We. Love. Wedding Dresses. All shapes, all colors, we love them! There’s nothing more beautiful than watching a bride-to-be put on a gown and instantly transform into a radiant confident goddess. If only we could wear wedding dresses all the time, right?! We chatted with one of our favorite American bridal brands, Cicada Bridal. Co-owner, Jennifer was gracious enough to share some of her time with us and we learned so much about one of our favorite brands!
The Newport Bride: Tell us a little about how you came to start your own bridal line?
Jen: It all started about 20 years. Elizabeth had been working with a local boutique owner to make clothes for the store and I was selling accessories at the same boutique. Elizabeth ended up hiring me to work with her making clothes. After a 6 months, the store no longer wanted to pay for hand-made clothes but the owner let us rent a machine and space and together we started making our own garments. At first we just made regular clothes, then we did casual ware wholesale for a year and it was too tough (prior to internet age) and the part we really liked was the local selling piece. People were coming to us asking for wedding dresses (2 dozen) made with our designs and it took off! We found great local boutiques that wanted high quality fabrics made by hand here in America.
3 years into working together, Elizabeth and I started our first bridal line. We opened our own bridal shop and it took off from there!
The wholesale portion of our business started when we moved to the new space 3 years ago. We wanted to start reaching a wider audience beyond Seattle so we met with Wed Altered group and showed with them in New York City at the bridal show. It was there that we met with Andria Bird Bride and agreed to show at her boutique in Newport and also a salon in Denver. Just getting those first two non Seattle salons was huge for us and we’ve grown so much since then.
The Newport Bride: Where do you get inspiration for your designs?
Jen: We are inspired by vintage couture details, high quality fabrics, but above all, our customers are our greatest inspiration. Personally I’ve taken over 3000 fittings in my career. I have talked with every kind of bride and seen what current brides are looking for. Even the space that our showroom is in is an inspiration. We are on the ground level storefront side of a beautiful Seattle Hotel. It’s a great hospitality environment and with weddings happening at the hotel all the time, it’s a constant reminder of why we do what we do.
Having the shop and working with brides is the driving force behind the collection. That’s why the collection is so different. We are just listening to brides all day every day. We hear what they’re passionate about and what they are looking for in a dress so we design based around that. We hear them talk about how daring they want to go, what kind of sparkle they want, the necklines they’re comfortable with, and we really try to design to the customer vs creating a design then just hoping the customer likes it. Our brides don’t want to feel like the dress is wearing them. They want simple, elegant, and to feel at home in the dress. We really focus on the shape, cut, and fabric and enhancing a woman’s natural shape and beauty.
The Newport Bride: What is the process for your dresses being created?
Jen: We have about 200 gowns in our shop with samples ranging from in xs-3x. Once a bride has chosen her dress, the real work starts. Each dress is created by hand in our workroom around the corner from the showroom. Our staff can take the brides custom measurements and alternation wishes directly from the showroom over to the workspace to ensure the bride gets exactly what she wants. We can custom cut every piece to fit a bride. We can alter the pattern as the bride needs to be longer, shorter, allow for a biggest bust, curvier back, etc.. For brides in the Seattle area, 3 months before their wedding date we have them come into the store for their first fitting with me. 1 month before their wedding, the brides come back for a final try on and any remaining alternations. When brides get their dress here in our storefront, all alterations are included. Each piece is treated like a custom dress and cut, sewn, and created just for that bride.
Getting to work with brides every day also means that if there’s a piece of a dress that I notice myself pinning in the same place on most brides over and over and over, we can just make a whole design change for that part of the dress going forward. We don’t have to call a factory in China and see if they can change it, it’s immediate. Just another bonus of working with a small company!
The Newport Bride: Do you have a favorite design?
Jen: The Jessica is a classic favorite. From our newest collection, the Kayla is quickly becoming a favorite of our brides, and mine too!
The Newport Bride: Thank you for talking with us Elizabeth. We love Cicada’s designs and the fact that it’s an American made company with every dress being hand-made. That’s the bridal dream come true!
Jen: I couldn’t agree more! Thank you!
You can find some of Cicaida’s gorgeous gowns at Andria Bird Bride in Bowen’s Warf downtown Newport as well as on Tyler and Julianna’s Hotel Viking Wedding, and our Lilly Pulitzer Summer Styled Shoot!
How GORGEOUS are these styles? You’re going to want them all…
Aren’t these gowns lovely? See more of their gorgeous gowns on our Pinterest board, The Dress.
Images from Cicadabrida.com, Header by Luma Wedding