When most of us think of weddings, we like to think big. But sometimes the most poignant memory of that big day can be something small. In this case, very small.
When most of us think of big dreams about big days, we usually won't sweat the little things. But Peggy Latta does.
"It's a very southern kind of belle look. I added color infusion to it," she explained, referring to a wedding dress. "The big puff sleeve, really embellished beadwork, but on the train it was open-cut work.
This isn't just any wedding dress, though. This one, like all her work, is in miniature.
Latta can just look at the wedding dress and tell you when it was popular.
"You get a very sleek trim line today. A simple modest strapless with a gorgeous back," she said.
It is not at all unusual to see her undergoing a kind of dress rehearsal in the back office of her Westfield home, working to get it just right.
"That is when I know I have really captured the dress, when you look at the photo and go, that is a dress on a dress form. Oh wait, that is a miniature," Peggy revealed.
Her projects are about 11 inches tall, to be exact. It all started when she made the first one for a friend's silver anniversary.
"People looked at it and said wow," and a career was stitched. You see most wedding gowns are packed away rarely to be seen again but these...
"This is so convenient and it looks exactly like my real wedding dress and the bouquet that I had on the wedding day," Molli Cameron explained as we sat in the living room of her Westfield home. She wanted to be able to see her wedding dress every day. She wanted to remember that day in Sedona, Arizona and she wanted to share it with her daughter.
"When you look at a flat photo you don't get the dimension of the dress so it is better than looking at pictures," she noted as we looked at her miniature wedding dress that was displayed with a glass cover.
"I have shipped to Australia and England and I have a couple going to Saudi Arabia pretty soon," Peggy Latta revealed. The bouquet is her specialty.
"This one is very interesting because those are peacock feathers, which we are seeing a lot of interesting things in flowers these days. They are using succulents and twigs and things like that. Those peacock feathers are actually paper and fabric hand painted to look like," Latta said.
There is only one thing she won't do.
"I don't do heads. No Barbie heads because I want the focus to be on the dress and the flowers because that is what my art is all about," she steadfastly declares.
Her mom taught her to hand stitch.
"They think I use these little teeny tiny needles but these are my working needles. Yeah!" she said.
Her Aunt Vivian taught her how to use the sewing machine but if need be she can always fall back to "the sewing tool. Known as the reverse sewing tool. The ripper. The ripper. Always valuable," she proclaimed.
Now she is crafting a dress for a female professional golfer and there is always the contract with Georgia's Miss America representative.
"So this gown will have lots of beading on it," she added.
As a staff of one she keeps busy shopping for materials, updating her website and taking orders off the internet. As the sign says she believed she could, so she did.
She's given all brides the opportunity to remember that day, every day.
If you want to see more of Peggy's work her website is called Heirloom Textile Art.