The Sentimental Story Behind Camila Alves McConaughey's Wedding Dress

06/14/2012 at 12:00 PM ET

Matthew McConaughey Wedding PhotoChristopher Polk/Getty

When it came to finding the perfect wedding gown, Camila Alves McConaughey knew exactly where to turn. Chanel? Nah. Vera Wang or Monique Lhuillier? Nope.

Instead, the bride asked Brazilian dress designer Ducarmo Castelo Branco, a 78-year-old family friend, to craft a gown for her June 9 nuptials to Matthew McConaughey.

“Ducarmo has been making wedding dresses for her entire life,” says Alves, who has known the designer since she was a young girl growing up in Brazil. “I guess you can say she has been planning this design for over 20 years.”

Branco worked on the project with a group of eight local women, and Alves’s faith in that team’s vision of a dream dress — a delicate beaded lace gown — never wavered. “I went to Brazil for a day and a half to work on the dress,” the bride tells PEOPLE. “I left and I just had to trust them. They finished the dress 22 days later.”

For Matthew and Camila’s exclusive wedding album — and to see the dress up close — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

–Elizabeth Leonard

WANT MORE CELEBRITY WEDDING EYE CANDY? CLICK HERE!

To get a sneak peek of this week’s issue click here

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Showing 76 comments

Jac on

She looks gorgeous. That’s one incredible looking dress.

Pamela on

Her dress is absolutely stunning.

sybelle on

She looks beautiful!

Marcia on

Absolutely beautiful dress and veil that will look good in pictures years from now. I’m not crazy about the forehead band thing but, oh well. It’s so nice to see something that’s not strapless although she certainly could have carried that look off because of her skin and figure. Very nice choice.

Anonymous on

The dress is beautiful! Can Ducarmo Castelo design my wedding gown one day?

MO on

It is about time he married her. 2 kids later!!! Good luck to them, hollywood marriages are hard! Luckily they have been together for long enough that it could work. Congrats! She looks beautiful

taradawes on

Not crazy about the veil/headband thingie but the dress itself is beautiful and they both looked amazing for their big day!

jj on

She looks gorgeous. It is so refreshing to see a refined wedding dress. I hope more designers drop the strapless look, which for most just does not work.

Just Sayin' on

Okay, we get it – they got married, she’s pretty, yay for everyone. Can we get a new headline or story? Slow week maybe? And before anyone responds with ‘…if you don’t like it don’t read it’ well, many of us pay for People Magazine and I think it’s in their best business interest to keep their stories interesting. Off my soapbox now!

Kathy on

Given they’ve moved to Austin, Tx because they didn’t want them growing up in the Hollywood lifestyle, I don’t consider them to have a Hollywood marriage. I see them together forever. He waited a long time to settle down, commit and start a family and I’m glad he did. I feel confident he’s absolutely sure. Congrats to them!

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