My second of three wedding dresses was for my Ornithologist Woodland Bride, an upcycled, vintage Gunne Sax dress.

"The look I was going for on our wedding day was a brew of boho/woodland/vintage/classic, or to steal some words from my bandmate, 'just the right amount of hippie'."

Veronica came to me with a dress she's had since she was a little girl, a dress that came from her great grandmothers boutique in Vernon. It had a high neckline, full billowy sleeves and was striped with a delicate lace. Initially this was going to be the dress we reworked for the wedding.


As I got started on the project, it was evident we were going to need much more lace than the dress provided. The colour of lace was difficult to match, at a thrift shop I found what seemed to be the perfect lace that I would be able to tea dye to match. The lace took to the dye just as I'd hoped. The dress came together beautifully, off the shoulder, low back and perfect for this bride. That was, until we took the dress outside. Inside, the tea dyed lace complimented the existing lace wonderfully.

But as soon as it went outside, the sun/natural light reflection on the newly dyed lace made it look completely different, it looked pinkish, almost purple. What a nightmare.


This was no longer the perfect dress for this bride, we needed to rethink our options. Being that this dress held sentimental value, we had to figure out a way of using it. Enter Anna, the maid of honour, who just so happens to be the same size as the bride. We decided to shorten the dress for Anna to wear on the special day.

Veronica, being the laid back, opposite of Bridezilla Bride she was, didn't let this get her down. She cruised Etsy and found another vintage gown for us to upcycle.

An old school Gunne Sax dress with a ruffle along the neckline, full bodied sleeves and a perfectly Veronica ankle length hemline. This dress had me excited. The scalloped lace was ideal for the style of dress we were going to create.

"Connor proposed at Sunset beach, a couple of days after I defended my thesis and a few days before I was leaving for Fernie for 2 months of fieldwork. We’d discussed getting married in the near future, but I wasn’t expecting him to propose during that narrow time window, so it was a pretty cool surprise! We were taking Osa (our dog) for a stroll on Sunset beach, just up the road from our house, and he asked if I wanted to see “Osa’s new trick.” He told me to turn away, and when I turned back, Osa was coming towards me with a little parcel tied to her collar and a ring inside!"

photograph by Jamie Perchie

photograph by Jamie Perchie

Connor and Veronica have known eachother since their first year of Biology at UVIC in 2008, they started dating in January 2009. These two were our first friends my partner and I made after moving back to Saltspring last fall. We instantly hit it off after realizing we had both been with our partners for 8+ years and we both had doodles. With lots in common, we became fast friends. Having Veronica living so close, I requested frequent fittings to keep the dress moving along as quickly and efficiently as possible. It seemed as though every time she would come for a fitting, she would leave with another piece of Qube to add to her closet.

"I am in the process of upgrading my wardrobe to everything Qube."

I love the idea of upcycling for many reasons, but primarily, it is an eco friendly choice that creates constraints that are fun to play in.

"My favourite part of my dress was definitely the moody scalloped lace ruffle over the arms and low on the back (with a lovely little dip). I loved everything about it, though, from the casual ankle-cut to the vintage lace and holes from trampling through the salal and oregon grape en route to the altar."

Photograph by  Jamie Perchie

Photograph by Jamie Perchie

This was the first wedding dress I had made/altered that I got to witness walking down the aisle. We were in at a Wellness Retreat, Eaglenest Sanctuary on The Koksilah River, the weather was completely West Coast, bright, misty and gorgeous. The groom was escorted by his parents, followed by the best man and Ms Osa, who carried the wedding bands.

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

The bridesmaids meandered through the forest as the incredible Helmi Hess lead them with her ethereal vocals and autoharp.

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

Photograph by Lisa McCulloch

Veronica followed with her parents on either side. Bohemian, woodland, vintage and classic. She was alluring, she was glowing, she exuded confidence. She was on her way to marrying her best friend and truest love, Doctor Silverthorn.

"I accessorized with some beautiful green sapphire earrings made by my momma, a sweet flower crown and whimsical bouquet (with some eagle and owl feathers found during various adventures) made by Adria at Little Bee Blooms, and a funky turquoise/leather choker I found at a thrift shop in Cobble Hill a few days before the big day (just for the evening)."

A beautiful day in the forest, alongside a river, the entire venue dripping with flowers and filled with heartfelt words, original songs, delicious (local) food, cold bevies (served out of a canoe cooler!) games, dancing and all the love.

Thank you for trusting me through the entire process and letting me be a part of your big day in more ways than one. It was an absolute pleasure and you are an absolute treasure.

"You made my dream dress come true, ya little wizard!"

I encourage you to go to visit this album of magical moments captured by Wendy Shepherd

Use password: loveandfolkonthekoke to enter

Sneak peek below:


Inspired by the upcycled wedding dress and maid of honour dress, bridesmaid Angela bought her own Value Village treasure for me to rework


I took it apart completely and managed to turn it into something beautiful

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Three upcycled, reworked dresses, for 3 beautiful women, for one magnificent day.

I encourage you to go to visit this album of magical moments captured by Wendy Shepherd

Use password: loveandfolkonthekoke to enter

Sneak peek below:

Photograph by  Wendy Shepherd    

Photograph by Wendy Shepherd


AuthorKristi Lee