Posts Tagged ‘used wedding dress’

Amy L Cattell of Amy's Elegance by Design

If the idea of ordering a custom dress brings to mind castles with red velvet wall hangings, your vision could use some modernization. Ann Arbor area dressmaker Amy L. Cattell will custom design a wedding gown for you and keep the cost within your budget. 

A custom dress will fit perfectly; think about how flattering that would be! A dressmaker, like Amy, can use matching material to make a wrap, ring bearer’s pillow, flower girl gowns, etc. Really, anything you can think of can be done. Amy can even take the material from a family gown and create a new design for you to wear. Working with a custom dressmaker is the perfect way to create a unified vision for your wedding party, if you are interested in doing so.

When Amy first meets with a bride, she likes to start with a picture of what the bride is interested in. She can take a designer dress and simplify it to fit in any bride’s budget. For example, one bride was interested in a Renaissance style gown. An authentic silk dress without zippers, it cost over $10,000 in stores. Amy was able to present a similar, simplified style for under $1,600.00. To work within a bride’s budget, Amy can consider using different fabrics and tweaking the style. A straight sheath gown would start at about $600.00. More elaborate beading could add about $2,000.00 to the cost.

Amy’s goal is “to make it their dream dress within their price.” She reminds brides that since the dress is custom made, it shouldn’t require fittings after it is made (which is often a considerable cost when you buy a dress in a store.) When she is designing the dress, she drapes muslin on the bride and creates the pattern. She pins seams and draws the neckline on. It is completely customized and fun. She loves the smile when the brides try on the final gown. 

Amy Cattell's pink wedding gownAmy Cattell's white wedding gownAmy Cattell's Daughter's White Wedding Gown

Amy also sews signature quilts which can be signed at the wedding and then hung on the wall or put on the bed. These tapestries add a personal touch not only to your wedding, but also your home. She is a versatile artist capable of creating new ideas. She made this beautiful pillow for my fiancé and I as a memory of our trip to Venice last summer:

Venezia Pillow


In high school, Amy made her own prom dress, which was when she started making dresses. She made her daughter’s prom dress and when her daughter got engaged, she challenged her mother by saying, “you’ve got to top the prom dresses, Mom!” Amy made her own suit when she got married and then her daughter’s wedding gown. 

Amy will also alter store bought dresses or suits for a reasonable price. When she meets with you, she is happy to work with your schedule and meet at your place or hers. For more info on her custom designs, check out her website.

If you are looking for a dress maker and you aren’t in the Ann Arbor area, Amy suggests finding someone who listens to what you are looking for in a dress. The person should be both creative and precise. She recommends asking for referrals, as you would for any business person.

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BravoBrideI first came across BravoBride in a New York Times article . It is an online marketplace *just* for weddings. Perfect. I’ve been scouring the website weekly since I learned about it. Everything from dresses and diamond rings to favors are for sale, used and new.


Why pay full price in this economy?


Founder and recent bride Susan Alexander Shapiro tells us more.




Susan Alexander Shapiro, founder BravoBrideHow did you come up with the idea for Bravobride?


I got married this past July 4th and when I was planning the wedding I found it frustrating to pay for expensive wedding items that I’d use once and only for a few hours.  I looked on Craigslist and Ebay but there wasn’t anything focused on just the bridal industry.


What is/was the most “out there” item for sale on your site? What is the most common item for sale?


We have a pair of ‘wedding boots’ on the site that are really unique. Our most popular items are definitely wedding dresses.


How is your site different from Craig’s List or other similar lists?

What sets me apart is that you won’t find fish tanks and bicycles on the site, we only focus on wedding products. Craigslist and Ebay are probably my biggest competitors but you have to search through so many things on Craigslist to find what you are looking for and it’s only for certain regions. Our site is nationwide and we have an advanced search so you can quickly find what you are looking for. The site is also broken down into different categories, such as dresses, jewelry, items for the ceremony and reception and more. Unlike Ebay is completely free to list items and there’s never a sale upon commission. There are a few other sites that that sell used wedding dresses but we are the only site that doesn’t charge a listing fee or take a commission upon sale.


What can the “unbride” find on your website?


The “unbride” can find everything from non-traditional wedding items, like these blue shoes to a Guide for the Groom book so you’re soon-to-be husband can help with the wedding planning.


What guarantee does a bride have that the product advertised is indeed what the seller says it is? In particular, I’m thinking about the rings and the more expensive items?


That’s a good question. Like Craigslist, we follow the buyer beware rule. We can not offer a guarantee since we are only connecting the buyers and seller and don’t stock actual merchandise. For more expensive items you may want to deal only locally or use a payment service where your transaction can be protected.


It is wonderful that you support the Go Red campaign. How did that relationship begin?


I wanted to support a cause that was for women since our site is geared towards brides. The Go Red campaign is near and dear to me because both of my Grandmother’s had heart disease and if effects more woman than cancer.


What was the best part of your own wedding?


Honestly the whole day was wonderful but I think the ceremony was the most special part. My husband’s aunt married us and they meant a lot to me.




Read a little more about the history of BravoBride here. You’ll get to see Susan’s husband Mark, too.


Have you bought something on BravoBride? Tell your story here.

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