More important than what she wore for her daughter’s downtown Chicago wedding in October, 2021 was the process of selecting the dress—surrounded by family.
Katy and her daughter Carly booked a private shopping experience at luxe Chicago boutique Ultimate Bride. Katy really wanted her mom—the bride’s grandma, or "Bubby" as she called her—to be part of the day, but she was in hospice at the time. So they FaceTimed her from the shop. “My mother made the final call,” Katy says. That goes for both the bridal gown and mother of the bride dress. “She was right as always. We were so happy she was able to be part of the experience in choosing the gowns.”
For her mother of the bride dress, Katy deferred to her daughter. “I wanted Carly to be an integral part of choosing my dress since it was her special day and I knew she had a vision of how she saw her day and how she saw her mom. I trusted her opinion implicitly.”
A youthful mother of six—Carly and five boys—Katy says many of the dresses she tried on were "very mature and felt overwhelming."
"I really wanted something comfortable and easy to wear, given how long the day would be," Katy says.
They knew "the one" as soon as Katy tried it on: sleeveless dress with taupe satin fabric and a sheer overlay covered in cascading black leaves. Cinched at the waist, the skirt was full but unstructured for a modern look with a train that matched her daughter's wedding gown. She loved the fit and black leaves for fall, but Katy craved a bit more drama to elevate the dress for the formal wedding. Designed by Mark Ingram, a New York-based bridal atelier, Katy was able to have the dressed customized with hand sewn black beading "to add more dimension and sparkle, since it was a candlelit ceremony." The train bustled for the party, which was one of Katy's favorite practical details.
She wanted "quiet elegance," and this gown delivered. "I loved my gown," Katy says. "I have five sons and would gladly wear it again one day for one of their weddings. It's timeless."
Knowing that her grandmother was not well, Carly planned an accelerated wedding date in hopes of having her Bubby at the ceremony. She didn't make it in person, but was able watch a livestream of the wedding. "Knowing my mother was able to see her granddaughter walk down the aisle was the most important, special moment of the day," Katy says. She passed away two weeks later. "So that day was memorable on so many levels for all of us."
Carly and her husband Alex are now expecting twins.
| Photography by Bob & Dawn Davis