Think classic, clean, elegance and you have the Mia gown. Off the shoulder and yet covered with lace sleeves, this gown says polished in every way. The smooth full skirt and covered buttons down the back are absolute perfection.
Can we tell you about the "WOWS" we heard when steaming and hanging this gown in the shop! The woman who chooses the Lilliana gown won't need to be overly confident, because this dress does all of the talking. The flowing, tiered, floral skirt is a stunner and the chic, minimalist white bodice with a deep V come together to make the coolest gown for any bride. This is for the bride who wants the hush as she walks down the aisle to turn to gasps of praise. Add a veil and a smile and you'll long live in everyone's memory.
Like the Lilliana just above, this gown is a showstopper, and not for the obvious reasons. No, it is not white, cream, blush, or the latest trend - black. Did you lovely readers know that until Queen Victoria, wedding gowns were any fancy gown of choice? This meant colors, patterns, and textures of all sorts. It was only when the diminutive young Queen decided to wear all white and use the lace of London (they needed the work) that brides everywhere began to follow suit... or gown as it were.
Now, back to this gown. The folds in the bodice, the draping shortish sleeves, and the matching front and back of this gown make it not only unique, but incredibly pretty, feminine and right for all shapes and heights. The full skirt brings its own train of sorts, so the walk down the aisle will have drama.
Finally, from Cailyn Lea is the Raya gown and if you love lace, you may want to start with this one. It is head to toe lace, overlaying a nude sheath. The front has a swooping open bodice and the sleeves are incredible. They land just at the elbow, a detail that looks wonderful on every bride. The back showcases a deep V, a long line of buttons and the fitted skirt leads to a pool of lace. The Raya is a knock-out of a gown.
Book a fitting room at Bridal Traditions to see these designs and more from designer Cailyn Lea Couture!
New Bride - Victoria Jennings
We welcome the new year with a selection of shots from new bride - Victoria Jennings. While the details from her big day are private, we LOVED getting images of her in her gown from Bridal Traditions. Let's hope that this year is as fresh and lovely as this bride.
The Best Of 2022 at Bridal Traditions
We've completed another year and 2022 was a bright one. As a boutique, we served and sold well, but we also were teachers and neighbors, celebrators and sales pros. Cheers to 2023 as we share some favorite bits from 2022, in tips, tricks and profiles.
A bRidal Guide + One for the Groom
We started the year with a bridal guide review and suggestions about what to do and what to avoid. This is worth a look if you missed it before.
We also produced a Guide for Grooms, and it is helpful and comprehensive.
We also provided as much wise counsel as we could about gowns and setting expectations, and there was plenty for the guys as well.
Spring & Summer Wedding prep + a Styled shoot
This past year, we prepped for spring and summer weddings and we provided inspiration for those getting married or thinking about the seasons ahead.
We love doing these bride features or mini-profiles so much. It gives us a chance to celebrate with the brides, see them in their gowns on the big day, and show them off to the community!
Goodbyes, Hellos & Recollections at BT
This year, we said goodbye to our beloved Stacie, as she took off to pursue new ventures. She is a neice, a hard worker, a friend, a dose of comic relief and we miss her every day! But man, are we proud of her!
And we celebrated our story, reintroducing ourselves to those who know us and those who may not.
If you haven't been a follower of our blog, we hope that you'll become one next year! It's not just where we give advice and celebrate our brides, it is of course where we showcase our selection of gowns, suits, accessories and prom wear. Happy New Year to you all!
Stop Second Guessing! Some pro Tips
One of services at Bridal Traditions is counsel. And honestly, it is our best, seriously. We sell gowns, dresses, suits and accessories, but our greatest gift may well be the gift of wisdom and reason. We can give you sound advice with candor and love and that is what this blog is about. We're going to lay down some truth about the second-guessing that brides sometimes do AFTER they've said yes to a dress. In short - DON'T DO IT. It causes more headaches, heartaches and needless worry than clarity.
Stop Looking at Dresses Once you've said yes.
Once you have found your gown, it's time to move on to other aspects of planning the wedding. If you continue to look at dresses, you're going to drive yourself nuts. Stop the shopping process.
You're complete. When you hear The Love Theme, it's time to think about flowers, catering, your band, your cake, the guest reservations and gifts for your attendants, and your other vendors for the big day.
Do not dissect pictures of your gown.
And especially, do not scrutinize pictures of you in your dress. At BT, we allow you to take images of you trying on your gown for reference, and after a "YES" and purchase, we've found that brides want to zoom in and spend too much time dissecting themselves from every angle based on simple photos. We want you to think about how many selfies you take before you find "the one" to post on social media. It's the same with your wedding gown. You've tried on a bunch of dresses, and now have the one you want. Stop picking apart your decision by worrying about details from a bad camera angle.
refrain from trying it on at home.
Once you have your dress, do NOT put it on every 5 seconds. For starters, you can damage it. No one thinks they will, but a spill, a pull on the fabric or lace, random dirt - and now you've got a "used" gown. Secondly, trying it on again and again will make it begin to feel old. And finally, it will lose its magic. You bought this gown for a very important moment in life - once in a lifetime - so make sure it feels like ONCE in a lifetime, not like a favorite pair of jeans.
Stop listening to what others say.
Even when they are people we love, we all have naysayers in our lives. Grandma Suzie may hope to convince you that your dress doesn't go with the setting... or the season .... or your theme. The fact is, if you love it, you will feel beautiful and look beautiful. BT Owner Kelly Shumate likes to say that any dress is right for any venue or season, if the bride who has chosen it knows that it is right for her. Grandma Suzie is wonderful, but opinions are just that. Don't be swayed by those with something random to say. Hug them, and know that you've chosen well.
Believe in your instincts
And by believe in your instincts, we mean: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. Trust yourself. The same way that you knew that your spouse was the one, you know the same about your gown. Trust that. At Bridal Traditions, we want each bride to feel seen and heard. Give yourself that same gift of respect, and once you've chosen THE ONE, get excited about all the other details of your day. You'll wear your dress with more pride if you've chosen it with faith in yourself.
Wedding Trends for 2023
Trends or New traditions?
Traditions hold fast in certain sectors of our life, and that is certainly true in the wedding world. We love being a part of the traditions of our ancestors; we seek a union with the person we hope to spend the rest of our lives with, and on same level we want to join the family of "married folks." But we are also eager to shed those aspects and dried up conventions that no longer suit us, and embrace new traditions. Do we call these trends or new traditions? You decide! Here's what you can expect to see more of at 2023 weddings.
Creative Photo Booths
Masks are great; theatre curtains are fun; a themed back-drop can pull people into your vibe, but everyone loves a photo booth and they will be popular probably forever. In 2023, couples may consider setting up a fun and beautiful space where your guests can celebrate you with funny signs, gather in friend clusters, or even just capture a lovely shot of themselves that will always remind them of your day. People love a selfie in front of a mural on vacation. Give them that chance at your party.
... whenever possible. Be it during the wedding, a cocktail hour before the reception, a gathering before the ceremony even where people get to know each other, or the reception itself, get your guests outside, and set up ways and places for people to gather. Often decor presents itself during the season, but with chairs, tables, lanterns and music, OUTSIDE is the place to be.
We buy packages when we travel for personal or professional reasons, and now wedding venues have jumped on board and are doing more than just the catering and event set up. Couples who want something gorgeous but tidy and inclusive are choosing to go with wedding packages that provide the "soup to nuts" experience for themselves and guests.
Grazing Tables for Guests
We've all done the sit down dinner or brunch, and the ongoing buffet with every type of vegan option, pasta option and animal protein option. People tend to love all of it because they came to celebrate you, party and eat. In a more casual vein, grazing tables with charcuterie and "build your own" food opportunities are going to be hip in 2023. Don't overlook this as an idea when planning your reception. You can feed the guests who need sustenance and have traveled 1000 miles, as well as those who need fuel to keep dancing the night away.
Remembering Those not Present
This trend became more of a staple a decade or so ago, and it is not going anywhere. We at Bridal Traditions love it too. Whether they are serving out of country or have passed away, including those dearly departed is a sweet and meaningful addition to any 2023 wedding.
Weddings in North and South Carolina have no shortage of these. Create your ceremony or reception, if not both, around a lovely vista or landscape. A backdrop in an urban or natural setting grounds the moment and, of course, makes for incredible photography.
Whatever your theme, consider incorporating some of these new or trusted trends in your 2023 ceremony!
Wedding trends 2023 - Menswear
Guys, we know that you think there's very little room for you to show who you are at your wedding beyond colorful socks (which are fun by the way), because there is a theme or a palette or a plan in place, and the bride is almost always breathtaking. But you do have options and your new wife will appreciate that you've thought through what YOU will wear before and on the big day.
For 2023, here are some trends to consider.
Some grooms are going to skip the heavy suit or tux, the monochromatic traditional wear for something well-put-together, lighter and more simple. Many of our grooms in Wilkes County want to wear jeans or boots, or a blue suit instead of a tux. Do it. You can still pair these with a great jacket and tie.
More Hipster, Yep on your Wedding Day
Don't walk away from the suspenders, pocket squares, cuffed pants, and even rolled sleeved looks that grooms have been enjoying since the twenty-tens. These looks are still cool and totally stylish. They are also less formal.
TAn, Camel and natural tones
Tan isn't just for linen suits and summer. There are winter weights, gorgeous fabrics and smart cuts for athletic physiques, and again these work for more casual wedding days. Don't over look colors, guys.
And speaking of colors for Wedding Suits
Blue - and of course navy, taupe or grey - are all perfect options for grooms and groomsmen in 2023. If the black suit or tux is a non-starter for you, think color and think patterns too. Accessories are a way to shake a suit to life.
Don't forget accessories & Ties
Vests in patterns or complementary colors or textures, bow ties, patterned ties and the aforementioned socks, dress up a man's entire ensemble. Don't be bashful about cuff links, pocket watches, suspenders, and other elements that will show that you thought about your look for the day too.
Oversized, fitted and athletic cuts
Bridal Traditions carries more than just tuxes to rent. We sell suits in styles and cuts that are more flattering to all body shapes and styles. Shorter trousers, tapered legs, jackets that fit the body, are all available if you come prepared and know what you want. Come see us and we can see which styles, colors and cut work well for you.
It's YOUR wedding day, too! We know that the bride may have been considered the star in centuries past (and who are we kidding, she still is for the most part), but you should look amazing too. 2023 is going to be a great year for grooms as well. Do your research, think about your day and plan, and come to Bridal Traditions. We've got you guys!
Featured Bride: Julia Wycoff
The Wedding Setting
Broken Arrow Farm in Claremont, NC hosted the August wedding of Julia Wycoff and Garrett Coble. It's a lovely spot and for their late summer affair, they had a perfect landscape and gorgeous weather. Big vibrant trees, a barn with a low-country porch, and an enormous tent for the ceremony set the stage. Photographer Courtney Cooke captured incredible photos of this occasion.
Julia and Garrett are both in the textile business - with Julia working in her family's fabric business and Garrett working as part of an upholstery and sewing business. The ceremony took place under the tent and the reception in the barn. The pair incorporated sewing machines as part of decor at the reception, which was not only appropriate, but very cool.
This couple has known each other nearly all of their lives, through family and church and once they realized they were a pair, it was a done deal. They are about faith and each other, their hobbies and building a life together.
"I didn’t have anything specific in mind, but was looking for something that was flattering. I loved the look of a flowy A-line or a fitted dress, and I love lace and a little bit of sparkle. When I discovered Bridal Traditions on Facebook, I saw several dresses that looked perfect for me so I booked an appointment asap! After trying on a few dresses I knew I found the one."
"I loved the train and the appliqued lace detailing was so beautiful! I also love that my dress is both fitted and flowy. It truly was a blend of everything I wanted."
Julia's attire was form fitting underneath and flowing on top with lace - the best of both worlds for her. Once she added the veil and understated jewelry, the look was complete.
Bridal Traditions was thrilled to be able to outfit this bride and to share the wedding images where she looks so incredible. Congratulations to this sweet couple!
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.