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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.