Wedding Diaries

Getting married: The reception dress

Amira + Reza-830

The dress for the reception is a very simple piece. Before deciding on the designer, I’d spoken to a few and decided that I didn’t want anything too extravagant — something simple should suffice because I’d like to wear the dress not just once, but many times. After spending what I now consider a ridiculous amount on the engagement dress, I decided to not repeat the same thing and put a cap on how much I was willing to spend the wedding dress.

Meeting the designer

There were a few designers that I had in mind. Ideally I’d like to wear a dress by Alia Bastamam or Innai Red, because they make the most tasteful and modern designs today, IMO. Their starting prices were still within my range.

However, I ended engaging Yadotsa, not only out of familiarity with Alia Alizar, the designer, but her attentiveness when we met to discuss the dress, as she sat down with me and inspected the beaded lace my mum bought and discussed ideas. Most importantly, she said she would be able to work within the budget that I had.

Deciding on the design

Before we met again both of us shared pictures of what we liked. Not surprisingly, most of the pictures consisted dresses inspired by the Roarings 20s or Elie Saab’s recent designs — it was obvious that our ideas revolved around the beaded lace I had. Alia came back to me with the sketches of the designs she had in mind, ideas for the placement of the lace and the additional fabrics we’d need to get, just days after our first appointment.

Mama was of the opinion that it’s better for us to use the whole of beaded lace that she’d gotten to create a fully beaded dress. However, I chose this design — a one piece dress with a beaded lace top and layers of chiffon skirt with a modest train:

Reception Dress Sketch

I reiterate… I wanted a dress I could wear to different occasions, hence. I thought I could wear this one over and over, if I cut the train after the wedding.

The fitting sessions

It took many fitting sessions to get the dress done. The dress looked great from the beginning, but it was the same issue that I’ve had with other designers: the dress was too tight in different areas. Halfway before the dress was done, Alia had to go overseas and towards the end I was assisted by Xema, her assistant. After several alterations the team was close to getting it right.

When Alia returned, she and her team added additional crystal and pearl beads on top of the beaded lace. The dress was also embellished with crystals. It’s not very obvious from the photos here, but I was told that when I entered the reception hall — when the lights were dimmed and the spotlight was on me, it was as if the dress was holding its own sparklefest. To accentuate the waist, Alia provided me a beaded waistband, also encrusted with smoky crystals.

The outcome

The dress was delivered to my house a day before my reception. The late delivery wasn’t exactly the designer’s fault, inevitable since it was pushed every time we needed to do additional alterations.

Here’s the result:

Amira + Reza-8231

The dress turned out gorgeous IMO. The workmanship was satisfactory (though I think I’ve seen better after being exposed to different designers in recent years), but overall, it turned out quite beautiful. I thought that the dress had ethereal qualities to it.

I wasn’t alone, because guests of all ages approached and told me how they loved the dress and some, likened it to an elven dress lol.

Lessons learned

Here are the things I learned from this episode:

  • Before you start deciding on anything, get inspired. Create a moodboard of the pictures of dresses you like (Pinterest is great for that) to get a clear idea of how you want the dress to be.
  • Some may say that it’s okay to get the dress done two months before the big day. I say, don’t listen! Do it earlier, so that you have more time to make alterations should there be issues.
  • List down your favorite designers and give them a call to ask for their availability and prices. Set an appointment with your prospective designers and when you meet them, share your ideas and based on that, get them to send you their sketches and ask them to quote their price.
  • Once you’ve decided on a designer, you’ll be required to pay a deposit. When you do this, insist on a receipt stating how much you’ve paid, with a memo mentioning how much more you owe the designer — keep everything in black and white for clarity, else it can cause confusion (happened to me).
  • Once you’re done picking the design, go fabric shopping with the designer (rather than buying the fabrics on your own) because the designer would know the kind of fabrics that would suit your dress better.
  • Buy a girdle and push up bra much earlier, so you can wear them in your every fitting session.
  • Bring shoes that you’re planning to wear or shoes of the same heel length, too!

Have fun getting your wedding dress done!

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  • Avatar
    August 2, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    Hi mia, i agree to getting it done as early as possible. I decided on my designer a year before my wedding. But sadly not all designer willing to sketch until you confirm with them. At the end of the day i decided based on scrolling their instagram to see their workmanship. Glad that mine was a great one.

    • Avatar
      August 3, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Hi fz!

      A year, wow that’s really soon! I tried approaching the designers a lot sooner, but all of them told me to “come back in a couple of month’s time” -_-‘ It’s proven that three months isn’t enough, when you consider the additional time they’d require for alterations.

      You’re right and that’s a good tip — it’s good to go through the designer’s Instagram and Facebook accounts first before deciding.

      Good to know you found a great designer!

  • Avatar
    August 12, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    hello mia,

    a very gorgeous and beautiful dress indeed ! thank you for sharing your wedding tips.

    can you share with me how many meters of lace will be needed for a full lace dress ?
    seeing yours was half lace how many meter did you used for your dress ?

    • Avatar
      August 25, 2014 at 9:51 PM

      Hi Atie! Thank you for reading. The lace I had was 4 meters, but Alia only ended up using only 2.5 for half-body. Think a full dress will likely need 4 or more.

  • Avatar
    cik orkid
    August 25, 2014 at 1:08 PM

    you inspire me… i wish one day i can be like u… may be….

  • Avatar
    August 25, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    Hi Mia, beautiful as always! May I know which designer’s workmanship is the one you like best? And if you recommend them? Thanks in advance!

    • Avatar
      August 27, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      Hmmm. From experience, Alia Alizar makes great designs, while Altelia Amani has great workmanship. I’m curious to try Alia Bastamam. Everyone I know who has used her service has been happy with her.

  • Avatar
    September 14, 2014 at 8:12 PM

    Hi Mia! I love your dress! I’m in the middle of planning for my wedding next year. Do mind sharing roughly how much this dress cost? Thanks! 🙂

  • Avatar
    February 26, 2015 at 1:41 AM

    Am hunting for tips and dress designers and THANK YOU! For the tips and details of checklist.
    You look oh so lovely!
    Thank you very much for sharing!

  • Avatar
    Alia Zakri
    July 28, 2016 at 5:14 PM

    I’m finally choosing Yadotsa for my wedding dress and gonna meet her next week. I know this post has been quite some time but any new tips to share? ?

    • Avatar
      August 5, 2016 at 10:43 AM

      Hope your appointment turned out well! Hmmm. I would say, be clear of of what you want or don’t want on the dress and don’t hold back from letting your designers know.

  • Avatar
    December 28, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    Hi Mia! Mind sharing, what fabric you used for the lining? Is it fully chiffon or there’s another layer of..maybe Valentino(?) on the inside

    Thank you pretty!

    • Avatar
      January 2, 2017 at 9:22 PM

      There’s heavy silk for the lining 🙂

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