Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Overbay Photography Makes Giant Leap

My friend, Kristin Overbay, has taken the next step in her life journey as a full-time photographer.  I have been following her work for about three years.  She does beautiful work.  I love to see someone follow her dream.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Protea Love

I hadn't seen one of these flowers until last week, except in pictures.  I was very excited to use these at my church this week.  These are proteas and green ball dianthus with banana leaves. river cane and pepper barries.  Hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

New Finds

While my daughter was here for a visit, her amazing friend Susan Ward told us about J. Crew Distribution Center in Arden, NC (just west of Asheville).  I can hardly believe we hadn't found this place before, so I just have to share it with you.  They had lots of deeply discounted clothing, not items made just for the outlets, things that they have in the catalog, and one sweater had sample written on the underside.  But, in keeping with my wedding-themed blog, they had bridesmaid, flower girl, ring bearer, and even bridal dresses.  You won't find a dress with a two-foot train and Alencon lace, but you might find something perfect for you.  I saw one wedding dress for $60.  I must warn you, though, most of the things are for the "skinnies", size six, eight, ten.  It was so much fun, just getting the possibility of a really great deal.

After a long, and tiring shopping trip, ;-) you must try Tupelo Honey.  The food is definitely southern, but upscale.  The rosemary peach lemonade is the best I've ever had.  What do you  think they have for appetizers?  Giant biscuits, on the house.  The southside cafe is close to the distribution center, and not as crowded as the downtown cafe.  Asheville is such a fun town.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Flowers from My Yard

Sometimes simple can be lovely.  I have this great hydrangea tree, which still has blooms.  Hope you enjoy this.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Congratulations Charity Clark and Nathan Shepherd!

Charity and Nathan were married Saturday, September 24, at New Canton Plantation in Church Hill, Tennessee.   The bride's dress was by Watters and had a very interesting flower at the back waist.  She wore a pair of gardenias in her hair, which lent a subtle scent whenever she passed.  The bridesmaids wore navy dresses with halter tops and ruffles extending around the neck, and dipping low in back.  The groomsmen wore oatmeal-colored suits.  The groom's boutonniere was a red cockscomb, white hydrangea, and peach hypericum berries.

The bride chose wildflowers, and what an assortment of flowers were available!  There were zinnias, dahlias, goldenrod, hydrangea, lilies, lisianthus, cosmos, black-eyed Susans, and red and yellow cockscomb.  The flowers, which I arranged, primarily came from Aunt Willie's Wildflowers.  The bride requested flower spheres, and I made balls completely covered in wildflowers which hung from the top of the tent.  I also made two flower wreaths to adorn the impressive front doors at the mansion.  The flower girl, the couple's daughter Averie, stopped to smell one of the flowers hanging from shepherd's hooks along the aisle.  The photographer, Rachel Hayes, caught that special moment.

This was the first opportunity I had to work with this venue, and the experience was great. They were very helpful in every respect.

I meant to take more pictures, but I was just too busy.  I was also directing the wedding and placing flowers on the cake.  Yikes!  Maybe you can check out Rachel Hayes's site for more a little later.  My photography skills are about as good as my basket weaving skills...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gator Chop!

Living here in Tennessee, with Steve Spurrier, our native son coaching for Florida for years, a lot of animosity was created among UT football fans toward Florida.  This probably was the reason I had never experienced the Gator Chop.
Sunday, September 4, I had the opportunity to direct a wedding for Savanna Trent and Brian Greer.  This was a beautiful wedding at Allandale Mansion.  The flowers were white and yellow daisies and sunflowers.  The wedding was followed by a tea.  The cake was not stacked, but presented as several separate cakes, all especially tasty.
The bride was so excited from the moment she arrived until she left saying a special goodbye to every person in the exit line.  In the room where the girls were hanging out and getting dressed, a picture was taken of all the girls with their arms wide and far apart, then closed, mimicking the chop of an alligator.  It’s fun to see the excitement of any college group.
The best man was in full dress uniform, a reminder that our freedom is not free.  His lovely wife, who is several months pregnant, attended with their very young, affectionate daughter.
Some of the guests were surprised that we had mosquitoes, but said they were so tiny, you couldn’t even see them.  I guess we have something to be thankful for.  If our mosquitoes were larger, they might take bigger bites.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Gaige Gillespie - So Handsome

I was very excited about making this banner, after seeing it on the Martha Stewart website, and thankfully Stacie Hughes Gillespie went along with my enthusiasm.  Sometimes young children don't perform well at weddings, but they are young, and you can't expect them to act on command.  However, Gaige was a perfect ring bearer (banner carrier).  After the wedding, he came up to me and said, "I did it", and put his hand up to give me five.  He was a doll, as you can see in this photo by Overbay Photography.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Congratulations Josh and Stacie

Josh and Stacie were married on June 25, but due to Josh's new position with American Eagle, he had to leave the day after the wedding for training in Dallas.

Now, they are finally on their honeymoon, both have excellent jobs, and what more could anyone ask for?

See additional photos on the Overbay Photography website:

Thursday, June 30, 2011

No Wedding, No Problem!

On June 11, I didn't have a wedding, but I still had the opportunity to provide flowers for my church, First Broad Street Methodist.  This is a good example of what you could have with the beautiful flowers grown here locally at Aunt Willie's Wildflowers.  If you give me a budget, I can work with you to have something truly remarkable.

Remember, all flowers are beautiful.  If you have a color scheme in mind, we can work with that to give you what you want without costing a huge amount.  Of course, if you want specific flowers, we can do that, too.

Congratulations Rhonda and Ben Gibbs!

I was so proud and grateful to have been chosen to provide the flowers and direct the wedding for Rhonda (Johnson) and Ben Gibbs on June 25 at KayCliff Center.  I also had the opportunity to work with Sophisticated Strings again, a very accomplished string trio.  Hope you enjoy seeing the lilies and larkspur.  Their photos from the official photographer won't be ready for another couple of weeks.

I regret that I didn't get a picture of the cake by Debbie Taylor.  I'll try to get a picture of that and the bridal bouquet to show you.  The bouquet was calla lilies and larkspur, along with kangaroo's paws.  While this sounds like an unusual combination, it was stunning.

Congratulations Chris and Beth

True2Life Photography
Beth Newland and Chris Jennings were married Saturday, June 18 at The Garden Retreat in Green Mountain, North Carolina.  I was excited and proud to have provided the flowers for their wedding.  The peonies were magnificent, a testament to Bridgewater Gardens.  See more photos soon at True2Life Photography's website.

True2Life Photography

True2Life Photography

True2Life Photography

Monday, June 20, 2011

Congratulations Stacie and Josh

Stacie Hughes and Josh Gillespie were married Saturday, June 18, at Blackthorn Club, formerly The Ridges.  After a huge amount of rain, the sun came out and there was a gentle breeze, making for a beautiful and comfortable wedding.  They are a beautiful couple and I was proud to have been a part of the festivities by directing the wedding.  I wish them every happiness.  See their sneak peeks at Overbay Photography.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Assume Nothing

One of the greatest pitfalls during wedding planning is assuming that someone else understands you.  It can go horribly wrong.  I would like to share a few of those moments.  I won't be using any names, as I wouldn't want to embarrass anyone.

Never assume a musician knows what prelude means.  One wedding I directed, I was assured that the acoustical guitar player could play anything, that he was even a guitar teacher.  They wanted me to choose the music.  I did some research on music suitable for a guitar, ordered the sheet music, and went over all the details with the musician.  I had timed the music and knew that we would have 30 minutes of prelude music, then a song for the family to enter, then the music for the processional.  I told the musician what time to begin the prelude music.  I saw him come in and set up.  The problem -- the thirty minutes before the wedding actually starts is the busiest time for me.  I am doing a million things.  I didn't hear him playing because I was elsewhere.  When I came out and signalled him that the grandparents were to be seated, he began playing the prelude music.  I thought, "OK, that's not what we had planned, but it will be alright."  When it was time for the bridesmaids to enter, he continued to play the prelude music, until I came up to him and asked him to start playing the Canon in D.  He had not played anything for the 30 minutes prior to the wedding.

Don't assume that there will be someone at the venue to allow you entrance unless you have planned ahead. One wedding I directed, the florist didn't come to deliver the flowers until after the church was closed for the day and the doors were locked.  I came a little after they arrived, only because that was the time arranged to meet the photographer.  Make sure that your florist will deliver the flowers on time.  I asked this particular florist where the bouquets were, and she said at home in water.  The entire wedding party had been photographed and the ushers were seating guests when she arrived with the bouquets and boutonnieres.  I had asked the bride what time the florist would arrive in our pre-wedding meeting, and she had told me she was doing the flowers herself. 

Another wedding, the reception venue had offered to be open all day to allow for decorating.  The hostess was told that they would not be coming until 3:30.  When they tried to deliver the beer at 12:30, there was nobody there.  The hostess doesn't want to stay all day if nobody is coming.  When they were able to deliver the beer, they assumed that the caterers would ice it.  It wasn't their responsibility, since they weren't providing it.  The florist iced the beer for them.

Don't assume that the officiant knows he is conducting the wedding unless you have spoken to him and gone over the details of the wedding.  Some ministers require counselling, so those details must be worked out in advance.  Just because you have arranged to use the church, doesn't mean that the pastor of the church will be officiating.

Don't assume that if you tell someone's secretary a wedding detail and ask that it be passed along to one of your vendors, that it will be.

Don't assume that there will be a table to place something on.  One wedding, the bride had incorporated a salt covenant into the ceremony.  In biblical times, salt was a precious commodity, and was often shared with friends.  The symbol of this was that once the salt was mixed from both families, it was impossible to tell whose salt was the groom's families' and whose salt was the bride's families'.  The secretary at the church said that we absolutely could not put the salt on the communion table.  The minister's wife brought a table from their home, just before the service.

Don't assume there will be enough seats for everyone if you don't have RSVP.  One wedding, I found out very late in the game that 750 invitations had been sent.  I discussed this with the bride, and she thought that since so many would have to travel a great distance, that she would have plenty of room.  We brought in all the additional chairs that would fit in the sanctuary and in the balcony.  The mother of the groom wanted me to put more chairs on the outer aisle, but it wasn't safe, so I couldn't accommodate her.  Quite a few people had to stand.  As a general rule, ten people can be seated per pew.  It's a good idea to know how many people can be seated before you send the invitations.

Don't assume couples won't bring their children, just because their names aren't on the invitation.  If they RSVP that the children are coming, when you have decided no children are invited, you should have your wedding planner call and say, "We would really like to accommodate you, but we aren't able to include children at the wedding."  At that point, you must be ready to respond to someone who says that if their children aren't welcome, that they aren't coming either.

Don't assume that someone who didn't RSVP won't come.  You always are going to need a few additional seats, and maybe an additional table for those who were not planning to come, but at the last minute decided that they would come.  This is a little awkward if there are assigned tables.  It would be especially nice to have someone at the name card table to assist those who can't find a card.  One additional person could probably be seated at a table, but two would have to be moved to another table.

Don't assume that something you have seen at other weddings will be carried out at your own wedding, if you haven't discussed it with the wedding planner.  There are so many changes to the rules for weddings now, that almost anything goes.  Anything can be incorporated, but might not be if you don't specifically ask for it.  I had a mother of the groom who was disappointed not to have been escorted out after the ceremony.  My reasoning on this was that no pictures of the bride and groom had been made prior to the ceremony, and they wanted to take some outdoor pictures immediately following the ceremony with the wedding party.  If we escorted seven additional people out, it would have delayed the photography and the reception.

Don't assume that the venue will have any appliance, sound equipment, or container.  You must bring your own.  I have had flower girls with no basket for the petals.

Don't assume that a child who is perfectly adorable at 10 a.m. will be as agreeable at 5:30 p.m.  Kids get tired, especially if they have been asked to come to the church three hours before the ceremony for pictures.

Don't assume that cream cheese icing will stand up to 90 degree heat or to squirrels.  One wedding, a portion of the cake actually drooped and fell off.  Another wedding, squirrels were eating off the reception table.

Leave the details to me.  That's what I really love.  Assume that I will come through for you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Wedding Weekend Extravaganza

 What a weekend!  I met with two brides, had one bride's engagement in the paper, and made an amazing flower arrangement with pink peonies.  How much fun can you cram into one weekend?

We are so happy for Stacey Hughes and Josh Gillepsie, who will be married June 18.  See their announcement http://www.timesnews.net/celebrations.php.  They will be married at Blackthorn Club, formerly The Ridges, which is a truly beautiful place.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Woods/Penny Wedding

Best wishes to Lenora Woods and J Penny, who got married at First Broad Street United Methodist Church May 7 and are honeymooning in St. Lucia.  They were a great couple and the wedding was as nearly perfect as any wedding I have directed.  The couple were very relaxed and seemed to be really enjoying every minute. 

The flowers, by Beverly Jenkins at Main Street Catering were white and cream roses, peonies and hydrangea, giving them an old-worldly look.  Everything was absolutely beautiful. 

The ceremony, officiated by Phillip Rogers, was lovely. 

The photographers, Eric McCarty Photography and videographers were great to work with.  Congratulations!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Monogram Dress Collection

I found these great-looking dresses at Banana Republic.  Your bridesmaids will thank you for choosing something so utterly beautiful that they would have wanted them even if they weren't going to be in your wedding.  Most of them come in several colors.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The Royal Wedding

I'm sure anyone who loves weddings has seen the wedding of William and Kate.  I loved the idea of the trees at the ceremony.  The green hydrangea were very nice.  I noticed that the bouquets were small.  Kate is a very small person, so having a small bouquet was not only tasteful, but didn't detract from her dress.

I also loved having the boys' choir at the wedding.  We could pull that off, though I would love to have a children's choir, and not exclude the girls.

I have been making some floral pins this weekend.  These could easily be attached to a barrette, instead. 

Also, if you love the look, I could make a fascinator.  The fascinator has become very popular lately because Pricesss Catherine doesn't like to wear hats.  I would just make the flower on a much larger scale.  I could even put some netting on it, if you'd like.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

New Wedding Ideas

I found some new things I think you might like.  Victoria's Secret now has a whole collection, "Sexy Little Bride."  This could be some great ideas for you bridesmaids to get for your friend who is getting married.

I also heard a song that would be a great first dance for the newly-married couple, I Can't Wait (Be My Wife) by Runner Runner.

Katie Holmes is doing a collection for Ann Taylor.  I saw the ad in Vogue.  The ad, which is a short video on the Ann Taylor main page right now, looks so much better than the on-line catalog picture of the same items.  I thought a bride could wear this for a fairly casual wedding.  The embellished top is $128, and the silk habotai skirt is $148.  It really looks amazing in Vogue.  These are both 40% off right now.  Now, you tell me where you can get a wedding dress for $165.60?

Hope your Easter weekend is great.  The weather today has been fabulous!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What Will I Wear?

This is such a good question for a mother of the bride or groom.  While it might not seem important, you are the hostess for one of the biggest parties you will ever have.  You are right in assuming that the focus won’t be on you, but many of the bride and groom’s friends, and most of the family on the other side are people you have never met.  They will want to meet you.

Bergdorf Goodman

This is such a wonderful time in the life of your child, and the last thing you want to have to worry about is how you look.  When the wedding is over, and the reception begins, is the time to relax and enjoy yourself and your friends, and new members of your extended family.
I saw this Oscar trunk show announcement today, and thought how appropriate several of these dresses look for a mother.  The bridal shops will try to talk you into having a formal-length dress, but we are mature women, and do we really want to look like we’re going to the prom?
Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Wedding Season Is Here!

Banq, a restored century-old bank building in downtown
Kingsport.  This is the perfect backdrop for cake-cutting.
 I really, really love weddings, but I wish there were more throughout the year.  It seems most brides want to get married in the spring or summer.  I have neglected my blog because I have been busy with weddings.  Unlike some wedding vendors whose work begins the day before the wedding and continues long after the wedding, my work begins months ahead, and when the wedding is complete, I just have to begin work on another wedding.

If you have been seriously considering having me help with your wedding, please contact me soon.  Remember, I am just an extension of you.  My job is to see that what you have in mind actually happens.  I may make suggestions.  Due to my extensive experience, I know a lot of pitfalls, and will try to help you avoid them, but ultimately, this is your wedding, and I want you to be happy.

I have available June 3, June 10, July 2,  and July 9.  If you want only "day of" assistance, I am available May 14, 21, and 28.

What I am working on now:

Designing invitations and pocketfolds
Making a wedding banner
Completing a wedding timeline and helper checklist
Alterations of a bridesmaid's dress
Planning flowers
Attending a floral design workshop

I love being busy with these things that I love.  You may think you can do everything by yourself, but a wedding is more involved than you might think.  Celebrities have a personal assistant, someone there to do whatever they don't have time to do.  You deserve this on your special day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Celtic Wedding

Celtic Wedding

Celtic font and picture by AON Celtic Art.
Being exposed to all types of violin music for a long period of time, I came to enjoy Celtic music.  You might hear some of that type when you watch Titanic or Braveheart.  The Irish aren't afraid to show the sad side of life, and it is reflected in the music.  If you haven't seen Braveheart, snuggle up with someone you love, and watch it one of these last cold days.

I have seen the Ashoken Farewell used in a wedding for the entrance of the mothers and grandmothers, symbolizing the woman's leaving her home to join her husband.  These are the lyrics, though I have only heard it played instrumentally.  It's really quite beautiful.

Words by Grian MacGregor
Music by Jay Ungar
The sun is sinking low in the sky above Ashokan.
The pines and the willows know soon we will part.
There's a whisper in the wind of promises unspoken,
And a love that will always remain in my heart.

My thoughts will return to the sound of your laughter,
The magic of moving as one,
And a time we'll remember long ever after
The moonlight and music and dancing are done.

Will we climb the hills once more?
Will we walk the woods together?
Will I feel you holding me close once again?
Will every song we've sung stay with us forever?
Will you dance in my dreams or my arms until then?

Under the moon the mountains lie sleeping
Over the lake the stars shine.
They wonder if you and I will be keeping
The magic and music, or leave them behind.

If you're Irish, I'd love to plan an Irish wedding for you. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Spring Is In the Air!

Found some fabulous bathing suits at J. Crew.  Now that it is feeling a little warmer, we can begin to hope.  There were great styles for any body type. 


I also purchased a Martha Stewart Weddings and can't wait to show one of the ideas to one of my brides.  I think it is one of my favorite things, a banner which says Here Comes the Bride for the ring bearer. Most brides don't want to trust the actual rings to the little ones, so this would be a great thing for them to do at the wedding.  I love this look.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Are You Happy?

I love watching Oprah, and will really miss it when it ends this season.  I saw an episode today that made me really think.  I respond very well to self-help advice, anyway.

Goldie Hawn was talking about being happy, and studies have shown that you can make yourself happy by about 46%.  Outside influences and genetics make up the additional 54%.  I was pretty surprised by that because I always thought that you pretty much are as happy as you WANT to be.

Michael Buettner, who authored Thrive: Finding Happinesss the Blue Zones Way, was on the show.  He listed four things which are the most important things to being happy.

-  Are you married to the right person?
-  Do you like your job, is it engaging work?
-  Do you volunteer in some way that makes you believe that you are giving back to the community?

and the number one happiness factor

-  Do you  live in the right place?

Just something to think about.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Let Him Eat Cake!

Women love to be wooed.  We love flowers, jewelry and perfume.  Valentine's Day has to be so easy for a man, but what does a woman buy?  If you want to get something he'll really like that doesn't break the bank, think about a food gift. 

You could get cream cheese-filled cinnamon rolls or cheddar biscuits at Rose Cottage Bakery at 113 W. Market Street, Kingsport.  You could get a custom cake at Sweet Revenge Cakery.

You could get wonderful breads or apple dumplings at Scratch Bakery in Johnson City.  You could get bagels, cookies or scones at Panera Bread.  You can get cream pies, tarts or truffles at Main Street Cafe, Jonesborough.

At Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, their specialty is doughnuts, but you can get baklava or chocolate croissants.

I'm making myself hungry.  Call now if you want to get something special for Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Heart Month - Be the Best You Can Be

With February being Heart month, I am thinking of ways that everyone could be healthier.  I see on TV brides who want to lose weight before their weddings.  It’s a natural thing to want to look your best when all eyes are on you and you have on a white dress, which is not the most flattering color.

I am available to be your fitness and nutrition coach through the months leading up to your wedding.  Nutrition is one of my favorite things.  I try to learn everything I can to keep myself healthy.  I work out several times a week.  If I can do it, you can do it.

We could set up times to go over nutritional information, and even to plan menus.  I could even go with you to the grocery store and help you make better selections.  I could come to your home and evaluate your pantry.  When you are giving your best effort to lose weight, some items just have to go.  We could have a weekly weigh-in (sometimes it helps just to have someone other than yourself to be accountable to).  I wouldn’t be the drill sergeant you see on TV.  I would be caring and encouraging, but you would have to push yourself.  We would make out a plan and we would be successful.  Give me a call if you want help (423)943-2630.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weddings on the Big Screen

This month has been so cold and snowy, and between year-end closing and movie season (Oscar nominations came out Tuesday), I have neglected the wedding blog.  Sorry.  I was trying to think of a way to incorporate my love of all things wedding and my love of movies.

The first movie wedding I remember is The Godfather, now out in Blu-Ray.  Nothing was too good for Vito Corleone’s daughter.  The cake was a favor called in, and it was fabulous.  There was a very erotic scene (for 1972) between Sonny and one of the bridesmaids.  Then when Michael had to move to Italy to avoid jail, he married a local girl.  The parade of the wedding party through the village sticks with me, still.  See, my love of weddings isn’t recent.

The wedding in Braveheart was beautiful, but sad for the fact that it had to be secret.  Lots of people want to incorporate something Celtic in their weddings.  There are many ways to do that, even if you don’t want a bagpipe player.

My favorite wedding movie is Father of the Bride.  I absolutely love Franck , played by Martin Short.  All the furniture must go, bring in the geese.  Poor Steve Martin, wanted so much for his daughter to have a nice wedding without causing his bankruptcy.

I also loved My Best Friend’s Wedding.  My favorite scene in that movie is the bridesmaid’s luncheon when they sing, “I Say a Little Prayer for You.”

I loved Steel Magnolias.  It was so pink.  One of my cousins, Sarah, had an all pink wedding, which was one of the most beautiful I remember.  She even had middle-school aged pink-clad girls handing out rice bags.  The scene I loved most in the movie was when Julia Roberts was talking about going skinny dipping with her fiancĂ© just before the wedding, and doing things that “would scare fish.”

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was also fun.  Everyone has certain traditions relative to family or religion, and the more they are incorporated in the wedding, the more special it will be for everyone.

On these cold days, buy or rent one of these movies and enjoy the pageantry.  It will be spring in two months, and we can truly be in wedding season again!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Purple and Yellow Wedding

These colors are complimentary and there are so many flowers in these colors, that you could have a very formal, or a very casual wedding and use these colors.

Bridesmaid's dress by Ann Taylor.  Real wedding of Matt and Rachel Osborne, photography by Amy Callahan.
I'm feeling like something to brighten up the cold, winter months.  A friend of mine reminded me today of our working at Girls, Inc. shovelling mulch in the heat of summer.  Oh, how I'd like to have that day back.  We don't appreciate summer enough, and let it slip away.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Preserving Your Wedding Gown

Overbay Photography
What does dry cleaning mean to you?  To me it means cleaning the garment, pressing it, putting it on a hangar so that the next time I want to wear it, it looks great.
I would like to warn you that not all dry cleaners are experienced at cleaning wedding gowns.  When I took my daughter’s gown in to be cleaned, it had a lot of black on the bottom edge, from a fun-filled night of dancing. This was actually two feet from the end of the train, since the dress had been bustled. There were no other stains, since she was careful not to get food or wine on it.  It’s one of the most important nights of your life, so you want to have a good time.  Since the dress touches the floor, any dirt on everyone’s shoes can get onto your dress.
The cleaners assured me that it came clean and that there were no problems.  It was bagged and boxed to be preserved for future use.  A couple of weeks later, I opened the box and took out the dress.  It had a huge amount of red stains all over the bottom of the dress, that weren’t there when I took the dress in.  I was horrified (especially knowing what the dress had cost).  The dress no longer had beautiful tucks making a slenderizing waistline.  The fabric, which had been cut on the bias, had stretched out of shape and hung limply with no body at all.
I found, through a friend, a person who had been a chemist and now owned his own dry cleaning business.  He looked pityingly at the dress and said it looked like a dishrag that was worth about $200.  He said that he thought he could clean it, but that the fabric might not have the body and luster it had originally.  He said that the cleaner had laundered the dress with detergent and had not dried it thoroughly.  Because the dress was silk, the moisture had caused the blood red stains.
I left the dress.  After two months, the dress had been cleaned, but had not been pressed.  He told me the bodice would have to be taken apart and the tucks would have to be reworked, requiring an experienced seamstress.  I told him I could do that.  He looked at me skeptically.  He said that if he had the dress pressed, he would have to dedicate one person to that job for at least two days and would have to charge me by the hour.  I said OK, but he didn’t follow through, and I finally had to pick up the dress in a plastic bag, all wrinkled.
It took me 15 hours to take the dress apart, rework all the tucks in the bodice, and iron the dress, the outer slip, the crinoline, and the inner slip, which had to be done with high heat, being careful not to burn it.  Medium heat would not bring back the luster.  When I had this complete, and hung it on the hangar, it didn’t hang properly.  Because the outer layer of the dress was silk and the inner layer was a man-made fiber, the silk shrunk when it was washed, but the slip did not.  Then the entire hem had to be taken apart, along with the stiff hem tape because the dress was a full 2.5 inches shorter than the slip.
I finally got the dress back together, and it really looked like new.  Because I have 40 years of experience sewing, I was able to do this, but even I was feeling pretty sick with the notion that a Paloma Blanca dress could be ruined by someone who was supposed to be a professional.
Be very careful.  I asked if they were experienced with wedding gowns, and of course they told me yes.  Try to find a professional to clean the dress, and you might not have to go through this much grief. If you find yourself in a similar situation and it’s worth it to you to preserve your gown, call me.  Maybe I can revive your gown, too.   I love the idea of a daughter wearing her mother’s gown, if it’s truly beautiful now, it will still be truly beautiful in 25 years.


With all the peanut M&M’s, toffee, caramel, pumpkin pie, chocolate cake, just to mention the desserts, we had for Christmas, it’s time to be serious about becoming more healthy.  The new Weight Watchers Points Plus program is absolutely great.  You can eat lots of wholesome foods, with no points value.  That not only allows you to lose weight, but keeps you healthier during the flu season, when you have more potential of getting really sick.  Robin Dotson is my leader.  She is so inspirational and fun.  There is also an app for your i-phone.

When you have that mid-afternoon lull, and need a snack, you can’t go to the snack machine.  You will have to bring your snacks from home.  I usually bring two types of fruit every day, just for snacks.  I bring my lunch as often as I can, so that I can work out during lunch and control what I am eating.  To help you remember to bring your healthy snacks to work, you might want to get one of these adorable Thirty-One thermal totes for only $10 and for an additional 1.50 you can get it monogrammed.  Contact Kristie Salyer.  Who doesn’t need a snack tote? 

This might not seem like a blog for a wedding website, but this would really make a great gift for a bridesmaid.  They come in 16 colors.  Also, if you are the bride and you don’t need to watch your weight, the healthy snacks will make your skin look better, give you more energy, and keep you well during the stressful times.

If you are interested in learning more about keeping yourself healthy, I highly recommend Superfoods Rx: Fourteen Foods That Will Change Your Life by Steven G. Pratt and Kathy Matthews.

Beans – reduce obesity
Blueberries – lower risk for cardiovascular disease
Broccoli – lowers the incidence of cataracts and fights birth defects
Oats – reduce the risk of type II diabetes
Oranges – prevent strokes
Pumpkin – lowers the risk of various cancers
Wild Salmon – lowers the risk of heart disease
Soy – lowers cholesterol
Spinach – decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease and age-related macular degeneration
Tea – helps prevent osteoporosis
Tomatoes – raise the skin’s sun protection factor
Turkey – helps build a strong immune system
Walnuts – reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer
Yogurt – promotes strong bones and a healthy heart

Make this the year you do something for yourself.  Live well.  Feel well.  Be happy!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hurry - Bridesmaids' Dresses on Sale!

So, you've gotten engaged and you haven't really gotten started with the planning.  So many merchants have huge discounts right now.  Look at this beautiful dress at J. Crew.  Most bridesmaids would look good in this, and it comes in several colors.  They would love owning the dress later, and it costs only (drumroll) 49.99.  Imagine yourself as a bridesmaid, having to pay only 49.99 and getting a silk dress that you can wear again.

If you don't think your bridesmaids can all wear strapless, here is another beautiful dress, and some colors are only 39.99, also silk.

I know from past experience, if you want these, you need to move quickly.  They will be gone, gone, gone in no time.

And, did you think you'd have to make a road trip to find a wedding gown?  Take a look at the Maggie Sottero gowns at Annie's Room.  They have moved from downtown Kingsport to Eastman Road in the center with Panera Bread.  I have purchased two gowns from them in the past, and they are absolutely wonderful to work with.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Let the Wedding Planning Begin!

It's time to take the tree down and get serious about planning your spring/summer wedding.  With the cold weather, what better time is there?  Here are some of the things which could be done while you are in by a cozy fire:

Launch a wedding website. 
Settle on a head count.
Reserve block of hotel rooms for guests.
Design and make prototype of invitations.
Begin calligraphy for invitations.
Plan your honeymoon.
Start composing a day-of timeline.
Choose songs.
DIY favors.
DIY shower invitations.
Select readings.

I am available, if you need help with any of these items. 

Now that Christmas is over, I am excited to get back into wedding planning mode.