One of the best, and educational, parts of the bridal market experience is getting to see the gowns up close...a fleeting glimpse on the runway is the norm, but occasionally we'll view the gowns in a less formal setting. We really like this because it allows us to ask questions of the designer directly, handle the materials (apologies to the models—we like to touch!) and to survey the craftsmanship on a magnified level. I have to say—the workmanship, the amazing couture details that make these garments so remarkable (and account for their high price-tag) rarely translate in photos. This is why it pays to go to designer trunk shows (call your local bridal salon to find out about them—check Wedded Bits, too, because we're often the first to know). You'll get to see a designer's entire collection, just like we do at market, and even better, you'll get to meet the designer him or herself, which makes the process of choosing a gown just feel very intimate, genteel, and luxurious.
I couldn't resist taking a couple pictures on my macro setting of the floral detail on this Reem Acra gown. The flower is made of tulle, and she has ruched the fabric to mimic the veins on a rose petal. I've seen jewelers engrave gold to mimic patterns on a butterfly wing, but to see this kind of acute detail articulated in fabric is really inspired. Similarly, at Rivini, "Elle" was covered in these tiny flowers (right) and I went backstage to shoot the inside of one the blossoms: each center was formed by artfully clustered pearls and crystals.