Planes, Trains & Automobiles
.... is a hilarious movie and if you're too young to remember it, find and watch it. It's pee your pants good, with a tender ending that will remind you that kindness and family are two of the foundations of life.
Meanwhile - the purpose of this blog is to address something that we often forget about as purveyors of wedding dresses - until it comes up at some random time: traveling with your wedding gown.
For a car trip, this isn't too too much heavy lifting, so to speak. You find the right garment bag and make sure that there is room to lay or hang the gown so that it will receive the least amount of exposure, abuse to the fabric, bending or folding.
But if your wedding is in another state or country, do you fly with it or ship it?
It's hard to imagine spending the time, heart, and money on a gown and then entrusting it to a carrier - no offense to carriers! But if this is something you feel comfortable with, do your homework, pay the extra for insurance, keep your tracking number close and make sure that the recipient on the arrival side (a best friend or trusted family member) is there and will bird dog the situation.
If you decide to fly with your gown - here are some seriously good ideas from our friends at Brides.com.
The Big 4 if you're flying
Good Idea 1
Talk to your airline
You'll know if they have any special instructions for passengers traveling with bulky and delicate items. They may have information that will help you know how to pack, when to board and what to expect.
Good Idea 2
Pack your gown with care in a garment bag.
"Most wedding dresses have trains and many have lots of fabric, so gathering up your wedding dress neatly into a garment bag isn't necessarily an intuitive task. Here's how to pack up your wedding dress properly and avoid getting wrinkles in your dress during the flight. First, stick the hanger of the dress through the top of the garment bag and hang it up high so you can work with the wedding dress. Then, take the left side of the gown and the right side of the gown and fold them into each other toward the center. From there, take the bottom of the train and roll it up until the fabric is contained within the garment bag. Once inside, it's time to zip it up — carefully. Whenever you zip up a garment bag with delicate fabric inside, make sure to place a finger on the other side of the zipper as you guide it up so that the dress doesn't get caught in its tongs."
Good Idea 3
Consider buying your gown a seat on the flight.
Now, not everyone can afford this, so look into priority boarding and chatting with your seat-mates as well. People love to be a part of a plan and will more than likely not only be excited for you, but will help you to place your gown in the over head flat, or find a spot in the hanging priority bins at the front of the plane. THIS is just the occasion to ask for special treatment - just do it with kindness and humility. No one likes an entitled pain in the rump - i.e. bridezilla.
Good Idea 4 - this may be the most important one...
Purchase and take with you a good portable steamer.
You will need it. Period. To protect against water stains, get the little sock that goes over it too. If you're getting married overseas, you'll already have thought of this, but..... pack an adaptor for the electrical outlets. Theirs are not like ours.
Common Sense when Traveling with Your Gown
Finally, use your head.
- If your gown has a shaped bodice, stuff it with tissue or a form that will help it keep its shape.
- Assign someone you trust to help you pack it in the garment bag and be "on dress duty" for the entirety of the event, including getting it home in great shape if you've taken off on your honeymoon. Loving reminder: the person who does this deserves special treatment and a special thank you or gift.
- Ask for tips along the way. Boutiques like BT will have definite Dos and Don'ts to share; the airline will provide help if you let them know in advance and even when boarding; the wedding location will have a concierge who knows local places for last minute needs and finally - let your bridesmaids know that you trust them, but need them to have your back.
Purchase and pack a travel garment steamer.
Pack your gown in a protective, expandable garment bag.
Assign someone to help you with packing, tracking, unpacking and getting your dress "day ready" and home safely.
Get tips along the way from people who've done this before.
Specific, Helpful Links about traveling with your gown:
from Martha Stewart Weddings
from Wedding Wire
About Anna & Daniel's Wedding
Anna Lynam (Harmon) and Daniel Lynam make it official in June, 2018.
Anna: "Our wedding took place outside on a rustic family farm nestled in Ferguson, NC - between his family in Wilkes, NC and mine in Lenoir, NC. We wanted an intimate wedding with only our close friends and family and had less than 100 people in attendance. Everything came together just as it should, even though it was miserably hot.
Everything was perfect, despite the heat - from getting ready with my girls, to walking down the aisle, to saying I do to my handsome groom, to taking over 400 pictures, and loving every minute of the most wonderful day of my life."
This sweet couple tied the knot at The German Farm in Ferguson in a lovely outdoor wedding ceremony surrounded by lush trees, smiling friends and summer heat. They all looked amazing and by Anna's account, it was a success.
About Anna's Dress
Anna did what all brides do once engaged: she started pinning dresses and wedding gowns that she loved. While she had no specific gown in mind, she noticed that she continued to pin a particular style again and again.
With a June wedding in the south, you have heat considerations to keep in mind and her choice ultimately left her arms free (YAY FOR SPAGHETTI STRAPS) and a lovely low, open back which was perfect for the day.
"Ultimately, I chose the dress I did because when I tried it on, it just felt right. None of the other dresses made me feel as beautiful as I did in my dress - I couldn’t stop smiling with it on! I absolutely loved the back of the dress - the way that the sequin straps went down and came together at the base of my back where it met the lace of the rest of the dress. It was gorgeous."
About the BT experience
"I stopped by other bridal shops and they would not let me try anything on without an appointment. They had ridiculously long waiting periods to get the dress in once it was ordered, and their pricing was way expensive.
One of my friends purchased her dress at Bridal Traditions and mentioned it to me, so I contacted Kelly. Although we did not need one, I set up an appointment for that Saturday. My mom went with me and helped me choose my dress. Kelly and her team were so friendly and helpful - I picked out my dress within 30 minutes. I was able to walk out of the store with my dress completely paid for. It was honestly the easiest part of all the wedding planning.
I had such a great experience with my dress, that I actually got all my bridesmaids dresses, the flower girl dress, and Daniel and his groomsmens their bowties/ties all at Bridal Traditions. They made everything so easy. They were able to expediate the waiting period and we received all the dresses and bowties with plenty of time to spare, which is saying a lot when we had less than three months to work with."
"Marrying Daniel was a dream come true - the whole day was magical. But the most memorable part of our wedding day was having my younger brother, Caleb, there with us. He recently decided to join the marines and had to leave for boot camp on July 23. I really wanted him to be there on our special day, so we actually planned the wedding around his schedule. We planned our special day in less than three months. I couldn’t have imagined the day without him there."
Our goal at BT is to make sure that wherever your wedding takes place, and no matter who comes to celebrate with you, you look and feel beautiful. If we can outfit your entire party, we're ready, willing and able to do that too.
Congratulations to Anna and Daniel!! Here's to many happy years.
You're planning your wedding and any down time from your job, family, friends, phone calls to vendors and general life, is spent searching for the elements that will make YOURS the wedding people talk about and want to copy. Not an attention junkie? Not so much look at "ME, ME, ME"? Then you're searching for the elements that are more personal and memorable to you and your partner. Either way, at some point, if you've decided to wear a wedding gown, and you'll need one that is perfect FOR YOU.
When we research in the 21 century, we go online. Period. We Pin items on Pinterest, we go to all the usual bridal-related media outlets: magazines, websites and designer sites and we hunt for our dress while relishing in the options available.
[CASUAL ASIDE] Even if you don't love a particular style, don't you just love looking at ALL styles of gowns? Admit it? It's pretty stinking fun. It's like "I HATE it, but I can't look away!!" At some point, though, it's time to think about really looking and making a purchase.
At BT, we hear the online purchase Tales of Woes almost weekly. Of course, our bias is for a brick and mortar experience, but there is a good reason for this. In fact, here are 7 excellent ones.
When you shop in a boutique like Bridal Traditions, you get expert advice/suggestions (if you will let us help you! We kinda know what we are talking about!) We can walk you through the process and hold your hand when necessary.
It's free therapy. We care about what our customers are going through (even when it has NOTHING to do with a dress purchase or BT at all) and we are often a shoulder to cry on.
When you shop at a boutique, you can see quality/material first hand. When you look online, you're hoping that the picture is a true representation of what you'll get.
We provide customer service AFTER the sale. I believe we not only provide service after the sale, it's good service. We listen, problem solve and make sure that you get what you want, to the very best of our ability.
Brick and mortar boutiques support the local economy and create jobs. You may not be thinking about this when you buy your dress or even think you care when you have so many other things that you're trying to do in preparation for your wedding. But it matters. We promise.
You can actually see if it fits and we can guide you on ordering the right size. Nothing fits the way your expect it to until the fabric hits your body. Let us guide you through this and provide counsel.
Buying from a boutique means that you won't get stuck with a style that looks horrible on you even if it looks amazing on the model in the pic.
Now, we all love shopping online. Perfumes, contour sticks and sheet masks from Sephora, Disney movies for nieces and nephews, exotic culinary ingredients and cookbooks you saw on FoodTV, out of print books from your childhood, inexpensive pashmina scarves,
..... but your wedding gown?
Some things to consider when you buy online:
YOU are a number. You are a sale. THAT'S IT. They have your name, size and payment info.
An online wedding gown purchase could very well be supporting unethical people who employ people in sweatshops and breaking child labor laws, assuming that you're purchasing your dress from a country with regulations. We do not direct this comment to reputable online retailers, but there are so many shady one out there sometimes it's hard to tell which is which.
Additionally, the gown you order online could be hazardous to your health (watch this video shared by another boutique owner and what happened to her client) This is for real people! Watch Video
1-3 should be enough, but ...
There is no follow up after the sale. You have to do your own mental inventory of what is wrong, what doesn't work, fit, why your heart isn't pounding with joy and then explain it, package it, drive to the post office and wait to see what happens. As if you don't have enough to do. That's insult to injury.
Your dress may not arrive at all. It happens. And sometimes, when the dress does arrive, it turns out to be, in the words of one of our clients, an overpriced dishrag.
We want you to be happy. That's one of our core values - customer joy. So before you move from online research to online purchase, consider the pros and cons and then stop by our boutique, or one near you, and get a sense of what you'll be missing if you decide that you'd like your dress to arrive like an Amazon delivery.
To sum up we are not saying all online stores are bad, in fact there are many brick and mortar stores that accommodate the online shopper, who knows, we may be one ourselves soon. Just be aware of where and from whom your gown is coming.
No fun for the guys. <sigh> It's a tux or nothing when it comes to formal occasions. The ladies get all the options for expression and creativity.
Our pals at Jim's Formal Wear have just released new colors for Fall Weddings and they are every bit as interesting and cool, trendy and fun as you guys deserve.
The Fall Color Options & Combos
Eggplant, Taupe and Walnut
"A deep purple hue paired with two neutrals makes this fall combo pop. Imagine rich eggplant orchids dotting every table at the reception and your groomsmen dancing the night away in taupe tuxedos layered over walnut brown vests and ties."
Tangerine, Chocolate and Hunter Green
"If you don’t want to veer too far from traditional fall wedding color schemes, this is the one to explore. Oranges, browns, and greens are typically accent colors at formal autumn events, so why not make them the stars? We love the idea of tangerine-colored signature cocktails, a chocolate-on-chocolate dessert bar, and greenery visible at every turn."
Pumpkin, Grey and Gold
"Step aside red tones – the gold family can also dazzle. We love the idea of pairing a robust pumpkin orange with a shimmery metallic gold. Reflect this color combo in the bridesmaids’ dresses and jewelry, tablecloths, and boutonnieres. Set off the bold autumn hues with soft grey-tone suits for the gents and coordinating heels for the ladies."
Gold, White and Cream
"Headed to the beach to say “I Do”? Opt for an airy, neutral autumn wedding color scheme. The simplicity of an eye-catching gold hue paired with soft whites and creams puts the focus on you, not a flashy color combination. Play up this trio with stunning gold cufflinks for the men and statement necklaces for the women."
Navy Blue, Silver and Lemon
"Deep, dark blue tones are getting all the attention this fall. Try pairing navy with a bright lemon yellow and hints of silver. We love the look of yellow rose bouquets against navy cocktail dresses for the women, and silver-dipped fall leaves worn as boutonnieres on the men’s navy suits."
Soft Yellow, Maroon and Black
"An evening wedding calls for a deep, dark red tone. Try pairing a maroon hue with a muted yellow for a beautiful contrast. We love these colors integrated with elegant black tuxes and black evening gowns for the bridesmaids. Imagine bouquets of miniature sunflowers and red fall berries at your big event!"
Boutonnieres are a part of this production and JFW offers ideas there as well!
BT has been an authorized Jim's Formal Wear retailer for many years and are excited about these options as we discuss the possibilities with the women who come to our shop. That said:
We also know that you cannot always accommodate every single idea or suggestion. Our vote is always for being authentic while not being afraid to try something new.
See you soon!
Oh, Ladies...... in a mere matter of months, it is going to be ON. Big time!
For the 2019 prom season, you're going to need sunglasses because the amazing styles we saw during BT's recent trip to Atlanta for the Prom Market were all about SPARKLE and SHINE.
Sequins! Metallics! Satins!
We saw so many gorgeous takes on this theme and chose for BT those we know our prom clients would wear with pride, blushes and huge smiles. So many colors, fits, styles and options and each one designed to be memorable. It makes us wish that we could go back to prom!
While the 2018-2019 school year is just getting started and you have a million other things to think about, just know that we're going to have you completely covered for the 2019 prom season. Add us on Snapchat for all the prom updates and new arrivals: beyoutiful-prom
Every year, the National Bridal Sales Event is an enormous week for us and for ladies ready to shop for dream gowns. And every year we fall in love with our selections, our jobs and our customers all over again. It never fails.
There is a lot of planning and general fun and hubbub around this week, but it's always so energizing, successful and worth it.
For one week, we book dressing rooms, mark dresses and accessories for cash only sale, line up gowns and goodies that prom goers, brides and their attendants might love, brace ourselves and open our doors..... mostly in that order.
2018 was a success and seeing ladies find what they wanted or maybe didn't expect was so deeply satisfying. Here are some favorite moments taken of BT's happy campers during our big bridal sale week!
Brides-to-be found their gowns for amazing deals this week and girls chose gorgeous prom gowns off the $10 racks. Yep -- TEN BUCKS. If you missed it this year, you'll know to plan for our next sale event.
So why do we love the NBSE? We love it because we love what we do. We love the thrill and the challenge of helping clients get exactly what they needed, even it it's unexpected. We love providing deals when we can and frankly, we just love YOU GUYS.
Hopefully you know that this is not a relationship blog and we don't pretend to know how you chose your mate. We just hope that you have chosen well. Enough said.
This blog is about knowing you've found the right wedding dress.
Everyone is Different.
There's your understatement of the day, but not every bride-to-be understands this concept or embraces it. There is only one you so expecting some universal bridal experience is not a good way to spend your limited planning time and energy. You should remember that you're celebrating YOUR DAY, YOUR LOVE STORY and how incredibly beautiful and unique it is.
So in that spirit, here are some myths that need debunking and some sage advice from our experts.
Myth #1: You know you've found your gown when you cry.
Um, no. This is not in some Bridal Book of Rules (on sale for $35 on Amazon...... kidding).
If you're an emotional person, sure - you might burst into tears. It's a big deal to start trying on gowns to find perhaps THE ONE you'll get married in. But sometimes the waterworks begin with the first dress you try on because you're seeing yourself as a bride for the first time. THAT is emotional. We notice at BT that sometimes this happens, but then a bride tries the next dress and the next and the next and the practical, logical part of their brain starts firing. It's important to remember that some will choose based on emotion and others based on practicals, but don't let tears be your guide.
Bottom line: The lack of tears or abundance of them doesn't mean the one you've found THE ONE.
Myth #2: there HAS to be a BECAUSE.
In other words, "this has to be my dress, because it's a fall wedding and will be cold and I need long sleeves." Or "this is the one, because my mom said she liked me in lace." Or, "I have to choose this one, because I did a bunch of research and it ticks 8 out of my 10 musts on my list." Maybe you can add a wrap to a strapless dress for your fall wedding. Maybe you'll try on a dress that doesn't have lace that both you and your mom love. Maybe you'll throw methodical out the window when you try on something we suggest for you to shake things up!!
Don't trap yourself in "BECAUSE!" Some brides find the one based on a specific reason, but if you corner yourself "because" you may miss out on a dress you never dreamed of.
Myth #3: the dress you've marked online, saved pictures of, carried around and shown to anyone who will listen, dreamed of yourself in and seen others looking amazing in IS YOUR DRESS.
Baby Girl: come sit next to Aunt Kelly and let me tell you that NO ONE will be more excited than I will be if that is true. I mean it. I'm the voice of reason, but I'm your cheerleader too. And sometimes this happens. You find it, fall in love, try it on and we're off to the chapel.
But I don't want your dreams shattered if it's not the case and we see it all the time. For whatever reason - the fit, the proportions, the fabric, the wedding theme, venue, whatever - it simply doesn't work. Deep down brides know it when this happens and at BT we know it too. We know body shapes, designer's specific cuts and just because it looks good on a number of models does not mean it is going to make you look and feel like the bride you want to be on your big day.
The team at BT can be your accountability partners as well as your cheerleaders and we promise to help you see alternatives when this happens. You need to give yourself permission to change your mind and we'll be right there by your side.
Myth #4: the dress will look on me the way it looks online, on models and in photos.
A dress on 10 different women will look 10 different ways. Trust us. We've seen this happen so many times and when you try it on and don't hear "The Love Theme" from Romeo and Juliet you may get disillusioned. Is this lovely girl in the photo below you? Then don't expect that gown to look like that on you. Again: give yourself not only room, but PERMISSION to be happily, joyfully surprised by another option, another style and the one that will become YOUR dress. If may not be what you thought, but you'll know. Nothing is more thrilling than when this happens.
Myth #5: the Bridal moments on TV are the way my experience will and SHOULD be.
As discussed in myth #1, you don't have to cry.
You don't have to argue with a family member.
You don't have to bring 6 frenemies.
You don't have to see a retractable roof on the boutique open up to allow doves to swoop down from the heavens and land on your shoulders like Snow White.
There probably isn't going to be an angel choir that suddenly appears to serenade you as you hug every person in the boutique who ever said something nice to you.
Sorry for the digression, but you get it. You know in your gut what will work for you. The TV version is a blast to watch, but it's rarely, if EVER, reenacted in wedding shops around the country.
Myth #6: You have to try on every gown in every shop within a 1000 mile radius before you'll know that yours is The Best One for You.
Ladies: this breaks our hearts more than anything, because it's just a big lie you're telling yourselves. There is a point where you've tried on too many dresses, and you've lost the joy of finding your gown because your brain is muddled with details.
Don't suck the life and joy out of what is supposed to be a joyous celebration. Being exhaustive is important in some arenas of life. Do your homework when choosing a school for your kids. Read Consumer Reports when making an enormous and expensive tech purchase, but when you find yourself running through gown after gown and forget that it's about a joyful milestone, and you end up just choosing something, then you've overdone it. We HATE seeing this happen.
Experts Note: Brides these days try on between 5 - 8 gowns and, on the high side 8 - 10 gowns before they know what will work and find the one. More than 10 dresses and most brides become frustrated and the magic is gone, baby, gone.
Rules to Remember
Everyone is different. You be you!!
And now! A Little Note of Encouragement from Our Sponsor - Kelly, owner of Bridal Traditions....
Bridal Traditions just finished hosting our year's biggest week - The National Bridal Sales Event [July 21 - 28] and it was as wonderful, busy, hectic and exhilarating as it always is. More about that in another blog where I'll share details. But it got me thinking about the excitement of planning your wedding or prom, of being a bride .... the excitement of buying a gown, of being the star on your day and how that too is exhilarating.
It's also busy, hectic and you - the bride or excited prom goer - are not only the center of the day - you are the one around whom a WHOLE LOTTA STRESS flows.
I'm here to tell you that it doesn't have to be that way and YOU can control the process and the outcome by taking a breath and remembering what the day is about: celebrating.
Perfection is unattainable. I won't repeat that, but I will pause here so that you can read it again.
We bring a lot of stress on ourselves hoping to attain it. Your prom is a rite of passage. It's supposed to be fun. It's supposed to be about you celebrating that you're growing up and making memories with your friends before you move on after high school. Why would you want to disrupt all that joy and fun with unnecessary stress? Be you! Buy for you! Plan for you and those pals you love and go have an evening that is nothing short of a blast. That is, by the way, the whole point.
The same is true for brides. Ladies, your wedding day is one of the single most exciting days of your life, but it may not be the biggest. Are you with me? There may be kids, travel, adventures you never dreamed of and you should start that life with your partner having The Best Time!
It's an important day, but that's because it's a celebration, so the planning and execution shouldn't swallow you up with anxiety. Don't ruin your wedding day by over-processing and worrying about the show/event. It’s the beginning of your life. Don’t start it with stress. You and your partner need to come away with good memories.
I see it all the time when we're helping girls and brides-to-be at BT find a gown and discussing details. In fact I see it enough that I'm dedicating this blog to speaking up. My pledge is that if I and my staff can do our part in reminding you that stress shouldn't be an equation in these life events, we'll do everything in our power to do so. We'll do everything we can to keep it fun and light and about the memories you're going to make. I promise.
These events are celebrations.
Remember that when you find yourself in a joy-killing, soul-sucking moment over something that will be forgotten long after the day is over.
Bridal Traditions is not a men's formal wear shop that warehouses rack upon rack of styles, sizes and colors on site. BUT, we do cater to grooms and prom going guys and we take an enormous amount of pride in what we offer and our service record.
Renting Your Tux from the Best
Since 2005, BT has been an Authorized, Elite dealer with Jim's Formal Wear - one of the leading and largest tuxedo purveyors in the U.S. These guys are the best and they have high standards. Jim's, or JFW, only works with independent retailers who become authorized dealers. We have a great records with them based on the high volume of rentals that flow through our boutique and because there are fewer than 8% returns or "make goods" due to errors. We too try to do our best by every client and JFW has noticed.
A Bit About Tux Rentals
Most guys choose to rent their tux no matter the occasion. For this, here's the breakdown, if you want to be prepared, gentlemen!
When men come in, we show them the JFW catalogs - in store and online if necessary - so that we can get a sense of what they're looking for. We also have some displays so that they can see, touch and get a feel for the options.
We do sizing based on taking their measurements and we discuss the details around the event, most especially what their date is wearing or the bride's attire and naturally the date, time, season and other pertinent info that will allow us to help.
Tuxedos should be ordered around 6-8 weeks before the date and usually arrive 2-3 days before the event date. This allows customers time to try on, check for fit and move on to other things on their list.
It is possible to have something delivered overnight if you've really lost track of your calendar or waited until the last minute. That requires a bit of scurrying but nothing we haven't dealt with before and we're happy to save the day!
Buying Your Suit or Tux
We do have an option to buy. There is a trend that grooms want to buy the tux they wear to their wedding to use for other occasions and we are happy to oblige.
For all the nitty-gritty, come to our boutique and check out all of your options online here.
We look forward to serving you!
On the day you buy it...... on the day you wear it.…. it's the best thing that ever happened to you in the form of a garment.
Your wedding gown.
At some point though, you may want to make room for something else in your life and your wedding dress - or prom dress - has lost that aura of "oh wow!!" and it is in the way. This is not a Dr. Phil moment about why you no longer need this item. Most women sell their gowns because they are superfluous. So consider this your Scout Handbook. This is a quick and dirty about the practicals around selling something of value that you no longer need.
BT is not a consignment shop, so we won't buy your dress, BUT we do have some sage advice and experienced observations.
Store owner, Kelly has been in the bridal industry since 2000, when at the ripe old age of 20 she opened her first little store front on a wing and a prayer. She is a certified wedding planner (no, she does not plan weddings), and everything she knows about bridal and formal wear has come from, gut instinct, trial and error, and watching LOTS of What Not to Wear.