Many brides and grooms are feeling like the pandemic is in the rearview and we hope so too. It's time to get out, get hitched and breathe the air. That said, there are still some hoops you'll need to remember to jump through since everything went sideways last year. Here are the top things to keep in mind as you plan your post Covid wedding day.
Secure Your Vendors
You are not the only one who postposed your wedding, so make sure that you get contracts in place for all of your vendors now. Most especially, consider a wedding planner and book him or her first. Wedding planners take the stress level down and can coordinate the unpredictable. It's what they do for a living. Last year taught us that we have to be nimble, so get a planner and/or get those vendors locked down for your date.
Keep Guests in the Loop
Everyone has lost the plot on what's next on planet earth, you know? Re-opening may be as confusing as locking down was 15 months ago. Date changes, location shifts and other alteration to your wedding will affect your guests too. Make sure that your guests know. Don't assume that just because they love you, they've kept up. They're busy trying to kickstart their lives as well. Keep everyone informed.
Check in with Vendors Consistently
Just as you read your contracts carefully, make sure that each of your vendors knows the restrictions and rules that will be in place for your wedding. Those in hospitality are still juggling what we can and cannot do and there needs to be compliance. Again, don't assume that vendors automatically know the details just because they are in the wedding business. Go over the rules with your caterer, band, decorators, bartenders, and everyone else involved directly.
Consider Your Guest List
Not everyone will be vaccinated or have a high tolerance for risk. Consider a hybrid wedding where some can Zoom or Skype in to and others can gather responsibly to celebrate with you. Some receptions are planned as rotating groups of guests who come through in :30 minute increments to eat, drink, toast and dance and then move on.
Coordinate Venue's Covid Restrictions
Finally, and most importantly, make sure you are completely clear on all the restrictions and rules yourself and that everyone involved not only knows but can choose clever ways to work within those guidelines. Not every restriction is a "NO" or a "Don't." There are opportunities to try a new way of serving, dancing, gathering and celebrating and we promise that wedding pros have spent the last year navigating and still being creative.
Enjoy your day! Yes, it's possible and it's what everyone wants for you. CELEBRATE!
You've overheard the conversations - and participated in them, no doubt - about bridesmaids dresses. Over the decades, dresses have gone from horrible to truly chic, but they are still "of a kind." When will you wear it again? What other events are appropriate? How do I recoup my money? Well, this is not an exhaustive list, but you are not stuck, we promise.
Consign or Sell It
It's that simple. Auction sites like eBay are perfect, but online is certainly the place to start. Sell it to someone who needs a prom gown, event or galla gown or collects them. Consignment shops will also take it off your hands and send you a percentage of the profits when it sells. Might as well get back a little for giving it up.
Cut it in Half
We are not nuts. Depending on the dress, a tailor can create two separate pieces for you to wear and mix into your wardrobe. Does the dress have a handkerchief hemline? Make a new skirt from the waist down. Before deciding that the gown is a goner, see what can be done to create either a top, a bottom or both.
More often than not, longer bridesmaids' gowns are hemmed to create a more casual version of the original design, and it makes sense. Rarely will you need a dress that goes all the way to the floor, but cut to a shorter, cocktail length can make it perfectly new.
Accessorize or Dye It
Once you've modified your gown (and even before) think of adding an embellishment to the neck, waist, or hemline or dress it up or down with non-wedding-esque jewelry and you'll look amazing. If it's a light color that can be dyed, go for it. Swap blush for black. When people ask you where you got it, you can just turn on your heel, shrug and wink.
There are girls in your community who need gowns. Whether it's for a dinner, another wedding, a prom, consider giving it to a non-profit or charitable organization. They can use it or sell it to add to their coffers.
Finally, you can always have it professionally cleaned and wrapped for storage. Some gowns are timeless and other trends come back into fashion later. Hanging onto a gown for these reasons can be a very smart move and return on your investment.
Whatever you do, don't assume that your bridesmaid's dress has only one life. That's not always the case. Be creative!
Located in the foothills of the Blue Ridge, Chapman Farmstead is a wonderful venue with lots of indoor and outdoor spots for weddings and other events. For this styled photo shoot, our couple of models played the roles of bride and groom on a beautiful early spring day. Bridal Traditions was happy to provide clothes.
The I Dos
The Gown from Bridal Traditions
Kallie Blackburn and Camon Bryan
Let's face it: there are many gifts given and received around a wedding day and wedding couple, and this is a place where everyone wants to do a well. How good does it feels to give a great gift? The dollar store will not suffice, as if it were a little party in need of favors. You want to show your feelings and gratitude, so here's a little encouragement for those getting married with some tips on what to give their support teams.
For the Bridesmaids & Maid of Honor
Shops are filled with custom items for nearly every type of person. Attendants were chosen for their years of friendship and commitment, shared memories and history, trust and affection. You know these people!!
Buy with those personal details in mind, be it for the ladies or gents.
Monogramming is still big, if not bigger than ever. Candles, towels, necklaces and lockets, luggage tags, tote and make up bags - the sky is the limit. If your tribe has a funny in-joke or mantra, add that as a reminder of this special time in your lives.
Ring dishes for jewelry lovers, cutting boards for kitchen wizards, special charms for charm bracelets that can act as talismans also make wonderful keepsakes.
Framed portraits are always a good idea. We don't care who says otherwise. Put a pic in it or just choose a frame that is gorgeous and tell her you want to make a date to grab a new special memory. Go with a digital frame if that's more suitable.
Phone cases, tumblers for coffee/water/smoothies, jade rollers, sleep masks and other more practical and/or self-care items work too.
For the Groomsmen
It has been The Thing since the dawn of man to give drinking related gifts to groomsmen. We get it. A whiskey and a cigar make the man in some circles. Flasks in monogrammed leather cases, decanters and cocktail shakers all still make great gifts. Double Old Fashioned glasses, beer steins and pilsner glasses do too. You're graduating from solo cups at parties to "real life." It's time to upgrade and these are great gifts for that reason or no reason at all.
There are also subscriptions to whiskey, wine, coffee and food clubs that will allow your mates to expand their interests. Consider those gifts that keep on giviing.
If your bridesmaid or groomsman loves to travel, give them something useful or inspiring. Yes, you can buy them a globe, but you may also find maps of places they've been and pinpoint a city or street that is particularly significant. If they love books or sports, get them a subscription to Audible or a bookstore, or subscribe to an online service that will feed this hunger all year long. If they appreciate art, think about something custom that will show them how much you appreciate that side of them.
Rather than something tangible, consider giving them an experience. Go zip-lining (with a reputable team), rent a cabin, hike part of the Appalachian Trail, go fishing, go to a theme park to act like kids again. Spending time with your nearest and dearest pals does count.
You can also give the experience of a service. Maids and Matrons of Honor and Best Men help carry the load as your day approaches and planning gets hectic. Think of giving a massage or spa day and a gift certificate for a lovely dinner out with the love of THEIR life.
Know Your Recipient
When all is said and done with a wedding, the most important thing that needs to have happened is a celebration. This means that the greatest gift you can give is your gratitude and love. We know that COVID is still an obstacle, but as you can: give hugs generously to those who've dug in when there were too many errands to knock out yourself.
Write Thank You cards.
Call people. It doesn't have to be a marathon, but a text isn't enough. Say Thank You like it was going to be the last thing you get to say to that person.
Generosity of spirit lasts so much longer than a saucer to hold your jewelry. If you can't decide on a hug, an experience or a simple gift, try to do all three within reason. These are your people. Show them you adore them.
Hello Brides to Be! Your friendly neighborhood bridal experts at BT are here with a PSLU (Public Service Love-Up). WE ARE ON YOUR TEAM. This means that occasionally we have to throw down some serious words of caution, as well as our customary encouragement. We want all of our brides to be success stories, and to understand that it's just as important to educate yourself and set the right expectations for your gown shopping as it is crucial that you avoid scams.
Misconceptions & Knock-Offs
Over the last decade or more, online only bridal shops have sprung up like weeds. While most brides are savvy enough to understand that a photograph is not a gown, they can fall for the glamour of a gown in an image, become dazzled by the price and potential savings, and take the leap. If you like a Vera Wang gown that costs $5000 and find a knockoff for $500, we can almost promise you that you will not be getting the dress you hope for. Often when gowns from these sites arrive, the workmanship is average at best. If the Wang gown had lace and beads, you'll find that your knock off has inferior substitutions, fewer beads, cheaper lace, different structure, etc. Time and time again, we see disenchanted brides come into Bridal Traditions after they've been burned.
Setting Your Expectations
Before purchasing a gown, brides research styles they love, think about their theme if there is one, consider the season and month, whether the event is indoors or outside, and what looks good on them. What many brides fail to do is research is what you get for various price points.
> Do you want a simple gown with minimal frill and not a ton of fabric?
> Do you want lots of custom lace or beading?
> Are you going to add embellishments like a belt, a veil, a train, etc?
The more sewing, the more fabric, and the more elements a gown has, the more you can expect to spend.
Ask us when you come into our boutique and we can show you why some gowns are less expensive than others and adjust your tastes to your budget. At Bt we strive to give you a bang for your buck, and work very hard finding collections that offer the style and detail that brides want for a reasonable price they can afford.
Dresses for $450 - $750
The gowns above in this price range are beautiful, well-made and have both overall style and specific details. If your budget falls in the "no more than $500" range, you definitely have options, so don't dispair.
$800 - $1000
For a little more money, you obviously get more. BT does not buy gowns with poor workmanship. PERIOD. So with a little more expenditure what you get is the same great tailoring, but a little more design and flair, maybe more fabric and details, and certainly more embellishments.
There are brides out there with enormous budgets who are ready to spend in the thousands for their wedding gowns. If you are not that bride, fret not. Often there are gowns sold on clearance racks that are no longer in season or are from a previous collection and you can snap them up for a fraction of the cost.
Remember that knockoffs are not guaranteed to be of a high quality and that scammers are out there and they don't provide a way to recover your costs. Do your homework and come see us! We are here to help!
Look at all of those shoppers. [We'll pause here, so that you can take in the sea of humanity out there. Each person is on a journey and some of them are searching for something important. Some may even be searching for a wedding gown.]
Now imagine that each of them has an opinion, because they do, whether they mean to affect your opinions or not.
Shopping is personal. Shopping for a wedding dress is deeply personal, and can be fraught with landmines. In that spirit, we at BT want to share a scenario in the hope that it will help you brides out there - and those of you who accompany her - when you come to our boutique or other reputable wedding gown shop.
Often brides come to us with their cherished friends, bridesmaids, and family to help provide counsel and energy during the "trying on" process. We encourage this, because support is important. There is boning and structure in a gown, so why not have support from your friends??
What we worry about as business owners are the unexpected comments and the fall out that they bring. It happens, ladies! But it doesn't have to happen to you.
We've heard of, and even seen ourselves, brides who fall in love with a gown only to abandon it when someone makes an off-hand comment about an element of the gown. The sleeves are a "different" length. Maybe the dress features a drop waist or interesting lace patterns, embellishments or a style that not everyone in the party agrees on. It's to be expected. But when those comments derail a bride from her choice, it can feel defeating.
The good news is that there are helpful things to remember as a bride AND as a member of her entourage.
Things to Think About
You don't have to buy your gown at BT, but we are always honored to serve this particular brides whether they know what they want or are still searching. The shopping part of the wedding should be as fun and uplifting (for everyone) as possible. Celebrate together! Everybody wins that way.
Let's jump right in with the big (and obvious truth), shall we?
Moms of Brides and Grooms are Important
No matter what your relationship with your mom, if she is still with us and is attending your wedding, helping to pay for it, guiding and comforting you through the details, ups and downs, she is important. At Bridal Traditions we care about our moms!! We want all you moms out there to feel as important and beautiful as you are. So here are some basic, and we believe, helpful tips.
Do Not Wait Until the Last Minute
Waiting feels like a good idea, because the bride is the star and as details come together, moms may feel like they'll know more about what to buy. Just because you have time to choose does not mean that you should wait. Begin thinking about the day and theme, for sure, but also about what YOU FEEL GOOD IN. The longer you wait, the fewer options you may find out there for yourself. You will also feel less stress.
Let us repeat that: During a time when stress seems to be baked into the whole experience at times, don't add more stress by waiting until the last second.
Do Not Match Your Dress with Bridesmaids. . .
... Unless you are in the role of matron of honor, and even then you can have your own color. Choose a color that complements you, Mom. It should (1) look good with your skin tone and
(2) coordinate with the colors in the wedding party. You do not need to match, just complement, so navy, grey, taupe, champagne, burgundies, purples, plums and teal all make great choices for the mother of the bride or groom. Regardless, stick with rules (1) and (2) and you're good!
Dresses and Pant Suits
You have options, and our team at BT will work with you to make sure what you choose not only coordinates in terms of palette, but conveys the style you want to project. You may think you want a dress and end up with a pant suit instead. Just as with brides, there can be lovely surprises when you shop, so be open to those.
Finally, don't forget to ask questions and enjoy the fun of doing your homework. Research what is out there. Yes it is your daughter or son's big day, but you have a right to look amazing in all of those pictures that will be taken. We'd rather you have happy tears on the day than frustrated ones one month before. Plan your purchase and remember that we are always here to help.
In January of this year, Bridal Traditions was pleased to provide our style, expertise - and yes - a gorgeous black wedding gown for a styled photo shoot at The Emerald Hill, in the North Carolina foothills. This place was a perfect spot to combine a more radical gown with an elegant setting. The duo of place and dress is striking and beautiful.
An Alternative to "Bridal Blush"
Not everything black is necessarily "goth," but it isn't difficult to imagine an autumn or winter wedding that features a black-clad bride. Whether inside or out of doors, you cannot take your eyes of this bride. The details on the dress, the tulle overlay and lace details made this particular gown a favorite at BT since its arrival.
Regardless of the season, a black wedding dress is showstopper. Bridal Traditions is loving this trend and our customers are too. Stop by our boutique if you think this might be the wedding look for you.
Venue and Furniture: The Emerald Hill @the.emerald.hill
Gorgeous Wedding Gown: Bridal Traditions @bridaltraditions
Photography: Waterhouse Photography @waterhousestudios
Coordination, styling: Embellished Events for You @embellishedeventsforyou
Model, Hair and Makeup: Endless Beauty Company @endlessbeautycompanyllc
If you've been counting the minutes since the last blog about bridal shopping myths, your wait is over! Revisit Bridal Shopping Myths Part 1.
Often brides have seen the rom-coms, checked Pinterest, read blogs and scoured magazines only to feel defeated when it's time to go shopping. "All the things" and "all the feels" can frankly be too much. It is, however, possible to do two things at once: feel dreamy and happy and successful with your wedding dress search AND manage your expectations.
Bridal Shopping Myth 3
"If I take a lot of pictures of a dress, and study over them for hours on end,
that will tell me everything I know about how it will work on ME."
If you are a girl who loves to collect images, no problem. We get it. If you are taking multiple images of yourself wearing a gown at our boutique or elsewhere, and think it will or won't work based on those images, beware. Do not base your final decision on those pictures.
A bad cell phone picture can ruin the perfect dress's chances, because you haven't gone back to those questions presented in the last blog.
- Do you feel beautiful in this dress?
- Are you comfortable in it?
- Do you feel like yourself in it?
- Do you feel good inside when you picture yourself walking down the aisle in this dress?
Don't make up your mind from a shopping photo. We encourage girls to think of those snapshots they've taken while in a boutique as selfies and remember that to get a good one they will change the lighting and angle and their makeup and expressions 80 times before they'll want to post it. You in the dress is way more important than a snapshot of you in the dress while shopping.
Bridal Shopping Myth 4
"I know exactly what I want."
Maybe. But maybe you don't and that is OKAY.
We see brides come in with a list of 15 things they feel they must have. They've already been to 6 different bridal shops, and they keep trying to check all of the boxes, trying to select one way while feeling another. Many others keep trying the same type of gown on over and over hoping this time, it's The One. Now they are frustrated. And broken-hearted and angry and confused.
That's when it's time to stop and try a different style. Hide your list and free your mind! You'll not only shake yourself out of your rut, but you may find out that you actually didn't know what you wanted. And again, that's OKAY. In fact, it's exciting to surprise yourself, and isn't that the point? Isn't this supposed to be exciting?
Our team at BT is here to help you. We've seen every type of bridal problem, question, frustration and success out there, and we know when to tell you to breathe and sit a minute and when to start over. Come see us. We're your allies the moment you enter our boutique.
So the cat's out of the bag: We are in the bridal business. This mean that we're accustomed to seeing brides-to-be come into the boutique to shop and have the "Say Yes" experience. We love those moments as much as brides do, promise!
What we've also noticed these last 2 decades is that brides-to-be often come in to BT and play out some typical, but avoidable, shopping myths. What are shopping myths, you ask? These are little lies we've been told and keep telling ourselves (THANKS, MEDIA!!) or they are misplaced expectations about buying a wedding gown that cause a variety of symptoms.
- immediate disappointment, when there should be hopeful anticipation
- lack of patience with oneself
- exhaustion with the process
- extreme disillusionment
- feeling the need to justify yourself in front of others, .... when it's about YOUR day
- tears and confusion
- loss of joy.
Fret not, ladies. We can help, and to do this we've identified the 4 most common myths. Overcome these and you'll be a happier shopper, happier bride and you'll avoid those symptoms during what should be an exciting chapter of your life.
Bridal Shopping Myth 1
"My dress cannot be the first one I try on or be found at the first shop I visit."
There aren't just dozens of wedding themed movies, there are thousands. We love them and we've memorized them and now we're all paying for it. Thinking that you'll only hear the soundtrack from your own personal romance after trying on 100 dresses comes from watching all of those movies. They've convinced brides-to-be that you have "to earn it" by twirling like an actress in gown after gown, in front of a mirror, and FOR HOURS.
You don't. That's a myth.
In fact, you may find your dress in the first store and it may even be the first dress you try on in that first shop. It happens. A lot!
If it is the one, IT. IS. THE. ONE. Don't stress out that you aren't living that rom-com dream. It's a myth. We've seen so many brides confused and feeling like they missed some experience when they just happen to find their gown more quickly than they imagined. Chill out. Be happy. You checked that box and now have time for other items on your list.
Bridal Shopping Myth 2
"I have to cry if it's the one. If I don't cry then this cannot be the dress."
EVERY ONE IS DIFFERENT and if you aren't a crier most of the time, that is probably not going to change for this situation. You don't have to transform your personality to buy your wedding dress.
Our goal, during a gown buying experience with us, is to see how you answer the following questions:
- Do you feel beautiful in this dress?
- Are you comfortable in it?
- Do you feel like yourself in it?
- Do you feel good inside when you picture yourself walking down the aisle in this dress?
Answer those questions in the affirmative and we've likely found your gown, whether you showed emotion or not.
It's especially frustrating when a member of the bride's entourage makes a point of saying, "you haven't found the dress yet, 'cause you're not crying." People: let the bride decide and if there are tears, we have tissues. If there are no tears, but the bride is over the moon in her way, hush.
Bridal Traditions has been in business for 20 years. We have volumes and volumes of knowledge and we know when to counsel and when to encourage and when to let the bride just be. Trust us and we won't steer you wrong.
Next week's blog: 2 more BIG bridal shopping myths. Tune in!