How to Modernize Your Mom's Wedding Gown

Have you checked out TLC's latest wedding series, "Something Borrowed, Something New"? Each episode follows one bride as she's forced to choose between two wedding gown options: a family heirloom (like her mom's gown) that stylist Kelly Nishimoto re-works into a modern-day dress, or a brand new gown that stylist Sam Saboura shops for with the bride's preferences in mind. Last week, Sam gave us the inside scoop on how he chooses the "something new" gown. Now, Kelly reveals her secrets to modernizing mom's gown!

something borrowed something new
Lauren in her mom's dress, pre-alterations!

How do you find the right balance between keeping the integrity of the mother's dress and modernizing it?
I essentially keep the best elements of the dress — the ones that make it special — and get rid of any elements that make it dated and frumpy. Generally, I'll find myself getting rid of tacky sparkles and eliminating extra fabric. Brides today want to be more sleek, and older gowns tend to overwhelm their bodies.

Not many brides are exactly the same size that Mom was on her wedding day. It’s always easier if the dress is too big on the daughter; this gives me plenty to work with, and there is always extra leftover fabric to use for other elements. When the dress is too small for the daughter, I basically have to chop up the whole thing and re-work it. I pray and cross my fingers that I can find similar fabrics to mix in!

How much, on average, do you think a bride can save by re-working mom's gown rather than buying a new one?
Many factors, such as expensive fabrics and tailors, can come into play, so you really need to make a good plan and stick to your budget. Search Ebay and sales to find fabrics on a budget. The total savings really depends on how much work needs to be done to the dress and whether the bride and her mother can truly do it themselves. Doing the work yourself (or having a friend help you) can save you a good $1,000 or more!

Have any moms been disappointed with how their original gown looked in the end?
Fortunately, I didn’t have any mom’s disappointed in my work (unless they kept it quiet)! I did have a few moms who were disappointed that the bride chose the new dress option instead. And I had many gasps and shaking heads of disbelief that I transformed their dresses into sometimes an unrecognizable heirloom. After the reveals, I've had to make a couple of minor adjustments with the lengths and sleeves, but nothing major.

Get an exclusive sneak peek at the latest episode below! And be sure to tune in to TLC at 10 p.m. EST (9 p.m. CST) to see if Lauren goes for "something borrowed" or "something new."

—Kristen O'Gorman Klein