A Story From My Closet #7 - Lilly Ann Gwilliam, The Perfect Wedding Dress

Guest Article by Lilly Ann Gwilliam

I was looking for the perfect dress for my second wedding. I had been a single woman and mother of two children for the past sixteen years, with a focus on my professional career. I had my Masters in Psychiatric Nursing and a Law Degree. When I met my future husband Gary, we decided to get married after being together for six years. I wanted that special dress that depicted the woman I had become at age fifty-five.

As I leafed through many bride magazines for months before our wedding to find my dress, I could not believe what I saw before my eyes - a dress that was designed by Badgley Mischka in the1996 winter edition of  Elegant Bride. The black and white photo of this simple but elegant lace floor length dress with a matching jacket that hung ever so softly over the model’s shoulders was beyond my dream dress. This dress was me! I knew I had to find this dress and started to call the stores that were listed in the magazine and found it at Saks Fifth Avenue.

I then called my childhood friend, Sharon. We had known one another since grade school. I was only a young girl of eight years of age when I first met Sharon. She was in my grade school class and lived one block away. We became very good friends. I was a chubby eight-year-old and did not feel very good about myself. Now I was a successful professional nurse with my law degree working as a Nurse Consultant and in the weight range that I had ideally wanted to be for several years. I was five feet seven and weighed one hundred and thirty-one pounds. 

She lived on Long Island, I grew up on Long Island, so what better place to find and buy my wedding dress than at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City. I was looking forward to sharing this special time with my dear friend and hoped that this dress was going to fit me the way I had imagined it to be in my dreams.

The dress was being held for me to try on, and I was feeling quite anxious and apprehensive. We entered the Saks wedding floor and I asked for my consultant. She was promptly on the floor and guided Sharon and I to the dressing room. It was three months prior to my wedding, and I had not seen any dress that I cared about prior to this date. Time was getting to be of the essence.

The salesperson brought the dress to me and said, “You know, this is the dress that Julia Ormond wore to the Golden Globes Award this year.” I did not know this. Her size six fit perfectly! I felt so elated and proud of the person I had become - an independent woman despite coming from such humble beginnings. I was the first in my family to even graduate from college.

The cost of my dress was approximately $5,500.00. I did not have or want the heavy beadwork intertwined in the dress,. Although it was part of the original dress, it would have cost another two thousand dollars and was not what I had imagined from the photos from the magazine. I decided I deserved this dress no matter what it cost after all of my hard work.

The day of our wedding, Gary turned age 60. We combined children and had them join us in our wedding party. I never felt more beautiful or elegant in my life as I did the day of our beautiful wedding in my amazing Badgley Mischka simple but elegant dress. As my dress was also very classic, I was able to wear it beyond my wedding day to a few formal events over the ensuing years.

Gary and I will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in May, 2022, and I plan on wearing this elegant and timeless dress again as we celebrate not only our anniversary, but my 80th birthday in February, and Gary’s 85th birthday on May 18th.

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Lilly Ann Gwilliam is a freelance writer, published author, experienced medical-legal consultant, mother, daughter and grandmother.  The story of her early life is published in her memoir, “Generations of Motherhood: A changing Story." Part two of this memoir is tentatively scheduled for publication in 2022.


  1. Replies
    1. I think so too. All of them are. If you missed the others just click on the fashion tab.

  2. This woman I am very proud to call my aunt. She has always radiated such beauty inside and out.

    1. She is also an amazing role model and I am honored that she took time to share her story with us.


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