October 2015 - Northwed Magazine


Holly Stalder is in the business of turning romantic reveries into reality.  A Portlander with a penchant for lace, Stalder designs one-of-a-kind wedding gowns that are available at the charming storefront, Diamond Sea Bridal. Whether they’re dripping with elegant detail or vintage flair, her gowns are inspiring works of art. Get to know the designer and story behind the custom dress line below:

Tell me about the inspiration behind your bridal line.

I am fascinated by lace and it’s delicate beauty, the drape of silks, the movement of tulle.

How would you describe your style?

Vintage glamour with a modern edge.

When designing and creating your wedding dresses, what type of bride
do you envision?

I love brides who want to be one of kind on their wedding day.

What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had working with a bride?

I once had a client who came in with a photo of a one of kind dress that I had made 5 years earlier and wanted me to remake it. It had a really specific lace that I salvaged from a vintage dress. I told the bride that their was no way I could make it or sadly even something similar. I tried to get her into a new design, but she left to look at vintage dresses and used dresses that day and FOUND THE DRESS in the photo! She bought it and brought it back in and tried it on for me, it fit her perfectly. It was so unbelievable!

What is one of your favorite dresses you’ve designed and why?

I made my own dress and that was a really great experience. I laughed at myself because I didn’t know what I wanted, even though I work with wedding dresses every day.

How does your location of Portland influence your work?

Portland is a great place to be a designer. Designers can keep their prices lower here than in a lot of cities because overhead so much lower, so you don’t have to be wealthy to have a dress designed and made.

What is your favorite part of a wedding?

I love the cake cutting. I love cake decorating and would probably be doing that if I wasn’t making wedding dresses.

What is your favorite love story?

Romeo and Juliet – the ballet, movie, or the book.


Local talent Aran Galligan of Aide-Memoire Jewelry provides couples with artisan signifiers of their commitments to one another. While her refreshingly meaningful designs are impossible to forget, her pieces aren’t the only reason why Galligan will be remembered. She utilizes her metalworking magic to aid the causes close to her heart. This means Aide-memoire makes monthly donations to a range of charities and is committed to eco-friendly, ethical materials. Get to know Galligan and her business a little better below:

Tell me about the inspiration behind Aide-Memoire.

I wanted to create simple, beautiful, and understated wedding jewelry, and to not compromise my values in the process. Minimalism (functionality, truth to materials, and beauty through simplicity) and the Japanese aesthetic Wabi-sabi (where beauty lies in the imperfect mark of the hand) are definitely my guiding design principals.

 Have you always wanted a business of your own? What were some of the first steps you took to pursue your business?

Yes, I’ve always wanted to have a business selling things that I made. Even as a kid I was always trying to start handmade businesses. I’m an avid reader and researcher, so any time I take on something new I devote hours of reading and research to it. I am a sponge that tries to soak up as much information as I can – so reading lots and lots of business books and blogs, as well as lots of research into ethical supplies.

Aran Galligan at work

What is your favorite part of your job?

Oh, so many things. I love that I am creating future heirlooms. That the pieces I make will go out into the world and be worn everyday, and hopefully passed down to future generations. I love that I can provide a space for couples who don’t feel like they identify with the main stream ideas of what a wedding should be. That I get to work with Adam and Vivian, who are both fantastic jewelers in their own right, and so fun to work with. That everyday in different with different challenges, which keeps my brain active.

 Tell me about one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had working with couples.

When marriage equality was passed in Washington it was an amazing time to be here. Many of the couples that I met with have been together for 30+ years and their relationships were finally recognized. My eyes would tear up on a regular basis hearing their stories, and celebrating this win with them. It is wonderful to be a part of such a historic time.

Her charming studio

You’ve utilized your talents to touch the lives of others through your business. Why did you decide to do this? How has Aide-memoire touched your own life?

I felt that there was an opportunity where I could create a business that was in line with my values, where honesty, integrity, inclusion and giving back were key components of it. I feel so fortunate to have such great customers that also value that. When I started out focusing on wedding rings, I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy it. As overly-lofty as it may sound, I love that I am able to make some difference through my business.

After many moves, you settled down in Seattle. How does the environment and style of the Pacific Northwest inspire your work?

Seattle style is very casual and simple, which was a big draw for me to move here. Seattlites tend to be practical and down-to-earth. I love how many couples ride their bikes in to see me. It is so easy to connect with other like minded people here. My concrete ring reminds me of rock or stone (and really resonates with a lot of rock climbers):

and the wood bark textured ring is inspired by all the magnificent trees out here:

What is your favorite part of a wedding?

Without a doubt that it brings friends and families together to celebrate and recognize the relationship.

Be sure to check out all that Aide-memoire Jewelry has to offer here.



Nothing says “the Pacific Northwest” more than the beautiful backdrop of this Columbia River Gorge engagement shot by the Portland-based photographer, Jessica Hill. Incorporating one of the region’s favorite activities of hiking into your engagement shoot not only allows for access to breathtaking scenery, but also meaningful romance. The candid shots of the couple helping each other up the inclines serve to symbolize their start to a lifelong journey of climbing through life together. The vibrant greenery, stunning waterfalls, and rugged rock of the natural setting helps to showcase and amplify the natural connection between the couple.