Monthly Archives: November 2007

Engagement Season

More engagements happen between Thanksgiving and New Years Eve than at any other time of the year. Or between Thanksgiving & Valentines day depending on which experts you talk to.

In honor of engagement season, I thought I would share my engagement story. Feel free to share yours back!

In the spring on 1991, just shy of my 19th birthday, I met Him. I was going to school at Kent State University in the Akron, Ohio area. We had a guest speaker at my church & boy was he cute. Fine, I guess, was the word we used back then. He was older than me & I didn’t want him to know I was only 18. Our group of college aged kids went out to dinner after church most Sunday’s & that Sunday, He tagged along. You know those big round tables at Olive Garden? He sat directly across from me & starred at me the whole time. Big brown Italian eyes, with eyelashes that curl back up & touch his eyebrows. I don’t remember eating anything. I went home & told my roommate that I had just met my husband.

We didn’t see each other again for just over a year. We met on a Monday night at an event at my church & saw each other every night that week. On Thursday I changed my upcoming course schedule b/c I knew. On Saturday, we went to the Cleveland Museum of Art (he took me back there on a surprise 10th anniversary date, 5 months early b/c I was huge with our 3rd child & he knew we’d never have made it with a newborn). On the following Tuesday we went to see the Akron Symphony. Beethoven’s 9th. That was the night we decided to get married. Not so much a proposal as a verbalization of what both of us already knew. We went ring shopping that Saturday.

The day Kevin went back to buy the ring, there was a promo going on for a new Cleveland radio station, 107.7 “The End”. They played R.E.M.’s The End of the World as We Know It all day long over & over again. To this day, one of our favorite movie scenes is where Chris Farley & David Spade try to sing the lyrics to that on Tommy Boy.  The ‘Heed’ scenes from So I Married an Ax Murderer are probably our most favorite.

Three weeks after we met, I returned to Arkansas for summer vacation. Kevin made arrangements to come & see me twice that summer. The first time he came down, we went out to the Red Apple Inn in Heber Springs. We sat on the banks of the river and he told me he had something to give me. Something that came with a lot of responsibility. Something huge. He had me close my eyes and hold out my hand. Into which he put a duplicate set of keys to his new car. You have to know us to know that we both thought that was hilarious. Then he gave me the ring. We had dinner that night with a possum looking on. The restaurant had a large plate glass window overlooking the lake view & this possum just crawled right up on the ledge & watched us eat dinner.

We were married the following summer at Green Chapel on the Hendrix College campus in my hometown.

Here’s some early pics of us:


A trip to Seaworld. I’ve since sworn off the displaying of such glowingly white legs in public!


My college graduation. We had already been married a year & 1/2.


The journey begins. July 30, 1993


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More FAQ

A couple of more questions that I’ve had recently:

1) Can your gowns be made in my size?  Absolutely!  Personally, I’m currently a size 14 (down from an 18, yeehaw!), and curvy.  I’ve never actually been able to buy clothing that actually really and truely fits.  I became a fashion designer by way of making clothes for myself that would fit over the junk in my trunk.  It’s very important to me that this line is for everybody.  If you’re not sure which size option would be best for your body type, just call me and we’ll figure it out together.

2)  How soon can we start seeing the new gowns?  I’m working hard ladies!  Getting Samples from muslin to complete takes a while.  I’ll keep you updated on the blog as we go along.  I’ll post about it separately, but I’m going to be sponsoring a participant in the upcoming Miss Black Colorado next week with a version of the Amelia, so look for pictures from that in a couple of weeks.

3) Can your gowns be made from other material to match my themed wedding?  I’m on the fence on this one.  Write to me and ask about your specific needs and I’ll think it through.

Any other questions?  Just ask, I’m here to help your dreams come true!

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Grand Opening Sale

I’m running a sale, but I don’t think it’s up on the website yet. My wonderful web designer Sandy bumped a couple of clients to get me up and running with my new site by last Friday & I think she probably has a bit of catch up to do this week with other clients.

The sale details:

If you place an order from my website by December 31, 2007 you will receive 40% off your purchase price. You can schedule a delivery date for any time you choose (after April 1, 2008) and still get the 40% off if you make your deposit before December 31.

Sure you want one of my gowns, just not sure which one? Or want to wait to see the 3 new ones that will be up in January? No worries, I’m flexible! You can make a $1500 deposit before December 31, decide later on your gown selection, & you’ll still receive the 40% off! See, I’m nice like that 🙂

Scenarios, just so we understand each other:

Scenario A)

you want the Rebecca just as it’s pictured on the website. So you chose the corset in Embroidered Silk Dupioni in Size Choice A and the skirt in solid silk Taffeta also in Size Choice A

Corset: $980

Skirt: $3000

Your total: $3980

Your sale price: $2388 (plus shipping & handling)

Your deposit amount, due before Dec 31: $1194

Your decided upon delivery date: July 11, 2008

Amount you owe before gown can be delivered: $1194 (plus shipping and handling)

(your delivery date is a pre-arrange date decided upon between you and I at the time of your deposit. It can be anytime, but I suggest you make it at least 6 to 8 weeks before your wedding)

Scenario B)

You really love the Caroline, but think you might want it with sleeves. Oooh, but the sketch of the Amelia has caught your eye, too. And you’ve got a December 19, 2008 wedding, so you’re really wanting to see the velvet swatches before you decide on your fabric.

Fairy godmother, to the rescue!

1) Place your $1500 deposit before Dec 31, 2007.

2) Get your swatch kit in buttercream when they’re ready this December (sorry, girls, I’m still waiting on a couple of companies to send me their goods!). If you’ve already placed your deposit, I won’t even make you pay for the swatch kit, I’ll just send that for free. (feel the magic wand swirling around your head now)

3) decide in April what you really want after all is the Caroline. And you were so right about the velvet. It’s just divine. You have to have that. So you order the Caroline corset with sleeves in velvet (it comes with the embroidered panel in the front and on part of the sleeves) in size Choice B, because you’re a D cup, and you want the Ball gown skirt in solid silk velvet in Size Choice A, and you just really have to have the overskirt in the embroidered silk dupioni. Wow, what an amazing gown!  I’m going to have so much fun with this one.  I can’t wait to see your pictures!

Corset: $1330

Skirt: $2600

Overskirt: $1925

Your total: $5855

Your sale price: $3513

Minus your deposit: $3513 – $1500 = $2013

Amount you owe before your delivery date of October 21, 2008: $2013 (plus shipping and handling)

My two most Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) Can you get a refund on your deposit?  I outline my official policy here.   Most likely if it’s more than 3 to 4 weeks after your deposit has been made, I will have already ordered your fabric. I order fabric and supplies in bulk quantities based on the orders on my schedule.  If I have already ordered materials for you, you can receive your refund amount minus the expenses occurred.

2) Once I’ve placed my deposit, do I have the make the “remaining amount” payment all at once?  No, you can pay that in whatever increments work into your budget.  We can set up a monthly payment plan, or you can divide it into 2 or 3 payments.  Just whatever works best for you.  I will not send out your gown to you until it has been paid in full, so keep that in mind when scheduling your payments.

Any other questions you’d like addressed?  Just let me know!


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The Get Married Segment

If you missed my segment on Get Married, you can catch it here & watch online.  Originally they said the segment might be 1 minute, 30 seconds.  It ended up being over 4 minutes.  That’s a huge amount of tv time.  My only concern is the amount of time they spent showing pictures from my previous work…which I’m no longer offering.  I’m worried that might end up being confusing.  Only time will tell.  All in all, I was very pleased & look forward with working with Get Married in the future again.

I’ve had rave reviews and have been very humbled by everyone’s reaction to the line.   It’s been quite the fun day.


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A New Beginning

If you are reading this today, you have most likely just come from my homepage after seeing my debut on Get Married. Welcome. I hope you’ve had a fun time looking through my corsets and gowns. I’ve had such an exciting time creating this line & I hope that you love it as much as I do.

The line doesn’t officially launch until Spring 2008, so you may feel that there are some things missing. There are. The first collection is named the Rose Collection both because of the beautiful roses that adorn the embroidered fabric and in honor of my great grandmother Rose, who instilled in me a life long love of creating beautiful garments. The Rose collection will eventually have 6 looks. 6 corsets. 6 full length skirts. 3 jackets (in a short sleeve, a 3/4 length sleeve, and a full length sleeve), 3 bustles, and 2-3 cocktail skirts. Scroll down through my past entries on this blog & you’ll find some sketches of the 3 remaining gowns: Amelia, Gillian (which was changed from ‘Victoria’), and Penelope. The cocktail skirts are a neat concept. My gowns don’t necessarily have to be worn just for your wedding day. They’re great for any event you need to dress up. Or just try wearing the corset with jeans for a great ‘night on the town’ outfit. You’re husband will love it. Ask me how I know. Another concept I’m going to be promoting is taking your gown out of storage and wearing it for your first anniversary.

I was planning to launch the line at Denver Fashion Week 2008, but can’t seem to find any further information about the event. I had also thought of doing it in a more intimate trunk show type event at an upscale boutique. There’s quite a bit to put together behind the scenes before all that happens, so looking into different venues to launch at is just one of my many things on my ‘to do’ list. What does it mean that the line hasn’t “launched” yet? Just that not everything is completely nailed down yet. Obviously all the gowns haven’t been made up in samples yet. We’re still working on getting our selling process down pat. Things like that. You can still go ahead and order the gowns from the website. You won’t be able to have a delivery date before April 1, 2008, but we’re recommending that you go on & place your order is you’re certain you want one of my gowns.

The first thing you probably noticed about my gowns is that they all come in color. Color is my thing. My signature. What makes my gowns stand out from the crowd. Bridal gowns in color are becoming increasingly popular, but that’s not why I make mine the way they are. It’s just simply what comes from within me when I start sculpting a new gown.

Choosing to wear a gown in color may seem like a bold move. But you’re a bold girl. Really. Trust yourself. If you respond to the gown, then you’ll wear it with confidence and be the most beautiful bride that ever was. Most of the response I’ve gotten from these gowns so far goes something like this: “Yes. That’s what I’ve been looking for.” I even had one woman say “the perfect expression of all my dreams.” Wow. That’s humbling. Choosing to wear a gown in color gives you so many more options to express your true self. To shine on your day of all days and show people “this is who I am, who I really am when I’m the best I can be. This is me.” Have fun with the colors. Mix and match. Color outside the lines!

I realize that your dreams are not mine and that you may love the sillhoette of my designs, but really want a white or ivory gown. Never fear! It can be done! We will be offering a “Purity Collection” in the coming months. The Purity Collection will contain all the gowns featured currently (and the ones to come!) on the website in a white and ivory interpretation. If you’re interested in that option before you see it on the website, just let me know.

The next thing you’ve probably noticed about my gowns is that they all have corsets. I’ve been in love with the corset since my history of costume classes in college. My college (Kent State University) has one of the finest period costume collections around. We regularly were able to see first hand historical pieces are part of our classes. Fun, fun, fun! My corsets are fully functional. This means that you can pull them in to your desired comfort level. Push up “the girls”. Pull in the tummy. Reduce your waist size about 2 to 3 inches. Yes. I just said that. 2 to 3 inches. They’re also amazingly comfortable. The inner lining is cotton and the boning is spiral steel, which moves 360 degrees, instead of just front to back like traditional plastic boning.

You might also be a bit overwhelmed by the choices. Chose your fabric color and type, your trim color, your ribbon color, even the color of your eyelets. Each gown that ships out of my studio has the potential to be completely unlike any other ever made. Your gown, made just for you. Just give me a call or e-mail & we’ll chat about your gown. My fairy godmother wand is always ready to make your dreams come true!

Post Script: My size chart didn’t make it onto the new website (or at least as of this writing) so here it is & we’ll have it up on the website as soon as possible.





Hem Length




35 1/2

43 1/2




36 1/2

43 3/4




37 1/2





38 1/2

44 1/4




39 1/2

44 1/2


38 1/2

29 1/2


44 3/4




42 1/2



41 1/2

32 1/2


45 1/4


43 1/2

34 1/2


45 1/2


45 1/2

36 1/2


45 3/4


To measure:


measure around the fullest part of your bust

measure around the narrowest part of your waist (not necessarily at the place where you wear your waistband)

measure the fullest part of your hips

for the hem measure from your waist to the floor in the back

I’ll have some further information on measuring yourself along with a pictorial tutorial (try saying that 3 times fast) by January.


Filed under alisa benay, bridal design, corsets, fashion design, get married

Kyle Bachtel

I’ve just learned that our good friend Kyle Bachtel passed away yesterday morning. I’m not sure if he turned 30 yet this year or not. He leaves behind a new wife and baby girl and a family like no other.

Kyle was one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. He was born with a liver disease that required him to have a liver transplant at the age of 14. Nothing ever stopped him & he lived the adage “as if there’s no tomorrow” every day of his life. He was a transplant Olympian, traveling the world to compete in numerous sports. I learned a great deal about parenting from watching his parents, Molly & Daryll. They never treated him like an invalid and always allowed him a great deal of freedom. They never tried to hold on to him in the effort of having just one more day, but gave him every opportunity to live his life as he chose to live it. He had a kind heart and a sweet spirit and will be missed by many.

Go in peace, Kyle. Your life was a gift to everyone it touched.

you can view his obituary here

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All coming together


Photo: Charlotte Geary

Model: Ashley Ritchie

Hair/Make-up: Katelyn Simkins

Location: Briarhurst Manor Estates

We did the photo shoot Monday & I got the pictures back this morning. I’ll post a couple here just to tease you & you can see the rest on the new website (which will still be, just with an all new look!) on Friday. It was a super fun day & everyone involved was just fabulous to work with. Please go & check out the links above to find out about these amazing gals.

To find out more about the line, check out the Lifetime Network to watch my Get Married Segment, 7:30 am EST on Friday, November 9th! If you miss it, they broadcast previous episods from the Get Married website.

Now, I’ve got to get moving if I’m going to have all the new content over to my web designer by tomorrow! Enjoy…..






a quick note about “Caroline”:  The corset is supposed to have sleeves.  It’s the exact same corset as “Rebecca”, just with a panel of embroidered fabric instead of the all matching panels look.  Well, things happen.  The night before the photo shoot I cut my finger & bled all over a portion of the corset & things went downhill from there.  So no sleeves yet, but we’ll have them all ready to go by the January photo shoot!


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