These Bold Pittsburgh Brides Show Off Their Daring Dresses

These brides share how they found their wedding “wow factor” in their perfect, nontraditional, dresses.

Not every woman wants the classic white dress for her wedding day, and brides today don’t have to be limited by color (or style or length, for that matter) when it comes to finding the perfect dress. But amidst endless options in stores and on marathons of TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” it can be hard to find that standout gown. These brides share the path that led them to their unusual, but oh-so-beautiful, wedding dresses.

photos by Meaghan Elliott Photography


Short & Sweet
As a wedding planner, Alexis Maddox had a pretty clear sense of what she wanted her dress to look like for her wedding on Sept. 3 to Will Allen.

“I see stunning dresses week in and week out, so I knew what I liked and what I didn’t,” says Maddox, who works at {SHE} Shayla Hawkins Events. And, as a self-proclaimed shoe-lover, she also knew she wanted a short or high-low dress to showcase her wedding-day heels.

So as not to be swayed from her vision, Alexis decided to do her dress shopping/designing unaccompanied. “Not that I don’t value the opinions of my family and friends, but I really wanted my dress to be me to a ‘T,’” she says.


After visiting two bridal shops and trying on dresses that didn’t quite meet her style, she decided to go with a custom gown through designer Nicci Hou. “I gave her my overall vision and let her run with it. I received the final dress about one week before my wedding, and it was perfection in every way I imagined,” she says of the two-piece dress with a pink ruffled skirt.

Although she says she knew not all of her friends and family would be on board with her unconventional choice during the planning stage, that changed once they saw her in the gown.

“Once it was all said and done, I know everyone agreed — this dress was so me,” she says.

photos by Sky’s the Limit Photography


Something Sparkly 
When Natalie Cammarata went looking for the perfect dress to wear when she married Jim Matthews on Sept. 3, she knew she wanted a sparkly dress with straps and a ballerina-type bodice. (She jokes that she was channeling her inner Snow Queen from “The Nutcracker.”)

Natalie is also a huge fan of Hayley Paige designs, so when she heard that the designer was going to be doing a trunk show nearby she told her mom and best friend to clear the day for wedding dress shopping.

Overall, the bride-to-be tried on about five to six dresses — and was able to meet Hayley Paige in the process. The first time Natalie tried on the dress, she knew she loved the blush-colored top but she wasn’t completely sold on the tulle bottom.


“But then Hayley Paige came over to fix the straps and was like, ‘You know this is the dress, right?’” says Natalie. “So after trying on a couple more, I put ‘the one’ back on, and cue the waterworks.”

Even though Natalie had her own ideas for her wedding dress, she desperately wanted to incorporate her mother’s silk satin wrap dress into her special day, so she decided to wear it to the rehearsal dinner. “Between the vintage Halston (from her mother) and the Hayley Paige comet dress, I got to wear opposite styles, both equally incredible,” she says.

The bride loved that she was able to repurpose her mother’s dress and still find the dress of her dreams at the trunk show. “The whole process only took a few hours,” she says, “and it was one of the coolest days of my life (aside from the day my husband proposed and the day I married him, of course!).”

Categories: Beyond the Cookie Table