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March 3, 2018

on making my wedding dress

Why I chose to make my own wedding dress
All photography by Jessica Holleque
When I first told people I was making my own wedding dress, everyone was polite about it. I received applause for my ambitions, but behind encouraging words, I could sense there was an inner dialogue. No one outwardly said what I'm sure they were thinking. Yikes. That dress is going to look tacky. Is she going to get it done in time? Will it fall apart? Why bother?? My friends and family are supportive, and luckily for my ego, courteous. Who wants to disagree with a bride-to-be, right? In the end, those thoughts of doubt (that I myself had many times during the dressmaking process) totally came true. My dress was a little tacky, in places. Specifically, the balloon-ish hemline and the uneven way the dress zipped up in the back. It was completed on time, but not by much. And yes, the dress did fall apart. Throughout the course of the day, my toes repeatedly snagged on the hemline, pulling out threads and making the skirt almost too long to walk in. In spite of all of that (or because of all of that), I love this dress. And I love that I got to make the dress I said my vows in.
Thoughts on sewing your own wedding dress
I want to write about our actual wedding day and share the photos our amazing photographer took, but I'll get to that in a later post. I feel so emotional about our wedding day, just tabbing through the photos makes me well up with tears! For now I'm going to focus on closing the book on this DIY wedding dress. 

My wife (eee!) and I got married elopement-style, which meant we had a stripped-down ceremony. We always knew our ceremony would be just the two of us, but we still pushed the "I Do" date almost two years away from our engagement. And it was all because of this dress. That and saving up money and vacation days for a bougie two-week honeymoon (10/10 would recommend).

Truthfully, this dress could've been completed in 2-3 dedicated weeks. It's a simple a-line design, and there's no excessive trim work or details. Instead, I opted for leisurely taking my time. I talked before about a longer timeline helped keep stress levels low, but the extra time kept me mindful as well. In between bouts of sewing, the dress hung on a form in our spare room. It's presence served as a reminder that I was lucky to find someone to share my life with. Every day that I chose to stitch a little, iron a bit, or make a decision about the design was a mini expression of love. Every time I walked into our spare room and saw it hanging there, I would get more and more excited about what my future held for me.
Why making your bridal gown means mindfulness
In the end, the dress is more symbolic than it is spectacular. I know it's plain, but that fits my style and makes me happy. It does, however, hold a lot emotional value. The dress represents care and mindfulness. It represents the attention and planning that went into not only our marriage, but the entire relationship I've shared with my partner. It symbolizes the dedication we have for each other (more so the dedication my wife has, seeing as how she was willing to wait almost two years for me to complete this project!). It symbolizes a growing love, a continually developing affection. It reminds me that good things don't just exist. Like my marriage, like my dress. Good things have to be built. 
Mindfulness in sewing: Making a DIY wedding dress
Details from our DIY wedding day
If you were curious about my shoe choice, I ended up going with some navy booties. They were hella comfortable, and I am able to wear them in my everyday life, too.

I promise, promise to write about the whole wedding day soon. It was a magical whirlwind of every emotion imaginable, and definitely the shortest, longest, best day of my life. I can't wait to share all the details from that day.
Intentional sewing | Why I'm grateful I made my own wedding dress
Thank you for following along in my adventure into dressmaking. It's been so fun to share challenges and decision-making with you all, and I am so appreciative of your words of support and encouragement. It feels strange to no longer have to tend to a project that's been a part of my life for such a long time, but I can't help to feel a little proud, too. I made my wedding dress!

Side note: The best part about making your own wedding dress is you can do with it as you please, and no one can say boo. I  ended up cutting off about a foot (!) from the bottom of the skirt before we made it to dinner. The skirt was getting muddy from walking around in the melting snow, I kept tripping on the hemline, and by that point in the day the dress had served its purpose. So, bonus - it ended up being a convertible dress too - haha! I got to share a lovely first meal with my wife in a cute little tea length dress. Happy endings all around.


P.S. To look back at the entire DIY wedding dress journey, start from Chapter One.

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