Our City Hall Wedding, although a small affair with just 6 people, still took some preparation. Figuring out what to wear was – as usual – the hardest part. Personally, I wanted to make it a little bit festive, but I didn’t really want to wear a full-blown wedding dress to City Hall. I decided to do a separates look. Here are some ideas that I came up with for you.Read More
I am currently planning my own wedding next summer and I’m collecting ideas for all aspects of the event. Recently I saw a friend of mine rocking this really cool crystals manicure and I knew I wanted something similar for my wedding day. After I did some research, I realized just how creative you can get with your wedding Mani and Pedi. Here are some ideas that I loved.Read More
Over-the-top weddings are a fantastic source of inspiration for your own ceremony and reception! These lavish events were magical and original and I just love them.Read More
Would you get a cake made out of wheels of CHEESE for your wedding? I know I would!!!
Your wedding cake does not have to be an all-white seven-tier cake, topped with a little figurine of a bride and groom. No, no. It can be so much more.Read More
Earlier this summer, we partnered with some of the city's top creatives and more specifically Gina and Sheena of Gina Esposito Photography to style and shoot an autumn wedding editorial that let our collective creativity run free. The result—thousands of chic unconventional gems inspiring the story below. Enjoy!Read More
This was a fun story for me to write because I, myself, am planning my big, fat, non-traditional wedding for next year. But let’s start with my ring.
I was never one of those girls who fantasized about their dream wedding. And I definitely never dreamed of a diamond ring. I just wanted to find love and have a family. I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true. But after I got engaged, things changed. I discovered that after you find the right person, you really do get excited about all of it.Read More
Are you a rock and roll couple who wants to escape “the traditional wedding”? More and more couples are throwing tradition out the window and making their wedding personal and fun.
Last year when couples were asked what is most important for them when making decisions regarding the wedding they said the number one factor was to have a entertaining and exciting wedding that represents their personality, lifestyle, and their journey.Read More
The happy couple, Libby and Justin, renewed their vows in front of a group of their friends, and a room full of strangers who are engaged couples looking for inspiration.Read More
You can illustrate how illuminating you and your sweetie’s love is by using sparklers as a prop.Read More
There are plenty of fun alternatives to the standard bridal party. The idea of your maid-of-honor and bridesmaids in custom dresses seems dreamy but when you get down to the details of planning it, it's often a nightmare. And, all your friends have their own distinct personality and style. How do you have your wedding perfect and make everyone happy when picking out the bridesmaid outfits?Read More
Since Iva had gone to fashion school she told me she would like to take the swatch home and think of a design herself and do some sketches. However, she was very skeptical about her drawing ability, but I told her not to worry. She could send me whatever she drew and I would work with her to establish the final design and fit.Read More
Last October I attended an amazing event in New York City called "The Big Fake Wedding." It wasn’t your typical wedding expo where couples walk around and visit vendors at their booths. Instead, the attendees are “guests” at a wedding put together by the vendors so that the engaged couples can experience each company as if they’re really a part of the wedding. For example, "The Big Fake Wedding" usually takes place in a real venue that is available for couples to book. Each of the tables are decorated by a different company specializing in floral or table designs, and there is a caterer, a drinks sponsor, a DJ, and all the other vendors in between. There is also a ceremony, in which a real couple (already married) renews their vows in front of the attendees, inspiring them as to what to hope for after years of marriage. It was a very moving and fun event!Read More
I named the first collection I presented in New York, "The password is Love." It is my way to look at life. I believe you have to love who you are, love what you do, and love what you wear.
Love is the essence of marriage. It knows no boundaries and it is inclusive of all. To me, a wedding is the celebration of LOVE.
The Supreme Court’s decision last June to make same-sex marriage a right nationwide was a BIG win for the LGBT community and a BIG win for LOVE. I happened to be in LA working on a photo shoot when the announcement was made. That night we all went out to celebrate in West Hollywood – it was a big street party that lasted till the morning.
I was so excited for all my friends who finally had their right to spend the rest of their lives with the person they love.
I grew up in Washington, DC, and this past summer I had the chance take my parents to the "Say I Do!” LGBT Wedding Expo in Washington, DC. It was a such pleasure! I love going to bridal expos because it feels like a big wedding celebration. There is music, food, drinks, and always a beautiful display. It is really fun!
Photos by: CYork Photography
It was my first LGBT couples wedding event and I was so happy to be there. I loved to see that big companies, like Bloomingdales Bridal Salon, were there in support of LGBT, but my favorite new vendor was a wedding jewelry company from NYC. The line is called Rony Tennenbaum, named after the designer, and I absolutely fell in love with their esthetics and the whole feel of their company. It is modern and classic, and to make it even better, their work is 100% made in USA.
As a bridal designer I want to support, share the experience, and promote equality between local businesses and the LGBT community. What excites me is the possibility of creating custom wedding pieces that reflect each couple’s personality and individuality and celebrate their love!
This summer I had the pleasure to visit Chicago and attend the Luxury Bridal Expo and Fashion Show held at the Marriott on Michigan Ave. I was completely enchanted! Talk about Chicago City Chic!
The presentation was stunning and the appreciation for high-end craftsmanship was prevalent. It was a formal affair where participants walked trough beautifully designed corridors of booths while enjoying samples and refreshments. Following, there was a fashion show presentation of several local bridal boutiques and designers. The couture collections presented were so moving and I found that I was truly inspired.
One of the trends I recognized and I taught would be great to share with you is the detachable skirt. It is an added piece, usually attached with snaps on the sides giving the bride a chance to have both a really full skirt for part of the ceremony and a more relaxed and slender dress for the reception. I love this idea, as it is a great alternative to creating bustles in order to hold up a very full dress. You simply detach part of the skirt when you are ready to dance!
I fell in love with Bella Bianca Bridal Couture Boutique. The owners were so friendly, welcoming, and warm as I found most Chicagoans are. Their selection is impeccable; it really embodies the modern Chicago bride. I later visited the store located in the Gold Coast part of Chicago and it was just as beautiful.
My experience was also an incredible opportunity to really connect with the Chicago market and the Chicago bride who I found is charming, elegant, and authentic...
One of the best things about living in New York is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It has been an incredible source of inspiration and information for me since I first moved here. Every year they have a special fashion exhibit starting with the opening ceremony known as the MET Gala. I am always amazed by the spectacular presentations.
This year the exhibit is called Manus X Machina. It “explores how fashion designers are reconciling the handmade and the machine-made in the creation of haute couture and avant-garde ready-to-wear. With more than 170 ensembles dating from the early 20th century to the present, the exhibition addresses the founding of the haute couture in the 19th century, when the sewing machine was invented, and the emergence of a distinction between the hand (manus) and the machine (machina) at the onset of mass production. It explores this ongoing dichotomy, in which hand and machine are presented as discordant tools in the creative process, and questions the relationship and distinction between haute couture and ready-to-wear.”
I tried to pick only my favorites to share with you but it has been hard to choose just a few… From Karl Lagerfeld to original Coco Chanels, Valentino, Givenchy, to one of my favorite dresses of all times- the Dior scalloped evening dress circa fall/winter 1949–1950.
“This extraordinary ball gown by Christian Dior, of gray silk tulle, arrayed with an overlay of scallop-shaped petals The bodice and shell forms of its skirt are embellished with nacreous paillettes and sequins, iridescent seed beads, aurora-borealis crystals, and pearls. Dior is best known for his revival of the wasp-waisted silhouette seen here. His celebrated first collection of 1947 was dubbed the "New Look" by the influential American editor Carmel Snow, because the corseted, full-bosomed, and hourglass shaping had not been seen for decades. In fact, the "New Look" was an old look revived. After the deprivations of World War II, Dior believed that the survival of the haute couture relied on its ability to restore fantasy and luxury to women's wardrobes. The fragile effects of this gown, which merges Second Empire romanticism with the classical iconography of ideal and eternal beauty, recall Dior's belief that "fashion comes from a dream."
House of Givenchy
When creating a custom bridal dress, you have the opportunity to make anything you want – anything you can imagine. I know this is kind of self-explanatory, but when planning a wedding we often think about finding the perfect dress first, and then the rest of the wedding theme is dictated by its design. But what we often don't think of is that when you make a custom bridal gown it can be created to match your vision. The place of your wedding or the flowers you are going to have or any other details can be used as the inspiration for the dress.
I would like to share the story of one of my favorite dresses because it illustrates this part of the process so well. When I met Angela about five years ago, all she knew was that she wanted a gown. So I sat down with her and we went through a few of her favorite outfits so I could get to know her style. She also shared that she was planning to get married in the garden of the Science Museum in Richmond, VA. She related to me that when you walk through the grounds you are surrounded by butterflies.
I thought that was going to be such a magical setting for a summer wedding. I knew that it would have to play a part in my design. Angela also shared with me that the signature color she had picked for her wedding was the iconic Tiffany blue. At the end of our meeting Angela said she loved the clothes she had seen on my website and my style and gave me complete freedom to come up with anything I could imagine.
I knew I had incorporate both the garden and the fact that she was using Tiffany Blue. I wanted to create something that brought both of these ideas together…
When I presented my sketches a few weeks later, I told her to imagine the following:
The small Tiffany boxes walking down the aisle first. Cute little bridesmaids’ dresses made out Tiffany blue taffeta and wrapped-up and finished with the iconic white satin bow. One by one they would come down. And then, after you opened the box, the crown jewel comes – Angela sparkling in her beautiful wedding gown. The butterfly design flapping its wings as she moves forward. Sheer silk organza topped with tiny but immensely shiny small Swarovski hand-sewn crystals wrapped around her body over a very fluid, almost liquid silk satin…
Later on Angela changed her wedding venue to Glen Garden, VA but nonetheless the inspiration for the dress was still the same....
I often encounter two different types of brides. The first is the kind who knows exactly what she wants and what she is looking for. She has been planning this day ever since she was little, or at least ever since she knew she had found the person with whom she wants to say "I do." Either way, she comes prepared when we have our first consultation. She has been shopping for a while but hasn't yet seen what she wants. She shows me sketches, pictures, and very specific details of the dress she wants to make. Usually the challenge is to incorporate everything into one actual design idea.
The second type of bride I meet is very different. It's the girl who has almost no idea what she wants to wear. BUT… She knows what she doesn't want to wear. She basically has hated everything she has seen out there in bridal shops and bridal magazines. She usually loves my style and my designs for my ready-to-wear line and that's why she wants me to come up with a creation for her wedding. It's always so exciting to accept the challenge because I find my inspiration in her story and her personality.
In both cases, it is usually hard for the brides to decide to go forward with a custom bridal gown, especially because we only discuss sketches and there is no actual drape yet of our ideas to try on.
I always find that when we take the first trip to the garment district in New York City and we start looking at actual fabrics both brides are in. It is such an important part of the process for them because for the first time they can actually envision the real deal. They can touch and feel the material and see how it's going to look over their body. For me, as a designer, I can picture things in my head: the way the fabrics can be combined, the way a soft silk will drape over your body and a tough taffeta or organza will give structure to a garment. But for the bride, it's always the moment when a bride sees the perfect fabric or lace that the rest of the design and process comes alive in her mind and she is ready to take the leap into the unknown word of custom bridal…
Here are some of my favorite places to take a bride…
It's a classic. They have left-over designer fabric – you can never go wrong there. We’re talking Givenchy, Alexander McQueen, and Ferragamo, to say the least. I know it's a cliché to say, “Go to Mood,” but it's always, always amazing. The bridal lace section in the back has never disappointed.
It's overwhelming and you can go crazy if you are alone. They basically have every kind of fabric you can imagine. When I was in school at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) I would often go there and get swatches for all my projects because it's almost a one- stop shop. The selection of silk, satins, organzas, taffetas, and chiffons is impeccable. This is the store where we usually find the basis fabric for every dress.
A specialty boutique for bridal fabrics and, most definitely, laces and lace designs. I’ve found many incredible pieces that I've used on wedding gowns and veils. They also have a wide selection of crystal trims that can be hand sewn to finish a design.
Those are just a few of my favorites. I hope they have inspired you and I can't wait to take you on that journey one day.
Creating a custom wedding dress doesn’t always mean you have to start from scratch. When Liz came in for her first consultation she had already purchased a lovely gown. It was beautiful cotton lace overlaying a tan (nude) lining. It was stunning but it didn't fit her at all. The proportions were so far from her body that the lace design over the bust sat almost at her waistline, making her look “saggy,” for lack of a better word. It was not flattering, to say the least. I’ve altered many wedding dresses in the past but I knew this one was going to need more than alterations.
As we examined everything more closely we came to the conclusion that we would basically need to take the whole dress apart and start over. I had to re-cut the entire bodice, neckline, and sleeves, creating a whole new top, as well as reshape the skirt to fit with it. Working on lace has many challenges, as it is so fine and delicate that it can only be sewn once on a machine. Everything has to first be hand-basted for a final fitting. In the process a beautiful new design came to life, where the lace shaped her body and giving her a true waistline.
After we were done, I asked Liz if she wanted me to sew the original tag back on the dress. She replied, “Honestly, YOU are the one that made my dress, so no…” That was one of the sweetest and most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had in making a gown. Moments like that are the reason why I love doing this so much…
Liz and Simon got married last summer at the “Burlap and Beams” in the Adirondacks. Their pictures are so magnificent and special – I just had to share them with you. I also wanted to post the story behind this particular dress because it is different than the dresses I have made in the past.
photos by: Calypso Rae Photography
Recently, I had the honor to participate in a wonderful wedding event called “Toasted,” which is held at the historical event space – the Warsaw – here in Brooklyn. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon filled with joy and excitement.
I had a wonderful time preparing my booth, particularly since one of my brides – Hannah – was so nice and allowed me to showcase her dress. As fate would have it, the table I was assigned was right in front of a big wall mirror, which made the dress look especially magnificent!
The variety of vendors made the atmosphere so much fun for everyone present – it was incredible. In addition to cocktails, there were many local catering and cake companies offering tastings of their delicious creations to the sounds of the DJ. A hair stylist team was braiding hair on the spot; a make-up company was giving make-overs; and there was a super amusing Kodak photo booth where couples could pose with different artifacts and get instant Polaroids to take home as a souvenirs.
I was really inspired as I met so many brides and their fiancés. I really enjoyed talking to everyone and I strongly recommend this event for any couple in the future.
Here are some photos…
photos by: Kamila Harris Photography