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!