Valencienne gets many requests with regards to our wedding gowns. We custom design them and are used to rising up to a challenge which is what makes this story so exciting.We were asked to design and make a gown for a bride named Sarah Pavan, a professional volleyball player who was living half way around the world. She was playing for Korea and was on their national team. Sarah summoned her Mom to be ‘head coach’ to make this all work out.
Sarahs’ mom, Mrs Pavan, first contacted me by email explaining the situation and the rules of the game, it was pretty simple, ‘My daughter is arriving from Korea. She needs a custom designed gown, she is 6’5 and she will be here for a very short time. We have to design it and have a first fitting and possibly a second. She is here for only 10 days and then she will be going back to Korea. At this point I cannot really say when she will be back for other fittings. Can we do this and if the answer is yes, how can we make this work?’ I thought ‘all good questions…’
I needed a time out, before answering this email – I thought ‘well when she comes in my hope would be that Sarah would fall in love with a sample that I already had in my store so she could try something on and if we needed to redesign some parts of it we could but at least she could leave with a clear idea of what she would be getting. Knowing that Sarah is 77’’ tall my concern was my silk fabric only comes in lengths of 45 or 54 inches so the design concept would be very important, Sarahs gown would need to have a seam either under the bust or somewhere else on the bodice to accommodate her length. No A-line gown for this girl unless she wanted a a cocktail dress instead and then I thought ‘why worry about that now’. I never shy away from a challenge so I sent my email back to Mrs Pavan with a simple and short ‘’We can do it’’. I decided that this should be approached like a game of Volleyball – Mrs Pavan was the head coach and I was going to be team captain. My Valencienne team consisting of pattern maker to hand finisher to seamstress was going to win points to give this star player the dress of her dreams. This endeavourer had to be planned immaculately and we had zero time for a penalty.
Give us your time constraints and Valencienne will not let you down. Losing is not in our vocabulary which is why I believe Sarah and I got along so well- she obviously strives for perfection in her sport, she was the top scorer in the A1 Italian League and the top attacker in Europe. She is the 2012 Summer Olympics NORCECA qualification tournaments, ‘Best Scorer’. Sarah now plays for Brazil and is one of their most valued players.
The big day arrived and it was time for me to volley up the perfect dress. Sarah flew from Korea; over 6000 miles to find her dream wedding gown and I was not going to let her down. She had a real sense about what she wanted and how she envisioned her day. The ceremony was at Cave Spring Vineyard and the reception was at Inn on the Twenty in Jordan. It was going to be a magical, country, outdoor wedding complete with antique cars and vineyards. Although time was short, we had a wonderful afternoon and Sarah tried on a few sample gowns. She fell in love with one gown in particular named ‘Faith’ which was rather funny as all morning I was saying to myself have faith Kim it will all work out, this is no big deal LOL. We changed a few minor things to the gown, we added more Swarovski crystals, we changed the neck to a halter and of course we took measurements and checked the length measurement twice. Production started immediately, the pattern was made, canvas cut and sewn as we only had five days before her next fitting. She was leaving to go back to Korea very soon. The plan was working out very well, the coach was happy, the team captain was a little stressed but that’s my job, our star player ‘the bride’ was delighted and thrilled as the design process came to life. The Pavan family, I and my Valencienne team worked very hard to ensure that Sarah had her dream wedding and that her stunning wedding gown fit her magnificently and that every detail was thought about and executed to perfection.
Planning a wedding from 6000 miles away is no small feat. Designing a gown with no room for error is terrifying not because of the stress of making the gown it is that we depend on suppliers from around the world we are fortunate to have had the same suppliers since we started the business 28 years ago so we have an amazing relationship however you can only control so many things. This is where Faith comes in; I think we can all agree that Sarah picked the perfect dress for her complicated but beautiful country wedding. Sarah wrote me this short note to include into my blog-
Thank you Kim for making my dream dress a reality. With all of the time and height constraints, you were so wonderful and understanding; I can’t imagine trusting anyone else to undertake this task. I got so many compliments on the dress and every time I look at our pictures, I feel so much joy at having been able to wear such a beautiful gown on my wedding day, Thank you so very much.