The Wedding Series #1: The Dress
The best piece of advice I received on wedding dress shopping was “just try everything on, even if you don’t think it’s what you want”. (Thanks Mel!)
I didn’t want to make a big deal about shopping for a wedding dress. I just wanted to find something simple and easy, like a slip dress. And that’s exactly what didn’t happen.
Let me tell you my wedding dress story.
My bridesmaid/ maid of honor Ayaka Sano and I got engaged around the same time, so we both started shopping for dresses together. I figured if I could score something cheap and simple, I’d be happy. But the more I kept trying on, the more I felt like I couldn’t find “me” in any of the dresses. It felt like I was trying on someone else’s dress every time.
At first, I stuck to more A line and slim cuts for dresses. I was pretty sure I wanted something with sleeves, even though I was having a midsummer wedding. But as I kept trying on dresses, I became more dissatisfied. I even considered making my own! Thankfully I didn’t, because we all know that would have been a disaster. After a few months, I had kind of given up on the whole “bridal shop” route and figured I could find something online.
But then, a small bridal boutique reached out to me on Instagram to see if I’d want to come in and try some dresses on for fun. I actually didn’t want to go, but Ayaka convinced me and thought it would be fun. So we went, and that’s when I saw her: MARIA.
She wasn’t white, and I liked that. In fact, she was a work of art. I had never seen a dress quite like it before and knew I had to try it on. I was having my Met Gala moment with her on, or my LA Phil concerto debut. I could not have imagined a more beautiful dress. She was the exact opposite of simple, MARIA was divine. And she fit perfectly. It was meant to be.
The dress was designed by a bridal house based in Belarus called Rara Avis. They create the most romantic and ethereal dresses I had ever seen. The MARIA dress is full of unique uses of design and textiles, such as printed floral fabric, intricate red and white beadwork and artful black embroidery on the bodice.
The bridal boutique Belle Custom Atelier carries some of the most unique bridal gowns and veils I’ve ever seen. Giselle, the shop owner has an incredible eye for dresses, and had it not been for her reaching out to me, I may never have found my dress. Giselle and the lovely people at Belle treated me so well, and were there every step of the way. I was lucky in that I only had the inner length of the dress shortened, but I would definitely recommend purchasing your wedding shoes before your first alterations fitting! Also be sure to schedule plenty of fittings. Your dress isn’t done until it fits you perfectly.
I was so happy in my dress; I truly felt like a queen. I am a firm believer that what you wear can empower you. I felt bold, and strong, yet soft and still feminine. The MARIA dress was everything I could not even imagine a dress could be.
She will hold a special place in my heart forever.
P.S I actually decided last minute(like day of) to wear a second dress to the reception so I could move around more easily. I picked this one up to shoot with at a BHLDN sample sale with no intentions of actually wearing it at the reception. It ended up being perfect! I wore a cute pair of satin Puma sneakers I had because comfort. Y’all understand. Let me know in the comments if you would wear a colored wedding dress!