Diving into Watters


‘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!

2007 Watters bmd

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…’

 Homecoming Sketch

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

Millions of Swatches


Order Prep

Orders waiting to be shipped out. I literally stalked EVERY inch of this place.

Bolt being rolled out

Bolts of fabric waiting to be turned into GORGEOUS Gowns!

Sewing Room

Designs being made! Super top secret! I had to silence another panic attack while in this room.

Pattern maker

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 WWCinzia 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 BHLDN

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)

Love Marley Penelope WW

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)

Encore WW GUAVA Dress

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)

C2    style72257   WW

Style 72257, C20 Collection

Seahorse Girls

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)Seahorse OPAL WW

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!

 Priya Skirt (Kian Corset) Watters WW Priya Skirt BHLDN Watters- Maelin Corset WTOO

Left, Watters.com: Priya Skirt (Watters Collection), Kian Corset (Watters Collection)

Right, BHLDN.com: Priya Skirt (Watters Collection), Maelin Corset (WTOO)


Barletta Dress Encore WW Barletta Dress BHLDN Encore

Left, Watters.com: Barletta Dress (Encore Collection)

Right, BHLDN.com: Barletta Dress (Encore Collection)

(I’m kind of D-Y-I-N-G that this doesn’t come in colors *cough Xay cough* I would totally buy it out!!)


Messina Gown Encore WW Messina Gown BHLDN Encore

Left, Watters.com: Messina Gown (Encore Collection)

Right, BHLDN.com: Messina Gown (Encore Collection)


 AHSAN WWBHLDN Ahsan Skirt and Carina Corset Watters

Left, Watters.com: Ahsan Skirt & Carina Corset (Watters Bridal)

Right, BHLDN.com: Ahsan Skirt & Carina Corset (Watters Bridal)


Amelie Dress Love Marley WW Amelie Gown BHLDN Love Marley

Left, Watters.com: Amelie Dress (Love Marley)

Right, BHLDN.com: Amelie Dress (Love Marley)


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.


Vanessa and I



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…




Or I could also ask for…




Niña Esclava


A DREAM is a Wish Your Heart Makes

My Fairy Godmother aka my Momma

“Bippity-boppity-boo” …or something like that!


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).


prom4 rylee prom4

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!

 bach party

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.

dirty dancing

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.

14 5 13 4 9 10 11 12 8 3


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!

mom and i at allys wedding

Mom and I at Ally and David’s FABULOUS Reception!



Niña Esclava


Something Borrowed

Strike a Pose

“The most cherished heirlooms are the sweet memories of our family that we pass down to our children” -Anonymous

When Ruth decided to marry that crazy kid with the permed hair (also known as Rodney), she resorted back to her old ways of repurposing other people’s clothes. Ok, fine— I guess she chose to be sentimental and wear her mother’s gown.


My grandmother on her wedding day, September 1, 1955.    

ruth wedding Mom on her wedding day, February 16, 1985.

Many years later, my mom decided she wanted a way to preserve the wedding gown for me. Since I am my mother’s only daughter, she wanted a chance for me to get to wear the gown, even if it wasn’t for my wedding day.

rylee wedding gown

Go ahead Ohhh and Aww. I was cute, but this is still debatably a total American Horror Story future promo pic…

In all seriousness, my mom and I have always found great inspiration and beauty in vintage pieces. There is something about the history and beauty of a vintage garment that cannot be replicated (side note: My family heirloom is a gown from the 50’s, which is totally cool again — Thanks Mad Men. However, if your family arsenal is loaded with puffy sleeves and headbands, no worries! We can beautify even the most disastrous 80’s garments.)

Lifelong Friendship

“To enjoy the journey is to leap into people’s lives. To enjoy the journey is to give until the stretch is a sacrifice. The question always is: what is it in life that will pull you out of your seat to be brave, risk and serve?” -Janie Jasin

Kathleen and I have been friends since before everyone was chanting “hit me baby one more time”… yeah no need to calculate, it’s been a while. So when Kathleen called asking for help with her wedding gown, of course we were more than thrilled for the opportunity to help!

kathleen kid

Excuse the rough state of my face. We grew up in a generation that was not yet concerned about selfies. Kathleen is on the end, and I’m next to her.

It’s always fun when you get to that point in life when all of your friends start getting married. Altered for the Altar has given us the opportunity to take part in so many of our friends and neighbors big days! This time as we were playing dress up it wasn’t just for our school talent show or to “play” bride. This was real and it was way MORE EXCITING than our five year old selves ever dreamed it would be.


A Piece of History

“Being family means you are part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life. No matter what.”

When Kathleen came to us wanting to wear her moms wedding gown, we were ‘over the moon’ excited! This is the kind of project that really gets us pumped up. Kathleen was fortunate that her mom’s gown was from 1977, so it was not in need of a puffy sleeve overhaul — Thank God.

mindy mom1 - Copy mom2

This is Kathleen’s mom, Mrs. Mindy Busch, October 29,1977, on her wedding day!


Down the aisle

“Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed and Something Blue and a penny in her shoe” — old tale

Now armed with a fabulous vintage piece and a story to lean on, we rolled up our sleeves and started planning. There were basic alterations that needed to be done, but we also wanted to make it Kathleen’s own – a perfect combination of old and new.




Photo Credit: Diana Busch Photography     


The bodice of Kathleen’s gown was completely remade. We gave her a little more skin to help modernize the gown while still maintaining the integrity of the original design. The results were breathtaking.


A little something extra added to honor the two brides that adorned this gown.

We were lucky enough to be able to attend the wedding. And on that day, Kathleen was absolutely breathtaking. The warm February afternoon was a perfect stage for her (and her gown) to shine. The gown was completely unique and 100% original, which is the main goal for every client. We could not be happier for our beautiful bride, and I know it truly meant the world to Kathleen’s mom to see her daughter wear her dress on such a special day.


Kathleen and her mom on the BIG DAY!

Vintage pieces are rare, but if you are lucky enough to have a garment preserved from a family member, I strongly encourage you to find place for it within your wedding. If you have something but have NO idea how it could ever work for you, don’t fret. Just pick up your phone and give us a call! There is nothing we LOVE more than a borrowed piece.


Niña Esclava

Aka Rylee Calvert


Confessions of Niña Esclava

What did I do?!

“Suck it up cupcake”. –my mother

When I came to work with my mom, I was basically straight out of college and I had also just been corporately brain washed. So showing up to a pen and paper schedule, post it “reminders” literally everywhere and an overall creative work space…. Left me speechless and pretty overwhelmed. So I did what everyone needs to do every once in a while, took a big step back to contemplate my choices: A.) I quit. The bum life wasn’t so bad, and I’ve been to frat parties with worse sanitation than dumpster food. B.) Xanax. I could totally state a case for high anxiety right now. But, I guess druggie was basically going to lead me to the bum life too. C.) Put my big girl panties on and fix it. – (Looking back maybe option A and B weren’t that bad?! Kidding)

big girl panties

Y’all thought I was kidding?! My mom gave me these on my 22nd Birthday…


Twerk & WERK

“I’ve always believed that if you put in the twerk, the results will come”. – Michael Jordan (ok, maybe I edited a tad)

After arriving on my first day, I decided to put my overactive and organizationally obnoxious type A personality to use. So after charting everything, assigning everything an excel spreadsheet, and making more to-do list than the entire country on New Year’s Day, I had a start.  I was making head way. I could find everything I needed and I was becoming more efficient every day—and then I hit a wall. As it turns out, my mom didn’t even know how to turn on the computer… *face palm*


I’ve been bossing since diapers. 1995.

For weeks I spent at least half of my day explaining the “modern world” and what things like twerking are to my mom (for this there was a visual aid…with a client. I don’t want to talk about it.) You can see why the internet and this blog all seem very uncertain to her… thanks Miley!

So basically, mom has come to the conclusion that computers are the devil and clearly as her daughter I am in- tune enough with her to read her mind and do it all for her – cool. I’m definitely up for the challenge, but brief note: if ever you thought working for your parents would be AWESOME?!?! You. Are. Wrong. Go back to GO and do not collect $200.

board meeting

                                 My first creative meeting with my staff. It was casual Friday. 1992.


We Altar your Dress NOT your body, and other comments that are going to get me fired (aka- the title of my future best selling book)

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” -Bruce Lee

I have said “that’s not my job,” so many times that my mom forced me into making it my New Year’s resolution to stop saying it. But seriously how does taking my little brother to IKEA to buy dorm essentials translate into our business needs?! This, my friends, is why my employees lovingly call me “Niña Esclava.” The Spanish translation is ‘child slave’, and sister friend, until you have balanced your mom’s business financials while simultaneously booking her dentist appointment, AND listen to your sibling make dinner demands—YOU HAVE NO IDEA!


 What?! You and your doll didn’t prance around in matching outfits 24/7?!

So what’s the hardest part of my job? … Keeping control of my thoughts. You know when you get home from work and it’s been a really tough day and all you want to do is vent about how your boss has been a bit…? I can’t finish that sentence on this blog any more than I can at home, living with my boss.

So here I am, with a podium and a sailor’s mouth. Not sure who let me off the leash but I’m about to let the Bit… Dogs out.


Niña Esclava

Aka Rylee Calvert


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