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.