愛-Vey! Haute Cocoa's Wedding Lookbook

Remember my alter bee-go, Haute Cocoa? She for whom the only thing worse than not wearing something fabulous is paying full price for it?


I thought I'd show you the results of my her luxe-for-less obsession in one mega wedding fashion post, linking back to the original post(s) on each item as a reminder of how all of these looks came together.

Look 1: Welcome Dinner Outfit

Photos by Hottest Sister Cocoa

For our first wedding-weekend event, I wore a cream Badgley Mischka tulle empire waist dress. I'd lost a little more weight than expected before the wedding, so the dress ended up being about a size too big. But I was still totally gaga over it -- not just because it was a frothy little confection of a dress, but because it was my savviest wedding-related purchase. The dress was already a bargain on Gilt Groupe* at $198, but after using the $150 referral credit I had saved up, this saucy number was mine for $48 plus shipping!

See my triumphant post on this find here: http://www.weddingbee.com/2008/08/27/you-cant-get-away-from-me-this-time-badgley-mischka/

* Want an invitation to join Gilt Groupe? Just click on the link.

Look 2: Tea Ceremony and Reception Outfit


For our Chinese tea ceremony, I wore a traditional qua, which was hand-embroidered and custom-made at Koon Nam Wah in Hong Kong. At a non-negotiable price of HK$10,000 (just over US$1250), this was a total bargain hunting fail. To compensate, I wore the qua twice -- both at the tea ceremony in the afternoon and as my second reception outfit. I'm contemplating wearing it to the supermarket, dry cleaner's, and while out shoveling snow too . . . gotta recoup the costs!

For the answers to your burning questions -- such as "What sexy underthings does one wear under that embroidered potato sack?" and "What do little old Chinese tailors think of the size of Ms. HC's American-sized ass?" -- see my original post: http://www.weddingbee.com/2008/12/30/chinese-wedding-dress/

I paired the qua with these surprisingly comfortable Delman "Siana" peeptoes, which I got for $140 at Bluefly. If you're in the market for gold heels, they are on clearance now for $99.99!

Look 3: Ceremony Dress


I sashayed down the aisle in "Mona Lisa," an oh-so-very-lovely Monique Lhuillier sample dress, purchased off the internet from Dream Bridal LA for $1700! I'm not a love-at-first-sight kind of gal, but with her delicate capped sleeves, vintagey beading and embroidery, and sassy fit-and-flare silhouette, Mona had me at hello. And at a fraction of the retail price, I could afford to take her home to meet the fam.


Sigh. To this day, she makes my heart go pitter patter.

Mona's the ultimate realization of my luxe-for-less vision. Every time that snooty consultant Carmel on SYTTD scoffs at a bride with a less than $2000 budget, I scream obscenities at the screen and fantasize about showing her Mona and yelling "How do you like dem apples?"!

For those of you eager to stick it to Carmel with a designer dress bargain of your own, some of my early posts might come in handy: before I found Mona, I contemplated purchasing a dress from China, scoured the racks at the Melissa Sweet and Kleinfeld sample sales, visited sample sale boutiques like New York's Bridal Garden and Boston's Vows (aka Bridepower), and obsessed over the stock at about twenty websites. My best finds were at Dream Bridal LA and popular Ebay seller My Dream Dress; my review of both is here.


To give Mona the spotlight she deserved, I went with a simple chapel-length drop veil. At $125, it was more than I wanted to spend on a piece of tulle, but I had a store credit I had to use at Vows, so I didn't have much of a choice. Seamstress extraordinaire Anahit cut the veil down a bit in the front, so that it wouldn't completely overwhelm my teapot frame (i.e., short and stout).


Choice, however, was not the problem with shoes. Budget was. My most insane wedding splurge was this pair of Manolo Blahnik "Sederaby" d'orsays. That iridescent purple silk shantung was so very very gorgeous that I couldn't take my grubby little hands off these shoes once I saw them at Nordstrom. They were $700, and after using a $200 gift certificate and getting a 5% rebate on my purchase via Ebates.com (my new favorite $$-saving site), I ended up spending a little under $500 for them. I've already worn them a few times after the wedding, but the bargainista side of me still feels guilty for having gotten them.

Here's my original post on these beauties: http://www.weddingbee.com/2008/11/25/manolo-blahnik-wedding-shoes/

Look 4: Reception Dress



For the end of the reception, I rocked a modern qi pao, which I had made in Shenzhen, China, for around US$85. It had a pinkish-mauve satin underlay and delicate silver lace on top. And while the top was cut in a fairly traditional Chinese pattern, the bottom was slightly fit-and-flare to accommodate my generously sized badonkadonk.

Photo by Lo

Accessorized with the feather fascinator I purchased from Etsy seller Lo Boheme, the whole outfit felt very Shanghai twenties chic. ;-)



Speaking of qipaos, a few readers have asked about Hot Mama Cocoa's. Both her tea ceremony and evening dresses were made in Shenzhen, for under US$100. Unfortunately, neither of us recall which tailors we used, but both were in Lo Wu Commercial Center, located right across the border from Hong Kong. There are hundreds of tailors there, so if you're in the market for a cheongsam, you can just wander around until you find one whose designs, fabric choices, workmanship, and price you like.

Look 5: Farewell Brunch Outfit

Photo by Hottest Sister Cocoa

For the farewell brunch, I rolled out of bed and threw on a Cynthia Vincent mini dress, which I found while shopping in my closet. I think I bought the dress a year ago in the middle of a snow storm while hallucinating about warm sun and sandy beaches. It was an overpriced $130 from Gilt Groupe. I like its slightly Grecian/architectural bodice, though I'm less enamored with how the gauzy material is almost sheer, thus leaving me feeling very exposed the whole time. Trust me, no one's ready for this jelly.


That's it. Five outfits. Three days. One accessorize-everything-with-a-ridiculous-smile bride.

When it comes to wedding fashion, are you a fashionista, bargainista, or a little of both?

Photos, unless otherwise credited, by Leigh Miller Photography, Luna Photography, and Della Chen Photography.

lulidesigns  – (January 20, 2010 at 4:28 PM)  

your wedding looked amazing! I especially like your shoes and would love to have the same ones for my wedding...do you by any chance have a style code for them? As I can't seem to find them anywhere online except on your blog! Loved your hair accessory as well :)

Mrs. Hot Cocoa  – (January 20, 2010 at 9:28 PM)  

@lulidesigns: Thanks for your comment! Do you mean the purple Manolos? I don't have a style number, but they are the Sederaby style. I got them at Nordstrom, and perhaps they or Barney's would be willing to call around for you? Good luck!!

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