Local Bride Creates 12 Bridesmaids Dresses With Tropical Twists
Planning a wedding can turn the most calm, cool and collected of brides into sleep deprived ones dithering about the details—and rightly so. The bonds of matrimony are not to be taken lightly, and neither is the ceremony leading up to them nor the reception that follows. One local bride-to-be doubled down while planning her wedding, making each of her 12 bridesmaids’ dresses as well as her own gown.
Jensen Beach resident Kristen Alyce, founder of Vivre Canvas Couture, an inspired line of wearable original paintings, always dreamed of debuting a bridal collection.
“I wanted to do it in general, but when I got engaged, I realized it would be so perfect to do it for myself,” Alyce says.
Her collection, worn by her and her friends on the special day, includes gorgeous gray-and-green garbs and her one-shoulder stretchy silk gown wrapped by a tailored train of tropical leaves.
“[The collection] is based on South Florida paradise, basically all of the lush leaves and greenery that we’re surrounded by,” Alyce says.
Banana leaves and monstera leaves. Ferns and fronds. Palms and plumeria. All acrylically added to the fabric by Amanda Wilson, a North Carolina-based artist.
“We actually didn’t really use flowers at all,” Alyce says. “I think I literally spent $75 on some to put in the bouquet.”
Each bridesmaid’s dress—from the designs to the cuts to the seaming and sewing and stitching and finally the painting—has more than 30 hours invested in it. Alyce crafted different styles including asymmetrical, halter, strapless and tank accented with peplum, pleats and princess lines. Addison’s dress had capped sleeves, and Christine’s had a pencil skirt.
“Also, each dress was made for each bridesmaid’s individual style and personality,” Alyce says. “I wanted them to wear a bridesmaid’s dress that made them look and feel their very best.”
She started sketching the dresses last summer—six months prior to the Dec. 30 nuptials—and because many of her bridesmaids were from out of town, she measured them via FaceTime.
“I worked on dresses until 2 o’clock in the morning many, many nights,” Alyce says. “My dress alone took over 100 hours of hard work.”
The I Dos
The 31-year-old exchanged vows with Roel Vanmuysen, a Belgium-born bicyclist who used to race professionally and now owns BelgiumBike in Stuart. They met at a bar on Clematis Street and became friends, then started dating.
“He’s not the most romantic guy in the world, but when he does things, it’s really sweet,” Alyce says. “And the way he proposed…”
It was during a surprise trip to Andabeløy, Norway, a tiny island on the southern tip of the country where Alyce’s great-great-grandfather built a house that still belongs to the family. The 35-year-old popped the question as they watched the sunrise.
“He makes me a better person every single day in every single way,” she says. “I could never have dreamed him up.”
Eight months later, they joined hands at The Mansion at Tuckahoe, a historic Martin County venue overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, and said their I dos in front of 175 guests. Everyone retreated to a clear-top tent by Eventmakers for the reception and enjoyed music by New York Sounds DJ & Entertainment, signature cocktails by Code Rum and a buffet dinner by Bolay. The happy couple posed for pictures in front of a Rolls-Royce Wraith, compliments of Braman Motorcars. Katrina Resch, owner of FResch Perspective, coordinated it all.
“They really helped make my dream wedding happen,” Alyce says. “But at the end of the day, the best part of this wedding is Roel. I’m just ridiculously lucky.”
“At the end of the day, the best part of this wedding is roel. I’m just ridiculously lucky.”
Belgium is known for its Trappist breweries, abundant chocolatiers and dazzling diamonds. The engagement ring was custom-crafted in Antwerp with a 1.5-carat, round-cut stone set in white gold. Alyce’s statement earrings from Provident Jewelry were also diamond and white gold chandeliers. The pair exchanged bands from David Yurman, hers again in white gold and his in titanium.
The lush leaves and greenery that inspired the verdant vibe of the wedding were displayed in tall trumpet vases surrounded by white stones and votive candles atop all 22 tables. Each stem was sourced from the backyards of friends and neighbors.
“We clipped every leaf,” Alyce says. “It was like a hunt.”
She preserved the plants in buckets stashed around her house while collecting and bagging nana clusia leaves that guests tossed at the newlyweds. Her father, Warren Frerichs, helped construct the stately table numbers out of stainless steel and wood purchased at a hardware store.
“We didn’t have a lot of tchotchke decorations,” Alyce says. “It was like white on white on white with leaves and stainless steel.”
The clean, modern look also included a vertical garden planted on-site.
“My bridesmaids, poor girls, were digging around in the dirt and planting the wall the day of the wedding,” Alyce says.
An adventurous anole found its way into her bouquet of mums, and she let it stay there throughout the ceremony.
“Talk about a true Florida wedding,” Alyce says. “At least I’m not queasy about lizards.”
Lemon chicken and steak au jus served with golden kale salad, forbidden black rice, roasted Brussels sprouts, balsamic mushrooms and Cajun sweet potatoes (all gluten-free) comprised the mouthwatering meal.
“The feedback was unreal,” Alyce says. “People could not stop talking about the food.”
Dessert did not disappoint, with not only a traditional cake but also key-lime-pie shooters. The bar offered local craft beers, cabernet sauvignon , merlot, pinot noir and a selection of white wines. Honey Bubbles sparkling moscato, produced by a company that donates a portion of its proceeds to combat colony collapse disorder that affects worker bees, and orange juice from Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Company in Fort Pierce, were used to make mimosas. Tea from Tracy Stern Tea & Co. in Palm Beach was the magic ingredient in the Royal Poinciana Cooler.
“We wanted to make our wedding showcase the state that we live in,” Alyce says. “We wanted our guests, some of whom came from overseas, to experience that.”
Vivre Canvas Couture is founded by Alyce, a Palm Beach Atlantic University graduate with bachelor’s degrees in fine art and education. Its mission: to produce bespoke pieces worthy of a gallery exhibition.
“I have a passion for making things, creating and seeing people, especially women, feel so beautiful,” Alyce says. “When someone puts on my dress, and they spin around, and they feel so beautiful, I think that is so awesome. Even the guys—they love wearing the bowties.”
In addition to dresses, the company makes bowties, belts and bags.
“We’ve sold out of every single accessory we make,” Alyce says. “We can’t keep them in stock.”
Vivre Canvas Couture launched in 2016. Her first collection, titled “Palm Beach,” highlighted the art of impasto expert Sarah LaPierre, who painted 13 dresses. It grabbed headlines in print and online.
“I have no training in fashion whatsoever,” Alyce says. “I didn’t even know how to use a sewing machine until a year and a half ago when I started Vivre.”
Alyce’s other company, Garbage Gone Glam, which dates back to 2009, assembles dresses out of recycled trash and packing tape. Its inaugural show took place in October and raised money for Resource Depot, a non-profit that distributes discarded waste to schools for use in children’s art projects.
“I started it as an environmental outreach to show people they can do more with their garbage before they throw it away,” Alyce says. “The dresses attracted a ridiculous amount of attention.”
Candy wrappers, egg cartons and water bottles—nothing was off limits.
“I would come home to piles of trash by my front door,” Alyce says. “I never imagined it would turn into something like this.”
At an event celebrating the 2015 edition of Jupiter Magazine and The Palm Beacher’s Charity Datebook, Garbage Gone Glam put a model in a plain-white paper dress that was painted live and auctioned off for charity that night.
“People just freaked out over this painted paper dress,” Alyce says. “I saw the importance that fashion had on society and culture.”
The plain-white paper turned into pre-treated canvas, and Vivre Canvas Couture was born.
“It’s a weird transition, I know,” Alyce says. “But Vivre wouldn’t exist had it not been for Garbage Gone Glam.”
Between her and her husband’s businesses, a lot of traveling lies ahead, but a honeymoon is in immediate order.
“We will eventually go on our honeymoon to the North Pole,” Alyce says. “Since we live in paradise, we can always hop on a cruise ship to the tropics. What we can’t do often enough is get cozy in a cabin overlooking mass amounts of snow by a fire.”
Wedding Date: Dec. 30, 2017
Venue: The Mansion at Tuckahoe, Jensen Beach
Photographer: Cassi Claire, @cassiclaire
Design: Vivre Couture, @vivrecouture
Florals/Artist: Amanda Wilson, @amandawilsonart
Wedding Planner: FResch Perspective, @freschperspective
Rentals: Eventmakers, @eventmakersstuart
Caterer: Bolay, @eatbolay
Hair & Makeup: Beauty Boutique and Medi Spa, @bbsalonmedispa
Shoes: Jimmy Choo, @jimmychoo; Steve Madden, @stevemadden
Jewelry: Provident Jewelry, @providentjewelry
DJ & Uplighting: NY Sounds Events (Jason Salerno)
Cocktail Hour Musician: Summer Gill, @summergillmusic
Transportation: Rolls-Royce, @bramanmotorcars
Favors: Tracy Stern Tea & Co., @tracysternteaco
Videography: Sean Conlon, @seanconlon_
Bar Provisions: Code Rum, @coderum; Honey Bubbles Wine, @honey_bubbles_wine; Natalie’s Orange Juice, @nataliesoj