I'd like to introduce you to a talented woman, fellow Hudson Valley resident, and friend, Betsy Wise. Betsy is an amazing designer and maker of custom wedding gowns for Betsy Wise Bridal. She has mastered the timeless art of dress making and brought it into the modern world, along with the vintage and heirloom gowns she makes new again. She works with each bride to help conceptualize and and bring to life their dream gown. I asked Betsy to answer a few questions about her craft and the wedding industry at large.
How long have you been running Betsy Wise Bridal and how did you get started?
I have been sewing and designing for as long as I can remember, but I have been making wedding dresses specifically since 2011. I was working in a bridal boutique at that time, when a friend asked me to make her wedding dress. She had a really cool story. She had been backpacking through Southeast Asia with her (then) boyfriend, and they got engaged on the trip. While in India, she purchased some beautiful colorful silk that I made into her wedding dress. The light bulb in my head turned on at that moment. I realized that finding a wedding dress is not a process that fits into a box or an episode of Say Yes to the Dress. It can be an incredibly unique and personal experience. So I quit the bridal shop, and Betsy Wise Bridal was born.
What is your speciality?
When it comes to custom, I can really make anything a bride can possibly dream up, but my true passion and specialty lies in Vintage Reconstruction. A bride will bring me a vintage family heirloom gown, and we will use it as fabric and inspiration for a completely new, modern, one of a kind gown. Its such a fun process for me because not only is it an amazing piece of family history that deserves to be honored, but its also like a puzzle trying to figure out how to utilize the materials in a way that looks fresh.
Did you find your niche immediately? If not, what was the process like to get there?
It took me a couple years to find my niche. I always want to be open to anyone and any request that comes my way. That is what keeps my job interesting, I'm never doing the same thing twice. But at a certain point you do have to hone your skills. I ended up doing my first Vintage Reconstruction for my sister from the wedding dress worn by my mom and my grandmother. I fell in love with the process. Once I posted that one dress on my website, other people started seeking me out specifically for reconstructions. I realized that was the thing setting me apart from other bespoke designers out there.
What is your day-to-day like? and what is your favorite part of the process?
Weekdays are generally my studio days. Those are the days I spend designing and creating. Weekends are usually dedicated to clients for fittings and consultations.
My favorite part of the design process is seeing my ideas come to life in fabric on the dress form. That moment when a sketch becomes reality.
Do you do custom requests?
Absolutely! Everything I do is custom, and I really welcome ideas that are outside of the box. Thats what keeps it fun and exciting.
What is your favorite thing about working in the wedding industry?
I have had the chance to work with some of the most incredible brides. It is such a pleasure and an honor to work so closely with people and get to know them, and their families. Making a woman feel happy and beautiful on the most important day of her life is so incredibly rewarding. It's what gets me up in the morning.
Any trends you you are seeing in gowns? Any trends you notice clients are asking for?
The latest trend that I love is the bohemian look. I love the easy feel, and the soft flowing fabrics. I have had a lot more requests for flowing fabrics and no train. With the bohemian trend I have definitely seen an increase in outdoor field or lakeside weddings, so the dress has to fit the setting.
Do you have any advice for brides looking for a gown?
- You don't have to follow trends, just be true to yourself.
- No matter what you should look like you, not like you're dressed up in a costume.
- Less is always more.
- Imagine yourself looking at your wedding pictures in 20 years. You want to choose something timeless.
- If you don't have any idea what you want, the best thing to do is just go try a bunch of silhouettes on and see what works best on your body.
And one more fun wedding question, in your opinion, what makes a good wedding great?
The best weddings are a true reflection of the couple's unique personalities. There are no rules anymore when it comes to weddings. Your can make your day whatever you want it to be, and I love that!