HERE COMES THE BRIDE / by Elizabeth Leese

It's hard to find the perfect dress. Especially when you're making it yourself.

Despite loving all things bridal, I have been very detached from most of the wedding planning process other than my dress. By the skin of my teeth I managed to order Save-the-Dates and I will probably be picking out music on the plane ride to Ireland. As odd as it is for myself as a rigid planner, the only detail I have poured into is my wedding dress. Even then, I have only a slight idea of what I will be wearing down the aisle. As I suspected (and dreaded), deciding on a dress has proved impossible; I have changed my design multiple times and made several muslins (a preliminary garment made of cotton). I'm sure this happens to many designers-- it's like trying to pick out what to wear in the morning except you have to choose months in advance and you really don't get to change your mind.

With more than just my wedding dress on my plate, I gave up my spring break vacation and focused my energy toward identifying my uncompromisable details. What details about my dress can I not live without? I know I am using a brilliant white silk, I also know without a doubt I will have trumpet silhouette to offset the lack of curves and a cape to replace the traditional veil. And knowing that I want simplicity as an element, I then have to find a way to add lace in a way that compliments all the other details.

So over spring break, I brewed a very strong pot of coffee, dragged out my watercolors, and began designing dress after dress with different variations of the trumpet skirt, the lace, and my other can't-live-without details. As it turns out, iterative designing is the best way to translate your brainwaves on to paper. The iterative technique just says, get all of your ideas on paper, then sketch some more. And after you've done that, you choose ten designs you like and redesign those three different ways. It's time consuming, but thanks to all the sketching I was able to narrow down my ideas and restart a new muslin!

There is no guarantee I won't change my mind again, in fact I'm counting on it. And because of that, I know I will end up with the best possible version of my gown. Sketches to come!