A Victorian Romance Bridal Luncheon Beneath the Oaks

Channeling Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, this romantic bridesmaid luncheon almost seems ripped from the pages of a gothic novel set beneath the moss-draped oaks. Photographer
Emily Gilbert and Très Chic Southern Weddings dreamed up this styled shoot for the 2nd Orlando NotWedding, choosing deep colors and vintage props—like the old-fashioned clock and globe—that created a Victorian vibe. The warm color palette—perfect for a fall bridal shower—of vibrant reds, oranges and yellows is highlighted in almost every aspect of the event, from the mimosa bar to the bicolor roses. A decadent candy bar adds a modern touch with neon orange rock candy and jewel-tone macarons. It’s Southern gothic gone glam!

Photography: e. gilbert photography  | Coordination and design: Très Chic Southern Weddings |  Venue: Orlando Science Center | Hair and makeup: Luma Bridal | Wardrobe: Bloomingdales | Rentals: Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals | Tableware: Dishie Rentals | Linens: Over the Top | Stationery: Sprinkles | Candy Buffet: Florida Candy Buffets

Rent Designer Bridesmaid Dresses with Style the Aisle

Let’s face it—picking out and purchasing a bridesmaid dress doesn’t often top your list of favorite bridesmaid duties. Prices can be sky high and no matter how many times we say we’ll wear them again, we rarely do. Enter Style the Aisle, a genius bridesmaid dress rental company stocking some of the top styles from designer bridesmaid lines like Lula Kate and Johanna August. I asked cofounder Erica Gellerman to share a bit of background on how Style the Aisle came to be, which designers are next on her wish list—and what bridesmaid traditions she loves (and can’t stand).

So tell me, how did Style the Aisle begin?
My good friend Meaghan [and now Style the Aisle cofounder] was married two years before I was and during planning I asked her for a lot of advice. After my wedding, we started talking about what the most frustrating part of the wedding process was and I said that for me it was picking the bridesmaid dresses. That really struck a chord with her and we started to brainstorm what would have made finding the right dresses easier. With that, we came up with the idea for Style the Aisle.

How did you choose dresses for your own bridesmaids? Was it difficult to find something that ticked all the boxes?
It was incredibly difficult! That’s really what started the business. When I was planning my wedding, I lived in North Carolina and my bridesmaids were scattered around California, which made trying on dresses together nearly impossible. I also really wanted to keep the dresses affordable while still being gorgeous. I knew they likely would only wear them once, so price was really important to me. I scoured the internet and actually did look for bridesmaid dress rental options, but I didn’t find anything that was quite right. In the end, we chose cocktail dresses that everyone could buy online, but they weren’t the perfect dresses.

Tell me about the process of choosing designers for Style the Aisle. Who is on your list of dream designers to add?
Choosing designers was such a fun process. Meaghan and I already had a list of designers we admired, but we wanted to do thorough research. We bought stacks of magazines and scoured the blogs pulling out any dresses we loved. After that, we made a prioritized list and started reaching out to them one by one. We weren’t sure what to expect, but to our surprise, everyone was really friendly and interested in the idea.
Our next priority is adding on dresses from our current designers. They have such beautiful collections and we really offer such a small taste of their gorgeous dresses. So before adding anyone else we want to make sure we’re doing justice to their collection and brand. After that, we have a pretty short list of designers we want to add, but on the top of the list is Amsale and Jenny Yoo.

What has been the most exciting or rewarding moment of launching Style the Aisle so far?
I would have to say our best moment so far was the moment when our first order came in. It was such an exciting moment to sit back and realize that a perfect stranger had seen what we were doing loved it, and trusted us enough to dress her bridal party. We also get so excited every time we get an email or a photo from a bride after a wedding. It makes us remember exactly why we started this business.

What bridesmaid trend or tradition do you love the most?
It’s not so much one tradition that I love the most, but I love all of the festivities where you can really celebrate your friendships and spend quality time with the amazing ladies in your wedding. These are the people who know you best and who have been with you through all of your highs and lows over the past years. I love celebrating those special friendships as well as celebrating the excitement of your marriage.

Ok, we have to know the flip side…which bridesmaid trend or tradition would you like to see disappear?
All of the drama and headache that goes into bridesmaid dress shopping!

One last question: I see that you’re a Duke fan. I went to Wake Forest undergrad. Can we still be friends? Also, name one thing you miss the most from North Carolina.
I think so…but definitely not in March.
There are so many things I miss about North Carolina, but number one is the BBQ! I also miss the gorgeous trees and picturesque country roads; it’s such a beautiful place.

Photography: Caroline Lima Photography | Dresses: Kirribilla for Style the Aisle

For more on renting bridesmaid dresses from Style the Aisle, check out all the details and browse their collections here.

A Lowcountry Creekside Bridesmaid Luncheon in Charleston

There’s something incredibly relaxing and also kind of magical about sitting on a dock with friends, enjoying a cocktail and watching the water flow by. That tranquil lowcountry vibe is perfectly captured by Clay Austin Photography in this styled bridesmaid luncheon created for the 2nd Charleston NotWedding. The stunning florals set a secret garden vibe with wild greenery and sunset-colored blooms. The simple geometric chandelier draped in ivy is a modern counterpoint to the rustic charm of the dock. Turquoise accents abound, from the wooden monogram signs on the back of each chair (what a perfect bridesmaid favor!) to the electric blue specialty cocktail topped with a matching striped straw. The 2nd Charleston NotWedding is this Wednesday, July 9th, at the Boone Hall Plantation. (Wondering exactly what a NotWedding might be? More here.) Unfortunately, tickets are sold out, but check The NotWedding blog soon for all the gorgeous details.

Photography: Clay Austin Photography | Venue: The Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation | Styling: Scarlet Plan & Design | Rentals and Chandelier: Event Drs. | Invitations & Favors: Jankun Creative Studio | Wooden Signs and Chalkboard: Back 40 Life | Florals: Wild Flowers Inc. | Paper Signs: Lidda Bits Design | Placecards and Menu: Jam + Toast | Dresses: Maude Couture | Makeup: Dannon K. Collard | Hair: Hair Dreams by Dyana | Eyelashes: Charleston Lash and Beauty Bar

Frock + Flowers // Red, White and Blue Edition

frock + flowers // 4th of July edition. How to pull off a red, white and blue bridesmaid look and keep it classy rather than cheesy

With the Fourth of July right around the corner, I’m packing my bags for a weekend at the shore and sending red, white and blue inspiration your way. Trying to channel such a classically patriotic combo can be tricky—you want a nod to Americana, not a high-flying flag! One way to keep the look subtle and fresh is to incorporate a patterned dress, like this poppy and navy floral or chambray stripe. Another simple tip is to pair a royal blue or deep navy dress with plenty of white flowers accented by a few red or deep pink blooms.

Image credits: Top left: Style Me Pretty | Top right: Wedding Chicks | Bottom left: Southbound Bride | Bottom right: Poppies and Posies

 

Delightful Little Things (vol. 2)

Return to Bar Harbor
A few weeks ago, the boyfriend and I took our second trip to Bar Harbor, Maine. We visited last year and just adored it, so we decided to see if we wanted to make it a yearly tradition (spoiler alert: we do). Our first day we went canoeing in Long Pond and spotted a bald eagle, among other birds and wildlife. For reasons unknown, all bodies of water on the island are referred to as “ponds,” but this is definitely a misnomer—we paddled for four hours, surrounded by mountains and trees the vibrant green of spring and barely saw half of the lake. Afterward, we headed to Southwest Harbor for lunch at Beal’s Lobster Pier and enjoyed a blueberry ale while watching the lobster boats come in. The lobster at Beal’s was amazing—I think my favorite during the entire trip, though it’s hard to choose.

Beals Lobster Pier in Southwest Harbor, Maine

Day two took us on a hike up Penobscot Mountain to see gorgeous views of the Cranberry Islands and Jordan Pond. We started at the Jordan Pond House and headed up the Spring Trail, which was a bit challenging but fun, with lots of stone stairs and a few tight scrambles up rocky ledges. I consider myself an intermediate hiker and was totally fine, with only one moment when I felt like I needed to crawl up on my knees. The boyfriend, who is a more adventurous hiker, absolutely loved this part though. The Spring Trail took us to the Penobscot Ridge Trail and gorgeous views on all sides, a very easy but breathtaking hike over mountain scrub and past boulders and tiny ponds. We descended via the Deer Brook Trail, which borders a stream and requires some scrambling over rocks. In late May, the stream was only a trickle, making the hike down fairly easy, but I imagine it’s a bit more challenging if the water is high. Deer Brook Trail leads you down to an easy stroll around Jordan Pond and back to your car.

Andrew and I are late eaters and Bar Harbor seems to be an early eater town, with many of the restaurants closing at 8:30pm. We were able to find a few spots we really liked that serve food late though: We stopped at Dog and Pony for a drink and bowl of clam chowder after our long drive up and enjoyed a great meal at The Thirsty Whale (fish taco wrap = yum). Before heading out on our last day, we had to stop in at Pirate’s Cove mini golf, where Andrew managed to win us a free round for next time! The end of May/beginning of June seems to me to be the ideal time to visit Bar Harbor. While a few places may not have opened yet (we missed the Jordan Pond House and their delicious popovers by one day), the weather is perfect—sunny but with a cool breeze—and we have heard that absolute crowds of tourists descend in July and August. On our way out, we stopped for one last lobster at Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound and enjoyed a quiet moment together at the picnic tables out back. I literally can’t wait to go back and am so excited to make this a yearly tradition!

An Adventure Awaits Travel Bridal Shower

One of the defining moments in my relationship with my boyfriend, Andrew, was a trip we took to Iceland after only a few months of dating. From exploring glaciers and hiking by waterfalls to almost stranding our rental car on the black sand beach, the adventure brought us close together. So when I saw this Adventure Awaits travel-themed shower captured by photographer and the bride’s future sister-in-law Aly Carroll, I was immediately smitten. Bride Natalie’s bridesmaids and family rummaged through their houses for vintage suitcases, cameras and globes to set the world-traveling mood. Each table centerpiece included a tag marking a milestone or special memory in the couple’s relationship, from their first date to running a triathlon together in Lima, Peru. Guests enjoyed a yogurt and treat bar complete with berry baskets and a nude cake from The Bake Shoppe (love this trend, by the way—down with fondant!). Even the games had an international theme, as guests were challenged to translate different words and phrases based on the theme of “love.” Me encanta!

Photography: Aly Carroll Photography | Invitations: BeyondDigital | Florals and Event Design: Shelly Sarver Designs | Cupcakes: Mama CT’s Cupcakes | Cake: The Bake Shoppe | Venue: Evangelical Covenant Church, Des Moines | Decor: Target, Hobby Lobby, vintage items from family and friends

Frock + Flowers // Gold Dress + White Bouquet

What flowers should you pair with a gold bridesmaid dress? Frock + Flowers // Gold dresses with white flowers with pops of pale pink and orange

Frock + Flowers is your guide for choosing which flowers to pair with your bridesmaid dresses. For this inaugural Frock + Flowers post, I paired gold metallic dresses with light-colored flowers in whites with pops of pale pink and orange. Gold is such a glamorous choice for a bridesmaid dress, but the light bouquets add a softness and femininity when paired with this sexy shade. It’s the perfect way to ground the sparkle, especially for a daytime or outdoor wedding in the spring and summer.

Frock: Gold, metallic dresses

Flowers: White bouquets with pops of pale pink and orange

The vibe: Soft glamour, subtle sparkle

Image credits: Top left: 100 Layer Cake | Top right: Style Me Pretty | Bottom left: Elizabeth Anne Designs | Bottom right: 100 Layer Cake