Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: The Dress

As an avid watcher of Say Yes to the Dress (judge me, I don't care), I can honestly say I haven't watched it once since I brought home my wedding dress. The show is so right (like, you won't end up liking what you thought you wanted) and so wrong (why would you EVER spend THAT much money for a dress?!) for many reasons and lucky for me, my dress experience was an absolute breeze. My Mom flew in for a long weekend. I took a Friday off of work and made three appointments. This may come as a surprise, but I didn't invite anyone else. With my family living in Ohio, wedding plan was all done via email, text message or Facetime calls. I knew I would get so many moments to spend planning and preparing with Mike's family and my closest friends, so this one special day and important life event was just for me and my Mom. Plus, the thought of walking out to a crowd of people ready to "Ooo and Ahh" or "Boo and Hiss" made me sick to my stomach!

I did have some dress options in mind when I started looking. I liked more of the column look, lace, vintage, no silk, fluffy, sparkles, yes to the possibility of sleeves or blush color and it had to be ready in five months. Easy enough, let's go. Silk was our first stop. It's a consignment shop, where all the dresses were runway samples, once wedded or were purchased before but not wedded. The woman helping us was amazing, and we had the whole store to ourselves. I loved that she didn't put me in anything that was so many sizes bigger (because you won't get the right idea of how it'll fit after alterations), nor did she let us get out of our price range.

The first dress I tried on, The Big Bird Dress, as my stepdad called it, actually took my breath away. I liked it! The bird-like ruffles were a little jarring at first. But reality sank in. I was a bride and holy shit, I just tried on my real first wedding dress. Ever. Sounds so silly and little-girl-princess type of stuff, but it was like I saw myself as this woman I didn't recognized. I grew up. I have my own life, my own car, an awesome house, a professional career and soon a great guy to call my husband. My Mom, who was snapping photos of me in these big white gowns was going to be the Mother of the Bride and I was that Bride. Of all the emotions I was preparing to experience that day, dignified and uplifted weren't at the top. I digress...

I tried on two more dresses at Silk, left for lunch where I ate a giant Philly Cheesecake for lunch (yes, the greasiest, fattiest lunch a shopping-for-her-wedding-dress bride shouldn't eat), then went to Ava Clara to try on, what seemed like, 20 more dresses. The store was nice and had lots of beautiful dresses to choose from, but none were like the fit and flare, lacy, strapless style from Silk. So, needless-to-say, we went back to Silk, tried on the third dress again, my mom cried and that was that! We bought the strapless, sweetheart neck, lace Tara Keely dress on the spot and believe it or not, not one single alteration had to be made to it!

It definitely was not what I originally had in mind, but I fell in love with it more and more each time I looked at it. The dress was perfect for the venue, the evening and me. Most importantly Mike loved it - and me in it!

It was also fabulous for twirling!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: My Grandmother's Dress

My Grandma Barb is on the right. My Grandpa is on the right and her sister, Alice, is on the left. 

When we were cleaning out my grandmother's house a few years back, we came across her wedding dress. In a plastic shopping bag. In the bottom of her linen closet. I imagine in 1947, most women didn't pay to preserve their wedding dresses. In my grandmother's case her sister made her dress (by hand, then made herself a matching one) and probably didn't see the need.

Fast forward 67 years when my Mom brings the dress to me the weekend we go shopping for my own wedding dress. Obligatory photo in Grandma's wedding dress:

It actually fit! And the peplum style is totally in right now. But with the yellowing, stains, rips and button-up turtleneck look, it just wasn't the dress for me. I knew I wanted to make use of it either in my bouquet or some special piece in the wedding. I found this arrangement and it served as my inspiration for the project.

I researched the best way to clean yellowed silk, turns out Woolite was the best option. I took a deep breath and cut the dress into several different sections. I soaked each piece for 10-15 minutes, then hand-washed them and hung (throughout) the house to dry.

I didn't realize just how much material was actually used in the dress, so this process took days! I tried different flower techniques, new shapes of petals, tried incorporating my Mom's lace from her veil, but Martha and a little tweaking to my own styles won in the end. Once I got into the groove, the flowers came along quickly. I found the pine cone and Dusty Miller sprigs at Michael's and decided two use just two colors from my wedding bouquet as a pop of color. The last issue I had to deal with was the vase. We decided these flowers would be with the remembrance candles the mothers light at the beginning of the ceremony, so it had to be bigger in size and quite a statement. Three weeks before we wedding, we were visiting friends in Charlotte and I was told to check out Old Time Pottery. Thank goodness I did, because I found this stunning Mercury glass jug for only $20!

It was hard to imagine our wedding day without my Grandmother there. We shared so many wonderful memories together, and she would have loved every second of the day. With this arrangement, I felt like she was a part of the entire evening. Not to mention, I think she would have been impressed that I took her trashed heirloom and made into something we can cherish forever.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wedding Wednesdays: The Bachelorette Party

There's no doubt about it, I have the absolute best friends a girl could ask for. These girls, located across the country, and around the world, managed to plan the most perfect party that was fit just for me. We decided the party had to be the Saturday before the wedding (which fell on a Wednesday). I gave the girls a guest list, a list of my favorite food choices in Norfolk, and requests of possibly Granby Theater, Bugatti's, and black, white and gold.

Fast forward through many secret video conference calls, mysterious 'party planning committee' email chains, many "I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you this" conversation starts, several "what do you really want" questions and general excitement to the ultimate Bride Rite of Passage, December 27th finally arrived.

I was sent to my Mom and Stepdad's hotel room while the girls prepped our house for party central. When I returned, gold balloons filled the rooms, white flowers adorned all the surfaces, handmade black, gold and white banners adorned the walls, it was beautiful! They ordered mini biscuit sandwiches, lemon bars, potato salad and cole slaw from my Norfolk favorite, Handsome Biscuit! Along with Sue-made people chow and chex-mix, cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus and snacks, the spread of food was phenomenal.

Once the wine got flowing we played a drinking game consisting of questions Mike had previously answered about me. Some interesting tidbits about me and Mike were revealed, as was a new term for his least favorite pair of my shoes (i.e. shooties). It was absolutely sweet, totally embarrassing and just splendid. All the girls were asked to write a note or piece of advice to me, were photographed by my sister's Polaroid camera and then combined to make a wonderful scrapbook of the night.

Around 10 p.m., we made our way to Granby Theater for an awesome VIP Party Box...complete with Justin Timberlake! And by Justin Timberlake, I mean a life-size cutout of the [second] man of my dreams! He was waiting for me at the entrance of our VIP box, along with a bottle of champagne, snacks and a endless attention from EVERYONE in the club.

The rest of the evening contained the normal bachelorette debauchery one would expect, and will be left to your imagination. So many memorable and un-rememorable moments of the evening though (seriously, Emily, what happened to that necklace?!)! We finished the weekend out by taking my mom to her first Drag Yourself to Brunch show. I'm pretty sure she was loving every second of it, as the rest of us were trying the 'hair of the dog' method to soothe our bodies from the previous nights' festivities. I was left feeling incredibly enchanted to have such incredible girls in my life to spend a great celebration weekend with. I haven't had all my friends together like that in many, many years and know it will be many, many more before I get to enjoy them all together again.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Textures 8/31

7/31: A little Almond Champagne on this beautiful Sunday

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Textures 7/31

7/31: Hummingbird Macarons, my new favorite dessert

Friday, March 6, 2015

Textures 6/31

6/31: Homemade Taco Seasoning, recipe here.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Textures 4/31

4/31: The Perch Shop Nautical Rope Balls at West Elm in Virginia Beach