When Risa Kostis, owner of RISTYLE consulting - a one stop shop for personal and wedding day wardrobe and styling - first entered the wedding scene, she had no idea what a huge part problem solving would play in her role as a stylist.
“My background was initially hair and makeup, and then I transitioned to the fashion world. Weddings felt like a natural way to merge the two. I quickly realized that it’s not as simple as hair, makeup, and then a bride stepping into her gown - there’s almost ALWAYS a fashion emergency! Whether it’s a groom forgetting his suit, or a bridesmaid wearing the wrong bra, I had to learn what to have on hand to keep things running smoothly.”
In her 15 plus years of bridal styling Risa has seen pretty much everything. This trial by fire has helped her curate the utilitarian kit that she now takes everywhere - it is a veritable arsenal of problem solving tools that are in constant rotation as she works with her clients. Risa laughs when asked to share a wedding day disaster aversion story, but her face lights up. It’s clear problem solving is her passion.
“We were in the bridal suite. It was the bride, me, the mother of the bride, her bridesmaids, and the wedding planner, along with the photographer, finishing up the ‘getting ready’ pictures.
The bride slipped into her dress and started to head out for the ‘first look’, which is where the groom sees his future bride for the very first time. It is a big, emotional moment for the couple. Normally I am right with the bride - I have strict instructions that I am to be there to hold her veil or her train, and for the bride to always walk last. This time, however, I stayed behind to find the room key (everyone always forgets the room key - future brides, take note!) so I wasn’t with her as she walked down the hall.
As I was closing the door, one of her bridesmaids came running. All she could say was, ‘Risa, we need you!’. I quickly realized someone had walked too close to the bride and accidentally stepped on the back of her dress. She didn’t even have a train - it was a full tulle ball gown dress, but somehow the back of her dress was split open, and the zipper was completely broken. Unfortunately when that happens there isn’t an easy fix. You either have to replace it, or sew the bride into the garment.
I knew I didn’t have enough time to do a full sewing job right then. I grabbed my super glue and my white safety pins, and - this poor bride, it was 105 degrees and she was completely stressed - I got under her skirt and started gluing and pinning from the inside! This bought her some time and she was able to get through her first look and bridal party pictures.
While pictures were happening, I grabbed pre-threaded needles from the front desk. I carry a full sewing kit but I hadn’t used those before, and I realized what a time saver they are! I now have them at all times. Once the bride was back to the suite I was able to sew her into her dress and then I superglued over the top of the zipper. Not only did it look perfect, but it lasted the whole night! Apparently it took three people to get her out of her dress later, but she got married on time and looked amazing. She told me that if I hadn’t been there, she never would have walked down the aisle. I really feel like my kit was put to the test that day and I learned something new, which happens all the time!”
Risa often gets asked to recreate her kit for her clients. This request, plus the recognition that not every bride has the budget for a day-of wedding stylist, inspired Risa to create The Bride Kit, which is a consumer version of her rescue kit specifically designed for wedding day wardrobe disasters.
“It just makes so much sense,” Risa states. “These time sensitive mishaps often have such easy solutions if you have the correct tools, and stressful situations can be diffused. Every bride should have this on hand! It's great to hand off to the maid of honor or the wedding coordinator if you don’t have a stylist. I had a vendor-friend once call it ‘wedding day insurance’, and that sums it up perfectly. Hopefully you don’t need to use a single thing! But the tools are there, if you need them.”
Risa knows that brides are at the center of the chaos on their big day. Her most sincere hope is that The Bride Kit can bring them peace of mind that disasters - wardrobe related at least - are solvable.