Twenty-foot trains, 10 pounds of bling, and a team of taffeta-clad bridesmaids might work for the likes of Fergalicious. But not everyone wants their wedding to be like a Vegas sideshow. There are, after all, better ways to spend a million dollars.
Of course, in the world of celebrity nuptials, vulgar displays of wealth (hello Céline!) aren’t anything new. But everyday couples veering away from traditional receptions in favour of indie-inspired celebrations is.
Since Isadora Bridal Wear’s Eco Chameleon dress can be twisted into about a dozen looks, a bride can change her mind at the last minute—about the dress, we mean.
About two years ago, Andrea and Robert Tucker of lotus events, an event-planning company, noticed there was a hole in the wedding-planning business. Couples with a serious hate-on for white covered chairs, matching rented china, and trained doves were being left to their own devices.
For example, if a couple wanted antique china for the reception, they only had Craigslist to help them. If they wanted to hire someone to film the big event with a Super 8, the only support they got was from Google. And forget about sourcing smaller, locally based, or ecofriendly companies. That’s why in the past couple of years, the Tuckers have started focusing their attention on alternative wedding planning.
“They’re just more fun to do,” says Andrea, who, along with her husband/business partner, Robert, sat down with the Straight to talk about indie weddings. “Traditional weddings are usually at a hotel or golf course. And it’s like, at this time you do dinner, at this time you do your cake. But these ones [indie weddings] are just completely different. It’s never the same.”
This individual approach to tying the knot is something designer Kathryn Bass knows all about. She’s the owner of pure (something) clothing co., a Vancouver-based label that specializes in custom-made wedding gowns for the bride who isn’t afraid of edgy cuts, shorter hemlines, or bold shades.
“Colour’s becoming bigger and bigger every year, actually,” Bass says from her downtown studio. “We did a few girls last summer who had totally coloured dresses.”
With a selection of sample dresses to draw inspiration from, brides still have the option of a traditional puffy princess silhouette”¦ Or they can go for a cocktail dress like the Leeny ($1,000). This strapless chiffon knockout has a ’50s vibe to it, and it can be tweaked or totally reinvented to your liking.
“I think a lot of girls are getting into the fitted sexier dresses,” Bass continues, “which is a little bit trickier to find in [traditional] bridal stores.”
If none of pure’s cuts or colours suit your fancy, Bass is open to just about any idea you present to her. She does have one rule, though: the design has to be relatively original.
“We get some requests like, ”˜Can you knock off this Alfred Angelo dress for half the price?’ ” Bass says. “But we just don’t go there. Number one, it’s not possible because we don’t have a sweatshop in China to do that. And number two, it’s boring. It’s not creative. It’s not fun.”
As for environmentally friendly bridal apparel, Isadora Bridal Wear’s Eco Chameleon dress ($450) is a great option. It’s made to order in Victoria from an organic cotton/bamboo/spandex blend. But the best part is that this off-white convertible gown can be tied, twisted, and draped into at least 12 different styles.
“Most wedding gowns are sort of a one-time deal, and then it just sits in your closet forever and every once in a while you look at it and think, ”˜I wish I could fit into it again,’ ” says Isadora designer Vanessa Fedorkiw. “But with this dress, after the wedding it’s very easy just to have it hemmed. And when you purchase a gown, you get one free yard or metre of fabric that can be test-dyed, so you can dye it your favourite colour. Then it just becomes a regular Chameleon dress for the rest of your life.”
Like pure (something), Fedorkiw recently showcased her dresses at the Tuckers’ Indie I Do fair—Vancouver’s first-ever wedding trade show that caters to DIY couples.
“It’s not that we don’t like traditional couples, but we want to set people free and do more things with colour,” Robert says, before adding, “At the same time, some people are vanilla and shouldn’t try to be who they’re not. So we want to find those people [who are open to different ideas] and let them know they can have the wedding they want without going bankrupt.”