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Bliss Life

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Jan 14, 2020 09:10PM ● By Leslie Mc Carroll

By Leslie McCarroll

Raise your hand if you have a wedding dress in a box collecting dust in your closet or attic, or a vintage gown or family heirloom cooped up in a hope chest just ‘dye’-ing for new life.

Well, my wedding dress had been sitting in a box for 20 years, and the day had finally come to give it a second chance. I had a vision of a gothic winter wedding scene at the old Mackay Mansion in Virginia City so my photographer friend, Lana Longo, and I set out to dye my old wedding dress black. After 10 hot dye baths, we were reminded about the patience and open-mindedness one must embrace when embarking on any DIY or Pinterest project. Some materials are more absorbent than others and the art of dyeing fabric and accessories involves a bit of trial and error. After our 10th attempt to turn the dress black, we “hung up the towel,” or in this case, the dress, and accepted that, like my ex-husband, this dress had a mind of its own and we would need to modify the plan. Having let go of what we thought we wanted, we could now see the beauty of the gown’s new hue. The beautiful silvery purple color it had become was absolutely exquisite. We had it embellished with black flowers by floral artist, Danielle Dubois, and the transformation was complete. The flowers added a touch of drama and my old wedding dress was now more stunning than I could’ve ever imagined. Danielle created a black and red bouquet and boutonnière to accentuate the gown’s gothic flair, and we dressed my man in an all-black tux by Blue Garter Bridal.

Whether you’re planning a whimsical winter wedding, seeking the perfect gala gown, or simply ‘dye’-ing for an new DIY project, don’t be afraid to give dye a try! There are many tips on google and Pinterest – one of our favorites is And, if it’s a next level event or photo shoot you’re planning, seek out local floral artists with unconventional ideas, innovative photographers with a creative eye and edgy style, and choose historic landmarks and unique venues for a winter affair that will leave a lasting and timeless impression.

Tip: Got a sizeable social media following? Sharing is caring – ask your vendors and venues if they offer discounts when you share your experience and photos on social media!


About the Mackay Mansion by Rick Jenkins

The Mackay Mansion, one of Virginia City’s most prominent landmarks, was built in 1859 and originally used as the offices for the Gould and Curry Mining Company. It wouldn’t become the Mackay Mansion until 1875 when John Mackay, the Bonanza King of the Comstock Lode, moved in after his original mansion was burned down during a fire that destroyed large portions of the city.

There are claims that the mansion is haunted by a trio of ghosts. Two of them were a pair of robbers who were shot while attempting to break into the mansion’s vault, while the third is a young girl in white who plays on the third floor (Johnny Depp claimed to see her while filming the movie Dead Man). If you’d like to test the veracity of this eternal Home Alone scenario (like the show Ghost Adventures did in 2016), the mansion’s staff offers various paranormal investigation packages. Learn more at

Photographer- Lana Longo

Floral Artist- Danielle Dubois

Makeup Artist- Shannon Pulley

Hair- Stacy

Tux provided by Blue Garter Bridal & Tux

Models: Leslie McCarroll & Jarred Barnes channel the vintage spirit of the historic Mackay Mansion in Virginia City, Nevada as they showcase the exquisite end result of Lana and Leslie’s DIY wedding dress dye project.

Location: Mackay Mansion- Virginia City