27 Dresses… OK only 1!

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.

professional flower girl

(I petitioned for my brother to be my matching Ring Bearer, also this is only 1 of 5 weddings we did.)


Sister Sister

“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.

baylor7 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.”

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Typical Bridesmaid Selfies.


Double Duty

“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.

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My sister is prettier than yours!


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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!


The Smith’s!



And they lived Happily Ever After!

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(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.)



Nina Esclava



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!

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).


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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.

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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!

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



Niña Esclava