We love our brides and when our brides love us back, it’s just fabulous and a wonderful reassurance that we’ve done our job well. But none have been more supportive than Anomalie bride Courtney here. She shouts her love for Anomalie and bridal body positivity from the rooftops and we couldn’t love her more for that.
After finding her “dream dress” but in the wrong size in a store, and going through crazy efforts to make it work… it just didn’t. And so she gave Anomalie a call and all her stresses and worries faded into the distance, as her stylish stunner came into view. Anomalie embraced her beautiful body, her own style and her own vision and everyone involved was thrilled with the results.
These pics are not to be missed and her story? Downright inspiring. Read on for all the details and get ready to want to be Courtney’s new BFF.
How did you first learn about Anomalie?
It was the TechCrunch feature published December 2016 – I just put “Wedding Custom Dress” in Google, started clicking and scrolling, and voila! I read the article and was super intrigued about the process. I was also impressed with Leslie’s career overseas in clothing production and operation roles, so I completely trusted that she knew what she was doing in terms of quality management with companies and teams not physically with her every day. Plus, she was the very first Anomalie bride! She trusted the process enough to have them make her very own wedding gown, which also spoke volumes to me.
Anyway, so I read the articles and thought the company sounded really rad. At that point, April 2017, there hadn’t been a plethora of Anomalie brides yet. I got to see a few examples of dresses they made, but there truly wasn’t a ton to view to get a feel of the craftsmanship of the dresses overall. Although the dresses they had made were absolutely gorgeous. I was just really intrigued: It was a small business based in the United States, run by a majority female staff. It just sounded like a company I wanted to support. So, I made my initial call in May 2017.
Which, is where my story just gets started…
The initial call went great, and then I was prompted by Anomalie to go out to my local boutiques and stores to try on dresses to get a feel of silhouettes. Or, an idea of what I’m looking for in a dress. So, I did just that – I took my sister and my mother out to go dress shopping at a local store that’s known for carrying a “large” selection of plus size brands. Guess what? There wasn’t a large selection, they had a total of 10 plus size dresses in stock. And, the idea of plus size didn’t apply to me since I was a street size 20, bridal size 26/28. The dresses they had in stock were ball gown silhouette, sweetheart neckline, and sleeveless. I’m a size 44DDD/F up top, and need support. I’m covered in tattoos. I wanted my wedding to be light, elegant and ethereal, but not stiff. A ball gown just didn’t fit my personality or my wedding aesthetic. I wanted sleeves and lace. I was about to leave the boutique defeated, but then I saw a dress there I couldn’t get over. It had sleeves, it was covered in lace – I was obsessed. The only problem was the size – it was a bridal 20, street
size 14. Meaning, I needed to lose a lot of weight. But, I have a year, right?! I can totally lose the weight, it’ll be easy, I thought. So, I bought the dress. Anomalie was so understanding and sweet, they were just happy I found a dress I loved and wished me the best.
Well, 40 pounds later, starving myself and working out three hours a day, five days a week – I wanted to try on the dress to see how much left I needed to lose. I had plateaued, and thought seeing myself in the dress almost there would be inspirational and give me a push to lose the rest of the weight. It was December 2017. And, much to my dismay, I hadn’t lost one inch in my hips and waist. I lost 40 pounds, and was the exact same dress size I was. (Unfortunately, we don’t have any control where we lose the weight, and I just hadn’t lost it anywhere it counted). Panic set in, I was getting married in seven months and I still couldn’t fit into my wedding dress.
So, I panicked and went to every local wedding boutique in the area. They needed six months. I was getting married in five. Even the national bridal dress chains couldn’t help me. There I was, standing in a changing room with the largest floor sample they had, and I still couldn’t zip myself in. I left the store, crying on my way to my car in the parking lot. I had worked so hard, to an unhealthy obsession. I was miserable, and I still couldn’t fit into my dream dress. I felt like an absolute failure.
I called my fiancé to cry and vent, and he asked me about the custom bridal dress place I told him about a year ago. The one with the “Chick who worked for Nike,” (He’s a college soccer coach, and Nike is his clothing brand of choice, seriously, all he wears is Nike. It’s not at all surprising that’s all he remembered about Anomalie). He asked if maybe I could get the dress I wanted custom made – I had five months until the wedding, what’s to lose? So, he made the appointment for me and I uploaded photos. That was that. I was a bride who left Anomalie for a boutique dress – and, ultimately returned.
Why did you decide to go the custom wedding dress route?
Well in addition to the story above, with Anomalie, I didn’t have to make concessions, compromises or sacrifice what I wanted because the designers didn’t make what I was looking for. Too many times I’ve heard from friends, “It wasn’t my dream dress, but it was close enough and I liked it”. When you’re spending thousands of dollars on a dress you’re wearing one day, why are you walking away being indifferent about your bridal gown?!? It doesn’t make any sense to me. Anomalie helped me make my dream dress!
The experience really opened my eyes to how horrible wedding diets are. The whole bridal industry is really skewed into making females feel inadequate. The dresses they offer are in smaller sizes, with limited plus sizes available. Wedding magazines have pages of ads for diet supplements aimed exclusively for brides. Seriously, there’s detoxes with “Bride” right in the product title. Headlines reading “15 Minute Bride Butt Exercises,” and “The Ultimate Wedding Workout”. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be your best self. But the way it’s inundated at brides is horrible. And, there’s a fine line with wanting to be healthy and an obsession with losing weight.
As soon as I became an Anomalie bride, I quit stressing about how I was going to fit my three hour workouts into my schedule. I downgraded to an occasional yoga class, and I could eat again. Seriously, I actually got to enjoy my venue’s food tasting, and the cake tasting, without any guilt. I even had seconds!
My experience with Anomalie made me feel beautiful. Because the process is aimed to make a dress for you, just the way you are right now. The company accepts you for who you are, and will do it’s darndest to make what you want a reality. With no pressure to lose weight, or gain weight to fit into the standard wedding designer dress sizes. No pressure to be covered in sequins if you want a plain structured look instead. No pressure in finding a dress to wear with cultural items like – Hijabs – and feeling out of place in combining culture and tradition with modern design. They’ll help you do it, flawlessly. And they’ll be your wedding cheerleaders throughout the process. The company is truly the “no judgement zone” of bridal!
What inspired your dress? Especially the blush color!
I just really love the color pink. My bridesmaids wore fuchsia, and I thought the blush tulle would be a great way to incorporate more pink into the wedding, complementing what they wore… because more pink is never a bad thing in my world. The blush bottom naturally made me think of ballerinas and tutus, so I wanted layers and layers of long blush tulle. An ethereal ballerina type wedding dress. I knew I wanted sleeves because I’ve always been self-conscious about my arms, and I didn’t want to spend my wedding day worrying about how they looked in photos or have anxiety about what people might think about them. I’m Hispanic, so lace sleeves on bridal gowns is very culturally significant and common. It was an ode to my heritage.
Plus, I wanted something outside the bridal box! I have a very eclectic style, and I often layer different patterns on top of one another, and wear a lot of color at once. I joke with John all the time about the phrase “gypsy rustic chic” but it’s really my personal aesthetic. I wanted my wedding dress to reflect my style, and I knew the blush tulle bottom coupled with the ivory lace top would do just that. The blush was different, but not totally out of the box. And the ivory lace top was very traditional. I thought the two would look great together and mixed old style with new!
My dress was my way of tying my love of color, pink, and individuality with tradition. I wanted a dress that was stylish and modern, without being fad worthy. I didn’t want to look back in 30 years and think, oh, why did I wear that?!? (Hello classic 80’s wedding gowns, very fad worthy, and oh so 80’s).
What is your favorite part of your dress?
Besides being pink, the train! I wanted it to be cathedral length and long. I definitely wanted my train to be extra, and it so was. I love it!
Wedding Day Inspiration?
Again, “gypsy rustic chic”! I had ties to constellations and stars throughout the décor; I got married at 6:30 in the evening with dinner starting at 8:00. So I wanted my décor to reflect that it was an evening wedding. The venue was also very rustic itself – I had fresh flowers, moss accents, and other rustic décor items throughout the space to blend in with the venue’s look. We got married in Rochester, NY, where we both met. So it was also important to us to serve craft beer and liquor from local breweries and local businesses. Our late night snack station was also Rochester related – Garbage Plates of course. (It’s a food item/ meal that originated in Rochester and we’re very obsessed with them here!)
John and I also proud parents to two dogs, and we knew we had to incorporate them in our wedding since they weren’t allowed to actually be at the venue. So we had a “Biscuit Bar,” where one of our favors were dog treats with our last name and the wedding date inscribed on them. I have to say the treats were the best idea because since the wedding we’ve been getting videos and photos of guests’ own dogs eating and enjoying them. Any favor where you get photos of adorable dogs is a win! Our Bride/ Groom drinks were also named after our puppies. Instead of Bride’s Drink, and Groom’s Drink, mine was “The Wednesday” after my pooch. And John’s was “The Bishop” after his dog.
My favorite décor items were my place settings: I had gold chargers, and on top, little charger place cards with a constellation background and a quote about love. Every place setting had a different quote…Yep, I found and printed 140 different quotes about love. I wanted them to be talking points between strangers, comparing the quotes they got with each other, and them being able to walk around the different seats and read different quotes. A blend of décor with an activity. Some quotes were from poems and books, others from movies. It was the smallest detail but it made a huge impact. It was different, and I’ve never seen anyone do something like that before, so it’s something I’m really proud of.
What was the reaction to your dress from your friends and family?
“That dress is so you! It’s perfect!” Well, that’s because it is so me, I designed it! Flash forward to me telling them all about Anomalie.
Any advice to brides-to-be in designing their own wedding dresses?
Figure out what your own personal style is and stick to it! Don’t try to conform to what other people envision you in – wear what you would truly feel comfortable with and in a style that’s all your own. If tradition and culture is important to you, tell your stylist what aspects of your culture’s traditional wedding style you want your dress to have and they’ll work it into your vision seamlessly. There is a way to compromise with family, culture and tradition, without overriding what you want. So don’t get bullied into buying or creating a dress that other people see you in. It’s what you see yourself in – have the confidence to stand tall in what you’re creating and remember you have the ability of mixing various bridal style into your dress. So if you feel you absolutely want to have a traditional dress, you can – and you can do it your way. Anomalie allows you to make that happen.
Photos by Mandra Jean Photography
Stylist Pro Tip: Does Courtney’s positive energy have you excited to work with Anomalie too? Schedule a call with one of our stylists today to get working on your own dress dress!
More real bride stories and inspiration right this way!
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- Classic Wedding Dress – With An Unconventional Design