Pay-it-forward - Wedding Edition

Every wedding is special, but anyone in this industry will tell you that having the opportunity to work with, and for, a long time friend is so special.

And a bit unnerving. You want to give them the entire professional experience you’re capable of and then some - but when they’ve been with you through your awkward times, supported you during bad hair years, and seen (many) more than one ugly cry, its challenging to walk that line.

One of my best friends “L” got married last February in Mexico. Stop by sometime if you want the full story on how amazing her gown was (one of my all-time favorites), how gorgeous the venue was (Tropical flowers, crashing waves, sun, and sand. Enough said), or how breathe taking her photos are (…under water?!? AMAZING!).

The real story you need to know is a result of the happy couple's trash the dress session and those amazing under water photos.  This moving pay-it-forward story is best told in the bride's own words: 

“The trash the dress felt like a really great idea to book after we saw our photographer’s collection of gorgeous photos. The day after the wedding I really didn't know what I signed up for and was having massive second thoughts. I felt pretty ridiculous in a wedding dress jumping into a cave filled with water, with tons of tourists staring at us. But it turned out to be an amazing day. We went to locations I would have never seen without shooting with a local photographer and it was amazing bonding time with my new husband. It was our first adventure as a married couple. 

After 8 hours in my soaking wet dress, I was so relieved to get it off. We stuffed my beautiful dress into a bag and headed for the hotel. It was when we got back I realized what I had done - even though I had never really planned to keep the dress. I hung it up in the bathroom and it was covered with sand and weighed 60 pounds. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. 

When it was time to check out, the dress was still soaking wet to the touch (thanks humid Mexico) and I was just so exhausted from the week I wasn't sure what to do. It was an extremely beautiful dress that was now unfortunately saturated in water and sand - too heavy to take back to Canada. We went to the front desk and I started to explain that there was a wedding dress hanging in the tub if anyone... knows what to do with it...? I will never forget the receptionists face. She thought I was a lunatic, and her jaw dropped. She asked me to repeat myself, which I did – then I saw the light bulb go off in her head and she told me she thought she could help. Sure enough, 15 minutes later an older man from the maintenance staff approached me. With very broken English, he asked if I would gift him the dress, as his daughter was to be wed later in the year.

My problem was solved - if I wasn't going to use the dress, it should go to someone who could.

Later, we saw him carrying the dress away with a huge smile. The dress that meant the world to me and was a major part of my day was going to be the same for someone else. “

Secret Destination

It’s an old joke that people tell bartenders and hairdressers their secrets – bridal stylists need to be added to this list. By the time the Bride walks down the aisle, it’s common for us to help her keep all kinds of secrets. These can include everything from a slight (or major) budget change (increase), which bridesmaid is or might be expecting but can’t tell anyone yet, or that the bride didn’t include her mom until appointment #2 because she wanted to shop without opinions.

We had the extreme pleasure of keeping two different secrets for one very special couple this spring – one big, and one small. 

Melissa first came to the studio in January looking for her wedding gown. With a tropical beach destination in mind for the following year, she was laser focused and knew exactly what she wanted for her walk down the aisle to her fiancé, Wes. Within two hours she was using the word “love” about one of our in-studio dresses.

By early May, Melissa had called the studio with her big secret. A very private couple, she and Wes were certain they didn’t want to wait until January to be married. Instead, they were going to elope to New York City in July. They decided not to tell anyone at all – not even their family. It would be just the two of them, a marriage commissioner, and a horse-drawn carriage ride through central park. 

With some after-hour fittings and a few evasive answers to acquaintances, her incredibly romantic secret was safe with us.

Anyone that is a faithful Muse social media follower will remember the snippet we posted about Wes and the small secret. We met him about a week before their flight south when he popped into the studio prior to Melissa’s final dress fitting and purchased a bracelet she’d mentioned to him in passing. He knew the stress of keeping this secret was starting to get to her, and he asked us to surprise her with the gift and a note from him. When we gave Melissa the box she was surprised. When she read the note, she cried. And then we all cried.

Many thanks to the happy couple for including us in their beautiful secrets, and for ultimately letting us share their story.  


Neither Melissa nor Wes ever told us what the note said. And even if they did, we’d never tell…