Article by Stephanie Kaminsky
Photography by Jenny Fu Photography
Originally published in Greenwich Lifestyle

For most brides, designing their perfect wedding comes with endless amounts of excitement, jitters, daydreams, and planning. Unfortunately, no bride could have ever anticipated a pandemic to come along and postpone one of the biggest days of their lives. But as we know from childhood, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother only appeared in a time of distress, not merriment. Introducing your new bridal Fairy Godmothers: Elena Niejelow and Svetlana Sokolova.

Elena and Svetlana are co-founders of Darien’s SOKAYRI Atelier and Boutique, specializing in designing, altering and customizing gowns, dresses, suits, accessories and more for your “big day”. As we know, planning for your wedding or special event may require tedious dress fittings, losing weight, gaining weight, alterations, and unfortunately, stress. However, Elena and Svetlana are true professionals, fashion-lovers, and friends to all that enter their shop. “We want to make this place feel like a home. We really do treat our customers like close friends.” says founder Elena. “During the fittings, because there are usually several fittings, we create very nice, close relationships. They share their stories. We have many conversations about their thoughts and feelings. We love what we do because it’s very fulfilling. It’s beautiful human interaction.” Especially during times of uncertainty, Elena and Svetlana encourage Fairfield County women to bring their wedding gowns, vails, and accessories for local treatment at their shop instead of having to travel hours back to the origin of their dresses for further and on-going alterations.

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But designing and altering dream gowns is just the beginning of Elena and Svetlana’s magic work. Often, the mother of the bride, bridesmaids, flowergirls, or the groom’s mother will be in need of designing, altering, and customization, as well! From matching fabrics to creating color schemes, utilizing sentimental pieces or inventing one-of-a-kind patterns, anything is possible at SOKAYRI. “This is a place where you can actually be your own designer. With our expertise, we will make suggestions that fit you best. So we will design together and then bring it to life.” Just like magic!

Photography by Jenny Fu Photography