A bride wore a sparkly wedding dress with transparent cutouts and removable sleeves to her destination wedding

Samantha Grindell
·9 min read
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Bijon Vaughn wore a Galia Lahav dress to her destination wedding. Gareth Davies Photography
  • As part of Insider's wedding series, "The One," Bijon Vaughn shared how she found her dream dress.

  • The bride wore a Galia Lahav gown for her destination wedding in Mexico.

  • The $7,500 gown featured an intricate bodice, detachable sleeves, and sheer cutouts.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Bijon and Robert Vaughn were best friends before they fell in love.

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The Vaughns have been together since 2015. Gareth Davies Photography

Bijon, a 30-year-old actress and entrepreneur, and Robert, a 33-year-old who works in ad tech, were both new to Los Angeles, California, around 10 years ago.

The only person they both knew was Bijon's cousin, so the trio started spending a lot of time together.

Bijon and Robert became fast friends, but the relationship was purely platonic, as they were both dating other people at the time.

They both became single around the time Bijon's sister was getting married in 2015, and Bijon invited Robert to be her date to the wedding.

He showed up to the wedding weekend with Bijon's favorite flowers, and he spent the next few days bonding with Bijon's father and aunts.

After seeing Robert interact with her family, Bijon knew he was the one.

"I was just like, 'Oh my God, this is my husband,'" she told Insider. The couple has been together ever since.

The Vaughns got engaged in September 2018.

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They got engaged in 2018. Gareth Davies Photography

Robert proposed to Bijon at a museum in his hometown of Boston, and he surprised her by flying her mom out for the weekend.

"He's a saint for putting it together that way," Bijon said of her husband.

The couple set their destination wedding in Mexico for February 2020, giving them just over a year to plan the event.

Gareth Davies photographed the couple's engagement shoot and their wedding.

Bijon knew she wanted her wedding dress to fit the theme of the wedding.

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Bijon wanted her wedding dress to fit the theme. Gareth Davies Photography

As she planned the wedding, Bijon relied on three words to set the tone for everything about the day: luxe, oasis, and tropical.

"It helps you stay on track every time you see something else," she said of why she used theme words.

She wanted her dress to fit that vibe, and she focused on them as she shopped.

Bijon also didn't set a firm budget for her wedding dress.

"I'm very spiritual, and I was like, 'OK, God, I want what I want, and I have faith that you're going to find a way to get me what I want,'" she said of her mindset.

Bijon fell in love with Galia Lahav's "Thelma Gown."

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Beyoncé wore the dress to her vow renewal. Bijon Vaughn

Bijon spotted the form-fitting dress when she was at a Galia Lahav flagship store, and she recognized it as the gown Beyoncé wore to her 2018 vow renewal.

Bijon instantly loved the dress, which featured lace and sparkly detailing on the bodice, sheer cutouts on the front and back of the skirt, and removable, tulle sleeves.

"It was so the vibe of the tropical theme," Bijon told Insider of why she liked the unique dress.

But the dress was $11,000 at the flagship store, which was just too much for Bijon.

Bijon was able to get the gown thanks to a price match from Galia Lahav.

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The dress cost $7,500. Gareth Davies Photography

Bijon found a boutique in North Carolina that was selling the dress online at a more affordable price, but she was worried the deal was too good to be true.

When she called Galia Lahav to confirm that the boutique was real, the brand decided to price match the dress for her directly.

The final cost of the dress was just $7,500. Bijon paid for the gown with some help from family members.

The sexy elements of the dress appealed to Bijon.

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Bijon liked the cutouts. Gareth Davies Photography

Bijon told Insider she was focusing on her fitness at the time of her engagement, and she was proud of the way her body looked.

She wanted her dress to accentuate her frame, and the Thelma Gown was perfect for that.

"I loved the fact that it was figure-hugging," she said. "I love the fact that it was a little sexy with the illusion."

The transparent cutouts on the front and back highlighted Bijon's legs and back.

She also liked that the dress gave her two looks in one.

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The sleeves were removable. Gareth Davies Photography

The removable sleeves were built into the dress, so Bijon felt like she got to have two distinct bridal looks on her wedding day.

She removed the sleeves for her reception to make it easier to dance.

The bodice added an element of romance to the look.

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The bodice was full of detailing. Gareth Davies Photography

The bodice had both intricate lace and sparkle detailing on it, combining elegance and glamour.

Bijon also liked the sweetheart neckline.

Corie J. did the bride's hair, while Kevin Wade did her makeup.

One of Bijon's favorite parts of the dress was the detailing on the back of the bodice.

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The back of the dress was transparent. Gareth Davies Photography

The ornate detailing completed the glamorous look, and the see-through fabric mirrored the transparent sleeves.

Bijon loved the back of the dress so much that she chose to wear a simple tulle veil with the look, as she didn't want to cover up the details.

She bought the veil for $350 at Galia Lahav.

Bijon paired her dress with Jimmy Choo shoes.

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Bijon wore Jimmy Choo shoes. Gareth Davies Photography

She decided to splurge on the shoes, as she wanted them to match the overall look of her dress.

The adorned heels cost $1,500 at the time Bijon bought them.

Juan Pablo Cámara provided the flowers for the wedding.

Bijon told Insider that her wedding dress made her feel like "a million bucks."

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Bijon felt beautiful in her wedding dress. Gareth Davies Photography

"I felt beautiful," she told Insider. "I felt like a woman. I felt classy. I felt timeless, but I still felt young and vibrant."

"The dress was everything, but quite honestly, it was the day that was everything," Bijon added. "Looking back, it could have been a potato sack, and I probably would have felt the same way."

Robert was a fan of his wife's wedding-day look.

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Robert wore a Dolce & Gabbana suit to the wedding. Gareth Davies Photography

"He loved it," Bijon said of Robert's reaction to her gown.

The groom wore a patterned Dolce & Gabbana runway tuxedo to the wedding. He was able to get the unique suit because someone else returned it to a store.

Bijon bought Robert Dolce & Gabbana shoes to match the look as a wedding present.

The ceremony was one of the best parts of the wedding day for Bijon and Robert.

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They didn't do a first look. Gareth Davies Photography

Bijon told Insider that hearing Robert say his vows was really special to her.

The Vaughns didn't do a first look, so they didn't see each other on the wedding day until the ceremony, making the moment even more special.

The couple also worked hard to make their reception a fun experience for guests.

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The reception was a big party. Gareth Davies Photography

YucatánLove planned the couple's destination wedding at Hacienda Sac Chich in Yucatan, Mexico, and the Vaughns worked with YucatánLove to make the day a dream come true.

They didn't tell their guests the name of the venue before the wedding, bringing them to the Hacienda in shuttles as a surprise.

"We wanted the guests to have an amazing time," Bijon told Insider. "We wanted them to feel like all their efforts and travel was not only worth it, but that they were able to experience something that they would've never experienced."

Live music and fireworks were part of the day, and Bijon was particularly proud of the string lights she requested for the reception. She told Insider she's gotten dozens of compliments on them in the year since her wedding.

Minimal 4.0 provided furniture for the reception, and Margarita Zoreda Recepciones was the caterer.

Bijon recommends brides don't bring too many people with them when they shop for their wedding dress.

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Bijon wants brides to stay true to themselves. Gareth Davies Photography

"I wouldn't bring more than two people," she advised. "I think it's too many cooks in the kitchen in the beginning."

She also thinks it's a good idea to go to a store with a myriad of designers early on in the shopping process, as it can help you rule out the types of gowns you don't like.

The Vaughns had just recently gone on their honeymoon when they spoke to Insider.

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Their honeymoon was delayed. Gareth Davies Photography

Their trip got delayed because of the pandemic, but Bijon said she was actually really grateful their honeymoon ended up happening long after the wedding.

"It actually was the best thing ever," Bijon said, recommending delayed honeymoons to other couples. "We got to come down off the wedding high and get back to life as it was, and then we had the dope vacation that was just for us at the end of the year."

Bijon and Robert are still best friends.

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The Vaughns help each other grow. Gareth Davies Photography

Their friendship is still very much the groundwork of their relationship, which Bijon thinks makes their bond stronger.

"I love that we support each other individually and together," Bijon said of the relationship. "We just hold space for each other to grow. We really try to make it a point not to stifle each other's dreams and to really push each other."

And even though they've been together for years, the Vaughns still actively work on their relationship.

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The Vaughns work at their relationship. Gareth Davies Photography

Bijon and Robert attended premarital counseling before they tied the knot, and she said they check in with each other all the time about how they're feeling in their relationship.

"We have friends and family around us that are just like, 'What you guys have is rare,'" Bijon said. "We know that and we're super thankful, but we still want to strengthen it within ourselves."

"I honestly think that at the end of the day, we're just trying to always have fun with each other," she added."We laugh together all the time."

You can follow Bijon on Instagram, and you can see more of Davies' work here.

If you are in the process of shopping for your wedding dress or have photos from when you shopped and want to talk to Insider for a story, get in touch at sgrindell@insider.com.

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