Inspiration comes from many places, both real and imagined.
In the wedding world, we get to draw even more from the realm of fantasy. The latest Jill Andrews Gowns creation takes inspiration from our own gorgeous Maryland seascapes and the mermaids of beloved fairy tales.
Hans Christian Anderson’s little mermaid desired nothing more than to experience the world above the sea. All her eldest sisters swam up to the surface before her, each on their fifteenth birthday. When her own fifteenth birthday finally came, the little mermaid’s grandmother prepared her for her journey.
“Well, now, you are grown up,” said the old dowager, her grandmother; “so you must let me adorn you like your other sisters;” and she placed a wreath of white lilies in her hair, and every flower leaf was half a pearl. Then the old lady ordered eight great oysters to attach themselves to the tail of the princess to show her high rank.
This is the story of the Shipwreck Dress, an encrusted gown by Jill Andrews, fit for mer-royalty.
This January, we had the great pleasure of being invited to show at the Bow Ties & Bubbly bridal show. Held at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club, Bow Ties & Bubbly is a phenomenal showcase of local Maryland wedding vendor talent, set against the jaw dropping backdrop of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s one of our very favorite events each year, and we were thrilled to be included.
In addition to displaying our custom gowns, jewelry, and other accessories and meeting attendees the day of the event, we participated in a beachside photo shoot with Carly Fuller Photography and Lauren Niles Events. Jill wanted to make something special for the shoot, and so, the Shipwreck Dress was born!
Inspired by the treasures and colors of the sea, the Shipwreck Dress is made of layers and layers of organza, silk, netting, lace, and embellishments. The skirt’s distressed layers harken to waves and sea foam spilling up onto the sand. The bodice is wrapped in fine netting, over which lace, beads, and vintage paillettes grow like the prettiest barnacles and algae.
Innumerable fishes, great and small, swam past the crystal walls; on some of them the scales glowed with a purple brilliancy, and on others they shone like silver and gold.
The day of the photo shoot was grey, but our team was not dissuaded. The models smiled against chilly ocean breezes while Carly directed and captured the beauty of the scene.
Caye, our Shipwrecked “mermaid” bride, even braved the cold of the sand in between her bare toes, never letting the chill show in her face or her pose. Caye twirled, smiled, played with the layers of her skirt, and even ran across the January sand next to the froth of the waves!
She stepped as lightly by the prince’s side as a soap-bubble, so that he and all who saw her wondered at her graceful-swaying movements. She was very soon arrayed in costly robes of silk and muslin, and was the most beautiful creature in the palace.
After dancing through the waves, we came inside and took a few more shots in the stunning ballroom designed by Lauren Niles Events, where our “mermaid” bride warmed up like real royalty in the decadently decorated space.
Where the sea meets the land, there is magic.
The Shipwreck Dress is inspired by the sea, meant to be worn on land. We can imagine no more perfect place for it than next to the beautiful Chespeake Bay.
Thank you to Chesapeake Bay Beach Club for the opportunity to work with such talented artists in such a beautiful place, and thank you to all the wedding industry creatives we worked with on this shoot!
Carly Fuller Photography
Lauren Niles Events
Makeup by Jenn Pulido
Hair by Shanna Beisel of Hair for a Special Affair
Floral & Bloom Designs
Something Vintage Rentals
All quotes taken from Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Mermaid," first published in 1837.