Cheap 'n' Quirky Wedding

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Peplum Dresses June 5, 2012

Filed under: the dress — clln @ 4:10 pm
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Carolina Herrera peplum dress, photo credit Thomas Iannaccone

Peplum is all the rage right now so as you’re trying on wedding gowns with hip flaps (as Jezebel calls them,) you should probably keep a few things in mind:

1. It’s all the rage right now, but it’s a trend. Eventually it won’t be all the rage, it will be “so 2012.” Just think of all of the fashion-forward brides of the 1980s. These photos are going to be in your home for years to come, treasured by your children and grandchildren. That is, unless your outfits are so dated that the photos are just laughed at by your children and grandchildren.

2. Think of where most peplums are placed. Now think of where you’ll be holding your bouquet (if you choose to hold one, this is your wedding, do your thing.) It’s the same place. The one plus side is that it will keep your arms away from your sides, making them appear slimmer in photos, but you’ll lose the whole peplum effect. What’s the point in wearing it if it adds bulk but will never be seen? See the above photo for reference and keep in mind that the model is holding a smaller-than-average bouquet.

3. Are you wearing the dress or is the dress wearing you? For some people, the dress is the most important part of the wedding. If you’re cheap ‘n’ quirky, I assume you’re different. For me, the most important part of the wedding was that I was marrying my soul mate. I wanted the photos to reflect us, not the fancy outfits we wore once. Now, if you’re a fashion-forward couple, maybe peplums do reflect who you are. In that case, rock it. But make sure that you’re the center of attention, not the fabric you’re covered with.

As you may have guessed, I am not on the peplum bandwagon. I acknowledge that they create curves and sometimes they add to a very interesting, architectural dress. But on top of being cheap and quirky, I am also practical. I want wedding photos to stay classic forever. I’m not dumping all over peplums though, I have some solutions!

Elizabeth Fillmore peplum gown

1. A peplum dress for the reception! I know, before my own wedding I vehemently opposed reception dresses because it’s an added expense and you only get to wear your gown once for a few hours anyway, BUT, at my own wedding, I realized how difficult it was to walk around and dance in my dress (which wasn’t even very big.) So if you’re really set on a peplum, why not wear it after you’ve put your bouquet down?

2. Choose a dress with a soft, not-so-voluminous peplum that hangs low like the Elizabeth Fillmore gown to the right. You’ll get the peplum look you crave and it can easily share your hip area with your bouquet.

3. Make the bridesmaids wear the peplum. They get to be trendy, you’ll look classic, and your wedding will have lots of peplums.

Keep in mind that none of the dresses listed above are in the Cheap ‘n’ Quirky price point, they’re for reference only. While I am a peplum-hater, I support your choice to wear a dress that’s just as quirky as you want it. If you choose peplum, keep the above notes in mind and choose wisely. Then wear the heck out of that dress and look radiant! Do you love peplum? Do you love it for brides? Let me know in the comments.


Holy Dress Nightmare, Batman April 1, 2011

Filed under: bridal party,the dress — clln @ 1:09 am
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If you’re getting married, chances are that no matter how calm you are, someone has called or will call you a bridezilla. Many people noted that I was very easy-going in comparison to the stereotype of brides to be, yet even I was called a bridezilla. My diva-like crime? I calmly pointed out that the return address label on the invitation envelope should go in the upper left corner after one of my friends stuck it on the right upper corner (where the stamp has to go.) Bridezilla just seems to be a buzz-word that everyone is quick to use the minute any bride has a request, no matter how reasonable. I stumbled across this article from the New York Times about a “bridezilla” today, written by the woman who was accused of being a bridezilla. What a nightmare! Is it unreasonable to demand that you get a clean dress? When you’re paying $1000, I shouldn’t think so! But this does happen, and it hit close to home.

My now mother-in-law had a lot of trouble with the seamstress who was altering her dress as well as her daughter’s (my now sister-in-law and my bridesmaid.) They had delivered both dresses to the seamstress at a local bridal store (where my SIL’s dress was purchased, but not my MIL’s) a couple of months before the wedding, but they weren’t ready for the final fitting until two days before the wedding. When my MIL went to the seamstress for the final fitting, she spotted a discoloration. The seamstress denied seeing anything there, she rubbed at it a bit, she tried to clean it and it looked the same. She admitted that she had no idea what it was. My MIL was extremely upset. With the amount of money she had paid, she expected her dress to come out clean and fitted in a timely matter, but that wasn’t the case. Not thinking anything could be done for the strange discoloration, I tried to assure her that no one would notice it as it was on the back and she’d be moving around all night.

In the end, that seamstress wouldn’t do anything for her and I couldn’t comfort her. She took it back to the store where she’d purchased it (another bridal store) and the seamstress there immediately identified it as the stain of oil you’d use to lubricate a sewing machine. This was odd as the jacket didn’t require any alterations, it shouldn’t have been anywhere near a sewing machine and definitely not near oil. Also, if it was a stain from a tool of the trade and this second seamstress identified it so fast, how could the first seamstress not realize what it was?

Now for the happy ending: the seamstress at the other bridal store was able to remove the stain within a few minutes and the jacket was back to being one color. My MIL looked great and felt great about her outfit. This worked out well just in time for the wedding, as it did for Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg when she got the second dress she writes about in her article. Unlike Kefauver Goldberg, we didn’t have to deal with legal proceedings afterward. So the moral of the story is, just because a seamstress works at a bridal shop doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re the best. You know who altered my gown and my other bridesmaids’ dresses? A friend who just graduated from fashion design school and does a few alterations on the side of her new job. She did amazing work, my gown fit fabulously. My MIL tried to warn me against using someone “inexperienced” for my alterations, but look how her professional alteration went. I’d seen my friends work (a dazzling couture collection of evening gowns for her final project) so I knew I could expect greatness. If there’s any way that you can ask to see the work of your seamstress/tailor, definitely do it. Or better yet, get a recommendation from someone you trust.


November Rain, 2011 June 3, 2010

When I first got engaged, so many girlfriends asked what wedding theme we were going with. I was still basking in the giddiness of a surprise proposal and hadn’t even thought about it (apparently everyone else has this pre-planned.) To combat this question, I decided to tell people the theme was November Rain. Yes, that November Rain. Guns ‘N’ Roses’ epic. The song that is becoming stuck in your head right now. This one:

I figured people would be so stunned at the idea of the short-front, long-back dress and Axl’s jacket that they wouldn’t be able to come up with any further questions and we’d be free to take our time coming up with this theme (or not coming up with one at all, as we’ve been doing.)

Turns out I’m not the only one who remembers November Rain‘s music video. Check out this Reem Acra dress from the Spring 2011 Collection:

Reem Acra dress from the Spring 2011 Collection

Modern twist on a music video classic. So, if you want to recreate the November Rain wedding, here’s your modern chance. Are you planning on recreating any famous weddings? Like this dress? Share all of your thoughts in the comments!

P.S. When I was first describing the dress as “short front, long back,” all I could think of was a mullet. An unfortunate comparison, yet hilarious.


My dress fits! May 27, 2010

Filed under: the dress,Uncategorized — clln @ 2:36 am
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I’m excited to announce that I won’t be flashing the guests at the wedding. I went for my second dress fitting this past weekend and my dress stays up! My MOH’s cousin’ girlfriend, who happens to be an amazingly talented recent fashion school grad, is doing the alterations. I actually modeled some of her work for her final project and I was blown away so I trust her completely with the alterations on my precious dress.

But that’s not all! She’s working on a fabric flower made of the excess material she removed when she shortened the dress. Sadly, the Martha flowers just weren’t working with the dress. The voile material I made them out of didn’t have the same sheen as the taffeta so they just don’t look elegant enough. Emily’s designs were covered in beautiful fabric flowers and she even created stunning headpieces for the line she made for her final project, so I have no doubt that the flower is going to look amazing. What’s even better is that it reuses scrap material and saves me from buying a brooch. I’ll still use the Martha flowers for my hair, the colour is the same as the dress and the lack of shine will be less apparent in my hair.

Best news of all is that my dress should be ready by the end of this week! The hem just has to be sewn and the train needs to be bussled. Excited!

Here’s the part where I’d normally post a photo of me in my dress. You’ll notice there is no photo. A friend of mine was bugging me to see the dress and then I realized I don’t have to show her. i don’t have to show anyone. If everyone has seen it, the “wow factor” will be diminished on the big day. Most importantly, I don’t want my FH to see it before the big day. You understand.


My dress is here! April 28, 2010

Filed under: the dress,Uncategorized — clln @ 2:16 am

Finally! I ordered my dress back in November and I got the call last week that it was ready. I picked it up and I fell in love all over again! Sounds weird, but there are no photos of the Jayne Louis line online and you’re not allowed to take photos in the store so I might have sort of forgotten what it looks like. People must have thought I wasn’t excited when I gave them the warning that the dress might not actually look like I described and I didn’t have a photo. Hey, businesses are very protective of their designs, it wasn’t my choice to not take a photo.

On the plus side, the dress will be a surprise to people. Also, I got a pleasant surprise when I saw it again, it wasn’t as plain as I remembered, I was worried I’d have to do some major embellishing. It may not even need the fabric flowers after all, I’ll just use them in my hair.

While my blog is called Cheap ‘n’ Quirky (after my mantra for pretty much my entire life), this dress really wasn’t cheap or quirky. I failed. Buuuut I won at buying a dress I love. And it was $850, so cheaper than some dresses, but more than I intended to spend. Now for the alterations. Hopefully I can find a cheap ‘n’ talented tailor or seamstress.