|Jana Duggar, Jill Dillard, Renee Miller, Jessa Seewald, Diana Vuolo (Jeremy's mom), and Joy Duggar watch Jinger try on the three prototype dresses made by Renee; August 17th, 2016|
We have even more photos to share, so stay tuned for a post of only pictures.
Ellie: What is your design process?
Renee: I sized Jinger by looking at pictures of her and then met her on August 17th to show her three prototype dresses I had created. She chose her favorite, and I spent the next two-and-a-half months personalizing that gown. The under layers of the dress were sewn by machine, but the beads, lace, and pearls were all sewn on by hand. All three of the prototypes fit her perfectly. A true designer has an eye and can size without measuring.
The bridesmaids’ dresses also fit perfectly. I didn’t meet some of the girls until the big reveal three days before the wedding. We had to switch two of the gowns around, but it could not have been closer to perfect.
I prayed very hard that the dresses would fit. I was especially nervous about Jessa’s dress because she’s pregnant. When that thing zipped up, I literally shed tears of joys. Jessa looked at me and asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ ‘You just don’t know how much I’ve worried about your gown!’ I responded.
Ellie: Can you talk more about the lace?
Renee: The lace is antique-inspired. I shopped long and hard to find a classic look. Jinger is extremely classy, every bit of Grace Kelly. She has that ‘girl next door’ look to her, and I wanted a lace that was equal to all of that. It’s actually a cream color. Her dress is a very soft ivory, although people have mistaken it for white.
Ellie: Did it take long to do all the buttons up on Jinger’s dress?
Renee: Not at all. Buttons aren’t difficult if they are put on the dress correctly. We have stretchy, elastic loops, and they just pull right over the buttons.
Ellie: What is the price range of your wedding dresses?
Renee: The price of a wedding dress depends on what the bride chooses. I have brides who come from all over to see me, and I am willing to travel to meet with brides. I work with all different budgets. The national average is $1375, and I am more than able to design a dress at or around that average.
Ellie: How much did Jinger's dress weigh?
Renee: 15.2 pounds
Ellie: Did you design dresses for any other members of the wedding party?
Renee: In addition to making Jinger's wedding gown and 10 bridesmaids dresses, I altered Josie Duggar's flower girl dress, Michelle Duggar's mother of the bride dress, and Grandma Duggar's grandmother of the bride dress. One of my team members altered a few of the guys' pants.
Ellie: How did your business start out of the trunk of your car?
Sixteen years ago, I became the sole provider for my two boys, so I started selling costume jewelry out of the trunk of my car. That’s how I spent my days, and I wouldn’t come home until I had money to pay the light bill, or get groceries, or buy gas.
A friend encouraged me to sell my jewelry at a mall kiosk during Christmastime. While I was packing up on New Year’s Day, a bride stopped by my kiosk looking for jewelry for her bridesmaids. It hit me like a bolt of lightening that I was going to have me a bridal store one day. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew that was my calling. I bought and sold three wedding gowns, then six, then 12, then 24.
I didn’t borrow money because I didn’t want to risk my kids’ livelihood. Then a bride asked me if I could sew two dresses together, and I said, ‘Why sure I can.’ And from there I started designing my own dresses. Today, there’s probably nothing I haven’t done in the bridal industry. Anything I sell in my store is totally my design. It’s amazing how God will multiply your talents. You may not have much, but if you give what you do have, God will bless it. I get emotional when I think about the hand of protection that God has put on me.
Ellie: Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Renee: I would love to give a shout out to the Duggars. They are such a wonderful family. Michelle--oh my goodness--if more mothers could have her heart, what a different place this world would be. I just feel like I am enriched so much more by being able to be a part of their life for just five days. They are gracious, and they are actually sweeter in real life than they are on TV. They are humble, gracious, loving, and full of heart, and I just can’t speak enough good words about them and how honored and blessed I am to have been a part of this big moment in their lives. I cherish each and every one of my brides, and Jinger Duggar Vuolo is no exception.
Here are photos of the sketches that the three prototype dresses were made from:
To learn more about Renee Miller, visit her website, and follow her on Facebook and Instagram (@renees_bridal).
Photos courtesy reneesbridalpensacola.com; used with permission