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“If I could just make my own dress…”

Jul 31st

Stunning bride Katelyn in her blush wedding gown

Click on any image to view larger.
Photographs graciously provided by Alix Passage

One-of-a-kind couture gownGuest Post by Katelyn: I knew from the very beginning that I was going to need a dress that was… different. Not the typical “I want a dress that’s classic but unique” like a lot of brides start out with, but then end up with something that looks like everything else. I needed something different – something that was creative, something that was “crazy.” I needed something that my guests could look at and immediately say “that is so you.” More importantly, I needed something that I felt myself in.

So, about a year into our engagement, I started to go to bridal shops to find my perfect dress. I had been collecting pictures of “interesting” dresses that I liked, hoping I could find a combination of all those dresses put together. I didn’t get very far. I went to a total of two shops, and would have to say I tried on only about 15 dresses total. While they were all beautiful, and there were attributes from each dress that I really liked, I knew at the end of my second visit that no one was going to have the dress that was “me.”

Details of Katelyn's unique pink wedding gown by Janice Martin Couture

I started to get discouraged because I didn’t think that anyone would have this perfect dress. I wasn’t sure where to look, but worst yet, I wasn’t even sure what this dress was supposed to look like! So how was I going to find it? I thought, “if I could just make my own dress, it would have everything I want.” Wait – I don’t know how to make dresses! Maybe I should find someone who could? I didn’t know any dressmakers, or where to even search. I tried a Google search for dressmakers in Philadelphia, and called several shops that came up in the search. The dressmakers that I talked to immediately started talking about pricing, before I even discussed what I wanted in a dress. Those conversations just didn’t feel right to me. I tried the search again, but this time I opened up the search to areas outside of Philadelphia, but still close to the city. I stumbled upon Janice’s website, and was very impressed. I remember saying “I hope when I talk to Janice it goes better than my conversations with these other shops!” Fortunately, it did!

This wedding gown feature a fitted bodice and a full skirt with a multitude layers

Bride Katelyn wows in her light pink gown photographed by Alix Passage

From the very beginning, Janice expressed sincere interest in my ideas. I had found a blush pink gown from Vera Wang that I thought was beautiful, but of course I would have changed some things about it! I met with Janice and brought her the picture. I wasn’t very educated on “dressmaking terms,” but Janice worked with my lack of lingo. Needless to say, we came up with a good starting point and I was excited to let Janice start on this grand idea.
From day one, Janice appreciated my ideas and input. I didn’t have someone there telling me “that won’t look right,” or “you should do this instead.” Although I wasn’t educated on the lingo, I knew what I liked and didn’t like. The dressmaking process is so amazing because there are no limits to your creativity. If you want something a certain way, chances are it can happen. Not only can it happen, but you have so many choices to make it that way! My dress ended up being something spectacular, but wasn’t exactly the same as we had originally planned. That’s the beauty of it. As you go along, you can decide how you want your dress to be structured. You can make it long, then short, then long again. You can add on different fabrics. You can add a big pink bow in the back, or not! You can hold up different shades of pink, and decide which one you like the best. Or, you can choose all of them and incorporate them into your dress! I like being creative, and I found this to be an amazing outlet for me to use my creativity. I love what my dress became, and I loved that it was “me.” It was exactly what I wanted, even though I didn’t know that was what I wanted when we started. Did I mention that all of my guests said that my dress was me in every way? Even better, I received a lot of “I’ve never seen anything like it – it’s gorgeous!”

With a multitude of layers, the pale pink gown fit the bride like a glove

Not only was it amazing to watch your idea go from a paper bag template dress to a gorgeous wedding gown, but it was relieving to have Janice there every step of the way. She understood what I wanted, and embraced my ideas as well. She loved making this dress as much as I did – you can tell that this is her passion. She loves making dresses, but she loves her clients as well. I spent a good deal of time at her studio, but it didn’t seem like it. She was always genuinely interested in what was going on in my life, and she loved sharing stories with me. Everything about this process was exciting and fulfilling, and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. With that being said, who else could you possibly want to make your dress?

Katelyn & Steve threw a whimsical Dr. Seuss-inspired wedding in Philadelphia

Want to see more of Katelyn’s wedding? Check out photographer Alix Passage’s vintage Vogue inspired images from Katelyn’s wedding day.

Kately & Steve’s Philadelphia Dr. Seuss-themed wedding was also featured on Offbeat Bride


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