Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Emma Swan's Wedding Dress

Sorry it took me so long to get my reaction up. Okay, two days isn't really that long, but gauging by the spike in visits I've had over the past 24 hours, I have a feeling some people are hoping for my reaction to this big OUAT costume!


If for some reason you haven't caught up with "Once Upon a Time," you ought to skip this post as it will definitely spoil some big things for you.


First of all, I should note that I first saw the dress in Jennifer Morrison's Instagram post. I was surprised and a little bummed that they chose to release the dress image significantly ahead of the actual episode. Personally, I would have preferred to see it for the first time on screen.

That said, I wasn't that thrilled with the dress, so it's probably better that I got my disappointment out of the way ahead of time so that I could just enjoy the episode for what it was. (My full thoughts on the musical/wedding episode are up on my personal blog.)

I should clarify that I thought the dress itself was beautiful, and the headdress exquisite. According to this interview, they made the whole thing in just two weeks, which is amazing. (It's a good interview with lots of other wedding details. Check it out!) It's a gorgeous work of art and a beautiful (and intended) homage to Grace Kelly's famous wedding dress.

Photo: ABC, via ETOnline.com
However, I personally do not feel the dress worked for Emma's character at all. At the very, very least, I would have preferred to see her with her hair down. The combination of the tight hair pull and the high neckline made for an extremely severe look that I did not feel fit the tone of the episode at all. I understand the vintage look and homage they were going for, but it really did not seem to fit Emma's character at all for me. It's a pity, because it really is a gorgeous dress, and just letting a little hair down and nixing either the collar or the high buttoned look would have made all the difference.

Hook's ensemble was perfect, however. I didn't pick up that his jacket was velvet while watching the episode, but it's a great detail that I was delighted to discover while researching this piece.

While on the subject of wedding dresses, I did enjoy the brief awkward scene where Snow brings her old wedding dress to Emma. Honestly, it really would have been tremendous fun to see Emma wear her mom's dress, and I think it would have suited her, but I understand why the show wanted to give Emma her own signature piece for such a big day.

One more wedding detail I really loved--the fact that both Snow and Charming walked Emma down the aisle. Those of you who follow my personal blog may remember that I had both of my parents walk me down for my wedding, and it is a situation I am seeing more and more of these days. While it's not for everyone, it certainly made sense in this show, given the whole Charming family story, and I'm glad they went with it.

Read my full thoughts on the Musical Episode here, or more of my musings on OUAT costume choices here.


  1. I agree with you - Emma's wedding dress was such a disappointment!!! After 6 seasons, we've come to expect a certain level of couture-ness and originality with the costumes. This dress did not fit with Emma's style AT ALL when I first saw it on social media, so I was hoping/expecting there to be some storyline-based reason for the Princess Grace knock-off wedding dress (childhood dream, etc), but alas there was none. It feels like such a cheat and a cop-out!! Like they didn't want to try to figure out what it SHOULD be, and went with Princess Grace because Jen/Emma is blonde and kind of looks like her!!! Ugh!! Hook looked great though!

  2. I liked your review because it echoed the feelings I had about the dress. I have actually stopped watching the show but it was impossible to avoid info about the wedding and the dress and before it was revealed, I did have some excitement over how it would look because at one time I really did fantasize about what she would wear. But boy was this a case of reality not living up to fantasy. When the pictures came out, my jaw dropped, not from excitement, but disappointment. I literally said "they have an amazing costume designer who's created beautiful & unique looks and they give her a copy of a dated dress?" I mean timeless is all well and good, but it shouldn't make a person look like they are trapped in the past. Don't get me wrong Grace Kelly was beautiful and the dress was stunning for its time, but it just made Jennifer Morrison look much older then she is. Also, they've been making an effort to make the Emma character seem more relaxed & breezy by putting her in flowy tops and softening her look and the dress with her all covered up with the tight updo & red lipstick was too severe for her. I always thought her wedding dress would be like the dresses she wore in Camelot. Those suited her better. If she wanted to have the look of a real princess, she could have done Princess Kate (her dress was a modern take on Grace's) and had her hair in a half updo with more natural makeup. I mean even the soft updos she did when wearing that light blue ball gown in the dream sequence with Charming or when she wore the red dress with Hook would have been better. I had friends who cosplay as Emma and had been itching to do a wedding look, but when they saw the actual dress they were like "Nope, not wearing that." Really the whole thing was a missed opportunity to create a unique and iconic look.

    1. Kate, it was funny to find your comment waiting for me today, because I actually woke up this morning thinking about Emma's wedding dress! I'm finding that, outside of Emma's maroon jacket, her costuming seems to waver a bit all over the place...perhaps because Emma herself is never quite sure of who she actually is. This makes it more difficult to design the wedding dress, of course...if you've never truly identified your heroine's iconic look, it's very hard to give her an iconic wedding dress!

    2. Hi Elizabeth. Thanks for your response. That is funny that you got my comment just as you were thinking about the wedding dress. I get what you're saying about Emma's look being all over the place as I've felt that her character's been that way for a while which is a shame. And I've actually heard that Jennifer Morrison has a say in her costuming and was even the one who pulled for the Grace Kelly Dress (which shocked me). Given her involvement in Emma's looks you'd think with her insight she'd be able to nail down Emma's style, but she did have to work with the writing of her character and that certainly has been swerving from one extreme to the other. Really if I had to pick one woman on the show with the most consistent development & style, it would be Regina/Evil Queen.

      BTW, I love your site. I've been checking in on it off and on since 2013. It was actually because of Once Upon a Time that I found your site. You do amazing work. I'm just sorry that you are not able to fully pursue the designing that you clearly love due to your health concerns. I do hope that you get better. Speaking of costume design, since you are not taking commissions, can you recommend anyone who is? I'm looking for someone who can recreate clothes from movies/TV such as OUAT, Hunger Games & Disney and make looks that are wearable in daily life with comfortable fabrics & reasonably priced. I'd appreciate any help you can provide.

    3. Yes, I would agree that Regina's look has been fabulously consistant. I think they do a pretty good job with Snow and Belle as well, although they've had to work around pregnancies there and that has resulted in additional challenges, not always well-handled.

      Thank you! You may be interested in checking out Karena Designs, as she trained under me for awhile, contributed to several of the ensembles I've created on this site over the years, and enjoys making magical, wearable clothing. https://www.facebook.com/hkarenadesign/

  3. I'm late, but I thought, generally speaking, Emma's gown was GORGEOUS!!! HOWEVER, it was not AT ALL suited to her personality and style. Emma is rebellious, not at all a Grace Kelly type, even if she is technically, a princess. The gown actually looks almost identical to a Rosa Clara design. Is it, in fact, from the Rosa Clara collection? I'm trying to look up the designer.

  4. Hello I am so delighted I located your blog, I really located you by mistake, while I was watching on google for something else, Anyways I am here now and could just like to say thank for a tremendous post and a all round entertaining website. Please do keep up the great work. wedding dress patterns

  5. Ah! I have seen her dress before and I really liked it a lot. The time has definitely changed but I am also planning to wear a vintage style wedding dress on my wedding. It is this year in a very beautiful venue NYC and I am very excited to marry the love of my life. I have to say that you write really well and I enjoyed going through this post.

  6. While I didn’t read through ALL of the comments, for those that are too young to know, the style of Enma’s gown was almost a replica of actress Grace Kelly who became Princess of Monaco. I recognized it from documentaries and knew that it was a classic piece of that time. However, with that said, I agree that Emma should have had her own signature gown, but since this was a show based on classic stories, it made sense that they chose a gown from what was considered a true fairy tale princess wedding.


Welcome to the discussion! Please note that due to chronic illness, I am no longer taking commissions of any kind.

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