Posts Tagged ‘wedding dresses’

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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(Thanks to The Ann Arbor Chronicle for mentioning this blog post!)



I attended my first bridal show this weekend at V2V , a lovely boutique in Ann Arbor, MI.


I was smitten with V2V and their dresses when I saw a silk gown with a gathered front hanging in their window recently. Last week, I tried on a few dresses and spoke with Julia and Tracey. They told me about the “Bridal Event” this weekend. It sounded good, but I had no idea how much fun it would really be to attend.  


My friend Shasta kindly drove up from Indianapolis to help with wedding plans and we went together. Saturday, we had an appointment to try on dresses from the trunk sale. There were some beautiful Jenny Yoo and Siri that we loved. I haven’t decided on a dress yet, but I have a better sense of what I might like to buy.


Sunday was the Bridal Event. Shasta and I arrived at 2:30, a little before the second fashion show of the day. When we walked in, the woman gathering the tickets said that we had to try the meatballs right away. I wasn’t sure what she meant until we walked up the stairs and saw the vendors sharing samples of their foods. Who knew we should have come on an empty stomach?


We wandered around the tables of vendors. After tastes of almond cake, raspberry chocolate truffles, meatballs, apple cider and more, we felt like we were at an exclusive party dedicated to crafting original and sincere weddings.


Here were some highlights:


TeaHous is a Kerrytown-area store that specializes in tea and tea products. They had sample earl gray lollipops that would make wonderful favors.


Cakes by Rubina  offered a pure almond chocolate cake bite. It tasted like a true Italian dessert.


Decadent Delights  shared moist chocolate cake with us. They make custom cookies and can even make cookies that match your cake.


I had walked by Schakolad , the chocolate factory, a number of times in Ann Arbor and never stopped. That was clearly a mistake. I tasted a raspberry champagne truffle and wanted to create a distraction so Shasta could steal us the entire silver tray of chocolates.


When we found Zingerman’s, we found the meatballs. At this point I was too full to want to squeeze in extras, but it was delicious. Shasta enjoyed some of the apple cider.


The ultimate high point was the ten minute chair massage by Bellanina I was a new woman after that (why did I have to get up?)


The fashion show was great fun. The models walked down the runway in the dresses carrying lovely bouquets of flowers. Here are some pictures from the show:



V2V white dress

V2V group

V2V Show 3 I highly recommend attending future shows there. The cost was $8.00 in advance, $10 at the door. This was exactly the place to be for a bride who is looking to create an authentic wedding day without the excess of impersonal, commercial vendors.  


Thanks to V2V and Shasta for a wonderful weekend. I’m brimming with good ideas and cake.

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