Bridal Traditions was founded by Kelly K. Shumate, a Wilkes County native, at just 20 years old. She opened her first store front in April of 2000, and in 2020, we celebrated this milestone with nostalgia and gratitude.
In the beginning, Kelly worked part-time on her vision for Bridal Traditions, while also working a full-time job. She used a portion of each full time paycheck to buy inventory (think prom and wedding gowns to start), and pay for other startup expenses.
After a few years she was able to take her full-time job to part-time, and focus more on the boutique. By 2008 Kelly was operating as Chief of Everything at Bridal Traditions full-time! "I had so much help in those first years from my parents and friends, each of whom put in volunteer hours working along side me, making me laugh, being 'show up people' and helping me build my dream. I am so grateful for everyone of them, because there is no way that I could have done it on my own!"
From those early days right up to today, Kelly has worked hard to find and purchase beautiful gowns, dresses, suits and accessories that are of great quality and still affordable. Everything in Bridal Tradition is brand new, comes from a reputable designer and manufacturer, and has the consumers Kelly serves the most in mind.
Bridal Traditions does not sell used or consignment merchandise, and you will not find multiples of the same dress. Kelly: "I love to offer a variety of styles so our customers can have a dress that fits their singular style and personality. While my staff and I are well aware of trends that seem to overtake the bridal and prom worlds at times, we want each client to feel seen, well served and entirely unique. Our blog has story after story (Bridal Features), as well as entries about the incredible number of choices out there in the types of garments we sell. I'm proud of the effort we put into bringing variety and scope to our boutique."
Since opening the doors, Kelly has helped hundreds of women and girls find “the” dress for their special event. "What I enjoy the absolute most is being able to put a dress on a girl who thinks, 'nothing will look good on me,' and being there when she sees herself as beautiful! That glowing smile is EVERYTHING!"
Kelly also feels that it is very important to give back to the community and the world in which she lives. Every month, a portion of all Bridal Traditions gross profits are donated to local, national, and international charities. Some of these charities include Project GRL, which focuses on the fight against human trafficking of girls and the well-being of all girls, St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, and local charities in and around North Wilkesboro.
Bridal Traditions is proud to carry Arielle J wedding gowns, and some we wanted to feature some of the newest arrivals in this week's blog. The styling is, as usual, exquisite, with lace options, gorgeous bodices, and beautifully form-fitting silhouettes. Arielle J gowns are about the overall look AND the details.
The back of this gown is as lovely, if not more lovely, than the front. A flowing handkerchief skirt, lace bodice and thin straps make it a stunner from all angles.
Also form fitting, but without the lace coverage of the Calista, the Filippa is architectural perfection. The skirt is fitted at the top, but drapes beautifully out from around the knee line, for ease of movement. It is a strapless affair, with a long line of covered buttons down the back. Imagine this gown on the dance floor at the reception!
Eyelash lace around the bodice and around the front slit on the skirt make the Jasmine gown entirely unique and memorable. We love this one at BT, because it is elegance and modesty with the lace elements, and yet shows some skin as well. The back of the gown features a low V and short train. Ladies: you should at least come try this one on to see what you think.
The Larisa gown says Cinderella without the enormous hoop skirt, or mice helping her get ready. The sweetheart strapless bodice, the lace that flows down the waistline in an organic pattern, and all of the tulle along the skirt, ... are bridal perfection. We can add sleeves if you like to make it more romantic and more fairytale. We adore this gown!
Much like the Jasmine gown from Ariella J, this one has a nude sheath underneath to match skin tone and loads of lace that make a statement. The waistline is defined with a seam that marries the V bodice to the shapely skirt and small train.
While Arielle J gowns are their own in terms of look and style, there are others of theirs to choose from at BT. Come see us and ask for these or similar styles as a jumping off point. We're here to help you design your entire bridal look!
Trends can be complicating for brides. Do you participate in the look of the moment or stick with something more traditional. And if you choose a trend, will the images later be a "yes, I embraced the moment!" or "What was everyone thinking?" Some trends move as quickly as a phone or app update, while others are glacial and last generations.
While we at Bridal Traditions are not oracles, we do keep our finger on the pulse of bridal wear and can truly help brides choose from those trends that are worth repeating year after year or help them take a risk. Owner Kelly Shumate always says this, "the MOST important thing when choosing a gown is that you feel beautiful in it." In the world of bridal wear, here are some trends that you can count on seeing in 2023.
Be they in the 3D category, where the florals jump off the gown, as part of a lace pattern, or as part of a new trend we are seeing in veils -- florals and flower patterns are back again this year, and we believe, they are here to stay a while.
Lace florals have been a part of the wedding gown design landscape (pardon the pun) as long as there have been brides. Lace speaks of grace, innocence and purity. We love the look of flowers we're seeing for 2023 that add texture to a gown. It's a memorable look for sure!
Corsets & Transparency
We mentioned this in last year's blog about 2022 trends, and visible corsets, sheer fabric and elements of transparency will also be back in 2023 as part of the bridal line up. Designers and brides alike love these looks, and so do we!
Ball Gowns & Full skirts
A full skirt doesn't necessarily mean "princess" or "Disney." Ball gowns and dresses with fuller skirts have an elegance to them. Some even have pockets and these dresses look amazing on the dance floor. Bridal Traditions can also help brides navigate the hoop skirts and crinolines that go with these sumptuous dresses.
Black WEdding Gowns
The black wedding gown trend is still very much alive and well, and these dresses are stunning. At BT, we love them too for their elegance and departure from the expected.
For those brides who want pared down, very little bling and a more sleek look, there are gowns for you too. These harken back to the 1990s, but feel fresh and modern as well. Add gloves and jewelry, and the effect is stunning.
In the weeks and months to come, Bridal Traditions will be receiving more new styles and looks for the coming Spring and Summer '23 season and will share on the blog. So heads up, brides! Great things are on their way, be they trendy or traditional.
Jordan married Caleb Sparks on August 6th of 2022 at Hidden Hill Venue, Morganton, NC. The setting and day were so beautiful.... almost as beautiful as bride Jordan.
Their love story was one that started as strong dislike. This couple work together and Jordan is Caleb's boss. She thought he was arrogant, but he soon won her over with his flirting and smirking expressions. They live on 12 acres in Hickory where they hope to one day build their dream home. For now, they work together and when Jordan is not at her full time gig, she's a photographer.
The Wedding Day
The couple were married on a mountain top and when it was apparent that it was going to rain, they had to decide what to do. An indoor wedding was NOT what Jordan wanted, so they made it work and everyone had a blast. Instead of the edge of the mountain, they escaped the monsoon for a ceremony under the awning that turned out to be breath-taking. Seeing her husband tear up as she came down the aisle was a sweet memory for Jordan, as were the speeches at the reception. They danced into the night, enjoying precious time with their friends and family.
Jordan: "We wrote our own vows, but instead of reading them in front of everyone, we waited until we had a moment alone with our photographer to read them to one another. This was much needed. While everyone else was at the reception, we got to take it all in with each other."
This bride knew what she wanted when she saw it posted on BT's social media. She chose well and it looked amazing on her. "I didn’t want strapless, or spaghetti straps (HAHA). I wanted a long train, and a long veil. I wanted my tattoos to be visible, and no sleeves. I ended up with a medium length veil to keep from taking away from the length of the train on the dress. This was a PERFECT
CHOICE, and Kelly’s recommendation."
Congratulations to Jordan and Caleb on their big day and to the life they're building on their "little farm."
*Photo credit: Blaisey Conklin Photography
Are you Ready for your Yes Moment at BT?
Leslie Huezo married Antonio Pineda at Big R Orchards on July 30th of this year. Remember summer, you guys? We do. And this Bridal Traditions bride Leslie looked amazing.
This lovely couple fell in love when they were juniors in high school, dated through 4 years of college at UNC-Charlotte and got engaged in a park in Charlotte, where they still live. He works at Bank of America and she at Atrium Health. These two are taking on their new life with vigor and joy. We love that Leslie chose us to outfit her for her big day.
These two had an outdoor ceremony with over 300 guests. No sooner was the ceremony over then it started pouring rain. According to Leslie, it added to the day in a fun way and "made it even more perfect."
She came to Bridal Traditions wanting something in satin that was simple and elegant, with sleeves, but ended up with a gown covered in sparkles. She looked gorgeous with the shimmer and off-the-shoulder lace sleeves.
"I loved that Kelly was super helpful in honest when measuring me and being transparent about prices and what size to order."
Congratulations to Leslie and Antonio and cheers to a long and happy life.
Photo Cred: Gilded Images
Are you ready for your yes moment at BT?
Wedding veils are still a custom and tradition, even though they date back as far as the 12th century. They are referenced as early as ancient Mesopotamia and again to Rome when brides wanted to shield their faces from any spirits that might steal their happiness.
Veils in the 21st century are more gorgeous than ever and still make our brides come alive when they see them complete their wedding attire. Often, at our boutique, when a bride-to-be says yes to her dress and then sees herself with her veil on, THAT is the moment she becomes a bride - at least in her mind. These are special moments.
If you were not considering wearing a veil with your gown, do not rule it out entirely.
Lengths and styles of bridal veils are numerous, so you have options, ladies. A few to consider:
A Birdcage veil is between 4 and 9 inches. These have a retro feel and are usually attached to hats or headbands of some sort. Shoulder length veils run between 20 - 22 inches and the Blusher veil is around 30 inches. These were popular in the 1960s and 1970s and have made a come-back. Elbow length (32"), Finger-tip (38-40"), Knee-length (48"), Waltz (60") and Floor length (72") are all options, as is the cathedral length veil, which is traditional and epic at 108 - 120".
Make an appointment at Bridal Traditions and let us show you more of what is possible in the world of veils.
Ladies, the story of Fall bridesmaids gowns is one of necklines and muted colors. While blue is still blue, red is rose and green is sage. These hues are elegant and often resemble the floral arrangements we see at reception tables and in bridal bouquets.
And as for necklines, feast your eyes on these. Spaghetti straps, halters and one sleeve looks join the fluttery sleeves we already love. These gowns all have flowy skirts that are easy on you: for waking, standing at the altar, sitting (finally) and with side slits and even pockets, you're in great style.
Stay tuned for more, because we are just getting warmed up. The bridesmaids collections are wonderful this year for autumn!
Are you stuck in a gown shopping rut? Let's see what we at Bridal Traditions can do to get you unstuck. The Inspire Collection may get you right back on track.
The skirt has Cinderella written all over it. There is so much sparkle in the layers of lace, and the full lace covered back is elegant, and serene. This gown's front has a subtle dip that leads up into gorgeous lace straps. It's a knockout, ladies.
Strapless, covered in lovely lace and with a billowy skirt, the Oakleigh is "be still my heart." There are hints of twinkle on this gown too, but it can lend itself to youthful and demure or more sexy, can be styled to more boho or traditional with just the right accessories.
This gown is spectacular, if we say so ourselves. It's scaled back, but still says Princess. The deep V in the front and the bodice both have just the right amount of beading and decoration, but then the skirt is bead-less perfection with a handkerchief hemline. This is a statement gown that says, "I thought about what I like, and didn't want any extra nonsense."
Off the shoulder lace sleeves are rare in a world of strapless, thin straps and ornate lace sleeves. This gown is beyond chic due to the unexpected sleeves, the incredible lace, the fitted shape and beautiful silhouette. The overlay of lace over the sheath dress itself is a show-stopper. You can do this one, ladies. Be bold!
Bridal Traditions will be sharing more as the weeks roll on and the holidays approach. While we know that it feels bizarre to be thinking about spring and summer weddings now, you can be and maybe you should be if you want to be ready when the season is upon us. Make an appointment to come see what's new!
These dresses from Cailyn Lea have many flavors, and we have shared some favorites over the last few months. Here are a few more, and THEY. ARE. SPECTACULAR!
Maeve might as well be French for "romantic." The lace bodice (the lace period), off the shoulder sleeves, the low back, ... it is old-world elegance and charm for the bride who wants to be transported. Your guests will gasp.
We love this gown because of the mix of sheer elements and lace. Some gowns are head-to-toe lace and they're incredible. This one pulls back a bit and lets the drape of sheer fabric and well-placed lace elements tell the story. It's from a fantasy, and with the covered buttons and sleeve overlay, it is romantic. The Magnolia is not for the bride that wants ultra modern, but for the girl who seeks something akin to historical elegance.
There is plenty of lace on the Megara, which also has covered buttons down the bodice and skirt, loads of elegant and straps that slips off the shoulder.
The Mirabel is about the details, and they are lovely. The bodice and skirt are separated with two small fabric strips that are just delicate enough to make a point; the lace sleeves are demure and remind you of the traditional gowns worn by the Grace Kellys of the world. The flowy skirt is made of layers of tulle. And the result is stunning.
As you look for a gown that sparks imagination, take note of these and then come see us at Bridal Traditions. Trying on a gown makes all the difference.
Some girls are purse girls. They've got clutches, totes, and saddle bags galore. We get it.
And some love to draw attention to their head and hair. You know: bows, headbands, hats, earrings, fascinators, gilt barrettes and clips. We love those girls at BT. We have stuff for them, and if you don't believe us, check out our other accessory blogs, or just pop in to our boutique and indulge yourself.
This tidy little blog is about shoes. When a bride has chosen her gown, her veil, her jewelry and other bits and bobs, she thinks about her feet. Or does she? While some brides love to go rogue with sneakers or cowboy boots, nothing says, "I'm ready to commit to love" like bling on a great pair of shoes. Start with your feet or end with them. Unless you're on a beach, you'll need to put those tootsies in something. Here are just a few new models we've purchased lately for the BT Bride.
We love these block heels with sparkle. Or maybe we should say, get some sparkle and an totally stable heel. They are comfortable, won't make you wobble when you walk, have an ankle strap that is flattering, and look great with gowns for the aisle, or for making your get-away in a costume change.
If you want a bit of a shorter heel, but the same mesmerizing glitter, these little numbers below are irresistible. Three crystal straps along the toe and a shiny ankle strap, in gold and silver, make these draw the eye down. Don't worry, guests will still be looking at your gown and your lovely self. These just complete the vision.
Visit Bridal Traditions to see more options, and ask questions about what you might be seeking. We're here for you!