I wish I could tell you when I started to like beautiful things. I'd like to say that every girl dreams of her perfect wedding, of the moment when her veil is placed just perfectly before her grand entrance, or of finding an immensely beautiful bridal gown to wear to walk down the aisle to her handsome groom. I was not that girl. I was the definition of tomboy-- it's rare that you saw me without jeans and t-shirt on (you might catch me in a sweater), and I was never interested in my hair or my makeup. I was extraordinarily nerdy. I taught myself to speed-read so that I never had to stop learning about the world outside my bedroom walls (far be it from me to actually go experience them!). I watched every episode of every show ever (I can't say that addiction has faded). And at age seven, I dreamed of being immensely successful and independent.
Then my grandmother passed away. It was strange, she was gone but she wasn't. A photo of her and my grandfather at their wedding still hung in our home, and it was like she was here. She got married in the 1960s, and her long-sleeved ball gown paired with her gorgeous mantilla veil and a delicate crown to top her beautiful curls was so classic. If her gown had been around today, I would have worn it to my own wedding. I knew one thing: I wanted to be like her-- kind, independent, giving, talented, creative, and simply beautiful. I carried the wallet-sized version of that photo in my wallet for years after she passed, until it finally disintegrated into nothing but the memory in the back of my mind.
I was the first of my friends to get married and the one who always said she'd never do it for fear of losing my independence. I had no idea that weddings were such a production. We were two students paying for our own wedding, and I looked to cut costs wherever I could. I entangled myself in each and every detail, from my handmade centerpieces to the obsession that became my wedding gown. The only image that stuck out to me was my grandmother's dress, but I truly and honestly couldn't find anything like it, so I chose for the next best thing: a simple, white ball gown and her charm bracelet to carry a piece of her with me. I went to five stores and easily tried on over 100 intricately-designed gowns. Maya Couture was one of those stores and the store where I found my wedding gown.
It's funny. If you had asked me 20 years ago what I'd be when I grow up, I can promise you my answer would not have been a bridal consultant or a bridal salon manager. That would've been at the bottom of my list. I'm just not your typical consultant. But that's why I love it-- it's exactly what you would NOT think I'd do if you met me. I'm tattooed (like, a lot) and I'm still not very girly. I'll tell you what though-- I'm extraordinarily passionate about making people happy and giving every bride that vision that I never had, but the dream that they deserve.
When we developed this shoot, we did it with the intent to announce my crowning achievement: the opening of our second location in Suffolk. The concept of the store was that we were taking something old (our limited edition merchandise) and breathing life into it to make it new again. I wanted Maya Couture to be obtainable to brides who couldn't necessarily afford the Maya Couture experience at our flagship store, and I was lucky enough to work for a boss who let me pitch a 17-page proposal and was receptive to the idea. For us, it's never been just about a sale. It's been about finding the perfect gown for every girl with almost any budget.
I poured myself into that shoot and called in every favor that I could, and the collaboration and support amongst people who were already my friends or became my friends as a result was just overwhelming. I wish I could say that I put as much thought into bringing that iconic portrait of my grandmother into the shoot. But the truth is, it just didn't feel right to celebrate that moment without having my grandmother there to encourage me in my endeavors, like she always has. I grabbed that photo off the wall the day before the shoot and vowed that there would be a picture with it so that I could share that special piece of me with the rest of the world.
- Misty of Maya Couture
You can get to know Misty and the other Maya Couture ladies at the new Suffolk location, Maya Couture on Main, or by visiting Facebook and Instagram.
Photography: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography // Hair Stylist: Behind the Veil Studio // Lighting: Blue Steel Lighting Design // Florist: Char's Floral Designs // Culinary Treats: Harper's Table // Makeup Artist: KristineMarie Makeup Artistry // Bridal Gown Store: Maya Couture // Vintage Furniture Rentals: Shelley's Shabby Shack // Bakery: Simply Susan's // Equipment Rentals: Somethin' Borrowed or New // Furniture Rentals: Table Seven // Stationery: The Girl Tyler // Event Venue: The Historic Obici House // Submitted via Two Bright Lights