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Obsessed with the Dress

May, 21, 2024

Started by a mother-daughter power duo, Bōda Bridal has been revolutionizing the way Utah brides can customize their wedding gowns for the last ten years, from the moment they’re “obsessed with the dress,” to the day they walk down the aisle. Destrie Dee, founder and owner of Bōda, showed her artistic creativity with her own wedding dress just last year—hang on to your jaws because one look at her dress will have them on the floor!

“Wedding Bridal”

The name boda means “wedding” in Spanish; when Destrie began searching for the perfect name for her and her mom Paula’s brand-new wedding dress shop, Bōda seemed like the perfect fit—it was short, easy to remember, and sounded like a designer brand name… It’s giving “Chanel;” it’s giving “Prada.” 

“When we started we were very bohemian, and the word ‘boda’ reminded me of that. I think it took like a year to come up with that name, I was brainstorming every day I could. Nothing felt like a brand to me; it was like ‘pink lilies boutique’ or whatever. Finally one day I was like, ‘Okay I’m just going to look up every wedding-related word in every language and see if one of them feels like it makes sense.’ I saw the word ‘boda’ and thought it was so cute. It sounds like a brand.” 

There really isn’t a better place to go for a wedding dress than a store called ‘wedding bridal!’

Unique to Utah

The way Destrie approaches her dress designing and bridal experience is just as thought-out and meticulous as her naming process; each piece is incredibly unique and threaded with artistic vision and meaning from head to toe. 

Destrie had an ambitious vision for designing and providing dresses that weren’t found anywhere else over a decade ago. “There’s a million wedding dresses in Utah, it’s not like we needed more. But at the same time, I still felt like there was something missing… There weren’t a lot of modest options at the time.”

The duo launched Bōda right in Paula’s basement. “I knew we could do a little bit more with still making people feel like they can be sexy, but they could also be modest. So we started with only modest and then I realized I was cutting out half of Utah.” From taking as many as six brides a day, in appointments going as late as 10:00 pm, to opening their newest in-store experience just last year, Bōda has brought Destrie’s vision to life through their incredible gowns and one-of-a-kind experiences.

Not only do they have their own storefront right in the heart of City Creek shopping center, but their gowns are sent all over the country, in as many as ten stores in the U.S. and counting. Destrie says that they’re hoping to have even more bridal stores that carry their unique gowns, “hopefully one in every state and then every country.” Bōda continues to grow and has even more to look forward to!

We Can Change Anything, Seriously, Anything

But the magic of the gowns Destrie designs doesn’t end with their show-stopping beauty—every single gown at Bōda is customizable in every single way, whether you want to change the sleeve or neckline, add a bow or sparkles, or even change the fabric your dress is made of. 

In the ten years since Bōda began, Destrie continually pays homage to their original style while also adapting her designs to the preferences and needs of contemporary brides. 

“I feel like I try to stick to that boho side a lot because I think a lot of people come to us for that because they say, ‘I cannot find this anywhere.’ I would say in my soul, I’m slightly cowgirl, slightly boho in certain ways. I don’t want to leave that girl behind.”

“We were hearing a lot of girls go, ‘Well, I don’t want to go to Bōda because they only have boho dresses.’ And I was like, ‘Hold on, don’t put me in a box—we can do everything.’ And so then I started going, ‘Okay, well, I want something for everyone, but still within Bōda’s style.’ I’m going to do that simple girl. I’m going to do the ball gown girl. I’m going to do the beaded girl, because all of those girls are Bōda, and we are them.”

In her journey to embrace every bride’s style while still staying true to her artistic visions, Destrie realized that having a customizable experience is the ideal process for any bride. “I want every bride to come in and say, ‘Hey, there is something here for me,’ and it just might have my spin on it—like maybe it has a detachable bow, but they don’t have to have it. Maybe it has a cape, but they don’t have to wear that.”

“And so I started realizing that customizable was absolutely what could be our niche in the industry because that’s something that’s really hard to find—a lot of designers won’t allow you to make customizations. For us, you can change anything about the dress. Seriously, anything.”

A bride who loves a dress but doesn’t like a certain aspect about it, like the neckline for example, doesn’t have to go find a whole different dress—she can just have her dress made the way she wants it.

Making Dreams Come True

For Destrie, her ultimate goal is to help every bride find the dress she’s been dreaming about her whole life. “I’m not designing because I have some crazy need to get my ideas into the world. I’m designing because I never found a wedding dress I wanted, and I want a girl to be able to find a wedding dress she wants—and if she can’t find it, she can make it.”

Part of the fun since becoming a fully custom bridal experience has been bringing every bride’s creative vision to life in ways that Destrie hasn’t seen before. “I’m excited to see each dress that’s customized, I personally have to work with our manufacturers to change the patterns and make sure it looks perfect. It’s so cool that I get to see every single change we’ve ever made.” 

Destrie’s favorite gown she designed was her own—and it’s our favorite too. Every detail about it, from the boning to the beading, had a special meaning for her. Not to mention it’s one of the most stunning wedding dresses we’ve ever seen. 

Her favorite part about Bōda is seeing brides say yes to their dress, or saying they’re “obsessed with the dress,” as Bōda puts it. “It gives me chills even thinking about it because it’s so special, and you’re like, ‘Holy cow, I designed something that this girl has been dreaming of for her entire life.’ How special is that? You can’t beat that.”

“I’m literally making dreams come true multiple times a week.”

And it’s our dream come true just to see the incredible gowns from Bōda Bridal! We can’t wait to see all of the unique styles that make their way down the aisle this year.

Gowns: Boda Bridal
Photography: Amanda Shupe Photography & Matthew Butler Photography
Models: Kalee Hall, Taylor Tomlarsen, Emmy Ly, Jenna Howarth, Kaylee Watson

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