Teen hand-makes dream dress for prom date after retail version was too expensive

Prom can be a special time in a high school student's life, and for two Indiana best friends, it became something magical and unforgettable.

Parker Smith, 17, and Adrianna Rust, 18, were hanging out one night at a friend's house when they were discussing Rust's prom dress. She said she'd found a gown that was out of her price range and during their chat, she joked about Smith making her dress instead.

"That night, my thoughts stirred and the next morning I told her, 'You know what? I think I actually can make your prom dress!'" Smith said.

From January until the night before prom, the Pendleton Heights junior worked diligently on a unique design for his best friend of six years. Smith has always sketched out designs for costumes, outfits and dresses, but he'd never put together one of his creations. Making the perfect dress for Rust's senior prom was like a dream come true. Smith said all Rust requested of her dress was that it be "big and beautiful," the rest was up to him.

"Amazingly she trusted me with the rest and I got to design something really special while taking everything she wanted and incorporating it all at the same time," he said.

Rust said she loved the idea of getting a custom-made dress and knew her best friend wouldn't let her down.

"I trusted that Parker would make it stunning and wouldn't let me go to prom in something that was anything less than perfect. I was right!" she said.

Smith created a dazzling light blue spaghetti-strapped gown that had rhinestone accents around the bodice and scattered across the top. In the back of the bodice was a lace-up design fit for a prom princess. Rust added to the look with a necklace and white heels.

"Seeing the finished dress that morning before prom was like a movie," Rust said. "I couldn't believe my best friend made it! It was mostly just such a proud BFF moment. I'm so glad I put my trust in him. I knew he would surprise everyone with this crazy newfound talent of his."

Smith said he and Rust worked together to get all the materials needed for the dress and the price came out to about one-fifth of what the store-bought dress would have been.

During the dress-making process, Smith said he received some pointers from his grandmother, Lois Kean. While he wanted to learn things on his own, he appreciated that Kean was only a phone call away to help him through bumps in the road.

"I'm so glad I learned a few lessons from her, as well as had a few good laughs," he said.

Originally, Smith and Rust planned on having the dress finished within a month, but as their schedules became full with other commitments, they worked on it for an hour or two every week. Smith even remade several parts of the dress just to make sure it was perfect for his best friend. The night before the big dance, he was still adding rhinestone accents to the bodice.

"It's so special to me that Addi's dress was my first," he said.

The aspiring designer is already working on another one of his unique pieces. He plans to double major in musical theater and costume or fashion design once he graduates from high school.

Rust plans to study special education as she heads off to college.

This story was reported from Los Angeles.