Archive: September 2014 Archives » Party Designs By Carol

Time Line of a Wedding Dress Disaster

As a wedding planner, one of my greatest challenges is producing an event for someone who is in, or is knowledgeable about, some part of the business.  In this case, it was the bride herself.

She is a movie and TV costumer, owns a costume workshop business, and knows about clothes, sewing, fabrics etc.  So…. Sourcing her own fabric, choosing her own designer to build the dress, and setting up the time-frame for all of this should have been a slam-dunk.  Right?

The wedding would be in mid-June, so…

December: I mentioned that it usually takes about 6 months to create a wedding gown, and she should get together with her designer.  “Oh don’t worry … we have time.”

January: “Red Carpet Season is coming, and your designer is going to be slammed … maybe time to get going?”

February: Glad to hear you are sourcing the fabrics, but…  Do you have the sketch for the dress?

March: Finally, from the designer, a sketch, a revised contract, and a timeline for fittings and completion date of June 1st, two weeks before the wedding.

Wedding Dress Sketch 1A

March, April & May: Fabric selected, but not available. New fabric selected, special underskirt made (by the bride),  muslin fittings (not going so well)

Early June: More fittings – things are still not right!

The wedding is Saturday evening, June 14th!

Thursday, June 12th:  Final Fitting for 3 hours; the dress seams are opened up because it’s not sitting correctly; there isn’t enough allowance in the side seams to re-position; the zipper, train, and pleating are not finished.  ”Don’t worry,” the designer says … ”It’s not as bad as it looks.  You can pick it up tomorrow (Friday) on your way to the rehearsal dinner.”

“OH NO!!,” I said, “The bride will be here tomorrow morning to try it on again.  We are not leaving everything until Friday night!

Friday, June 13th:

10:00 am: Text message, “Sorry, cannot finish the dress without hiring extra people to come in and sew, and that will cost extra.”

11:00 am:  The bride and her sister are at Macy’s to buy a backup wedding dress – ANY dress!

1:00 pm: Friend of the bride “retrieves” the dress from the now-fired dress maker (who cries the whole time), and brings it back to the costume workshop.  The most important piece is the ombre’d underskirt which is an integral part of the design, which the bride crafted herself.

2:00 pm: The bride is at the workshop to try on the disaster-dress – all the experts determine it is “not salvageable” (except for the specially-designed ombre’d underskirt, which the bride made herself).

Below is the dress on a mannequin. This is how it came to shop from the designer who had worked all night!  All those pins!





2:30 pm: The bride’s designer friend, David, says, “Let’s get in the car and go buy a dress”

2:45 pm: The bride and friends leave the workshop, go to David’s Bridal … and buy a sample dress off a mannequin, then go back to the shop and begin to make it work

4:00 pm – 12:30 am: All hands on deck!  Four friends are working on the two dresses.  Removing the special ombre’d underskirt from the disaster-dress, and switch it for part of the skirt from the David’s Bridal dress!

6:30 pm: The bride arrives at the rehearsal dinner, and rising to the occasion manages to enjoy herself

11:30 pm: The bride leaves the after-rehearsal-dinner cocktail party, returning to the workshop to try on the dress again, pinning it up for minor alterations

Saturday, June 14th : The Wedding Day

10:00 am:  Designer friend David and business co-owner Holly are at the workshop finishing up the re-worked dress.


1:20 pm: Holly, the bride’s business partner and bridesmaid, arrives at the wedding venue with a finished WEDDING GOWN

2:30 pm: The bride is taking pre-wedding photos and looking beautiful!



5:30 pm: The bride walks down the aisle wearing a gown, which was in serious doubt hours earlier.  (The modified David’s Bridal gown is remarkably like the ill-fated custom-designed version, but this one has been created by the loving hands of some of the bride’s best friends!)

Post-Script: The bride’s mother, who is ALSO this wedding planner, is relieved beyond belief!

August 2nd: Celebration thank-you dinner with the friends!



Weddings in Scandinavia

We had the most amazing trip this summer to Scandinavia and the Baltic Countries.  And, as usual, along the way we looked for weddings and things that are wedding-related.

Early in the trip, we visited the small island of Marken outside of Amsterdam, Netherlands.  In our walk around this old fishing village, we stopped at the home of a woman who has created a small museum to keep the history of the island alive.  We were treated to pictures in a book, and then actual wedding outfits from the 18th Century.  The best part: the beautiful hand-carved wooden shoes the groom made for the bride.  They couldn’t get married until he finished carving!

photo 1a

photo 2a

Also, in Amsterdam: the Rijksmuseum, and the famously beautiful painting by Rembrandt of The Jewish Bride  we also viewed a lovely painting of a wedding couple in the Jewish Museum there.

photo 3

photo 3aWedding Portrait in Jewish Museum Amsterdam

Our visit to the Van Loon House Museum was fascinating.  The canal house is owned and operated by the same family since the mid-1500’s. The back of the house opens onto a lovely garden. They rent the space for weddings and were in the process of doing the set up, so of course I couldn’t resist taking some photos!  Sorry we couldn’t stay long enough to see the wedding.

photo 7

photo 8

photo 9

In Copenhagan we had dinner at a very contemporary restaurant with an avant garde menu….and of course, we saw the wedding dinner and met the wedding couple!

photo 4

It’s always fun to see a store window with wedding gowns, and to find that styles are not so different than they are here in the U.S. (and, having a sale as well!)

photo 5

In Klaipeda, Lithuania we toured the marina, and saw a bride and groom with their photographer.  Where are they going?  Oh … they come here to take pictures a few days before the wedding!  They don’t have enough time on the wedding day, so they get all dressed and do it ahead of time.  Wow!  (so you get to wear your dress twice – nice!)

photo 11 Klaipeda

photo 12 KlaipedaUpon arrival in Helsinki, we took a ride with our guide out to the charming village of Porvoo.  In the small, old stone church there, what did we see?  A wedding rehearsal, of course.  Same as here!!

Photo 13 Porvoo Cathedral Wedding Rehearsal

Another couple – this time in St. Petersburg, Russia.  In the gardens at Catherine’s Palace Museum, and then outside another museum. This is the “the thing” to do in St. Petersberg.  They rent a limo, have friends and lots of champagne, and go all over town taking wedding photos in famous places.  What fun!

photo 15

photo 16 Bride Groom & Photographer

photo 16 Bride

Also in St. Petersberg, we visited the Grand Synagogue, and saw their beautiful and very impressive wedding room.  We have never seen that in any other synagogue.

photo 17 Synagogue Wedding Room

We continued our adventures with a driving trip in Sweden.  Such a beautiful country, and such lovely people!  In Gothenburg, we chanced upon a church where they were having a baptism.  It was lovely; we enjoyed the music and sitting over on the side and just watching.

photo 18 St Marias Baptism

photo 19 St Marias BaptismOur trip ended in Stockholm, Sweden.  On a tour of the Stadshuset (City Hall) we were allowed to walk thru the “Wedding Room” where couples can make a reservation to be married.  It is very special, with centuries-old tapestries.  Everyone wants to be married here, and the wait list is quite long.  So the couples have a choice of the the 3 minute ceremony or the more expensive 7 minute ceremony.  (oh my!!)

photo 20 C & Stadshuset Civil Marriage Room

Next came the banquet halls.  The lower banquet hall/ Foyer is where they hold the dinner for the Nobel Prize Winners (remember- we are in Stockholm). …. Impressive, to say the least.

photo 21 Stadshuset Decorated Stairway

We were delighted to see the large banquet hall upstairs.  This stunning hall, which can be rented for special events, was being set for an event that evening.  (that’s why the staircase in the previous photo was being decorated)  These photos should look familiar to all of us!

photo 22Stadshuset Banquet Setup

photo 23 Stadshuset Banquet Setup

photo 24 Stadshuset Banquet Setup

It is so much fun to travel, and to keep an eye open for things that are personally interesting to us.  Some people take pictures of special birds, or jewelry or architectural features.  I am always looking for life-cycle events and especially weddings!

Till next time……