See the first sketch from the actress's wedding look

By Alex Apatoff
August 31, 2014 06:20 PM

When Gabrielle Union, 41, started looking for dresses for her wedding to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, 32, she had a specific idea of what she wanted to wear. But once she met with designer Dennis Basso at NYC’s Kleinfeld bridal salon, she found that all her preconceived notions went out the window.

Courtesy Dennis Basso, Inset courtesy Bob Metelus for Bob Metelus Images

“Like most brides to be, Gabrielle came in with her stylist Jason Bolden with a clear vision,” Basso tells PEOPLE of their first discussion in May. “But everything changed when she tried on gowns! Together [we all] decided that she wanted to be surprising. She came in wanting sexy, and to accentuate her amazing figure, but that evolved.”

Key to Union’s vision: keeping up with her very stylish groom. “She talked about Dwayne being so fashionable and really wanting to parallel that with her gown,” Basso says. “We looked at swatches, took measurements, even considered what flowers she would carry. It was an amazing collaboration.”

The result was a strapless, high-slit number with plenty of special design elements. “We literally built the entire bodice and corset specifically for her,” he says. “The entire dress is hand beaded with pearls and crystals. She wanted something that glistened without looking too ‘cha cha cha,’ still chic. The material was flown in from Italy. The skirt is perfectly draped to accent her shape and the slit gives the opportunity to show off the shoes and her great legs!”

Union wanted to surprise her husband-to-be with her gown, and Basso says he thinks it will be worth the wait. “Literally, she looks like a living doll — her waist is extraordinarily tiny in this gown!” he says. “Gabrielle was all about creating a fashion moment.”

Adds the actress: “Dennis, Jason and I worked together to choose the perfect fabric, silhouettes and finishing details for not just one but two gowns. The two looks are near opposites and play off one another — Dennis Basso was able to capture both my unassuming and womanly sides through his sketches.”

While we wait to get all the scoop on her second dress, tell us What do you think of Basso’s sketch? Do you love the design?

–Alex Apatoff