The finale of “Cinderella” is a wonderfully joyous wedding scene. In the Broadway version the entire cast does the finale decked out in what I call “Wedding Wear”. Ella, of course, is actually wearing a wedding dress. Since Ella wears a white dress at the Ball, an easy option is to have her wear this same dress in the finale. But, where is the fun in that? We had a very fun twist to our wedding story. The Mother of the cast member who played Ella was helping with one of our first costume sorting days, and I was talking about asking the community for wedding, prom and bridesmaid dresses. She volunteered that she had her wedding dress and would be willing to donate it since none of her daughters would fit in it, or want to wear it.
Well, surprise! The dress fit her daughter, and the style was perfect for a Fairy Tale Wedding and so Ella was wearing a version of her Mother’s wedding dress in the show.
This is the original dress. It is a pretty iconic 80’s style dress including modest sequins, beading on the bodice and lace appliques on the bodice, and cutwork and lace on the long sleeves. It has a high neck and a shear insert. It has a wonderfully full skirt with a significant train, and two rows of lace and ruffles at the bottom. The skirt is just perfect for the drama called for by a Royal Wedding.
The first thing the volunteer did was to throw the dress in the washer and wash it on cold, gentle and then hang it to dry. This helped to begin to get some of the wrinkles out. It also fluffed out the ruffles. We used an elliptical hoop and her bum pad under the dress. The volunteer wanted a less identifiable era, and for the dress to make a bolder visual statement on stage. With the permission of the owner, she removed the sheer insert and the lace at the neck. She then replaced the upper sleeve with a bigger puff and gave the dress an off-the-shoulder look. This look was reflective of the dresses that Charlotte and Gabrielle wore during the show.
A thrift store veil completed the look. This is a quick change that requires the costumes pre-set conveniently off stage. Ella wore a pared down version of her one-piece outfit for the scene before where she tried on the shoe. She did not use her petticoat or bum pad. When she goes off stage, she changes, and as she enters last of the wedding party.
The dress trailed nicely down the stairs. The elliptical hoop was a great help to support the train and maintain the shape of the dress. It was a perfect ending to a lovely show . . .and they all lived Happily Ever After.