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Modest dress hunt leads Orthodox Jewish bride to Mormon site

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Thirteen pages of gorgeous, flattering dresses unfurled before me, and all had sleeves, high necklines, backs and hemlines that hit below the knees every time. I was awe-struck. – Arrielle Landau, contributor for New York Daily News

Arrielle Landau knew finding appropriate bridesmaid dresses would be one of the hardest parts of her wedding. It had to be pretty, modest, affordable and easily accessible — yet wherever she looked, at least one of her qualifications were not met.

It wasn't until Landau ran into a Utah-based company that she found appropriate bridesmaid dresses for her wedding in a Lower Merion Synagogue, a Modern Orthodox shul. Landau recently described her experience in an article from the New York Daily News.

"The biggest obstacle was modesty. I looked at beautiful, affordable dresses ALL DAY LONG on sites such as nordstrom.com," Landau wrote. "But if the dresses had sleeves — they had a deep V-neck that showed off everything to the bellybutton. If the front actually covered your front — the dress was backless. If the dress had sleeves and a proper neckline — then the hem was sky high. If the hemline hit below the knee — then the gown was inevitably strap-less. And on and on."

Landau describes searching Google for "Modern Orthodox bridesmaids dresses" or "Jewish bridesmaid dresses" and "Tasteful bridesmaid dresses," but the results only brought up dresses listed at $400 or more that were far too modest, "covering everything from clavicle to wrist, to ankle."

But once Landau's fiancé stepped in, her results changed. Rather than looking for religious dresses, he suggested that Landau simply search for "modest bridesmaid dresses."

"Then it happened," Landau wrote. "Right at the top of my computer screen was Modest Bridesmaid Dresses: Latter Day Bride & Prom. I clicked on it — and almost cried."

Landau had just come across the Utah company known for servicing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As Landau skimmed through the options online, she was amazed that each of her qualifications were met.

"THIRTEEN pages of gorgeous, flattering dresses unfurled before me, and all had sleeves, high necklines, backs and hemlines that hit BELOW the knees every time. I was awe-struck," Landau wrote.

"It was so simple: Of course Mormons would have similar modesty standards. Of course they wanted to feel pretty. And, apparently, they didn’t want to pay more than $250 for a dress either."

Landau quickly got in contact with the Utah company and ordered all of her bridesmaid dresses for her wedding party.

Nicole Thomas, the CEO and founder of Latter Day Bride expressed her excitement regarding Landau's experience.

"This article had me grinning from ear to ear," Thomas wrote in an email to Deseret News. "When we initially sat down at the drawing board to concept Latter Day Bride, our main goal was to create stylish, trendy, and lovely wedding dresses that still offered modesty! It seems like we've done just that."

Thomas expressed that while many of their customers are LDS, they have had many customers not of the LDS faith who have similar modesty standards.

"We love to cater to our LDS customer base around the world, offering them beautiful styles like the ones they've seen in bridal magazines, miraculously fashioned with the sleeves they need. But modesty goes farther than that. Though modesty is often religious, it can express culture as well. We are thrilled to cross those barriers to provide lovely modest styles to women of all walks of life who are looking for beautiful, trendy, modest gowns," Thomas wrote.

"Women who feel confident in their religious and cultural beliefs can also feel confident in clothing that brings modesty into the forefront of fashion. We feel privileged to meet at the crossroads of faith and values for many belief systems, because weaving the world together through common ground is really what it's all about."