“So it’s not going to be easy. It’s going to be really hard. And we’re going to have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want you, forever, you and me, every day.” – The Notebook
My mom (aka the reason all of this exists- literally… she birthed me) will be officially married 30 years this Monday. HOLY COW. I don’t know which one of my parents I am more impressed with. I’m not sure who managed to “put up” with who in order for all of this to happen, but against all odds, it did. Like my dad posted on Facebook, “The devil’s been chasing us for 30 years now and still hasn’t caught up yet!”
Classic 80’s ski wear.
Throughout my life, both of my parents have had their own business endeavors. My dad and grandfather owned a Collision Repair Center for over 25 years, and, my mom of course, started this whole crazy bridal business. No matter whose “turn” it has been, the other was always right there helping in anyway possible. (My dad can actually press a wedding gown better than our whole staff put together. The BEST part about this is watching my FURTHEST THING from girly father press a wedding gown, and no matter what he says, HE LOVES IT). The downfall to this is that if we ever find someone who give us a reality show, my dad would undoubtedly be the “Si” and hit of the show— sooooooo not fair.
Ohh the early days…
In all seriousness, my parents have been the best role models for being entrepreneur’s and what for exemplifying what true love really looks like. This is not because everything was all lovey -dovey and perfect 24/7. It is because even when they drove each other crazy, when life threw some heavy unexpected hits or my brothers were a complete pain in the ass (NOT me, I was perfect), they held on. When the easiest option is out, they choose each other every time. They choose to fight through it and come out stronger than before. Out of everything I have learned and taken from my parents- and they have taught me many things- this perfect example of what love should be is by far the BEST gift they ever gave me. I had them both together my entire childhood, side by side. They have been the wind beneath each other’s wings for 30 years… 30 YEARS! (My dad is totally going to give me hell for this “sentimental post” later, WHATEVUUURRRR).
That one time my parents had matching braces, hehehe
Tease it to Jesus
“The higher the hair, the closer to God.” – Every Southern Woman Ever
Well y’all my parents got married in the “Dallas” era — big hair, big dresses and even bigger personalities. As I have told y’all before, it wasn’t too long after this that my mom turned her sewing hobby into a career. In honor of their 30thanniversary and it being VALENTINE’S DAY, I decided to make an ’80s montage of my mom’s early work. It has literally taken me days to compose this blog, solely because I cannot stop laughing every time I pull the pictures out.
This, my friends is my mom with one of her first bridal alteration clients. She also looks like a boy. I really fail to understand how all of you 80’s kids went from Madonna…. to this?!?!
80’s Montage, Lets start with the dresses she custom made from SCRATCH!
Blush and Bashful.
Ursuline Graduation, Class of 1988
On the left is one of our lifetime friends and practically my 3rd grandma, LaVerne. On the right is my mom rocking her own ensemble.
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
“You’ve got to give a little, take a little, and let your poor heart break a little. That’s the story of, that’s the glory of love.” – “Glory of Love”, Bette Midler
(Y’all should know by now, that I seriously love, and I mean LOVE, Bette Midler)
Well y’all, I haven’t learned a lot in this short life of mine, but I have two valuable lessons for you. 1) The 80’s are NEVER. COMING. BACK. EVER. And 2) Love truly DOES conquer all. No one said this life was going to be easy but it’s easier when you’re doing it with your best friend. My favorite part about my job is getting to watch people find their soul mate every day. If you haven’t found yours, well he’s out their sister! And trust me… He’ll be worth it!
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! & Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary to my Parents!!!
Ps. Special shout out to MY Best Friend and Love, Justin. (He is going to totally kill me for adding him to the blog. I maybe promised I wouldn’t—but hey it’s Valentine’s Day. I should get a free pass.) So Justin, I LOVE YOU!!…
Now if y’all could all do me a favor and convince him I. NEED. A. MINI TEACUP PIGGY. that would be totes awesome.
SPOILER ALERT: The cutest kid EVER is at the end of this blog… keep reading!
Professional Flower Girl
“I feel like I just found out my favorite love song was written by a sandwich.” –Jane, 27 Dresses
You know that beginning scene of Bride Wars were baby versions of Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway are planning their weddings? They spend their childhood planning out their BIG days and dream of being a bride. I know you all desperately want this to be me, but I’ve got news for you. I never dreamed of being the bride… I dreamed of being the MAID OF HONOR! (I conveniently prefer Katherine Heigl too!)
Now growing up in the industry, matched with being a PROFESSIONAL flower girl when I was younger, left me with a resume well suited for the most prestigious position of MOH.
(I petitioned for my brother to be my matching Ring Bearer, also this is only 1 of 5 weddings we did.)
“Did you ever know that you’re my hero, and everything I would like to be?” – Bette Midler, Wind Beneath my Wings
I’ve had many dreams for my life, including but not limited to: Making Celine Dion my honorary second mom, meeting Bette Midler, being a MOH, convincing my mom to have another child that would be scientifically forced into being a girl and joining a Sorority in college. While some of these have yet to make my list of accomplishments, I did indeed go through rush in the Fall of 2008 and pledged Pi Beta Phi! While I never convinced my mom that it was necessary to scientifically have another daughter, my sorority gave me what my mom never could… A BIG SISTER!
I know its super cliché and everyone says, ‘my Big Sister is the best, blah blah blah’, but you are all wrong. I have the BEST big sister in the entire world and her name is Ashley Baylor Smith (aka Baylor, Bay, or Bay Bay)! At this point I have started referring to her as my actual sister. But to be fair, she has helped pay the rent, picked me up while stranded in the middle of the highway, wiped my tears over boys and taught me how to curl my hair properly, so in all accounts she really is my big sister from another mister!
This was a picture taken in my first apartment EVER that I shared with Bay. It was a one bedroom. We were broke. I lived in the living room all summer. To this day, that is my FAVORITE apartment I ever lived in.
My sissy and I, blissfully ignoring the fact that we could hardly pay rent that summer. Circa Summer 2009.
When she got engaged to her now husband Clayton, I CRIED, SCREAMED AND YELLED!!! Loud enough for her to hear me all the way from Lubbock to Dallas. But when she asked me to be her Maid of Honor, I practically had to be resuscitated back to life. THIS. WAS. MY. MOMENT.
You know I couldn’t tell a sorority story without at least one really great themed RUSH pic…
Personal Slaves aka Bridesmaids
“I’m sorry. I won’t apologize. I’m not confident which end that came out of.” – Megan, Bridesmaids
Of course y’all know we had to do it BIG! Baylor decided that she wanted all of us to have something a little different about our dresses. Everything we looked for just wasn’t up to par with our big expectations, so we took it to the drawing board and decided to create exactly what we wanted. We choose Silk Dupoini as the material for our gowns. We decided that each girl would have the same ball gown skirt, but each girl would get the chance to design and pick exactly what they wanted their top to look like! And, if this wasn’t enough, we enlisted a dear friend of mine named Tamara Crosson, to make us each custom brooch belts. As an additional surprise the day of the wedding, Baylor gave each of us a custom hand made necklace that matched our gowns perfectly! Now while I don’t have any comparisons for other weddings, I have to say I was really digging how much care and precision Baylor took to make sure each one of us looked FAB-U-LOUS!
Bay Bay and I with her other “lil sis”, Charlene …. I TOTES the favorite (Love ya Char Char!)
All the bridesmaids with our BEAUTIFUL bride!
Mom called this color taupe. Baylor preferred to call it “Pretty Dirt.”
Typical Bridesmaid Selfies.
“Love to! Love the bag, love the shoes, love everything. Love to!” – My Best Friends Wedding
When it came time to customize Baylor’s dress, you know Altered for the Altar was ready for the job. Baylor decided that she wanted to custom make not only sleeves, but also a veil. She was lucky enough to be able to order the lace from her wedding gown from the designer. Then we went to work creating the perfect sleeves to adorn her dress and designing the perfect veil to accessorize it! The results were absolutely breathtaking!
How pretty does she look?! I mean seriously!!!
As gorgeous as Baylor’s bridal portraits were, when it came time to prep the gown for the wedding, Baylor decided she wanted to change the look of the dress. (Side note: this is why I will ALWAYS promote bridal portraits. They are the only “Dress Rehearsal” you can have before the most important day of your life. They offer you a chance to see exactly how everything is going to look and make any necessary adjustments). So, we went back to the drawing board and recreated the dress for her wedding day.
Dad walking his little girl down the aisle.
My sister is prettier than yours!
Weddings are exhausting!
My Best friend’s Wedding
“I’ve got moves you’ve never seen.” – Julianna Potter, My Best Friends Wedding
So, what is the lesson here my friends? Even your BEST Friend and Big Sister can be a total diva and change her mind at the last minute…. Did I say that out loud?! (Just kidding Bay Bay I love you and I didn’t mean it….) But, seriously. We always enjoy customizing a dress (even if we need to do it twice) and making a dress beautiful, but sometimes you run into a situation like I did yesterday when a bride told me, ‘The dress is pretty but it’s just not me.’ Your dress should be two things: Beautiful and YOU! So, our goal is to give you a showstopper of a dress that not only looks amazing, but also compliments your personality.
Mom and I enjoying Baylor’s Beautiful Wedding!!!
I rarely get to show you what happened after they got married…. Ladies and Gentleman, meet HUDSON CLAYTON SMITH!
And they lived Happily Ever After!
(Side note: When I’m not busy claiming Baylor as my sister, I like to use my time claiming Hudson as my God Son… He’s not Catholic and neither am I. But I love him, so sue me.)
P.S. SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to my Momma!! It is her Birthday today!! I truly do NOT know what I would do without this woman!! I love you SO MUCH! She IS he definition of SUPER MOM!! (As a courtesy I will not tell you how old she is. But, I will turn 25 this year…. and she was 26 when she had me!) — I kept my promise!
‘Playing dress-up begins at the age of five and never truly ends.” –Kate Spade
So, as you all know, I am NOT a dress designer by any means, but that doesn’t mean I’ve never tried. I spent many a day constantly doodling in class, at home, and practically while I was sleeping— I’m not kidding. Every dress I ever wore to a high school function (i.e. Homecoming, Prom, Graduation, etc.), started out in my agenda (or on the nearest napkin). Now, while I really only ever drew gowns and clothing for personal use, that doesn’t mean I did any less doodling.
By the time I reached my senior homecoming, my doodles were at an all-time high. I was spending the weekends working at Lulu’s Bridal Boutique, so I was constantly surrounded by inspiration. Silk dupioni was all the rage around this time frame (circa 2007). For homecoming, being that it’s a little more casual than prom, I found my inspiration coming from Bridesmaid gowns. Specifically, I still remember the silk dupioni bridesmaid gowns Watters had out that season. The bright colors, mixed with the raw silk and clean a palette were mesmerizing to my 17 year old self!
Vintage Watters aka my 17 year old OBSESSION!… Wait am I old enough to have lived through vintage attire?!?!
This inspiration overload left me feeling ready to doodle and design 24/7! I clearly remember the day my Physics teacher walked up to me and said, “You have to stop doodling! It’s not going to get you anywhere.” I went on to fail that class and have to repeat it (of course HATING every second of it). But jokes on you Physics teacher! I now spend my days using all of my doodle inspiration for my J.O.B. Not a day goes by that I think, ‘man if only I had paid more attention in physics…’
My attempt at a sketch…. HEY I never said I was a professional. — I think this started out as a piece of paper for homework….
My final piece. Homecoming 2007.
Who’s that Girl
“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” –Ralph Lauren
So now onto the actual designer in this story, Vattana Watters. Watters started out over 29 years ago in her garage making bridesmaid dresses! Watters has since become an international, well-known, treasured bridal empire! And, like I stated before, she was the inspiration behind many of my doodles and dresses. Last week, I got the great pleasure of being able to tour the Watters headquarters! Basically, my 17 year old self screamed, freaked out, and almost had to be silenced via tranquilizers upon being asked to go on the tour. Vanessa Stone, one of the account managers for Watters, aka my DREAM MAKER, toured me around the entire office. I literally touched Vatanna’s door to her office… I’m hyperventilating again just thinking about it!! (But I was totally professional while I was there, I SWEAR!)
So, newly engaged friends, who is Watters you ask?! I’ll sum it up by saying they’ve most likely designed or were the inspiration behind every single pin on your “Future Wedding” Board on Pinterest. Watters is currently epitomizing the Boho Chic, ‘I woke up like this’, effortlessly perfect look! (I am totally bipolar with my looks but I usually land on wearing something boho. Thank god my profession doesn’t require suits!). So again, when I tell you walking around, seeing their patterns in the making, and a showroom full of gowns that have yet to meet the runway, was my ultimate dream, I am NOT playing around with y’all! I unfortunately had to swear not to take any pictures of the new pieces, but I totally stalked them and trust me, you are going to die to have a Watters dress on your big day!!
Since I still can’t form full sentences after being star struck, I am going to sum it up with Vanessa’s words, “Watters is high quality fabrics. We love to use silks and simple clean palettes. We make it so that you can use the right accessories to make it your own look and at a friendly price point!” (Vanessa Stone, aka #GIRLBOSS & MY PERSONAL DREAM MAKER).
Millions of little hand cut swatches. Watters offers to send a client FREE swatches to brides for color checks. Vattana Watters’ MOM literally personally hand cuts each one of those FOR YOU! #AMAZING
MOREEEEE SWATCHES, Because Watters LOVES YOU!
Orders waiting to be shipped out. I literally stalked EVERY inch of this place.
Bolts of fabric waiting to be turned into GORGEOUS Gowns!
Designs being made! Super top secret! I had to silence another panic attack while in this room.
Oh just another day in the world of a Watters employee, hand making those beautiful gowns for YOU!
A picture of naked forms since I can’t show y’all the new designs… but trust me the new stuff is THEBOMB.COM! I gave some direct feedback on some designs… because my opinion TOTALLY matters, DUH!
What Watters has to Offer YOU
“Don’t’ be into trends. Don’t make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.” –Gianni Versace
On top of the AMAZING Watters Bridal Collection, Watters and Watters Inc. also provides FIVE other lines of dresses for YOU! I thought I would save you the time and I’ve have broken down the five lines in easy to read detail!
The Crème de la Crème! This top of the line collection includes the best of the BEST in Bridal couture. The pictures below explain it ALL! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations, plus size samples also available at A Curvy Bride)
Cinzia Gown, Watters Bridal Collection
This budget friendly but still totally killer line includes the works: Bridal Gowns, Curve Plus Bridal, Bridesmaids and Bridal Accessories! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations, plus size samples also available at A Curvy Bride.)
Francine Gown, WTOO Collection
The website has a better description than me… “Whether you’re dreaming about a beach wedding, garden ceremony, modern wedding or fabulous wedding reception in a barn, Love Marley is the perfect fit.” AKA you’re ENTIRE Pinterest board, equipped with actual style numbers. YOU’RE WELCOME! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations)
Penelope Gown, Love Marley Collection
This line is my new fave! So basically you know how you think you only have to buy one dress?! Yeah you’re wrong. And I don’t know if any of you have tried, but buying a white cocktail dress in Winter is impossible! THIS IS YOUR SOLUTION! The modern bride now needs an entire bridal wardrobe equipped with outfits for Engagement Parties, Bridal Showers, Rehearsal Dinners, Honeymoon dresses and of course engagement photos! As my now BFF Vanessa explained to me, “It’s all about the bridal gown. You think you can just go shopping for a white dress but you really need to build a bridal wardrobe from the beginning.” (To my fellow procrastinators: BHLDN.com is now selling pieces of this line with as fast as 1-2 Business Day Shipping, and standard shipping is only 5-7 business days. Can I get an AMEN?!) (ALSO Sold here in Dallas for you to try on at Stardust Celebrations)
Guava Dress, Encore Collection
Please don’t be that person that doesn’t remember this is a big day for your MOM TOO! She deserves an amazing dress just as much as you and this is the line for HER! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations)
Style 72257, C20 Collection
This is the line for all the mini me’s! Cute dresses for the little girls in your party! I don’t know about you, but I just love tiny bride look a likes! (Sold here in Dallas at Stardust Celebrations)
Opal Dress, Seahorse Collection
Basically when it comes to getting the girls of the party dressed, Watters is BAE!
Styled to YOU
“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” – Harry Winston
I am still super stoked that I was able to go behind the scenes to one of my favorite designers, and I am SO glad I am able to share it with y’all. My favorite thing about Watters is exactly what Vanessa told me, “You can accessorize every dress to be unique to the bride.” I have seen many brides wearing Watters collections and it is always fun to see how they are going to wear it. And a little secret: Anthropologie’s wedding store, BLHDN, now carries pieces of the Watters family. Aside from it being the collaboration of two of my most favorite places on Earth, I have really enjoyed seeing the different styling done by both companies. The two websites are pure proof of how Watters gowns can be completely transformed into the personality of the bride that wears it and how versatile the gowns are!
Ok, so to showcase the versatility of the gowns, I decided to showcase a few comparisons. The gowns below are the pictures from both Watters.com and BHLDN.com. Both companies have styled each gown differently. I enjoyed looking at the comparisons and I hope you do to!
As I have come to learn, Watters is a family full of highly talented individuals. These women are REAL people making gowns for REAL women. These women are the ones you should trust with the most important purchase of your life– YOUR WEDDING GOWN! Vattana and her team understand what WE want, and they understand we want to be able to individualize as well.
THE #GIRLBOSS Vanessa Stone herself! THANK YOU VANESSA STONE for making my DREAMS A REALITY!!
P.S. WATTER’S DID NOT SPONSOR THIS MESSAGE. Girl, please. Would you trust my big mouth with an AD?!?!
P.P.S. However, I will TOTALLY accept an autograph picture of Ms.Vatana #GIRLBOSS Watters herself. (Definitely pushing my luck. I mean really, she’s probably not going to read this, but hey never say never!!).
P.P.P.S. I will also accept a COMPLETE wardrobe designed by Xay Vongphachanh aka the Designer behind many of these treasured Watters looks! I trust her with a wardrobe for many reasons but mainly because she willingly posted a double chin, “Ugly Snapshot to BFF,” on Facebook AND made it her profile picture. Now, I would officially would trust her with my life.
Now, I have officially made the most OBSURD request of all times. I have to STOP…
You should find it as NO shock that by the age of two, I was demanding a very distinct wardrobe. At the age of five, when I was about to go to kindergarten, my mom bought me my first pair of pants. I, of course, proceeded to cry uncontrollably for a week. My mom still insists that not throwing me a Quinceañera was a horrible mistake. And I agree! I’m sorry, but is it a crime to LOVE big sparkly dresses?!?!
By the time high school dances rolled around, my obsession with perfect dresses paired with my Type A personality, was leading me to make some pretty strong wardrobe demands.
For prom, I spent weeks drafting my perfect look. I used Pronovias Bridal as my inspiration for patterns. I became obsessed with Pronovias at 18 and I’m still in love with Spanish influenced gowns today. I am not going to bore you with every single detail, but dying lace is not an exact science and the custom construction of a dress is an evolution of stages rather than a straight forward solution. So, I had a meltdown the week of prom and told my mom that the dress was not presentable enough to wear! I know, I know–Overly dramatic teen party of EVERYONE! (You know you’ve had teenage wardrobe meltdowns too). But, my mom can literally transform unrefined, dirty high school kid, Mia Thermopolis, into a QUEEN! – The kind that run a country… So I was left with countless options.
The moment I died and went to heaven, circa 1998. Why did my brother have to photobomb?!?!
So after I let the fabric mold to my body how it needed to, the results were beyond anything I could have ever wanted! The gown hugged every curve right where it needed to — however, I did enter the limo sideways since tight dresses make bending over difficult… Beauty is pain my friend! My mom, my Fairy Godmother, stitched me a dress even Cinderella would have been jealous of. All I had to do was let go and let my mom make all of my prom dress dreams come true! (I know it sounds like a total cliché, but my dress was absolutely perfect in every way, at least to me).
I was TOTALLY boho chic before it was a thing. All of my friends were still obsessed with trying to duplicate Kate Hudson’s yellow dress from “How to Lose a Guy in 10 days.”
The Adventures of Ally Cat and Wiley Coyote
“A life without love, is no life at all.” –A Cinderella Story
In the spirit of bippity-boppity-boo, I need to introduce you to our next bride Ally, or Ally Cat. The first and only time I ever got in trouble with a teacher was because of Ally in 1st grade, and we’ve been friends ever since. (My mother refuses to let me tell the whole story, but you can Facebook message me if you really want to know. I’ve already written it all down!!) Ally and I have also endured MANY fatal wardrobe phases of life together, including this one…
Ally Cat & Wiley Coyote circa 2001
When Ally got engaged our senior year of college (my first senior year because there may or may not have been two…), I was SO EXCITED! She was my first childhood friend to walk down the aisle, so my mom and I were ecstatic to be able to take part in her bridal experience.
She said “YES” to the dress, but NOT to that?!?!
“Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner” – Dirty Dancing
When Ally’s wedding dress finally arrived she could not have been more excited! She immediately drove all the way down from Lubbock to try it on. (Shout out: GUNS UP! … never gets old!) She placed the beautifully made gown onto her body and as she was zipping it up she thought, “What is THAT?!” When Ally purchased her gown she didn’t recall there being a large and in charge flower on the bodice of it. Needless to say, she didn’t like it at all! In her defense, it’s really difficult to remember every detail of the gown you ordered six months earlier, especially if those months included your senior year of college and a bachelorette trip… But luckily for Ally, the Fairy Godmother was there to save the day!
Busy forgetting what the dress looked like.
Removing the unnecessary flower.
Serious Bling deliberation
We quickly went to work making the gown Ally had envisioned become a reality. First, we ditched the flower for some sparkle! Ruth created a custom embellishment to adorn the top of Ally’s gown.
The beginning construction of a custom applique piece.
When the gown was done Ally was more than relieved– she was ecstatic! The gown had turned out even better than she had dreamed. ‘Nobody puts baby in the corner’ and we make sure nobody walks down the aisle in a dress that isn’t the stuff of fairy tales.
Ally And David’s Engagement photos… Yes, they pulled off the “Dirty Dancing” move. **Cue Life-long Jealousy**
A Dreamy Reality
“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” –Dr. Seuss
On the day of Ally’s wedding, we were so excited to watch her walk down the aisle. And Ally did NOT disappoint; she was an absolute show stopper! The gown hugged all the right places, and once again, we were able to create a look that was unique to its owner and that truly characterized Ally.
This is my FAVORITE picture from Ally’s portraits.
(Photo credit: Tara Hobgood)
It is always so exciting to be a part of someone’s big day! And it’s even more amazing getting to share this moment with lifelong friends. It is our goal to always keep the clients best interest in mind when altering and customizing a gown. Whether we have known you for 20 years or 20 minutes, we treat everyone around here like family! And as family, we will make sure the gown you wear down the aisle is better than your wildest dreams!