How I Got My Gown: Northern California
Real brides tell us how they scored their dream dresses
The Bride: Christine Alday, a 26-year-old student nurse
Her Gown: Custom-made lace gown by Lucy's Alteration and Dressmaking
Her Story: "From the moment I began planning my wedding, I knew that I wanted to wear lace—I just love the feel and the romantic look of it. My style inspirations were Jessica Simpson's Vera Wang wedding dress and Melissa Sweet gowns. Since I am very petite, I knew that I would not look right in a huge, puffy dress. I wanted something formfitting, sexy and modern.
For my first salon visit, I went to Gabrielle's Bridal Boutique in Los Gatos and tried on a Melissa Sweet dress. It was beautiful, but since I'm so small, the embroidery on the gown was overwhelming. The saleswoman told me up front that if I was to have it altered to fit my small frame, I would lose a lot of what the dress was about. I didn't want that—if I was going to buy an expensive dress, I wanted what was special about it to stand out. Next, I checked out Unique Bride in Burlingame, but I continued to have the same problem.
I decided that I needed a dress to be made just for me. My best friend's sister, who had recently gotten married, suggested that I contact the woman who had designed her wedding gown, Lucy Pineda at Lucy's Alteration and Dressmaking in San Bruno. On my first visit to see Lucy, a year before my wedding, I brought along a bunch of Melissa Sweet and Monique Lhuillier gown pictures. I told her that my only requirements were that the dress be all lace and formfitting. She drew up a few sketches right there, showed me several styles of lace, and described exactly what she was envisioning for me. She understood exactly what I wanted, and so I put my complete trust in her.
Over the next year, I only had to go in for about four fittings, but it was an exciting and fun process to see my perfect vision brought to life before my eyes. She also made my veil with lace that was left over. When I wore the gown on my wedding day, I felt like a celebrity. Even the singer that we hired for the ceremony told me that it was the most beautiful dress she had ever seen, which was such a great compliment, coming from a virtual stranger. I was so happy that I decided to have my dress custom-made, because it really helped to make the dress my own." —Lauren Matthews