Imagine wearing a dress design that literally no one else has worn, just you. Imagine walking down the aisle in a gown that was specifically created + handmade with your exact measurements (without even needing alterations...because that's expensive!).
Imagine handing your ideas to a professional wedding gown designer and being sewn into the dress of your dreams!
As a bridal design house-based in Minneapolis, Mara Marie Bridal focuses on custom wedding wear––whether you are looking for a custom wedding dress or veil, Mara Marie will bring your vision to life. All of her gowns are carefully and perfectly constructed by hand here in Minneapolis!
We enjoyed sitting down with the beautiful + talented wedding dress designer, awww-ing over her beautiful studio in person and learning more about her + her passion.
Upon arriving to her cozy + absolutely beautiful studio in Minneapolis, Mara's passion, creativity, and talent became quickly apparent to us. Carefully curated wedding dress sketches lined the walls, beautiful fabric was elegantly draped across tables, and picture frames of brides wearing their custom Mara Marie Bridal gown were proudly perched for all to see.
There aren't enough words to describe how stylish, easy to talk to, and talented she is. We already know all you brides will love her as much as we do!
And fun fact: Mara is getting married and is starting the process of creating her own dress. We even got a sneak peek of the early stages and let's just say we are already obsessed!
Keep reading to hear what the design process looks like, how fabric inspires her designs, and why she recommends brides still go dress shopping.
Plus, discover how you can win $100 towards a custom designed veil at The Forever Bride Market where you can meet her in person, show her your ideas, and ask her questions!
How did you get your start in the bridal industry?
Mara: I got my start by interning for Carol Hannah in New York City.
What inspired you to open a bridal shop?
Mara: About 2 years ago when I graduated from college. My best friend got engaged so I designed her dress and kept it rolling from there!
Where do you find your inspiration?
Mara: Definitely through fabric. I literally saw that fabric [points to her own wedding dress on a mannequin across the room] and I realized the opportunities were endless. I see a fabric and instantly a silhouette comes to mind.
I get inspired by the textures that fabrics have. And when you're draping something, it's way easier to come up with something creative versus just sketching. Fabric can do something that your mind can't create.
What is the best part of owning your own business?
Mara: I'd say the best part is being my own boss and that it's 100% me. I also love working with brides, hearing their stories, and being a part of their special day. I definitely tear up every time one of my brides walks down the aisle. My job's not over until that moment happens.
What is your style and what sets you apart from other bridal boutiques?
Mara: I'm 100% custom. A lot of bridal boutiques don't have dresses that are made in the United States, let alone Minnesota. Most wedding dresses nowadays are made in China, where the rest of our clothes are made.
So I fully believe in offering custom dresses that are locally handmade. I think it's really cool to actually have a human being sewing your wedding dress.
My style is a mix of boho and traditional. I feel like I'm a chameleon. I can be very boho, but I also love to design simple, classic designs––a mix!
What does the process of custom designing a wedding dress and veil look like?
Mara: It usually takes about 6 months. I tell the brides to begin with shopping for dresses at stores, because trying on dresses is such an emotional and fun experience. And plus, they usually end up loving a style they didn't think they'd end up wanting.
Next we'll do some fabric sourcing and sketching. And then I do a set of 3 prototypes. I essentially build the dress on their body, so if there needs to be any changes throughout the process then we can do that. And then there's no need for alterations, which is the best part! The fit of a wedding dress can really make or break your wedding dress. Because if you purchase a $7,000 dress but get really bad alterations.. it's not going to look like a $7,000 dress anymore.
What has been your favorite moment or memory so far?
Mara: Last summer my childhood friend of 14 years walked down the aisle in a dress I made her. Just having that moment of "Wow, I made her wedding dress and I can't imagine anyone else wearing it!" was really cool, especially since I've known her for so many years.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Mara: I'm hoping to have my own studio/store, or either being carried in other stores around the country or internationally. I'd love to be carried internationally and get an excuse for travel [laughs].
Is there anything else you'd like brides to know?
Mara: I want brides to know the process and custom designed dresses aren't scary. I think once brides meet me they'll trust me. The custom design process is really fun! They get to be in the drivers seat of their wedding dress and I think it makes it that much more special!
Have designs in mind that you want to show Mara? Have hundreds of questions to ask her? Come meet Mara in person at The Forever Bride Market on Sunday, January 21st at Radisson Blu Mall of America (details + tickets here). And the best part––she will be giving away $100 towards a custom designed veil!
And the deals don't end there! Mara Marie Bridal also offers an exclusive Forever Bride deal for all of you signed up with us! (No worries if you aren't yet, you can sign up here for free + start saving money with only the best vendors!)
Click here for details on her special deal!
photography // RaeLyn Nicole Photography