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House of Donna

Donna Beth, Doyenne of Denver Bridal Alterations, Enters a New Era with a Refined and Reimagined Custom Atelier

Donna Beth’s Cherry Creek showroom is to brides what a candy shop is to someone who loves sugary confections. Mannequins are draped in white gowns that drip with pearls, dreamy veils of various lengths and fabrics cascade down the walls and clusters of delicate jewelry line the shelves. For the past decade, this space has been a go-to for fiancées seeking Donna’s expert hand in altering their wedding dresses to fit like a glove. Earlier this fall—and after 40 years spent perfecting her craft—Donna felt it was the right moment to elevate her beloved brand with a new offering.

“We are now a full-service custom atelier, with custom wedding gowns, mother-of-the-bride dresses and party dresses,” she says. “We still do alterations, but we’re adding this layer to the business."

Increasing requests from brides wanting an exclusive gown sparked Donna’s artistic fuse, leading her to hire local designer Alejandro Gaeta as Donna Beth’s creative director. In a collaborative effort reflected in their new DBxAG label, Donna and Alejandro work with clients “from vision to veil,” she says. Brides share their ideas in a consultation, Alejandro sketches a look and Donna selects fabrics. After muslin fittings, the duo then creates a bespoke dress. The cost includes the sketch, design, fabric, all fittings and alterations. Fabrics are luxurious Italian textiles, sourced from mills where Giorgio Armani and Elie Saab procure their materials.­­

“It’s our job to pull a bride’s idea out and bring to fruition what she’s dreaming of,” Donna says. “I fly to Los Angeles twice a month to pick out the fabrics, so we always have something fresh.”

Like many modern brides, those coming to Donna for a custom piece usually want more than one—they need looks for a bridal shower, bachelorette, welcome party, wedding and reception, to name a few. For Brea Sutton, who married Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton this past June in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, Donna and Alejandro created three dresses, including a chocolate brown satin number that looked exquisite against the misty blue ocean during the couple’s rehearsal dinner.

From minidresses to pantsuits to floor-length gowns, Donna’s team brings to life a range of one-of-a-kind requests. Brides who visit the atelier for custom designs have one thing in common: vision.

“A custom gown is for you if you know exactly what you want and can envision it,” Donna says. “The brides in Denver are just a little more laid back. They have more of an idea of what they want.”

In her showroom, clothing racks also display haute couture pieces with vibrant pops of color. These are a mix of dresses Donna and Alejandro showed in a recent fashion show at Hotel Clio, and special event dresses they designed for clients. Ethereal feathers and intricate beading are all applied by hand, revealing the craftsmanship put into every made-to-measure dress.

Vintage redesigns remain some of Donna’s favorite projects because she wore her mother-in-law’s Chantilly lace heirloom gown for her own wedding. Her team takes apart vintage pieces and completely redesigns them into jumpsuits or top-and-skirt sets. Oftentimes a bride will surprise her mother with the new look at the wedding, Donna says.

Meticulous alterations and tailoring, cleaning and preservation services, and now a custom dress offering are all woven into the fabric of her brand; however, Donna says that she is most proud to offer her clients a truly personalized experience.

“I’ve had 52,000 daughters,” she says with a laugh. “I am Mama Donna. Everyone who comes in is part of my family, and they don’t leave without a hug.”