mother in law. 😉 I posted some pics on my blog. I didn’t make my dress, I was also finishing my master’s degree! Namely I wanted beading and there was no way I was doing that by hand, when the perfect already-made one was “only” $500. We also wanted a 6-month engagement, to limit the stress of wedding planning. It was a budget affair, though still big and extravagent and oh-so-fun!

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  10. Nina,Vogue 2903. It was the closet I could come to an Oscar De La Renta dress I saw in a bridal magazine. Vogue patterns are on sale at Jo Anns this week of $3.99. I am a 38DD and it looked wonderful and was great to dance in with beautiful full gored skirt (no waist – short or 3/4 sleeves.) I put a crinoline under mine that I ordered from Hey Viv. Everyone loved the dress because different form every wedding they had been to this summer.

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  11. Here’s an idea for anyone who has their gown still hanging in their closet. When you have your 25,30 or 50th anniversary have a young female guest wear it. Years ago my dh and I were invited to the 50th anniversary party for his aunt and uncle who married in 1945. They still had their wedding clothes but they couldn’t wear them anymore so dh and I did! He wore a beautifully cut navy blue double breasted wool suit with cuffed trousers and I wore a cadet blue suit with a lovely pin tuck detail at the shoulders and an enormous bakalite buttons , a black felt hat, and white leather gloves. They were honored and it was a lot of fun for us too. Karen your strapless gown is beautiful and it was completely appropriate for your wedding (and your lovely figure).

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  12. Nina, Sorry to be obtuse, but is there any reason THIS vintage inspired pattern doesn’t do it for you? It has all the features you mention (modest neckline, fitted bodice, sleeves, full skirt). I know the sample is made up with a lace bodice but it wouldn’t have to be. The skirt can be cut without the train. Don’t like the sash? leave it off, or turn it into a ruched midriff band (I vote for the latter).If you’re looking for sources of inspiration, I suggest the vintage clothing sections of ebay. If you can get some clear photos of a style you like (even if it isn’t your size), a professional seamster should be able to make you a reasonable facsimile, even without a pattern in hand.

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  13. I adore this wedding dress. I think a young bride could wear it–it’s more a question of the bride’s style than age. As for the strapless dresses: if a bride wants to wear one I suppose she may but she should think twice about inflicting strapless on her bridesmaids. Chances are that they are of assorted shapes and sizes and probably won’t all be flattered by that style. My poor sister, who is very busty, has been a bridemaid several times and generally is made to wear a strapless dress, which isn’t at all flattering to her.

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  14. Wedding dresses all used to have sleeves, there are even special types of sleeves that you have for wedding dresses – so what happened to them all? It’s because evening dresses and evening wear that isn’t dresses(eg. skirt/trousers plus a kind of singlet top thingy) are all strapless or spaghetti straps, and so thus are wedding dresses. At least, that’s my conclusion. A wedding dress is a dressed up version of formal wear (not that most people know what the “formal” part of formal wear might be, nor do they know how to dress up) so it follows the fashion of the day. There’s only so much you can do with these modern wedding dresses, so they are often boring 😦 That was my train of thought when looking at wedding dresses a while back anyway and wondering why none of them had sleeves.I made my wedding dress, it had sleeves, and was orange with mustard-gold 17th Century style stays worn over the top. Unfortunately the sleeves weren’t how I wanted because I didn’t have enough material.

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  15. Another comment – what happened to veils? I thought wedding dresses were long with a wide skirt with a train and wedding sleeves and veils that covered the face as well as went down the back. Then when I looked at wedding dresses and went to weddings and so on, I discovered it was nothing like that. Everyone looks like they could be going just to dinner or an evening out at the pub, or if you’re lucky, to a school formal – all requiring only a change of colour if the dress is white.

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  16. My cousins wore my parents’ wedding garb on their 50th and we took a picture of them posed just as in a snapshot of my folks that we used for the invitation. My short mom is looking up at my tall father with an impish look, holding a tea cup midway to her mouth. He is smiling down at her, with napkins for them both in his suit pocket. Her look and his habit with the napkins endure to this day. Because it was wartime (WW II) she is wearing a blue suit with a short-sleeved white blouse (pin-tucked cotton, buttons down the back)that is not visible under her suit jacket. His suit is very dark navy with a pin stripe. My cousin Doug wasn’t quite tall enough for the suit, and Tami’s arms were too long for Mom’s jacket. At size 10, she just squeezed into the skirt, too! This surprised the hell out of my mother: quite the new perspective on just how “big” she really was all those years ago…

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  17. I, too, had a December (22)wedding. I dreamed of a white velvet or white crushed velour (think 70s)dress. First we couldn’t find a likeable pattern, but my mother was willing to combine pieces from several (saint that she is). However, we needed to make the dress during the summer, and it was impossible to find the cloth we needed. We were still undecided as to what to do, when in the search for a wintry type bridesmaid’s dress, I saw a white lacy, high neck, long-sleeved prom dress. It was perfect (not nearly as perfect as the pattern above, which wasn’t available then!!), and had been marked down so many times (who’d wear a dress to a prom that looked like a wedding gown?)that I got it for $12.00. I made my sister’s dress in a style that she could use again. The groom and best man wore navy suits. Church was already decorated for Christmas. Very inexpensive. But we had the most beautiful ceremony–much nicer than any I’ve seen recently. I still wish I could’ve had this beautiful pattern then!

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  18. Just wanted to let you know that I linked to this post in my wedding blog, Flaming Tulle. This isn’t a shameless plug, though! I read you often and have commented before. 🙂

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  19. Marie, I don’t know about other people, but I don’t like the symbolism of a veil. I think that might be a lot of why they have fallen to the wayside… symbolism.Anonymous-I looked at the Chadwick’s dress and it is amazingly similar. I have to wonder if it is cut as nicely at half the price though, and J. Crew’s is 2 inches longer which I think makes it look more formal.

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  20. personally, i hate strapless dresses. they don’t look good on ANYONE. but the dress you have pictured here, erin is scrumptious!i wore a white off the shoulder number that i got for $225, marked down from $1500 after some bride ordered it and never came back for it.

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  21. *gasp* It’s GORGEOUS! And, not that I’ve been proposed to yet, but I have been tossing around the idea of a winter wedding. How beautiful! This dress may have solidified my hopeful wishes…

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  22. Hi!!I just got engaged last week – getting married in Ireland next November – and decided to make my own dress. I wanted to draft and make a copy of Grace Kelly’s dress because I love the modest vinatge styles but now thanks to you am off to get the vogue pattern!! Thanks!

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  23. not getting maried any time soon but wanted to vent my frustration at all the sleeveless-ness going on in wedding dress design nowadaysI WANT SLEEVES!!!

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  24. I am going to be getting married in Dec. of 2009 and I purchased a wedding gown at a second hand store that fit like a glove, but I am having a train put on to it. I love to see other brides wanting long sleeve gowns too. I never understood why during the winter they would sell gowns that were strap less and short. I couldn’t find a gown that was good enough for winter in a bridal shop and do not have the money to get one specially made. I also find it hard to find brides maids dresses that have sleeves and are made of velvet and fur. Could anyone help me find a brides maid gown that is made of velvet with fur and comes in hunter green and emerald red? Thanks

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  25. I love this dress. Found it today on this site after searching forever for a long sleeved dress!!! I am 29 and I don’t see that this dress is more fitting for an older bride. It matches my style perfectly as I love classic elegance but I have a tendancy to add trendy touches to classic style. I think that this is very ladylike. I have always loved the Grace Kelly and Jackie O gracefulness!! This will be my dress!!!!

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  26. My sister recently got married in San Diego and had this EXACT dress custom made for her, except with short sleeves :]. It was absolutely beautiful. I’m planning on getting married next May. I also hate it when brides wear strapless dresses in the dead of winter. Although goosebumps, and purple skin ARE attractive…no one wants to see it.

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  27. That was custom made? I swear I saw the same exact thing on a while ago. Ah, well, and Pinky says she saw it get custom made, too. Maybe there’s just nothing new under the sun. It’s pretty, anyway.

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