Brian Doben wades through a sea of bridal gowns for The Knot
Brides can spend years looking for the perfect dress. Common wisdom tells us that it takes at least 9 months to prepare the dress to the exacting standards most brides require. To meet that demand, designers are making more and more styles in multitudes of trends and shapes. After all that, some brides can’t choose. So what do you do in that situation? Easy: have two dresses.
As more and more brides opt to choose two dresses instead of just one, The Knot magazine decided to show some of their favorite two dress pairings with the help of Brian Doben.
Brian is no stranger to bridal photography, but he and his wife are, as he describes, “kind of the antithesis of the big wedding thing.” His wife didn’t wear two dresses at the wedding they had on their own property. Instead she wore a simple dress next to his jeans and teeshirt. But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t understand the relationship between women and their bridal gowns.
For the cover of The Knot, and the accompanying story, they used one model and upwards of 11 dresses. Each time she switched into a new dress Brian saw the shift in her. “When you put a wedding gown on a woman you tend to find their true personality,” he says. “You see the girl transform from one personality to another. And you start to see which ones they really vibe with.”
As fun as a shoot like this can be (there was a running joke that each time the model got in a new dress, she was getting married again – they asked each other “When are you going to find Mr. Right?”), there’s a bit of a challenge. Considering that a lot of the dresses are incredibly similar in color, and have only subtle variations of shape and texture, a lot has to be done on set to distinguish between them, to let the personalities of the dresses show through. Brian explains, “It’s a lot of being on your toes creatively, working well with the team, and figuring out little nuances that help to really tell the story of that particular dress.”
It's not all hard work and visual gymnastics, they are wedding dresses after all, something a lot of brides take very seriously. Sometimes, during a shoot like that, you get to see something a little deeper, something a little more personal comes through. "You see the model kind of melt into that dream dress and glance back in the mirror and envision what it would be like to actually wear it," Brian has witnessed in between shots. "It’s kind of sweet to see that."