Why Not Literally Be a Glowing Bride?


Actress Claire Danes at the Met Gala in Zac Posen’s show-stopping glow-in-the-dark gown has inspired some women to wear wedding dresses that light up. (Photo: Getty Images)

When Claire Danes attended the Met Gala this spring in a glow-in-the-dark Zac Posen gown, she was embodying the night’s theme — the intersection of technology and design. But descriptions of the gown also frequently mentioned its resemblance to Cinderella’s ball gown. Considering how many brides have imagined themselves walking down the aisle and looking like a fairy princess, it seems only logical that they could also imagine themselves in this high-tech version.

A video posted by Zac Posen (@zacposen) on May 2, 2016 at 4:15pm PDT

A few actually have made this a reality. In 2008, Lindsay Roberts-Kosciuk had 300 LED lights sewn into her gown. During her first dance, her cousin sat nearby ready to turn them on, surprising everyone else in attendance. The only slight hitch in her plan, she told TLC’s Incredible Weddings, was the fact that the battery pack got so hot, she feared it would light on fire.

Another bride made her gown into a multicolored lighting display to go with her first dance and shared it all on YouTube.

Despite those two trailblazers, we haven’t seen many other examples of illuminated gowns in real life. That could be because so many traditionalists have knee-jerk reactions to the concept (“This is probably the most tacky wedding dress we have ever seen,” wrote a blogger of one LED confection).

And sure, there are some rather garish takes that seem to turn brides into floats on the Disney Electric Light Parade. But these days, weddings don’t need to be cookie-cutter, serene affairs. This is also the kind of look one could change into for the reception, after wearing something less brilliant for the ceremony. So, once you’ve got it into your head that you need to light up that room in more ways than one, what are your options?

It doesn’t quite look like Posen’s gown, nor the LED Marchesa/IBM collaboration worn by Karolina Kurkova at the same Met Gala, has made its way into bridal boutiques quite yet. But Pennsylvania-based couture gown maker Janice Martin advertises a subtle LED gown on her Instagram. Or you could roll the dice on one of these overseas retail sites.

A safer bet might be to wire your dress yourself or hire a local seamstress to do it. Lumigram, the company that provided Posen’s fiber-optic fabric, sells its material online, starting at €40 (a little over $52) for an 18- by 59-inch panel.

The fiber-optic DIY dress design on this Instructables post isn’t for a wedding gown, per se, but it’s a start, and it would look amazing on anyone prone to frequent dance floor twirling.

Battery-powered LED strips are less expensive than fiber optics and can be sewn into various parts of an existing dress pretty easily. It’s when you decide to link the lights to your heartbeat and breath that things might get a little more complicated. There are also instructions on lighting up a girl’s fairy costume that seem applicable to a wedding dress.

If you like the idea of lights, but don’t want to mess with your gown, there are always accessories. You can clip in lights to your shoes, for instance.

One more warning here: Battery packs for these things do heat up, as Kurkova mentioned at the Met Gala, but who minds a little sweat when you can look so magical?

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