Tag Archives: gown

Handmade Gowns for Our Wedding Day


I started my dress search pretty much immediately after we got engaged. My maid of honor set up appointments at several bridal salons in the area, and with no budget or preferences in mind, we went out and tried on everything the world had to offer.

I tried on many lovely dresses, but didn’t fall in love with any of them. I would like one element of this one, a feature on that one, etc. Then, as I started seeing them in bridal magazines, I realized how uncomfortable I would be knowing that my dress could someday be considered fad-ish, dated, or the “it” dress for 2013. Coupled with the fact that I had a tight budget, I realized that I would have to go custom to get what I needed.

When I first heard about Janay A Handmade, I was sure she would be out of my price range. She specializes in eco-friendly fabrics and her dresses are stunning. Finally I decided that it couldn’t hurt to ask. I came to Janay with my budget and to my delight she told me that she could work with it!

Beyond beautiful dresses and a green initiative, Janay is amazing because she works with you every step of the way to ensure your dress is exactly what you want. She was overseas when I contacted her, so we had our first meeting via Skype. I sent her a link to my Pinterest wedding gown board and we talked about what I wanted. She was drawing while we talked, and making changes as I requested them.

Initial Sketch for Lydia by Janay A

Afterwards she sent me an invoice and description. Initially, we planned on organic cotton for the entire thing, but after seeing the fabric in person I felt it wasn’t quite what I wanted. We ended up deciding on organic hemp silk and champagne tulle.

Lydia Sketch with Veil Janay A

Janay’s description:

Lydia’s gown is vintage inspired and elegant. It is created in champagne
tulle over silk/hemp fabric (satin side out).
The bodice of the gown features a wide-set sweetheart neckline that leads
into semi-sheer tulle rouched straps/mini cap sleeves. The bodice drapes
slightly over the belt, with a fitted and structured inner lining for support. A
thin sash accents the smallest part of the waist (sash material tbd)
The back of the gown is cut into a dramatic low V, ending a few inches
above the natural waistline, and has an invisible back zipper. The skirt falls
straight away from the body into a softly flared A-line, and drapes from the
waistband with small pleats (located in side-font and back-center) adding
vertical design lines to elongate the body. Triangle shaped godet inserts of
tulle fabric (two in front and one in back) add more interest to the hemline.
Train of the gown is approximately 1.5 ft in length at the center back, and is
in silk/hemp with an overhang of tulle.
The gown’s skirt has an optional hidden custom dyed tulle underskirt to
add flair and body to the gown (fullness and color tbd at or before first
fitting). Gown is constructed to include boning and bust cups for support. Fully
lined with soft organic cotton. All alterations included.
Includes a floor length veil.

We had multiple fittings throughout the process, making adjustments here and there along the way.

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Marguerite was very excited to be Maid of Honor.

Marguerite was very excited to be Maid of Honor.

Prior to contacting Janay, I had already chosen bridesmaids dresses. They were lovely, but after designing my dress with Janay, I was afraid that they wouldn’t work together because of the different fabrics. I asked Janay if she could make custom bridesmaids dresses for the same price as the ready-made ones I had chosen, and to my delight she said she could. She came up with custom designs for each girl based on what would look best with their body type. I chose pink for their colors and the same champagne tulle overlay that my dress had to tie them together.



There were times when I was nervous. A dress that isn’t completely made can look a little funny. But when it was done, it was perfect!



IMG_2896 copyI adored all of the custom elements.


The veil Janay made had Swarovski crystals added to give it a little bit of extra sparkle.

IMG_2705My maids looked stunning in dresses made just for them.


The champagne tulle had the glowy effect I wanted that was beautiful in the evening light.


When we stood all together, it was obvious that these dresses were made to go together.

IMG_3007Ultimately, the most important test was whether they were danceable. Clearly, they were.

And a good time was had by all.