April of 2020 will mark 20 years in this business for me. I can hardly wrap my mind around it. When it came up recently in conversation, I thought, "oh yeah..... it has been nearly 20 years." How do you even describe that journey?
Well, I will do it briefly and with a heart filled with gratitude and humility. You don't do it alone, I can tell you that.
When I first started Bridal Traditions I hoped to help brides-to-be and prom-goers find gowns that made them feel beautiful, but without a financial set-back. As it turns out, that was possible. There was a market for affordable, but gorgeous dresses and before long, we were on our way. We sold gowns and accessories, rented tuxes and outfitted teenagers for prom year after year and we became part of the community. We were trusted to provide quality and we still do. I cannot begin to tell you how satisfying that is.
In the spring of 2015, I remember thinking "This marks 15 years I'm going to give it 5 more years and then I'm out." 20 is a nice round number and I figured that I would be ready for the next thing. And yet here we are.
Honestly, something shifted during these last 5 years. Owning and running Bridal Traditions was never about making big profits - affordable gowns with small margins don't allow for huge profits and that's fine. But providing gowns for everyone, no matter their budget, does provide something: an unbelievable amount of joy. That joy extends beyond customers and covers me too. Every day, I have the opportunity to make someone really happy. Girls leave our shop and the happiness, the excitement, the pure joy is palpable. How many people can say: "I'm in the business of making women feel beautiful and happy on one of the biggest days of their lives"? What a privilege that is!
Owning this business has allowed us to participate in, support and engage in our community and I'm extremely grateful for that. We've supported St. Jude's and we've hosted hundreds of wedding professionals, and brides-to-be at our annual Wilkes Wedding Expo.
In the last 5 years, I've realized how satisfying it is to be where God wants me, how learning patience has altered me and how good it feels to be truly contented exactly where I am. Right now, this still feels like God's will for me and when that changes, I will make a change. But for now, dear friends and clients - I am ready to celebrate 20 years with an eye to keep going. Bridal Traditions makes me and so many others happy and for now, that is more than enough.
Here's to the new year, a new decade and to many more girls leaving my little boutique filled with joy and feeling beautiful.
All my best,
Wesley and Abby met at North Iredell Middle School in 2007. Wesley’s mom and Abby’s dad both worked at this school while their kids were there and still do. Wesley and Abby dated in 8th and 9th grades, and then reconnected their senior year of high school in 2013.
After the college year and a 5 hour driving distance, Wesley proposed to Abby on March 2, 2018 in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
The couple said their I Dos at Danner Farms in a ceremony that was set off with a rustic autumn theme. The day began with rain (good luck, by the way ladies!), but then cleared up and turned hot. While the ceremony was outside and in the sunny weather, the bride chose autumnal colors of burgundy and navy and everything came together beautifully.
With nearly 180 guests in attendance, 6 bridesmaids and 5 groomsmen, this couple made it official. A very special element was that Abby’s grandfather, Pastor Brian Sipes officiated the ceremony. And the groom teared up. He may deny it, but there were the 180 aforemented witnesses.
The reception was inside the barn and there was BBQ, dancing and a glow stick send off with a fire truck as the get-away vehicle.
Abby: "I stuck with my original vision, I knew I wanted a sleeveless ball gown and that is exactly what I got. I loved everything about this dress. I loved how it made me look and feel. I really knew it was the one when I put the veil on with it. The belt at the waist and lace at the bottom were two of my favorite things as well."
Abby: "BT went above and beyond helping me find my perfect dress. Kelly and her associates made sure we felt welcome and made finding my dress that much better. They were there to help put dresses on, add accessories, and were never short on compliments and confidence boosters. Everything about my BT experience was everything I dreamed and more."
The couple now live in Olin, NC where Abby is a Medical Social Worker and Wesley works at the family cabinet shop and is a volunteer fireman.
Congratulations and love to you both!
And BAM... MARRIED.
This darling girl is Taylor Wood and she married to Allen Johnson in August of 2019 at River Creek Lodge in Stony Point, NC. After years of friendship in high school, they met again a few years ago and began a relationship that led to engagement and marriage.
Taylor: "Our wedding day went by so fast, I wish that I could go back and relive it." While worried about heat and rain, everything turned out to be perfect for their ceremony. There were some tears from one of the groomsmen, who will remain anonymous, but it felt like a celebration for everyone. Taylor shared that she felt beautiful in her gown and was sad to take it off knowing she would never put it on again...... in public.
Taylor's bridesmaids and groomsmen were outfitted by Bridal Traditions and we LOVED that she chose two colors for her bridesmaids. The images show more than the usual monochromatic effect... they all look complementary, but not exactly the same. Taylor selected pale pinks and lavenders. It was a truly inspired idea.
"The most memorable part was feeling overwhelmingly happy and loved. There was a moment where Allen and I read letters to each other while standing on opposite sides of a wall, holding hands. It was impossible for either of us to control our tears as we read our letters to each other. I will never forget that special moment. Our friends and family truly made this experience an amazing and unforgettable one and I am so thankful to have had them all with us on that day."
Taylor knew that strapless and ballgown styles were out, and that a figure hugging, but perhaps backless gown was a yes. She ended up buying something pretty close to her original vision. It's always nice to see a bride's instincts ratified in our boutique. You never know. Girls often change their minds, but some have it all worked out between their ears before they even come in. Taylor is the latter.
She chose a mermaid style gown with an open back and since theirs was an August wedding, she knew she'd need something that would allow her to be cool.
"I almost didn’t try the dress on. I had already tried on several and my friends and I had somewhere else to be that evening so I had said I wasn’t going to try on anymore. I was already feeling frustrated because I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for. My friend convinced me to try on one last dress. When I walked out to stand in front of the big mirror and I saw the dress, I started to cry. I knew that was the dress I wanted right then. I loved the flower details, it was so pretty. The straps were unique and I liked the back of the dress too."
Congratulations to Taylor and Allen! We wish you all the happiness in the world.
Photos: Megan Mathis and Brooke Dancy | Ruby Blue Photography
Courtney and Jon were married in Hickory, NC in late September of this year and the bride shared with us that she loved everything about the day: their families and friends showed up to make it a huge occasion and they had gorgeous weather, awesome vendors and lots of memorable moments. Her autumn palette, complete with burgundy bridesmaids gowns and sunflower bouquets was perfect.
More often than not, for our Featured Bride blogs, we tell the bigger story, but for Courtney Bass, it was all about the dress! When she started searching for her gown, she wanted cap sleeves and a simple bottom half. Nothing that was too crazy or over the top.
So much for that!
The top half of her gorgeous gown included lace that created a delicate look that was modest, transparent, traditional and classic all at once.
"The dress I chose was something I never expected, but when my mom & Jon's mom cried, I knew it was the one! I felt like a true princess and so beautiful."
We loved the frothy handkerchief folds of her gown. When a bride walks in a gown like this one, there is so much movement and elegance, you barely need to add much more. Courtney's gown also had a lovely back with lace and a keyhole.
She is picture perfect in white, proving that it can be a "fall wedding" and the bride still shine.
No matter when you plan to say your I Dos, stop by our boutique and just take a look around. You never know when your original vision will be hijacked by falling in love with something completely different.
Photo Credit: Stacy Phelps