It’s safe to say that Zoom has become a part of our daily lives. Whether you’re working remotely or attending virtual events, we’ve all adapted to the online nature of today's society. For the wedding industry, virtual life has become more normalized—and over the past year, wedding ceremonies, receptions, and even bachelorette parties have made their debuts behind a screen.
For actress Elizabeth Lail, who recently wed Nieku Manshadi, a pediatric dentist, Zoom was definitely at the forefront of her planning process. She, along with Andrea Hawkes, founder of the London-based bridal brand, Andrea Hawkes Bridal, worked together to design her custom wedding dress via Zoom!
The duo met online (the power of social media!) when Andrea reached out to Elizabeth through Instagram. “I had been following Andrea on Instagram, admiring her work when she reached out to me," Elizabeth explains. "I took her reaching out as a sort of sign. Her energy was so supportive, and she made it all happen an ocean away. All of her dresses were so beautiful."
The stars were definitely aligned because when asked about their design journey, the pair only had the most positive responses to share about their experience.
“It was such an exciting process—a load of dresses would arrive at my door. Andrea would also send over British tea so I could pretend like I was in London at her shop," recalls the actress, who is based in New York. Trying on gowns at home did present one logistical issue, Elizabeth admits with a laugh: "I did have to lock my fiancé out of the bedroom so he wouldn’t see any of the dresses!"
Andrea also adds that she and Elizabeth formed a “natural bond” after they connected online. She says she immediately admired Elizabeth's "clear vision" and appreciated the actress's admiration for the Andrea Hawkes Bridal design aesthetic.
When entering the design process, Elizabeth told Brides that she wanted two things: a positive experience and a dress that would make her feel at ease.
"The dream dress has changed so many times through the years. When I was young, it had more of a princess vibe. As I started looking [for dresses], I realized that a sense of comfort and ease was most important to me. I wanted to feel joyful and grounded so I could connect with my loved ones," she says.
As I started looking [for dresses], I realized that a sense of comfort and ease was most important to me. I wanted to feel joyful and grounded so I could connect with my loved ones.
While everything ran pretty seamlessly, it wouldn’t be a true wedding story without some surprises along the way. Andrea reveals that they often had a few unexpected guests on their Zoom calls—their cats!
“Fittings were often taken over by all of our cats! Both myself, Laurie (our pattern cutter), and Elizabeth have cats who were very interested in fitting calls! An extra challenge? Measuring with a cat in the way!”
In the end, despite the unconventional process, it was all worth it because the dress turned out beautifully—and came together in just four months.
The great thing [about creating virtually] is that you have the dresses at home, so you can really take your time and revisit a dress if need be.
“The great thing [about creating virtually] is that you have the dresses at home, so you can really take your time and revisit a dress if need be. You don’t have to make a quick decision and can literally sleep on it,” says Elizabeth.
This is an important lesson to learn—because, yes, sometimes a bride needs to "sleep" on a decision as big as this one! Even as travel restrictions begin to ease up around the world, we think virtual dress shopping and the idea of creating a custom dress virtually will remain a wonderful option for brides looking to find a dress in a unique way. After all, it allows you to find "the one" dress from the comfort of your own home. What's more on-trend than that?!