Say Yes To YOUR Dress!
● Published by Aimee Cormier
La’Shonda Lancelin and Steven August, Sr. were married April 28, 2012 at The Lamp Post in Franklin. The bride is the daughter of Loretta Lancelin and Charles Jones of New Iberia and the late Donnie Lee Lewis, Sr. The groom is the son of the late Betty Lee August and the late Percy Charles, Sr. Photo courtesy of kAk Photography..
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Finding The Perfect Bridal Gown
By Cheryl Robichaux
Shopping for a bridal gown is one of the most thrilling aspects about getting married. Brides-to-be devote plenty of time to thinking about their wedding gowns, and some women spend months scouring stores for their ideal designs.
The average machine-sewn wedding gown made of synthetic fabrics will cost $500 and up. High-end fabrics and special orders can increase the cost of a gown to $2,000 or more. Designer gowns custom cut and sewn according to a bride’s measurements may cost as much as $6,000. At these prices, choosing the right gown is not a decision to be made lightly.
For you to feel fabulous on your wedding day, your dress must fit you properly.
Danielle’s Bridal & Formal Wear, located in the Queen City Plaza in New Iberia, offers free alterations. According to owner Danielle Hildalgo, “The top three designers that we sell are Maggie Sottero, Alfred Angelo and Mary’s.” She adds, “The number one shape our customers are choosing is the trumpet skirt with side ruching, because fitted is definitely more in right now.”
Part fashion show, part bridal therapy, “Say Yes to the Dress” is a TV show on the TLC network that follows brides as they shop for their gowns at a premier bridal salon. As can be expected, drama always ensues. Today’s popular styles include the ball gown, trumpet skirt, sheath, A-line and vintage gowns from a variety of past eras. These two Acadiana brides knew exactly what type of special gown they wanted, and when they found their dreamy dresses, they said “yes!” Follow their journey.
La’Shonda Lancelin and Steven August, Sr. were married April 28, 2012, at The Lamp Post in Franklin. A Certified Nursing Assistant, she works at Iberia Medical Center in New Iberia and IBC Nursing Center in Younsville. She also provides care to homebound patients with much compassion and dedication.
Her love story began when she was in the 6th grade and Steven was in the 9th grade. “I was 12 and he was 15,” La’Shonda says laughing. “We’ve been together ever since and people are amazed by that.” She gave birth to the couple’s son, Steven, Jr. when she was in the 11th grade, then graduated from high school and is currently pursuing her lifelong dream of becoming a Registered Nurse.
She chose a show-stopping dress by Allure Couture, which is known for its patented corset construction, providing brides with a fabulous fit. The strapless organza ball gown features a sweetheart neckline and corset bodice embellished with Swavorski crystals. The bottom of the gown was accented with flowers and feathers. To finish off her bridal ensemble, she wore a birdcage headpiece she made with feathers mounted throughout the headpiece.
For months La’Shonda searched through bridal magazines, and when she saw her dress, she knew it was the one. “I wanted a dress that was sophisticated and elegant,” she says. “I drove to Metairie and tried it on at Pearl’s Place. It cost $2,300 and I’m not from a wealthy family. I tried on that dress first and then another more affordable one to get myself away from it, but that was the one my heart was set on.”
She found the exact same dress at A-Nets Enchanted Dream in Lafayette and brought her mom and little sister along for the shopping excursion. It was the same price there, but La’Shonda bought the dress that she had always visualized. She didn’t have to wear a hoop skirt underneath because the skirt is so voluminous.
Since the bodice had so many elaborate details, she decided against wearing a necklace. “The top of the dress had so much going on—I knew I would wear earrings without a necklace,” she says. Since there weren’t any headpieces that matched her dress exactly, La’Shonda decided to make her own. She purchased a birdcage veil at David’s Bridal, bought the feathers from Isis in Acadiana Mall, found a beautiful brooch and put them all together.
Her bridal shoes were a work of art as well. La’Shonda spotted a silver-jeweled pair of designer shoes listed for $680 on Etsy.com. Her friend, Jesse Dupre, shopped at Hobby Lobby for the exact jewels, beads, and crystals. Silvery glittery shoes were then purchased for a mere $25, and Jesse handcrafted the exact design for a fraction of the price.
It was a huge wedding party that consisted of 16 bridesmaids and 16 groomsmen. La’Shonda wanted 12 bridesmaids to symbolize each one of the 12 years she and Steven had been together as a couple. There were two maids of honor and two matrons of honor, a feather girl that threw peacock feathers instead of flowers, and a miniature bride.
La’Shonda’s father walked her halfway down the aisle and the couple’s son, Steven Jr. served as the miniature groom. She says, “I wanted my son to walk me the rest of the way to his father. I started to tear up when he came to walk me. That’s my husband’s little twin.”
Shawntel Smith and Dusty Moore were married Dec. 30, 2011 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in New Iberia. It was a fitting setting for them, not only because of the religious aspect, but because it was where they first met.
Shawntel is a Registered Nurse and is currently training to be Dr. James Walker's Nurse Practitioner. She will begin seeing patients at the practice upon her graduation from UL Lafayette with a Master's Degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner in the fall. She has previously worked at Iberia Medical Center and at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.
She began the Lifeteen program at OLPH and served as the youth minister for three years. Shawntel was also the 64th Queen of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival, and is currently a member of the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival and Fair Board.
“I married my soulmate and best friend,” she says. “The beautiful Christmas setting at the church where we first met, and of course my perfect dress made this day surpass my dreams.”
Shawntel has always been inspired by Victorian clothing because of the feminine and delicate nature of this timeless era. When she visited Scotland with her family, she thumbed through a magazine that highlighted Irish weddings. It was in this magazine that she discovered the bolero she wanted for her wedding. She tucked this picture away for the day when she would marry her soulmate. Local seamstress April Feller recreated the Victorian inspired Irish bolero with a high double ruffled collar, providing a dramatic neckline that frames the face. Shawntel says, “The bridal bolero added an elegant and coutured finish to my wedding ensemble.”
When she visited Texas with her family, she found the perfect vintage-inspired Victorian dress hidden in a small antique bridal boutique nestled in the outskirts of Houston. She didn’t try on very many dresses because the picture of the perfect dress was already embedded in her mind. When Shawntel tried on the white gown of satin with chiffon overlay, and a bodice featuring beading and pearls, she knew it was the one. “It was a very special moment shared with my mom,” she reveals. “It was a moment filled with laughter, smiles, tears and forever memories.”
For her headpiece, she wore a Victorian veil featuring scalloped edges and hand beading. Her necklace and earrings were embellished with pearls and rhinestones and they were purchased at a jewelry show in New Orleans.
Her white satin shoes from Dillards in New Orleans were trimmed with a large stone and rhinestone covered with a light netting overlay. For Shawntel it was important to find a beautiful shoe with a workable heel for a night filled with fun and dancing.
What if your bridal gown is already tucked away in a family member’s closet?
Some brides view a hand-me-down gown with a degree of skepticism. After all, people may poke fun at dresses passed on by well-meaning friends and family that feature styling that is out-of-date (think 1980s shoulder pads). However, in most cases, dresses can be altered and turned into something that fits the new bride’s style and physique.
A lovely heirloom gown could make a sensible, sentimental alternative. Certain questions should be answered before finalizing the decision to go with something vintage.
What is the size? It’s much easier to take fabric away from a gown than to match it and add fabric to the gown. Therefore, try on the gown and see if alterations will be possible. Do not plan on crash dieting to fit in the gown. You may not reach your goal, and then you may be stuck with an ill-fitting dress. How well a gown fits goes a long way toward the bride’s appearance and happiness on the big day.
What is the condition? Many dry cleaners offer wedding gown preservation packages, and brides have been taking advantage of this service. The gown is cleaned and boxed so it will not discolor. If you are receiving a gown that has undergone this treatment, there is a greater likelihood it will look much like it did when it was first worn. However, some former brides do not store their gowns properly, and they may be stained, torn or discolored. While it is possible to do some cleaning, you may not end up with a gown that meets your approval.
Is the shape flattering? If a gown has good “bones” to it, there’s a chance that a talented seamstress can turn it into something that will enhance your frame and body type. If the gown is of a style that you never would have considered, then it may be much more difficult and costly to transform it into something workable.
Are you settling? Every bride wants to feel romantic in her wedding gown, which is why shopping for a gown is often akin to searching for lost treasure. If the hand-me-down gown doesn’t give you goosebumps when you put it on and you’re settling simply because of the price, then it may put a damper on your entire wedding.
What’s your budget? Even though hand-me-down wedding dresses may be no cost initially, you may accumulate a sum depending on the extent of the alterations needed. Get an estimate from a seamstress and find out if it will be financially smart to go with the used gown or purchase something new.