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The Wedding Planner: Do the Bustle

So, I was talking to Sarah Hand, explaining how wedding planning is making me stupid and boring, when she suggested that, instead of bemoaning my distracted state, I should embrace nuptial preparations, as this is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

She's right. Planning a wedding is a lot of work, but it's a task that I've chosen. My fiancé and I have, together, determined the shape of our marriage festivities. I've never really wanted a big wedding—a have a variety of issues, personally and in principle—with the "traditional" wedding, so we're having a small civil ceremony at the courthouse. But I do want a communal celebration, so we're also having a reception—two receptions, in fact: a pig-roast and a cocktail party. Not only does this arrangement give us the opportunity to solemnize our marriage in an intimate setting and celebrate it publicly, but it also affords me the exciting luxury of several different outfits.

Yes, I am foregoing the traditional gown, but I have devoted much emotional and aesthetic energy to my various bridal costumes. I'm still looking for shoes, but my courthouse look is basically ready to rock. I'm keeping my cocktail dress and accompanying footwear under wraps until their gala debut, but I will say that both are totally hot. That leaves my pig-roast attire, which I'm still working on. I do, however, have a vision.

Here's what I'm thinking: a long skirt, with a bustle, in white-on-white gingham, paired with a white t-shirt. I was first inspired by a Reem Acra wedding ensemble I saw in Martha Stewart Weddings. It was a full skirt in gorgeous cut lace, topped with a baby t. It was the perfect combination of elegance and insouciance.

I was still contemplating this look when I saw The Women. This was, on the whole, a frustrating film—it has one of the most irksome endings in the history of motion pictures—but it was, from a sartorial perspective, instructive. Midway through the picture, the ensemble cast of socialites attends a fashion show. The event consists of various set pieces, including a picnic tableau. There were vast skirts and broad-brimmed picture hats. It was all very extravagant for casual outdoor dining—it was all rather mad, but wonderfully so.

Baby got bustleThat's when it all came together for me. That's when I realized I wanted an elaborately formal skirt, but in an altogether unassuming fabric. I wanted it to be full-length and voluminous, but something I could get grass stains and BBQ sauce on without crying. I spent weeks looking at Victorian patterns, and I was vacillating between two favorites when I asked Sarah Hand for her opinion. She was wonderfully decisive—as is her way—and I have finally chosen a skirt. It's big, it's bustled, and I can order the pattern from Patterns of Time for just $15.50, plus shipping and handling.

May 25, 2004 | Permalink

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