Candice Martinez and Austin Stanley met after they both ended long relationships with others. They became friends, talked off and on for a couple of years and then realized that there was more to their friendship than getting over others.
On October 5th of 2019, the couple was married at Williams Farm in Roaring River, NC.
There wedding was rustic, with elegant touches. Candice shared that her favorite moment was seeing Austin and the moment he saw her. "His expression was so sweet."
"I honestly had NO idea what style of dress I wanted. I didn’t even have any specific inspirations to go with. I walked in [to Bridal Traditions] one day and there was a dress and my mother said 'that’s it, Can!'
I looked at it and said, 'mom, that’s too much dress! I don’t want anything with that much going on.' Turns out, that was THE ONE. I tried on so many different styles and had multiple options, and Kelly made this so so easy for me. But I felt so comfortable in my first and last option that I went with it. "
Candice loved the details of her gown and her bridesmaids purchased their gowns and the guys their suits from us as well.
They are such a sweet couple and she looked gorgeous! Congratulations to Candice and Austin Stanley! All the best from BT.
A couple of months ago, we shared Part One of our look at those Wedding Mistakes Brides Make when planning or executing their weddings. You will find Mistakes 1 - 3 in that blog.
Today, we continue with Part Two!
Mistake 4: You Announce Your Engagement Too Soon
Announce that you are engaged on social media - absolutely - and especially if you have lots of folks who will want to know that you don't see often. BUT BEFORE THAT - call, Skype, Facetime, visit if you can, those closest to you. For starters, they are closest to you for a reason. They are friends and family and they will want to celebrate with you, see the ring, hear about the proposal and tell you how loved you are.
Secondly, these same people will more than likely be in the wedding, be your support system and will be hurt if you leave them out. They are going remain close to you LOOOOOOONG after the ceremony. Don't tell the entire world before you inform your favorite people.
Mistake 5: You include your registry on your Save the Date or Invitation
In the South, we hate tacky and putting your registry info on your invitation or save the date is a wee bit on the tacky side. Tell your inner circle (see Mistake 4 above for confirmation of who they are) and let them disseminate that info for you. If you've set up a web page, you can share it there, but old fashioned as it sounds, word of mouth is still the best way to loop people in about where you are registered.
Mistake 6: You Crash Diet
There is nothing wrong with wanting to look your best on your wedding day, but drastically changing your diet to become a completely new person won't work. You should be you and look like you. Don't make yourself sick by trying to go from a size 14 to a size 2. If you want to adopt a healthier lifestyle before your wedding, good for you! We encourage that. But start a new regimen at least 6 months before your wedding date.
Mistake 7: There is too much time between the ceremony and the reception
Believe us: you've thought about this as a wedding guest: the time between the sweetest I Dos you've ever seen and the time when the drinks flow, dancing begins and toasts are made is way too long.
"Why don't we just sneak away? We can say something happened and we had to run off. There's a cool new restaurant 5 blocks from here and we're already dressed up! The bride won't notice!"
Well if you've thought about it then others have too. Too much time between the ceremony and the reception is a foul. Have an activity. Serve drinks. Let the band start playing fun music. Line folks up for signing the guest book while hors d'oeuvres are passed. You'll be glad you did.
Mistake 8: You feel that you HAVE to try an Up-Do.
Brides look angelic with their hair piled up and covered with a veil, but if it doesn't suit your face, don't do it. Princess Grace of Monoco - hair up. Princess Kate of Britain - hair down. Try it out before and see if it looks as amazing as you'd hoped. But it's YOUR DAY. The last thing you want is an Up-Don't.
More to come! If you are taking notes, stay tuned!
Bridal Traditions held our annual Wedding Expo in early March of this year and we were happy to see a gathering of great vendors and brides, grooms, parents and their pals eager to learn and make notes. This year Kelli Rodriquez of Embellished Events for You was our event Co-Sponsor.
Exhibitors in 2020 included wedding photographers like Cynthia Viola and Nicole Huffman, wedding venues like The Emerald Hill, Winding Creek Wedding Barn and Chapman Farmstead, A&J Rentals, Rustic Flair, Bliss Vacations, The Pearl & The Petal and Indulged Baked Goods, among many others.
We'd be remiss if we didn't thank our dear friends and tireless compatriots Misty and Ryan Case of Pixels on Paper for capturing photos of the Expo this year as in years passed.
BT is celebrating our 20th anniversary and it's time to pass the torch, after 13 years of hosting this massive event. When I started the Wedding Expo in 2007, it was a way to truly showcase what the vendors in our industry and our area could offer brides and grooms and the vendor list has always been impressive.
Now, we're happy to announce that Kelli and Embellished Events for You will be taking over as the event sponsor. We could not be more excited to see what she will do with this event. Good Luck, Kelli!
Yes, we're still celebrating 20 years in business and probably will continue to for some time. Two decades flew by and yet here we are still chugging along and loving what we do at BT. What I shared in the 20th Anniversary - Part 1 blog was a bit of the history - the Origin Story, if you will, and our growth, and commitment to community outreach and connection. That trip down memory lane was, well, …. a trip. I loved going through old images and remembering the specifics of those moments, days, celebrations and hard work. It reminded me for the thousandth time that no one person does something alone. It also reaffirmed that a girl with a dream can be unstoppable.
For this blog, I want briefly to touch on the more personal gains and revelations I've had from starting and owning my own business for 20 years.
Friendship & Teamwork
You know who you are. My support system consists of smart and funny friends, collaborators who make me better at what I do, my sisters in life and "mother confessors" and some fellow wedding vendors, sales reps and business-minded others who help me stay at the top of my game. I love these people to bits. They work with me, they laugh and cry with me, challenge me, lift me up, remind me of my priorities and have made me a better friend, wife and business owner. If you are just starting a business, I suggest having a team around you of those who love you and whom you trust.
There are friendships, collaborations and dreams fulfilled to be sure thanks to my friends, co-workers and family. Cold evenings getting ready for parades, many many late nights planning for the Wedding Expo, being a part of community events, reviewing and purchasing inventory, and helping brides and prom-goers find what they need are just a few of the things this tribe has helped me with, and all the while laughing. And yes, my dog Lexi is a member of the team.
As the owner of a bridal boutique, one of the biggest take-aways from my job over these two decades is the knowledge that there is a dress for every woman and we are all amazing, regardless of "shape."
Girls: listen to me. You are beautiful and so is your figure. You matter. You are loved. Of course we want to look our best, especially on our wedding day, and most women have a body issue they are dealing with.
I too have struggled with body image over the years, but I have also gained insight and wisdom, and I try to apply it when helping guests in my boutique. So I say - with conviction - when you come into BT, you are seen as a beautiful creature who deserves an amazing gown. Period. If you want to wear a dress that you love, a dress that makes you happy, you should! I love seeing girls try on something that they don't think will work - or society has told them is off limits - only to find out that they love it. It gives me a lump in my throat just remembering even a handful of those times, and there have been many. Supporting women in this way has been one of the greatest gifts in my professional life.
and trust yourself. If you are a little girl out there I hope you'll know that, for me, this has always been about more than gowns. I love them, don't get me wrong, but it has also been about following a path. As you learn who you are, you can begin to trust that knowledge. I want you to know that you can do it.
I'll say it again.
YOU CAN DO IT.
You who are wondering what you're made of...
You who love something but aren't sure that you can make a career out of it...
You who are just finding or developing your passion....
You who sees the hurdles might outweigh the positives....
I put one foot in the front of the other, day after day, year after year. I reached out to others, I prayed for discernment and I worked my buns off. I promise that no matter what, during the process of challenging yourself, you'll find that inner toughness and spark that comes not from some bolt out of the blue but from perseverance, faith and hard work. Even when I felt like I knew what I wanted but was unsure of getting it, I kept going, I kept trying, I kept asking questions. There's taking a chance and there are calculated risks. I like the calculated risk, but I also took chances. I just kept learning and the more I did, the better I was and that turned my passion into my livelihood. The girl who loved playing with Barbie's in evening gowns was suddenly a small business success story.
So I'll say it again: 20 years of business is a big milestone that I am so proud of, so humbled by and so grateful for. Thanks to every single one of you who have been a part of this journey and for all of you I cannot wait to meet and serve in the future. And to all the girls out there wondering: I believe in you.
Katie (Katelyn) Miller married Cory York in October of last year at the newly refurbished Granite Ridge Farms in Mocksville, NC. They make a ridiculously beautiful couple and have combined their families for a new beginning in 2020.
The couple chose Granite Ridge because they loved the rustic feel of the place, the bridal suite and their ability to be with their friends and family to dance and eat and enjoy a day of celebration. "One of the best moments of the night was all of us dancing and laughing together as a new family surrounded by our closest friends."
Katie came to BT with her mother and daughter with, as she admits, no real certainty about what she wanted in a gown. Owner Kelly recommended as mermaid style and it worked; Katie loved it. We added a belt, veil, and jewelry and she was picture perfect for the day. We even stored her gown for her.
While we are closed during this time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, BT is happy to assist you if you've ordered a gown, have questions or want to know more about what we provide and can do for you. Our manufacturers are still making gowns, bridemaids dresses and tuxes and we are providing layaway. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram and visit our website.
You know that phrase, "the days are long but the years are short?" Well, that's true. At least from where I sit. One minute, you're finishing high school and the next, you're hugging a bride-to-be who has been the whatever-thousandth to say "yes to the dress" in your successful bridal boutique.
I'm not being glib. Two hundred.... or two hundred thousand ... every single bride or prom-going-girl who's bought a gown from me has changed me. Each one has helped me grow Bridal Traditions. I've been at this business for 20 years this April. That is 20 orbits around the sun. My little business is old enough to vote, to buy a house, to buy her first car and old enough to get married. Where, I ask you, did the time go?
My editor has informed me that the caption for the above photo is a gross exaggeration of the truth .... but I'm ignoring her....
When I was just a little older than this picture, I rented a space to open a bridal shop. I told my mom and dad that I wanted to own my own business and I knew that I could learn as went along and that being my own boss was my ultimate goal. It's hard to know this when you're in it, but the person you become isn't always "on the horizon" to be discovered only after years of living. Sometimes you know much sooner. I know I did.
As a little girl, I was all about playing with Barbies. THAT is definitely the little girl in the image above. I loved my Barbie dolls and those I played with were never serving banged up cookies at the PTA in slacks, or standing in line at the grocery store after a long day at the office. My Barbies were princesses. If there was a gown, she was wearing it. I loved the glamour of it all. That style, that expression of beauty just transfixed me.
Flash forward to winter of 1999/2000 when I sold my first prom gown while working out of my dad's house. It was meant to be. And the woman, nay - the GIRL - that I sold that black velvet dress to ended up being my sister-in-law. It's still one of her favorite gowns. By April of 2000, I'd rented the space that started Bridal Traditions and my brain child was born.
Below: another of my very first prom customers (white dress), and then a few more years down the road (orange dress). Those were the early days, when satin and beading were everywhere. Things change and yet they stay the same, huh?
I thank God for my very first Sales Reps. They taught me so much. I learned to trust my instincts and that if I liked the gown, I would be able to sell it.
That is still true. If I think a product is poorly made, or I don't see its intrinsic value, there is no way that I can convince another smart woman that she wants it. In those first years, I learned about styles, cuts, seasons, trends, when to buy and what to buy. Everything I learned, I applied. I was hungry to know everything about the business, so I made sure that if I made a mistake, I didn't make it twice, and I made my fair share..
To this day, my inventory is made up of gowns that I love, even if they aren't my personal style. Quality and workmanship matter, so while I might not prefer the style of a gown myself, I understand why it's marvelous and why it will be fabulous on the right person. My customers trust my judgment and they also know that I want them to be happy. That matters more than anything.
Growth & Expansion
My timeline is one of planned growth and serendipity, to tell you the truth. I thank my lucky stars, my friends, my family and God for the way things happened to get me to this point.
I personally helped with the expansion and alteration of the prom space, along side my dad, my husband, some of our friends and with loads of support. We had a grand opening party that I will never forget. In many ways, it feels like yesterday.
BeYOUtiful Prom Grand Opening
Community - Love & Giving Back
I love this job. I love the giddy moment of watching a girl hear the "audible click" in her head of "YES! I belong in this dress." But I love the challenges too and I certainly love the community that has supported me for 20 years. To that end, in 2007, I started The Wilkes Wedding Expo. It was an event that many of us in the area and in the industry thought was a good idea, and I took it on. Every year, from 2007 to 2020, Bridal Traditions has hosted this event. In those 13 years, we've helped fellow vendors grow their business and thousands of brides-to-be get ready for their wedding day.
& We've been in the Press
I'm proud of the work we've done over the last 20 years and certainly that is its own reward. But it is nice to be a part of a community that recognizes the contributions of its citizens. Even when I thought, "who, me?" I was deeply gratified and honored to support causes, to win accolades and to contribute wherever I could.
Raising money for St. Jude Children's Hospital via our Annual Benefit Ball has been one of my greatest honors.
At one point, I thought, "15 years will be enough." Then I thought, "20.... when I get to 20, I'll hang up my tiara, turn the sign to closed and call it good." But at the end of last year, even before that, I realized that I still wake up every day loving what I do. Of course, Covid-19 has impacted us, but I still feel this way. We will open up again and be ready to stroll the store with clients looking for the perfect gown or tux. Our vendors are still creating designs and delivering on time, weddings are being planned and dresses are being paid for and picked up. We're still here.
For me, after 20 years in business, it's still about this....
and it's about this...
On Bridal Traditions' 20th Anniversary, it's 20th Birthday if you will, I want to say thank you with more humility and gratitude than you can imagine. You've supported me and I plan to be around to support you all as long I'm able, and as long as this business is still viable and fun. You've made this local girl extremely happy, and there aren't enough words.
Part 2 of this celebratory blog will be out soon, so stay tuned, because I plan to tell a lot of juicy stories about people I've met along the way.
But I can promise that Part 2 will be from the heart. In the meantime, stay safe, wash your hands and know how loved you all are by me and the gang at BT. Cheers!
India & Clay
India Roseman and Clay Austin were married at The Barn at Cornerstone in Banner Elk, NC in October of 2019 and it was the culmination of a pretty great Prom Date. Seriously. Their first date was prom - dressed up and ready and since that date as high schoolers, they have, as India puts it, "been through it all together." Even through the separation of dating while in college, they kept it together and after six and a half years, they decided to tie the knot.
The ceremony was held down by a stream on the property and India said she loved being able to hear it burbling during their vows. These two kept is small (about 75 people) and the decor was chic, rustic, and simple. The ceremony itself was short and sweet and while the temps were a cool 65 degrees, it allowed for Clay not to worry about "sweating through his clothes", but some very cool photos of the fog rolling in while they were all getting ready.
Clay was moved when he saw India and she shared with us that it was not only moving for them but really indicative of who they are as a couple - casual, inclusive and easy going.
The reception was catered by local restaurant, The Cardinal and they came ready with their food truck! Guests were treated to beef and beet burgers, chicken sandwiches, hotdogs, fries and fried okra.
"The most memorable part for me was our first dance. Clay has ZERO dancing skills, so we practiced in our living room the few weeks before the wedding. Our dance was nothing fancy, just a few twirls and a dip to finish it off, but it was just perfect for us! We danced to the song 'Loving You Easy' by Zac Brown Band, which is one of our favorite bands!"
We can all agree that India is a gorgeous bride. Walking through the green grass, sprinkled with petals and smiling, it is as if she knew years ago what the scene would be. But in fact, like many brides, she had one idea for a gown and ended up wearing the one that was actually meant for her. Call it fate. Call it faith in God. Call it magic. We see it happen over and over again at BT. What matters most to us is that the girl gets the gown of her dreams.
"I did not end up getting a dress I originally pictured myself in! I ended up loving a dress with little thin straps that had little pearls on them and it was a small beaded belt on the dress! I never would have picked it out for myself, but Kelly picked it out for me to try on (after I tried about 10 dresses and was feeling a little defeated). It was stunning! It was like the dress was meant for me! It fit like a glove and I barely needed any alterations!
My main reason for picking this gown was that I felt like myself in it. I felt like me but just amped up!! Like it was me at my very best! I did not want to feel like the gown was wearing me… but this dress complimented me and all my best features!"
India was adamant about not wearing a veil, so her sister chose a gorgeous metal headpiece with flowers, leaves and pearls that complemented her gown, overall look and even her wedding ring.
Like most brides trying to manage a wedding budget, India told us that she appreciated that she could have the gown she wanted but pay for it in installments while she was handling other wedding costs. Of course we are happy to do this to keep the stress down and the excitement up.
Congratulation to you both, India and Clay! Cheers to many happy decades together.
Photo cred: Melissa Johnson (instagram is melj.photo)
Amber and Christian were married in November of 2019, just before Thanksgiving at German Farms in Ferguson, NC. The couple met, as happens more and more in the digital age, over Facebook. Casual conversations turned to mutual affection and after six years of becoming better friends through courtship, they were married. Amber shared that the two continue to deepen in their love and respect, friendship and support of each other. We are not expecting a seven year itch after a year of marriage for these two. They seem to have it figured out.
The grounds of German Farms are truly charming, especially for an outdoor ceremony.
Amber: "Our ceremony took place outdoors on the front steps of a small chapel located on the farm. There was a hand built wooden archway provided for us that we decorated with ivy and fabric. The colors we chose were blush, forest green and brown, we wanted to stick with more earth tones since we were outside. The weather was expected to be cold that day, but to our surprise the sun graced us with its presence and kept us warm during the ceremony. We purchased 80 blankets and multiple Hot Hands so our guests would stay warm."
The couple chose to make a lot of the decorations themselves, allowing them to create memories with their friends and family. And they kept the reception casual with pizza, pasta and hot wings, to the delight of their guests. Isn't that really what people want more than chicken cordon bleu?
Amber came to us knowing that she didn't want a ballgown or anything strapless. She was thinking more along the lines of vintage inspired or bohemian. She picked out three, two of which were her style match and one just because she thought it might fit. As fate would have it, the third, "extra option" turned out to be the one when it fit her absolutely perfectly.
The gown is fitted and has a lovely, gauzy skirt with an overlay of beautiful lace from bodice to just beyond the waist. The back has a lace "cross" style that is gorgeous and her veil and comb completed the look.
Amber: "BT played such a huge part in the selection of my dress because of the feedback I received when trying dresses on. It’s a huge help to have an honest opinion on how a dress looks rather than just telling you it looks nice to have it sold. BT makes relationships with all their girls and are able to help you choose something they know better suits your personality and style. I would be lost without the guidance BT provides each time I shop with them."
We couldn't be more happy to have played a role in Amber and Christian's wedding day. We love that brides and grooms, attendants, moms and grandmas all trust us with decisions like these. Amber asked that we mention two of her other vendors by name: Amalfis - who catered the reception and Sunshine Barker (@sunshinebarker), their photographer.
Congratulations to you both! Here's to many years of happiness together.
That gorgeous red head is Emily Wyatt and she married her ONE in December of 2019 in a lovely and Winter-y wedding ceremony. She didn't want something strictly Christmas related and they achieved it. She and Tyler LaPrad tied the knot at Flint Hill Baptist Church and then held their reception at Mt. Zion Baptist Church's Fellowship Hall.
After meeting at Wilkes Community College while working on the Fall Festival, they became Facebook friends and started dating just 2 days after Christmas in 2014. The Christmas holiday is THEIR time.
Emily: "We had a traditional church wedding. There were probably 100-125 people there, so it was not too big. Even though it took place in December, I didn’t want it to be Christmas themed. I went with a winter theme instead. We used ice blue, silver, and white as our colors. Our wedding day went by so quickly! For the ceremony we exchanged traditional vows and had a unity candle for our unity ceremony."
Here is a fun note that you won't see in any of the images in this blog: this sweet couple had to take their get-away truck to a cash wash because it was destroyed by their nearest and dearest. Baby powder, yellow glitter, dog food in the floor boards, vaseline wiped everywhere, they couldn't possibly leave for a honeymoon. Emily said that she was standing at the car wash IN HER GOWN holding up the train and laughing while Tyler was trying to vacuum out and wipe off all of that "love" from their friends.
Emily's was a case of gown finds girl. She knew that she didn't want a strapless gown and that, with a church wedding, the sleeve question was not going to be a big deal. She wanted beads and lace and ended up with a bit of both. Her gown looked absolutely amazing on her. The fitted elements accentuated her figure and looked both demure and modern.
Emily: "As soon as I put on my dress, I knew it was the one for me. I loved how it made me look and especially how it made me feel. I instantly knew it was the one that I wanted Tyler to see me in when I came down the aisle. I couldn’t stop smiling while I had it on. It also had all of the details that I had always wanted."
"The lace was beautiful, I loved the beading all over the dress, especially the belt. I also loved how the lace came down in the back into a deep 'v'.
BT was absolutely wonderful when I came in to buy my gown. I didn’t feel any pressure to go with a certain dress or to buy before I was ready. It was a very laid back and relaxed atmosphere which made it a pleasant shopping experience."
Emily and Tyler's tribe also worked with BT. The ladies and maid of honor bought their gowns and Emily let them pick out the style within the palette that they wanted. The fellas rented their suits from us and everyone was happy and looked crisp and handsome.
Congratulations to Emily and Tyler on pulling off a winter wedding that has all the brightness and flair of any season. Cheers to you both!
Covid-19 has affected us as individuals, as families, as communities and in our respective industries. At BT, we're holding you all close in our thoughts, prayers and hearts and that is sincere. It's a scary time, but we are not scared. We feel that if we are all smart, vigilant and optimistic, we will not only get through this, but we will come out on the other side stronger than ever. We wanted to share a short update with you all, so here is our current status so that you have what you need to keep interacting with us!
Our Current Policies and Plans
While we at BT know that we play a significant role in certain life events for you, we do actually fall into that non-essential business category in times like these. So we are closing the store until further notice per the Governor's directive.
Your Items from Bridal Traditions
Our manufacturers are still in production and shipping is running on time. All of the items we sell and rent are still available. If you have items on lay-away or special orders, they are safe and will continue to be held for you. We will continue to accept payments online, by phone (336-667-5423) and you can certainly reach out to us via our social media channels, Instagram and Facebook if you have questions. You may also email owner Kelly at firstname.lastname@example.org. If there are ANY changes with regard to special orders, we will reach out to you individually with details and in a timely fashion.
Gang: we love you. While you're busy washing your hands, try not to wring them with worrying. Count your blessings, show small kindnesses, check on those most vulnerable in your area, play a game, learn a new skill, catch up on books, movies, projects and know that iron sharpens iron. We will prevail, but right now, we have to be careful. Hang in there and we look forward to serving you as always.