Brides revisited: The most beautiful dress they’ve ever worn
‘It helped me stand tall at the altar to marry the love of my life’
Philippine Daily Inquirer / 07:07 PM May 16, 2021
Finding the perfect wedding dress is a source of both excitement and stress for many brides. On the lead-up to the big day, everything else is secondary to the dress—the most beautiful they’ll ever wear, the most beautiful they’ll ever be, on the most beautiful day they’ve dreamed of since they were little girls.
In this series, we revisit brides who got exactly what they dreamed of in their bridal frock, to inspire other would-be brides. Years after their respective weddings, these women tell Lifestyle how their dress made them feel—and how it makes them feel still. —CVM
NJ Torres Jacobson
Switzerland-based PR and marketing professional
I was married three times in 2016 to the same man in two countries. A beautiful adventure!
The two Philippine weddings were Catholic ceremonies, where I wore the traditional big white gown.
For my first celebration in Mauritius, it was easy-peasy. I knew exactly what to wear. It was an unconventional wedding gown, perfect for a beach and boat wedding. The beautiful lightweight floral gown by Rajo Laurel was simply stunning. The flower details were so perfect they even matched my bouquet. Totally unplanned. It reflected my personality.
How I wanted to look the best for our big day(s)! I had been dreaming about it. I was a nervous wreck when I was walking down the aisle, but this gown made me feel so beautiful and elegant. It made me teary eyed. It helped me stand tall at the altar to marry the love of my life.
Danica Valdes Lloren
General manager, Visions & Expressions PR
I always go for polished and timeless style. I also don’t compromise comfort since one can look good only if she actually feels good, too.
For my wedding gown in 2014, I wanted a dress that could be transformed from the church ceremony to the reception. What I wore was like nothing I’ve ever worn before. It definitely gave me that special magical feeling that a bride should feel on her wedding day. I was comfortable even with all the walking, photo ops and dancing that I did that night!
My designer Pablo Cabahug helped me bring to life the dress that I never imagined I would fall in love with so much. In a nutshell, I think my wedding dress captured my personality: business in the front and party in the back!
Rima Ostwani Najjar
I’ve always admired and loved Francis Libiran’s work and aesthetic—the intricacy, uniqueness and quality of his pieces. I was also certain of one thing: When I got married, I wanted to wear a Filipino designer, and it made complete sense that I chose to work with Francis.
I wanted a classic, elegant and timeless design (I wanted a ball gown with sleeves, a V-neck and a low back) and Francis went on to sketch what would become the wedding gown of my dreams. I was in complete awe of the details—the design pattern, embroidery, beadwork and the amount of work put into it.
Wearing it on my wedding day on April 29, 2016 made me feel like I was walking on clouds. It was the perfect gown for me.
Criscy Bautista Camacho
Marketing and customer service director, Mary Kay
My then fiancé gave me the option to wear a Monique Lhuillier gown or go with a local designer for our wedding on Dec. 1, 2007.
I hesitated at first because it meant that I would not be seeing the gown or even go for a fitting [because the designer is based in Los Angeles]. But the thought of being able to wear a Monique Lhuillier was an opportunity that I couldn’t pass up, either.
We got married in Boracay because that’s where we met. So I had to choose a gown that was dreamy enough to wear on that special day, but also one that was practical on the beach. It was hard to pick one because many were “too heavy” design-wise or the body was too covered for the beach. We ended up with the Swan Lake design. Not only was it the gown Bride Barbie doll wore, but the spaghetti strap lace bodice and layers of soft tulle for the skirt worked for me. I also added Monique Lhuillier’s signature sash to finish off the look.
I got a lot of help from my tita Carol Garcia and Monique’s mom Amparito, their contact in her shop in LA (Los Angeles), and friends from there who had to make the trip to the bridal salon.
After several months of back and forth emails, we finally received the gown a couple of weeks before my wedding. It needed very minimal altering and the length was perfect (thank God I’m tall!).
My wedding gown was perfect and dreamy for me. Beach appropriate on top, bridal gown feels below.
Andee de Guzman Que
Advertising and communications manager, Rustan Commercial Corp.
Before getting married, I watched a lot of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress.” I was drawn to the gowns that featured intricate lace detail. When it was my turn down the aisle, I knew I had to wear a lace gown.
Veejay Floresca created my wedding gown. I was very clear with what I wanted from the get-go. He created three sketches, and we ended up combining a part of each design with the final gown.
My dress featured a tulle bateau illusion neckline with two layers of French lace on the bodice, and a long (and incredibly heavy) skirt and train of layered organza with embroidered lace peeking at the tiers.Since my body type is athletic—
meaning, I was not blessed with curves—I begged Veejay to add a belt to accentuate my waist.Even after so many fittings prior to the wedding, I think I speak for all brides when I say that nothing can prepare you for that incredible feeling of elation when you finally wear your bridal gown. It just made me feel my most stunning, and I couldn’t wait for everyone to see it, to see me in it.
Granted, it was not the most comfortable dress. I would even say that moving around in a ballroom with 45 tables in that frock was quite a feat. But when I look back at my wedding pictures from eight years ago, I still think that, to this day, my bridal gown is the most beautiful dress I’ve ever worn.
Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo
Medical director, The Aivee Group
I got married in Singapore on Oct. 8, 2005. I wore a Monique Lhullier gown. I wanted to wear something romantic, classy, timeless and sophisticated. I actually saw her designs in one of the fashion magazines in Singapore. I chose a wedding dress that fit my personal style. I went for the traditional ball skirt with a lace top and some light beadwork with a satin champagne gold cummerbund, and I felt like a princess for a day. I felt really good wearing my dream wedding dress and it is definitely something I can still wear on my 25th wedding anniversary.
Valerie Villar Zayco
Managing partner, Rosa Clara Philippines
My wedding gown was designed by me, inspired by beautiful gowns I found in wedding magazines and online. I worked with a local dressmaker to help make my design come to life.
When I was planning my wedding in 2008, there were no RTW (ready-to-wear) shops in the Philippines, but I was able to get to know (and fall in love with) the process in Hong Kong, where my then fiance was working. The dress’ design was very timeless. It was made with layers of tulle with a long train, tulle straps, a sweetheart neckline and delicate lace appliqués. It’s actually very similar to many of our Rosa Clara gowns even in the 2021 collection!
Jacqe Yuengtian Gutierrez
CEO, Happy Skin Cosmetics, Blk Cosmetics and Seoul White Korea
My wedding gown was made by Francis Libiran. Francis made the dresses for all my events with Pond’s when I was the brand manager, so we had a good relationship. I felt that I could trust him and he understood what I wanted. I was also very in love with the idea of a ballgown for my wedding, and he was known for making those tiered dresses that made you feel like a princess. I felt very special—like a princess—and loved on my wedding day.
Boop Yap Tañedo
Celebrity fashion stylist
Michael Cinco made my wedding gown in 2015. He helped me bring to fruition a design that not many brides wore at that time: an off-shoulder, fully beaded gown with a detachable train. I felt like it was the perfect silhouette because of the classic cut. Also, I opted for a nude base so that the intricately designed white beadwork would stand out. It was a great and seamless experience to collaborate with Michael. He enhanced with his brilliance the design that I had in my mind and in the end, he created the wedding gown of my dreams. It made me feel beautiful and special, which I think is what every bride should feel on their wedding day. INQ