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Bride Of The Week: Alexa Roda

Bride Of The Week: Alexa Roda
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This week's GL Bride is the lovely Alexa Roda! She looked absolutely gorgeous as she married the love of her life in our G-401 gown from the ethereal GALA IX Bridal Collection. In the following interview, Alexa shares the details of her fairytale wedding and how an unexpected event reshaped the meaning of her special day. As told by Alexa:

"My husband and I wanted our wedding to be a celebration of love, health, and happiness"

At the very start of my wedding dress search, my younger sister, my mother, and I arrived very early to my first try-on appointment.  We stopped in a cafe around the corner to kill time and chat.  We were all beaming with excitement.  My sister, my mom, and I are all very close and my sister and I often joke that, being only 16 months apart in age, we have telepathy.  That morning in the cafe, my sister pulled up an inspirational photo album she created for what she thought my wedding dress would look like. She envisioned that “the one” would be a whimsical dress – flowy sleeves, 3D flower applique, traditional yet unexplainably unique.  She predicted that my dress would emulate “fairy vibes.”  Not quite knowing what she meant by that, my mother and I laughed. To my surprise a couple hours later, I tried on a Galia Lahav dress that was just simply different than all the others… and it completely matched her vision. The dress had the flowy sleeves, the 3D flower applique and when I made the decision to try on an overskirt with the dress it was more stunning than I could have ever imagined.  Finding that dress and spending that time with my mom and my sister was honestly one of the best days in the months leading up to my wedding.

A few months later in January, I woke up with unexplained anxiety. I hadn’t talked to my sister in about a week, which was unusual for us and I felt like something was wrong. So I called her to chat.  She seemed completely fine other than the frequent migraines she was getting. Long story short, I found out the next day that those migraines were actually two very large brain aneurysms, one pressed against her optic nerve. The next few months were tough, she underwent two brain surgeries and my family was in and out of the hospital with her constantly. My wedding planning obviously came to a halt and all of our energy went towards making sure she was okay.  After a tough recovery period, my sister is thankfully healthy and was able to be my maid of honor.

We were very lucky considering brain aneurysms typically go undiagnosed until they rupture. A brain aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes. When that happens, they are fatal in about 50 percent of cases. About two-thirds of those who survive the rupture suffer some permanent neurological impairment.

My husband and I wanted our wedding to be a celebration of love, health, and happiness. After all of the tough times we faced this year, I wanted it to be the most fun day of our lives and our family’s lives.  And that it was!

A moment of your wedding day will you never forget?

There were so many special moments from that day, but the most unforgettable one was immediately following our ceremony.  After we said our vows and walked down the aisle for the recessional, the two of us were ushered to an area off to the side of the chapel and handed two glasses of champagne.  I will never forget our first embrace as husband and wife and the rush of excitement that we felt now that we were finally officially married. All our nerves were gone and we were ready to have fun and dance the night away at the reception.

One thing you wish you knew as a new bride? What advice would you give to future brides?

No matter how much time and effort you spend planning the details of your day, something is bound to throw a wrench in your plan. If something unpredictable happens, remember that above all else, it is most important to be present and celebrate you and your partner’s love for one another. Don’t spend a minute of the day stressing over small details.

A detail that made your wedding special/unique?

One of the things that made our wedding unique was having my cousin officiate our wedding.  He knows us both very well, so he was able to make the ceremony sentimental and very personalized to us.  It was a unique way of adding a more personal touch to the ceremony.

How did you know your dress was 'the one'?

I knew my dress was ‘The One’ when I added the overskirt to the already gorgeous gown.  The combination of the overskirt with the puffy sleeves made the dress so ethereal and unlike anything else that I previously tried on. The dress was whimsical, yet romantic and I loved that I could take off the overskirt after the ceremony for a new look at the reception. 

How did it feel when you put on your dress the day of the wedding? What was everyone's reaction to the dress?

It felt completely surreal.  I had tried on my dress already at my final fitting but looking at myself in the mirror on my wedding day, in my dress, with my hair and makeup done, I felt like I was dreaming. I absolutely could not wait to see my husband’s reaction to our first look! 

All of my family and friends gushed over how amazing and unique the dress was for the entire night.

Would you have done anything differently?

It was the best day of my life and I truly wouldn’t change a thing!

What was your favourite part of the wedding to plan/you were most looking forward to?

My favorite part about wedding planning was picking out our first dance song and ‘practicing’ our dance together. We took a lot of time to compile a playlist of love songs that were really meaningful to us. Once we put the playlist together, we spent countless hours listening to the songs during our long summer drives to the New Jersey shore.

We ended up choosing “Forever After All” by Luke Combs.  Once we nailed down our song, we spent quite a few weeknights blasting the song throughout our apartment and practicing our first dance. It added so much fun and laughter to our otherwise mundane tasks like cooking and cleaning. 

How did you meet your husband? How did he propose?

I met my husband at a bar called the Parker House in Spring Lake, NJ.  The Parker House is a well-known bar that is very close to the towns where we both grew up spending our summers.  Some time passed since we met, and we ended up going on our first date 2 weeks before the Covid lockdown in New York City. 

We had such a great first date in the Seaport District and were so bummed when the shutdown happened, not knowing when we would see each other again.  We both moved out of the city and into our parents houses at the time, so we came up with the idea to spend the next couple of months alone at our beach houses that were 10 minutes down the road from one another. 

During the months that we spent down the shore, we quickly learned so much about one another and found out we had so much fun doing simple things together like cooking, walking on the beach at sunset, riding bikes to get coffee, and watching our favorite shows.

The New Jersey shore holds so much sentimental value for the both of us so it was perfectly fitting that John proposed on the same beach that we walked together so many times during quarantine when our relationship was just beginning.  After his proposal on August 14, 2022, he surprised me with a party at his family beach house where all of our closest friends were waiting to celebrate with us.  It was one of the happiest days of my life. 

How did you find working with the team at Galia Lahav?

Working with the Galia Lahav and Bridal Reflections team was a completely seamless and stress-free process from beginning to end. I was truly so impressed at how well they matched the details of my custom overskirt to my gown.  I had complete confidence that the team would deliver my dream dress on time and it would look absolutely perfect for my wedding day. 

How many dresses did you try on before you found it?

I went to two other bridal boutiques to try on dresses before I went to Bridal Reflections in New York for the Galia Lahav trunk show. Before arriving at Bridal Reflections, I must have tried on 20 dresses and actually thought I found one that I really loved.  It wasn’t until I started trying on the Galia Lahav gowns that I realized her gowns are in their own category… they were so unique and nothing else compared! I tried on 3 other Galia Lahav gowns before ultimately finding mine. 

Dress | Galia Lahav
Dress Store| Bridal Reflections
Accessories | Bridal Reflections
Photographer| Ann Coen Photography
Hair | Alena Bankovska
Make-up| Kylie Levine @ Carolyn’s Makeup Artistry
Flowers| Reynolds Garden Shop
Venue | Mallard Island Yacht Club
Caterer | Merri-Makers
Shoes | Bella Belle
Bridal Robe | Design Dates
Wedding Cake | Bakeworks (and Moretti Bakery @moretticakes for the gluten free cake) 
String Trio + Harp | Ceremonious Strings
Decor & Stationary | Stephanie Somodi
Wedding Painter | ArtViva Events

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Kaileah Christine | January 30, 2023

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