MILFORD, Maine — Julie-Ann Scott had the perfect, fairy-tale wedding that many girls dream of from a young age. Complete with more than 200 guests, a large bridal party and a beautiful venue, Julie-Ann’s special day was planned perfectly down to the last detail. The one thing that was slightly different from how she may have dreamed it? The all-important wedding dress.
“One thing we decided not to do was to get a designer dress. There were 15 bridesmaids in the wedding, so we decided to just stay local when it came to getting all the dresses,” she said.
An Acton native, Julie-Ann was a small-town girl with no great need for designer apparel.
But, she fell in love with designer gowns during the wedding planning process and was particularly struck with gowns featured on TLC’s “Say Yes to the Dress,” which features brides with unique personal stories who win them the opportunity to visit the Kleinfeld bridal salon in New York City and select the perfect dress for their big day. The show is not strictly limited to future brides, however, and producers readily welcomed Julie-Ann to Kleinfeld and helped her choose the perfect dress to wear at the vow renewal ceremony she and her husband were planning to celebrate their first year of marriage.
“It began as a joke when I had mentioned to my husband that it would be nice to be in one of those big bridal salons trying on beautiful, designer dresses,” Julie-Ann said.
Her husband, Evan, took heed, and unbeknownst to Julie-Ann, wrote to the producers of the show asking that they give his bride the experience of visiting the high-end salon to pick a dress for their vow renewal ceremony. It wasn’t until they were in New York that he told his wife that, along with attending a performance of “Wicked,” the Broadway show she had wanted to see, they would also be visiting the Kleinfeld salon to pick out her dream designer dress.
Their experience at Kleinfeld was all that Julie-Ann could have imagined.
“We walked in and the store was just beautiful and the dresses were gorgeous. It was amazing to see those designers’ creations in person,” she said. “It was so wonderful, so serene. The consultants were very professional and you could tell they knew everything about every single one of those dresses.”
The salon’s knowledgeable consultants helped her find the perfect dress to represent her carefree personality and the laid-back, romantic vibe the couple wanted at their intimate renewal ceremony.
“The process took under an hour. I was looking for something fairly simple and not too constricting; I didn’t want a fancy ball gown or anything like that,” she said. After trying a few dresses, a consultant brought out a dress made by one of Julie-Ann’s favorite designers, Claire Pettibone.
“She brought out the dress and it was just perfect; we knew it was the one,” Julie-Ann said.
The floor-length dress is made of organic cotton and is simply feminine with a soft, cream color complemented by fresh, peach accents. With silk flower appliques and a lace bodice, it’s a romantic piece with a bohemian vibe that made it practical for the couple’s June 20 outdoor vow renewal ceremony at Coquina Beach in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
“We got some pictures taken in the sunset and the color was perfect with it,” Julie-Ann said.
One of the most important requirements throughout the process was that the dress Julie-Ann chose would represent the carefree spirit she has developed since being with Evan. In the past, she often felt restricted by cerebral palsy but credits her husband with helping her overcome her limitations.
“I’ve always been an active person but a lot of that took place in the gym because I was worried about my balance and stability,” she said, citing two of the abilities cerebral palsy often compromises.
“When [Evan and I] first started dating, he said, ‘Look how strong you are, look at your endurance.’ Being with Evan has made me realize that even though I have CP, there’s no reason I can’t do what everyone else can do,” Julie-Ann said.
The couple now enjoy many activities that allow them to share their love of the outdoors. They have a tandem road bike that they’ll take out for 40- to 50-mile rides, they have hiked Mount Katahdin and have gone exploring in Bar Harbor. They even took a day during their honeymoon to go white-water rafting.
“Having that carefree, cotton dress is something that might not have represented me before, but being with Evan has helped change that,” Julie-Ann said.
Not only was the dress a perfect fit for Julie-Ann and Evan in the way it represented their unique bond with each other and their shared love for the outdoors, they also are thrilled about the memories they now associate with the dress itself.
“We’re very excited about it. I have an amazing husband who made that happen for me; it’s not something I ever would have dreamed of doing on my own.”
Julie-Ann recently relocated to Wilmington, N.C., where she will begin her job as an assistant professor of communications studies at the University of North Carolina this fall. Her national television debut documenting the search for the perfect dress will air at 9 p.m. Friday, July 23.