Thursday, January 5, 2017

Designing Jinger Duggar's Wedding Dress

I (Ellie) had the pleasure of chatting with Renee Miller, owner of Renee's Bridal and Special Occasions and designer of Jinger Duggar Vuolo's wedding gown.

We had a lovely conversation, and she told me all about her experience creating Jinger's dress. She also answered the questions that you submitted to our blog a couple weeks ago. Here are the first three Q&As. More great content and pictures coming soon.


Ellie: How did the Duggars find out about your bridal shop? 
Renee: I have watched the Duggars on TV with great admiration and respect for years. When Jill and Jessa got engaged and married, I started thinking how wonderful it would be if I could design a wedding dress for one of the Duggar women.

I have served clients with similar modesty standards, and I believe that every bride should have a gown that makes her feel beautiful. Modesty doesn’t have to look tacky. Just because you have certain standards doesn’t mean you should have to take a dress that you don’t feel comfortable in and haphazardly add pieces. My heart’s desire is for all brides to look fashionably correct, regardless of the style of their dress.

One month before Jinger’s July 2016 engagement, I met a woman named Wendy through mutual friends from my alma mater, Pensacola Christian College. She co-owns Ava Laurenne Bride in Fredericksburg, Virginia, and I soon found out that Jill Duggar Dillard had purchased her wedding dress from Wendy's shop in 2014. Wendy and I agreed that if Jinger chose me as her dress designer, I would use Ava Laurenne Bride as the meeting place.

Wendy made a phone call, and Jinger and Michelle looked at pictures of my work on my website and Facebook page. They liked what they saw, so Jinger and I began laying the groundwork for her bridal gown.

Ellie: How did you start the design process?
Renee: Before Jinger and I met, we exchanged many texts and phone calls. I tried to listen to her heart, which was difficult because we hadn’t yet met face-to-face. I prayed that I would be able to create a unique dress that would fulfill her dreams.

I made three protype gowns, packed them up, and flew to Virginia to unveil them to Jinger. That meeting will air on the season three premiere episode of Counting On (Monday, January 16th at 9pm ET/8pm CT). After spending five minutes with Jinger, I told the producer that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt which of the three dresses she would choose. Jinger tried each of them on and ended up choosing the one I had predicted. That kind of thing happens ever day in my store, and I believe it’s the result of prayer and God’s guidance.

Ellie: Did Jinger know exactly what she wanted, or did you help her envision the completed dress?
Renee: I asked Jinger to scroll through pictures and give me five pictures of looks that she liked, and through those five pictures, I was able to start designing. She knew she wanted lace. She knew she wanted an A-line skirt, not a ball gown. She didn’t want it to be too princess-y. And she knew she wanted sleeves, and of course, modest.

After meeting Jinger, I was able to make changes and add embellishments to the dress. Jinger didn’t know all the details of what I was doing. She shared her heart with me and then cut me loose to let my creative juices flow.

Both Jinger and Jeremy desired for the dress to have what I call a 'train fit for royalty,' based on a Bible verse that Jeremy had quoted to his wife-to-be. That verse was Isaiah 6:1 (...I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of His robe filled the temple). When Jinger tried on the three prototype dresses, she always looked at the train before she looked at the front, so I knew that was her heart. I wanted the train to be the center of attention.

The dress that Jinger chose had a long train, but I knew I could really hit it out of the ballpark if I could extend that train even longer. The extension actually didn’t come together until a couple weeks before the wedding.

Photos courtesy Renee Miller

66 comments:

  1. Awesome! I love the verse about the train. We used to sing a song at one of my old churches about seeing the Lord, being high and lifted up, and His train filling the temple.
    I will say Jinger's train was very long and I loved the way it flowed. Thanks Ellie for posting this. I know you probably been busy so thanks again. I can't wait for more posts about how the dress came to be.

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    1. It was lovely. What was The music that was played on violin and piano as people entered the church and came up the aisle? I think it is so pretty.

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  2. Made 3 gowns just to try on? Wow, the Duggars don't exhibit a frugal lifestyle any more but then why should they since they are very wealthy now.

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    1. We don't know that they paid for the three dresses. Maybe Renee just added the other two to her inventory.

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    2. You don't add "custom" dresses to your inventory. You don't spend time and resources on products that may never sell, in a size that may never be needed, for a girl's tastes that might not exist. She should already have samples of her work available, as well as pictures of past dresses, if talking sales. But "custom" means you start with a sketch and go from there.

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    3. And it certainly is not a sin to be wealthy. It is a sin, however to be jealous and full of malice.

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    4. Anon@2:20 I don't think there was criticism for being wealthy, rather for having made such a big deal in the past for being frugal. We all know there are many perks to doing business with TLC. Buying used and saving the difference is hardly the first thing on their minds these days.

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    5. They are frugal... maybe just not on a wedding dress

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    6. New International Version
      Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God

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  3. How could Jeremy compare Jinger to the Lord Jesus Christ?

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    1. That's so funny. I thought the same thing. Now I'm all for a long Cathedral train as I had one at my beautiful Catholic wedding, but in no way can you relate a wedding dress train to that Scripture about our Savior Jesus.

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    2. In the Bible, the church is referred to as "the bride of Christ."

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    3. He read the verse about the train and as he was getting married he associated it with Jingers dress, is my
      understanding. Dont you delve deeper into reading quotes rather than jump to conclusions? Ever hear of word association?

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  4. did she design the bridesmaids dresses too? Why were the various colors chosen?

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  5. Very interesting! I can't wait hear and see more (and am excited that this honor came to a fellow PCC grad!).

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  6. Awesome God Bless y'all !!!

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  7. Will you be including Tyler's photo in the header?

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  8. All the Duggar girls wedding dresses have been beautiful! I think I like Jesse's the best. Beautiful girls in beautiful dresses!

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  9. When Ginger smiles, why do her eyes always seem so vacant?

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    1. Interesting observation. Seems like she smiles with her face and not from the heart...

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    2. It's because people constantly spell her name wrong.

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    3. Ha, ha! Maybe she is going through a trial. Let us not jump to conclusions! (She is beautiful, by the way.)

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  10. good post the only thing missing is a full-dress shot and picture of the train

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  11. You really think that God, with everything else He needs to do, has time to guide women into picking the right bridal gowns daily? I would hope that's pretty far down the list of things to deal with right now, with war, disease, famine, hate, and destruction from natural disasters more at the top.

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    1. The Bible tells us that God sees when a sparrow falls to the ground. He knows and cares about our thoughts and the desires of our hearts. He's a great God, and He has intervened in even the minutiae of my life.

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    2. God is not to busy to manage the details of our lives but there are so many people with so many real hurts and burdens, glibly talking of praying over a dress you wear for one day seems very, very trivial. a dress that "speaks to your heart" and "listening to Jingers's heart" about a dress? Really?

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    3. Great answer, 8:03 AM. And true. God is all powerful. He can be concerned about innumerable things at once.

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    4. God is a personal guide, who has engraved your name upon his hands. Yes, He really, truly guides his children in the simplest details of their lives. God does not "need" to do anything. He is not managing wars, famines and diseases. That is part of the human condition in a fallen world. He "is"calling His church to come to the aid of those that suffer, he is calling those who are outside of His family to come and join Him through the the finished work of Jesus Christ...so in short, those who belong to God have the constant comfort of His presence and guidance in every moment of our lives. I invite you Anonymous @12:11 to answer His invitation and find the peace and guidance found in GOD alone.

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    5. If there was really a God, none of that horrific stuff would be happening. That's why I have been an atheist for the past 15 years.

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    6. It's pretty selfish to be asking God for guidance for a dress. I think you can handle that on your own without enlisting help from above.

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    7. Actually it's not selfish to ask God about every detail of your life... he wants us to ask of him as children ask of their father

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    8. To January 8, 2017 @ 8:17, there is a God. And God lets bad stuff happen because in the garden, Adam and Eve choose to sin. Sin then entered into the world and God was very sad, devastated. He does not want the world to have horrible things happening, he is a gracious and loving God.
      But God may use the trials the world faces for his good purpose. We do not know why. Think of ants. They seem pretty useless and dumb compared to us, right? That is how we are compared to God. He knows everything, just trust.
      Sometimes when we are at our lowest, he draws us near and gives us a taste of hope so then we can accept him. Please don't just take my word for it, research it yourself and ask others questions if you need them. I am praying for you.

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  12. Renee,
    thank you so much for answering our questions! I am currently only 16 years old, but I have always dreamed about having my dream dress custom made to fit my modest values. I actually live in Pensacola, so hopefully when I get married someday I can get my dress from you! :D
    Emma L.

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    1. Hey sweetheart, This is Renee', Yes, Yes Yes, when the time is right I would love to custom design you a beautiful wedding gown. A gown that speaks to your heart. I understand you live in Pensacola, Give me a call 850-494-7924 (Office) I would love to meet my future Renee's Bride.

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    2. Oh my goodness! That's so sweet! Thank you! I will for sure be calling you :):)
      Emma l.

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    3. I would LOVE a dress from you as well. I will call you in a couple years, sigh. :) But seriously, I will prayerfully consider having you for my dressmaker because you are so talented. I see God shinning through you. Thanks and good job!

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  13. A custom dress sounds expensive, especially such a beautiful one with a long train. Have they stated the cost?

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    1. If you didn't pay for it... it's none of your business!!!!

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    2. Okay, be nice, they were just curious. "Love your neighbor as yourself."

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  14. Her dress looked pretty ball-gown/princessy to me...

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  15. Yay! Thank you for answering my question!
    The dress turned out spectacular 😃

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    1. My question was answered too! Thanks for this post Ellie. Very interesting reading.

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  16. Jinger's dress is lovely and elegant. Renee captured what Jinger wanted in a wedding gown.
    Joan,Marion and Marilyn

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  17. Do you only do business with fundamentalists? Seems to be a pretty tight knit group of them when it comes to doing business, and others need not apply. What if an atheist girl came to you for a dress? Would you respect that and leave out the "God's guidance" part?

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    1. Why the judgemental tone? No where in this article does it even remotely imply that Renee only does business with "fundamentalists?" Its really too bad that's what you got out of this heartfelt interview. God bless

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    2. @10:47PM I agree with you.

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    3. It sounds like Renee is a Christian, so why would ask her to deny her beliefs in order to appeal to another crowd? You think it's okay to ask her not to rely on God's guidance in her work, but you are accusing her of not being open to others? Sounds like you are the one not allowing her to express her faith in her own business. She never mentioned she wouldn't do business with anyone in particular....

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    4. "Another crowd," 3:43? Is that what you call non-Christians? I don't think that's a nice term.

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    5. I'm just popping in to say that just because you're a Christian it doesn't mean you have to keep repeating it all the time.
      Just walk the talk, don't keep talking... Immo.

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    6. Guess I must be a member of that "another crowd," because I would be turned off if any business used their religion to sell something to me, or even brought up the subject.

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    7. Anony.@6:04-Did you mean "walk the walk"???

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  18. Her dress was incredibly beautiful!

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  19. Who paid for this wedding dress?

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    1. Certainly she has earned enough to pay for it herself or maybe TLC or it was comped by the designer in return for all the televised advertisement!!!

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  20. Jeremy may have wanted an Isaiah train, but the Lord's temple must have been bigger than the Ozarks church. That train was too long for that church, people stepped on it, and Jinger had trouble maneuvering in it.

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  21. Ok....This verse is in bible about when Kings go to war and when they defeat the enemy they cut off their trains and add it to theirs. So when they returned from war and went in the temple they had a long train to show all the kings they killed. I am trying to figure out why one would request his wife dress to be described in that way. Wow.

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  22. I thought it was a beautiful dress :) I thought it looked like a dress a princess would wear.

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  23. I wonder if Joy will have Renee design her dress too when and if she get engaged?

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  24. I already thought the train was beautiful, but hearing that it had special meaning made it even better!

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  25. Renee looks like a bride herself! She has this spirit within her I recogonize in fellow Christians. The joy of the Lord just shines in her. It's something I picked up right away when I saw her face.

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    1. You can look at someone's face and tell what religion they are, and how devout they are? Kind of like a religious profiling? Do all Christians have this ability? Does it only work when looking at fellow Christians? What happens if you look at, say, a Buddhist? I'd like to hear more about how this incredible phenomenon happens. Thanks.

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  26. Michelle's face used to be round when she first got married, remember? Now it's longer and oval.

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    1. So enjoyed this interview. The dress was beautiful, and perfect for Jinger. That really blessed me that God blessed her that way.

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  27. I loved Jinger's wedding gown. I also loved Renee's black dress that she wore at the wedding! Stunning! Is it available at your salon?

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