- 3 weeks ago
- Wedding: October 2016
A few of you may have already seen pics of my dress and wedding, but I’ve received so many questions and requests for a full recap post so I’m finally doing it! Please remember that every bride has her own taste and preferences. I fully respect that and I hope you will too!
Now about the dress…
My family owns a bridal salon and I’ve worked there for most of my life. I’ve seen many beautiful gowns come and go over the years, but I always knew I wanted to wear a ballgown! There were a few styles and designers that caught my eye from an early age. I credit all of my inspiration to Ian Stuart when he released his Revolution Rocks collection, which featured many ballgowns that were made in almost a historical replica style, and so many different colors, too! Gold, aubergine, ruby red, BLACK! Wow! I couldn’t get enough. There were three dresses that drove me mad, and they still do, although they are all out of production. I only managed to get my hands on one before selling it shortly thereafter. I really do hope to find these babies and keep them in a collection! Let me introduce you to Ecuador, Britannica, and most of all, Valentine.
So fast forward to 2016 and I was finally happily engaged to my boyfriend of many years, my high school sweetheart, my college sweetheart, who is now known as DH. He proposed on New Year’s with a stunning princess cut ring that he chose because, of course… I am his princess. And I promise you, those were his words!
The quest began for the perfect RED ballgown, as I had my heart set on red. It is my favorite color, and after having this beautiful photo of Ian Stuart’s Valentine saved on my computer for 6+ years, I knew that I already found the one… It just wasn’t in production anymore! I contacted Ian Stuart and he is absolutely wonderful. However, this gown just didn’t work out. In April my family and I went along to our annual buying trip to NYC’s International Bridal Fashion Week… Also known as the best place IN. THE. WORLD. to be a bride!
I previously arranged a meeting with Leigh Price at Ysa Makino to discuss a custom red ballgown. He sent me beautiful beaded swatches of red and burgundy. We entered the showroom, and there it was. My big gold ballgown! I immediately gravitated to it because of its size and color… It was the darkest gold bridal gown I’ve ever seen. Definitely not a bridal “gold,” but a true GOLD. I was in love! I asked Leigh if he could make the gown in red, and he sighed. My mom was quietly against the red as well… So we compromised, although I wouldn’t call my gown much of a compromise, I know.
There was a red caped dress hanging on the other side of the showroom. How serendipitous, as I love capes and had toyed with the idea of wearing one for the ceremony! And with that, I had my ceremony gown and my reception dress, all within a one hour appointment!
Photos of my two dresses on showroom model, gold ballgown before customizations:
The tiara, necklace, and earring set were custom designed by DVNCHI to emulate one of Empress Josephine’s sets (gifted by her husband, Napoleon Bonaparte, of course). I actually had this set ordered before choosing my gown, and I couldn’t be happier with it. I still cherish my tiara, as it was one of the most special and personalized pieces in my entire ensemble.
Our wedding was hosted in Asheville, NC, home of the MAGNIFICENT Biltmore Estate and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. Although the style of our wedding was lavish and opulent, we didn’t have the budget for a $50,000+ wedding at the Biltmore. We couldn’t believe it when we found the Grand Bohemian Hotel, which is a gem nestled in the quaint village right across the street from the Biltmore’s entrance. This is part of Marriott’s Autograph Collection which made the entire process convenient and we received lots of perks!
The hotel’s ballroom is so grand and overflowing with crystal chandeliers, gold leaf, and mirrors, but it is somewhat intimate in size – perfect for our 80 guests. The hotel lobby is an experience all on its own, still opulent, but done in a masculine hunting lodge style. We loved everything about this hotel and I was SO happy to find how reasonable the prices were (comparatively speaking, of course, as Asheville is a hot spot for destination weddings).
Our ceremony was held in the ballroom, because why have it anywhere else? DH and I partially wrote the ceremony script and we selected our own readings. A very talented family friend flew down from NYC to play the hotel’s vintage Bösendorfer piano. We couldn’t have asked for anything more special. She played her own selection of classics, and then before the processional Chopin’s Nocturne Op. 9 No. 1 in honor of my mother, a classical pianist, who was sick at the time. Thankfully she is healthy again and we are all so happy to have her.
For my processional, the lights were turned off completely and our pianist began playing Vivaldi’s Winter. I entered with my father, and at the song’s crescendo about 30 seconds in the lights were turned on all at once. I know this entrance was a little bit over the top, but I saw this at one of Berta’s runway shows in 2015 and had to copy it!
DH studied literature and he read the most beautiful selection from John Milton to me:
“Should God create another Eve, and I
Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee
Would never from my heart; no no, I feel
The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,
Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State
Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.”
We also included selections from Shakespeare and of course Bruce Springsteen.
Our wedding kiss was modified because DH was sick with strep throat… Very unfortunate timing! While we took photos, the cocktail hour was held in the salon which was just outside of the ballroom.
To open the reception we danced to Lana Del Rey’s cover of “Once Upon a Dream” and then I changed into my second dress. The food served by the hotel was absolutely amazing!!! Seriously, if you’re ever in Asheville please visit the Red Stag Grill at the Grand Bohemian. I love our pretty little cake made by Cyntucci’s Bakery, which is true Italian style! The cake was flavored with amaretto and best of all, he filled it with cannoli cream between the layers!
We stayed in the mountains for our honeymoon. We started at the Biltmore Estate, which has the most beautiful Inn. The estate has SO MANY activities! Aside from touring the beautiful home, there is horseback riding, skeet shooting, rafting, and LAND ROVERS! Yes, the Biltmore Estate is home to one of very few Land Rover driving academies! It was so much fun, but you’ll leave wanting a Land Rover. 🙂
That’s my long recap! Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or want more info about anything wedding related! I’m happy to share. 🙂