I’ve never been much of a rule breaker unless I know I can get away with it.

In graphic design, mixing font moods is a death sentence. Moods must compliment, not contradict. The same can be said in fashion design, which introduces my current challenge: how do I combine my modern, minimal style with my whimsical Irish venue? There is an undeniable fairytale quality to Ireland and it's a direct contrast to my basic, boxy wardrobe. Yet, the beauty of art and design is that rules can be bent and broken if you know how to do it.

So here I am. I have a sketchpad full of minimal and modern designs and I’m trying to find a way to blend in frill. The more I sketch, the more progress I make, but the game changer has been sitting in my closet for months: my mother's lace wedding gown. Initially I did not think I would use anything but silk, but with my mother's full permission to take apart her dress and borrow the lace, it is looking like the perfect solution to blending minimal and fairytale. 

My parents were married in the 80’s—you know the look. Enormous sleeves, a neckline that comes up to your ears and a train the length of a football field. Mothers of anyone my age were married either in a dress similar or a pantsuit. God bless the 80’s. The lace from her dress, however, is timeless and has been very inspiring through the evolution of my dress.

Being in fashion, it’s expected for my design to change at least 10 times, it’s like a hair stylist trying to make a decision about their hair color. Despite the constant changes and daily tweaks, I am getting closer to my dream dress! As of now, I have decided on a silhouette, received my silk fabric, and have made three preliminary dresses to perfect the fit. My mother’s dress has been whitened and I am working to remove the damaged beading and take apart the seams. It's the first step to an evolving process and only the beginning of blending my styles. Can't wait to let the scissors fly!


ERIN GO BRAGH by Elizabeth Leese

On the 26th of July, I will be marrying my best friend at the Borris House in County Carlow, Ireland. Every last bit of it feels like a dream, but somehow I wake up and I still have a gorgeous ring on my finger and a voicemail from my Irish wedding coordinator bidding me, “All the best, Elizabeth!”

Our decision to have a destination wedding has made our engagement breezy, but our wedding decisions do not come without an explanation. No, neither of us are Irish and no, it won’t be our first time to go. Generally, my answer to the why question is, “Have you seen the place?” The roadsides of Ireland put our gardens to shame, not to mention the people and villages are far more picturesque than one could possibly imagine. Beautiful as it may be, there is much more to consider when a couple chooses to have a destination wedding.

It is obvious in this day and age that weddings are an industry. My industry, in fact. I love everything about them and it’s my dream to make wedding dresses for the rest of my life! But Hunter and I believe the real focus and concern is the marriage, not the wedding. After the glitter and confetti settles, it's going to be about our life together. Like any other little girl, I had always pictured a huge Cinderella wedding in a castle. Now that day is here, and I find myself overwhelmed at the thought of having 200 pairs of eyes on me as I walk down the aisle and recite intimate vows. And because I'm still in college, I do not need to lose my mind planning party favors while also trying to finish math homework. My nervous sweats can only handle so much.

Hunter and I simply asked ourselves what we wanted and this was it! A stress-free, simplistic wedding in a place that was significant to us. "Imagine that," a woman said to me, "actually enjoying your engagement!" I've scrapped all "wedding checklists" and haven't picked up a single bride magazine to confirm traditions or this season's colors. This day will be totally our own. I might not even wear a veil. Having a destination wedding does not come without the sacrifice of family and friends being unable to come, but I know we will always love our decision to have a small wedding. And even though my wedding fantasy looks a little different now, I still get my Cinderella wedding in a castle! 


MEET THE COUPLE by Elizabeth Leese

Hunter and I met when my older sister married his best friend. The first time I saw him my eyes popped out of my head, but alas, at the time I was 16 and he was 21 so I went unnoticed. A few years later we reconnected at a music festival and this time, his eyes did the popping. I, on the other hand, was unconvinced. The festival was followed by a summer of letter writing, late night phone calls, and a college photography course that just so happened to be in the town where he lived. That summer, we rescued a kitten, cooked every evening, got eaten alive by mosquitos watching the moon, and fell head over heels in that awful Texas heat. Needless to say, it did not take long for us to realize that we made a great team. After more than two years of dating, my heart still leaps when I look at him because I know our strength as a couple has withstood adversity and been defined by compromise, selflessness, and our faith. On November 25th Hunter asked me to be his wife and to do the honor of making him "the happiest man on earth". Of course, I said YES! We are now looking forward to a beautiful wedding in Ireland and a loving, giving life together!