The Mister and I had a long engagement. When we did set a date for the big day, I knew that I just had to make my wedding dress. My friends and coworkers in the theatre costume shop attempted to dissuade me. It would be too hard, they said. You’ll be too busy. It will stress you out.
Fine, then. I’ll make the bridesmaid dresses. I’ll show them. Never mind I’d made Elizabethan gowns, sewn a 1940s style women’s suite from a hand drafted pattern, and can put in a fly zipper in 20 minutes flat. Never mind I just designed and sewed my good friend’s wedding dress a few months prior.
I’m not sure why I listened to them in the first place. So instead of making the wedding dress I designed in my head, I ordered one from Vietnam. I wanted to honor my Vietnamese heritage but with my own spin. The dress from Vietnam was cheap looking (but not inexpensive for a theatre person’s income). I didn’t want to look like a cheap Vietnamese hooker from Miss Saigon on my wedding day.
With less than six weeks before our wedding day, a good friend and I drove to the garment district in New York City. After walking many blocks, I had my heart set on the a red brocade. I know I could have bargained for a lower price but it was already a good deal. I even bought the brocade in a gold colorway. For the bridesmaids and groomsmen.
For the next six weeks as I cut and sewed like a mad woman. Since the Mister and I were living in sin, I had to wait until he was out of the apartment to work on my dress. I even made matching vests for the Mister and the groomsmen. We were still sewing on buttons the day before the wedding! I even managed to make all the bouquets, corsages and boutonnieres for everyone plus jewelry and hair sticks for us girls.
Everything came together and we all looked good in our wedding finery. That was over 11 years ago but I would totally do it all over again. I would just give myself more than six weeks to make everything.
This post was inspired by this month’s From Left to Write book club selection, The Funeral Dress. No one has ever entrusted impoverished Emmalee with anything important but she takes it upon herself to sew her mentor’s resting garment in The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Join From Left to Write on October 19 as we discuss The Funeral Dress. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.