What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Guest blogger Jamie Shupak, TV host, food blogger, and NY1's traffic reporter, will share how she's modernizing her mother's wedding dress, planning an interfaith wedding, picking the perfect flower crown, and so much more.
I love vintage clothes. I've never met a flea market or vintage clothing store that I haven't needed/wanted to explore completely. So it should come as no surprise that I'm wearing my mom's wedding dress to my wedding. It is so special and I am so excited about it, and honestly, it was so much easier than I expected to make it my own. All you need is a bit of optimism...and a few thousand dollars.
My parents (Neil and Helen) were married on May 17, 1975—almost 39 years ago. After I got engaged in October I came home to Philadelphia, and my mom and I dug out the box with the dress inside. When we pulled it out for examination, it was a wrinkly yellow mess. The former, of course, is easily remedied with an iron or steamer, but the latter? The yellow? Not to mention the purply-brown wine stains on one of the sleeves and torso? It was time to call in the big guns.
Luckily my best friend Jess works in fashion and is intimately familiar with the proper care and cleaning of couture. She recommended I take the dress to Madame Paulette, "the only people we trust at work with our gowns." I immediately called and made an appointment. There, the woman told me that it would go through a month-long cleaning and whitening process. She couldn't promise me anything except that "it will definitely be whiter than it is now." She also told me that since the fabric is a strong one, it would most likely hold up well during the process. There was hope!
Photos: Courtesy of Jamie Shupak
Still, I was a bit nervous that it would only become ivory when I wanted white. If I hated it, I'd be out $750 and I wouldn't have much time—only three months—to find a wedding dress. (Did I mention we were planning a wedding in four months?)
When I returned in December, I was ecstatic: The dress was sparkling white, the wine residue was gone, and in its place were tears of joy.
But our work wasn't done yet; the dress still needed to be altered. Enter Jess, once again, who recommended I take it to tailor Lars Nord. Lars is the sweetest, most unassuming guy who works out of the most humble of workspaces in Chelsea; a visitor would never guess that he works with A-list celebrities every day. His work ain't cheap, but damn if it isn't the best. He told me we could do whatever I wanted to make it my own—but suggested slicing off the arms and instead adding tiny lace cap sleeves to make it more modern. He'd pull in the bodice to make it slimmer all the way down and add a small train in the back for drama.
I went back a few weeks later with my mom and Jess and it was exactly as we envisioned. One more fitting after that, and the dress had transformed from 1975 beauty to 2014 perfection. The only question now: will my dad recognize it as the same one his bride wore?