The History of Bridal Traditions
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.
New Arrivals from Arielle J Bridal
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!
2023 Wedding Gown Trends
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 Sparks - Bridal Feature
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
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