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Southern Weddings

Author: Emily

Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

First of all, I can hardly believe that my and Rob’s wedding day is just over four months away! The last few weeks have flown by, and I know the holiday season is going to make the next several weeks especially exciting and bustling. It’s really sinking in that in just a couple months, Rob is going to be my husband… and that makes me happier than anything! We have researched, talked with, and booked most all of our vendors already, and the big picture items are really coming together. Knowing and envisioning exactly who we’ll be working with on our wedding day, seeing the design of it all come together, and talking through and dreaming up the details to make our day meaningful and so perfectly “us” makes our wedding feel more and more real.

Photo on left by Jose Villa

Since we have a shorter engagement, at the very top of my priority list was finding a wedding dress. I’d say that this task was one of the only things that made me question a six-month engagement, as it can often take six months or longer to receive your wedding dress from the designer, not including alterations and fittings. As soon as we got engaged and settled on our venue and date, I knew I didn’t have any time to delay in going dress shopping. And goodness was I excited!! I have to admit that I have dreamed of going wedding dress shopping almost my entire life, and it was surreal to think that it was finally my turn to be the bride! I’ve been in the wedding industry for years, have helped countless friends and clients select a wedding gown, and have browsed many shops and boutiques for editorial shoots, but it was a total “pinch-me” moment knowing that I got to be the one trying on gorgeous gowns – and for our wedding!

I’ve known for many, many years that I didn’t want a large group at my wedding gown appointment. I have eleven fabulous bridesmaids whom I love dearly, but I’ve always wanted to go dress shopping with just my darling mom and my sister (also my matron of honor!). The three of us are incredibly close. But, since I needed to get dress shopping right away, and since my sister lives in New York City, we decided to make-do with Facetiming her during my first bridal appointment. She was certainly with us in spirit! My mom, however, drove into town the week after our engagement to take me dress shopping; I was ecstatic to finally see her in person, show her my ring, and get shopping.

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings

We ended up going to only one boutique in Raleigh, but we went there twice over the course of two weeks. I thought I found “the dress” at our first appointment (the second dress I ever tried on), and was about to place the order when I decided that I wanted to sleep on it. It turns out that I “slept on it” for over a week without giving the dress much thought, other than that it didn’t feel very “me.”

Two weeks after my first appointment, all of our parents were in town to meet and to celebrate our engagement. My dad was especially insistent that I needed to go try on dresses again that weekend, as I know he knew the pressure of finding a dress and getting it in time for our wedding. This time, I brought my mom and Rob’s mom with me to our appointment. I am so glad I had both moms with me, and it was an incredibly sweet morning with the two of them! The night before our appointment, I couldn’t stop thinking about the very first dress I had tried on two weeks prior. It turns out, that dress was the only dress I tried on at our second appointment, and it was THE dress!!

Vera Wang gown photo by Tim Will from Rachel and Daniel’s wedding

As soon as I tried it on again, I literally could not stop beaming! And I mean, beaming. Seeing it and feeling it on me felt so perfect. When we Facetimed my sister to show her again, all four of us were in tears (all happy tears!). It was the perfect bridal moment, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually experience, and it was so, so sweet and surreal. We were all so certain that this was the one, and I loved the excitement and happiness felt by three of the most important women in my life! And I felt utterly like a bride and beautiful.

Photo by Katie Stoops from our Generations Past editorial

I don’t want to divulge too much about my dress, as I want Rob to be completely and totally surprised on our wedding day! I have also decided, as my sister did for her wedding, not to show anyone my dress or bridal look until our wedding day. I think this is going to be one of the hardest parts about wedding planning (ha!), as I tend to share everything with all of my friends, but I’m determined to keep my dress and its details a complete secret. I can’t wait for that sweet moment when my bridesmaids, and then my dad, and then my groom (eee!) see me for the first time!!

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray from Lisa’s wedding!

Though I’m not revealing anything about the exact gown I settled on, I’ve sprinkled a few of the stunning gowns that I brought along with me for inspiration to our appointment! You can see that I love romantic, feminine gowns with a pop of something unexpected. I’m not generally drawn to strapless gowns, nor do I particularly think mermaid or curve-hugging dresses look great on me. I love beautiful details, am naturally drawn to particular fabrics, and think the dress that I chose is better than I ever imagined. My dress is being custom built (!!!), so it’ll be especially unique, which I adore!

How was the process of trying on dresses for you, or what are you most looking forward to? I honestly never thought I’d find a dress I was absolutely smitten with and that would fit me perfectly, but the entire process was even more fun and special that I thought it could ever be! I loved feeling like a bride, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it even more come April 1st!

Past posts:
The proposal
Venue + photography

emily Written with love by Emily
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As some of you may know, I sold my Christos wedding gown a few months after my wedding. It was the only way I was able to afford wearing that beautiful brand, and I was happy to do it — especially knowing that it was going to another lovely bride who would get to wear her dream gown! I’ve gotten so many emails from readers since then asking for advice on how to sell or consign their own gowns, so today, we’re bringing in our friends Liz and Ty from Meant to Be Boutique, a luxury wedding dress consignment shop in Lexington, Kentucky, to offer some advice on both purchasing a consigned or previously-loved gown, and for selling your beloved gown post-wedding!

First things first: tell us a little bit about your shop! Meant To Be is the sister store to Blue Ribbon Vendor Twirl Boutique, and it serves our community in complimentary ways. After many calls about bridal consignment during the summer of 2015, we decided that our idea for a new store was simply that… meant to be. After a few short months, we opened the doors to Meant To Be in December 2015. We want our brides to have the most amazing experience possible AND to walk away with a gorgeous, high quality gown that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg.

At Meant To Be, we believe that a bride’s dream dress was always “meant to be” hers. Regardless of how the dress found its way to our boutique, it was always meant to belong to the bride who says the joyful “yes!” when she steps into it at our sweet little shop.

Tell us about what y’all offer to brides and gals. Loving people well is the heartbeat of our businesses, so we like to pride ourselves on offering our brides and their loved ones an exceptional bridal gown shopping experience. At Meant To Be, brides are given the entire shoppe to themselves with a consultant who works with them one-on-one. With a mimosa in hand (if desired!), our brides look through a selection of about 100 gowns. We offer a wide variety of dresses, all off the rack, varying in styles, designers, sizes, and price range. Our selection of gowns starts at $200 and goes up to around $3000, with sizes ranging from zero to plus size. Our inventory is continually changing, which keeps things exciting!

That sounds fabulous. What’s your advice for a bride who’s wondering whether she wants to buy a consigned gown? We highly encourage brides to make an appointment at a consignment/sample shoppe like Meant To Be because we think they’ll be pleasantly surprised. At our shop and other quality boutiques, brides will find high quality, gorgeous gowns at a fraction of their original cost. If it’s the right gown for you, you’ll feel just as radiant on your wedding day regardless of how you purchased it. All your guests are going to see is a gorgeous bride in a gorgeous gown with a gorgeous smile!

Any tips for brides specifically shopping for a consigned gown? Our biggest piece of advice is to have an open mind about consigned/sample gowns. We feel like a lot of people are hesitant about shopping this kind of inventory because it may have “bad juju,” but that’s just silly! Consigned/sample gowns can make you feel just as beautiful as special-ordered, never-worn ones. Once a bride grabs ahold of that perspective, shopping is smooth sailing!

Perfect. How about after the wedding? What would you say to a bride who’s wondering whether she wants to consign her gown? Whether or not you’ve made up your mind, we suggest you get your dress cleaned and preserved soon after your wedding. You’ll nip stains from the big day in the bud, which is important whether you’re preserving or selling! After that, we’d encourage you to take your time — at least six months. The last thing we want is for someone to say goodbye to the most precious dress they’ll ever own before they are really ready. If after six months you still want to sell it with the hope that it will bring another bride joy on her big day, then we say go for it!

What can a bride expect to make from the sale of her gown? This depends on the way you choose to sell it. If you consign your gown through a boutique like Meant To Be, you can expect to get 50% of the profit at most. This may not seem like much to some brides, but we can almost guarantee that you’ll have more success selling your dress through a brick and mortar shop over a website. By consigning through a brick and mortar, a sales consultant is doing all the hard work for you! They are advocating for your dress and working hard to find it a good home. Selling through a website may help a bride gain more profit off the sale, but she may not have much success in actually having the sale go through.

A few more things to note about buying and selling a used wedding gown:
— As a general rule of thumb, a used gown that’s in great condition and less than 2 1/2 years old can sell for 50 percent of the retail price. Gowns from recognizable names like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier can sell for 60-70 percent of the retail value. Never-worn gowns can sell for even more.
— We love Meant to Be’s tip to wait six months before selling your gown — but don’t wait too long, either! You’ll maximize your chances of selling your gown by listing it within 2 1/2 years of buying it.
— If you choose to sell your gown online (at a site like Once Wed, PreOwned Wedding Dresses, or Nearly Newlywed), know that some sites charge a one-time listing fee, and a few, like Nearly Newlywed, take a commission similar to a brick and mortar.
— When preparing your listing, upload several photos, including a photo from the designer’s website, a photo from your wedding (feel free to crop your head out! :)), photos of details like lace or sleeves, and photos of any damage. Choose a plain background and aim for great natural lighting. Include all the pertinent details, but also consider including a brief note about why you loved your gown – those personal details can help another gal fall in love with it, too!
— Still on the fence about selling your gown? Consider holding onto your veil or jewelry from your big day instead. So many brides we feature on SW wear heirloom veils, and we don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. Plus, veils don’t really go out of style, their styles don’t really change drastically over time, and one size fits all! :)

If you’re in the Lexington, Kentucky area, we can’t recommend Meant to Be (for consigned dresses) and Twirl (for new dresses) highly enough! Either way, we hope these tips for buying and selling a previously-loved wedding dress are helpful!

This post is brought to you by Meant to Be Boutique. Thank you for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
1 Comment
  1. avatar Caroline reply

    I shopped at MTB for my veil and I loved every second of the experience! The girls were lovely and had set aside several veils and headpieces prior to my appointment. I ended up choosing the exact veil I had been dreaming of — it was a beautiful long veil with a lace detail that was previously a sample veil at Twirl. It was the highlight of my wedding ensemble and something I hope to pass down to a future daughter or even share with a friend as her “something borrowed” for her big day. Thanks for featuring a great local boutique!

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For years, readers and vendors have been asking me whether we’d ever done a “mountain shoot.” For no particular reason, the answer was always no — which is sad, because I and so many of y’all adore the mountains, and because so many of the love stories we feature on Southern Weddings start in the shadow of the Blue Ridge or the Great Smokies, usually in the tents and mess halls of camp. (Just take a gander at a few of our past real weddings for proof!)

Love in a Mist is for all of you who met while spending a summer away, who fell in love around a campfire, or who decided to be together forever while serving as counselors. I hope this beautifully atmospheric day takes you right back to those years of mountain laurel and canoes, and maybe even inspires a mountain wedding of your own.

It’s hard to think of a better team to have brought this vision to life than photographer Graham Terhune and stylist and designer Tailor & Table, so if you adore this color palette or love this region, don’t hesitate to be in touch with these talented folks!

Typo Boutique created a truly stunning invitation suite, complete with hand-torn paper to mimic the misty mountains.

Natalia created the most stunning wildflower bouquets for our ladies, overflowing with Queen Anne’s lace and coreopsis.

To evoke our couple’s summer camp love story, we set up a ceremony-in-the-round at dusk, lit by lanterns — reminiscent of the intimacy of a campfire!

That fishtail braid! Emily Anne Hair did such a beautiful job with our ladies.

Lonesome Valley had no shortage of picture-perfect locations, but my favorite was probably this little boathouse where we set up cocktail hour. From the stones ringing the lake to the color of the clapboards, the only word that seems fitting is idyllic!

Picking up detail from the invitation suite, Handy Dandy Productions crafted this custom bar with strips of textured fabric. It was incredible in person!

For creative cocktail hour fare, we opted for a peanuts and popcorn bar: in-the-shell nuts, cornsticks, local honey, honey butter, and freshly-popped corn!

Dinner with a view, indeed! We couldn’t stop staring at the breathtaking rock face Lonesome Valley is graced with!

Don’t miss our behind-the-scenes film from SW favorite Inkspot Crow — but please try to ignore the fact that we all look like drowned rats! :)

Be sure to pick up your copy of Southern Weddings V9 in stores today, or in our shop!

Photographer: Graham Terhune | Designer, stylist, and florals: Tailor & Table | Film processing: Richard Photo Lab | Videographer: Inkspot Crow | Venue: Lonesome Valley | Hair: Emily Anne Hair | Makeup: Ali Lawless | Catering and desserts: Canyon Kitchen Catering | Paper goods and matchbox printing: Typo Boutique | Rentals: Goodwin Events | Lanterns and props: Tailor & Table | Silk ribbon: Adorn Company | Linens: La Tavola Linens | Jewelry: Jewelry by Blitz | Bluegrass band: Elliot Sperrin | Custom bar: Handy Dandy Productions | Bride’s gown: Truvelle | Bridesmaid tops and groom’s vest: ASOS | Bridesmaid skirts: Anthropologie | Groom’s tie: BudeVintage

Graham Terhune and Inkspot Crow are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
4 Comments
  1. avatar Elizabeth | Elizabeth Burns Design reply

    One of my favorite shoots to date! I LOVE the simplicity and rawness of this shoot. That backdrop speaks for itself! :)

  2. avatar Mary Kay reply

    I love the ceremony-in-the-round! You can almost feel the soft coolness of dusk, warmed by the glow of the latterns!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    One of my favorites!

  4. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    This was one of my favorites from the issue – and I definitely couldn’t pick just one. My jaw dropped when I turned the page to see the tablescape with those perfect little chairs. And the idea of creating a circular ceremony set up to mimic a campfire – genius! Also, adored watching the behind-the-scenes video. Inkspot Crow Films did a beautiful job capturing the action.

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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