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Real Weddings


We first met Haley Vera at the booth of her jewelry company, Habitual Threads. As we chatted about her unique handmade pieces, Haley told us that she had been a #BHLDNbride when she married her junior-high sweetheart, Luke. We don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but what followed was one of the sweetest stories we’ve ever heard. Here is the “Sisterhood of the Transforming Dress,” as told by Haley:

See Haley on Instagram @habitualthreads | Image by @elliekoleen

When I got engaged in 2013, the BHLDN shop had just opened at Anthropologie in Beverly Hills, so my mom and I drove four hours from our hometown of Clovis, California, to LA for my bridal appointment.

I tried on 5 dresses before finding “the one”—the Lavern Dress by Catherine Dean. It was the most comfortable, flattering, and beautiful dress I had ever tried on! Perfect for my June wedding, it was long enough for my six-foot frame and didn’t need a single alteration. I ordered the dress, a belt, and matching veil that day, and it was all delivered to my home within a month. Simple.

Images by @elliekoleen

Fast forward to December 2015. My brother was getting ready to marry the love of his life—one of the loves of my life for that matter—Willemina. The week of their wedding, Mina went to her final dress fitting after countless alterations. The dress had been steamed, and the silk shrunk. The mermaid dress she had worked so hard to create was too short on her, and the wedding was five days away.

I called all three bridal shops in town and begged them to stay open for us. On my way to the one shop that agreed, I stopped by my best friend’s parent’s house and grabbed her dress as an option before picking up mine, just in case.

Willemina kept it together so gracefully and tried on a few from the shop, but each would require a number of alterations. She tried on my friend’s dress, which was a closer fit. Then she tried mine. It was a little long, but considering the circumstances, a perfect fit.

See Willemina on Instagram @willemina_typography |Images by @jackipotorkephoto

We brainstormed all the ways we could make the dress Mina’s because half of her guests had seen it at my wedding, and—let’s face it—a girl wants to get married in her own wedding dress!
We called our beloved seamstress (not the ones who messed up her first dress!), and she was able to see us the next morning. She transformed the dress within a day, removing the belt, lace, back of the dress, and a couple inches at the hem. The finished product was perfect, and everyone was amazed by how the dress had gone from a romantic cap sleeve to a sleek halter.

Images by @jackipotorkephoto

A year later, my sister Savannah got engaged to our brother’s best friend. When it came time for Savannah to think about her dress, one thing was already decided: she would wear our dress and make it her own.

See Savannah on Instagram @savannahkarraker | Image by @elliekoleen

We took our sweet time with alterations this go-around, working with the same seamstress who had saved the day for Mina. The alterations were extensive, which proves how wonderful and talented the seamstress is; she patiently listened to all of Savannah’s requests and made her vision a reality.

Mina’s flowy, backless halter gown became Savannah’s structured, lace accented, off-the-shoulder gown. It was a work of art.

Images by @elliekoleen

We’re still amazed at how the Lavern Dress worked so perfectly (and comfortably) for each of us! One dress became something completely unique for three very different brides, and we love that we have this incredible story to share.

Images by @jackipotorkephoto and @elliekoleen


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