Hannah and Austin married in September of 2018, almost exactly 4 years after meeting at a friend's Labor Day celebration. They drove back and forth to each other (living 2 towns apart) before Austin asked her to be his girlfriend and later his wife. They are now settled in Virginia.
The ceremony was held outside at the River Retreat in Saltville, Virginia and Hannah shared that the river and barn setting - despite the heat - were a perfect spot for saying their I Dos in front of the closest friends and family. Her father even provided a last minute "something old" in the form of a penny from 1945 and she plans to treasure it forever.
Hannah is like many brides we see enter our shop: she may have a vague sense of what she does and does not want, but hasn't ripped out a single page and carried it around for months.
"Being from a small area with only a handful of wedding dress shops we decided to venture out a little and ended up in North Wilkesboro NC at Bridal Traditions! I am such an indecisive person and have a hard time making up my mind. I went once and tried on some dresses, and one dress ended up staying in the back of my mind. Luckily Kelly was getting a shipment of new dresses in a couple weeks. So we waited and went back. I tried on the dress I had in the back of my mind and then another one that just had come in. I ended up falling in love with the newer of the two. It was just exactly what I was dreaming of, but not necessarily what I had originally thought of in the beginning."
And that's how it happens, ladies. Have a sense of what you think you'd like and keep an open mind. I always say that you don't need to try on more than 10, but you do have to be open to the possibilities out there.
"Everyone was so helpful in helping me find the perfect dress. Because we had to travel a bit, my mom and cousin were the only ones able to come with me, but the staff at BT made up for my friends/ family who couldn’t make it! I’m so thankful that BT had a big part in my wedding day."
[side note: When Hannah's dress arrived we needed to add a corset and keyhole to allow it to fit better. Julie with Sew Fitting Alterations made the adjustments and no one could tell that the dress wasn’t originally designed that way.]
Congratulations to Hannah and Austin on their beautiful day and the best of luck for many happy years of marriage.
So prom is sort of the evening of escaping school, .... except that you do it with the very people you sit with in class. It's an event within the context of school, so at the risk of making this a history lesson, let's have a quick look at the origin, and dare we say, HISTORY of prom.
The word prom comes from "promenade" and the students at Concord High School up north are doing just that (see below): parading passed family, friends, teachers and neighbors. It's a big deal every year to this day, but prom is actually older than sliced bread (seriously) and started with Ivy League schools in the Northeast of the US during the mid to late 1800s.
"The prom can be traced back to the simple co-ed banquets that 19th century American universities held for each year's graduating class. A growing teenage culture pushed proms younger, and by the 1940s the adolescent dance we know today had almost entirely taken hold.
In the 1950s, a thriving postwar economy allowed high schools to eschew the traditional gymnasium in favor of proms held in hotels or at country clubs. President Kennedy rescheduled a 1963 $1,000-a-plate fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton to accommodate a local school whose prom had been booked for the same time.
In 1975, President Ford's daughter Susan held her high school's senior prom at possibly the best prom location ever: the White House."
Prom is for everyone and perhaps the reason for this is a middle class response to the debutante balls that were thrown for people of means. Everyone wants to get dressed up, dance and celebrate - be the end of a school year, a coming of age or being together when you're young and have energy. Regardless, proms continue to be an annual event. That, at least, is consistent.
What is not consistent are the style. As we've been sharing the gowns for 2019, it's also fun to check out how far we've come in the last 70 years. At BT, we'd be interested to hear what YOU think of these styles.
The 1930s meant your best suit and your prettiest dress. Add a corsage and a ribbon belt and off you go. Girls tended to wear white to mimic the debutant style of Coming Out into polite society. This is how girls met future husbands.
In the 1940s, the dresses were still long and demure, but they started showing off a girl's figure with pulled in waists and fitted bodices.
Hellllooooooo Hoop Skirts. These skirt enhancers allowed young teens to go from the girl in the third row to Scarlett O'Hara for an evening.
The '60s were about big hair and tan skin. The dresses were full, Jockie Kennedy inspired and in the Easter colors that made a spring break tan shine.
It's hard to know how to describe the prom wear of the 1970s and even if we did know what to say, you wouldn't be able to hear it over those outfits.
Everything was BIG in the 80s. The hair was big and sprayed within an inch of its life, it was teased or more likely permed (maybe both), and there was plenty of fabric below the waist, poofy sleeves or strapless tops and all to showcase tan skin.
While the prom dresses of 1990s still showed off some of the loud, big oomph of the '80s gowns, this decade was the very first inkling of making prom gowns less like the proms of the past and more like fashion that was "grown up."
Finally, today. We are sneaking up on 20 years into the 21st century and gowns are more decorative, more elaborate, more sophisticated than ever. They are still fun. This we know from the ones that come in daily to our shop.
We hope you'll come have a look at our amazing selection as the spring sneaks up on all of us and prom history is made again.
... and our prom going ladies are going to shine too. The word "brilliant" in its true definition comes to mind when describing the styles this year: bright, dazzling, blazing, lustrous, luminescent, radiant, and incandescent. Several months ago, the ladies of BT and some of our pals went to see what was in store for Prom 2019 and there was a definite theme: sparkle and shine. The Prom Market in Atlanta did not disappoint and now the dresses are coming in to BT.
The palette for prom gowns is frankly just about every color that you can think of so we have options for those ladies with an idea in mind. Textures are, thankfully, all over the place too, which means you can choose satin, shine, sparkle, sequins, gauzy and sheer or deep and velvety. Many dresses have a combination of textures, structure and flow. Add a belt to accessorize and you're done.
Necklines? I'm so glad you asked. They are as varied as the sweet girls who come in to BT ready to try something new. Sweetheart, deep V, halter, with Illusion, lace, spaghetti straps, off the shoulder, keyhole, we have them.
And the patterns are AH-mazing too. Florals, laces, washes of color, panels of brocade and little nods to the 4th of July. These are NOT those dresses from way back that were cut from a single bolt of a demure pink fabric that made a girl's corsage do all the work. These dresses are bold, truly interesting, cut in a variety of shapes and sizes, flattering and yell "FUN" when you put them on. They'll make the flower around your wrist sit back and take the night off.
And finally, back to sparkle and shine.... I hope you noticed as you've been reading this blog the overwhelming number of dresses with sequins and sheen, those that give the effect of crystalized sugar, or a fiery shine peeping through lace, or in folds of satin. Sunglasses need to be purchased by any young man escorting a girl in one of these gowns.
Friends: they are leaving our boutique as fast as they are coming in, so we encourage you to plan a time to come in to view our selection, try on some that take your breath away and get ready. Do not wait until the last minute.
See you soon!!
This gorgeous bride barfed on her wedding day.
Yup. How's that for a grabber headline. Don't worry; she's ok. In fact she and her brand new husband, who was with her. both just burst out laughing.
More about that in a moment. The day actually turned out to be pretty perfect.
The Wedding Day
Emma and Tanner were married in October of 2018 at Mt. Pleasant Church in Tanglewood Park and it's a very spare and beautiful chapel for a wedding. We've never seen photos taken there that aren't exceptionally pretty. These two got ready at the bride's parents' home - in separate spaces of course - and during the ceremony complete with fall colors and beloved family and friends, they said their I Dos. We love how her parents turned her bedroom into a bridal suite for her and her bridesmaids.
Emma (a talented hairdresser) and Tanner (who's been in the Navy for 8 years) met through a pal of Emma's who's also in the Navy and once introduced, they became inseparable. We're thrilled that they found each other and that Emma found her dress from us.
"I know that a lot of people when faced with a lot of stress get nauseous but I am one of the few that actually stress vomit. Isn't that fun?! So we have had our photo-op first look and are just sitting together and talking about our days and how we are feeling and the next thing I know Tanner is standing in the doorway of the bathroom while I hold my hair and veil back over the toilet. Once I’m done I expect to look up and see him look all concerned about me but instead we both just laughed and agreed that it was part of the day we would laugh and joke about for the rest of our lives together."
Emma knew that she didn't want anything too heavy and that she didn't want a mermaid style. She chose a thin strapped gown that was the second dress she tried on. She told us that she knew immediately that it was "the one." "When the veil was added it was just the cherry on top!"
"My whole experience with BT was absolutely perfect. It was such a relaxed environment, I loved that everyone was very hands on with helping me pick the perfect dress. The fact that there weren't lots of other brides searching for their dress at the same time as me was great. I loved the one on one experience throughout the whole process, from choosing to fitting it was everything i could have hoped for!"
BT LOVED being a part of your day, Emma and Tanner! Good luck in everything and come visit us soon!
Photos courtesy of: Kristin Deavers Photography
It would be more accurate for us to say: "Dreamers Encouraged" at our Expo on March 10.
There's this beautiful scene in "Pride and Prejudice" (2005, with Keira Knightley) where the key character - Miss Elizabeth Bennett - is stuck between any number of unappealing options with regard to society and marriage. She sits on a rope swing and spins around and then let's herself be swung back in the opposite direction. Maybe you remember doing that from childhood. As she does, what she sees changes slightly and the seasons do too, but not the scenery. It's a reminder that she's caught in that place we all have been: where you do the same activities day after day, season after season and the world goes on spinning with very little recognizable difference to your life. So you day dream..
Sure enough, this little blue marble we live on has continued to spin since the Wedding Expo of 2018 and we are, once again, preparing for vendors and brides-to-be to gather at Wilkes Community College for a day of meeting, celebrating, researching, viewing and excitement. We hope that the brides-to-be coming to the Expo this year will still have some of that "dreaming" and imagination in them as they take in all of vendors and ideas.
Don't worry, though - those of you who are more organized than dreaming at this point. You too can gather information like a boss and check off boxes on your list of to-dos. We'll have vendors ready to answer questions, offer suggestions and learn about your Big Day Plans. This expo attracts some of the most experienced, fun and inventive, local pros in the business - be it food, photography, music or decorations. If you haven't registered yet, click below and consider attending.
Are you in the professional wedding game? We would love to have you join us and meet prospective brides and their entourage of family and best friends. You also can network and do a little bit of exploring, idea generation and dreaming of your own!
The details for the Expo this year:
Sunday, March 10, 2019
at The John A. Walker Center
from 1:00pm until 4:00pm
Admission per Person
(every member attending with the bride pays the same price)
$5.00 when the bride registers online
$8.00 when the bride registers at the door
$10.00 for guests not attending with a bride
John A. Walker Center
at Wilkes Community College
1328 S. Collegiate Drive,
Wilkesboro, NC 28697
So if you're a bride-to-be who is, for now in the dreaming stages for your wedding, JOIN US!
OR! If you are a bride-to-be who has an organized and color-coded 3-ring binder the size of a Lincoln Town Car, JOIN US!
BT's Expo is about weddings, but it will provide you planners and vendors with so much more. The price is small, but the inspiration is priceless. Come do a little dreaming with us this year.
See you there!
If you own a bridal boutique and don't have as much a love of romance as you do for business (and problem solving!) then you may be in the wrong arena. We do love romance, especially when it's a little daffy, a little comic and ends well. The story of bride Laurel and Andrew - married in July of 2018 - fits that bill. Before we get to their wedding and her beautiful gown from BT, we have to tell you a little about their story. Actually, we'll let Laurel do it:
"We met in May 2016. We both worked at Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock operating rides. It was a summer job for us both. One day at the end of the day we were on trash duty together how romantic! - and began talking and realized we had a lot in common. Over the next couple of weeks, we got to know each other better and since Tweetsie was only open to the public on weekends at this point, we had time to talk while we worked. During the week, we would go in and paint rides and fences and arrows on the ground, burn off old numbers and patch up the chairs on the chairlift, etc. We were put together the first day, and then we chose to pair up some of the other days (whenever they let us choose). Soon we began hanging out after work and grabbing dinner together. It was not long before we started dating, and once we did, we fell fast and hard for each other."
We don't know about you guys, but if that isn't a Hollywood "meet cute" then ... I don't think they exist. The couple returned to Tweetsie the following summer and that's when Andrew proposed, getting down on one knee and presenting her with a diamond ring.
Theirs was simple, pretty and sweet. Laurel and Andrew were surrounded by family and friends in their church, said the vows, had a small snafu with the rings (the Best Man nested them and hers bounced out and rolled down the stairs during the vows) and then made it to the reception. Andrew is in a blue grass band "Uncle Joe and the Shady Rest" that played the reception and everyone had fun catching up and celebrating the couple. They went on their honeymoon the next day at Ocean Isle Beach. A perfect summer wedding.
The Wedding Gown - a surprise even to the bride
So Laurel knew that she did not want poofy, did not want a mermaid style, did not want strapless, a long train or too much lace, and her gown needed to be white. The price needed to be between $500 and $1,000.
You never know, sweet ladies out there planning your weddings!
Again, here's Laurel:
"I ended up with a poofy ball gown style that had a relatively long train and a lot of layers. Not what I expected at all! It was ivory, which looks white, so I was fine with that. It was mostly tulle but had a lace overlay. The bodice was flowery and had pearls sewn onto it. I also got a hoop skirt to go under the dress. This shaped the dress and made it look better, and it actually made it easier to walk since it kept the dress out and away from my legs/feet. I think my favorite thing about the dress was that the whole thing was sparkly!"
See! You never know when your choices will shift and you'll "say YES" to a completely different dress.
"Kelly told me to keep an open mind. She said many brides go in with an idea of what they want, and then walk out with something totally different. That is what happened to me. She was also really kind, courteous, and friendly. She did not try to push anything on me. She helped me find dresses to try on that were what I envisioned. She also helped my bridesmaids choose their dresses. And Julie McNeil, who did the alterations, was fantastic to work with, as well! She is incredibly talented, and she made sure she got the alterations exactly the way I wanted/needed. We had multiple fittings to ensure my satisfaction. I also liked that I was able to have my dress cleaned through Bridal Traditions."
Laurel's bridesmaids all purchased their gowns from BT and Laurel also purchased her earrings for the big day from us too. We love watching brides find what they want and facilitating what could be a stressful process and making sure it's memorable and easy. Laurel was prepared, so even though she ended up with a different gown, the process for getting the dress ready and her entire wedding day ended up being a walk in the park.
Congratulations to both Laurel and Andrew!!
The Day - Fall Beauty
For the first BT Bridal Profile of the Year, we'll let the bride speak for herself to get us started:
"Our wedding was outside in a shelter at Stone Mountain. It was a very small, simple wedding with only a few friends and family attending, maybe 50 people. Our theme was very sentimental and also very rustic and every part of our wedding memorialized a passed family member in some way. I took my engagement pictures on my grandma's handmade quilt, my grandfather's watch was in my bouquet, my great uncle's deer horns were incorporated in the wedding, etc. My great uncle played his banjo and we had a gospel singer, and another banjo played the wedding march as I walked down the aisle. The wedding may not have been 100% perfect but it was definitely very family orientated."
The weather and gorgeous setting played their roles, but there were a couple of snafus on this special day. Hannah's wedding band was left behind in the car by the Best Man, so right before the preacher began, her aunt slipped Hannah her own band to use for the ceremony. But that was not all.
Hannah: "Everyone was late for the rehearsal dinner. The preacher couldn’t find the shelter/spot because he doesn’t travel to Stone Mountain often, my car overheated and upon putting water in it I lost the water cap (took us close to 45 minutes of crawling underneath the car to find it) and David was just late, because he’s David and he rode with the best man. Also, my maid of honor rode with me so we were all late."
This bride knew what she wanted and stuck with it. She told us that because her wedding was rustic, she wanted no poof, no sparkle, but plenty of lace, long sleeves and for the dress to be fitted. "I wanted something that was completely old-fashioned, not something that made me look like a princess."
Hannah: we think you looked AMAZING in your dress and we loved being a part of making your day special.
Before you think: why in the WORLD would I care what happened to brides and grooms in the 1600s, remember that not everything that is trendy is contemporary. Your great-great-great-greats found their way to each other and none of them had a Save the Date website. The rituals - some of which are worth reviving (maybe) - all had their meaning. To us, as we gear up for a new year of weddings, looking back can be a fun way of looking ahead.
For the lower classes during the 17th century, a coin, broken in half with one half kept by each person, was enough to signify an engagement. The couple would make oaths to each other and say prayers over the coins, giving them significance. These tokens were considered both promises and talismans against evil spirits.
While at BT we help brides find gorgeous gowns on a budget, back in the 17th century, brides often did not buy a wedding gown and the dress really had no significance. It was simply the nicest dress a girl owned, maybe the one she wore to church or one with extra frill or embellishments.
What WAS important was the garter! Two garters were worn, were usually blue and worn just above the knee. The evening of the wedding, before the bride and groom were left alone to start their lives together, two of the groomsmen would remove the garters from the brides legs and then pin them to their hats as a reward. One wonders if this was like catching the bouquet and marked these fellows as potential future grooms. Or...….. perhaps they just got teased a lot at the pub afterwards.
Flowers back then were as important as they are now and loads of wildflowers and fresh flowers would be collected and carried while others were pinned to the bride's hat. Lower classes did not have access to hot house flowers and blooms from bulbs and formal gardens, so herbs like rosemary were used, orange blooms from nearby orchards and groves and any bright field flowers were perfect.
After the ceremony, people threw wheat at the couple for fertility - a sort of precursor to confetti or rice. Honestly, they may have had it right back then since we now throw bird seed (NOT a symbol of fertility). Imagine what they would have thought of our use of sparklers to send off newlyweds.
Cake!! We all love it and they did back in the day as well. While we're into frosting and multiple tiers, back then they were more interested in breaking the cake over the bride's head for fertility and fortune. Yep. You heard us. The community contributed all sorts of food, meat, drinks and sweets, but the wedding cake itself was gently broken over the bride's head for luck for her and the groom. Pieces gathered up by others were said to be lucky too. It's also a great way to stay thin - just break the cake instead of eating it.
Finally, the 17th century wedding night: We send our couples off with cheers, cans tied to bumpers and other fanfare and happily return to the party. These early modern couples did too, but not until the bride and groom were escorted to their chambers. The bridesmaids would help the bride get out of her gown, removing any pins that might create havoc later and waited by the bed with her. The groom and his entourage would then show up and the couple were surrounded, given well wishes and finally left alone. AWK-WARD!! We don't know any current modern couple who would want their entire wedding party encircling their marital bed, but we're modest that way.
Regardless of tradition or theme, twists on century-old marriage rituals are pretty stinking fun! Enjoy planning, brides out there!
Before we run into all that 2019 may promise, we wanted to give you Part 2 of our year-end recap of 2018. This time, we focus on the gorgeous women who were our Bridal Profiles. This just passed year brought so many lovely and amazing brides to BT and we loved helping each of them.
Here are just a sampling of the highlights and no, there were no low-lights. Cheers to you all!
Their wedding was a perfect balance of warmth, earthiness, elegance, tradition and fun. It's not always easy to pull off, but this girl did it. more
North Carolineans Destiny and Samuel Swanner were married in Panama City, Florida in July on this year - right on the beach. Their wedding was filled with fun and unexpected moments, funny mishaps and an unconventional day, more
"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." more
Samantha - or Sam to Kelly and crew at BT - is not only a friend, but we joke that she's our Executive VP of Marketing, because you can literally bump into her and she'll start singing our praises. We love this girl and appreciate her enthusiasm for our business. Sam also made an absolutely gorgeous bride and this bridal profile is one we've been looking forward to since we started this series. more
Reina Branch married her love Dewey Kilby at 16 Hands Farm in a gloriously rustic country ceremony this passed fall 2017. The bride described it as "mason jars, burlap and lace." It was also incredibly well thought out, more
These two met in middle school when they were introduced by a friend of theirs. Dillon sat in front of Makayla and we can only assume that she did what most of us do in middle school: stared at the back of his neck and thinking "well, he's cute." They became friends and stayed there until their senior year when they officially started dating and fell in love. more
Hannah Jolly and Yancey Simmons were surprised at the turnout for their wedding, because of the threat of a little storm called Irma that wreaked havoc on coastlines between August 30 and September 16. Their wedding was at Holden Beach on September 9th and clearly the Wedding Gods were shining down on them. more
Focusing on the brides who let us serve them was one of our favorite occupations this last year and we have many others already in the works for 2019! Happy Anniversary to you all in advance.
We want to say Thank YOU to all of our customers for making 2018 a great year at BT.
We loved serving each one of you, but most especially we appreciate you for letting us be a part of your stories.
Our hope during this fun but fleeting season is that you'll find a minute to rest and remember what matters most to you. Enjoy every moment!
We look forward to creating new memories, to meeting new faces, seeing our regulars and friends and to serving all of you for your special occasions in 2019.