Thursday, February 21, 2008

Bridal Special, Part 1 of 3

Genevieve Smith’s wedding day was a wonderful experience -- for the bride and groom, naturally, but for me also. I was greatly blessed by the fellowship as well as the ceremonies.

My review here will focus on the clothing, letting other photographers share wedding pictures on their own blogs. Below are some links for the curious. Send us your link if you've got pictures you'd like to share.

Genevieve’s sister Charmagne was Maid of Honour. Wedding Stylist has been her fulltime job for the past 3 months and I can see why. She designed and sewed her own and Genevieve’s gown, helped dress the rest of her family, plus creating the cake tower and many other gorgeous and creative items.
Charmagne based their pure silk gowns on this illustration the girls found in a library book titled “History in Detail". Dating from the late Victorian era, the style adapted well to something classic but modern, with a little lengthening of the sleeves, making the waist fitted all around, and adding ruching detail which Charmagne had seen used in small amounts on a trendy shirt.
Remember, click on these images to enlarge them. Curtain fabric was used to create a mock-up before cutting into the silk. (Spotlight often has curtain fabric available for $2-$3/m.) Charmagne estimates she spent 60 hours on Genevieve’s dress.

I commented on the large number of pearls decorating Genevieve’s gown – neckline, sleeves, waist, and hem...

...and learned they were pre-strung cultured pearls which their mother Barbara once upon a time used to string and sell. The pearls had come from an entrepreneurial uncle. Barbara gave what was left from her jewellery-making days to Genevieve, and Genevieve discovered them to be the perfect accessory for her wedding gown.

The above image shows the train hooked up for ease of movement. The skirt was supported by a petticoat of stiff net, with a rim of curtain wire stitched into the hem to keep the hoop stiff. Ruffles covered this, then a layer of fabric rested over the top of it all. TIP: This last step is very important for creating a smooth surface to lay the gown over. I once photographed a bride who was wearing a wired hoop skirt without an upper petticoat (see below). This created a ribbed effect on the satin of her gown which was unfortunate. If you want the bouffy skirt, make sure you pad it appropriately!

TIP: Charmagne’s secret for preventing a square neckline from gaping.
On each side of the bodice front, attach a length of round elastic to the corner of the neckline and the side seam under the armhole. It should sit in a straight line across the armhole, so you may have to experiment with how far down the side seam you attach it. It will lie without any pull while you are standing upright, but when you lean over, the forward motion of your bosom will stretch the elastic and hold the neckline against your chest.

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