Skip to main content

Wedding Dress Designer Highlight: Madeline Gardner of Mori Lee

Screen Shot 2016-05-12 at 8.39.03 PMScreen Shot 2016-05-12 at 9.39.45 PM

Lace and chiffon, covered buttons, and generous trains…We’ve all come love and adore Mori Lee bridal gowns, and bridesmaid dresses, but who is the creative mind behind the design house of Mori Lee?

Designing for Mori Lee for over 20 years, Madeline Gardner brings forth tradition with style in all of her product lines such as Mori Lee Bridal, Brides maids, etc. It makes us wonder who the woman behind the label really is. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, she is a graduate of the famed Fashion Institute of Technology. Madeline is still a Jersey Girl. Now she resides in Hoboken with her husband and two children.

With her immaculate sense of style as well as her ability to bring the latest fashion trends into all of her collections  Madeline Gardner continues to lead the industry in design, manufacturing and distribution with her Mori Lee dress collections.

Here are some of our favorite looks from the one of the latest Mori Lee wedding dress collections, Mori Lee Blu.


When you need to look to enhance your curves, or create, them, there is nothing better than an fit-and flare gown.  they hug the hips and create curves in all the all thScreen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.54.07 AMe right places.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 11.50.42 AM


The Mori Lee Blu 5469 wedding gown is fit-and-flared to perfection. Topped with a plunging V-neckline, this dress floats to a chapel train, sprinkled with lace appliqué. It also has a racer back in sheer floral lace, finished with a back cutout and a row of covered bridal buttons.




Ballgown silhouettes with big skirts and fitted bodicScreen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.51.04 PMes bring to mind the fairy tales and Disney princesses we dreamt of looking like as children. The Mori Lee 2884 wedding dress features a dropped waist bodice with a lace illusion neckline and short cap sleeves. Its gathered tulle skirt is big and beautiful, in all its stand-out glory.


Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 8.50.27 PM





Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 9.32.31 PM





The Mori Lee by Madeline Gardner 2895 wedding dress stuns with its intricately beaded bodice and tiered ballgown skirt, made with three layers, each with horsehair trim at the edge. Topped with a sweetheart strapless neckline and Swarovski crystal belt, it is the perfect balance of glitz and elegance.




The Mori Lee Voyage 6836 captures romance with its wide V-neckline on a fitted lace bodice. Short cap sleeve graze the shoulders while a Swarovski crystal beaded accent sits at the natural waistline. A billowy A-line skirt with a chapel length train makes for a grand exit.

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.21.50 PM Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 8.22.08 PM

Watters 6272E dress

Reception Dresses and Accessories You’ll Wear Long After the Wedding

Reception dresses, and even an after-reception dress, is a trend that many brides are embracing. It’s fun to look back at pictures and see yourself in different outfits, and having more than one dress is a great way to pace out your day and give yourself a little break. A second, more casual look also gives you some options to wear while away on your honeymoon.

For the practical bride, a versatile two-piece reception outfit not only lets you mix and match your own look, but gives you two lovely new pieces to add to your closet. Several dress designers are now featuring separates, tops and skirts, pant suits, jackets and other pieces that are made with the same quality and attention to detail you’d expect from wedding wear.

If you’re feeling whimsical and glamorous try Watters’ extraordinary ostrich feather vest. Like something right out of Scream Queens this fabulous Merapi vest is totally touchable and also a clever way to add a little extra warmth when the reception goes long into the night.

Reception Dresses
The Willowby 56901 Merapi vest offers a chic look with its layers of ostrich feathers set on stretch poly charmeuse. This gorgeous topper ensures full back coverage, while the open front adds a dramatic edge to any ensemble. Available in sizes 00 to 15.


Make your look extra special by adding an accessory, like one of the collection’s crystal beaded belts. Every girl needs a little sparkler like this in her wardrobe, perfect for dressing up a little black dress, or adding some instant glam to a colorful pair of cigarette pants.

Reception Dresses
The Willowby 56902 Kiribati is a crystal beaded belt sewn over a grosgrain ribbon. Twin strands of small and medium-sized crystals define this slim belt, adding glamour to any ensemble. Available in one size.
Reception Dresses
The Willowby 56903 Amalfi belt is a metallic-inspired belt sewn over soft tulle. Comprising it are faux pearls and crystals that are set in an irregular pattern, giving it an artistic appeal. Available in sizes 00 to 15.






Reception Dresses
This Willowby 57331 Waverly is a loose sleeveless top styled in stretch satin with a soft V-neckline and spaghetti straps meeting the inverted V-back. It is shown with the Willowby 56126 Bordeaux skirt. The Bordeaux is a full-length, slim-fitting skirt made of Zuzu lace over a stretch satin lining. Crowned with a set-in band, it then drops with a scalloped hem extending into the sweep train. Available in sizes 00 to 15.








The Watters Willowby line has a number of skirts, tops, and crop tops that they sell separately. See them paired with coordinating pieces from the collection by clicking on the photos.

Reception Accessories
The Willowby 56115 Lanikai is a crop top tailored in Zuzu lace over a stretch satin lining. The high jewel neckline is edged with sheer half sleeves, complementing the lace back. Scallops trim the midriff and the sleeve ends, while an exposed zipper secures the back. Available in sizes 00 to 15. Shown with the Annalise skirt.



The Willowby 56309 Moravia is a sleeveless crop top in stretch satin. Cut-in sleeves frame the mock halter neckline, which is defined with thin straps. Pearl buttons run along the back for a dainty finish. Available in sizes 00 to 15.





















Who says it has to be a dress? After wearing a dress all day, you might be ready for a change of pace. This Mary’s Bridal three-piece pants has all the pieces you need in one chic package. It’s also a great look for spring events. Re-wear, don’t care.

The Mary’s Bridal Informal 2583 three-piece pant suit, has a strapless sweetheart lace topper and slim-cut pants. The ensemble is completed with a jacket, featuring a notched collar and long sleeves. A single button closure adorns the front.

If you think your reception might get a little wild, a chic jumpsuit or romper is ideal for dancing the night away.

The Enchanting by Mon Cheri 215103 jumpsuit features scattered crystal beadwork adorns the strapless bodice, gently highlighting the straight across neckline. A wide ruched band cinches the natural waist, and ties with a long streamer draping in front. The softly gathered pants finish with a flared hemline. The set includes a matching shawl and removable straps. Available sizes: 4 to 20.


So much fun as a reception dress, or for an informal ceremony, the  will steal the show. With its long sleeves and illusion bateau neckline, the Watters 6272E Prato romper dress is so much fun! Fitted at the natural waist with a grosgrain ribbon and darts,coulotte shorts with side pockets and scalloped edges show off those gams. Made of soft Bella Lace, the back features a row of tailored bows down the center.













Marnie’s Laurel Canyon Classic, Ralph Lauren-Meets-Joni Mitchell, White Christian Woman Wedding: Featuring the Dessy Twist Wrap Convertible Bridesmaid Dress

HBO’s Girls kicked off its final season with a wedding and our favorite girls got all twisted up in Dessy Twist-Wrap convertible dresses. The episode features genuine Dessy Twist Wrap convertible dresses, in Suede Rose, available on the Happy Bridesmaids website in sizes XS-2X, in plenty of colors, including Suede Rose!

Whether you call it a convertible dress, a chameleon dress, an infinite dress, or a twist wrap, we will call it the future. The Dessy twist wrap is as multifaceted as the woman who wears one, and they can be worn in hundreds of ways.

The fashions on Girls are meant to showcase what real girls wear in real life. There’s lots of vintage and affordable brands like H&M. The wedding episode reflects this, with the bridesmaids donning twist-wrap dresses, a practical and exceptionally affordable option for a mixed batch of budget-conscious bridesmaids with differing styles and shapes. A twist-wrap can be worn at the empire, or the natural waistline, you can create sleeves or go sleeveless. Its extreme versatility makes it ideal to fit an array of body types.

Costume designer on Girls Jenn Rogien wants us to know that Hannah looks bad on purpose. In a recent interview for, Jenn spoke of the haphazardness of their fashions as being “1000% intentional”. Speaking on Lena Dunham’s character Hannah, Girls producer Judd Apatow told Jenn, “Our audience isn’t going to believe this character is that much of a mess if she looks too good.”


Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 3.27.05 PM
All the other girls tie up their twist-wrap dresses nicely, but Hannah has trouble getting hers to look the way it did before…




“The straps are longer than the dress!”

 Hannah complains, in a mad rush to get her dress tied

after a romp in the car with her boyfriend, Fran.






The extra long straps allow for the impressive range of styles. Someone should have told Hannah that the twist wrap dress comes with instructions!  Also find ways to wrap a twist-wrap dress online here:

The bride, Marnie (Allison Williams), has a very specific vision for her outdoor rustic wedding. The aesthetic of Marnie’s wedding was “Laurel Canyon classic”, Ralph Lauren meets Joni Mitchell with a nod to her heritage, “white Christian woman”, a vision from an Edward Sharp video, she says. In her wedding vision, convertible bridesmaid dresses could encompass all of that and “Oh my god, it’s so much fun.”

The dresses can all be tied the same way, or create a mismatched, “Canyon Classic” look.


Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 5.56.20 PM
Hannah puts her own twist on the convertible dress
Jessa (Jemima Kirke) knots the shoulders while Hannah, goes for a V-neck halter with a wrap bodice.
Jessa (Jemima Kirke) knots the shoulders while Hannah, goes for a V-neck halter with a wrap bodiceGo for dresses in the same color, or pick several different colors to create a theme or gradient effect. Lightweight and comfortable twist wraps also make ideal dresses for destination weddings.
Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 4.16.20 PM
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) goes for a V-neck gathered halter.













Happy Bridesmaids carries the full line of Dessy Twist-Wrap dresses, available in Maracaine jersey knits that stretch and move with you. They come in short or long versions with an optional chiffon overskirt.

Try one shoulder, go backless, but just don’t be a Hannah, bringing your boyfriend around, and asking questions instead of getting things done. Be a Shosh, steam the dresses, or be encouraging like Jessa, a calm during the storm, a make-up emergency fixer, and expert twist-wrap dress stylist.