The Wedding Studio: understanding her dress

Today, we, as guys, explore the world of dresses.  And for some, simply saying to his bride and her most important item she’ll ever purchase “you look nice”, “you look great” is enough.  Now, call me crazy, but I don’t think the saying “less is more” is applicable in this circumstance. Instead let’s become theologians of the dress…or something like it that explains in greater detail how ‘nice’ she looks.  So today I’ve asked Cassandra Stevning, owner of The Wedding Studio and pretty much wedding dress expert, to answer a few of our questions about staying informed.

Jonathan: Cassandra, let’s pretend I’m bride (which is not possible because I am a man and have a mustache) looking for dress.  What’s the first thing I should consider when looking for a wedding dress?

Cassandra: We always like to consider where the bride is getting married….on the beach, in a hotel, on a farm, etc., because it is important to match up the gown with the venue or “area” that they are holding the nuptials.  Some of gowns may be a bit too formal or heavy for a beach wedding or a bit too casual for a black tie wedding at a 5 star hotel.  Once you have all of that considered, then we can move forward with a type of “look” they are trying to accomplish.

Jonathan: Aha, so guys could be expecting and noticing a lighter or heavier dress, all depending.

Jonathan: It’s typical for a groom not to see the bride’s gown before the wedding day, right?  Do you see any trends of that changing, grooms coming into your studio with brides?

Cassandra: I would say all of our brides come to the studio with their moms, sisters, friends, etc.  We don’t usually see any grooms going shopping with the bride for her gown.  Now, most brides typically consider what their fiances will like or dislike when they are picking out the dress.  I have had several brides try gowns on and then rule it out because they don’t think the groom would like it.  I think it’s sweet that they are thinking of him during the selection process.

Jonathan: I never would have guessed that.  Perhaps I’ll heavily influence my future bride with subtleties about dresses so as to have her wear what I want – just kidding (sort of).

Okay, can we briefly dissect a few dresses to understand what guys are potentially seeing? Let’s look at picture #1 on the left.  What’s this style called?  What’s the most prominent feature?

Cassandra: Picture #1 on the left is called the “Angelina” from the Birnbaum & Bullock Couture Collection.  It is a Trumpet style gown which means that it is somewhat fitted at the top with a slight flair at the bottom of the gown.  I would say the most prominent feature of this particular gown is the lace and beading applique’s.  The lace is imported from Europe and the beading is hand stitched on.
Picture #2 on the right is the “Rebecca” also from the Birnbaum & Bullock Couture Collection.  It is a drop waist ball gown with a beaded belt.  It is a great fit for those girls wanting to create a waistline or longer torso.  The drop waist can really give you that illusion.  We also call this gown the “Feather Dress” at our store because the little pieces of organza sewn on the skirt makes it look like feathers going down the gown.

Picture #3 on the left is called the “Julia” from the Robert Bullock Bride Collection.  It is a beaded lace v-neck gown.  The most prominent feature on this gown would definitely be the straps and the weight of the gown.  We have so many girls coming in asking for gowns with straps and I think the designers we carry are really good about giving the brides a little diversity.  Not every bride likes or looks good in strapless gowns so I think some brides are relieved when they come in and see we have something more to offer.  And also the weight of the gown is surprisingly very light.  It looks heavy because of the lace and beading, but it is a really light weight gown; perfect for an outdoor or beach wedding.
Picture #4 on the right is called the “Jenny” from The Steven Birnbaum Collection.  It is an A-Line style gown meaning that it flairs out beginning at the ribcage.  It is one of the newest gowns from his collection and just has a very “sweet” feel to it with the bias bows he added all around the gown.

Jonathan: The word ‘vintage’ is often thrown around in the wedding industry like candy in a parade.  Sometimes you get a tootsie roll and sometimes you get a milk dud.  How have you seen vintage be incorporated into wedding dresses?

Cassandra: I don’t think there is anything sweeter than when a bride incorporates a vintage family heirloom into her wedding day look.  I have seen a lot of brides wear their great grandmothers broach on their gown or wrap their bouquet with their grandmothers handkerchief or wear a piece of jewelry that has been handed down for many generations.  This usually serves the purpose of “Something Old” as well as having that something “vintage” with their modern day look. Brides LOVE having that piece of history with them on the biggest day of their lives and the family loves it as well because they feel like they are TRULY made a part of their day.   Also, a designer that we carry, Steven Birnbaum, isn’t so much vintage, but classic retro. He gains a lot of inspiration from the French designer Yves Saint Laurent, most famous for creating the classic tuxedo suit for women in the 1960’s.  This season, Steven’s collection has been designed around the woman’s tuxedo.  His designs definitely have a little bit of a classic retro look, something you might have seen on Jackie O. or Grace Kelly. He adds many things like skinny belts around the waist line and pockets in the gowns which might have been things you would have seen 50-60 years ago in bridal fashion.

Jonathan: Along the lines of vintage, what’s a wedding dress fashion trend you’ve seen popular this year?

Cassandra: Lace!  Five-six years ago, designers wouldn’t touch it because it looked “dated”.  But today we actually have brides coming in saying that they want lace; designers are keeping up with that trend.  Another really popular feature and trend are “low backs” on the gowns.  The designers that we carry offer quite a few gowns that have “low backs” and I think a lot of brides are demanding more of that style because it accentuates.

Jonathan: Now the following pictures show us headpieces and veils.  What’s different about each of them?  Actually what’s the point of them/ what’s the history – why do women wear veils?

Cassandra: The history of the veil is really a symbolic reference to the brides purity.  The bride used to wear the veil covering her face during the ceremony to symbolize her virginity.  Then the father or groom would lift the veil off her face “revealing” or “presenting” the bride to her groom.  Nowadays, there really isn’t any symbolic use to them other than fashion.

Headpiece: It is a feather comb that can go in the hair in conjunction with the veil or in place of the veil.  It is designed by a FABULOUS local designer Emily Clark with EMilliner. 

Veil: This is a “birdcage” veil that really has that “Old Hollywood” or “Vintage” look if you must say. This is where brides are pulling in the “vintage” part of their wedding day look.  Brides LOVE the fact that something that their grandmother wore at her wedding is now becoming a popular accessory for every modern bride.  EMilliner also designed this veil along with the flower headpiece that she is wearing.  Great pairing!

Jonathan: Cassandra, thank you for taking the time to chat with us today about wedding dresses and offering insight.  I know I can walk away confident about how to properly compliment a bride.

Cassandra: My pleasure – I’m glad I could help and give a bit of info for the guys.

Cassandra has been in the wedding/event business for the past 15 years doing both event and wedding planning, however in the past three years, she has just been focusing on brides which she has found to be her passion!  She met her business partner, Leslie Jones, in 2008 when she began as a wedding planner with her company, Leslie Jones Weddings and Events. Leslie grew up in the bridal fashion industry and wanted to get back to her roots by opening up a bridal salon that would have the most exciting and exclusive line of designer gowns. Cassandra loves fashion, working with brides and catering to their needs, so going into the bridal boutique business was just a natural progression. The Wedding Studio has given her that platform to see so many beautiful brides, but more importantly, help them find the most important outfit they will ever wear; She LOVES THAT!