When it comes to choosing bridesmaids dresses, brides-to-be will often look for wear-again-worthy dresses so their best gals can get some use out of their bridesmaid dresses – but what about the bride?! Meet Nikki, a fashionable and adventurous United With Love reader, who, with the help of a designer, re-purposed her wedding gown into a cocktail dress! Following her Washington, DC wedding (remember her DIY Save the Date video?), Nikki entrusted designer Marie Cordella with the transformation of her wedding gown and shares the story—and pictures!—of her wedding gown reinvention with us! Take it away, Nikki…

Photo Credits: Nicholas Donner Photography

From Nicole: I wanted to be able to re-wear my wedding gown. A lot of people told me it was a terrible idea to turn it into a cocktail dress, but I guess I had watched too many episodes of Project Runway and had my mind stuck on it. Even my husband was against it at first.

I found a wonderful alterations designer, Marie Cordella, from Raleigh, NC. She worked me through everything step-by-step, from sketches to length, etc. She cut off the bottom before she dyed it in case I ever wanted to make a christening gown or something along those lines. The rest of the alterations were removing some of the design, hemming, and redoing some of the bead work.

When I was looking for more information on how to turn a wedding gown into a cocktail dress, there wasn’t a lot of info out there. I would highly encourage people to do this! I got so many compliments at a recent wedding I wore it to. Oh, and my husband loves it, too!

Photos courtesy of Nicole Taylor

Nicole’s advice to fashion-forward (and adventurous!) brides:

This dress makeover thing isn’t for everyone. If you want your daughter to wear your gown one day, or you have a ton of storage in your house (not likely in the DC-area), or are just too attached to it, then don’t do it. The most important thing is to find a master of alterations. It cost about the same amount as a cocktail dress you could find in an upscale department store. I didn’t pay for it to be cleaned and preserved, so it was easy to rationalize the cost!


How incredible is her wedding dress transformation?! I would have never guessed it was previously a wedding gown! Stunning! Thank you so much, Nikki for sharing your wedding gown makeover with us. If you are still looking for a wedding gown, be sure to shop local at one of the bridal shops in the DC area.

Photo Credits: Nicholas Donner Photography

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