Friday, September 16, 2011

Charmagne's Wedding: The Bride

I have so many wonderful wedding photos at my fingertips that I don't know where to start, so I'm asking myself, What will readers want to see first?

The Bride. Of course.
Here is a first glimpse, but I have to say before we continue how extraordinarily moving, joyful, and glorious this wedding day was. You might say that every wedding is amazingly special and full of joy, but it seemed to me there was an extra measure of something upon this occasion.

It was a great relief not to be faced with ANY bared bosoms, but that wasn't it. The bride and groom glowed with their love for one another and excitement in plighting their troth, but that wasn't it either. The best I can summarize it is that the hand of the Almighty was upon every detail of this day, and this was continually and publicly pointed out by those in attendance.

Why would the LORD God especially pour out His blessing on this wedding? I suggest because the hearts of the bride and groom and their parents have for a long time been devoted to loving Jesus Christ above any other. They have been willing to change the way they live in order to glorify God foremost. I saw this reflected in many small details. As the Scripture says, "...Blessed is the man that feareth the LORD, that delighteth greatly in his commandments," and, "By their fruits ye shall know them."*

*Psalm 112:1, Matthew 7:20
No, your eyes are not playing tricks. It is a literal cheese cake. The bride and groom addressed the cheese according to tradition, then it was whisked away by...actually, I didn't see who the whiskers were...and sliced for the guests to enjoy with their soup, breads, and meats.
When Charmagne showed me her almost-finished gown the week prior to the wedding, we discussed the pros and cons of many small buttons, which I remembered were a feature of the dress that Erin Mallon wore at Genevieve's wedding [see here for BN photo]. We agreed that small buttons, tiny button loops, and nervous/hurried fingers were not a good combination. But Charmagne has a trick or two up her sleeve.
You can have the look without the fuss. Insert an invisible zip and stitch a row of pearl buttons along one edge. No-one will know the difference (unless we tell them).
Here's another trick Charmagne learned from her sewing mentor. Stitch wide elastic straps into the side seams and afix clasps which fasten at the back when the dress is worn. The straps will support the dress and take the pressure off the zip. This is a wise precaution. My sister experienced as a bridesmaid the trauma of a zipper ripper during the reception. She stood with her back to a wall until the well-prepared chief bridesmaid was alerted to her distress and fetched safety pins and a shawl.
If you want a low neckline, it's essential to ensure it won't gape as you move. Charmagne designed a panel behind the embroidered satin bodice, joined to the satin on three sides but separate at the top. The top edge is banded with elastic. You can see in this image that it is slightly gathered when the dress is not being worn. The upper edge is trimmed with a netting ruffle. When the dress is worn, all that can be seen is a hint of ruffle behind the satin center panel.

Another secret to preventing The Great Gape on a square neckline is to stitch one end of a strip of elastic to each corner of the neckline and the other to the corresponding side seam under the bust. These bands were hidden between the silk outer and the cotton lining, so I wasn't able to snap an illustration of this. The bands provide a subtle downward pull and thus keep the fabric close to your body. [More details on how to achieve this here.]
Have you ever seen an old newspaper column detailing community social events? Weddings were plum topics for dissection. What the bridal party wore was described in meticulous detail. Charmagne's sister and matron of honour, Genevieve de Deugd (a founding member of Boutique Narelle), has provided this post-wedding savour for us via her family's website.

"I haven’t seen any of the wedding photos but I hope that some will capture the beauty of Charmagne’s wedding dress. It was a spectacular production. Charmagne designed and drafted the pattern and executed the dress in such a short time. It had a square neck, cap sleeves, princess lines at front and back.The dress was fitted around the bodice and then flowed out over a netted underskirt and ended in a curved train at the back. The skirt split at the front up to waist level to reveal a gathered netting fabric underneath. The split and train were all bordered by a braid containing a hint of gold. The dress itself was a white silk. The netting was curtain fabric – a hallmark in everything Charmagne creates. It always contains curtaining somewhere! Charmagne utilized a gold and crystal broach at the top of the split and sewed gold and crystal beads over the front of the dress in a spray pattern from the broach. It was all absolutely beautiful!"

Thank you, Genevieve!

If you'd like to read more about the ceremony and reception, click here and page down to entries from the 11th and 12th of September.

To view enlarged, click on photos.
 The bride shows her delight in her creation, her labour of love for her bridegroom.

The bodice panel and sleeves were fashioned from a narrow border of embroidered satin lace which Charmagne purchased from Bryan Gaskin Fabrics.

She used the hoop petticoat she created for her sister Genevieve's wedding. She wanted more fullness than Genevieve had, so she added an extra layer of net between the hoop layer and the existing net frills. At the hem, there are 4 layers of fabric, plus the polyester overskirt (lining fabric, for that little bit of rustle).


The wire that makes the 'hoop' is inserted in the hem of the white underlayer.
 Mr and Mrs Joshua Downes
Photo courtesy of Bethany Waugh.

Abundant gratitude goes to Samalah Gray for trusting me with her camera. My camera seems to be dying and it is certain I would not have captured the once-in-a-lifetime wedding moments as well as her camera allowed.

Who was there and what did they wear? Next week, more photos of the wedding and reception.

1 comment:

Mary Beth said...

Wow, what a pretty gown!!

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