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Real Wedding: Lara and Ben


Bride: Lara Howenstine
Groom: Benjamin Wynn
Wedding gown style: Diana with added black sash
Boutique purchased: Los Angeles – Melrose Store
Wedding date: June 4, 2011
Location: The Parker in Palm Springs, CA
Photographer: Ray Soemarsono – APERTURA

Did you have a certain style in mind when you started your search for a dress? As a teenager, I had a subscription to Vogue Magazine and remember a specific cover featuring a model in an ivory and black couture dress that was modern with vintage details. When searching for a wedding dress, I was inspired to find a dress similar to the one I had seen in Vogue – one that makes an impressive statement. I envisioned my wedding dress to be modern, edgy and unique – and discovered a dress that was the perfect match, Diana by Vera Wang. It was the first dress I tried on (love at first sight!) and after trying on 100 more (wanted to make sure this dress was the one), I came back to Diana. I was sold.

What made you decide on your Vera Wang gown? Diana is a perfect reflection of my style. It’s flattering, fun and dramatic. The soft, structured bodice is flattering, the back of the dress bustled or un-bustled is fun, and the tiered layers of fluffy organza and tulle fabric create drama. When paired with a black sash, the dress achieved the modern-vintage look I wanted for my wedding day.

Did you bring anyone along dress shopping? If so, did their opinions influence your final decision? I brought my Aunt Elinor, who raised me as a child, shopping with me. It was the last outing we had together before she passed away from cancer. I knew the Diana dress was “the one” and wanted her to see the dress before she purchased it. When I tried on the dress, she exclaimed, “That’s the one!” She thought the dress was “fun” and “very much me”. Trying on the Diana wedding dress for my Aunt Elinor was a bittersweet memory that I will never forget.

How did you accessorize to make your wedding day outfit unique? My accessories, hair and makeup were inspired by Dita Von Teese’s vintage, classy and timeless style. I paired the dress with a couture black birdcage veil made by a seamstress at the Los Angeles Vera Wang store. The veil was a statement on its own and added more volume and drama to the ensemble. I also wore an ivory flower and black feather hairpiece designed by Leah C. Couture Millinery and carried around a black satin clutch adorned with chandelier-like crystals. My jewelry consisted of a black Vera Wang beaded bracelet (from the Spring 2011 line) and black asymmetrical chandelier earrings. I also pinned a small-framed photo of my Aunt Elinor, who passed away months before the wedding, to the bow of the sash of my dress, so she could be with me at all times.

What was the inspiration or theme for your wedding? We didn’t have a theme for our wedding, but had much inspiration. We wanted the event design to be unique, fun and classy. The color scheme for the florals and the bridesmaid’s dresses were inspired by the rich jewel tones in a Giorgio Armani ad from fall of 2010. The event décor, the lighting design, the candy station and other elements of wedding played off this color scheme and the ivory and black colors of my Vera Wang wedding dress.

Did your gown style relate to any other design elements of the wedding? The color of my gown influenced many design elements of the wedding. The flower girls wore ivory dresses with black sashes to mimic my wedding dress. The cake was also inspired by my Vera Wang dress, with ivory buttercream frosting symbolizing the dress and the black strips of fondant representing the black sash of the dress. The ceremony programs were also ivory and tied together with a black ribbon. Our place card display took on the same color scheme, with black ribbon of various widths used to tie the ivory place cards to a stainless steel frame.

What was your favorite part of the day? Our favorite part of the day was when we were introduced as a married couple. After our ceremony, our guests gathered together in an enclosed outdoor area. All of our 170 guests stood on either side of a walkway and created a “tunnel” out of three-foot long sparklers for us to run under. The spectacle was so amazing that we ran under the sparklers three times – back and forth – on the walkway. Seeing the 170 sparklers lit all at once and witnessing the enjoyment on all of our guest’s faces was truly magical.

What tips do you have for new brides picking out their wedding dress? One tip is to bring along someone you trust, who will give you an honest opinion.

Are there any other anecdotes you’d like to share? The best advice given to me is to enjoy your wedding day. Wedding days are fleeting; the day will fly by so fast! Try to your best to enjoy yourself, to bask in the moment, and to notice all the great details.

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