99% of dresses that you see in bridal magazines or online are not true white. We know, we know, it sounds like someone's advertising agenda or maybe a tricky use of photoshop. The truth is that "pure white" or "high white" wedding gowns are not as popular, and there are some legitimate reasons for this. You may think the bride is wearing white, but chances are, she's in ivory.
Bright white gowns represented purity for centuries, but that mandate has all but gone out of style for good. Believe it or not, true white wedding gowns are simply TOO BRIGHT, especially with outdoor weddings. Pure white gowns actually have a blinding effect on the eyes, leaving guests and photographers squinting to view. We expect the groom to be blinded by his wife-to-be's beauty, not her gown.
Wedding photographers have told me that in photos, the bright white dresses do not photograph as well. They "blow out" in images and all of the garment's details are lost. With ivory, or a softer hued cream, you can see shadows in the folds of the fabric, small embellishments and all those lacey, beaded and special details that the bride chose specifically. Bright white lace can look blue next to other fabrics. Basically, bright white doesn't represent as well as well as some other options. As lace became more popular in gowns, choosing ivory made more sense in terms of matching and rendered well in photographs.
Ivory & Cream
The demand we've seen from brides who come to Bridal Traditions is actually for ivory, and there are many variances of ivory from super light almost white, to deeper and creamier warm champagnes and even the palest hint of pink. These are a gorgeous and truly inspired option.
Mocha & Latte
You hear the name, picture a coffee drink and think "Mother of the Bride" maybe. The fact is, these colors often act as the underlayer for lace gowns or as an elegant option for brides who want to mix it up. Don't forget that skin tone plays its part, so these gowns offer a sense of the nude sheath underneath the decorative elements of the gown itself.
None of the dresses in this blog are pure white and yet each in the selection is completely elegant, memorable, gorgeous, and entirely bridal.
The bridesmaids all in a row help anchor the bride - not just with love, support and encouragement, but in alllllll of those photos you're going to get before and during the wedding. While the bride may be the star, an elegant line of similarly dressed maids completes the picture.
Some of the tried and true jewel and middling color wheel tones are still favorites. If you can name your palette, we can probably find the collection for your girls. Love a color and want to mix and match the styles? Totally doable with some of these new collections.
Styles & Features
Most of the creativity with bridesmaids gowns happens at the neckline and there are options for all body types. With spring and summer weddings on the horizon, these gowns are sleeveless, but provide interesting bodice details, deep necklines, a variety of strap styles, structure and either detailed open backs or plenty of coverage if you're going traditional and modest.
And yes, ladies, pockets are still popular as are lovely front and side slits,
Fabrics, colors and features... all of these gowns will make bridesmaids feel as special as the bride and they look beautiful on. Come see us at Bridal Traditions as you plan for your girls!
These two darlings above - Whitney and Logan - were married in September of 2020 at Williams Farm. They met in high school, but Whitney fell in love long before graduation. She told us that she watched him laughing at a party and knew he was the one. Sometimes that is all it takes. 5 years later, they said "I Do."
The Wedding Day
Whitney chose Williams Farm for the roaming horses, acres of beauty and rustic charm. She loved the location and especially working with Williams Farm's Sandra and Amanda, who helped her plan the entire year prior. The views were gorgeous for this outdoor wedding and for photos and wandering guests.
Whitney also worked with Dom's Bakery, Shew Ridge Photography and Brookside Flowers and praised each vendor's efforts to make the day perfect.
Whitney wanted a gown that was off white and would work with a September wedding when the temps are still warm, but not hot. She ended up with a different style than she anticipated and was thrilled. She asked the bridesmaids who came to BT with her to each choose a gown (a fun idea by the way if you have trusty band of bridesmaids with good taste) and she would try them all on. It was BT's Owner Kelly who ultimately chose a gown, passed it to Whitney and described it as "royal." She told us that royal was exactly how she said she felt when she put it on. Of course, it WAS the one.
She told us that she loved the lace and the sleeves, but that it was the veil that she drooled over. Whitney selected a cathedral length with lace that matched her gown and she'd never seen anything so long or so elegant.
"BT has always been close to me. I’ve been to Kelly many times throughout the years for prom and it was always a good experience. So of course I chose them when it came to my wedding! We got all of the bridesmaids dresses, the Maid of Honor's dress, Mother of the bride dress and all the tuxedos, ties & shoes were bought from BT."
Congratulations Whitney and Logan! Here is to a glorious 2021 and first year of marriage.
What to say? What should we say that doesn't diminish the profound loss, fear, division and upset that was 2020? It's easy to talk about it being a dumpster fire and it was. But it was also a struggle and there were members of our communities, our country and our world who suffered greatly. No humorous meme can overturn those truths.
What we're choosing to do for our last blog of the year, though is just to celebrate what we can celebrate with confidence and joy, ...and that has everything to do with you guys.
So below is a slideshow of some high points and bits from the year that was...
We cannot thank you all enough for letting us be a part of your year, your prom, your dress shopping experience, your gown purchase, your wedding day, photo shoot or whatever part we played. We look forward to seeing more of you in 2021. Have a safe New Year's Eve and a restful New Year's Day. We love you!
- the BT Family
Kayla Mounce and Jacob McCoy were married on November 7th of this year at Charity Hill Baptist Church, followed by a reception at Little Elkin Church Fellowship Hall. Even for a traditional autumn ceremony in a church, the weather was 60 degrees and allowed for fun photographs outside. Jacob, a police officer, and his groomsmen, were photographed with their guns and Kayla and her bridesmaids posed outside of the church.
The Wedding Day
Kayla shared that one of the sweetest moments from the ceremony was her flower girl (age 3) walking down the aisle and realizing that she hadn't scattered any petals. There were tears, but more cute than sad. Kayla said that she loved walking toward Jacob during the processional, knowing they were about to be husband and wife. She had a first look with her father that was touching and she and Jacob shared letters they had written each other before the ceremony as well.
Kayla is a Natural Resource Conservationist at Wilkes Soil and is always up for a hike and eager to be in natural settings, so images of her in her gown, with Jacob for their engagement portraits and pre-wedding images are particularly glorious.
When it came to choosing her dress, Kayla didn't really have a plan or a lot of time in case there were alterations, but she did tell us that we were her first choice and we're so glad she made an appointment to visit.
"I honestly didn't have a clue what I wanted, and thought maybe something with sleeves and lace. Once at Bridal Traditions I decided to try on different styles just to see. Kelly was great at helping show me some dresses she thought I would like. She was very kind and patient.
The dress I ended up with ... I just loved it! It was simple, elegant, and comfortable. My mother-in-law said when I walked out that I looked like the perfect little bride on top of the wedding cake. I loved the sleeves on my gown, and that I could wear them off my shoulder for pictures or up on my shoulder for dancing, etc. Shopping at BT was easy and it was a fun afternoon."
Congratulations to this sweet couple, and thanks so much for letting Bridal Traditions be a part of your big day!
Megan Green and Garrett Grogan were married in late September of this year at Big R Orchards Wedding and Event Venue. Beautiful couple, beautiful day and beautiful wedding party.
Ladies, there is more than one way to meet your partner in life, but starting as friends has so often led to success that we feel obliged to point it out again. Megan and Garrett were introduced by mutual friends and then they became best friends. Only later after they knew each other did they fall in love and realize that they wanted to make a life together.
The Wedding Day
There was a call for rain, but during a year when the pandemic stole every headline and proverbially rained on nearly everything else, these two managed to coax the sun out. They were able to assemble a small group of people (many of whom they hadn't seen all year) to celebrate with them. The bride and her bridesmaids prayed together and then the couple said their vows near the water in what turned out to be a bucolic and lovely ceremony.
Megan wanted a corseted back, but not a ballgown or anything too big or with pockets. She'd seen dresses in magazines with those shapes and features and thought about it, but after trying on a few, knew it was a big NO. She did not stick with her original ideas at all in fact. Megan chose lace and an A-line skirt.
"I felt amazing in it and everyone loved it. It made me feel great about myself and I just knew that I wouldn't find something I loved more than that dress. I knew if I didn't pick that particular one, I would later regret it!"
Megan bought her gown from BT during our Small Business Saturday Sale in 2019 for a fraction of the price and told us how thrilled she was to get it that day.
"You guys are all so kind and ready to help. Being in the 'plus size' category, ya'll still made me feel great about myself, helping me pick out the veil and belt for the dress. The range of dresses available for plus size brides to try on was great!"
Megan wanted us to mention several of her vendors who hleped make the day possible.
Branson Customs (@bransoncustoms) did a lot of wood work for different decorations including the guest book and cake topper in particular.
Kathy Bell Peters took the couple on at the last second as clients and worked miracles.
HeatherMae Photography (@HMaePhotography) was an absolute dream to work with and made Megan feel beautiful during the whole process.
Rustic Flair Rentals created the cross that anchored their wedding vows.
Congratulations Megan and Garrett! We hope your first year of marriage stays sunny, healthy and happy.
We love them, our bridesmaids and the brides we serve at BT love them too. In fact, brides choose them for just that reason - they are our friends, our sisters, co-workers, and peers.
There were times when we only asked for two people to stand up for us at our weddings. Then we went through an era of needing a dozen girls. Now, we choose our favorite people (unless strong armed to include every cousin). These ladies should be clothed in splendor and never has there been a better time to be a bridesmaid.
Bridal Traditions sends brides and bridesmaids here to get started and then to come see us. We buy collections from Kanali K, so you can check them out too.
The styles for bridesmaids these days are more gorgeous, more varied and more interesting than they have ever been in the history of weddings and the rules are more loose too. Brides are keen to let their best girls wear what suits each one's particular body shape while still keeping with a color palette or theme. All hail the plurality of the new world. Let's all celebrate not being cookie cutters of each other.
The colors get better every year too. What used to be pastel only has opened up to a range of jewel tones, earth tones and colors with names that sing: fern, cobalt, garnet, lilac.
We are encouraging BT brides who are going to marry in the spring or summer of 2021 to work with their bridesmaids and order bridesmaids' dresses NO LATER than December 19th, our last day of operation at BT. We will be closed from December 20th until the New Year and will reopen on Saturday, January 2nd. Orders can back up in the first months of the year, so getting your orders in is a smart move. It allows you time for alterations and breathing room is something everyone needs when you have other logistical items in your life.
Don't forget that we're always here to help!
Ready to hear what is new in bridal for 2021? What is staying and shifting? While trends don't have hard and fast stop and start dates, they do evolve, so here is a preview of what is on the horizon that is new and what is here to stay a bit longer.
Black gowns are here to stay, if only in the present and for the coming year. Black gowns and black accents add a twist on elegance for brides who want something unique. Don't knock it. It is indeed on trend and we've had lots of looks at these gowns in our boutique.
Boho isn't going anywhere either, and we certainly understand the love of this trend. It's even bleeding into other trends. One of these newer trends is called Cottage Core. It is a romantic and fanciful look that, according to the experts, lands you somewhere between grandma chic and fairytale. From what we've seen, it is dramatic and theatrical in a way that other gowns seek to be understated and architectural. The Cottage Core look includes lots of lace, off the shoulder necklines and sleeves that flow, layers of fabric in the skirt, and a hint of a Harlequin Romance novel.
In 2021, we are also going to see short gowns, more ruffles, and Illusions lace in the bodice. Lace, dear readers, is still the queen because brides love it and it looks so beautiful on most everyone. We'll also see more floaty gowns with softer contours, full A-line skirts versus ballroom and mermaid skirts. And don't forget deep-V necklines. Those are here for at least another year.
Believe it or not, capes are an addition to gowns and they are remarkably cool. There are also little add on boleros and other extras that you can add and then remove for the reception.
Very little Traditional White
What was once only a "white only" proposition has now gone the way of the marketing firm and new names. This will continue in 2021. Brides are rarely choosing gowns in "white." Beige or cream is now considered the standard white, and there is still the desire for champagne, nude, buff and other skin tone related colors for the gown or for underneath the lace of a gown.
Bridesmaid's Colors & Textures
Bridesmaids continue to be big winners in the Options Department with colors of an amazing variety. The usual blushes, blues, roses are still in play, but you'll see more wine, navy, dusty blue, rust, fern, ivy, forest, mustard, eggplant, and olive. Bridesmaids are still choosing styles in a color so that personalities and body types can be accommodated and photos more interesting. Whether in crepe, chiffon or satin, a mix of these colors is available for brides and their bridesmaids. The mix and match trend is strong.
At BT, we know our brides pretty well and provide the array needed for the curious and trendy, the traditional and the "out there." If you dream it, we will try to find it. In the meantime, our encouragement and advice is steadfast: find a gown that makes you feel beautiful, fits you comfortably and showcases you as The Bride you want to be.
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.