This is probably our most important donation to date, not due the size of the donation or even the fact that I spent several months of my life meticulously hand crafting this wedding gown, but because this was the first wedding gown to be donated to us, this is the wedding gown that birthed The Angel Gown Initiative.
On the morning of 21 June 2017 as I was going through my pre-work morning rituals, this specific morning being gym and keeping up with my Facebook followers in between reps. I noticed an intriguing post on a friends’ Facebook news feed. This particular post was about a woman that had sent her wedding gown away to be repurposed into Angel Gowns. This is something I have never heard of before.
Her name is a name you all should be familiar with by now. She serves on our Board of Directors, she was the very first TAGI Ambassador I invited into that role and she advocates for TAGI every chance she gets. Her name is Chrismari Elsbury and we grew up together.
I was closer friends with her older sister Chanie (I made her wedding gown as well a couple of months after Chrismari got married), whom I’ve known since the age of 5, making this a friendship of 27 years now. With us all growing up together it started more as one of those mutual-sibling friendship types. Regardless of that, through us working together on her wedding gown and together as directors for TAGI, the friendship really took off in our adult years.
But I digress…
Chrismari was looking for someone that would be willing and capable to do this for her with her wedding gown in South Africa. As I spent so much of my time making her wedding gown this immediately spoke to me, knowing the gown and its history so intimately and of course having a personal connection with Chrismari.
Still sitting there in the gym I phoned her to tell her that I will, as a favour, extend my personal expertise as a couturier to do this for her. I offered to donate the services and resources of Erikr House for the repurposing process. Little did I know during that phone call that later that day events will lead to this favour becoming a more formal “thing”, namely The Angel Gown Initiative.
Thank you Chrismari for all you have done for, and continue to do for, The Angel Gown Initiative.
This Erikr House original couture wedding gown is made out of ivory duchess satin, overlaid with ivory piped embroidered lace and finished of with hand sewn lace detail and covered buttons in ivory duchess satin. This trumpet style gown has short sleeves, a Queen Anne neckline, button-up back closure and is complimented with a chapel length train.
We have made these 20 Angel Gowns in honour of Chrismari’s wedding gown, 5 in each size, and have used a variety of other fabrics and trim to give each one a truly unique identity – they are viewable below. The first Angel Gowns from this batch were donated to Vredendal Hospital and Chrismari was able to share this special handover with us – it was also the first of our Angel Gowns to be donated.
Eric Elronde and the TAGI team.