If you don’t already know, my wedding dress is coming from Ivory Bridal, a curvy bridal boutique based in Atlanta right in the middle of historical Grant Park. Together we’ve been designing the perfect dress for my curves. When I first met Mesita, owner of Ivory Bridal, I can honestly say it was a pleasant surprise. Since then, I find myself texting her almost every day like we are old friends.
I think I mentioned this before but, I wasn’t expecting to be greeted by a young, black woman when I first paid Ivory Bridal a visit. A young, black woman, who looked like me and was clearly a girl-boss. I was inspired, immediately! The thought that this young, savvy, woman of color owned her own thriving business(es) stopped me in my tracks and I had to learn more about who she was.
Mesita’s story is like no other, from working in the event planning business, quitting her 9-to-5 to fully focus on opening her boutique and being an entrepreneur. To finding love and the perfect dress and wanting other women with curves to do the same … I think you’d be inspired, too. Check out her story …
Triena: How in the world did you end up in this wedding business?
Mesita: I’ve always been in the hospitality industry. I did corporate and social events for different venues … and weddings were always my favorite thing! In college, a group of my girlfriends and I all modeled, and together we wanted to host prom fashion shows at the local high schools. It never happened, but the concept always stuck with me. Then after my own wedding, and my horrible experience of trying to find the perfect dress (I wanted something form-fitting, and nothing would go over my hips.) I knew I wanted to open a shop for brides with curves like me. I always wanted to carry larger sample sizes so that no bride ever felt what I felt in the dressing room that day I tried on dresses. Here we are today, Ivory turns 5 on January 3rd!
T: What kind of bride were you?
M: I won’t call myself a bridezilla … but because I was already in the wedding industry, I definitely knew what I wanted and I also knew how to negotiate and get the things that I wanted. So, I didn’t take no for an answer. Some would take that as a bridezilla moment but I like to think that it was just me being assertive in the situation. (Laughs)
T: What’s the hardest part about finding the perfect dress?
M: For me personally, it was a long process to get to the perfect dress. I fell in love with my first dress, a beaded gown and my mom didn’t like it. She wanted me to be a princess. I purchased the ball gown that my mom fell in love with but I regretted it. I ended up going shopping by myself, and fell in love with “the dress” and made that decision completely on my own. In total, I bought 3 dresses … and loved one.
I tell my brides all the time, you have to know what YOU want. I strongly dislike when brides come in with an entourage. We ask people to bring four people or less. When you have more than three or four people with you, the focus goes away from the Bride and everyone talks about what ‘they like’. Well, darling, you aren’t going down the aisle. It’s difficult when you rely on too many people, because you lose sight of what you want and depend on their word for what they want for you.
The bride should always be treated like she’s on a pedestal … always!
T: What mistake do you find most brides make in their dress shopping process?
M: The biggest mistake a bride can make is always, listening to other people instead of listening to herself. You’ll have a bride who loves a dress, and we know she loves it before she comes out of the fitting room because it’s written all over her face; but when she comes out, people will pick it apart and say what they don’t like … and then she hates it. It’s so sad to watch the moment go from extremely high and positive, to low and negative.
T: Lace, Bling, or Plain? … And why?
M: I say … I love lace! My wedding dress was lace and I was glad that I went with it. It’s classic, elegant, and timeless. I still love beaded gowns, but I will always go for lace with a pop of bling!
The thing is, every bride is different, and that’s why I love Ivory Bridal because we have it all for every bride in every size.
T: How can a bride find her dream dress in her budget?
M: So, if she’s looking for a deal here at Ivory, I typically do a sample sale twice a year … once in July and once in December. That’s the perfect opportunity to get a gorgeous gown at up-to 75 percent off the original cost. Then, we also always have “Last Chance” gowns, so you can always find a deal around here!
T: The dress is only a fraction of the look … what are other essentials to make your dress really POP?
M: We actually have this convo a lot here in Ivory, and I think the veil completes the look. You have some brides who are surprisingly not interested in a veil; but, I think they absolutely complete your look. I, particularly, love a cathedral veil. It’s just something beautiful about walking down the aisle with the veil flowing behind you. It’s so pretty!
Shoes are important, too! I love when the bride comes for their final fitting and they bring their shoes. This is highly recommended by the way to ensure your dress is long enough. Shoes are a great way to show your personality. Lots of my brides do colorful shoes, or shoes with bling for a fun spin.
Undergarments are just as important. We sell a long-line plunge bra here at Ivory, and we are sure it’s the perfect bra for nearly every wedding dress we have in stock. It gives you a great lift, and synchs In your waist.
T: Let’s talk shape! Lots of ladies feel like because they are plus size the shape of their dress is limited. Share your insight on silhouettes and how it caters to each body type.
M: I don’t believe that if you’re a certain shape you have to wear a certain silhouette. It really just depends on the dress. So, I encourage my brides to always try it on. We have a beautiful trumpet gown with ruching that looks incredible on everyone. Even if you have a little tummy, the ruching in the corset synchs your waist and camouflages whatever your concerns may be.
You must trust your wedding dress stylist, and try on different things. You’d be surprised by what works!
T: If you could be a bride again, what would you do differently?
M: I would probably have a little more fun with my dress! When I got married I didn’t own Ivory Bridal yet, so I want something different this time around. My husband and I are approaching our 10-year anniversary and plan to do a vow renewal. I might play on the trend of having a second look, or being able to take something off of the dress to make it look different.
I also wouldn’t stress about the small stuff because … everything comes together in the end.
T: What’s next for Ivory Bridal and Mrs. Mesita?
M: We have expanded into wedding planning via Events by Mesita. I’m also creating my own line of wedding gowns just for curvy brides and … we are considering expanding to another state! So there’s a lot in store for Ivory Bridal, and we’re so excited to keep all of our supporters updated!
Told you ladies Mesita is girl-boss goals. You can find her in Atlanta, at Ivory Bridal. Plus Size Brides, if you are in need of the perfect gown, stop by Ivory Bridal and tell them Triena sent you! 465 Boulevard SE #102A, Atlanta, GA 30312
*Images c/o Made You Look Photo