Jorge enjoyed the contest from his side so much that he decided to make it a tradition. This year's contest was hosted by Hitched and I was thrilled when I was invited to the salon to announce the newest Upon a Star winner. This year's gown is going to be custom made, but a sample of the design was on display. Isn't it gorgeous?
/ Used with permission
As soon as I arrived at Hitched, the staff whisked me off to the back room where salon owners Carin Levine and Julia Kepniss introduced designer Jorge Manuel. Jorge talked about his inspiration for the Upon a Star contest and about the construction of this year's dress, the Eternal Flame gown.
Julia, Carin, me, Jorge Manuel / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission
Each finalist in attendance was introduced and given a wonderful bag of gifts. It was then my turn to talk about entering the first contest a year ago and winning my dress, the Star gown. Soon, the big moment was at hand. It was time to open the envelope and announce the second winner of the Upon a Star contest...
Announcing the winner! / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission
I cried out the name of the winner, Farisa Dastvar, and the room erupted. She hugged Jorge, her mother (I think it was her mother) started to cry, and I ran over to offer my congratulations. The ladies at Hitched had put a veil on me and I was to transfer the veil to the winner, beauty pageant style. I hope I didn't hurt poor Farisa when I smashed the comb into her hair. I was so excited!
Passing the veil / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission
Everyone swarmed Farisa to take pictures and I got to step away and catch up with Weddingbee's own Mrs. Pony! We met at the little Bee brunch Miss Fox wrote about a couple weeks ago and I was so excited that she was able to come to the party. Chris Anderson, the professional photographer covering the party, took a picture of us and it wound up on the top of the blog post that Jorge Manuel's team wrote about the event.
Me and Jessica, aka "Mrs. Pony" / Photo by Chris Anderson of Route 1 Multimedia / Used with permission
Mrs. Pony and I looked through all the gowns that were at Hitched for that weekend's Jorge Manuel trunk show. Kyle Leverett, Jorge's Operations Manager walked us through the current collection and told us some stories about life behind the scenes in the couture bridal world, including one hilarious story about the lengths they went to acquire a piglet for an Alice in Wonderland themed photo shoot for a past collection.
Dresses from Jorge's Rococo and Iris collections
Later, as Pony and I talked with Jorge and Kyle, I started to feel silly for having been intimidated by Jorge back when I won my gown. Jorge wants to know his brides. He wants to know about their weddings. I never though about the fact that designers don't always get to know about where their dresses wind up. While we see all the pieces of the wedding puzzle in our minds, they just know their one piece.
Being part of this year's contest made the amazing experience of being a Jorge Manuel bride come full circle. I'm just days away from wearing my Upon a Star gown and Farisa is just starting her journey. While I don't know her, I feel connected to her and other Jorge Manuel brides because of this experience.
Did you get to meet the designer of your wedding gown? Do you feel connected to other brides who wear gowns by the same designer?