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Wedding Dresses

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

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

Erin Fetherston

Designer Erin Fetherston and musician Gabe Saporta’s wedding last spring was the epitome of a fairy tale affair—and we have the photos to prove it. As she’s known for a design aesthetic that’s rooted in romance and whimsy, we weren’t surprised by the gorgeousness of the event, but we were amazed to hear that she and her fiancé pulled it all together in a mere six months!

Erin Fetherston

Erin Fetherston

Held at St. Nicholas Abbey—a Jacobean mansion at a rum distillery in Barbados—Fetherston got the best of two worlds: the lush landscaping of the English countryside and the warm, tropical weather of a Caribbean island. Fetherston describes the property as a truly magical place with “beautiful, formal English gardens in the front yard, a lush gully of 100-foot tall trees in back.” As she tells it, even the drive to the site, with views of rolling fields of sugar cane, was incredible.

In fact, it was the landscape that ultimately influenced the design of her dress. Originally, Fetherston says, she didn’t want a dress with a lot of volume. “I was thinking I would have a very flowing dress, maybe with a long train. I wasn’t thinking about anything structured.” But after studying a lot of photos of the venue, she realized the importance of connecting the environment and the dress.

Erin Fetherston

Erin Fetherston

While Fetherston’s design was part of creating a fully realized experience, and although the English garden-style wedding inspired a specific style of gown, she emphasizes that every bride should have her own approach. If the dress is the first consideration, “choose a venue that goes with the dress,” she advises.


Erin Fetherston

Fetherston created a gorgeous, uniform aesthetic by always keeping her concept and the big picture in mind. One of the ways she achieved this was deciding on a color palette—not just for the decor, but her guests as well. “Instead of giving people a dress code, I gave them a color code for the wedding and for other surrounding events.” She describes how a harmonious color palette made the experience feel really special—and resulted in beautiful photos. But her unique approach didn’t stop with a color code.

In lieu of having official bridesmaids, she dressed every female guest in Erin Fetherston. “It was like the bridal party had no boundaries,” she says. Fetherston dived into her archives, pulling every dress that fit her chosen palette, and then invited her girlfriends to come choose their dresses. Looking back through her past collections, reflecting on her years as a designer and being married while surrounded by friends all wearing her designs gave even greater meaning to her wedding.

Erin Fetherston
Erin Fetherston
Erin Fetherston

With so much care and consideration given to every little detail, the results were truly spectacular. Thank you, Erin, for sharing your magical moments and beautiful day with The Wedding Suite Blog!

Erin Fetherston

Find Erin Fetherston dresses and intimate apparel online and in our Wedding Suites. We’re excited to announce that even more Fetherston designs (exclusive to Nordstrom!) will be arriving this September.

It’s no surprise that designing intricate clothing fit for royalty (sometimes literally!) comes naturally to Naeem Khan: The Indian-born designer developed his talents for textiles and beautiful lines alongside his grandfather and father, both well known in India for their designs. His childhood fascination with their handiwork carried him to his first apprenticeship and beyond; he has since refined the art of clean, elegant silhouettes with modern restraint, all while growing in his own signature aesthetic and style. His runway shows are among the most anticipated during New York Fashion Week, and his gowns are seen on stunning world figures such as First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Noor of Jordan, as well as red-carpet royalty Beyoncé, Sarah Jessica Parker, Penélope Cruz, Katy Perry and Taylor Swift, to name just a few.

Khan’s foray into bridal gowns does not disappoint: his signature figure-tracing lines, swirling patterns and subtle, delicate touches translate into gowns with gorgeous, unique personalities and big movements that never overwhelm. If you’re going for detailed and unforgettable, Naeem Khan’s styles are worth trying on.

Speaking of trying on, stop in at selected Wedding Suites to do just that*, after swooning over these looks.

Vienna (Style FB012): In this new vision of the ballgown, a modern, beautifully beaded strapless bustier tops subtle pleats that define without overwhelming. We see this gown making a statement at big venues. $6,495.

Santorini (Style FB047): The Greek gods never had it this good. Draping creates beautiful, airy lines on a gown defined by a wide, crystal-beaded waistband. Perfect for outdoor and destination weddings—maybe to the islands? $5,750.

Paris (Style FB050): Sometimes simple is the most beautiful. Flattering bandage-style wrapping and a floating skirt (with pockets!) highlight the intricately detailed traditional veil. $5,495.

Agra (Style FB033): Delicately embroidered with florals and swirling curves, this romantic gown drapes down to a silky chapel train—a truly sophisticated bridal look. $8,395.

Naples (Style FB014): Modern caviar beading gives gorgeous, subtle detail, with a flattering deep V-neckline and high seams. $5,995.

*Naeem Khan is available in selected in-store Wedding Suites. Make a complimentary appointment with one of our Wedding Stylists to see these beautiful styles in person.

The newest collection from Watters strikes the perfect balance between laid-back elegance and sophisticated chic. Discover more dramatic ballgowns and delicate dresses now in our Watters lookbook and firsthand in our Wedding Suites.

The spring 2014 collection from Badgley Mischka takes inspiration from Old Hollywood and the 1930s French Riviera. See more of the gorgeous beadwork and embroidery firsthand at our in-store Wedding Suites.

Silk mermaid ‘Audrey’ dress with embellished illusion neckline and sleeves. $3,850.

See more Badgley Mischka dresses in our Wedding Suite lookbook. We offer this dress at our Seattle, Michigan Avenue, Oakbrook Center, Topanga, Scottsdale Fashion Square, Valley Fair, Roosevelt Field and Tysons Corner Center wedding suite locations.

We can’t get enough of these new Hayley Paige gowns. We adore her unique aesthetic, which encompasses everything from traditional ball gowns with whimsical layers of tulle to subtly glamorous stripes and opulent crystals. Hayley’s 2014 gowns just hit our Wedding Suites; check your local Nordstrom store to see which beautiful styles are available for you!

Leighton (6302): Silk stretch-satin fit-and-flare gown with ruched bodice and strapless sweetheart neckline. Silk organza manipulated skirt and open back with tulle detailing connected by crystal cluster and chapel train. Detachable crystal embellished bolero, sold separately. $3,355.

Guindon (6315): Striped organza natural-waist ballgown with sweetheart ruched neckline, full flounced skirt, taupe raw-silk ribbon at natural waist and chapel train. $3,160.

Emeryn (6411): English net fit-and-flare gown with ruched detailing on bodice, double horsehair trim flounced skirt, alabaster and crystal encrusted keyhole back with chapel train. $3,850.

Star (6412): Alabaster tulle A-line gown with crystal-encrusted bodice and skirt, sweetheart neckline and chapel train. $3,585.

Kadence (6410): Alençon lace fit-and-flare gown with strapless jewel-encrusted neckline. Ruched detailing along sides of bodice and center back, crystal and alabaster detachable bolero and chapel train. $4,400.

hayley-paige-dress-wedding

Locklyn (6407): Sweetheart neckline, jewel-encrusted waist, fit-and-glare gown with ruching at waist and full, tulle skirt. $2,860.

Lauren describes her New Year’s Eve wedding celebration in downtown Seattle.

The Scene: December 31, 2013, SODO Park in Seattle, WA

We knew a winter wedding was in our future, and with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season what better way to bring 2013 to an end than a New Year’s Eve wedding surrounded by all our family and friends. The warmth of SODO Park was perfect for this event. We wanted all 300 guests in one giant room so they could celebrate every moment with us.

We also wanted the overall feel of the night to be elegant and classic—from twinkly lights and wine bottles placed on tables to the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong during cocktail hour. We also wanted the night to have the liveliness of a NYE party. Yes, dresses with sequins and sparkles were encouraged! Party hats were passed out, the music never slowed down and neither did the dancing.

Our Invitations: We took up the challenge of making our own invitations because we wanted something personal and one of a kind. The design was inspired by our love for champagne and, of course, the city that we love. We spent countless hours at our good friends’ house printing, cutting, gluing and folding each invitation piece by piece. One might think this was a little over the top, but to us they meant so much more in the end.

The Ceremony: We had Alex’s good friend Robert marry us. Neither one of us wanted a stranger to stand beside us and perform one of the most intimate ceremonies we would ever take part in. It was short, sweet and incredibly special.

My Dress: ‘Allie’ by Olia Zavozina

I went to only two boutiques to find my wedding gown. At the first one I was overwhelmed. I’m a very simple person: I don’t like to dig through racks, I don’t like to be overwhelmed and I’m very indecisive. My second stop was the Nordstrom Wedding Suite in Seattle. I immediately found the dress I had to have. I pulled a few others to try on, but my eye was on the Olia Zavozina ‘Allie’ Duchess Silk Trumpet Gown. It was everything I wanted: clean, sexy and classic. I felt comfortable and that mattered most.

My Wedding Stylist: Kerrene Buford, Nordstrom Downtown Seattle

My stylist, Kerrene, made everything incredibly easy for me. Having found my dress early on in the planning process, I was welcomed back many times to play dress-up and accessorize for the big day. Nordstrom is a one-stop shop for me and that’s what I love about it. From picking out my Vera Wang veil and Givenchy jewelry to finding the perfect sparkly gold kate spade flats, I always had someone there to help make my bridal dreams come true.

Photos by Kate Price Photography

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.