"When my husband and I got engaged, I had no idea what I wanted in a wedding dress. I knew I wanted it to be white, and I knew that I wanted a corset back. Other than that, I was clueless. Thankfully, Alicia knows me quite well and has had extensive experience working with clueless brides like myself. She helped me to design the perfect wedding dress that fit my personality, my values, and my wedding style. It was elegant, yet simple. In addition to designing my perfect wedding dress, she also personalized my mother's wedding veil to match my dress. It was perfect. Because of Alicia, I had the perfect dress to wear on my perfect day." - Julia

My baby sister, Julia is 14 years my junior and from the very beginning we have had a special bond. I can remember teaching Julia her colors by pointing out each stripe of color in a rainbow I had painted on my attic style bedroom ceiling. Later in life, after I had two babies, Aunt Julia spent several months living with me helping take care of my boys! Her love for children has grown and she is currently studying English education and will be graduating this upcoming summer.

Julia loves music and leading worship and from the moment I saw this photo pop up in my Facebook news feed I knew this boy Conner was going to be my brother-in-law. At the time they weren't even dating, but it wasn't long until she brought Conner home for Christmas to meet the family.  Soon after we had a save the date and a wedding to plan!

Julia had dreamed of having her designer sister create her wedding gown and so naturally she came to my shop to try on different styles of dresses. First, she tried on my wedding gown. Being the first gown I designed and made, it is currently on display in the shop. She also tried on the gown I made for our sister Kay, as well as a sample ballgown I had in the shop. It was a bit emotional seeing my baby sister all grown up and trying on wedding dresses. I found myself bouncing back and forth from designer mode to big sister mode, I was quite a mess!




































After trying on dresses Julia decided that she really liked the neckline and shape of the Ballgown, so we went to the drawing board with lace and fabric! After I sketched an idea and we talked about the different elements of the gown we were ready to get to work. I just loved seeing how excited she was during her lining fitting!

It was so much fun watching her dress come to life. For the wedding I also designed our mother's dress, four bridesmaid's dresses, and flower girl dresses for our nieces.



At her first fitting Julia wanted to visualize the dress with a veil. I had mine on display and grabbed it for her to try on.  The veil was originally hand made and worn by our mother and I remade it for my own wedding. Julia loved it so much that we ended up changing out the trim to match her gown and she was the third bride in our family to wear it down the aisle. I also made a beaded hairpiece to match the veil and it all came together beautifully.

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Her dress was so lovely, she was kind enough to let me borrow it for the runway show at the Wichita Bridal Expo.  It was beautiful on stage, but because the dress was built for Julia, the runway just didn't do it justice. When a bride wears a dress that was built for her, the gown comes to life and takes on a sparkle unique to the one wearing it! I have seen this happen over and over. It becomes part of the bride and that is truly our mission. To show every bride that she is beautiful and loved.

Julia and Connor shared a beautiful wedding and their commitment to keeping God at the center of their relationship and marriage was present in every aspect of the day. Connor and his groomsmen took a moment to pray together before the wedding, and Julia hid behind a curtain of the tent so that she and Connor could pray together without peeking at each other before walking down the aisle.

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Julia and I shared several special sisterly moments in the tent as she was getting ready and waiting for photos. Another moment I'll always remember was the look on her face when she discovered dad was going to say something during the ceremony. She was terribly worried it would not go as planned and the photographer caught her expression as she turned her back on her daddy.

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All doubts were put to rest when he gave the most beautiful speech before handing her over to Connor. Of course she managed to forgive dad for stepping out of line and was ready to dance to their song "Butterfly Kisses" by the time the reception came.


I cried the whole way through his speech and told Julia it was my right to cry, after all she cried buckets of tears at mine! She was just five years old when I got married and she and our youngest sister Bethany were my flower girls. At my reception, Julia was crying and crying and I didn't know how to get her to stop. Finally with mom's help we discovered poor Julia was just certain she would never, ever, see me again!


Being a part of Julia's wedding was incredibly precious, naturally because she is my sister, but also because it is an honor to be a part of any bride's big day. Part of my passion for what we do at Vanya Designs is to help every bride find the exact combination of style and fabrics that brings out her inner sparkle and helps her see how truly beautiful she really is.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to be able to be a part of every bride's wedding and it is the love for our work and our brides that sets us apart. The most important step in bringing a bride's dream gown to life is getting to know her personality and to understand exactly what she wants in a gown. For Julia's wedding that step was a lifetime of love and we were able to jump into the fun right away.

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