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Bespoke Separates and Veils From Smitha Menon Bridal

Apr 8, 2019

by Jackie Buddie

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

In our weekly Featured Shop series, we shine a light on a standout shop from Etsy’s talented seller community, offering readers a behind-the-scenes look at their process and story.

Traditional or modern. Solemn or playful. Romantic and soft or crisp and minimalist. For generations, women have chosen a single aesthetic for their wedding ensembles, whether or not that look reflected their actual day-to-day style. But in Texas-based bridal designer Smitha Menon‘s world, there’s no need for any of us to hem ourselves in. “Brides today are experimenting more,” says Smitha, who’s carved out a unique niche with her line of veils, accessories, and mix-and-match wedding separates. “I have classic brides who are looking for that wow factor, and they’re going for dramatically embellished cathedral veils. I have modern brides who choose a very simple gown, then add a Juliet cap veil to recreate some vintage ‘50s magic.”

Explore the Smitha Menon Bridal collection

A graduate from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in New Delhi, Smitha opened Smitha Menon Bridal in 2011 and began exploring ways to help her customers approach their wedding day apparel with a little less structure—and a lot more oomph. Using old-fashioned beadwork and precision hand-stitching, Smitha built a beautiful, modern collection in a completely reimagined palette of golds, pinks, and blues. The key to finding the right combination for you? “Use your imagination, work with your designer, and make it happen,” Smitha says. “Make it special, and make it your own.”

Read on to learn how Smitha makes her line ultra customizable, and shop the Smitha Menon Bridal collection.

Portrait of bridal designer Smitha Menon

Can you tell us about your creative roots?

I was born in a small, laid-back village in India, where there’s no fashion whatsoever. All you have is the pictures you see in magazines and your imagination. I used to point to an outfit in a magazine and say, “This is what I’d like,” and my mom would go to the local store, get some fabrics that looked similar, and sew dresses for me. And I was one of the trendiest girls in my neighborhood! I was so happy with those outfits.

Was it your mom who first taught you to sew?

I asked her to, but she never taught me because she thought her process was wrong, and she didn’t want me to learn the wrong way. But I think maybe she should have. Because really, the tailors back in India are the most talented, creative people I’ve ever seen. They can just look at you without taking any measurements and make your garment perfect.

I want to be able to do that, to understand the body just by looking at it, but when you go into the fashion world and learn the technical way, like I did, it’s hard to go back to that casual way of just marking up a piece of fabric and making it fit. And my mom used to do it with such ease. I’m hoping that with more experience working with more body types I can get there.

Smitha sketching gown designs
Smitha pins a gold lace bridal top on a form

What are some of the qualities that distinguish your bridal line?

Most gowns currently on the market are in the ivory range, with a little bit of champagne coming in too. When I realized that a hint of color was making its way into bridal wear, I decided I wanted to create a unique gold lace top, a blush pink skirt, and a blue wedding skirt. I designed them as separates so you can not only wear them for your wedding, you can mix and match and use them later in life as well. I’m also very particular about the quality of my fabrics and materials. It’s such a special day, and I feel like the bride should be wearing something that rises to the occasion. I want it to be a cherished piece—an heirloom that she can pass down through generations, and tell the story of how it was made.

What are some of your considerations when designing for a bride?

I appreciate the understructures of traditional bridal gowns, but I don’t want my bride to be uncomfortable on her wedding day. I would rather have a gown that’s less structured—just free, simple. Gown designs overall I think are trending that way. Brides are more comfortable in their own bodies, and they’re okay with wearing a dress without much support, so there’s been a movement away from using boning or corseting inside the dress. That’s my focus: exploring the freedom of a simpler silhouette, but with lots of embellishments.

Details of Smitha's tambour and a bridal belt in progress
Smitha working at her sewing machine
Details on a dotted mantilla veil

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

Coming from a land where beading, embroidery, embellishment, and gold work are all so valued, I guess that’s been my inspiration my entire life. I’ve always seen these things all around me—the craftsmen sitting at their tambour tables, hand-sewing each and every bead, never tiring of the work. And the beading and embroidery they create are so wonderful. I want to incorporate that into my pieces. I’ve been trying to connect with some artisans back in India to get panels that I can use in my designs. I have some samples that I had made combining French laces with that intricate hand beading from India, and I don’t even want to use them because they’re just so precious.

Aside from fabrics, how do you select your materials?

All the crystals and pearls that I use on my veil embellishments are Swarovski, and I always use Czech beads, which are precisely cut in a specific shape. When you use regular beads from the market, each one is a different size, so when you go to do a tambour or embroidery with it, the calculations or the spacing varies. So it makes a lot of difference investing in quality materials.

Details of the gold lace embellishments on a mantilla veil
Smitha's workstation with a dusty blue bridal skirt in progress

What are some of the ways brides can customize your designs?

The blue gown has the outer layers—that luxurious, beaded lace. And then because it’s see-through, the inside is 100 percent silk, with a matching color. So I can make the shade of that a little darker or lighter, or put ivory inside, and it will completely transform the whole look of it.

Sometimes a lace is only available in white and I’ll hand-dye it to the bride’s liking. I have brides send me swatches of colors in the shade they want, and I match the color using a natural dye made from tea. I’ll send them three or four options in slightly varying shades, and they match it with their gown and let me know which one works.

Details of a crystal bridal belt in progress
Lace embellishments on an ivory veil
Portrait of Smitha Menon in her home studio

What’s your favorite part of your job?

That it’s all 100 percent hands-on. When I send my products to a bride, I know the whole process. I know each and every order that I have in hand. I know my bride’s name by heart. And I don’t want to ever get away from that. I want to continue that very personal, made-with-love kind of thing.

Also, when brides take the time to write really elaborate feedback—my gosh, it’s superb. I send them a message saying that it just made my day, my entire month, maybe. I think every day becomes special when you get good feedback for the work you’ve done.

Follow Smitha Menon Bridal on Instagram and Facebook.

Model photography by Connie Balluff. Studio photography courtesy of Smitha Menon Bridal.

Shop Smitha Menon Bridal

Juliet cap veil-wedding veil-fingertip veil-lace veil-beaded veil- style 101
Juliet cap veil-wedding veil-fingertip veil-lace veil-beaded veil- style 101
SmithaMenonbridal
$105.00 USD
NEW-Bridal mantilla veil-double layer veil-fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil-waltz veil-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 190
NEW-Bridal mantilla veil-double layer veil-fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil-waltz veil-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 190
SmithaMenonbridal
$135.00 USD
Bridal boho veil-Juliet cap veil- Lace Gold flower bridal veil-Swarovski crystal veil-fingertip veil- wedding veil-blusher- style 106
Bridal boho veil-Juliet cap veil- Lace Gold flower bridal veil-Swarovski crystal veil-fingertip veil- wedding veil-blusher- style 106
SmithaMenonbridal
$115.00 USD
Bridal veil -Mantilla veil- Gold bridal veil-polka dot veil-wedding veil-fingertip veil- lace veil-beaded veil- style 103
Bridal veil -Mantilla veil- Gold bridal veil-polka dot veil-wedding veil-fingertip veil- lace veil-beaded veil- style 103
SmithaMenonbridal
$135.00 USD
Bridal veil- Mantilla veil- Gold bridal veil-polka dot veil-wedding veil-fingertip veil- lace veil-Rose gold veil- style 102
Bridal veil- Mantilla veil- Gold bridal veil-polka dot veil-wedding veil-fingertip veil- lace veil-Rose gold veil- style 102
SmithaMenonbridal
$105.00 USD
Rush order for veil-Bridal veil- double layer veil- fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil- waltz veil- circle blusher veil- cathedral veil-
Rush order for veil-Bridal veil- double layer veil- fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil- waltz veil- circle blusher veil- cathedral veil-
SmithaMenonbridal
$30.00 USD
Bridal veil- double layer veil- fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil- waltz veil- circle blusher veil- cathedral veil-style 100
Bridal veil- double layer veil- fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil- waltz veil- circle blusher veil- cathedral veil-style 100
SmithaMenonbridal
$95.00 USD
Tulle swatch for veils-illusion tulle
Tulle swatch for veils-illusion tulle
SmithaMenonbridal
$2.00 USD
Bridal mantilla veil-double layer veil-fingertip veil-drop veil-Swarovski scattered crystal veil-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 220
Bridal mantilla veil-double layer veil-fingertip veil-drop veil-Swarovski scattered crystal veil-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 220
SmithaMenonbridal
$115.00 USD
Bridal mantilla veil-double layer veil-fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil-waltz veil-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 190
Bridal mantilla veil-double layer veil-fingertip veil-drop veil-wedding veil-waltz veil-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 190
SmithaMenonbridal
$135.00 USD
Bridal veil-Bridal drop veil-double layer veil-Cathedral veil-wedding veil-fingertip-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 210
Bridal veil-Bridal drop veil-double layer veil-Cathedral veil-wedding veil-fingertip-lace blusher veil-cathedral veil-style 210
SmithaMenonbridal
$135.00 USD
Bridal boho veil-Juliet cap veil- Lace Silver flower bridal veil-Swarovski crystal veil-fingertip veil- wedding veil-blusher- style 106
Bridal boho veil-Juliet cap veil- Lace Silver flower bridal veil-Swarovski crystal veil-fingertip veil- wedding veil-blusher- style 106
SmithaMenonbridal
$105.00 USD

69 comments

  • nadirenardi1

    Nadi Renardi from NadiRenardiUA said 198 days ago

    Pretty master and such a wonderful story. I remember my wedding. I had a classic dress, very beautiful, but so uncomfortable. At that time I didn’t even think about looking for some alternative. And there were a lot of variants. If I came to the choice of dress more thoroughly, I would be able to wear it now. Very cool when a hobby from childhood becomes your profession.

  • asdcfmfh

    Татьяна from HandmadebyTassiya said 197 days ago

    Oh, my God, what a beautiful and gentle work. They simply shmkarny. I fell in love.

  • d9jbndce

    Kristina from KrisluxuryStore said 197 days ago

    How lovely! Dresses are so delicate and luxurious, and embroidery is gorgeous, I also love to embroider beading beauty! Very talented and beautiful master)

  • karina2311

    Karina Sobelman from TinyHugsToys said 197 days ago

    So beautiful bridal collection!

  • b99uoxox

    Svetlana from Svettikflowers said 197 days ago

    How beautiful it is! Very delicate and sensual work! I love these things and admire the masters. The wedding theme is very close to me. I love to create jewelry for wedding hairstyles. Brides all over the world should always look great! This is a major day! We deserve it!

  • jt3vlxxm

    Anna Sypalo from XstitchbyAnna said 197 days ago

    Tender and soft colors, delicate work - beautiful gowns and talented artist! Thank you!

  • lnoqy1qe

    Nataliia from FluffySoulStore said 197 days ago

    You create beautiful clothes! This is amazing! Very nice dresses.

  • 9lcdnpgj

    Tatyana from CrochyUA said 197 days ago

    God, why am I already merried? I want to be a bride once again, when I look on these beautifull dresses... Love them!

  • viytuyue

    EverydayFolkCo from EverydayFolkCo said 197 days ago

    I love the aqua blue, cream and subdued gold colors - a modern fresh romantic approach to a wedding outfit. Fresh feminine and elegant without going over the top with mass ruffles and lace.

  • w8kdryaj

    Viktoria from Viktoriatoyscrochet said 197 days ago

    A wonderful story about the Master who is in love with his business. Thank you for the new acquaintance in this magical girl !!!

  • u94g1fxa

    Mary from CrochetGiftByMary said 197 days ago

    So gently! I wish that my wedding dress was something, like that "IRIS" dress! If I`d seen it before...I like it!

  • cherryZO

    cherryZO from cherryZOvintage said 197 days ago

    Congratulations on the feature! Gorgeous store and items!

  • jinjg02z

    Daria from MyCrochetFriends said 197 days ago

    This is amazing! I admire talented people! Smitha Menon and her work are great. I would be happy to get married in her clothes, but, unfortunately or fortunately, I'm already married) I was particularly impressed a blush wedding dress belt with gold flowers and crystals.

  • spgc6pdh

    Beaded Fun from TheBeadedFun said 197 days ago

    Yes, now there are less conventions and therefore more opportunities for designers of wedding clothes. That's good..after all, this means that every girl getting married, there are more options for choosing a wedding dress. After all, every girl wants to be especially beautiful and unique on her wedding day

  • trendychicposh

    SimplyCuteArt posh from SimplyCuteArt said 197 days ago

    Love every design! Congratulations :)

  • mmtkxqkj

    Tatiana from InLoopsPattern said 197 days ago

    Your dresses are delightful! I am sure that a lot of work and souls is enclosed in them! I love my work too! And for me it is important to receive feedback. It gives excellent mood and helps to do my work even better.

  • fo4tnlmm

    Maria from MaShawl said 197 days ago

    Amazing! I admire people who can do such fine work! Very nice! Inexhaustible inspiration to the author! Bravo!

  • IrinaEsaulova

    Irene from BabyEcoToys said 197 days ago

    Such amazing stories are very inspiring! Very elegant and luxury dresses from Smitha. And the embroidery is fascinating. So you need to really love your work to create such beauty... Thanks for inspiring and thanks for the story, Jackie!

  • 2dyq9z2b

    Anastasiya from byKiama said 197 days ago

    So beautiful!!! I want to get marriege again))

  • umpvxadn

    Julia from MikoshaLinenWool said 197 days ago

    Very beautiful work, the girl is great! My journey into sewing, too, was because of the lack of the ability to purchase beautiful quality items!

  • kgpbbugm

    Olga Sokolova from MiromadeBlythe said 197 days ago

    This story about childhood is close to me. Very beautiful floats are obtained, light, magical, you can feel like a princess.

  • gp0ospsz

    Tatiana Kirienko from ooccttoobbeerr said 197 days ago

    Incredible beauty! Her view of how each thing should be special is so close to me. I want to once my things were as amazing as the work of this woman!

  • cbai7xga

    Anna from AnnaAndBarbaraToys said 197 days ago

    Very interesting story and fresh ideas. I remember my wedding ☺️ My wedding dress is hanging at my wardrobe👗 . I like an idea of some colorful wedding dresses , which can be used for other occasions 👘👠

  • bipdzyvp

    Ekaterina from MagicAcornShop said 197 days ago

    This process is similar to real magic! So many beautiful details! When you look at these dresses you want to dance in them with beautiful music!

  • LadyInPurple

    Jennifer Tyson from LadyInPurpleBoutique said 197 days ago

    Congrats on the feature Smitha! Your pieces are simply stunning! I love the dusty blue skirt!

  • th4rlkl7

    AnnaVinogradova from Interierdollsandcats said 197 days ago

    Very impressed with the work of the master. The simplicity and sophistication, vintage and modernity, the combination of different texture of fabrics makes these works unique and inimitable.

  • sblo4rmz

    Irina from ToyscrochetCo said 197 days ago

    I admire the work of this talented master! Such people inspire me to new directions in my work. These are very, very beautiful dresses! I am very glad to know about such a wonderful master!

  • Maatra

    Smitha Menon from SmithaMenonbridal said 197 days ago

    Thank you so much for the kind and sweet words! Means a lot coming from the talented and creative minds here in Etsy.

  • wuewoeqc

    Jane from BoxingglovesDesign said 197 days ago

    What cute dresses! Embroidery is wonderful, very skillful. Every girl will be happy to have such a dress

  • 4swcjhpy

    Nadin from NadinArtCraft said 197 days ago

    Everything is done with great love! Thanks to Smitha for sharing the creative process. And the dusty blue skirt is incredibly beautiful!

  • Queenofpetals

    Olga Nuzhdina from FlowersForEverShop said 197 days ago

    They are so beautiful! The master is amazingly talented. You can dream about such a dress! Wedding is a very important event, everything should be perfect!

  • vnnhevcj

    Ekaterina Chesnokova from ChEkaterinaJewelry said 197 days ago

    This is a very beautiful dress! I love floral print dresses. I have collected a small collection. These volumetric flowers in dresses are gorgeous!

  • ekaterinazykova

    Ekaterina Zykova from KatyaToysShop said 197 days ago

    Very beautiful dresses, charming, the author is a great master, creative, unusual

  • JuliShvili

    Julia Verulashvili from JuliShvili said 197 days ago

    Such an magical life story! It is very interesting to read about creative way of Etsy sellers! I`m a little bit sad, that I have been married 10 years ago, and my dress was not so comfortable as it describe Smitha Menon.

  • SovaHM

    Kate Cherkasova from CherkasovaStudio said 197 days ago

    Minimalism! I like it! But I would to add only one bright element to those looks. A little bit red for example. Or blue. Or green. It's too many colors in the nature to forget about them.

  • frionjanestudio666

    Сергей Игоревич from Friojanestudio said 197 days ago

    It's magical!! Absolutely unreal appearance! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • bedouin

    Nicole from Crackerjackarma said 197 days ago

    Beautiful inside and out ~ Cheers to much continued success

  • yrrjdaqq

    Margarita from LiliaArtShop said 197 days ago

    Ohhh, wedding dresses are my weakness. As soon as I see this gentle cloud, it immediately takes me to another world and to dreams. Great work, just no words.

  • e4o5aube

    Marina from MyHobbyTimeTMN said 197 days ago

    Very beautiful dresses, original models: not overloaded with a large number of details, just moderate. Each dress has its own zest. Thank you for showing backstage in your workshop, it is always interesting to watch this.

  • ihs8dpom

    Anastasiia from CrochetToysBabyGoods said 197 days ago

    I have no words to describe my impression! Dresses looks so gorgeous! I regret that I’m already married, I want to do it again, but in another gown. I fell in love with blue wedding skirt! So talented master! I think this talent is inherited from her mother!

  • ClassicMemories

    ClassicMemories from ClassicMemories said 197 days ago

    Lovely items and lovely shop. Congrats on the wonderful feature.

  • jenslashjenny

    Jennifer Richardson from HeartthrobStudio said 197 days ago

    I am in total awe of how exquisite these dresses are... such delicate work!

  • oftocjpl

    Nadezhda from AlekseevaKnitting said 197 days ago

    Wedding is great. To create magnificent wedding dresses, to see the joy of customers is happiness.

  • 2rdfoj7b

    Fiona Guo from MomoPatternStudio said 197 days ago

    It's beautiful, it has a fairy touch, it makes the wedding more sacred and beautiful, I love it.

  • TreasuredMemoryLane

    Sujata from TreasuredMemoryLane said 197 days ago

    Beautiful bridal collection! Congratulations on the feature!

  • fm2execl

    Olga from Houseinthevillage said 197 days ago

    These dresses are matchless! such easy and graceful, I in admiration! Thank you that gave an opportunity to glance in a behind the scenes sacrament!

  • zdbg5xpp

    Olga from dollinjoy said 197 days ago

    Beautiful gowns and talented artist! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • xt0qmxlm

    Tatyana from KnittedMittenRU said 197 days ago

    How beautiful it is! I wanted to be a bride again👰🏼! Especially liked the blue skirt with small flowers! Very tender!

  • budr0ldk

    Yana from KnittingStyleByYana said 197 days ago

    What a beauty!!! Tenderness, lightness, style. Everything is fine! There is also a desire to become a bride again.

  • 4amr1jg2

    Ekaterina Kobyuk from DollyVelvet said 197 days ago

    Beautiful!

  • xwkvatrr

    Angella Seagal from AngellaCrafts said 197 days ago

    What a beautiful dress! It was interesting to learn the secrets of their birth. Thanks

  • mpk37teh

    Oksana from AmigurumiJoys said 197 days ago

    Stories about such talented people inspire. All works are incredible))))))

  • pillowlink

    Rosita from pillowlink said 196 days ago

    Love the process!

  • kjnd3i2q

    Tatyana from MOMsBirdie said 196 days ago

    I love a blue dress 💕 Oh it's a hand-dye lace!!! Great!!!

  • kjnd3i2q

    Tatyana from MOMsBirdie said 196 days ago

    I love a blue dress 💕 Oh, it's a hand-dye lace!!! Great!

  • PiperPixie

    Piper Pixie from PiperPixieDesigns said 196 days ago

    Wow! 😯 This woman’s super power is patience and a steady hand. AMAZING WORK!

  • annamizin

    Anna Nicolaeva from AnniesGurumiStudio said 196 days ago

    Looking at these luxurious dresses, I wanted to be a bride again!😍

  • pui6x5ft

    Darya Prozerpina from felttoysfinds said 196 days ago

    Nice one! You’re doing really well.

  • ludmilaekalne

    Ludmila from PRUTCRAFT said 196 days ago

    How beautiful it is! Just breathtaking! All these laces, beads, flowers, handmade in every fold of these magnificent works! Thank you for the inspiration and the wedding mood!

  • PokutniaAnna

    Anna from FairyToysWorld said 195 days ago

    These dresses are so beautiful! They are important part of one of the most important day. They are amazing!

  • msbijouxbeads

    Cathy from msbijouxbeads said 195 days ago

    Beautiful shop! Nice feature

  • y18wnpbo

    Natalya from CozyHouseNatalie said 194 days ago

    What a beautiful dress. So much lace and embroidery. Light, delicate as the bride herself.Admiration for the master. And the wedding dress isn't necessarily white and it's great.!!

  • serenagenovese

    Serena Genovese from serenagenovese said 194 days ago

    Awesome!

  • zvfz0rbi

    Mary Lin from LaettaArt said 193 days ago

    Oh, you are so attentive and reverent to their work. A dress without a frame is a miracle... It is very important to feel free and easy on such a day. I love India and its trends have not left me indifferent.I was struck by your reverent attitude to the desires of each bride about the very dress. that's great! You're very talented.

  • wcjgwqly

    Luybi Arctium from ArctiumStudio said 193 days ago

    I absolutely like it. So inspiring and beautiful!!

  • kristydodder

    Kristy from NanaBettysHouse said 192 days ago

    Amazing stunning designs, if I was getting married I would love a dress you created

  • TropicalGarden

    TropicalGarden from TropicalGarden said 192 days ago

    The bridal collection is simply gorgeous! Congratulations on the feature!

  • laura1girl1

    laura1girl1 from laura1girl1 said 185 days ago

    This is really a wonderful bridal shop. I love all of the different ways that this designer expresses her great talent in creating beautiful gowns, skirts, and veils for the bride to be. I am eighty years old and have never seen such talent in the making of these beautiful creations. Her creations make the bride look beautiful. I wish for you only success in your dealings to the brides to be in the future.

  • candelo

    Morgane C. from PrintableWordsFR said 64 days ago

    now i need to find the man to marry ! wonderful, very talented

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