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The dress I didn't make

the dress i didn't make
wedding scrapbook page I tried out the brand new Jenni Bowlin inks and paints for this layout and I am so in love with the pink that I may need to stockpile it! I’ll show you the polka dot painting at the top in more detail soon.

I actually blogged about my wedding dress before the wedding, but of course I couldn’t share any pictures at the time — that would have ruined the secret! I actually went to every fitting on my own because I didn’t want anyone to know about the dress. Apparently I was so secretive that some of my friends had a betting pool about what colour it would be, so I suppose in the end it may have been far more traditional than some expected!

wedding dress by Candy Anthony, bridal photos by SJ Dowsett

I actually only tried dresses on at one place. I looked at some others but couldn’t commit to trying things on that just weren’t right. The fabulous girls at Candy Anthony never tried to talk me into dresses that didn’t meet my little checklist of what I had imagined in my mind. It was so refreshing to have someone take me at my word when I made blanket statements like I don’t want a strapless dress. They never tried to change my mind like so many others. The studio is an amazing little place and the in-progress dresses just visible through a doorway were just as intriguing as all the beautiful things on display. Popping in to see the dress come together was particularly cool. Taking it home in that giant bag, I don’t think I stopped smiling at all, even though I had to take it on the train during rush hour. Men were clueless and thought I had clearly gone on some sort of ridiculous shopping spree; women knew exactly what would come in a bag that big and smiled or even asked about the big day.

wedding dress by candy anthony

Originally I had imagined I would go with something a little more funky — I loved the idea of her polka dot dresses (and if this one had been in the collection at the time, it might have swayed me!) but in the end they seemed too much, and it was the simplicity of this dress that had me at hello. It wasn’t one they would bring out for an obvious choice of a summer wedding, but it turned out that sleeves were exactly what made the difference to me. I just liked the line of it all and when I asked if they thought I would melt wearing sleeves in August, the reply was Darling, you’ll be wearing a million layers of crinoline. If you melt, it will have nothing at all to do with sleeves. Oh: quite right.

bridal photos by SJ Dowsett

And pink crinoline, yes please! Pink and white in the veil too — although given the choice again, I think I would have gone for an additional petticoat and foregone the veil, but it was hardly an issue. As much as I wish I could wear my wedding dress for other occasions, I do actually wear that pink petticoat from time to time with other skirts and dresses. Once I wound up in a Marks & Spencer in full petticoat and it was quite amusing to try to fit through the sandwich aisle in all those layers of fluff!

wedding dress by candy anthony

I have worn my dress exactly once since the wedding — for some photos taken by SJ in which we spent the day walking all over the picturesque seaside town where she lives. It’s a quiet place, so anyone who did see us seemed shocked at the idea of walking around in a white dress, and several people asked if we were going to a fancy dress party (what was SJ’s costume then? A photographer?) and some people stared a little more than what was comfortable but all in all it was a fabulous fun day and something I would totally recommend. We didn’t take lots of portrait type pictures at our wedding because we wanted to enjoy the day, so we knew something like this would be an option. Some people actually do trash the dress sessions, but I didn’t want to trash my dress in the slightest and I can assure you that it survived entirely. Perhaps another benefit of a slightly shorter dress was that I never had to worry about it dragging along the ground.

wedding dress by candy anthony

Also, I think if you have a friend who is a dab hand with a camera, this is exactly the type of photo shoot that is perfect for a friend. Don’t get me wrong – there are amazingly talented photographers out there who do bridal shoots and I’m sure the experience would be amazing! But it was also nice to have a known quantity for the support when you’re doing something a little out of the ordinary, like walking around town in your wedding dress. Some of the silly ideas we tried didn’t make for amazing photos after all, but some of them worked and some of them just happened — like when we walked along the sea front to see this gorgeous old car. The people who owned it were sitting nearby and they giggled as we tried to take the pictures quickly before anyone noticed. But really – how perfect was that?

wedding scrapbook page More Jenni Bowlin paint here – for the stamping and painted onto the back of crepe paper to make the flower. I promise to share more paint things once it hits the stores!

I have been trying to plan a day for The Boy to join in the photos as well but sadly he is a bit more camera shy. Seriously his suit was amazing so eventually he will have to give in to more Kodak moments at his sartorial best! Oh, and unlike my dress which was many, many months in planning, he picked out his suit about 72 hours before he walked down the aisle. And had it tailored in that time too. I kid you not.

For the record, I don’t think I have ever included so many photos of myself in one post and I’m not planning to do it again any time soon. Eeep. But many thanks to SJ Dowsett for taking these pictures for me!!

Also, I am loving the snippets of your own wedding stories that are being left in the comments this week. I can’t wait to hear your wedding dress stories now!


PS: I still have the giant purple bag, and although it is a ridiculous size to store, I have no intention of ever giving it up.

26 August 2010

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31 Comments for The dress I didn't make

  1. mireille Says:

    what an awesome dress!!! you look so pretty Shimelle.. Congrats! =)

  2. Relly Says:

    I did a trash the dress session, 4 years after my wedding before I got pregnant with my second kid and knew there was no way I’d be a size 10 again!

    white dress, red shoes.

    Gorgeous dress, Shimelle and gorgeous page too. I should really get round to scrapbooking my wedding.

  3. Natalie Williams Says:

    beautiful dress!! I love it! I’m going to be starting my wedding dress shopping in the next few months and this has actually gotten me excited about it for the first time :)

  4. Hannah Says:

    I’m loving wedding week at! It’s so inspiring and so fun because it’s my 2 year anniversary next week! I’m actually so inspired that for the first time ever I am considering scrapbooking my wedding, until now it’s just seemed like such a mountain!! *

  5. Madeline Says:

    I remember the day you brought that bag home and posted a picture of it on your blog LOL
    I got married (the ist time) about 40 years ago and I still have my wedding gown and still think it is beautiful.
    I love your wedding dress, it screams Shimelle, really. Thanks for sharing the great photos

  6. Smeepee Says:

    Oh I absolutely love your dress Shimelle. I went for an ivory and pink for my wedding in February. I just had to have a hint of colour!

    I’m loving all your stories – its bringing mine all back for me!

  7. Betheroo Says:

    I love your dress, Shimelle and you looked beautiful in it. My wedding dress is preserved in a box in the attic. I’m not sure why, because I’m pretty sure my daughter won’t be wearing it! Maybe someday it will qualify as an antique!

  8. Lynda Says:

    Shimelle, Love your dress! We did have a professional photographer three years ago to take our pics of the last marriage for both of us! I love my dress which I can wear out but never really go anywhere that fancy. I thought I’d wear the jacket with jeans but haven’t yet. My colors were taupe (what a hard color to match!) and peach. Thanks for sharing and helping me remember. I do have a whole scrapbook of the event. What fun!

  9. Scrappi Sandi Says:

    Sigh!! Shimelle, you truly were such a beautiful bride & you kept your own ‘identity’ to boot!! The dress was so you & I love that you can still use the pink petticoats!

    My own dress,which took me six months to make, is still packed in it’s enormous box, along with my veil, in our loft. I had kept it, intending to make a christening gown out of the train, but that didn’t happen…& as I have two boys, it’s not likely to be recycled either!!! Ah well!!

    Thanks for sharing such lovely memories & photo’s! See you in class on the first!!

  10. Mel Says:

    It’s beautiful, as are you :-)

    I had my dress made for me – the dressmaker was fabulous, adapting a pattern to make exactly what I wanted, and doing the same for the 5 adult bridesmaids (yes, 5, plus a little flowergirl, but that’s a whole other story…)

    I could never trash my dress! It’s carefully packed away upstairs with my veil and shoes. No idea what we’ll do with it eventually but (13 years later) I just love knowing it’s still there :-)

  11. Cyndi Says:

    Beautiful piece Shim. I loved that dress of yours!

    I’ve had the opportunity to wear mine several times. (odd I know!) I was in a play at church and was selected for the part of the bride on top of the wedding cake. I think I got the part because even 10 years (and 2 kids) after my wedding I was still able to fit into my wedding dress. LOL

    It was so much fun to wear it again though :)

  12. Sinead Says:

    wow Shimelle your dress was just beautiful, you looked stunning!x

  13. kate Says:

    ooh Sj can you come and take some for a fellow bakers dozen member of me pleaaaaase? your dress seems so ‘you’ shimelle! I stated I wanted a dress with straps and ended up strapless, but I was happy with that!!!

  14. MarieP Says:

    What a sweet story! I love your dress and your total look! My dress is in its big, huge box. Is it only in America that you get your dress cleaned, boxed, and sealed up after the big day? It’s supposed to help preserve it but …. I got married in August, too, in yards and yards of Irish linen. People thought I was crazy!

  15. DeAnna Says:

    I loved having my dress custom made, and it was so much cheaper too! I wore “JLo” boots that laced up and were reminiscent of early 1900s boots but with a 4 inch spike heel (since we got married in December in Vancouver and inevitably I knew it was going to rain at least a little on the big day I knew I would not be wearing strappy sandals ;D). On the front of the dress I had white cording that criss-crossed just like the boots and the back of the dress laced up as well. I felt so beautiful in it, it was perfect! I also had the dressmaker make a faux fur jacket. I love your story and the classic look of your dress. Thanks for sharing your story.

  16. chris go Says:

    I love your dress! It is perfect for you in every way.

    When I bought the dress that became my wedding dress, I didn’t know it would be. Or maybe I did, but wasn’t ready to admit it. It hung in the closet for more than a year. It had the petticoat sewn in so it wasn’t so hot.

  17. doris Says:

    i have been enjoying your wedding week so much. what a delightful storyteller you are. :)

    p.s. the blue (soap box) is my favorite. i think i will need another bottle of that by the new year.

  18. Dogmatix Says:

    Loving wedding week. Bought my dress in a prom shop in ni…..was 3rd dress i tried after spending months avoiding wedding shops! Cream and black, it had bra type straps that broke just as we were announced into room for meal so we go in while trying to frantically fix them. Was v. funny and they had to b tied as a halter

  19. Lizzie Says:

    Loved this post, Shimelle! I have admired your dress ever since the first photos appeared. It really did seem to be so very “Shimelle”! The photos in this post show it off so well – it was fab. I love the two pics of you swinging on the balustrade and looking pensive by that red pillar. The one with the car is such fun!
    And the two layouts are so pretty. I’m waiting to hear more about the new Jenny Bowlin products – very interesting…

  20. Meghann Says:

    Love this story & the photos snapped by SJ. I do have to admit, that when I found my dress, it was like magic!

  21. Robin Says:

    What fun photos and memories—I too still have my wedding dress boxed away. Your wedding shoes are so much cuter than my plain white ones were—also I ended up on the honeymoon with only my wedding shoes—long story here :)—they didn’t go with much else that’s for sure! It’s funny now, and I should try to do a page on this. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Candace.M Says:

    Lovely photos and such a great idea to have some taken at a later date when all the stress of the big day is over.

    My Mom made my wedding dress so I had lots & lots of fittings over many months. As I was standing in front of the mirror 1/2 hr before we left for the church to my horror I noticed the middle panel of the corset top was inside out! It was embroidered silk and my Mom had stitched it the wrong way and not one of us had noticed in all this time. It sure gave us something to laugh about and calm the nerves.

    Neither did anybody else at the wedding.


    oh girlie, I just love your dress!

  24. Nicky Says:

    Lovely post, lovely setting, lovely dress. I posted a picture of me in my wedding dress that a friend made for me and also the fact that I (shock, horror!) cut it up to use as a sail on a fancy dress pirate ship!! I’ve got two boys you see… (scroll down for pic):

  25. Jennifer Clark Says:

    I love the dress! I thought for sure that I’d have something really simple or something rather plain when I picked mine… I really had no clue how many there are out there at the time. Of all things, my mom found one in a catalog and asked the store to find it and bring it out. My best friend and I took it into the dressing room making faces at it and laughing… until I tried it on. WOW. My mom picked my dress. I never would have imagined that. Then I refused to pay full price for it and found one on craigslist for $200. The dress has tons of beading and lace which I never thought I’d like… and got VERY dirty after the reception when we went to a local bar and the cost to clean it was more than the dress cost me to begin with!! So I have kept it hanging and plan to do a ‘trash the dress’ session with it because it’s already trashed!!! :D

  26. Jane Says:

    I love ‘simple’ Shimelle – it’s THE best style! my dress was white and pink with a short veil, your happy pictures bring back fond memories.

  27. Donna B Says:

    I bought my dress on the morning of my wedding. I had planned to wear a very pretty pink dress, but that morning I went shopping and found a darling white dress, ladies it cost $7. Of course it was 1955 then.
    It must have done the trick, I’ve been married 55 years, still have the dress and the most wonderful husband in the world.

  28. Jane Toft Says:

    Happy Anniversary Shim and Ben. I can vouch for the fact you looked fantabulous in the dress and the shoes were pretty spectacular too. The whole wedding was the most stylish I have ever been to with every little detail thought about. A beautiful day. Thanks for letting me be a part of it!

  29. Martha B. Says:

    Such a clever and beautiful idea to add the pink tulle under your dress! :)

  30. Ladkyis Says:

    As we only had four days to prepare for our wedding I washed and ironed the only dress I possessed and had my yellow jacket cleaned. One day I will tell the story of how we met and married – and why my daughter wore a tablecloth to the wedding

  31. glee Says:

    hi dear one, sorry haven’t had time for blog checking lately. but here’s my story: I made my wedding dress and my husband’s shirt, too. He wore (pink) suspenders. I wore the lace jacket my mom wore in her wedding in 1952! She was so touched. my gown was strapless, so it was good to have some coverage during the ceremony. I wore a beautiful haku lei on my hair w/ a long veil i’d made by just gluing random crystals about. aloha, glee

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