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January 9, 2015

Real Weddings: Cai & Alex

Cai shares how her Vera Wang dress dream came true and the importance of bringing family together—even when separated by two languages and an ocean.

The Ceremony: St. Joseph Catholic Church, Strongsville, Ohio
I’m originally from China and my parents still live there, so they couldn’t help much with the wedding planning. Instead, my amazing mother-in-law, Kathi, stepped in to support me along the way. I felt so blessed by the love of my husband’s family throughout the process.

My parents flew in for the big day, and even though they couldn’t understand what was said at the ceremony, they did participate by walking me down the aisle. It was so special to have them there and to have the wedding of my and my parents’ dreams, since they were only able to have a simple ceremony 30 years ago at their own wedding.

The Dress: Louisa by Vera Wang
I’ve always known I wanted a Vera Wang gown to get married in—they make a bride look like a princess. When shopping at Nordstrom at Beachwood Place, I met my Wedding Stylist, Dana, and she really helped make the whole process easier for me. She’s the one who found my dress, and I instantly fell in love. It’s a strapless ball gown with 16 layers of draped tulle and crystal embroidery accents at the hip—a dream come true.

Dana was so helpful by accommodating my busy schedule, finding a perfect seamstress to help with fittings, and really going out of her way to help me with everything.

My Favorite Moments:
At the reception, my friend Yan gave a beautiful toast in both English and Mandarin. Like me, she came to the United States alone from China. She perfectly articulated how much strength it gives me to have the love and support of another family here in America.

I also felt so beautiful during my first dance with my husband in my Vera Wang dress; it was a wonderful evening that will stay with me forever.


Photogrpahy by Mydi

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

Maureen tells us how a timeless location, a bicoastal wedding party and some personalized touches made her and Ben’s September wedding a perfect one for them.

Our vision:
To create an elegant, classic feeling that stayed true to certain traditions while making our big day feel like “us.” Most importantly, we wanted it to feel like a celebration for all and a night to remember forever.

The location: University Club of Chicago
We saw this historic building, and it was love at first sight. Cathedral Hall, our ceremony/reception room, was like a castle with high ceilings and stained glass windows looking out over Lake Michigan. For cocktails, we transitioned into the charming library and then back to Cathedral Hall as the sun set for a gorgeous, candlelit reception.

The dress: Spring from Lela Rose
This gown was simply perfect: classic and timeless with the lace detailing, the soft and simple silhouette, and a higher neckline. My favorite part was the unexpected detailing in the low back.

I completed my look with new Jimmy Choo silver sparkly shoes that I can’t wait to wear again and a Nina veil and jewelry. My bridesmaid dresses were also Lela Rose in a beautiful color. I loved the pop of magenta (my favorite color) in the sea of black and white.

Ben looked so handsome in his tux from Hart Schaffner Marx! Our groomsmen wore suits and ties from Hugo Boss.

My stylists:
I found my gown at the Downtown Seattle Wedding Suite and my bridesmaid dresses at the Michigan Avenue Wedding Suite in Chicago, since most of my bridesmaids live there.

Heather was my amazing Seattle stylist—both attentive and honest. The entire team was so helpful, warm and caring whenever I stopped in to visit the dress and add another piece to my look. Heather partnered with Toma, my extremely talented fitter, to ensure my dress was exactly what I envisioned.

Taylor and Allison were my stylists in Chicago who took care of everything with my bridesmaid dresses. They communicated directly with my bridesmaids, which made a stress-free experience for me.

Favorite moment: Sitting at our king’s table, surrounded by so many friends and family who had traveled from both coasts to support us on our big day. My parents, Ben and I planned a lot of this wedding virtually. It was a celebratory moment when we realized we accomplished exactly what we wanted, and it was amazing!

We placed wedding photos of our parents and grandparents in the library for cocktail hour. It was a special way to thank our parents and honor our grandparents who are no longer with us.

Last and certainly not least, we loved the dance party! Our DJ was amazing and the dance floor was packed all night!

Photography by Laura Witherow.

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

Our November Holiday catalog featured papercraft and garlands from master crafter Laurie Cinotto. We shared a step-by-step tutorial on The Thread on creating these crafts with a holiday theme, but any number of colors or mix of patterns will work for this project, which makes it perfect for weddings with a little DIY flair. Drape the garlands anywhere or strew the paper balls on your various tables for endless possibilities that add a personalized touch. 

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

DIY garland and paper crafts for wedding décor.

Our thanks again to Laurie for sharing this project and her crafterly magic! See even more inspiration and ideas, and get info about commissions and ordering her DIY Beautiful Paper Flowers book, over at Laurie Cinotto Art + Craft.

Jeff Powell

When planning their own weddings, real-life besties and Paper Crown co-founders Lauren Conrad and Maura McManus were having a hard time finding the perfect bridesmaid dresses. Their solution? Design a bunch they love themselves! So was born Paper Crown Bridesmaids. We love them too, and these dresses full of flowy romance are now available for pre-order.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

On her motivation and philosophy, Conrad tells us, “Designing the Paper Crown bridesmaids collection was a dream! My goal was to design dresses that flatter a variety of body types. This way, a bridal party can look cohesive but not necessarily have to be wearing the exact same style. Everyone should feel great, just not better than the bride, of course!” A bride’s supporting cast should definitely look and feel great—we think you could say that about these ladies and their gorgeous dresses in action.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses
Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses
Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses
Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

We have Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad in six silhouettes and a number of pretty pastels and muted tones. Dresses will be available to ship the first week of February.

Paper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid DressesPaper Crown by Lauren Conrad Bridesmaid Dresses

“We are extremely excited to partner with Nordstrom! Here’s to happily ever after!” — Lauren Conrad & Maura McManus

Pre-order: Paper Crown Bridesmaids

McKenna shares her and Joseph’s special day at an Italian-inspired location in Scottsdale, AZ.

The vision: It was beautiful! We wanted something classic yet contemporary, so we decided our wedding colors would be black and white with hints of pink. Silverleaf reminded us of a Tuscan villa; it was as if we had stepped into another country! Gorgeous!



Favorite moment: I will always remember walking down the aisle with my dad and then joining Joseph at the altar. It was such an amazing moment knowing we would be husband and wife. Finally! The entire wedding was perfect—we were so happy with everything.


The dress: I chose the Ethel from the Vera Wang Collection. My bridesmaids went with a black Monique Lhuillier floor-length gown.


The Wedding Suite: Kathy was amazing. She guided me through the entire fitting and helped me with everything else gift and gown wise! She has become a dear friend. She is an amazing person inside and out and made the whole experience perfect! I couldn’t have asked for a better stylist!


Photography by Renee Clancy.

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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September 25, 2014

Real Weddings: Vanessa & Jon

Vanessa recounts her and Jon’s May wedding at the Renaissance D.C. Downtown Hotel in the nation’s capital.

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My Vision: The reception venue was modern and sleek but still warm and inviting. This modern look lent itself well to the D.C. vibe we were trying to achieve, as well as a less formal feel to the reception. For example, we did not have a traditional sit-down dinner; rather, we incorporated live-action stations in our reception ballroom, which included a mashed potato bar, a crêpe station, and a crab cake station. Finally, we had a photo booth that was a hit with our guests—such a fun experience, and it also doubled as our wedding favor. Overall, we wanted our guests to enjoy a great party with delicious food and drinks and have FUN!

The Scene: When we were planning for our wedding, an issue was that my family was scattered across the Northeast, while Jon’s family was situated in Seattle, WA. Our closest friends live in the D.C. metro area. Ultimately, we decided to have the wedding in Washington, D.C., as it is a location that both families could travel to and one that our friends could easily get to. Moreover, we hoped that our out-of-town guests would take advantage of their D.C. visit to check out the monuments and other historic sites!

St. Dominic’s is a breathtaking church that provided a serene setting for us to exchange our vows. We visited many potential reception sites to follow up the ceremony with before deciding on the Renaissance D.C. Hotel. However, after our first meeting with an event coordinator at the Renaissance, we felt excitement: something we hadn’t felt with the other venues we’d visited. As the event coordinator showed us around the hotel, Jon and I could see our wedding playing out, details and all.

We loved the modern yet inviting feel of the hotel as well as its central location in D.C., for both out-of-town and local guests. The coordinator was also inviting—her warmth was evident, as was her love of planning weddings. Jon and I knew we wanted to work with a coordinator who saw our wedding as unique and would put as much care into it as we were.

Special Moments: Our favorite moment took place right before the ceremony began. Jon was in the back with our priest, Father Schommer, talking through the ceremony logistics and running down the list of items to check off, as they were waiting for the clock to hit 2pm. They heard Jon’s sister singing and the organ playing, and then Fr. Schommer asked about our cantor (the chief singer employed by the church). He asked if Jon had seen him around. They discovered that neither of them had actually called the cantor. When they did, they found out that he was sitting on his couch at home! The chief singer who we had worked with for 8 months had forgotten about our wedding. Fr. Schommer made a quick announcement to the congregation that there was a 5-minute delay, and that we were “waiting for one of the musicians.” He asked the organist to please continue to play music. This was at 2:01pm.

Fr. Schommer was a quick thinker, and he went through the ceremony songs and figured out which of them he could sing and which he couldn’t. In a minute or so, we had it figured out, and were ready to go. At about 2:05pm, Fr. Schommer walked out of the sacristy (the area behind the altar), onto the altar and quickly came right back. He said to Jon, “Vanessa is coming down the aisle!” The wedding party and I didn’t hear Fr. Schommer’s announcement of the delay, as his microphone speakers didn’t reach the vestibule (the area that the wedding party and I were lined up ready to process in). On top of that, the filler music being played by the organist was the processional music I was meant to walk down the aisle to. With all that confusion, the wedding party started to process in… without Fr. Schommer or Jon at the end of the aisle.

Fr. Schommer asked Jon to wait for a minute so that I could get down to the end of the aisle, and then waved Jon out. There was a roar of laughter, and made this moment truly memorable and unique to our wedding.

My Dress: I found my wedding gown at the Tysons Corner Wedding Suite in McLean, VA. There couldn’t have been a more perfect gown to suit my style and my wedding day in the nation’s capital. My wedding stylist, Maria, called me for my first consultation in June 2013. Knowing I was petite with curves, she suggested designs by Matthew Christopher. His ‘Moet’ gown was the second gown that I tried on when I had my first appointment with Maria, and I immediately fell in love. I tried on a few more gowns just to be sure, but each one couldn’t compare to ‘Moet’—it sealed the deal for me. I purchased my Nina wedges, Nadri earrings, Nina veil and Nina clutch from the suite as well. I also found the bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dress at the suite!

The Wedding Suite: Maria and the Wedding Suite team made my shopping and alterations experience incredible, from the day I purchased my gown to my last fitting. Not only were they organized and detail-oriented; they were also warm and caring, making my wedding experience that much more memorable. I didn’t feel like just one more bride walking through the suite. Rather, I felt my experience was unique to Maria and the team.

Photos by Rachel Naft

Erin-Fetherston-Dresses

This just in! New styles from one of our most obsessed-over bridal designers are now in stock at the Wedding Suite. This latest collection from Erin Fetherston is full of forward-thinking fashion that’s awash in the signature fairy-tale romance found in all of her designs.


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Phoebe’ Ostrich Feather Hem Chiffon Shift Dress

This season, Erin offers some seriously stunning reception dresses that will offer the bride a second chance to dazzle without risking injury to her extra-special gown. “It’s giving girls the freedom to balance fashion and tradition on their wedding day,” Fetherston tells Nordstrom. “Brides opting for a timeless wedding gown can look to a ‘cut the cake’ dress that will allow them to incorporate a trend or element of their own personal style into their wedding day look. It’s one aspect of the wedding where she can really get creative and bend the rules.”


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Lucielle’ 3D Floral Organza Dress

Blush pinks and prints (!) abound in the bridesmaid department, making for a thrillingly unexpected statement. “With blush being a personal favorite color of mine,” Fetherston explains, “this trend is near and dear to my heart and truly embodies the ERIN erin fetherston collection, both for bridal and my main line. The bridal assortment really lends itself to the ability to add subtle print or texture into your bridesmaid grouping.”


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Isabelle’ Print Chiffon Gown

For those seeking a more hands-on Erin Fetherston experience, look no further: this week, the woman behind the designs will be making in-store appearances at a few of our locations sprinkled across the country. Brides are invited to bring their bridesmaids along to try on this new collection (as well as a few Nordstrom exclusives thrown in for good measure), all while Erin offers her expert style advice, personalized for each bride.


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Sandrine’ Embellished Chiffon Gown

The one-on-one sessions will last 90 minutes apiece, and while you’re waiting your turn, you’re invited to enjoy a glass of bubbly, nibble some light bites and take advantage of a beauty service provided on site (manicures, hairstyling or makeup touch-ups, depending on which event you attend). And we won’t let you leave empty-handed—every guest will get to take home a trio of Nordstrom Makers chocolates as a parting gift to say thanks for attending.


ERIN erin fetherston ‘Chloe’ Foiled Chiffon Gown

See more from Erin Fetherston in our Wedding Suites, and for even more inspiration, see Erin Fetherston’s very own wedding photos from last spring on our blog.

August 8, 2014

Real Wedding: Eva & Jeff

Eva shares the tale of her and Jeff’s May wedding at Windows on the River in Cleveland, Ohio.

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My Vision: I wanted a simple and enjoyable day. It was all about gathering with loved ones and having a great time! My goal was to create a day that Jeff and I could celebrate with all our favorite people without feeling stressed and crazy. I wanted to take in the special moments as they happened, so I would have amazing memories. I wanted to keep with certain traditions but also to make our wedding unique and perfect for the two of us. At the end of the day, everything was without flaw, and we all danced the night away!

The Scene: It was a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree day in Cleveland. The room that held our ceremony and reception had high ceilings and tall windows that let in the natural light and provided gorgeous moonlight in the evening. The exposed brick and other architectural features made it the perfect place to display the fresh floral arrangements and romantic colors we had chosen.

Jeff and I had our first look outside the venue under an old stone bridge. It was a sweet time that we shared alone, before all the festivities really began. Jeff finally saw the dress that I had been anxiously waiting for him to see me in, and he was so handsome in his new blue suit. The ceremony was emotional and heartfelt as we shared our vows we had written to each other. We started the party off with cocktail hour outside on the patio as we listened to a live pianist with a view of the city in the background. There was delicious food, tear-jerking toasts and all kinds of dancing.

The best moment for me was standing back and seeing all the happiness and love around us and between us as the realization of our perfect day set in. Every little thing came together, and the two of us could not have been more thrilled.

My Dress: The team at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite was great in helping me find my gown and making it perfect. I went to the store for a Hayley Paige trunk show without any expectations of finding my dress on my first shopping trip. I had an open mind and wanted to try different styles to see what suited me. I was so excited with what Nordstrom had to offer, and my stylist helped me try everything I had in mind. She did a great job of making me feel comfortable and special as I quietly analyzed each dress.

After trying on about seven dresses, I tried the Hayley Paige ‘Guindon’ gown, and although it was interesting and fun, it did not make a great first impression. I took it off and moved to another. After thinking on it, I went back to the ‘Guindon’ to give it another try. After I explained that I loved everything about it except for the stripes, Hayley told me she could make it without the stripes. I was sold!

Bride: Hayley Paige ‘Guindon’
Bridesmaids: Amsale Crinkled Chiffon in Blush

The Wedding Suite: When it came to finding dresses for my bridesmaids, we loved the Amsale collection because the dresses came in so many different colors and styles. We picked the blush pink color, and then each bridesmaid chose the same dress in a slightly different style. The dresses were definitely the look I was going for, and I was glad to have found them at Nordstrom.

The process of fitting the dress was great, as I had complete trust that the alterations would make it just right. Natasha altered the dress so that it fit me perfectly. It was convenient being at Nordstrom and having the lingerie department so close. The manager came down to help me find a bra that would best work with my dress. The experience of going for fittings was exciting, as I couldn’t wait to get back into my dress each time!

Photos by Mindy Sue Photography

The new spring/summer 2014 Amsale collection is now available in our Wedding Suites—and here’s a sneak peek! All gowns are available in plus sizes and can be made to measure, so you are guaranteed a perfect fit for your big day.

A659/Carson: A combination of timeless and current, this French alençon lace fit-and-flare gown is truly feminine. The layered tulle adds lightness and soft structure, while the delicate French lace long-sleeve bolero allows the bride to create a more formal look. $5,950

A655/Cameron: This fresh and modern lightweight ballgown has a silk taffeta corseted bodice with straps, a full skirt, signature pockets and a sash that accentuates the natural waist. Elegant and effortless, with a sheer back and touches of French alençon lace for added femininity. $3,950

A643/Lenox: Classic Amsale, this silk magnolia fit-and-flare gown has glamorous beading and a keyhole back. With sophisticated, clean lines and luxurious fabric, the gown is simple, chic and effortless with a touch of shimmer. $4,800

A654/Quinn: A beautiful, quintessential bridal gown. Channeling timeless sophistication, the French alençon lace bodice meets a silk ribbon bow accentuating the natural waist. This gown is perfect for a summer garden wedding, as the full skirt and lace underlayer create a fresh, airy fit and provide movement. $4,500

A657/Preston: This gown has a formality that makes it ideal for a black-tie wedding with the right accessories. The silk magnolia fabric is luxurious, and the cut is architectural and spare yet modern with a sheer neckline and sexy, low, bow-detailed back. $4,200

To see even more Amsale gowns, take a peek at this behind-the-scenes video from the spring 2015 collections.

Last month, Racked hosted an Instagram contest for one lucky engaged couple to win a totally free Brooklyn wedding. The catch? They’d have to plan it all in less than one month. We were thrilled to be a part of this event and offer the bride the dress of her dreams. The winning bride, Jacqueline Berman, wore a gorgeous Heidi Elnora ‘Coco Marie’ gown, and she looked absolutely stunning. It was incredible to see the wedding coordinated on such short notice! See how the entire day unfolded over at Racked’s Wedding Week feature.

Photos by: Daniel Silbert