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Wedding-day style with sentiment

Weddings are filled with love and emotions.

It’s a chance for couples to capture the essence of their bond, and to make memories that’ll live on forever.

With countless opportunities to add personal touches into your special day, it’s now easier than ever to weave thoughtful, sentimental nods into your wedding. From reconstructed wedding dresses to custom pennants, two local staples in the wedding scene share how they work with couples to make their day even more memorable.

Fly the love flag

Wedding-day style with sentiment | WNY Weddings

(Courtesy Oxford Pennant Team & Customers)

Pictures are everything in a wedding, and nowadays, it’s hard to resist curating picture-perfect (and feed-worthy) moments. Lucky for us locals, Buffalo is home to the Insta-staple Oxford Pennant, whose flagship store is on Main Street downtown.

The designer and creator of vintage-inspired pennants and banners, Oxford Pennant stocks a wedding collection ($25-$250) featuring cute quips like “hitched” and “had to be you.”

Every design in their portfolio is also customizable, plus they regularly collaborate with couples to create custom pieces.

“It’s something special for couples to put their date and name (on). It’s a great photo opportunity,” said Molly Large, director of operations at Oxford Pennant, who loves seeing exactly how couples incorporate their pennants and banners throughout wedding festivities. “It’s a fun, sweet thing. The charm is that there’s not a lot of times where you have access to customize something.”

The majority of collaboration occurs online: Couples send in their requests and color choices, and designers will incorporate them into sketches. Each banner or pennant is designed to be a unique representation of their love.

“Our design team really prides itself on working with any client to get the design right how they want it,” Large said. “On these kinds of pieces, traditionally, they have their names, dates and something special, some sort of graphic, and then hang it at the head table or hang it up for photos.”

For custom requests, plan to start the process at least a few months before the big day to ensure there’s ample time.

A tailored reinvention

Wedding-day style with sentiment | WNY Weddings

(Melody Lane Photos/Courtesy Made by Anatomy)

For many brides, it’s not a dress—but the dress. That’s why, after the “I dos,” so many go through the trouble of storing theirs away for safe keeping for decades, all in the hopes of a potential comeback. But having an heirloom dress in the family doesn’t mean you have to go full throwback.

Reconstructing a wedding dress may sound complicated, but it can give the cherished piece a whole new life.

“We’ll take a vintage dress, like a mother’s or grandmother’s dress, and then we’ll completely remake it. We can do that for a wedding dress or a little white dress,” said Ali Eagen, owner of Made by Anatomy, a Buffalo boutique specializing in custom-made wedding pieces.

Eagen and her team helps brides celebrate the history of the dress, but with a twist. They can transform the vintage piece into whatever fits the bride’s vision, from a dress for the bridal shower, rehearsal dinner or bachelorette party to a thoughtful accessory.

A veil is a traditional way to “enhance the whole look of the dress when it’s on,” Eagen said. With slight adjustments, a century’s-old tradition can be made new again.

Wedding-day style with sentiment | WNY Weddings

(Lovern Photography/Courtesy Made by Anatomy)

“Rather than sticking with a plain veil, we can customize it by adding a trim or lace or embroidery,” she says. “Several brides have used fabric from their mother’s or grandmother’s dress.”

When it comes to custom, both Eagen and Large agree that it’s common not to have a clear plan—and that’s not a bad thing. That’s what they’re here for. Through conversations and consultations, these experts will help you find the vision for your concept.

“Some women know exactly what it is that they want,” says Eagen. “Then we have people that come by and they want it to be really cool and special, but they don’t know what it is.”

“A lot of times couples will know if they want it to say something, and tell us go crazy,” Large says. “We want to bring their vision to life for them.”

Heirloom in the making

Wedding-day style with sentiment | WNY Weddings

(Ayres Photography/Courtesy Made by Anatomy)

Your wedding is not only a special time to spotlight a sentimental dress, but also introduce a new one for the generations to come.

When it comes to custom, Made by Anatomy starts at the drawing board to offer unparalleled personalizing, designing every detail to make the bride feel and look her best.

“We love doing (dresses) from scratch because we can do everything that the client needs right from the get-go,” says owner Ali Eagen. “We have a consultation and talk about the likes and dislikes that you have. We show you fabric, and then I’ll do sketches. I’ll show you a few different options of what we can create, and then we make it for you.”

Eagen and her team also work their magic on existing dresses, tailoring it into the perfect piece for the bride-to-be. “We usually end up getting people who come in and say, ‘You know, I bought this dress a year ago, and I just don’t love it anymore, I want to do something different to it,’” she said.

Over time, the vision of what you want your dress to look like may change, and that’s okay. When altering a wedding dress, the simplest changes can make the biggest impact.

Transformative alterations can be anything from adding sleeves, straps, buttons or detailing like lace or crystal.

A recent client brought Eagen “this very beautiful, elegant, very simple dress. But the more she saw photos of other dresses, she was like, ‘I really like having lace on it somehow.’ So we bought lace applique, and we just started attaching it all over the dress.”

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