Most brides try to incorporate "something old" into their big day. But when actress Audrey Moore recently married producer/writer Jesse Lumen, her love of nine years, she took things one step further.
In a totally nontraditional turn of events, Moore asked her female wedding guests and bridal party to rewear their own wedding gowns to her "fairy-tale-meets-amusement-park" themed nuptials.
"I'm the last of my friends to be married and I went to most of their weddings. They're all such beautiful women inside and out and I had heard so often that they were really sad they couldn’t wear their wedding dress again," Moore told TODAY Style. "So then I decided I really wanted to be surrounded by a bunch of my beautiful princess brides and have a magical, fun day together."
And, no, the bride wasn't worried about anyone else outshining her on her big day.
"As an actress, I am accustomed to high-pressure days where you have to get dressed for events and you've dreamed of this day your whole life. So for my wedding, I didn’t feel a lot of pressure to have my one day be so 'spot on,' because I knew I would wear a gown again," Moore said. "I felt a lot of heart and care for my friends who deserved the chance to wear their wedding dress again."
Naturally, not all of Moore's wedding guests were married or still had their wedding gowns, so she also had a backup plan: She asked several loved ones to dress up in character instead. Moore's bridesmaids were surprised at her special request at first, but were soon psyched by the idea.
“My first reaction was, 'If I’m wearing my wedding dress then what is Audrey going to wear?!'" said Aviva Baumann Woodworker, one of Moore's bridesmaids from Santa Fe, New Mexico. "I was excited and nervous about wearing my dress, and thought, 'Would it still fit?' When the special day came, though, we were all swept up in the magic. It reminded me of all the beautiful emotions I felt on my wedding day. I hope this starts a trend because I’d love to wear my wedding dress again."
So, what does a gal wear when most of her female guests are also dressed as brides? An icy blue, princess-worthy gown that also qualified as "something blue" — even though she didn't originally intend it that way.
"I had no idea what I wanted to wear on my wedding day, but I often work with a seamstress for a lot of my event clothing, so I was excited to collaborate with someone who knew my body type and could take into consideration how I move and dance," Moore said. "I was up for anything: polka dots, prints, red, black, brown."
Then Moore stumbled upon a beautiful piece of beaded lace in an icy blue color and excitedly shared it with her seamstress and designer. Over the next six months, the team put together Moore's dream wedding gown, which she kept secret from everyone — including her husband-to-be.
“I kept priming him and asking him, 'What do you think the dress will look like?' Everyone else was really worried about what I would wear and every bridesmaid thought I was playing a practical joke on them. People thought I would show up in a gown made out of pizza!" she said. "Then Jesse said to me, 'Honestly it doesn’t matter to me what you wear, even if its completely silly. Whatever you choose, I'm just so happy that we’ll be spending the day honoring ourselves and our love.'"
As her design process progressed, Moore realized her dream was to dress as Elsa from the movie "Frozen." Her seamstress even brought a cape to drape over her shoulders during the reception!
Lumen and his groomsmen got in on the fun, too, and wore tuxedo print hoodies to the ceremony. The cool style also held special meaning for the couple.
"I met him in a white hoodie and I somehow always pictured him in a white hoodie when we got married. In fact, my favorite thing for him to wear is a hoodie," Moore said. "So when we discovered that they made tux-print hoodies in white, it seemed perfect."
Another unconventional idea? The happy couple's mothers served as "flower girls" at the ceremony, and wore black-and-white, floor-length gowns. Although they weren't exactly thrilled with the idea at first, they enjoyed it in the end.
“Once I got over they the unconventional aspect, I had a lot of fun. It surpassed my own wedding as the best wedding ever!” Syliva Stearnes, Moore's mother, told TODAY Style.
After the happy couple said "I do," the wedding party changed into costumes and partied the night away at a reception that was equally as whimsical as the ceremony. The party featured everything from a movie theater-themed “sugar bar” and French fry bar to an award ceremony (best costume, best great-grandfather and best dog not in attendance were just a few awards handed out) and arcade games for guests to play.
Moore and Lumen also had 18 wedding cakes to nosh on, each decorated by guests and the wedding party at the rehearsal dinner. The idea was based off a tradition in Lumen's family, since they gather together every summer to decorate a whole bunch of cakes.
"Normally at rehearsal dinners you just sit there awkwardly, so we wanted something more active and engaging that would blend the two families together. Also, my mom is a master cake decorator! This activity allowed both sides to get a sense of each other’s personalities and mingle and talk about something interesting and fun," Moore said.
Looking back on their December nuptials, Lumen feels blessed for the opportunity to have a wedding that truly represented their personalities and relationship.
"We’re lucky to have an incredible group of creative friends who helped us put this whole thing together, including all of my groomsmen who showed up at the crack of dawn to help me design and construct a ceremony that would be fitting for a dozen brides. It’s hard to stand out when everyone is wearing a wedding dress, but when I saw Audrey’s dress I was blown away. I can’t wait for her to find an occasion to wear it again, and I hope this inspires other brides to do the same!” he said.
For Moore, getting the opportunity to share the spotlight with her best gal pals and hear how beautiful they felt was worth it: "All of the women that wore their past wedding dresses are still married. We even did a slideshow of everyone's wedding pictures for guests to see when they entered the ceremony area. At the end of the day, we really just wanted the wedding to celebrate marriage as a whole.