On a bright crisp day, Claire and Bailey said "I Do" in front of their family and friends at the majestic Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photos of the day show the newly married couple full of smiles and their day was focused on faith, fun and love.
Claire stunned in Bethany by Rebecca Ingram, a timeless sheath crepe gown with traditional swirling lace motifs decorating the beautiful illusion cut out sleeves. The covered buttons buttons trailing down to the hip line are a simplistic detail that completes this minimalist gown. She also paired her gown with our ribboned edged veil, a charming touch that perfectly matches the venue's grand atmosphere.
Keep scrolling for a look into their beautiful day and some insight from Claire about finding her dream dress with us here at Astra Bridal.
What was it that made this particular wedding dress catch your eye and fall in love?
My whole life, I would tell people that
I wanted to have a long-sleeved lace wedding gown. Both of my grandmothers had
long-sleeved, timeless gowns. I would look at their wedding pictures (from the
50s and 60s) as a little girl, and even then, I could tell that they had done a
good job of choosing dresses that stood the test of changing fashion trends.
When I started my dress hunt, I knew I wanted to start with sleeves. I wanted
to carry something of both my grandmothers with me on my wedding day. I tried
on many gowns, but I kept coming back to Bethany. She was a timeless,
long-sleeved (with lace!) gown. I loved that she was both elegant and
flattering. Her sleeves first caught my eye, but I think it was the way that
the fabric fell that convinced me in the end. As a final, added bonus, Bethany
definitely travelled across the ocean well!
Tell us about your search for the dress and the experience at Astra Bridal.
One of my colleagues
recommended Astra Bridal to me. It was the first place I tried; I didn't
really know what I was doing. I wasn't quite sure what I was looking for, and I
felt a little bit lonely not having my mom and sister with me for such a
special occasion. I was able to take a good friend shopping with me. Between my
friend and Rachel, I was immediately put at ease. Rachel was warm, welcoming,
and patient with my indecision. That first day, I left the shop without buying
a dress. I just couldn't decide what type of dress I wanted to choose--I liked
two very different styles and it felt wrong to choose a dress on the first day
of shopping. I kept looking for dresses, but in my head, I kept going back to
Rachel's warm and supportive nature. No one else was as kind or as helpful as
she was. Eventually, I called Rachel up and went back to Astra Bridal. In the
end, I chose the dress that I knew I wanted in my gut. Rachel was so helpful.
She was able to talk me through why my choice was a good one; she identified
points that I knew, but that I just needed to hear from someone else!
Tell us your story, how you both met, and the proposal.
Bailey and I met the first week of our first year of university in August of 2015. He and I were both studying at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He had come across to the US on an athletic scholarship, and I was studying on an academic scholarship. That first week, I was sitting in our university cafeteria, eating dinner and reading The Iliad. Bailey walked up to me and struck up a conversation. I thought he was just about the most beautiful boy I had ever seen. After chatting for a couple of minutes, he told me that he had to go. I went back to my book, thinking that I'd probably never see him again. A couple of minutes later, he came back and asked for my number! We went out for our first date about two days later, and we've been together ever since. After graduating from university, we moved to New Zealand in July of 2019.
Over Easter weekend last year, Bailey and I went down to the Nelson region for a long weekend. Bailey knew that I had been missing autumn colours since moving to Auckland, so he wanted to take me somewhere where we could appreciate the season. We stayed in a little log cabin on the edge of a regional park, surrounded by trees and bordering a little stony creek. Bailey proposed one morning while we were there--it was so amazing to be able to savour the moment with just the two of us, surrounded by nature. It felt like we were able to take the same to soak in the emotion of being newly engaged without having to worry about anything else.
Once we started wedding planning, we knew we wanted to get married in Tulsa, the city where we met and fell in love. Due to COVID, we hadn't been able to go back to the US since 2019, so we knew it would be extra-special to be able to come home for our wedding.
What was your favourite part of the day?
I loved how personalised our ceremony
felt to us. We got married at Holy Family Cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where
my grandparents are parishioners and where many family members of mine have
gotten married before us. Our celebrant was our good friend - Father Kerry Wakulich.
We've known him since we were 18--he watched us fall in love--and so he was
able to incorporate lots of details of our story into the ceremony. We had
friends and family members help out with the different parts of the service, we
were able to select the readings and hymns that we used during the mass, and so
it really felt like the entire ceremony was built around our relationship. It
was incredibly special. In particular, after not seeing my family and friends
for three years, it felt amazing to be surrounded by those people we had
Tell us about your wedding day as a whole.
We got married on January 7, 2023 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was a crisp (but not too cold!) day; we knew we might have to deal with snow, so we were relieved when it was sunny and above freezing! The night before, I had stayed with my bridesmaids at the Tulsa Club Hotel, where we would have our reception. One of my bridesmaids woke up early to brave the weather and get us coffees and pastries. My sister (and maid-of-honour) decorated our room with little cut-outs of my (then) fiancé's face. We got ready with the help of our phenomenal makeup artist, Starla Ward, and hairstylist, Sam Palmer. Partway through the morning, we realised that we needed more coffee, so my good friend Jessica and I raced down the road in our matching pajamas to pick up more. Our time spent getting ready was filled with so much love; having my mom there with us calmed my nerves and made me feel safe. My sister-in-law, mothers-in-law, and my aunt were all so incredibly helpful on the day--it would not have gone so smoothly without them! Once we were ready, my father-in-law drove us to the church.
Being walked down the aisle by my dad, with my now-husband at the front of the church, was such an emotional moment. It was like all of the joy from all the anticipation of the day finally beamed out onto myself and the congregation. The ceremony itself was amazing. Our gospel reading was from the Bible: Matthew 7:21, 24-29. It's all about the wise man who builds his house upon the rock to withstand storms and floods. We felt very connected to this passage; both our parents are divorced and we come from different cultural backgrounds, so I think we knew marriage won't always be easy. We spent a long time building a solid foundation for our marriage, so hopefully, when the storms do come, we are ready!
The reception was a blast. We served mulled wine and gingerbread cookies during our cocktail hour, which I am still very proud about. I grew up making gingerbread cookies every Christmas--most of our guests had been subjected to a gift of gingerbread cookies at one point or another--so details like that really helped make the day feel personal to us. We served dinner (which included a green chili mac and cheese! American cuisine at its finest), and then had speeches. All of the speeches were amazing, but the maid of honour and best man were standouts. The best man's speech ended in a haka to us from the groomsmen and my husband's brothers, which was incredibly special. After dinner, we had a live band and dancing. One of the things that I love about Oklahoma is that we LOVE to dance. We two-stepped, line danced, and just generally had a great time. Our priest was the life of the dance floor. Everyone danced though: friends, cousins, grandparents, etc. People were so happy to celebrate!
Finally, what is your biggest piece of advice for brides to be?
My biggest piece of advice for
brides-to-be would be to think about what's important to you and your future
spouse. My husband and I made some choices that were slightly controversial at
the time, but in the end, people were able to see why we made the decisions
that we did. Your wedding is a celebration of your love! From what I've
experienced, people are generally pretty happy to celebrate the love of people
they love. Also, be sure to spend time with your fiance that isn't
wedding-planning related. It sounds obvious, but we were surprised by how
quickly wedding prep began to insert itself into our daily activities, whether
that be an evening stroll or cooking dinner. Try to have certain times where
you do not talk about wedding prep at all! You need to take time to
intentionally appreciate your future spouse outside of all the buzz of