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To get the best idea of my theme for the clothing and the decorations of my wedding, I recommend watching the movie "Ever After."

I have found several sewing patterns to suit my wedding attire needs. I would recommend McCalls #2645 for a fancy wedding gown, or Simplicity #8735 for a simpler version. For the men I suggest using McCalls #2248 or Butterick #5656, for the look I want for my husband I am having to make my own pattern, but I only recommend that for experienced seamstresses. For my eldest daughter and her best friend I will use Simplicity #8192, and for my youngest I am using McCalls #8937, with slightly altered sleeves to make it match the rest of the clothing.

I am sewing the renaissance garb for myself at big savings, especially since I frequent the garage sales and thrift stores looking for items that can be re-used. Such as the beautiful dark rose colored velvet robe I found for $1 that is being made over into the dress for my 7 yr. I also found a black velvet dress with gold trim for $3 that will be used for the bodice and gauntlets for my older daughter's dress (it will also be used for her best friends bodice and gauntlets so they can match - so important for teenagers). I am now on the lookout for some kind of silky material to make the under dresses for the older girls and a heavy brocade to make the bodice for my youngest. I hope to complete their dresses for around $10 - $15 total.

For the material I need for my gown I have been shopping the local fabric stores and explaining my project to the ladies at the cutting counters. So far everyone that I spoke to has been enthusiastic about my ideas and one gave me a good tip about signing up for the mailing lists so I can get coupons for discounts and notifications of their sales. One store sent me a 50% off coupon for a single item or cut of fabric, which I plan to use on the material I want for my over dress, a heavy tapestry with a floral pattern in gold, moss green, dark rose and a grayish purple. It is regularly $19 a yard, ouch.....but at $9.50 a yard with the coupon I can get the 5 1/2 I need for $52.50. My under dress will be 5 yards of gold silk that I found on the internet for $6 a yard, and I figured I will need about $10 worth of notions to complete the whole thing. So for under $100 I will have a very unique and gorgeous wedding dress.

I am also keeping a good eye on the bargain tables for a good size piece of dark velvet that I can make into a Pourpoint for my husband to wear. His boots (knee high moccasins) I found on sale for $60 on the internet. He wanted a sword to complete his garb and I agreed to buy one as my wedding present to him. I have found several swords at reasonable prices on the Internet. With the sword and moccasins, his is the most expensive costume to make, I figure I'll spend around $200 for everything.

If you think about it, $320 to dress the whole family for a wedding is not a bad deal, especially when you consider that these costumes can be reused. One idea I have is to celebrate our anniversaries by getting all dressed up in our garb and attending a Renaissance Faire every year.

For those of you who do not sew, you can always contact a local costumer or theater company about rentals, or a seamstress to have your garb made, you may even be able to get a better deal on the cost of the fabrics you need. A more expensive route would be to go to the Renaissance Faire and check out the pre-made garb or do a search on line. I found many beautiful gowns on the internet, they are more expensive, but most were a better deal than a traditional Wedding Gown.

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