I’ll never forget the day I got an email from Randy Rousseau.
He emailed me to see if I could add lights to his daughter’s wedding dress which was less than a month away. She was going to have a 4th of July themed wedding. He said: “Ravens brother Randy “the man of honor” found a light up dress somewhere on social media the day they picked up her dress, just weeks away from her wedding, and suggested they try to figure out a way to do this because Raven would love it.
I thought it was interesting to hear from the father of the bride, rather than the bride herself, and knowing how particular most brides are about about every last detail about their weddings, especially the dress! My first question for him was— “does your daughter know you’re calling me, and is this OK with her?”
He responded with: “yea, she is just really easy going and enjoys life, and doesn’t take any of this stuff too seriously!”
He then proceeded to explain to me that their whole family survived 9/11, thank God their subway was late, or they would have been in the elevator heading to the top of the World Trade Center.
When I heard that story, every hair on my body was standing up.
When the first plane hit, they were in the middle of the park a couple blocks from ground zero. When the tower collapsed they lost each other in a cloud of smoke and debris. They remember people jumping into the sea and running around with their faces completely covered with anything they could find.
They finally found each other, and since then have learned to just treasure and enjoy every moment of life, and not take things too seriously.
What a horrific thing to live through, and what an incredible outlook on life to come out of that with.
Even though her wedding was just a couple weeks away, and I was swamped with work, and was actually preparing for a cross country road trip to New York with my husband and 1 year old, I said, absolutely, because I was so inspired by this families resilience and carefree outlook on life. Without ever having met the bride, I just knew I needed to make her dress.
Since it was a 4th of July Wedding, I wanted to make sure it really had that magical firework effect, and so I covered it in white fiber optic filaments to manifest a flurry of light sparkles with a surreal feel of depth, so it could sparkle like twinkling stars. I then added hundreds of red, white and blue tiny LED bulbs hidden into the inner layers of the dress.
My favorite aspect about the dress was that until you flipped the switch, you couldn’t even tell that I had done anything to it! It was simply a normal beautiful traditional white wedding gown. All the wires, bulbs, fiber optic filaments and battery packs, were hidden within the inner layers of the dress and I made it remote control operated, so that her family could have so much fun changing the colors and effects. It could sparkle in all white, or all blue or all red, or I programmed it with so many effects, making it fade from one color to the next, flashing, twinkling and fading like stars and fireworks!
Making her dress was so meaningful for me. I’d always loved the 4th of July, but I never really thought about the significance of the day. For me, I just loved pool parties, BBQ’s and fireworks. Fireworks have always been a major influence in my sparkling dresses, but this was the first 4th of July that I was actually really reflecting on how lucky we are to be alive and free.
I finally met Raven when she came with her mom, dad, and brother to try on her dress. Such a beautiful spirit. So down to earth, happy and fun. They did their engagement photos at Disneyland!
I was so honored that I had the chance to work with such a special bride, and her lovely family to remind me what’s really important in life. This family survived, rising from the rubble, they got up, and marched forward so bold and full of life. This dad so full of love for his little girl, just wanting to make her special day as special and fun as could be. The bride grew up with such a beautiful attitude and a mission to live life happy and not get caught up in worry of the silly details but rather live in the moment and allow herself to sparkle and shine and light up the world and be free. I am so touched to hear that she actually has the dress on display like a night light in her closet !!! So she can see it light up everyday!!!
After having made this dress, the 4th of July will be so much more to me than just pretty fireworks. It’s about not worrying about the small details but rather breaking free and having the courage to take chances and follow your heart, because at the end of the day, there is nothing more important than love and happiness.
Scroll down to see pics of Ravens Light Up Dress and 4th of July Wedding!
Materials used: over 500 micro LED bulbs in red, white and blue, and 2* 360 Fiber Costume Kits from Ants on a Melon
Click on the below link to see a video of Raven’s Light Up Dress in slow motion!