Courtney and Jon were married in Hickory, NC in late September of this year and the bride shared with us that she loved everything about the day: their families and friends showed up to make it a huge occasion and they had gorgeous weather, awesome vendors and lots of memorable moments. Her autumn palette, complete with burgundy bridesmaids gowns and sunflower bouquets was perfect.
More often than not, for our Featured Bride blogs, we tell the bigger story, but for Courtney Bass, it was all about the dress! When she started searching for her gown, she wanted cap sleeves and a simple bottom half. Nothing that was too crazy or over the top.
So much for that!
The top half of her gorgeous gown included lace that created a delicate look that was modest, transparent, traditional and classic all at once.
"The dress I chose was something I never expected, but when my mom & Jon's mom cried, I knew it was the one! I felt like a true princess and so beautiful."
We loved the frothy handkerchief folds of her gown. When a bride walks in a gown like this one, there is so much movement and elegance, you barely need to add much more. Courtney's gown also had a lovely back with lace and a keyhole.
She is picture perfect in white, proving that it can be a "fall wedding" and the bride still shine.
No matter when you plan to say your I Dos, stop by our boutique and just take a look around. You never know when your original vision will be hijacked by falling in love with something completely different.
Photo Credit: Stacy Phelps
Morgan Barnette and Austin Staley were married in late September this year at The Barn at Blueberry Hill in Elkin, North Carolina. They met in Middle School, began dating in High School and have been together since. These two, under the marriage counseling advice of their officiant, wrote why they wanted to marry the other. While the couple exchanged private letters the morning of their wedding, the officiant read the purposeful paragraphs aloud during the ceremony. According to the bride and to others who attended the ceremony, it was one of the most memorable moments of the day.
"We had the best vendors! My kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Holman, was my wedding coordinator. When I say I could not have functioned without her, I mean it! The Scarlet Hen catered our reception - it was delicious and the presentation was beautiful! My Maid-of-Honor’s mother, Stephanie Austin, did our wedding cake/cupcakes. SO many people have told me it was the best cupcake they have ever eaten. One of my childhood best friends, Hailey Johnson, did mine and my bridesmaids’ hair, and my former college teammate and friend, Aubrey Mangum, did our makeup. They both made us feel so beautiful! Ashley Swofford photographed the entire day and Dillon Mangum of Three 5 Films was our videographer. Sandra from the Barn at Blueberry Hill was an absolute dream to work with and made the entire planning process a breeze. Austin and I were so blessed by our vendors. We are so thankful for everything they did to make our day so special!"
Morgan actually saw her dress on our Instagram feed and called to book her appointment. The dress was not in stock when she called, so she had to wait a few weeks, but once she tried it on, she was done. She told us it was the easiest shopping experience imaginable. First dress she tried on, she bought. And she looked like a Hollywood starlet in it. It fit her beautifully!
"I loved the low back of the dress and the fact that it was form-fitting while still being elegant. I also adored my veil, because the beading on the edges matched the beading on my dress perfectly."
CONGRATULATIONS to this sweet couple and best wishes on many happy years as husband and wife.
Photo cred: Ashley Swofford Photography
Oh, my goodness.... SIGH .... we just love veils. Think about the last time you wore a veil. Pretty much every Wednesday, right? Yeah, NO! They're ethereal, they're gorgeous, they are expansive, classy, elegant and they signal that the person wearing the veil is special. For centuries upon centuries, a woman in a veil cast a spell - whether she was a fictional heroine, a royal princess or a family member getting married. Veils are just special, so here's a little love up to The Bridal Veil - blog style.
Why Bother adding a Veil
First, let's have a quick review of why brides wore them in the first place. There's no reason this can't be educational AND fun, people.
One reason from ages (and AGES) ago was that they protected the bride from evil spirits that could besiege her if she were uncovered. It's similar to why we said and still say "Bless You" when someone sneezes: evil spirits could come in through your mouth while sneezing, so companions would say, "Bless You" to break any curse. The veil was protection.
Second, brides wore veils as a kind of "big reveal" in arranged marriages. We have reality shows now that do something similar, but we're not going there.
Veils were, and sometimes still are, worn as a sign of purity. They represented being untouched and unblemished by life and by menfolk. Finally, brides wear them because tradition dictates it and sometimes we just want to embrace traditions rather than flout them. We have lots of options for our weddings these days, and we have overturned so many of them. But for a wedding day, brides often like to go old school. And why not?
The bride above not only showcased her choice of veils by holding it out in photos, you can see that it adds to her overall silhouette. Veils complete a look in a way that a belt or hair piece can, but are certainly more traditional and dazzling.
Lots of Veil Choices
The most classic and common veil style is a U shaped veil that is gathered up into a comb. Some extend halfway down the gown or below the knew, like a waltz veil, some to the floor to mimic the length of the dress and train, and some are even longer, like the cathedral veil. A cathedral veil usually measures between 108 to 120 inches and tends to be the most formal and dramatic.
A "blusher" is the part that covers the bride's face and is lifted when the vows are completed or when the father of the bride "gives her away" or presents her to her spouse.
Some veils have lace, beading, both and others showcase an extremely thin line of stitching, peals, sequins or other embellishment. All should make the bride feel gorgeous and add to the silhouette or the entire gown and ensemble.
Lifting the Veil or a First Look
Brides and grooms are incorporating a "First Look" into their pre-ceremony routine more and more these days. Even if they cover their faces with a veil later during the ceremony, the first look allows for a precious moment. Below is a gorgeous example of a first look complete with veil.
If you want to see some of the veils we have at Bridal Traditions, here's a short clip.
Even better, we would love for you to stop by to chat with us about your engagement, your ideas for your gown and how a veil might complete your look.
Don't miss the opportunity to include a veil on your wedding day. They really are special.
Megan and Nathan Joplin were married in August of this year at her grandmother's house. She wore a crown and why not? What bride doesn't deserve one? Their outdoor ceremony was hot for sure (August in the South is no joke), but it was also colorful, private, and filled with lots of laughter and fun.
The couple met at work after being set up. Both Megan and Nathan are in property management and after their first date, they were both goners. When you know, you know.
What we love about the images from their wedding day was how small they kept the gathering and how much summer color they surrounded themselves with. So many blues, pinks, yellow and green made her champagne gown pop. These two prove that you don't need half the town and all the pomp of a parade to have a beautiful wedding.
Megan's mother-in-law to be at the time suggested that she come to us at Bridal Traditions to search for her gown and we're so happy that she did. Her only criteria were that it not be white and she thought she wanted sleeves. Oh how things change when you start trying on dresses.
She chose a strapless mermaid style gown, with lace and tulle at the bottom and said that when she put it on, she loved it instantly. [Side note: we at BT are more than happy to coax you if we think you're open to something you might not normally like. Sometimes, it completely flips the script!]
Megan also bought her veil and belt from BT to complete the look. She loved the sweetheart neckline and we agree that it's gorgeous on her. There's something about a shimmery champagne gown, a Duke University Blue Devils blue themed wedding (Nathan's a big fan) and a glass of champagne in a bride's hand that is magic.
Congratulations you two!! We wish you nothing but many years of joy in marriage and in life.
No matter how many times we see a photo like the one above, we're always moved. The veil that covers them both like a prayer after they've said their vows is not only symbolic, but beautiful.
These two are Laken Shelton (nee Brindle) and her new husband Tyler Shelton and Bridal Traditions loved being a part of their big day - as the bride's gown provider.
The Wedding Day
The wedding day was at The Barn at Heritage Farm - which Laken refers to as her dream venue - and it was about friends, family, a rustic barn feel and lots of sunflowers. They kept the wedding indoors, since the June heat was a bit much, and spent the reception enjoying their family. These two not only had a wedding cake, they set up a pound cake bar - truly cool - with cakes made by members of both families. We at BT wholly approve of this idea, for those of you looking for a dessert twist.
The Wedding Gown
Brides-to-be out there: take comfort. Laken only knew one thing when she started gown shopping. She wanted to look and feel good in her wedding gown. Sleeves, lace, cut, style, trend? She had no preference. She told us that what helped her the most was knowing that after she tried on several, and got a sense of what she liked, we were able to help her take her choice to the next level. "Kelly was able to help me turn this already beautiful dress into my absolute dream dress and I honestly couldn't be more thankful for that."
Her strapless gown for a summer wedding made perfect sense and she looked stunning in it. The flowing tulle and ballgown style, along with lace at the hem and rose gold accessories made her look light and frothy, like the young sunlit bride she was. Laken specifically loved the length of her train and her veil.
"BT played the biggest part in making the selection of my wedding dress. Kelly helped me find an already beautiful dress and then helped me envision the dress redesigned/changed to what I wanted in order to make it absolutely perfect. I got to customize my dress into the dress of my dreams thanks to her. This made my experience 10x’s better than I expected.
I honestly can’t find enough positive things to say about my experience with BT in finding my wedding dress. Kelly went above and beyond in helping me make my wedding dress dreams come true."
Yes, we have bridal accessories like garters and veils, gloves and belts. Look for a new post about that sometime in the future. Today however, we're talking about those items that could be lifesavers for any bride. Consider these the little hacks and "behind-the-scenes" items that every bride needs.
Check out this image above. Wanna guess what these are? You're right, sleeves. They are lace sleeves and we thought we would kick off this blog about accessories with additions to the dress itself. For brides who have found a dress they love but due to weather or a style preference decide they need sleeves, we've got 'em. These can be sewn in by a seamstress and we have plans to order more styles, lengths and shapes.
We also carry specific undergarments like this corset bra. It relies on adhesives and brides can adjust the cleavage by tightening the laces. If you need it, ya need it. No judgement. And this bra will get you there.
The corset kits (below) are a wonder as well. These can be added to a zippered dress to make it up to 5” larger in the bust and up to 3” larger in the waist.
Blister Blocker......... let us count the ways. This balm can be used in shoes, but we also recommend that brides use it protect their skin from itchy lace and other fabrics that can rub you the wrong way. Trust us.
These silicon concealers keep the brides breasts from stealing the minister's thunder, if you know what we mean. People want to remember the ceremony, not your nipples. They can also be used to cover the bellybutton. Brides have been known to give up on the perfect gown because they don't like their silhouette in a more form fitting gown that may show your bellybutton indention. These take care of that too!
We ladies know what it's like to walk in heels at garden parties, outdoor weddings and other events and these heel protectors are magic.
And finally, we carry Hollywood shapes and tapes, to help you keep everything right where it should be and looking the way it should.
We love helping brides and prom goers find what to wear, but we've also got your covered when it comes to comfort and what's behind your perfect day look.
The Wedding with a Cultural Mix
Andrea and Josh were married in April of 2019 and theirs was a wedding that combined the indoors and outdoors, cultural elements from the bride's heritage and traditional notes that make celebrations memorable. Andrea grew up in Venezuela so she wanted to incorporate specific elements into the day while keeping the ceremony fun. They wanted a party and that's what they got!
The wedding event began with an outside ceremony at Coley Hall at The Liberty and it had a rooftop feel accompanied by beautiful flowers at the altar and live music (guitar and violin). They kept the actual ceremony short, sweet, "easy on the religion," and filled with genuine character and love. While the bride and groom decided not to write their own vows, there was laughter and there were tears as a scripture that spoke to us of them was read.
Along with modern vows they did add a traditional touch and held the Arras ceremony. Andrea vividly remembered seeing this done at weddings from her childhood and while Josh dropped one of the coins, it was still something unique that everyone enjoyed witnessing.
We always ask couples for a little backstory about how they met, so we'll let Andrea handle this, because she does it so well!
A DEER AND A MECHANIC ON HALLOWEEN
"Our story began October 2013, Halloween to be exact. Like most young people we were getting dressed up and going out with our friends. Just so happened her friend was meeting his friend for the first time and we both were set up to be the "co-pilots." Little did we know after a night of meeting at '"Johnny and Junes" for a dollar night rager we would end up taking things seriously.
Josh was a bachelor with roommates and partied like he was on MTV. Andrea was a Junior at Salem College, recently single, and with no intentions of settling down any time soon. It took a lot of persistence but slowly he started to change her mind and win her over. After months of talking, dating, and crazy adventures she eventually caved in and gave him a chance. They started dating, he bought them a dog, she graduated spring of 2015, and they bought a house in the summer of 2017.
Then in December of 2017 he finally found the courage to take her to the Biltmore Estate with some close friends and asked her to marry him!"
These two shared that their best moments were the doors opening to the aisle and seeing each other's faces; the adult pinata that contained surprise items and then the La Hora Loca, which is
something done traditionally in Venezuela at any big celebration. There were goody bags that included a mask, beads, glowsticks and glow wands, boas, and party items!
From there, it was all about the DJ, the dancing, toasts and celebration.
Andrea was conscious of price and wanted something clean, timeless and with little or no lace. She also wanted a gown that was form-fitting because her dress for her quinceanera was a ballgown. As for neckline or sleeves, she was open. The gown she chose has lace and was strapless, but she added the capped sleeves for the ceremony. It absolutely worked beautifully on her and she just looks radiantly beautiful.
"The fact that I was able to make the dress my own was a huge plus. I loved my champagne veil and the flower hair accessories that I added when I took off the veil. And the ladies at BT were great! I felt comfortable and cared about. Sometimes things like this can be intimidating and the people attending to you might not give off the most supportive or friendlest vibe but the ladies at BT did. They worked with me and my schedule and made sure that everything was how it was supposed to be."
Andrea works for Wake Forest University and Josh and his Dad own a construction company. This couple is well on their way to many years of happiness if their wedding is any indication of how they do life together.
Congratulations! Don't forget to do the things that you love the most - work out, play with your fur babies, go to the pool, and create memories with people with love. Those items that bring joy will lengthen your days.
Photos Courtesy of Sweet Bliss Media
Outdoor garden reception?
A combination of the two or another Plan B?
Brides wring their hands about having their wedding inside or out. The fact is: whether you're getting married near your home or having a destination wedding, brides need to weigh the pros and cons of each option before committing.. And if you're organized, prayerful and know what your greatest dreams are for the day, you can pull it off with minimal stress. Or at least less stress than you expected.
Pros and Cons of Indoor Weddings
The cons will not surprise you. If you're getting married during a dodgy season or season in transition - like spring - then you could be planning for a garden ceremony and end up with a wash out. A BT pal of ours just told us about attending a wedding recently (October) that was to be an autumn sunset celebration in the mountains. The clouds rolled in, the fog covered the view and everyone got soaked. It looked nothing like the bride hoped for, but it was still fun - just soggy.
If you get married indoors, this is not an issue.
And we'll add two more words here for good measure that will mean a lot if you live in the deep south: air conditioning. Having cool air indoors means comfort for all.
If you decide to get married in a church, barn, country club, lodge, private home, or the like, you do get creative freedom over the décor. The place is a blank canvas to be filled with flowers, colors, fabric, movie screens, a huge gospel choir, whatever you like.
Time of year is not an issue if you choose to get married indoors. Not only do you forego sweating over weather, you can choose a winter holiday with snow on the ground and still celebrate all hours.
A downside of getting married indoors comes down to one word: confinement.
If you can rent or have access to a large venue where people can book their rooms or cabins, wander, hike, play games or golf, explore, etc, then why not contain the event to a single place?
The ceremony itself is another issue. You'll need to consider space. Confinement is great for small weddings, but not for a big one. Brides and their planners will need to make sure that the photographer, musicians and other vendors know the space or can get to know it and find areas to tuck in and perform their duties. Our photographer friends tell us that they need to be able to move around. Keep this in mind if you're thinking about going indoors for your wedding and reception.
Pros and Cons of Outdoor Weddings
If you can rent a tent for a wedding where there might be rain, you've got a perfect set up for
a win-win situation. If weather is on your side, then you're golden. There's plenty of space for guests on lawns and in gardens to eat, roam around, mingle, and play. The biggest pro of an outdoor wedding is definitely that it can have scope and be expansive. There is room for a bit of everything: the band over here, the dance floor laid out, the tables for a sit down dinner or lots of buffet stations, a fire pit, a bar with extra chairs for private conversation - the sky is the limit.
An outdoor wedding means that you can spend less time and money on decorations, because Mother Nature does her part. Waterfalls, natural gardens, hedge mazes, lawns, mountain vistas, you name it. You don't have to over-spend or over-think your flowers and backdrops.
Natural lighting is also on your side. Wedding photographers love to shoot in natural light, even if they bring portable lighting and extra set-ups. The bridal party and guests also look better in natural light during the less posed photos and for evening events, couples can string up twinkling lights, Edison bulbs, hurricane lanterns and the like for even more intimate settings.
Whatever you choose for your ceremony, you'll find that your guests love you whether they are wet or dry, seated or standing, inconvenienced or pampered.
But just in case they AREN'T THOSE PEOPLE.... do your homework.
A photo shoot with Spring in Mind
When someone plans a professional photo shoot to shine a light on a cause, product, service or theme and BT can be a natural strategic partner, our owner Kelly loves to oblige. Of course, it has to make business sense, and we are in the wedding industry, but we are usually happy to participate.
We collaborate with brides every single day, so why not lend our gown for a shoot that features gorgeous flower arrangements for spring events. The April Flowers shoot was just that.
This particular shoot was about pulling together a color palette for a spring wedding that showcases the floral designs for brides by April Flowers. The bouquets were exceptionally beautiful and pivoted away from the more expected arrangements and flowers you see at weddings. Corals, pale and medium pinks, whites and a variety of textures were incorporated. We love a tight bundle of tulips or stargazer lilies as much as the next person, but these boho, romantic floral arrangements set a distinct tone.
Multiple Uses, April Flowers Arrangements
Whether in the hands of the bride or as part of reception decor, the various bouquets have an overall brand or theme, and it is something that brides and wedding planners LOVE. Everything needs to be "of a kind," and it all holds together. Choose the right plates, runners, napkins and April Flowers can build around it or guide a bride to a total look.
Where the Bride's Gown Comes In
We get the notes with the request for the shoot and then our lightening quick minds at BT start humming. What will work with the vision of this shoot? We choose a gown with a halter neckline, and a floral lace overlay reminiscent of lace gowns from the 19th century. Our model's headpiece was simple and looked as though a vine of pearls was floating in her hair.
Bride & Blooms
Seeing it all come together is always the payoff. The bride in her gown with the perfect bouquet and setting = breath-taking.
Above are Kimberly Baker and Kane Jones on March 5th of this 2019. Just take that in. Captain in the U.S. Air Force, lovely math teacher, the waterfall in the background, ..... it's a beautiful image. And these two have a beautiful story to match.
In January of 2016, they were set up by a mutual friend who had tickets to a Mardi Gras Ball. Their pal told both Kimberly and Kane that they would be doing him a favor by going with the other. They said yes and at the ball, when introduced, Kimberly shared, "Kane and I shook hands, as people do. I kid you not, in that moment, the entire world stopped. I couldn’t see anything, couldn’t hear anything, it was just the two of us standing there, looking at each other, holding hands. I remember thinking to myself, “You are being so weird. Play it off, say something cool.” What came out was “Your hands are warm.” Clearly, I’m an experienced flirt haha!
He’ll tell you it took him about ten minutes longer to fall for me. We were going through a crowd and he reached out behind me, and I just took his hand and let him lead me. That was all he needed to know I was “THE ONE”.... his vows? All about me taking his hand and letting him lead me through life.
The next day we had an official date at a BBQ place called Moe’s. We went for our first and second anniversaries, before moving. There’s a place in San Antonio called Smoky Mo’s- we went for our 3rd anniversary."
They chose to get married in San Antonio, where Kane has completed his Ph.D in Psychology and Kimberly has been a math teacher. An outdoor wedding was the wish and they got it. In March in Texas, weather can be either freezing or egg-frying on the hood of your car and the day of their wedding, they got a near freezing 35 degrees for their "before sundown" wedding. (The next week it was 95 degrees.....).
The had their ceremony by the waterfalls at Canyon Springs Golf Club where they could have dancing outside, dining inside a stone lodge where people could be warm near a fireplace and everyone could enjoy a feeling of seclusion. They chose well, as you'll see in the images, but the temperatures were brutal. They really wanted to get married around the time of their first meeting and dates (Feb and March), so they took the risk.
Everyone was transported to the waterfalls in golf carts and Kimberly arrived last, hidden behind some trees and when she heard the cue in her music, she rounded the corner and Kane was told to turn around. It was worth it.
"I knew the exact crescendo I wanted him to turn around during. I got to the end of the aisle with my dad, nodded to our officiant, Thomas, and Kane turned around. The look on his face!!! It was worth it! We couldn’t stop looking at each other the entire ceremony. You can see the goosebumps on my arms, his hands are purple and his face is losing some color. It was SO SO cold!!"
So how does a girl who lived in Mobile, Alabama and San Antonia find her way to Bridal Traditions? Her parents live nearby and we are thrilled that they do.
Kimberly had a Pinterest board with all sorts of dresses, in all styles, on it. She had also shed 50 pounds the year before Kane proposed, so she was eager to wear something that showed off her figure. While she tried on several gowns at BT, ultimately she chose one with double spaghetti straps in the back, a full flowing skirt and a crossed bodice. She looked amazing in it and when she didn't want to take it off, she knew. We added a belt and she was ready to go.
These two now live in Biloxi, Mississippi where they are beginning their next chapter. Congrats to you both! CHEERS!