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It’s a very special Tie The Knot Tuesday today at Paloma Blanca! This week’s bride, Julia, was our contest winner back in February- her friend Lucia nominated her with this beautiful story and Julia won her dream dress, our Paloma Blanca Style 4403, and our V434F veil as well! Julia picked her prizes up at our Authorized Retailer Mira Couture, and then travelled to Zanzibar Island in July with her now-husband Keith for their dream wedding.
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How did you know your dress was “the one”?
Julia: “When I first started looking at wedding dresses on the internet, I got a ton of inspiration and I found lots of styles that I really liked, so when I went to meet Julie at Mira, I went there with an open mind and selected dresses of all styles and fabrics. I think I tried on 7 or 8 dresses and most of them looked so beautiful on me. I think Julie knew right away that dress 3 (the one I wound up selecting) was going to be the winner as she put it to the side. I tried it on twice, just to get a second look at it and I really fell in love with it. I particularly liked the pleating and the gorgeous shape. I’m quite average in height and weight and the dress really accentuated the waist. The neckline was exactly what I wanted too, so there was little question that this would be my final choice.”
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How did you and Keith first meet?
“Keith and I met on my 30th birthday at a restaurant in Chicago where I celebrated with a bunch of friends. One of my pals brought along Keith who he works with at times. Keith is from London, but spends every other month in Chicago as part of a work assignment. Since this was my birthday party, all of my friends were surrounding me and there wasn’t much of an opportunity to even talk to Keith until a bit later. I thought he was cute, but it wasn’t really the kind of setting to get to know each other and have meaningful conversations. At some point during the evening, we did have a chance to chat a bit and we got along so well. The conversation was so effortless and interesting that we continued talking for what seemed like hours. I would like to say though that Lucia exaggerated a bit when she said that I was like “This is the one” – although I can’t remember what I actually said but I’d like to think I’m a little more collected and cool than that.”
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How did he propose?
“Traveling is a big part of Keith’s job and not only does he come to Chicago regularly, but he also gets to go to places like Hong Kong and the Middle East. I have never been to most of those places but I was super excited when he suggested that I come along sometime to explore places when it starts to get cold in Chicago. So in November 2013 we took a trip to Dubai and spent about 10 days there and one evening he surprised me with a private dinner at the beach at one of those glitzy hotels. At first I thought that it was thoughtful because it coincided with Thanksgiving, but the romantic decoration and me being greeted by the hotel staff with flowers did indeed make me wonder. We enjoyed a great meal and afterwards moved a few feet over where they set up a cute bench and cocktails. I was so nervous that I can’t even remember what we talked about, but at some point Keith became a bit serious and started talking about our relationship. Only moments later he went down on one knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring and asked me to marry him. Of course I screeched Yes!”
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What was your favourite aspect of your wedding?
“It was altogether the best day ever. We agreed that we wanted a small wedding and it had to be on a beach with white sand and palm trees and as we started researching it became quite clear that we wanted a more unusual location. Zanzibar was exactly that – a small, sleepy island off Africa that’s so colorful and exotic. It was really our idea of a barefoot wedding (although we both wore flip flops). The restaurant where we had our wedding dinner doesn’t even have electricity, although for us the owner “borrowed” some electricity from the neighbor. It was all so basic and that was what we loved the most. I don’t think that there are many brides that can say that they were totally chilled out on their wedding day without any meltdowns or bridezilla moments.”
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Tell us a bit about your wedding day?
“We got up early and had breakfast with our guests. We had 4 people staying with us at the villa we rented for the week and all other guests were in surrounding hotels. After breakfast, Keith and I took some time to practice our vows and putting on the rings which turned out a bit more difficult than expected. The hot weather and humidity made our fingers swell a bit and only with the help of a few drops of olive oil, we were able to get them on. We also made a few small changes to the ceremony plan by incorporating some words spoken by selected guests. Our wedding planners arrived shortly thereafter to set up at the beach and to brief our guests of the program while I retreated to the bedroom with my stylist to get my hair and make up done. I could hear that guests were slowly trickling in and I started to get very excited! I couldn’t wait until I’d finally make my way to the beach. When it was time, I was accompanied “down the aisle” (more like between palm trees) by a local African jazz duo. The ceremony itself was brief and lighthearted, very cheerful and happy. We did manage to get the rings on and we did a decent job with our vows. After a short photo session with the photographer, we opened a few bottles of champagne and started the celebrations. Dinner was a 15 minute walk through the village at a cute beach restaurant and we took lots of beautiful pictures along the way. We wound up eating, drinking and dancing for the rest of the night …”
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What song did you dance to for your first dance?
“Into My Arms by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds”
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What’s one word you could use to describe your wedding day?
“Colorful”
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Photography by Andrew Morgen.

Julia, we are thrilled that we could be a part of your wedding day! Thank you so much for sharing, and all the best for you and Keith in the future!
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