One of my long-time ongoing clients to model for is Heidi Elnora Bridal. Some of you may recognize Heidi for her show on TLC called Bride By Design where her southern charm and warm soul captured many hearts! Heidi got her start on Project Runway before that, and has even been featured on the Today Show! My friend introduced me to Heidi, and I started modeling for her soon afterwards. Heidi quickly became like a big sister to me, and a wonderful role model of how to love Jesus, focus on family, be humble, and be an ultimate #BOSSBABE
For years, I have modeled for her as she has shown her Build-A-BrideTM line in New York Fashion Week and for her ads online and in magazine such as “Brides Magazine.” I always loved the concept of Build-A-BrideTM. I thought it was genius how brides are able to design their own gowns by building the gown physically on their bodies – instead of just seeing it in a sketch as most designers would create a custom gown. I especially loved how brides could have two totally different looks after they take off the separate full skirt, lace top, lace overlay, or any add-on between the reception and ceremony. To watch one gown transform into several, see the video we shot on this page above the blog posts!
I’ve also always adored how Heidi has kept her gowns being made in Birmingham (her hometown) instead of moving it all to New York. Heidi doesn’t play around when it comes to quality, so she gets a lot of the lace from France. My favorite part of Heidi’s gowns is always the princess seams though. They act like a corset and I can first hand tell you they work! They hold strapless gowns completely in place at the waist instead of at the top seam - so there is no tugging necessary. Many of the gowns are handmade - I have witnessed numerous times sweet little Carolyn or Elizabeth hand sewing gowns for in Heidi’s Atelier, so that they are exactly as they want it to be and fit like a glove! Last time we were shooting, they even had just asked my measurements while on the fight to Birmingham, and then had hand made a sparkly white skirt in my size by the time I arrived!
Heidi called me very early on with her idea of pulling the Build-A-BrideTM line out of all boutiques and moving it instead direct to consumers. She wanted girls to bring the one-on-one experience that brides get in her atelier to other brides across the country. The ladies who own the kit of gowns and add ons, are called Bridal CuratorsTM. During these appointments, brides can invite family and friends to come join in for a real designing party! Better yet, it’s all completely portable! So that we can bring the kit of silhouettes and add-ons to the brides for an In Home Bridal ExperienceTM.
I feel it was no coincidence that while shooting the line in August, my flight home got cancelled and rescheduled for a couple days later. This meant I was in Birmingham while the Bridal CuratorsTM from across the country were going through the extensive training from Heidi. Naturally, I listened in… and just fell in LOVE even more! I know this line like the back of my hand and have seen how Heidi shows the line to people at Bridal Market, so why not? So wha-la! I am now a Bridal CuratorTM for Build-A-BrideTM by Heidi Elnora! This pretty much means I can connect the bride to Heidi directy without the bride having to travel to her to get a custom gown.
My first appointment with beautiful bride to be Sarah Underwood was SO MUCH FUN! I LOVED seeing her face light up and sweet tears come to her momma’s eyes once we built the gown she wanted. The best part is she could visualize the final design on her body instead of just hoping she would love what is on paper on her body.
The ability to make brides feel special, and not rushed, with the one-on-one attention is such a gift. Additionally, it’s such a special experience to play designer with them as they choose the silhouette, the lace top, belt, and further customizations (such as choosing which lace, length of train, dropping the neckline, thinning straps, etc). I have partnered with several venues, like Warrenwood Manor in Danville, KY to meet brides who rather travel to my kit of gowns instead of having me bring it to them.
If you’re interested in learning more about Build-A-BrideTM check out www.buildabride.com or www.heidielnora.com ! From there we can takes tops of silhouettes, bottoms of other sillhouettes, switch up the laces, necklines, sleeves, etc and make the gown YOURS!! There are NO LIMITS! But I PROMISE I help it not be overwhelming because we choose the silhouette first and only build on from there- in styles I know you’d like. Go to the Book Maria page or find my section on www.buildabride.com today to set up your bridal appointment!
Flowers: Wild Roots Farmer Florist
Photo shoot 2: Katey Keeton. Venue: Daniel’s Place. Model: Kandyce Montgomey