Weddings in the era of COVID-19

Photography by Sean M. Hower (Maui Wedding Vacation Photography)

The start of 2020 began witha bang and a whole lot of promise. However, the pandemic quickly changed that and gave the entire world an unexpected shift of events. We, being a dressmaking and design studio, want to open up the conversation about weddings and the future of weddings in the era of covid-19. Share your thoughts or ideas in the comments below!

In 2019, the Hawaiian islands saw 20,058 weddings within one year. The Knot lists Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island as some of the best destination wedding locations. The average size of an American wedding is 167 people. The average wedding costs ranged from $27,000 to $44,000 between the years 2017 and 2018. So all of these numbers are to say, that for 1. Weddings are expensive! 2. Most weddings have over 100 people (not so easy to socially distance with crowds this big) and 3. Hawai’i ranks high on the list for destination wedding locations. 

Now, in the era of covid-19 when large crowds and numbers are not in the cards, and we are currently in a recession–and perhaps not trying to throw thousands of dollars into a wedding; how do we go about our dream weddings we once fantasized about? How do we make them just as special but without the large crowds and expenses? 

In re-imagining weddings and the future of weddings, our solutions are tiny weddings and elopements. Take the stress out of planning large and elaborate weddings and instead put it into making a beautifully, intimate wedding. Maybe it is simply just you and your partner, or maybe it is just your immediate family, maybe it is right in your backyard, or maybe it is in the jungles of Maui, on the slopes of Haleakalā, under the hidden waterfalls on Maui, or on the beach near the ocean. Suddenly when you downsize your wedding, the possibilities become infinite. Make your wedding day small, intimate, meaningful, and one that you can truly cherish and remember without all the extra stress.

Photography by Sean M. Hower (Maui Wedding Vacation Photography)

A client we worked with a few months ago, Priscilla, had a jungle elopement! Now that just sounds adventurous, beautiful, and exciting! Her wedding day looked surreal! We worked on her wedding dress for this beautiful elopement with her partner. Check out some photos from her elopement below. Photos by Sean M. Hower (Maui Wedding Vacation Photography). 

How are you reimaging your wedding during the pandemic? Comment your ideas below. And stay tuned for some more conversations and ideas about the future of weddings and some friends on Maui curating some dreamy tiny weddings.

 

References

https://wedding.report/index.cfm/action/wedding_statistics/view/market/id/15/idtype/s/location/Hawaii/

 https://www.theknot.com/content/best-destination-wedding-locations 

https://www.brides.com/gallery/american-wedding-study#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Brides%20American%20Wedding%20Study%2C%20most%20weddings%20have,with%20the%20average%20being%20167

https://www.brides.com/gallery/american-wedding-study#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20Brides%20American%20Wedding%20Study%2C%20most%20weddings%20have,with%20the%20average%20being%20167

 

A story behind the gown

Designing your own wedding gown can be a very intimidating and stressful process. Sometimes it is much easier to dream up the perfect gown in your head than it is to display on paper or in words to a designer. My favorite part about dressmaking is the fact that it becomes a co-creation. It is a constant dialogue between the designer and the bride to arrive at each detail and decision. In the end, what becomes created is far more than you could have imagined or dreamed of. 

A past bride, Cory, came to me with a vision of her dress in pencil drawing. The design of her dress was as unique and wonderful as she is. I was so excited to bring this dress to life and make Cory’s vision come true! Every detail was a delight to work on, from the back treatment with the crystal buttons to the collar to the black velvet sash. The experience was wonderful, and Cory was an exquisite bride to work with, too! She was an absolute delight and I was so happy to co-create her wedding gown!

Cory Michelle Hall held her wedding at Hui No’eau on October 19, 2019. Photography featured is by Scott Drexler Photography. 

In Cory’s words: 

“I came to Jennifer with only a pencil drawing of my dress. I had come up with what I wanted on that piece of paper, and Jennifer not only met me with the hope that it was possible, she made it happen! Every step of the way, Jennifer was gracious, incredibly kind and her talent and expertise really shined through in each and every detail. It is such a special time in life but it can be stressful as well. Working with Jennifer alleviated the stress and brought focus on the joy.  Every appointment throughout my dress creation to its fruition, was exciting, comforting, professional and full with the gift of Jennifer’s talent. Not only is her work exquisite with a profound attention to detail and her talent incomparable – she is a caring, patient and beautiful human being. All of these things lent to an overall unforgettable and heart-filling experience. Thank you with all my heart for helping the dress I imagined become a reality!”  -Cory Michelle Hall

Restyling your mother’s old gown

One of my favorite projects is to restyle a mother’s or grandmother’s wedding gown. It is such a beautiful continuation of a gown filled with so many special memories. It is also a very affordable and sustainable way to re-imagine your wedding day gown. 

Restyling wedding gowns can be very complicated or fairly simple. For some, it is simply about altering the dress to perfectly fit your body, for others it is about finding new ways to highlight the gems of the gown, and for others it is about adding the subtle details to make the gown feel uniquely their own. 

A past bride I worked with, Sara Mason, wanted to recreate her wedding dress out of her mother’s. We collaborated together through every step to finesse the design of the new dress. We had to hand dye the new lace we added to the dress in order to match the original color of the dress. We used a tea-dye to find the perfect match of color. This dress was such a treat to recreate. I always love the challenge of finding new ways to restyle an old dress! 

Here are some words from Sara, herself:

Jennifer is a joy to work with. She is thoughtful, really listens to what you are trying to accomplish with a design and executes it perfectly, promptly and with a keen attention to detail. I had the pleasure of working with Jennifer to recreate my wedding dress out of my mother’s. She consulted me every step of the way so we could collaborate on each aspect of the design. My dress turned out better than I had ever expected and I was so lucky to have found Jennifer to make an idea into reality!” -Sara Mason

We are so happy for you Sara! And what a beautiful and dreamy wedding day you had on the Amalfi Coast in Italy!

*Emiliano Russo Photography

A story behind the gown

Behind every wedding gown is an eventful story. The beautiful bride, Katherine Conyers, pictured above had quite the transformation and adventure with this Matthew Christopher gown. 

It is hard to imagine, but this dress started out as a size 12 and then we took it to a size 2! After our last fitting we had every detail of the dress in perfect place, ready for the big wedding day. Katherine looked gorgeous in her dress!

I was on a vacation in France, when I got a message from Katherine panicking about having issues with her dress. A week before her wedding day, her dress had come back from the cleaner with a ripple on the butt, shrunken, and it wouldn’t zip! I called Katherine from Paris, and talked her through each issue. I scheduled someone I knew in Colorado to do new alterations for the dress right away. Before we knew it, it was as good as new and ready to go! Talk about wedding scares! This dress had quite the adventure!

Some kinds words from Katherine herself:

Jen was INCREDIBLE to say the least. She was able to flawlessly take my dress from a size 12 to a size 2. It was a very tricky puzzle for her and she embraced the massive challenge! She went above and beyond for me and I’m so grateful for her expertise, professionalism and follow-through. She is such a talented woman, I drive by her old Denver studio a lot and think of her often. I would recommend her services over and over again.” -Katherine Conyers

Spring Break Workshops are here!

Spring Break is upon us, and we have some workshops to offer tweens and teens!  The first is a felt flower crown workshop, bringing a touch of Swedish midsummer to Maui.

The second workshop is a beginner sewing workshop, to learn all about the sewing machine, along with basic skills to get started sewing!  After practicing their new skills, the students will make a simple sewing project to take home.

For more information and to sign up for classes, follow this link:  Spring Break Workshops

Mahalo to our models Cienna and Teela!

Bustle!

Time to bustle a wedding gown!  Every gown is different, and there are so many ways to go about it.

Why bustle a wedding dress?  To get the train off the ground for the reception so the bride can dance and no one will step on the gown.  This gown will have a 3-point English bustle on the outside of the dress.

Start with the lining.  The lining bustle will be separate from the lace overlay bustle.

A 1-point bustle for the lining, using a heavy-weight hook and button.

Then, for the lace overdress… a 3-point bustle.  Sew three buttons onto the right spots.

Then make three loops to match the buttons.  This photo shows the back side of the dress.  The loop is secured with an extra piece of netting and a flat button.

On the outside of the dress, you see the clear loop, with a small bead on it in order to help the bridesmaids find it easier.  My goodness, I need a manicure!  The hands of a dressmaker…!

Then, the loop goes over the button on the outside of the dress.

Voilà!  A bustle!  Now the bride can dance the night away!

Hand Harvested Wild Nettle

Sewing classes started in full force this week.  Saelyn, one of our teen students, is making a medieval costume.  His fabric is very unusual, and so we are sharing it today.  Thanks Saelyn!

It is hand harvested wild nettle… from the Kulung Rai tribe in Nepal.  Its botanical name is Girardinia diversifolia.  A collective of women picks the nettle, and cooks it in wood ash overnight.  Then it is soaked in white clay for a few weeks.  Then it is soaked in Himalayan crystal salts.  Finally it is hand-spun and hand-woven.

 

It’s going to make a very strong, woody sleeveless hooded tunic for Saelyn!

It’s time for sewing classes!

Dear Friends,

It’s time for sewing classes!

In thinking and researching how to structure these classes, it’s been important to me to make sure that each student gets as much individualized attention as possible.  I thought about offering private lessons only, however I felt they would end up being too cost-prohibitive.  Then I thought about offering a private lesson/open studio combo, but that meant that students would have to come to the studio twice a week.  And that could be hard for a lot of people, especially parents who are juggling so many schedules.  (I know, I have two busy teens of my own!)

So, I’ve decided to offer both weekly classes in 6-week blocks, AND private lessons.  In the future, I’d like to develop 1-day workshops happening on Saturdays, focusing on a specific project.  And in May, I would LOVE to have a Fashion Show + Sewing Showcase for our students!  I’ll be looking for a location and would love help and ideas from all the students.

Check out the details here ~ Sewing School

Happy Sewing!

Love,
Jennifer

 

 

The sewing studio is open!

 

Dear Friends,

Yahoo!  I’m so excited to announce that the sewing studio in Makawao is finally open!  We had four client fittings this past week, and I look forward to more.

Services include:
~ Custom Wedding Gowns
~ Bridal Alterations
~ Tailoring
~ On-Site Wedding Seamstress (tell your wedding planner friends!)
~ Pressing and Steaming (for wedding parties!)

And…many of you have been asking about SEWING CLASSES!  🙂  I can’t wait to get started.  I’ve been working on the structure of the classes.  I want to make sure that students get personalized attention, as well as time to work on their projects.  I’m almost ready to divulge the details!  Stay tuned and watch your email if you are signed up for the newsletter!  And tell your friends!  I’ll post the info on my website, too.

Have a wonderful day, and remember – you are AMAZING!  You can make a difference in the world!  Go for it!

Love,
Jennifer