Local Designers and the Dress

To kick off my weddingregionalism week of posts, I’d like to discuss local designers and artisans. I’m going to start off with what I know and that is Portland, OR. Anything I do with this city can be applied to your own city/hometown and I hope you might come away with some inspiration!

elizabeth dye gown
{Elizabeth Dye}

The dress:
Ah, one of the first things a bride dreams about when it comes time to plan her wedding. One of my favorite experiences was having a part in the design of my wedding dress. I enlisted the talent and skill of local fashion designer, Elizabeth Dye, to work her magic and I must say I would not have had it any other way after the experience. What is nice about having a custom wedding dress is that you don’t necessarily have to spend an arm and a leg. Definitely approach a designer whose work you admire in advance of your wedding and be upfront with your budget. There is no sense in wasting theirs or your time in discussing a design if you won’t be able to afford it. The designer will be able to give you a better idea of what is actually achievable and if your dream dress is realistic with your budget. He or she may even be able to suggest design modifications that can make your dress fall within your budget if needed. Be sure to bring all your ideas — pictures, fabric swatches, colors, etc.

Another benefit to working with a local designer, you get to help your local economy! I’m not saying buying a dress made overseas or from a huge nationwide retailer is a bad thing at all. It can just be a different experience to talk face to face with the designer who will physically construct your dress and who you know won’t mass produce your dress. When you build a good repertoire with your designer, you feel so great to support their cause and even their livelihood. Who doesn’t enjoy supporting the arts? Also, you’ll know along the whole process, what your dress will look like and how it will fit. It probably won’t be way too small or way too large when you try it on for the first time, which can always be so misleading when it comes to the final fit. Essentially, the surprises are limited and you’ll have a bit more piece of mind knowing that you have a direct relationship with the designer.

Here is a small selection of some fabulous frocks made locally in Portland, OR and which I think would be fantastic dresses this season:

kate towers wedding gown
A stunning layered wedding dress by Portland designer, Kate Towers

Wouldn’t this stylish set be perfect for a dreamy rehearsal dinner?

holly stalder shrug and dress
Shrug and dress both by Portland designer, Holly Stalder

elizabeth dye gown with flowers
Lovely back detailing with handmade flowers and detachable train. Both the flowers and dress are by Elizabeth Dye, photo by Paul Rich Studios