Eighteen months before her son Sam was to marry his longtime love Allie, Lisa spotted the dress she wanted to wear to their wedding. Navy, simple A-line—just her style. Only one catch: the dress was Valentino and way out of her budget.
“I kept looking for a similar dress and was not finding exactly what I wanted,” Lisa says. “Allie to the rescue!”
While scrolling Instagram for bridesmaid dresses, a dress by Suzannah London caught the eye of Lisa's soon-to-be daughter-in-law. "After dating Sam for so many years—since 2011—I’ve come to understand Lisa’s style. She always looks put together and classy, and I knew this timeless dress would be perfect for her," Allie says.
The British luxury womenswear line is inspired by classics—blending old and new for timeless style. The brand is a favorite of the royal family and regularly shows up in British Vogue and other fashion magazines. Suzannah dresses are an investment, to be sure, but perhaps a bit more attainable than Valentino couture.
Lisa rarely finds clothes that fit her off the rack. “My figure is, let’s just say, complicated. I am very short waisted, and it usually means dresses need to be made over for me.” The pale blue Suzannah London dress—a crew neck, A-line, midi length—came close, if you looked past the sleeves, which Lisa didn’t like. She ordered the dress anyway and took it to trusted Minneapolis seamstress Carole Bruns. “She immediately understood what I wanted and made the dress look like it was custom made for me,” Lisa says. ”She made it sleeveless, raised the shoulders and it fit me perfectly. It was exactly what I wanted.”
The happy shopping outcome came at a time when Lisa was feeling anything but wedding-ready. Just after she started looking for a dress, Lisa suffered a serious skiing accident that required surgery and left her in a brace from ankle to hip. “My husband Randy would hold me up so I could try on dresses!” Lisa recalls. When she put on the Suzannah London dress, he declared: “You look beautiful.” Says Lisa, I felt nothing even close to beautiful but I thought if he could see it, I would go with it. The dress was so well made, beautiful fabric.”
Lisa’s brother-in-law found her delicate navy Manolo Blahnik pointy toe sling backs for the ceremony (she switched to a neutral Loeffler Randall flat sandal for the reception). Her brother, who owns a jewelry business, found an antique brooch and pearls that she wore tight at the neck and dangling down the back of the dress. “Let’s just say my dress shopping really took a village.”
When the wedding day arrived in September, 2022, Lisa was back on her feet and never gave her dress a second thought once she had it on—the sign of a perfect fit. She was able to focus on the day. “I just wanted to slow time down for the entire weekend,” she says.
The wedding was exactly what Sam and Allie wanted: focused on spending time with family and friends. Dispensing with formalities, the event opened with a cocktail reception attended by the bride and groom. “Sam and Allie had a blast drinking, eating and enjoying being with everyone prior to the ceremony,” Lisa says. Guests sat at tables during the ceremony and then ate the couple’s favorite tacos before swarming the dance floor.
“It was such a special day,” Lisa says “It was wonderful because it was everything Sam and Allie wanted, and all my favorite people were together for a happy occasion.”
| Photography by Joe and Jen Photo