Of Lace and Corsets

The other day, a bride asked our resident photog to recount a tale of things seen that would be worthy of a memoire. After some pause, a story came to the mind of a curious one. For you see, coming up with tales is not always an easy feat. One must be in their creative mind at the time to not only recall, but recount the tale in an honest way that will entertain without changing much in the story.

Of course, the photog shared the policy of changing names to protect the innocent. What happens in contract, stays in contract. The tale, how lovely it may be, is one that has to be adjusted so that all parties involved has a great time and keeps the memories intact

Now that the formalities are all covered, let’s jump into the tale of things. For being of lace and corsets was not at all the first thought the photog had in mind for this particular venue. Before proceeding, one thing the reader needs to know, our resident photog doesn’t easily go into contract with friends… close friends… because, well, things get interesting at weddings.

It was the part of spring that felt very much like winter. The fatigue of the cold was setting in. The annoyances from having to warm up your camera gear before shooting was getting old. The photog also had other projects that weekend that demanded great focus and energy. Going to this late evening venue was not the idea of fun. Having had agreed to do this shoot for this dear friend, no efforts were spared to make this production top quality. Last thing this photog needed was to upset friends, close friends. Few guests of the wedding weren’t friends. It was a close knit group. The pictures would tell more than a thousand words

On the outside, the place was just another place where people went to gather together to celebrate any number of formal events. The heater was not doing it’s darn best to keep the people warm. Fur coats abound and several a gentlemen had removed their jackets to keep their lady warm that night. The dresses were long and shiny with a hint of spring in their designs. The heels were tall, strappy, and even flowery for some. It was too cold for bare skin, so the shimmery hose were in full effect. The fellas, well, as gallant as you’re going to be in a three piece suit, gloves, long tail for some, canes for others, top hat for the most galante of the bunch.

As the photog settled into the venue in admiration of all the fashion and styles, a call rang on the cellphone. Ah, the dearest bride calling. Was she late, was she nervous? A quick hello and pleasantries led to a very concerned voice. “I need your help and you can’t tell anyone”. What?!?! Ok, we’ve covered all the contract details, the vendors have all covered, this is most peculiar.

Following the instructions given over the phone, our resident photog finds himself inside a very luxurios suit filled with frantic activity as many ladies rush about getting dressed. It was way too early to be taking photos. Most were barely dressed, and most seemed not to care that there was a camera at the ready to take pictures. Keeping clear of fast moving barely covered bodies, the photog approached the bed to take a few good photos of the wedding gown in question while waiting for the bride to arrive. The photos came out pretty good, needing a few minor touch-ups in post editing. There was one piece that caught the attention and didn’t fit into the whole ensemble. It looked like a good old fashioned corset.

Then, the bride appeared surrounded by her team who were working frantically to adjust what can only be described as the base fabric support for lots of clothing. Oh she was annoyed. People were applying make up, others pulling on hair… others still giving her orders on what to do later in the night.. and others tugging at the fabric trying to prepare it for whatever was going to come after. In a gasp of frustration, she pulled off most of the workings and asked to have a quiet moment with her photog. The room froze. The photog froze too.

The moment of silence felt like eternity. The only thing to do was break it with a joke, which thankfully landed well and had everyone laughing and the busy buzz of preparation resumed quickly and effectively. (can’t share the joke.. to protect the innocent). Once the recovery was in full swing, the bride asked for her corset and pictures of the team placing it on her. As great as that process was, no matter the effort, no one could get the look to work. Not even the two seamstress present could sort it out. It looked like a painful time travel back to the days where women were, for lack of better expression, pressed into shape.

Time was quickly evaporating away as if blown by gail force heated desert winds. The wedding planner kept nervously barking delay orders on the radio. No one could solve this problem. Then, the photog had a thought. Why not attempt to help, since everyone else had tried.

The bride’s eyes lit up with a ray of hope. The process had been hard and the markings on the ribcage told the tale, not to mentions the suppressed whines and cries of discomfort. Anything to make this go away was welcomed.

After a few minutes of reviewing the material, and ignoring the ridicule of the ladies around who thought a man couldn’t solve this problem, the photog discovered the problem. The lacing was all wrong. The team thought the lacing was to be used to tie the corset up when in fact it was the decoration on top of the actual “rope work” that held things in place. Undoing the foundation garment meant that the right material would be available to do the “job”.

The base garment, you see, was there to act as a silk buffer between her smooth skin and the corset. The first round of lacing was infact the lace to tie up the corset. The second lacing was for the bow that would be formed over her rump below the corset and also would hold up the various parts of the dress. This meant that the bride had to be dressed by the photog, being the ladies of the team didn’t believe and wanted nothing to do with the supposed redesign.

After a few uncomfortable starts, the bride and photog figured a way to communicate what needed to be done without words. First, the inner silk lining, then, the corset, followed by the top half of the gown, followed by the first layer of the bottom, followed by the tule, follwed by the outer shell, followed by the train, then the veil to conclude. It would look super wonderful once done.

The corset was the trickiest of course. There were over fifty loops that needed to be threaded by lace and silk to form a bondage inspired silhouette of a back while synching in the waistline and pushing up the cleavage. Also, the extra ribbing in the corset were removeable, which allowed for breathing room without compromising the look the bride wanted. The whole outfit wouldn’t come together at all without the corset, because everything was tied to it and supported by it. So much so, at one point, a break had to be called by the photog for the team to jump in and remove the under pieces that were in the way (her undergarment). The photog refused to be a part of that operation.

Once the whole ensemble was placed together, the bride checked the mirror with apprehension and worry. It was all done. Took thirty minutes that felt like four hours. There was no gasping, no crying, no complaining. It was done in a way that felt too easy. The bride opened her eyes slowly and the explosion of glee in her eyes was priceless. Her look was complete. She was the bride she had envisioned to be! The team was jumping for joy, the look was just like in the picture in the magazine. How did the photog know how to do this? Quite frankly, no one knew. Not even he knew how this would end. It was just a matter of piecing the parts of a big 3D puzzle.

In the end, the groom was informed of all that took place and looked at both the pictures taken by the photog and the team after the wedding. The groom approved of the assistance and thanked the photog for contributing above and beyond the contract. In a way, it helps that the photog is good friends with the groom and the bride. It is an experience that won’t be forgotten. Preferably not repeated though 🙂

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