Bride: Natasha Soto-Albors
Groom: Richard Dreher
Wedding gown style: Farrah
Wedding date: October 5, 2012
Boutique purchased: Vera Wang Flagship Store on Madison Avenue
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Photographer: Laura Marie Duncan
First things first, where did you meet your husband? How did you know he was the one?
Richard and I originally met as teenagers when we both attended a summer theater program at New York University. I’m from Northern California and he’s from New Jersey so it was quite a feat that we ended up in the same place. We became close friends who harbored little crushes on each other and shared one amazing kiss that we still remember vividly. At the end of the summer we went our separate ways back to our hometowns. We fell out of touch when we went on to college, me at NYU and Richard at Carnegie Mellon. Fast forward 7 years. I was still living in New York and working in the West Village. One day I was walking down West 4th St. when out of nowhere I heard someone call my name. I turned and there was Richard! It turned out he’d moved to the city a few months prior and was working just a couple blocks away. We exchanged numbers and as we parted ways my heart was pounding. Richard later told me his hands were literally shaking. I think I knew he was the one as soon as I saw his face that day.
How did he propose? Tell us the story!
Richard and I always spend Thanksgiving with his family in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2011 we were at his parents’ home on Thanksgiving morning getting ready to start cooking. It was a beautifully crisp fall day and everyone kept saying we should go for a walk. Richard said he wanted to show me a new nature reserve nearby. We arrived at a sunlit meadow with benches under a gazebo. After a few minutes of looking at the view Richard got down on one knee and pulled a small box out of his pocket. I think I screamed, gasped, laughed, and cried simultaneously! I was completely surprised. The ring was a gorgeous 3 stone setting with diamonds that had belonged to his mother. The moment was so thrilling, simple and intimate. I’ve never had such a big smile on my face. We went back to his family’s home where everyone was waiting with champagne and had set up a skype conversation with my family in California. That cross country toast via the internet was pretty special. I truly had a lot to be thankful for that day!
Once the wedding plans started, what made you decide on a Vera Wang gown?
When I started the search for my wedding gown I knew that the Vera Wang flagship store on Madison Avenue would be one of my destinations. To me Vera’s wedding designs are an incredible combination of romance, modernity, and whimsy. Before I tried on any gowns I had a pretty specific idea of the style and silhouette I was looking for. I envisioned something reminiscent of Hollywood in the 1920’s and 30’s. When I tried on the Farrah gown the feeling was truly magical. It was the perfect combination of glamour and ethereal softness. The tulle one shoulder draped over the illusion corset bodice is stunning. As your eye moves down the dress to the layers of tulle and organza you see endless gorgeous little details. I knew I’d found “the one”. My entire experience at Vera Wang was one of the best parts of planning my wedding. My bridal consultant Lori Santoro really understood what I was looking for and gave amazing, honest insights. Once it came time for alterations my stylist Ginger Libby and my tailor Sophia were an absolute pleasure to work with. My mom, who was there for the big decision and fittings, still raves about how lovely everyone at Vera Wang is!
How did you accessorize to make your wedding day unique?
I knew that I wanted to add some sparkle to my look so I chose a satin and crystal sash. To complete my vintage glamour vision I selected a short birdcage veil combined with a tulle flower and feather comb. I wore a very dark purple (almost black) nail color for my wedding day. I loved the edgy contrast it provided. Pavé chandelier earrings and an art deco style cuff completed my look.
What was the inspiration or theme for your wedding?
Richard and I both love the style and elegance of the 1920’s and 30’s. Especially the movies of that time period and their stars. We knew that we wanted to bring that aesthetic to our wedding day. Our wedding venue was Stage 6 at Steiner Studios in Brooklyn. Part of a working movie studio in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, this incredible glass encased space overlooks the Manhattan skyline. The key to us was balancing the vintage influence with the contemporary urban qualities of the venue. By doing that I think we had a celebration that was youthful, fresh and at the same time romantically nostalgic. Our invitations and all of our wedding day paper were done in black and white with scrolling Art Deco designs. For our floral arrangements Enza Anastasi of Diana Gould created gorgeous tall centerpieces with purples and reds, as well as ostrich feathers and draped strands of crystals. The arrangements were set in vintage style silver bowls and or on top of antique candelabras. Looking back I think that having a specific inspiration for the occasion made choosing the details easier. In lieu of a traditional guestbook our guests filled out vintage NYC postcards to place in a 1930’s suitcase for us. We also placed a silver basket full of soft wraps in our wedding colors near the entrance to the expansive outdoor terrace. That way the ladies attending could feel a bit of that old Hollywood glamour and enjoy the fresh air without being chilly.
Did you incorporate any other Vera Wang products into your wedding? (I.e. fragrance, fine papers etc.) If so how?
When I purchased my gown at the flagship store they gave me a beautiful bottle of Vera Wang’s Lovestruck fragrance as a gift. I started wearing it on a regular basis and made sure to wear it on my wedding day!
Did you stay true to the Old English wedding rhyme: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. If so, what were yours?
My something old was a vintage brooch that was incorporated into my bouquet. It was loaned to me by my wedding planner, Erica Powell of Ambiance Luxe Wedding Designs, so it was also my something borrowed. My something new was my pair of glittered silver Jimmy Choo peep toe pumps. For my something blue I bought an Agent Provocateur garter with feathers and a blue ribbon.
What tips do you have for new brides picking out their wedding dress?
I think it is enormously helpful to begin the process with some specific ideas of what you’re looking for. Narrowing down the neckline or skirt style you like can make things so much easier. Also, be true to your own personal style. Remember that it’s your wedding day and not a spread in a bridal magazine. The more you bring your unique point of view to your look the more special it becomes. Lastly, I think dressing for your body type and choosing something comfortable is paramount. Make sure you can sit down in your dress and breathe in it (breathing is important!). Above all, have fun and listen to your gut! There can be a lot of opinions about which dress is “the one” but the one that trumps them all has to be yours.
What was your favorite part of the day? And, are there any other anecdotes you would like to share?
One of my absolute favorite parts of the day was our first dance. We chose a 1930’s upbeat Cuban salsa song. I’m a professional dancer as well as an actress so initially I thought I would choreograph a specific routine for us. In the rush of the last month of preparations that never happened. In fact, we never got a chance to practice together with the music. Right before they announced our entrance to the reception we said to each other “I guess we’re winging it!”. We made a couple of split second decisions about how to begin and then we just went for it. It was one of the most exhilarating and joyous moments of my life! We were so fully ourselves. My flower comb flew out of my hair as I did turns across the dance floor. I picked it up, threw it into the crowd and just kept dancing. We’ll never forget that first dance and it proved to me that some things are better when they’re not planned or plotted down to the last detail. Leave some room for surprises on your wedding day! Not the kind that will stress you out but those that will allow you to live in the moment.