Celebrations Wedding

Steampunk wedding featuring grandmother’s wedding dress from 1945

Several years ago, my mother gifted me my paternal grandmother’s wedding dress. Grandma married my paternal grandfather in 1945. It was her second wedding, so they had a very small ceremony. Grandma’s dress was handmade by my great aunt. This beautiful creation is a dusty rose-colored chiffon with rose-colored mesh at the neckline.
It features short sleeves, a ruched bodice, floor-length skirt, and ruffles. When I showed the dress to my oldest daughter, I told her that I wanted to do a Steampunk themed styled shoot with it, and I
wanted her to model it. She agreed if it fit.

When Katie tried the dress on, we were both extremely nervous. This dress had been stored in a cedar chest since 1945. It was moved all around the world as my grandfather was an officer in
the US Army. We were scared to death; this thing would fall apart!
The moment came. We very slowly and nervously tried the dress on my daughter. It went right on. Then came the moment of truth…the side zipper. It zipped right up without any problems.
It’s like it was made for my daughter! We were both amazed. The shoot was a go! After all, it all hinged on the dress!
While planning the shoot, I wanted to stay true to the steampunk genre. I happen to love steampunk anything. In Indiana (where I’m from), there is an entire weekend that is dedicated to steampunk. It is a complete immersion experience, and it is phenomenal!

Steampunk can go in many different ways.

From gothic to feminine, and everything in between. I settled on shabby-chic steampunk. I wanted to highlight the dress, so I pulled the color palette based on it. I utilized shades of pink…dusty rose, pastel pink, white, and copper. I just had to find the right shoes. When Katie’s dad and I were married, I had a lace gown with Victorian-looking boots. Katie tried them on and, voila, they fit her. This shoot was totally meant to happen! We had the dress; now we have the shoes! Next up is jewelry.
I was able to use some of my maternal grandmother and great-grandmother’s jewelry. This meant a lot to me as I was close to my maternal grandmother. She passed in December 2013, and I was still reeling from the loss. This helped me to heal. I was named after my great grandmother and born on her wedding anniversary, so I was really happy to be able to tie in that connection as well (the blue star pin in Katie’s hair). When I met with Pamela from Pope Plantation Cakes, I told her all about the dress, boots, and my grandmother. I also shared some inspirational photos and talked with her about what I was looking for. When she sent her sketches over, I was amazed. When I saw the cake on the day of the shoot, I was speechless. She had delivered the perfect matching of delicate and industrial.

That cake is truly a work of art!

Pamela even created a checkerboard cake for the “cake cutting.” Alicia Fletcher of Sugar & Spice is another one that blew me away. I wanted to pull the industrial feel in with chocolate-covered pretzel rods. Then I tasted her macaroons. Holy cow! I had to have some for the shoot! Everything she brought was so good!
The venue (Venue on Main) completely rounded out the entire shabby-chic steampunk theme. It was a wonderful mix of industrial and delicate. The former mill was restored and has wonderful hardwood floors and exposed ductwork. It is softened with a lot of chiffon draping, shelves, and lights. It was the perfect setting, I am so happy I was able to do this shoot. It paid homage to my family and allowed my daughters and I to work on a project together. Overall, it was a huge success. I’m truly grateful to have had the opportunity to create it.

Valerie Cook
Magic Wand Creations

Vendors: Floral: Awesome Blossoms and @blossomandbranch (Kristy Zachar Nerness)
Cakes: Pope Plantation Cakes
Desserts: Sugar & Spice Bakery
Venue: Venue on Main
HMU: Moni Ca
Wrapped jewelry: @hectiqueeclectique
Models: Katie Holt and Toby Lewis
Planning and Photography: Magic Wand Creations

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