September 10, 2013 8:44 pm
Last chance gown sale

Every business goes through periods of growth and change.  I’m thrilled to announce that from this fall forward, I am going to be focusing exclusively on my line of boleros.  Each French lace bolero is full of intricate handmade details to take your wedding dress from pretty to gorgeous.

French lace bolero by Alisa Benay

In order to get ready for this exciting change in my product line, I am no longer going to be selling bridal gowns, jewelry, or wedding veils.  The Last Chance Sale is your opportunity to purchase couture quality gowns and accessories and greatly reduced prices.  Any gowns that do not sell during my sale will be sent to Alfa Bridal and may be purchased from there.  Please note the Alfa Bridal reserves the right to charge fair retail prices and may not offer Alisa Benay gowns at the prices found during the Last Chance Sale.

Millicent gown by Alisa Benay The Millicent gown our first selection in the Last Chance Sale.  Millicent is currently available in size 4 Ivory.  Click on the link for more details and purchasing information.

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February 20, 2013 10:38 pm
Ashley’s Wedding on Inspired by This

I’m thrilled to finally share with you Ashley’s wedding, which was featured on Inspired By This today!  Ashley asked me to work with her to custom design 8 unique bridesmaid’s dresses for her outdoor ceremony in Malibu, CA.   Her color palette of soft peaches with coral and ivory touches made this a wedding a dream to work with.  We decided on ethereal chiffon for each of the dresses and the girls picked out a silhouette and color combination they each liked best.  All of the maid’s dresses were made long distance from measurements taken by local seamstresses and the gowns were made in way that if needed, they could be easily altered locally as well.  I’m so in love with all the custom touches Ashley used throughout her wedding, what a stunningly beautiful wedding.

You can also find Ashley’s wedding featured in the latest issue of Destination I Do Magazine!

Ashley2

custom bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

bridesmaids dresses by Alisa Benay

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

mismatched maids by Alisa Benay

Photographer: This Modern Romance
Wedding Planner/Coordinator: Jesi Haack Design
Bride’s Dress: Alvina Valenta
Flowers & Decor: JL Designs
Bridesmaid Dresses: Alisa Benay
Invitations & Stationery: Cherish Paperie
Invitations & Stationery: Pitbulls & Posies
Makeup Artist: 10.11 Makeup
Rental Furniture: Classic Party Rentals
Photobooth: Shout Out Booth
Special Thanks: Be Inspired PR

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June 13, 2012 12:35 pm
Real Bride Kierra: French Lace Bolero

Back in January, I got a frantic email from Kierra who wanted to order my lace bolero, but was sure she was too late and wouldn’t be able to get it in time for her upcoming wedding.  I reassured her that there was plenty of time, even with international shipping!  I just heard back from her and received these lovely pictures of her on her wedding day.  Congrats, Kierra, you look amazing!

Alisa Benay French Lace Bolero

Hi Alisa,
I am actually writing just to say thank you. I emailed you back in January in a tizzy and you were just so great to work with. You were able to calm me down and reassure me that my bolero would be there in time.
The bolero was perfect. So many people actually thought it was a part of my dress and couldn’t believe that I had purchased it months after I bought the dress.  I felt so much more confident in my dress and the bolero allowed me to feel beautiful and modest.
Thank you so much again. You were seriously a savior as like I said before – the bolero was an accidental oversight and something that became last minute item that shouldn’t have been. I just loved it so much and it was just so beautiful.
Sincerely,

Kierra
Purchased January 2012
Wedding April 7, 2012

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May 23, 2012 10:51 am
Millicent sample gowns: Make me an Offer!

To kick off my summer clearance sale, I am starting with listing my last 2 remaining size 4 Millicent sample gowns on my Etsy store. Make a statement with this dramatic tiered ball gown in silk taffeta and English embroidered lace that is custom milled for Alisa Benay Bridal.  The bodice is encrusted with gold and crystal trim and a center crystal applique and finishes with a faux corset back.  Get into the gown easily with an invisible side zipper.

Currently listed at $1435.  I am now accepting offers on this beautiful gown.  All reasonable offers will be considered.  No holds, gowns go to the first 2 offers.  This gown is discontinued, there won’t be any more of these available after the samples are gone.  Email offers to alisa {at} alisabenay {dot} com.

Look for further information coming out in the next week about my summer clearance sale.  I’m dedicating June to clearing my shelves of all remaining samples.  If I’ve got it in stock, it will be on sale! Gowns, jewelry, veils, boleros, fascinators, & more!!!

Millicent sample gown by Alisa Benay

Millicent sample gown by Alisa Benay

Photography by Barnaby Draper

These samples are in like new condition.  One was worn on the runway at NYC Bridal Market and one was used for a display mannequin.  Since then, they have been stored in our studio and only tried on a couple of times.

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May 15, 2012 9:33 pm
Crestone Farm Styled Wedding Shoot

These images are from the Crestone Farm Styled photo shoot I recently participated in with Kelsey Bigelow Photography and Natosha Cooke Make Up Artistry for Colorado Brides & Babies magazine.  I Love, Love, Love chickens.  Really.  These shots are so fun & the pop of yellow in the farm scene is so cute.

The gown shown is my Priscilla gown.  It’s currently available as a sample gown listed in my Etsy store.  You can also have it made for you as a custom gown, inquire for details!

Alisa Benay Priscilla gown

Alisa Benay Priscilla gown

Photography:  Kelsey Bigelow Photography

Make Up: Natosha Cooke Make Up Artistry

Gown:  Alisa Benay

Hair: Hair Design by Brandice

Cake: Indulge Bakery

Flowers: Passion Flower Design

Styling: Merida Teot for Studio 9720

Décor: Entwined Planning

Models: Kai Chaney & Aaron Watkins

Location: Crestone Farm

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February 24, 2012 11:29 am
JCrew Celeste Pique Dot Dress

Here is a snapshot of the replica I made of the discontinued J Crew Celeste Pique Dot Dress.  The dress is $750 in cotton lawn with appliqued dots.

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J Crew carried the Celeste Pique Dot Dress in 2007.   The next year I had a bride ask me to make a replica of the dress because it was no longer available through the JCrew website.  I did a blog post on our search for the perfect fabric & over the past couple of years, that blog post has generated quite a bit of conversation with other brides as well with led to other dresses being made, but never the exact replica.  This past December, I made the exact replica for a wedding on the beach in Mexico & have decided to offer the replica for sale in my shop.   It’s not yet listed (I’m waiting on the professional images) but if you are interested before the listing goes live, please email me at alisa {at} alisabenay {dot} com.

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February 14, 2012 3:34 pm
Water Color

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I’m taking a water color class at Bemis School of Art in downtown Colorado Springs with the lovely Patrice Filler of Fare Bella gallery (on Ruxton in Manitou Springs).  I made this painting this morning.  It’s supposed to be a wash study of a sunset/sky.  Turn your head sideways.  See?  But the wash decided it wanted to be a flower illusion.  Pretty rudimentary, but I’m having a good time & look forward to getting better in this medium.

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January 17, 2012 12:40 pm
Taxes & Elephant Poo

I promised myself that I would buckle down this week and get my Q4  & year end financial taken care of.  I can see this going into next week as well in reality, but I’m going to pretend for right now like I can get it all done in the next couple of days.  There is much hand slapping going on over here as I make myself stop tagging cookies beautiful pictures on pinterest, sketching doodles of new product ideas, watching the new Betty White show trailer, ….  you know how it goes.  The list of things that fall in the category of “more fun that doing the books” is pretty vast.  I leave you with some hints about upcoming better-than-taxes posts…and a picture of what appears to be elephant poo:

Coming up on the blog over the next few weeks

~ Real Bride Features:  Oh my!  I’m woefully behind on getting you some yummy images of real brides who have worn Alisa Benay gowns.  I’m going to do a week long series to showcase them all at once.

~ Streamlining:  This falls under the heading of “and you call yourself a business guru because….?”   I’m a total nut for a really tight business plan & have even done consulting with other small business owners on making your marketing idiot-proof.  And yet?  It has come to my notice that the Alisa Benay online presence is a bit of a jumble.  I’m here, and here, and here, and here, and well, also here (the blog).  A bit much, no? By mid-February I’m streamlining down to just the Alisa Benay blog and the Etsy store.  I’ve teamed up with ‘Preneaur and the ubber-awesome Katie James of    Studio Pixelated to help me out with the big switch.

~ Knit Trousseau: sneak peeks at the lace knitting book

I spent some quality face to face time (see #1 here) with my good friend Denee the other day.  We took a nice little stroll through our local antique barn/flea market type place & ran across this little nugget:

poo

It appears that someone spent a great deal of time hand carving a table that’s too tall to be a coffee table, to weird to be a kitchen table, and well, contains tiny elephants sitting on top of life size elephant poo.

Peace, love, and all that jazz,

Alisa

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January 10, 2012 3:50 pm
2012: The Journey Continues

After wrapping up my insights on 2011, I thought I would also put forth my ideas for the journey into 2012.  I won’t call the list below a list of resolutions.  I’m just not that brave.  A list of resolutions leaves room for failure and I actively choose not to feel failure-ish for ideas that don’t quite pan out when life bites me in the butt.

(an as a side note…  Dear Life:  The next time you decide to bite me in the butt, please bite hard enough to actually remove some of the mushy side area that doesn’t fit well  into any brand of jeans known to man and take it with you.  Seriously, step it up here.  Thank you.)

This is more a list of what is on my mind at the present for things I would like to do during the year.  I have learned that living right here, right now is the best possible use of my time and energy.  I am open to the idea that come May 3rd, right here, right now might look a little different than it does now.  Which, in turn, might make item number (insert random number here) a completely idiotic thing to measure myself by on December 31st.

Here goes.  During 2012….

1) I would like to spend more time with my friends.  Actual face to face interaction, not just the occasional drive-by Facebook comment.  If you hang out with me, I will try not to pass out in public from inebriation like that time last summer at the pool.  Or, at least, I promise to be good entertainment if all else fails.

2) I would like to pursue art for the sake of creation.  I have spent too much time over the past couple of years attempting to always make money from the things I create.  I want to get back to the process of art, not the end result.  Mixed Media is calling my name right now, we’ll have to see if that’s just me hearing the funny voices again.

3) I would like to spend more time outdoors this year.  Just grab-the-kids-and-go days where we hike and picnic.  I can’t believe how many hiking spots here in our local area we haven’t explored yet. And, I am of course, here, talking about after the snow stops in May.  Mama’s not the hike in the cold while wearing shorts type.  Let’s all be real, here.

4) I would like to finish several projects for the lace knitting book that I’m working on.  It’s challenging and requiring me to step outside of my comfort bubble.

5) I would like to develop a routine that includes taking care of myself a little better.  That includes both eating better and exercise.   I won’t throw any hard and fast numbers into the mix here because the reality is that I’m still going to make Toll House Cookies (ask me for my high altitude recipe!) on a pretty regular basis.  I just want to say at the end of the year that I am more healthy than I was at the beginning.  Can you call “I want to be slightly less squishy” a valid goal?

6) I would like to stay on top of my finances, both personal & business, on a somewhat monthly basis so that I don’t have to do the 2 week thing that happens every January where I have to sort through mountains of paperwork.

7) I would like to streamline my online presence with my business and then learn how to manage things like an SEO campaign by myself.  A somewhat geeky one, I know, but I am already taking steps to make this one a reality.

8 ) I would like to finish the stupid rock project on the side of the house that I started 2 bleepity-bleep years ago.  You’ll understand that one better when I show you pictures this summer.

9) I would like to have my basement completely cleaned out.  I know, I know, this is a measurable one, which I said I wouldn’t do because of the whole “what if I fall down a fight of steps on May 3rd while attempting to live by #5 and break both my arms, requiring extensive surgery and dual thumb to armpit casts, and right here, right now is more I would like to wipe my own butt and less I would like to develop a routine of personal development, etc.“  But I need the clutter gone from my life.  So there it is.

10) I would like to sew something for myself.  Which, shockingly, is not something I’ve done for several years.  I’ve got some divinely soft modal fabric in my stash that’s dying to be a comfy cute little top.  The kind that can, you know, be worn both as jammies and also as a slap-a-bra-under-it-and-wear-it-to-work-and-nobody-knows-you-just-slept-in-it kind of top.

11) I would like to shave my legs more than, say, 10 times.  No comments from the peanut gallery.

12) I would like to post more regularly on my blog than I have over the past year.  For the past couple of years, I have posted commercial entries showcasing my wedding gown business.  And in doing so, have lost my voice.  My writing is somewhat snarky, witty, and very personal.  When I’m writing at my best, it’s a style that makes you feel as though you’re sitting down with me over a good glass of wine (all the while knowing that my alcohol consumption prior to inebriation threshold is fairly low and you might get to see something pretty funny before the day is over).  I want the blog to go back to being a showcase of my journey, not an advertisement for my product.  It was like that many years ago and brought many great friends into my life.

There you have it.  12 ideas for the journey though 2012.  What are your ideas?

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January 7, 2012 8:33 pm
Some thoughts on 2011

I’ve spent the past week giving some thought to what 2011 meant to me.  It was a year of change for our family and I thought I would share with you some insights into the highlights.  Feel free to read it in the erratic pseudo poetry style I wrote it in:

In 2011….

As the year emerged, I began to breath again after the sucker punch to the gut of my husband loosing his job with a non-profit that he poured his heart and soul into for over 18 years, and the life threatening depression that followed for him.

I learned that a new normal is just that; new, different, frightening…and yet, normal.  Breakfast is still in the morning.  Laundry still needs washed.  A good night’s sleep or a Hershey bar can still restore the soul.

I started playing angry birds.  Silly birds, why are you so mad at the pigs?

I celebrated the last birthday before official middle age.

And learned that I like myself now more than I did at 18 or 21 or 30 or any of the other milestone birthdays.

I had an unusual amount of friends that had babies.  Unusual due to the said birthday mentioned above.

I came to terms with the fact that my business isn’t going to be what I thought it would be.

And opened myself up to the creative flow that has been stifled by trying to make my product too commercial.

After intermittent months of being an ostrich with my head in the sand, feeling like a failure, and not addressing issues that needing tending to.

I have accepted, and…to be honest…embraced, that my art may only ever be for my own edification.  And that is fine.  That revelation brings me back to a place where I can create instead of make.  And with all creation, comes the divine spark that is the soul.

I learned that with a little of the right hair gel and diffuser, my natural hair is quite curly.  No really.  It’s as big as any 80’s spiral wrapped piggy back perm I ever rocked.  Pics to come.

I worked a regular 40 hour a week/outside the home/paying job for an entire year for the first time in my life.

And, by the way, I now have a “2nd” job.  Reference said 40 hr/week job above.  More on that later.

I posted the single best Facebook post ever:  If birthday cake had a fan club, I would be the slightly stalker-ish ex-girlfriend with a restraining order sending in perfume scented stationary with things like “If you’ll just give me another chance, I’m sure we can work it out.  I can make you love me.  I can be better, I promise.”

And?  On an randomly unrelated note…I had a practice run at Weight Watchers.  Practice is good, right?

I became the mom of a teenager.  And 2 black belts.  Not necessarily in that order.

In my darkest hour, I discovered a marriage that was stripped bare, removed off all else, it was just you & just me.  And discovered that now is better.  And then doesn’t matter.  Then brought us now, and now is all there is.

I found new friends to laugh with, both face to face & online.

And lost one of my dearest friends.

And miss her at the most random times.  Which then make me laugh, and she would laugh and cry with me if she could.

I figured out that my obsession with Harry Connick, Jr. would be better if he would stop appearing on talk shows.  Really, he’s a bit of a dork.

I hiked mountains with my family.  And felt at peace, whole, complete.  At home in god’s country.  Wherever this life takes me, the mountains will always be more home to me than anywhere else.

I finished 2 Harry Potter books.  And am feeling the tug and both wanting and not wanting to finish the series.  The inner geek in me wants to know what happens next.  But I have the bittersweet knowledge that this might be our last book series to read with a (not so) little one on my lap.

I set out my last batch of cookies for Santa.

I started working on a book of lace knitting patterns.  Some days I feel like I’m in over my head with this, math not being my strongest skill, but it’s a fun challenge that I am determined to conquer.

boutique benay screenshot

Screen shot of my online store:  Boutique Benay

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The fam on top of Vail Mountain (at the Wedding Chapel, if you’ve been there)

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Lace ruffle for the bottom of the wedding dress that will be in the lace knitting book

Gwynne

Rest peacefully Gwynne.  You are loved.

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