The bride to be already had pretty clear ideas as to the style she was hoping to wear: she was after a very low back wedding dress, fitted bodice and a full fishtail skirt. Amber’s Pinterest board was full with detailed long bodices and romantic, layered skirts.
Photos by Carolyn Haslett Weddings
The lace Amber chose was extraordinary – French and pearl beaded by hand. It has an intricate texture, with various sizes of pearl, seed beads and sequins. And all in softly varying hues of subtle ivory.
Over the next few months whenever Amber was up from Wellington we scheduled in a wedding dress fitting or two. The top was difficult to fit because low backs have no hold whatsoever. Suitable lingerie is almost impossible to find, sometimes it’s best to build it into the dress.
There were also some wedding dress design changes – Amber wasn’t sure what she liked best. Luxurious backs where lace bleeds into the open back from the sides and shoulders look great in photos, but demand a sheer skin net to hold shape. While this French mesh is almost invisible, it can bubble during movement and does change your skin texture lightly, loosing that truly nude feel.
Several fittings later Amber made a final (almost final!) decision about her dress style – no mesh! It was to be shoe string straps, as tiny as possible.
When Amber came for her final fittings her gown was almost finished, with a great fit and the style working well. However, the wedding dress was so fitted, that during movement there was a tendency for the dress to ride up, which I was concerned about.
We had one evening remaining before Amber left, so I thought I might get stuck into it myself. There was something I was not quite happy with – it wasn’t just the riding up I’d have to solve, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
So I started. I decided to unpick the skirt, then I tightened the lower bodice and created a stronger fishtail silhouette by adding more tulle to the skirt. I added a wide band of elastic where the two met that pulled in the shape even more and kept the skirt in place, while giving space for Amber to move freely.
Now the shape was perfect. But there was something about the beading… So I decided to over-applique the gown, softening the design of the lace to create a more encrusted, all over beading effect. By the time my team arrived in the morning, the wedding dress looked amazing. I had worked though the night and was rather dishevelled! I handed it over for more hand-beading work and went off to have breakfast.
By the time Amber arrived we were on the last few stitches. When she tried on the gown it looked stunning! Everyone was thrilled.
In Amber’s words:
“Thanks again for such a beautiful job on my dream dress. So many amazing moments from the day and the dress was beyond perfect.”