BT's owner and expert, Kelly Shumate is armed with some basic information about dresses and we'll be sharing more as inspiration hits. As it happens, she's asked loads of questions not just about the style of a gown, but why certain dresses feel and fit differently. There are big differences for sure and Kelly's view is that an informed bride tends to make the right decision about her gown - be it in style, shape, embellishments, size, etc. Informed brides are more often happy brides and those are always our goal.
So grab a pen, have a read and always feel free to ask questions when you're in our boutique. We're here to help!
Brides ask me all kinds of questions about wedding gowns, but today I want to focus on the structure that makes a gown a gown and not just a sundress or simple sheath.
Dresses have structure built into them like boning through the bodice and in the bra, and these allow the gown to have and to hold a shape. In fact, that structure helps to keep the dress where it's supposed to be on your body. If you buy a white sundress for a beach wedding, that's another story. What I am talking about is wanting to have the elegance and fitted look that makes a bride look and feel like a bride.
When trying on dresses, girls tend to push on the boning and I'm always smacking their hands and telling them to stop! They want it to feel a certain way, but the fact is you can bend or even break it and then you end up with a concave or saggy looking bust area. I don't need to tell you (but I will) this is not an attractive look.
Quick history lesson, girls: from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries into the early 20th century, women's undergarments had built in structure. It was unavoidable. If you've seen the movie High Anxiety, Nurse Diesel (played by actress Cloris Leachman) wore a bra that would poke your eye out. (Ask your mom or gramma; they'll know...or look below). They were padded more, more pointy, had more seams criss-crossing for shape and modesty and women just put up with it. Then in the late 60s and early 70s women started burning their bras AND NOW YOU KNOW WHY! But that's another blog.
These days, comfort is king and we've become accustomed to spandex and stretchy fabrics that provide a smooth look, mold to whatever shape we are, but provide very little structure. Girls see themselves in a gown with a structured bodice, it feels weird when compared to our everyday clothes, so in-turn they feel like they look weird. I assure you they do not. Below are gowns with no or light structure and both are fabulous and I will say, more comfortable.
I would like to provide one caveat about comfort equalling no structure: my bias for structured gowns is based on the fact that generally they just look better. They make brides look gorgeous and elegant. Everything is held into place, if you catch my drift, and they are not the tortured garments that make a girl feel like she cannot breathe.
Now! Manufacturers of wedding gowns ARE catching up. They are making gowns that have almost no or absolutely no boning or structure and they are slick and slinky, but we don't sell a ton of them because ultimately brides realize that they want to look like a bride, not a girl on the catwalk. If you want beading, lace and off the shoulder looks (just to name a few options) then some built in boning is a must.
It's important to me and to the BT team that all brides feel their most beautiful and their most comfortable. It's doable, ladies and we're here to help you!
In early October of last year, Candice and her groom (and now husband) Austin made it official at Williams Farm. It was a perfectly lovely and small wedding with friends and family and a picture-perfect bride.
These two kept finding each other after other relationships and navigating work life until they realized that their destinies were connected. Candice told us that the moment she will always remember, is when he saw her for the first time in her gown and everything felt like it slowed down.
Candice chose a dress right off one of our mannequins after her mom pointed it out. She thought that is might be "too much dress" but fell in love with the neckline, back details and skirt. It suits her and looked amazing on her!
Candice said that she felt like a princess in her gown and, full disclosure, we were looking forward to working with her.
Candice: "I worked with Kelly during a BT Prom Model event years ago and we hit it off from the start. I knew that I wanted to work with her and her crew and purchase my dress from BT. She helped pick out multiple options, in different styles, even if I wasn’t crazy about them and she made me try them on because she said 'you never know.' She’s so friendly and I’m so glad I got to work with her."
We wish this pair nothing but joy, health and happiness and so appreciate their business with Bridal Traditions.
Katie and Hunter met in middle school and it started with a wink. They sort of fell for each other right after that, and the period that followed was made up of their parents driving them on dates to tractor pulls and the like, until they could get licenses, and through Katie attending UNC-Greensboro to get her degree. Hunter attended NC A&T and after he proposed, they bought and renovated a home together in preparation for getting married. It gave them time to get to know each other even more. Falling in love in your early teens is one thing; hanging drywall and painting is what tells you that you've found your mate in life.
Hunter's proposal, which took place on March 7, 2018, was pretty fantastic, if we at Bridal Traditions can be any judge.
Katie: "My mom and my sister “planned” a trip to Boone. My sister was going to be attending ASU in the fall, so we were going to tour the campus. When we got up there we began our day at a t-shirt shop on King Street. While in the store the cashier asked if I was Katie and then handed me an envelope. In the envelope was a letter stating that a beautiful day was about to begin and that I needed to head to a specific address for the next clue.
I knew what was about to happen. We went to 3 other locations for clues including a fudge shop and a park where I found my dad sitting on the bench waiting on us. The last clue sent us to a park in Blowing Rock, and it was beautiful. The day was so cold, and it began to snow a little bit when we arrived at the park. In the middle of the park was a gazebo. Hunter was there with one of my best friends who captured the proposal on her camera. When I finally reached the gazebo Hunter got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was absolutely perfect and it was a day I will never forget."
The Wedding Day - Take 2
Clearly, we've all heard the heart-breaking stories of long-planned weddings being disrupted, rescheduled or replanned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The tale of Katie and Hunter is similar. Their wedding day was planned for June 20th and they did actually get married that day, but there were no guests. Some of their wedding party may have been exposed to the virus so 2 days before the BIG DAY, Katie was calling everyone to tell them that they would be celebrating instead on July 25th. On THAT day, they were married in a smaller ceremony at The Barn at Cranberry Creek.
The bride and her bridesmaids spent the morning of the wedding creating silly tik tok videos while getting ready, and she was able to have First Look moments with both her father and her groom. They read their vows to each other while alone, instead of in front of everyone else, and Katie shared that this made the moment more memorable.
The weather was gorgeous that day, the venue was perfect for a July wedding of 150 instead of 250 and the photographer Danielle George was able to capture all the little moments that this bride wanted.
Katie said that she really had no specific vision for her gown beyond wanting it to be comfortable, make her look beautiful and to be affordable. Those are three areas we specialize in. She also knew that she wanted a sparkly belt, because she'd been watching "Say Yes to the Dress" and thought they added a lot. We hooked her up!
Not only did Katie get her gown off the rack, and did not need to order, but we made sure that there were embellishments and details she loved.
Katie: "BT was amazing!! Kelly and her helper who was there during my appointment helped me so much. They found dresses for me and made me feel like the perfect bride. I could not imagine buying my dress from anywhere else. Kelly helped me get into each dress and made them fit perfectly. I was able to buy my dress right off the rack which saved me the stress of having to order it. The most helpful thing that made my experience amazing was that Kelly and the other girl were there to help me throughout my whole appointment. They catered to me and found the perfect gowns for me to try on."
Katie: it was our pleasure, we promise you!
The Send Off
If at first you don't succeed, ... try again with the knowledge that things may turn out even better in the end. We are wishing this farmer and his elementary school teacher bride the best of luck and much love as they embark on a new life together.
Bridal Traditions loaned a dress (the fuller and poofier of the two) as well as two suits for this styled photo session and, as always, we were happy to be a part of it. There is a sweet back story on the models as well.The pair is an actual married couple who weren't able to have a wedding themselves. They wrote vows for each other and used the opportunity of the photo shoot as an informal vow renewal. This shoot became the closest thing to a real wedding as they were going to have, at least for now. How sweet is that?
These two make such a gorgeous couple, and each element chosen by the vendors seems to suit them perfectly. For a complete vendor list, see the end of the blog.
The Lovely Send Off
Fitted Dress: Hitched Boutique (@hitchedboutique)
Poofy Dress and Both Suits: Bridal Traditions (@bridaltraditions)
Accessories: Pink Tulip Designs (@pinktulipdesigns)
Calligraphy and signs: Madison & Penn (@madisonandpenn)
Desserts: Indulge Baked Goods (@indulgebakedcreations)
Florals: Wildflowers (@wildflowers_florals)
Hair + Makeup: Beauty by Andrea Mesimer (@beautybyandreamesimer)
Photography: Laze L Farm Photography (@lazelfarmphotography)
Stationary:Kathy Magee Designs (@kathymageedesigns)
Styling + coordination: Embellished Events for You (@embellishedeventsforyou)
Venue: The Emerald Hill (@the.emerald.hill)
Videography: North State Photography (@northstatephotography)