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Dress the Part: Three Knockout Non-Traditional Wedding Gowns


When it came to picking out a wedding dress for her July 9, 2016, wedding in Salem to Sam Holman, Sheena Friesen wasn’t sure where to start. “Dresses really aren’t my thing,” she says. The Salem resident describes herself as having a minimalist aesthetic, saying she likes simple, classic lines, but nothing too va-va-voom or matronly. That can be hard to find in the universe of wedding dresses. Sheena’s dad tagged along to her wedding dress shopping without hesitation as her mother passed away in 2010. It was at The Dress Theory in Seattle, Washington, that Sheena found the dress. “When I tried on the shirt and skirt combo, my face lit up. I tried on other options, but I kept going back to this Sarah Seven lace Delancey top and form fitting Utopia silk crepe trumpet skirt combo. I easily decided that evening that I had found the dress. My dad agreed—it was the one!”



photography by: Olivia Leigh Photography

A self proclaimed quick-decision-maker, Ashley Carson didn’t take much time weighing her wedding dress options for her July 16, 2016, wedding to George McNiel at Ponzi Vineyards in Sherwood. After spotting a body-skimming, high-necked gown on actress Robin Wright in an episode of House of Cards, she knew immediately that it was the dress she wanted to wear. As someone who leans towards wearing black, Ashley didn’t feel a white wedding dress would be authentic. After an online hunt, she found the gray silk Ralph Lauren dress in Germany and bought it. “I loved the gown’s simplicity, elegance and color.”



photography by: Leah Banick Photography

Olya Surits from Khabarovsk, Russia never saw herself in a white wedding dress. “I always saw myself in a dramatic huge red dress power-strutting down the aisle,” she says. With only four months between her engagement and wedding day in August, 2015, to Ian Newcom, Olya met with Lyubov Medvedev owner of Lyubov Couture in Northeast Portland. After sourcing materials from San Francisco and even a Chinese vendor on eBay, Olya’s dream red wedding dress— designed by herself and Medvedev—came in around three hundred dollars After the wedding ceremony at a private residence in Portland, Olya donned a kokoshnik—a Russian headpiece—and surprised guests with a Russian dance with her father. In the middle of the dance, Olya unbuttoned her poofy skirt and unveiled a smaller dancing dress beneath.

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