Wedding Week // The Dress
Welcome to wedding week on the blog! Each day this week I'll be sharing different elements of our wedding - starting with style details today. I've kept Nomad in Nihon largely impersonal thus far, as my initial vision for the site was centered on telling travel stories through photography. However, after planning our October 2015 wedding, I felt compelled to share my personal journey as a bride - specifically a non-traditional one. For all the brides out there struggling in a wedding industry rife with tired traditions - this week is for you.
I never dreamed about my wedding or what I would wear. I'm not one of those girls that stockpiled wedding inspiration on a Pinterest board before getting engaged (not that it's a bad idea!). When David proposed, I was over the moon excited to be married, but my feelings toward the wedding swung drastically in the opposite direction when we actually began planning it. The bridal business in the United States is a behemoth industry largely dominated by expensive, frilly and completely uninspired gowns. The good news is there's a fantastic trend sweeping the industry that caters to brides of the unconventional variety, and in my journey to the altar I discovered some amazing players in this field.
Dress shopping can be a really intimidating process. In hopes of avoiding the whole ordeal, I planned to buy a wedding gown online and call it a day. This was a great idea in theory, but after receiving that first dress in the mail I realized that I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The dress entirely overwhelmed my body frame and the fabric was questionably dingy in person. Feeling discouraged and defeated, I went back to the drawing board.
I had style muses in mind - Erin Wasson, the Olsen twins, Nicole Richie - but little inspiration beyond that. I begrudgingly began booking appointments at bridal salons, which led to a frustrating parade of cupcake-y gowns. I logged a lot of late nights scouring the internet for ideas until I came across the earthy, bohemian labels taking over the bridal scene in Australia and New Zealand. I hightailed it to LOHO Bride, a small boutique salon in San Francisco (and coming soon to Los Angeles!) that carries several of these lines.
Admittedly I was all over the map with my dress shopping: 70's-style off-the-shoulder gowns, edgy two-piece dresses with crop tops and even some vintage for good measure. I tried on upwards of 50 gowns. The hardest part for me in the decision process was that no one gown had it all: a flattering silhouette, the right aesthetic, a price point I could stomach...so on and so forth. Nothing ticked off every box. In the end, I based my decision on the two factors that were most important to me: comfort and reusability. The dress needed to be easy to wear and suit the laid-back vibe of our wedding location in California's remote and rugged coastal town of Big Sur. I also wanted the option to alter or dye my gown after the wedding to extend its life. I hated the idea of spending so much on an article of clothing that would likely only be worn once.
When I put on an effortless silk slip dress from Auckland-based designer A La Robe, I knew not to look any further. I felt like myself in it, and I was already envisioning all the mileage it'd get after I dyed it black and cut off the train. What's more, the gown was a blank canvas that allowed me to stamp it with my own personal style: a mishmash of beach-y California bohemian and Southwest desert cowboy. I paired the dress with nude western booties, a fringed kimono, crystal and pearl head piece, white buffalo squash blossom cuff and silver beaded hand piece. Like my gown, I looked for shoes and accessories that I could see myself wearing beyond the wedding. Now, when I zip up those Frye boots, throw the kimono over a t-shirt and jeans or slip on my wedding jewelry, I am reminded of that perfect day I married my best friend.
Dress: A La Robe via LOHO Bride | Bride's shoes: Frye | Kimono: Girl On a Vine | Jewelry: head piece by Gypsy Junkies; hand piece by Litter; squash blossom cuff by St. Eve Jewelry; groom's wedding band by Catbird; bride's wedding band by Jennie Kwon via No.3; bride's custom engagement ring by Shreve & Co. | Suit: custom by Pacific Fashions | Tie: Burberry | Groom's shoes: Oliver Sweeney via Nordstrom | Hair & Makeup: Kelly Jones | All photographs by Evynn LeValley
**Up next: The Ceremony**
P.S. Did you know that most Japanese women rent their wedding gowns? Here's why.