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7 In Accessories/ Contests & Giveaways/ Fashion/ The Groom/ Uncategorized/ Vendors

Hand-Made Monday: The Grunion Run Groomsmen Shop (& a Giveaway!)

Happy Hand-Made Monday, folks! I know there have been a few silent Mondays lately, but I am so, SO excited to introduce you to one of my favorite wedding vendors!


{Red Floral Tie}

In an era where grooms are getting more involved in the process of planning their weddings,  it would seem only natural that there would be a rise in the availability of unique wedding-based menswear. Enter The Grunion Run Groomsmen Shop, an online retailer of unique, dapper (& SUPER affordable) menswear items, from bow ties and pocket squares to shirts and suspenders.

Yun-Yi Goh, Co-founder and Creative Director at The Grunion Run, was kind enough to answer some questions (AND offer a giveaway) for me. Check out our interview below and see the details of the giveaway after the interview!

CV: Tell me about the beginnings of The Grunion Run. How did it start? Where did the idea come from? What is the story of the name?


{Blue Stripe Bow Tie}

YG: The Grunion Run was launched in March 2012 but the seeds for the shop were planted in 2006 when Kevin and I got married and couldn’t find exactly what we wanted for our guys at a price point that was affordable. I was working in a different industry at the time but as the years passed it became clear that while the wedding market was vastly changing, the menswear segment remained largely stagnant and I grew very excited at the prospect of creating something new and interesting for grooms + groomsmen.

As for the name, we wanted something unique that would reflect the SoCal roots of the shop. The Grunion Run seemed perfect not only because it’s the name of a special mating ritual for a fish species that is native to these parts, but also because it combines the words groom + union which seemed appropriately symbolic!


{Purple Gingham Tie}

CV: Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

YG: I am design-obsessed and look for inspiration everywhere from street-wear to road signs…you never know when something’s going to hit. The other day I was out for a walk with my baby and saw the most perfect shade of green in the trees on one street (thank goodness I turned down that street!). I’m now obsessively trying to find a fabric to match because I know it’s the perfect color for wedding neckties.

CV: What three words best describe your work?

YG: exhausting. obsessive. worthwhile.  =)

CV: How would you describe your ideal customer/the person you design for?

YG: I love designing for anyone who wants to have fun and get creative with a more casual, less traditional look. We offer a range of pieces in similar color palettes that can be mixed-and-matched for a cohesive but individual look for groomsmen.


{White w/ Black Stripes Suspenders}

CV: Do you create custom pieces?

YG: As of now we don’t, though we do offer custom monogramming for our ties and pocket squares.

CV: What is your favorite piece(s) you’ve created, and why?

YG: It’s like being asked which child is your favorite but if I was forced to choose I’d have to say that our lavender and pale yellow neckties are two of my favorites because those are the exact (non-shiny) shades of ties we were looking for for our own wedding and never found.

CV: What tips do you have for couples who are choosing their groomsmen’s attire?

YG: Groomsmen outfits don’t often get the same attention as the bridesmaids but don’t forget the guys still make up half your wedding photos. It’s always great when guys have one statement piece be it a tie, a vest, or a pocket square that will pop in the photos. Of course, with all the other details that go into a wedding, I also always stress that you should first have fun and relax.


{Striped Pocket Square}

CV: At IndieWed, we love small/alternative wedding businesses. Are there any small wedding-related businesses you’d like to give a shout-out to?

YG: One of the great things about being in the wedding industry is getting to know the many other fantastic vendors involved; in particular other small business owners who are trying to make things happen like us! We’ve had a great collaboration recently with Chris + Gina Holt who are the photographers behind Chris Holt Photography, and more importantly are such a lovely couple to work with. And while I haven’t met her personally, I must say I really admire Rhiannon of Hey Gorgeous Events because of the way she has grown her business over the years and really connected with her audience over social media. It’s very impressive.

CV: Are you working on anything new or exciting at the moment?

YG: Oh yes! We are playing around with more patterned fabrics and looking at new shapes for our bow ties, among many other fun things we have in our pipeline!

CV: GIVEAWAY DETAILS! One lucky reader will win a necktie of their choice from The Grunion Run’s new collection of neckties! Here’s how you enter: visit the New Arrivals Page, and leave a comment on this feature telling us which necktie on that page is your favorite (and leaving your email address)! A winner will be selected at random on Friday! Personally, I love this Blue Paisley Tie and this Pale Green Floral Tie!

Thanks, Yun, for spending time and giving away one of your amazing neckties! Be sure to stop by The Grunion Run’s website, Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr accounts!

Corinne Van Arsdale is a Wedding Coordinator based in Madison, Wisconsin and serving Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Check out her website, blogFacebook and Pinterest. If you know of a small business/hand-crafter you’d like to recommend for a feature on Hand-Made Monday, email Corinne at

0 In Accessories/ Chicago/ Jewelry/ Vendors

Hand-Made Monday – Delicate Lace Jewelry by Branch

Happy Hand-Made Monday, friends! Today’s featured hand-maker is Sarah Louise Walker, the Chicago-based creator of Branchbound. Sarah creates the most lovely lace accessories — including jewelry, belts and headpieces. These lovely, delicate pieces would go great with a simple, feminine gowns or make perfect bridesmaid gifts, don’t you agree?

{Mint Lace Necklace}

{Victorian Lace Earrings}

{Lace Bracelet}

{Lavender Lace Necklace}

{Mirrored Leaves Sash}

{Silver Lace Earrings}

Corinne Van Arsdale is a Wedding Coordinator based in Madison, Wisconsin and serving Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Check out her website, blogFacebook and Pinterest. If you know of a small business/hand-crafter you’d like to recommend for a feature on Hand-Made Monday, email Corinne at

0 In Paper Goods/ Vendors

Hand-Made Monday: Modern Wedding Stationery by Puddleduck Paper Co

Mattie of Puddleduck Paper Co

{Mattie Tiegreen of Puddleduck Paper Co.}

As a wedding planner and designer, one of my most FAVORITE aspects of a wedding to play with (and drool over) is the stationery — especially when it’s truly unique and specific to the couple at hand. So, naturally, when I came across Puddleduck Paper Co., I fell in love and instantly knew that I had to share it with all of you.

These invitations are so sweet and simple, and yet they also have such a unique and fun spirit — much like their creator, Mattie Tiegreen. It’s literally as if the joy of the event is jumping off of the paper. Mattie was kind enough to answer some questions about her fabulous and darling creations below:

{Scalloped Wedding Invitation}

CVA: Tell me about the beginnings of Puddleduck Paper Co. How did you get into the wedding stationery market?

MT: Puddleduck comes from very (very) humble beginnings. I dabbled in paper-making and graphic design for almost four years before joining Etsy in 2009. I added a wedding collection in 2010 and still can’t believe the growth. I now design for brides from Alaska to Australia and everywhere in between. I still get excited speaking to a new client and helping them plan the paper details of their big day.

CVA: Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

MT: I am very inspired by clean lines and geometric design. I love black, white and yellow (could you tell?) and have recently drawn much inspiration for pattern and design from the fashion world.

{Kraft Typography Save-the-Date}

CVA: What do you love most about your job/working in the wedding industry?

MT: I love that it’s ever-changing. No matter how many times I re-create the same feel or theme for a wedding, it’s always a bit different. But, there is truly nothing like an email from a happy bride. Planning a wedding is stressful. Helping to make part of the process go smoothly (and even be fun!) is an honor.

CVA: What three words best describe your work and/or the style of your stationery?

MT: clean, hip, modern

{Striped and Dotted Invitation Suite}

CVA: How would you describe your ideal customer/the couples you design for?

MT: I typically design for brides who have a very clear vision of their day. Because of the nature of my designs, their vision is typically simple, modern and colorful. I do, however, also create custom designs for brides who are unsure of what they want but really like a certain color or flower. That’s always a lot of fun.

CVA: What are some new/emerging trends you’re seeing in wedding stationery?

MT: Watercolor and chalkboard – both of which I have my own take on in my shop!

{Chevron Invitation}

CVA: What advice do you have for couples who are choosing their wedding stationery? What should they have thought about before picking stationery?

MT: I think couples should remember that their invitation is the first “taste” their guests will have of their wedding day. It should be representative of them as a couple as well as the theme of their day. But, I also advise them not to be too literal. It’s okay to use a color that’s not one of the colors or a motif that you don’t intend to literally have at the wedding.

CVA: Any etiquette advice/things to remember about wedding stationery that you can share?

MT: One of the things brides always stress over is the wording at the top of the invitation. Reality: There is no right way! It’s completely up to you and whatever you choose will be beautiful. Don’t feel pressured to write it a certain way. Include the wording and/or people who are meaningful to you as a couple. It’s your day, after all.

{Calligraphy Slant Invitation}

CVA: What is one thing that every bride needs on her wedding day?

MT: Coffee! And a comfortable pair of dancing shoes.

CVA: Do you create custom stationery?

MT: Yes, very often. It’s one of my favorite parts of this business.

CVA: What is/are your favorite piece(s) you’ve created?

MT: I love my Waving Banners Invitation and my Tribal Print Invitation (below). See, again with the black and white.


{Tribal Print Invitation}

CVA: Are you working on anything new or exciting at the moment?

MT: I am preparing for the National Stationery Show in New York next month! I am overjoyed to be a part of such a talented group of curators. I have lots of new ideas and products up my sleeve for the show!

CVA: At IndieWed, we love small and/or alternative wedding businesses. Any fellow indie vendors you’d like to send a shout-out to?

MT: My very favorite wedding photographer (and just all-around awesome person) is Brooke Mousetis of Brooke Courtney Photography. She and her team are a traveling crew of super-talented folks with serious vision. I also have several friends who work for Chancey Charm Weddings, an event and wedding planning team here in the southeast who specialize in personal and truly artistic service.

Thank you, Mattie for spending some time with us and sharing your work! Be sure to visit Puddleduck Paper Co. on Etsy and on their website

Corinne Van Arsdale is a Wedding Coordinator based in Madison, Wisconsin and serving Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Check out her website, blogFacebook and Pinterest. If you know of a small business/hand-crafter you’d like to recommend for a feature on Hand-Made Monday, email Corinne at

0 In Vendors

Hand-Made Monday: Calligraphy Tote Bags from Dream State

Kristina of Dream State

Are you looking for a chic and clever way to present gifts to your out-of-town guests or to your bridal party? Do you need a cute tote to cart around your wedding day necessities? Well then, look no further than the calligraphy-printed tote bags of Dream State! Kristina, the creator of these lovely items, was kind enough to take some time to fill us in on her work and the exciting things happening in her life.

CVA: Tell us about you! Where are you from, what do you do? What makes you smile?

Kristina: My name is Kristina. I am 25 and live with my soul mate. I grew up in a rural small town in Oregon, and moved to the big city of Portland when I turned 18. I first realized that I had creative skills in the 6th grade. I was asked to draw the person sitting next to me, and everyone in my class including my teacher commented on how well my depiction was of Jesus– (yes, Hey-Soos). I started drawing in my spare time ever since. I will be taking on Dream State full time here in the next couple of months! [Corinne’s Note: She’s been working in the hotel industry for the past 6 years!] I am very excited to leave the ‘service’ industry to pursue my goals and dreams. I smile doing the things we love — road trips and photography are top on our list!

{Welcome To Our Wedding Tote}

CVA: How did you get started making your printed bags? Where did the idea come from?

K: I was given a screen printing machine for my birthday a couple of years ago. My boyfriend co-owned a graphic t-shirt company, and he got me started with some basic supplies. I started trying to think of ways to be frugal and make cute gifts for all occasions. For my mom’s 50th birthday I wanted to make her a screen printed canvas tote bag for her shopping trips. It also doubled as a gift bag that said “Happiness is Homemade”. I loved how it turned out, and started looking around for reasonable tote bag suppliers. It took off from there!

CVA: Where do you draw inspiration for your work? 

Kristina: I have always been admirable for the wedding parties that put together wedding tote bags as welcome gifts for the guests who came from afar. As the person at a hotel that gives the goodies out at check in, I get to see the reaction of everyone’s face! The items make everyone happy, and get everyone excited for the occasion!

CV: What do you love most about your job/working in the wedding industry?

Kristina: I get to express my creativity, and people get excited about my work! There is nothing more fulfilling than being appreciated for your work, no matter what kind of job you are doing!

{Bride’s Survival Kit Tote}

CVA: What three words best describe your work?

Kristina: Simple, Elegant, Chic.

CVA: How would you describe your ideal customer/the person you design for?

Kristina: Ohhh…I love a bride that plans well ahead of time! I love to make custom designs specifically for a wedding party and their theme. I feel like I am a part of their big day, and I get so much enthusiasm from the couple who came up with the design. They get to see their idea in action!

CVA: What are some of the most creative uses of your items that you’ve seen? Any fun custom projects you’d like to share?

Kristina: I offer custom handwritten gift tags to help customize the orders. One gal asked if I could write “Be My” on her tags. For the bags she wanted them to just say, “Bridesmaid/Maid of Honor”. That way she could ask them to be in her wedding party and filled them with gifts at her bridal shower. They could then use the bags on her wedding day. I thought it was a brilliant idea to give them a double purpose.


{Bridal Party Tote Bags}

CVA: Do you create custom pieces?

Kristina: I have only done a couple custom designs, but plan to be able to offer them more often in the next couple of months, once I quit the day job.

CVA: What is your favorite welcome bag you’ve created?

Kristina: My favorite design so far was a custom Nantucket Island map. It had the couple’s wedding date, tourist attractions, and a heart over the beach that they were getting married. I felt very involved with the whole occasion with all of the research I did on the island, and attractions.


{Beach Wedding Tote}

CVA: Are you working on anything new or exciting at the moment?

Kristina: I just got an inquiry for a “Filled with Joy” bag. The couple is filled with joy that [their guests] are there. The bags get filled with goodies that bring the guests joy!

CVA: At IndieWed, we love small and/or alternative wedding businesses. Any fellow indie vendors you’d like to send a shout-out to?

Kristina: My mom (my inspiration) does do custom hand stamped jewelry and accessories! Her shop name is Always A Memory. She is not entirely focused on weddings, she has something for everyone & every occasion:

Thanks, Kristina, for spending some time with us! Be sure to visit Kristina’s Etsy Shop, Facebook Page & Blog

Corinne Van Arsdale is a Wedding Coordinator based in Madison, Wisconsin and serving Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago. Check out her website, blogFacebook and Pinterest. If you know of a small business/hand-crafter you’d like to recommend for a feature on Handmade Monday, email Corinne at

0 In Accessories/ Beauty/ Flowers/ The Bride/ Vendors

Hand-Made Monday: Intricate Hair Accessories from The Honeycomb

{White Flower Hair Crown}

Now more than ever, brides are feeling the freedom to move away from long-held traditions and expectations about how they should look on their wedding day. For example, more and more brides are embracing alternatives to the classic wedding veil and opting for intricate and hand-made hair accessories to complete their wedding day style — like the lovely and delicate floral creations of The Honeycomb.


{A little sneak peak at Blanche’s studio}

“What you create is an expression of how you see the world,” says owner/designer, Blanche Kern, “and my world is pretty beautiful.”  This creative world-view translates beautifully into The Honeycomb’s lovely and feminine hair pieces, which she sells in the U.S. and world-wide, and she was kind enough to answer some my questions (below) about her work!

CV: How did you get started making hair pieces?

BK: I have been making hair accessories since I was a child. As soon as I learned how to sew, I was making ribbon hair bows for all of my cousins, best friends, and dolls. When I discovered Etsy in 2008, I was in college and also working part-time in retail; a job that left me feeling empty and uninspired. Interestingly, the classes I took to become a graphic designer have significantly improved my skills a headpiece designer. I had no way of knowing when I began working with flowers that it would turn into a full-time business!

{Pink Hair Pins}

CV: Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

BK: I browse a lot of magazines to watch the current trends in floral headpiece design. At the present time, silk flower adornments are extremely popular with brides all over the world. You can’t open a wedding magazine or browse a wedding blog without examples jumping off the page at you. They are even more popular now than when I began my work four years ago; which is exciting for me, of course!

CV: What five words best describe your work?

BK: Whimsical, romantic, fanciful, beautiful, woodsy

CV: What is your favorite part of being a designer/creator of hair pieces?

BK: There isn’t a day when I walk into my studio, look around at all my materials spilling out of their boxes and think, gosh I don’t want to go to work today. It just doesn’t happen!

{Lilac Flower Clip}

CV: Describe your ideal customer:

BK: I am excited when a bride comes to me and has no idea of what kind of accessory she wants to wear. She usually has her dress picked, and she knows she wants to wear flowers. But should it be a clip, a wreath, a veil? That is where I come in, to ask the probing questions: are you getting married in a church setting, or outdoors under the trees? Is the wedding theme going to be vintage, or woodsy, or classic? Is there a lot of lace or sparkle in the rest of the decor? This information-gathering helps us both put the bride’s vision for her headwear into words and a plan.

CV: Do you create custom hair pieces?

BK: I love custom orders! I always encourage brides to pick a handful of examples of my past work which they really love, and after discussing, I can design a unique headpiece which combines the various elements that they like best.

CV: What should a bride consider before buying a hair piece? (Does she need to decide on a hairstyle first?)

BK: It’s helpful for me to know what her wedding theme is going to be. It helps me guide her in the right direction for the “look” of her hairpiece. Knowing your hairstyle is also helpful for me: if she’s going to wear a full updo, I need to know, so I can make her wreath a larger circumference.

{Mustard Seed Circlet}

CV: Are all of your customers brides?

BK: I sell mostly to brides/bridesmaids/flower girls, although my pieces are popular for proms, theatre, re-enactments, cocktail parties, anniversaries, etc.

CV: What is/are your favorite piece(s) you’ve created?

BK: Trying to pick a favorite design is like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. Naturally, I love them all!

CV: Thanks, Blanche for taking the time to answer my questions! Be sure to visit The Honeycomb on Etsy for more beautiful hair pieces.

Do you know of a great small wedding business you’d like to see featured on Hand-Made Monday? I’d love to hear about it! Send me an email at

0 In Catering/ Sweets & Treats/ Vendors

Vendor Profile: Creme

Here in Chicago, we take our food very seriously – and that includes everything that’s served at our wedding. The ladies at Creme are right on board with that thought process. Along with serious foodie talent, founders & friends Laura Rodriguez and Amanda Speck also happen to be super fun and down to earth. I had the pleasure of talking with them about dessert tables, Chicago-themed menus, and barefoot mountainside weddings – after they made me some killer treats, of course.

SS: Tell us the story of how Creme got started.

LR: It really started with my wedding, actually. I did a DIY wedding and we did everything from paper invitations to decorations to gifts to cake, the food and everything. Amanda did my wedding cake and all our desserts – we had whoopie pies and cupcakes and everything was delicious. We kind of rounded all the troops, all my good friends who were in the wedding party to kind of use their own natural talents to do certain things. It just kind of naturally came together. We thought, wow, if we could do that and get married, we need to do this!


co-founders Laura Rodriguez (left) and Amanda Speck

AS: I remember when we sat down Laura said something like, “Is this crazy? Tell me if you really think this isn’t possible but I think we can do the whole thing.” And I said, “Sure, why not?”

LR: We had so much fun and that was really the inspiration behind it, it was just like, “Why don’t we do this? We’re good at it, we know what we’re doing and we have fun.”


How would you describe the perfect bride for Creme?

LR: Someone who has a vision; something that they know they want – like, “I want all of our food to come from local farmers” or, “I want it to be a DIY kind of vintage look.” I like those kinds of brides, the kind of people who are DIY because I love to help out as well. So, definitely someone with a vision and also someone who’s willing to try new things because we do like to introduce interesting food that people maybe haven’t tried before. But if we have the plain Jane who wants hamburgers and hot dogs, we’ll do that too. We really like doing small, intimate, fun, non-traditional weddings.

What’s the biggest mistake you see couples making when it comes to catering?

AS: Someone who has too rigid an idea, then they think they can find it for a certain price point, for instance, but it’s impossible. If they’re not willing to be a little bit flexible with tailoring the menu to work for their event then that can be a hard thing to sell.


LR: The best thing is to get them into a tasting because then you’ll sell them. Maybe they see the price and they don’t realize the work that goes behind it because everything is made from scratch, all natural, by hand. It’s really high quality food and so it does cost a little bit more, but once you taste it you realize the difference and I think that’s the mistake – just try it. Also, we always work with brides and couples to fit their budget as best as we can.


bulgogi bites – scallion pancakes, braised short rib & kim chi cucumbers. yes, please.

Say a couple gets an estimate from you and it’s over the budget they had in mind. Where should they go from there?

AS: Laura is so great at being creative with food to make it fit within someone’s budget. So, I think if a couple is honest with us about, “no, that’s $5-10 off per person, is there any wiggle room there?” then we can throw back another proposal that will fit it more closely. And if it means just tailoring back some of the garnishes or going with more veggies than protein or whatever, there are lots of ways to make it work. I think one of the things to keep in mind as a bride is to be really open and honest with your vendors because it’s not like anything is written in stone until you sign a contract.

What does the week leading up to a wedding look like for Creme?

L: Um, crazy? [both laugh] Hectic. Lots of lists, lots of rewriting lists. Staying up at night with the notes section on your phone. Yeah, it’s crazy.

A: A lot of time in the kitchen doing as much prep ahead of time as possible. And then, the day before and the morning of, throwing everything together and assembling.

L: Our goal really is to make sure that everything is cooked to the point where it needs to be so that it tastes really delicious and fresh and we do the rest of it that we need to on site. We don’t go with every single thing made and just rewarm it. Then everything is delicious and hot and tasty.


What are some of the catering trends you see now that you really gravitate towards?

LR: I mean, obviously farm-to-table is a huge one. We would like to do more of that but it’s really based on the client’s budget. A lot of people can’t afford it. It’s harder to reach more people when you have such a strict policy on what you can and can’t provide for them. And then the DIY stuff – I love brides who are like, “I want to make the invites for my wedding but I don’t know how, can you help me?” I would love to work with people who do that.

AS: One of the things that I love that I think is changing is people having a small cake that they’re just using to cut and then lots of really beautiful desserts that people can eat. I love homemade, beautiful things that taste good that are there just because they taste good not because they look very refined. I think there’s something more beautiful about a big, berry pie that you can cut into and that everyone’s going to enjoy instead of a giant cake that you cut and people sort of pick at it.

L: We really like the non-fondant route with cakes. We like the really nice, rich buttercream that looks like Amanda said – homey and real. You know, real food. I love dessert tables.


bangers & mash cups. I can’t tell which is better – the way they look or they way they smell

If you could throw your dream wedding tomorrow, what would it look like?

LR: Maybe Amanda should answer that [laughs].

AS: I love an outdoor wedding with an indoor component because you always sort of need that as a backup, right? Lots of beautiful lights and kind of mismatched although really unique, beautiful furniture, chairs and things that you can sit on. Paper lanterns, and people just having fun. I think that’s the thing – having everyone feel comfortable and relaxed because it can be hard to be at a wedding for a lot of hours and maintain that kind of energy. A beautiful dessert table; I like being able to sort of nosh throughout the night – I’m not really that into plated dinners. I feel like if you can have some passed things every so often, but also have a station where you can grab a bite when you get hungry, that’s nice. Live music I think is really, really essential.

LR: If I renew my vows, we’ll probably do it – I mean, it sounds really cheesy, but – on a mountain somewhere, just a few people, and maybe just a really casual summer white dress. Barefoot. That’s what I would do. And then lots of champagne… maybe some ceviche or something.


all photos by Stephanie Schertz

0 In Fashion/ Vendors

Hand-Made Monday: Gowns & Dresses by Dahl NYC

Corinne Photo

Hello, Indie Wed community! I’m Corinne Van Arsdale, a wedding coordinator based in Madison, Wisconsin (you can visit my website to learn more about me). I’ll be guest-blogging here on two of my most favorite aspects of wedding planning — small businesses (shopping local) and handmade wedding items! Weddings are great opportunities to give business to small/local companies that do unique and custom work, and I’m so excited to be sharing some of my favorite small businesses and hand-made finds with all of you on Hand-Made Mondays! [Side note: Do you know of a great small business whose work you’d like to share? I’d love to hear about it! Send me an email at] Without further ado, let’s dive right in and get to know Alison Dahl Kelly of DAHL NYC!

The perfect wedding gown is like the perfect mate — it should make a woman feel courageous, comfortable, beautiful, and truly like herself. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that independent-spirited brides are turning more and more to like-minded vendors to help them achieve a look reflects their unique personality and perspective.

One such independently-spirited vendor is Alison Dahl Kelly of Dahl NYC, the designer of a gorgeous line of unique gowns and dresses for brides and their favorite ladies. Indie Wed has featured Dahl dresses before (see the post here), but this time Alison was kind enough to answer some of my questions below about her journey to her current line of work (fun fact — it includes Project Runway, one of my most favorite shows), what inspires her, the kind of women she designs for, and her advice for brides-to-be.


{Alison Dahl Kelly in her NYC Studio}

CV: Tell me about the beginnings of Dahl. How did you get into the bridal fashion industry?

ADK: In some form or another, I have always had my own clothing line since graduating from college. In the beginning it was all punk-inspired one-offs made from vintage and surplus fabrics under my first label, Run R1ot (the “1” symbolizing one-offs). I happily sold these mini-collections on consignment in boutiques around LA.

Later, when I moved to New York City, I auditioned and was immediately cast onto the third season of Project Runway. This changed things a bit! Because of the buzz associated with the show, I took the plunge and created a wholesale clothing line called Dahl, named after my Swedish grandmother. Large-scale wholesale fashion production ended up not being the right fit for me at all, so I continued to design tops and dresses to sell through my website while designing select pieces for boutiques with which I’d formed good relationships.

It wasn’t until planning my own wedding in 2011 that I realized the significance of wedding attire. I designed and sewed my wedding gown, seven different bridesmaids’ dresses and three flower girl dresses for my wedding party [the photo below is from Alison’s wedding]. We were all Dahl’d up. This collection of dresses became the catalyst for a new collection–it had struck me that wedding attire can be incredibly meaningful and personal, and that we don’t all fit into the traditional bridal molds of style and aesthetic.

My Wedding

{Alison & her wedding party on her wedding day}

CV: Where do you draw inspiration for your work?

ADK: I would say textiles are the driving source of inspiration. I am forever using muted silks in a range of pastels, soft vintage lace, swishy tulle and I hand dye fabrics for that special touch. I am less trend-driven and more enchanted by vintage silhouettes, especially from the 20s-40s.

I am someone who isn’t afraid to dress up and I find so much expression and personality in clothing. I live in Dahl dresses and sometimes use an occasion to create a new silhouette–for a friend’s wedding in California, or date night, or a day dress. I try to incorporate romantic and whimsical accents into my dresses. I’d like to think that I’m not only creating a dress but a mood… A mood that is at once nostalgic and modern. I strive to make dresses with a lived-in feel, or at least look a bit vintage-y, to seem like they have a past or a story to tell.


{The Clara Gown}

CV: What do you love most about your job/working in the wedding industry?

ADK: I was never one to fantasize about the perfect white wedding, so I was shocked by how much I cherished planning the artistic details of my own celebration. I’ve since learned that this public confession of love can be so beautiful and meaningful, and that everyone has their own idea of what they want, whether it be grand or toned-down. I get a charge out of working with brides on color schemes and fabric choices, to lend a hand in bringing their vision to life.

Creating a custom piece for a client is also an invaluable learning tool. I love to discover what women want, which parts of their bodies they would like to celebrate, or maybe conceal. The biggest gift is when I receive photos from a bride or client; to see my dresses come to life as characters in someone else’s story can be heartwarming and encouraging.

CV: What three words best describe your work and/or the style of your gowns and dresses?

ADK: Whimsical, romantic, bohemian.

CV: How would you describe your ideal customer/the woman you design for?

ADK: The client I have in mind is a shameless romantic, an offbeat bride, a bohemian at heart.

Two Wedding Gowns by DAHL NYC

CV: What are some new/emerging trends you’re seeing in wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses?

ADK: Personalization. I think more people are taking the reins in terms of personalizing their wedding attire by adding color, a homespun touch or wearing a less traditional silhouette. I’ve had more requests for mismatched bridesmaids dresses in either color or style, or both. Many of us ladies want to be able to wear our bridesmaid dresses again, so when given a choice between ten different styles or colors, we are more apt to do so.

As for brides, Dahl clients are definitely looking for something less traditional and more laid back, but with a romantic or ethereal vibe. Ivory, champagne, nude and blush pink are my most popular wedding gown color requests. I don’t think anyone has ever even asked me for a true white dress!

CV: What advice do you have for brides who are choosing their wedding gown?

ADK: I would highly recommend making appointments at two or three bridal salons, for example, an upscale salon, a vintage or second hand salon, and an indie or smaller salon who carries some handpicked selections. Try on a few different silhouettes and see what you like. That strapless princess dress with boning and miles of gathered tulle may look stunning on the rack, but it may look very different on. I just did this with a friend, and every gown she put on reaffirmed her desire for a sheath gown with a train. And it’s fun!

I also recommend taking a look in your closet and studying your favorite garments–what is it about them you love? Keep that in mind when choosing your gown and go with what you feel your best in, not what you think is right.


{The Marni Bridesmaid Dress}

CV: Any advice for choosing bridesmaids’ attire?

ADK: I do think it’s important to have a color scheme in mind when choosing your bridesmaids dresses, and to base your decision on color palate, venue and the vibe which you’re going for. If you’re having a vintage-inspired wedding, you may look for retro dresses, or frocks made with vintage lace. For many brides, the first question from their maids is “what are your colors and what are we wearing?”

I am often approached by brides asking if they can mix and match my dress styles, and I’ll give them a list of which styles can all be made in mint green, or which styles can be made in a palate of pastels. They’ll send their maids to my website and let them choose which style they like best for themselves. I admire this approach and I think everyone wins in the end.

CV: What is one thing that every bride needs on her wedding day?

ADK: A bottle of good champagne while getting dressed with your maids!

CV: Do you create custom gowns and dresses?

ADK: Yes! I welcome custom design inquiries for both wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses. Prices vary depending upon materials utilized and complication of design.

2 Bridesmaid Dresses

{The Posey & Anouk Bridesmaid Dresses}

CV: What is/are your favorite piece(s) you’ve created?

ADK: I still get emotional when I see my wedding party, the collection which ultimately led me to designing wedding attire.

CV: At IndieWed, we love small and/or alternative wedding businesses. Any fellow indie vendors you’d like to send a shout-out to?

ADK: Yes! I love Skip To My Lou, for it’s whimsical, print-inspired customizable wedding invitations & personalized stationery. I love the collection of handmade metallic chartreuse, gold and silver tassels by EverlyLane. Die for these flower crowns by RoguePony. Amazing millinery arts by Laura Kranitz.

CV: Thanks, Alison for spending some time with us! Be sure to check out Dahl NYC’s website, Etsy shop, and Facebook page!