Many brides find the dress of their dreams hanging on a rack and have a real life “Say Yes to the Dress” experience. Others, not so much. So many brides crave custom gowns that speak to who they are. These pieces can be preserved and passed down for generations to come. Heirloom pieces make for such touching details in weddings, whether they are counted as the bride's something old or just respectfully used in the decor. Celeste Chachere, Director of Marketing and Public Relations at Tony Chachere's Creole Food shares her experience of creating an heirloom wedding crest and dress.
There were so many details about your wedding that were truly unique and custom. How did you decide on the crest?
CC: Almost everything was DIY for our ceremony and reception in New Orleans. Tony Chachere's creative director, Todd Ardoin, created the crest for us. Since I was keeping my own last name, he used the first letters of our name, which I like because it symbolized the beginning of our lives together and our partnership. Todd has a background in graphic design, and the crest is actually hand-lettered and in watercolor. When I saw it, I fell in love and put it on everything that I could. I'm very much into the southern mindset of "If it doesn't move, monogram it." Todd and his wife Cindy gifted us with the framed original design piece. Andy and I have it hanging in our dining room.
Let's talk about your gorgeous dress- what made you want to create a custom dress for yourself?
CC: I was a fashion major in college, so I do enjoy the aspect of design. I was looking for a really classic silhouette, but not finding what I wanted on the racks. I was finding that I liked some characters in each dress, but not the whole package. In trying on a gown by Palloma Blanca, I found out that Palloma Blanca sells yardage of the raw silk material that I loved, as well as beading and buttons. After that, I began looking for a seamstress that I could work with on customizing my gown.
The gown has so many beautiful details, but it is hard to classify it into one gown type. How would you describe your dress?
CC: I'm not sure that it falls into just one category. It is raw silk, off the shoulder gown. The bodice and sleeves have pintucks with contrast with the bottom of the dress, which was made in a ballgown style with box pleats. Hidden in the box pleats were pockets, which were great for holding my cellphone to take selfies and my own pictures of our special day. There was a single-loop opera bow on the back of the dress, and I had our wedding crest embroidered on the bow. Andy also chose to custom-design his suit, and the wedding crest is embroidered on the inside the suit jacket.
Do you plan for your dress and his suit to be heirloom pieces for your children and grandchildren.
CC: We found out that we were pregnant not long after our November 2018 wedding, so my thoughts quickly shifted to saving and preserving things for our daughter. We set the table with the crest monogrammed napkins, a monogrammed pillow that was used in the wedding is now a part of her nursery. We are working on adding her initial to the crest.
What advice would you give any bride-to-be who is having a difficult time finding what she wants in on-the-rack gowns?
CC: When I started dress shopping, I had no idea that there was this "middle of the road" option. Many mid-tiered designers offer semi-customized options that are affordable. In creating my gown, I stayed within my set budget and paid even less than I would have paid for an off the rack dress that I would not have been delighted with. I would say, give yourself some lead time. My gown took about 9 months to complete. Also it is very important to find a seamstress that you trust to complete the work.