As you may have seen, the first wedding dress trend that we posted for 2011 is Colored Wedding Dresses . Talking about this trend brought a dear friend of mine to mind, Monica, who we created a custom colored wedding dress for a few years back. I thought it would be perfect and appropriate to have her share the story of her wedding with you for our first Real Wedding story here on the blog. Her wedding was beautiful and one of a kind, but what captured me more about her wedding story were the trials in her life that proceeded her wedding day, and the way that I got to watch her and Paul persevere through and find joy despite the circumstances. So I hope you enjoy and find some inspiration in the story of Monica and Paul!
“I knew Rachel from Avail Couture long before I knew my husband-to-be. We went to High School in Rochester, IL together; she was just one grade ahead of me. We both were very interested in art and by my junior year, I had learned of her awesome dress-making skills. Yes, even as a high school student, Rachel was already making homecoming and prom dresses for her classmates! I had her make my junior year prom dress: a pale green, princess-style dress with a winding “vine” of embroidery and beading.”
“I knew then that I wanted her to make my wedding dress someday. I even had some idea of what I wanted it to look like! All I needed then was a groom!
I met him in college. When I started at college, a couple of my older high school friends were already there and welcomed me into their new group of friends. Paul Jenchowski was among them. I can’t claim it was love at first sight; we’re not even sure exactly when that first sight was. We didn’t start dating until the very last week of his senior year. What really attracted me to Paul was his friendship. I could talk to him about anything and everything.
We went through some tough times in the relationship, even broke up for over a year, but we were brought back together and by Valentine’s day of 2006, I knew he was the one. I bought a ring and planned my proposal.
Yes, you read that right. I proposed to him! I used St. Patrick’s day as an excuse for a party at our friends’ house where I was staying. I couldn’t stand to wait even another month for Paul’s birthday! We gathered as many of our friends as could come, and when the moment was right, I got down on one knee and asked Paul to marry me… and he said yes!”
“We began planning the wedding. We settled on the date 7/7/07, we had just over a year to get everything ready! Rachel was one of the first I contacted, and I already had some sketches of dress ideas. Rachel took the preliminary measurements and made her own sketches, sent me fabric swatches and discussed ideas. My mom wanted me to wear a more traditional color; cream or champagne, if not white. I tried some, but she eventually agreed with me, that the satiny, celery green was the perfect color and the others just didn’t work. She even came to terms with the black trim.
For the bridesmaids, I wanted them to wear what they wanted; I just told them to get black dresses with full-length skirts. We were going to have Rachel add colored ribbons around the waists. Each girl got to pick the color of the ribbon (as long as it wasn’t pink!) and we had their flowers made to match. Yes, the flowers were made; they were French beaded flowers by a lady I met on Etsy, with a shop called Forever Flowers. They got different kinds of flowers as well, based on their preferences. The groomsmen’s ties and boutonnieres were coordinated with the bridesmaid they were escorting.”
“My matron of honor, Andrea (Taft) Graff, was pregnant with her first child at the time. In fact, we had moved the wedding up because our original date was the day after her due date! She wasn’t having much luck with the maternity dresses available at the stores, so she decided to have Rachel make her dress for her. The other girls compared prices and styles and they all ended up having Rachel make their dresses, each with her own top style and neckline to best compliment their figures. They were thrilled with their custom dresses!“
“Things were starting to come together for the wedding and it was getting closer and closer. Just six weeks before the big day, late on a Wednesday evening when I got the fateful call from my uncle Frank. I couldn’t believe it when he said, through his tears, that my dad had passed away. It was unexpected. He’d had a heart attack. It must have happened fast.
I called Paul as he was just getting off work from his new job at State Farm. We drove down to Rochester & met Frank and some of my dad’s other siblings at Dad’s house. The coroner had already taken his body to the morgue. We just stood in the yard, not even wanting to go in, trying to comfort each other and figure out what to do next.
I had to do a lot of growing up quickly. Dad had been going through his second divorce. They had bifurcated the divorce, so they were already legally split, but had yet to settle the finances. Of course, dad’s passing complicated the finances. I was stuck trying to settle my dad’s divorce before I had even gotten married. In two frantic weeks, we got his house cleared out. Another two weeks later, I was having a yard sale to sell some of his things we didn’t need, when I fell and broke my hand and wrist!
I got a black cast, to match the trim on my dress and resisted the urge to let anyone sign it. On the 4th of July, I went to the Sparks in the Park celebration in Rochester. A friend of Andrea’s from the haunted house was airbrush painting faces. She custom-mixed a green color and painted a heart and some flourishes. When Rachel came later for my final dress fitting, she added some outlines and details with a silver paint pen and some rhinestones.”
“Rachel went that extra mile, even when she was going through her own challenges, as she had just lost three of her own family members within a few months. All along the way she made sure I got exactly what I wanted. She knows how to listen and ask the right questions. After my first fitting, I wanted the trim a bit wider, at the next fitting, it was perfect!
I can’t thank Rachel enough for making my wedding day so visually stunning, memorable and beautiful. The dresses were just perfect!”