Grace Chetta, Bridal Fairy
By Rebekah Hall Scott
Rebekah pictured on the left, with her siblings playing dress up in her polyester wedding dress
When I was a little girl, my favorite item to pull from our giant bin of dress-up clothes was a wedding dress. A miniature shimmering polyester number with cap sleeves trimmed in shiny lace, and a silvery netted overlay on the tiny bodice, I wore that thing into the dust. When I put on that dress and became that little bride, I felt beautiful and bossy. I could be a princess awaiting her prince at the altar, or a glimmering fairy who sprinkled wedding magic wherever she went. A few years later, when I had a crush on a boy at my elementary school, I drew a picture of us getting married underneath a tree, wearing my most prized frock: a beloved Easter dress with a ruffled neck and hemline and a design of light purple and blue florals. I taped the drawing up by my bed, then next to it, I hung said Easter dress from a wire hanger and a thumbtack pressed into the wall.
This display was as much a manifestation as it was a fantasy. Many years later, I would marry my husband under a towering tree’s bright yellow leaves, glowing with the last of autumn’s brilliant color, wearing the dress of my dreams – a dress designed in collaboration with Grace Chetta of Gretta Garments.
Rebekah and Art on their wedding day. Wedding photos by Lexi Adams @lexiadams.photo
My husband Art proposed to me the day after Halloween in 2019. We were throwing a Halloween party at our house, a party that I fully helped plan and decorate for, which just shows how well my husband knows me – unbeknownst to me, I was planning and decorating what would become our engagement party, but I still got to have a hand in the ~aesthetic~ experience of our guests. We were dressed up as Paulette and the UPS guy from Legally Blonde – a costume that will live in our memories and proposal photos for the rest of time – and Art got down on one knee after surprising me with our best friends and family members who’d traveled in from out of town. It was the happiest moment of my life. Struck dumb by joy.
We began planning our fall wedding (as an outdoor summer wedding in Arkansas is simply not an option) and set the date for November 7, 2020. I started looking at wedding dresses online, searching for “plus size wedding dresses” on Pinterest and on David’s Bridal. I found a few that I liked, but the more I browsed, a feeling began to creep up on me. I slowly realized that I didn’t want my wedding dress to be a dress that any other bride could wear. I wanted it to be custom, made just for me. And, after a harrowing experience trying on gowns at my local David’s Bridal, this feeling was confirmed. I could write a whole other story about that appointment – being made to feel like cattle as I was poked and prodded in a tiny stall of a dressing room, shaping garments yanked over my head, an offhand remark from the sales associate about my body size that made me cry – but suffice to say, it didn’t feel right for me.
I had followed Gretta Garments on Instagram earlier that year because the college best friend of my high school best friend was a friend of Grace, and she had posted pictures of herself modeling some beautiful Gretta dresses. I loved the vintage-inspired silhouettes and the use of vintage fabrics to create chic, wearable pieces. Call it intuition, or premonition, but one morning, I felt moved and I messaged Grace out of the blue on Instagram to ask if she’d ever designed a wedding dress, and if she’d be open to designing mine. So began our journey to create the first Gretta Bridal gown.
The COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in our 2020 wedding plans, as it did for engaged couples all over the world. Art and I still got married on our original date in a tiny ceremony with a few close friends and family – and I wore a dreamy Psychic Outlaw bandana dress in shades of pink and white – but we decided to host a big party and celebration the following year. I knew I still wanted the white dress, the walk down the aisle, the dinner and drinks and dancing, and to celebrate with all of our loved ones together.
For my Gretta gown, I took a lot of inspiration from ‘70s bridal silhouettes. We were having our wedding celebration at the summer camp I grew up going to, and I wanted the whole event to feel like the big dance on the last night of camp, but with a retro patina layered over every element. I sent Grace my inspiration photos and a small sketch I’d doodled. I knew I wanted an off the shoulder neckline, bell sleeves, and an empire waist band under my bust. Together, Grace and I collaborated on the rest through FaceTime calls and text messages, me in Arkansas and Grace in Louisiana. I sent her my measurements and she created a muslin version of the dress, which she sent in the mail. I tried it on in my parents’ bathroom, standing on a step stool in the middle of the mirrored room while my mom and sister pinned the fabric into place and I took instructions from Grace over FaceTime.
She helped me both expand and fine-tune my vision. We added a deliciously large detachable bow at the waist with long, wide tails, which Grace trimmed in silk organza, and it ended up becoming the most memorable detail of the dress, the one friends and guests will bring up to me still. That spectacular bow is emblematic of the romance, elegance and femininity that I felt wearing Grace’s beautiful creation. Grace even sourced a vintage veil for me from an estate sale, which she added more volume and a new comb to, completing the full bridal look.
The best part of the entire dress designing experience was taking a trip with my mom to Baton Rouge to try on the actual dress for the first time in Grace’s sun-drenched home. It was the June before our big wedding celebration, and as I slipped the dress on for the first time, a quick burst of summer rain pattered against the large windows. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck, but in my case, I think the rain that fell on this day brought me that luck. Meeting Grace in person, being in her kind, warm and genuine presence, and getting to share this milestone moment with my mom is an experience I will treasure forever. I am so grateful for the gift Grace gave us that day – in her hospitality, her joy for us, and in her exceptional talent and artistry.
Bridal Portrait polaroids by Claire @_goldpunch
When the day of our wedding celebration finally arrived, I was exhausted, excited and a bit stressed, as most brides are. I had decision fatigue from making so many choices leading up to that day, and I was ready to sink blissfully into the delegation of every task to someone else. Since Art and I had already said the vows and signed the document that bound us the year before, I think some of the nerves that other brides feel on their wedding day were absent. I’d already been living in my marriage for a year by then, and this was just the icing on that cake – the experience of sharing our love with everyone who loved us. When my mother, sister and bridesmaids carefully zipped me into my Gretta gown, the vision I’d always had of myself on my wedding day was realized. I felt like myself, but like an angel had waved a wand around me and brought out my pinkest cheeks, my brightest eyes, my happiest heart. I floated down the aisle to Art once again, carried by the ethereal notes of Aretha Franklin’s “Day Dreaming.” The rest of the day is a blur of laughter and happy tears and hugs and dancing. My cheeks hurt the next day from smiling so much.
For brides who want to feel like that little wedding fairy sprinkled her magic all over your special day, Grace is your girl. You’ll feel heard and understood, seen and known, your vision embraced and celebrated. I feel honored to have ushered in Gretta Bridal as the first Gretta Bride, and I am thrilled to call Grace a friend and to follow her career for years to come. I hope that on your wedding day, you feel like the twinkliest, warmest version of yourself. Grace can help get you there.