Jennifer Lopez Wears 28 Bridal Dresses in 'Shotgun Wedding'

Mitchell Travers (who was also the costume designer for "Hustlers") breaks down the entire series of custom gowns in the rom-com-meets-action movie.

Continuing the tradition of wedding-themed rom-coms, Jennifer Lopez's latest love story, "Shotgun Wedding," could have also been named "28 Dresses."

In the movie — streaming on Prime Video on Friday, Jan. 27 — the actor-producer plays Darcy, who's about to marry baseball player Tom (Josh Duhamel). Tom's intensely committed to planning the perfect wedding, down to the DIY pineapple centerpieces. The guest list for the island wedding in the Philippines includes future mother-in-law Carol (Jennifer Coolidge) and ex-boyfriend Sean (Lenny Kravitz), who neglected to RSVP. Then, there are the additional uninvited guests: armed pirates who interrupt the ceremony and take friends and family hostage. Along with Tom, Darcy must save their big day, all while still wearing her wedding gown, which undergoes action-packed carnage of its own.

Prepping during early pandemic, costume designer Mitchell Travers — who previously outfitted Lopez in gravity-defying, late-aughts-era sparkle in "Hustlers" — took on a multitude of challenges.

"At the time, a lot of the world was not really up and running. Getting Jen in a wedding dress takes a moment — even if the world is up and running," he says of Covid-related supply chain and production obstacles.

While taking a deep dive through bridal trends (including Fashionista's roundups!), Travers found himself taken by an image of a gown by Galia Lahav. He reached out to the Israeli luxury bridal brand, and the rounds of daily international meetings commenced.

"It couldn't just be a simple little wedding dress," says Travers. "It really needed to go through an entire film's worth of action and adventure."

Darcy (Jennifer Lopez), her wedding dress and Tom (Josh Duhamel) begin their island adventure.<p>Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate</p>
Darcy (Jennifer Lopez), her wedding dress and Tom (Josh Duhamel) begin their island adventure.

Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate

Working off the script, Travers meticulously outlined and then cross-referenced a "chronological list" and the shooting schedule to break down how Darcy's gown would... well, break down, and into how many iterations.

"When does she lose the train? Are the sleeves up at this point? Has she cut off the overskirt?" says Travers, who tapped into his experience assisting Deborah L. Scott on 2014's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2." "It was really a full red yarn chart thing."

After determining that 28 styles of the slowly (but fashionably) deconstructing gown were needed, Travers broke the news to the Galia Lahav team, headed by creative director Sharon Sever.

"I almost had to time out when I was going to tell Galia that the dress gets shredded, because you want to respect the art that they produce," he says. Sever and co. immediately jumped on the concept to custom-build all versions of the gown, which were handmade in the Tel Aviv-based atelier.

"For a lot of people, when you say, 'We're gonna do this and then destroy it,' there would be some pearls clutched. But they totally embraced it," Travers says. "They totally got the power of storytelling in a movie." The Galia Lahav team also kept a sense of humor around the backstory of Darcy's ultra-voluminous wedding day gown: She borrowed it from Carol — Milford, Michigan's top realtor.

"Something doesn't feel right," says Darcy, exasperatingly telling Tom she never wanted a big wedding or "a princess dress."

"This dress is just wonderful. I wore it for my wedding. [Sister-in-law] Jeannie wore it for hers," purrs Carol, in that trademark Jennifer Coolidge-way.

Darcy struggles with the intricate corset, billowing bishop sleeves, layered silk tulle over-skirt, cinched satin belt and elaborate draping, accented with delicate little fabric-covered buttons.

Darcy, the dress and Tom breaking down a bit.<p>Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate</p>
Darcy, the dress and Tom breaking down a bit.

Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate

"It's one of those movie moments where you have to kind of hit all the right notes in the same garment," says Travers about walking the balance of a resplendent J. Lo-worthy bridal moment and the humor of the film. "In conversation with Jen, she was like, 'I just really need to be overwhelmed by it." So, Travers and the Galia Lahav team "really, really padded out the underskirts" and multiplied the brand's signature puff sleeves by about three-fold.

Travers opted for a "champagne blush color," because Lopez always looks radiant in that hue. But also, "it was a really great canvas [for] the mud, dirt, blood and the sweat."

Always a team player, Lopez even tried to make her own contributions in the ravaging of the gown. "We would be dirtying her up, and she'd be grabbing the dirt to try to get herself further," says Travers, with a laugh. "I'm like, 'No! The continuity. You can't put it there.' But she's like, 'Give it to me.'"

While Darcy spends the majority of the film in various stages of her borrowed wedding dress, she does offer a peek into her personal style at the rehearsal cocktail that opens the film. She greets her bickering family and future in-laws in a décolletage-baring marigold Carolina Herrera mini dress, featuring a sculpturally draped train (above) — "so, we can tell that she likes a strapless silhouette," says Travers. "We can tell that she likes some leg, a little drama. We set up her character there."

<em>Darcy, with sister Jamie (Callie Hernandez) take the edge off at the rehearsal dinner.</em><p>Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate</p>
Darcy, with sister Jamie (Callie Hernandez) take the edge off at the rehearsal dinner.

Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate

He also created a through-line between Carol's old wedding dress and her custom blue floral mother-of-the-groom gown, with the latter's comedic-chic oversized ruffle flounce and extra-floppy wide-brim hat. ("We wanted to make it feel like Carol's a woman who likes some scale," says Travers. "She's always chosen these grand pieces.")

Adding to the wedding dress's origin story, Travers thought about what edits might have been made when the gown changed hands: "When it was Carol's dress, it would have been worn up at the shoulders, and the sleeves would have started higher. But in an effort to do the right thing, she's tried to make it Darcy's by dropping it off-the-shoulder. You get more of a soft lantern sleeve, versus these big '90s wedding sleeves."

Carol (Jennifer Coolidge) wears a custom-designed dress made out of water-friendly neoprene.<p>Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate</p>
Carol (Jennifer Coolidge) wears a custom-designed dress made out of water-friendly neoprene.

Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate

But in a climactic moment to take on the perpetrators, Darcy quickly transforms the at-that-point-one-sleeve gown into a more functional halter-topped look (below.)

"That dress, it's growing on me," says Tom in that moment, taking a break from fighting pirates to admire Darcy's handiwork.

"I wanted something less traditional," she quips back.

Darcy shows her new look off to Margy (Selena Tan) and Ace (Alberto Isaac).<p>Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate</p>
Darcy shows her new look off to Margy (Selena Tan) and Ace (Alberto Isaac).

Photo: Ana Carballosa/Courtesy of Lionsgate

The jagged, asymmetrical skirt silhouette — covered in tiers of delicate ruffles — also allows for a more nimble escape from gun-toting pirates.

"I was in some tiny bridal shop and saw a tiered tulle under-structure. I was like, 'Oh, that is the finale [look!]" says Travers. "We throw combat boots on like that, she's coming to save the day."

For practicality (and a sporty, modern-yet-romantic element that may start some non-traditional bridal trends), Travers worked with undergarment and swimwear brand Marco Marco to custom-make lace-trimmed tap pants for Lopez to wear under the gown.

"I slid a three-and-a-half-inch heel into her combat boots," he says. "You would never know. Like, come on, she's not running in flats. She's J. Lo."

'Shotgun Wedding' premieres on Prime Video on Friday, Jan. 27.

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