Northern VA Bridal Boutiques

I got an alarming amount of responses from my last post.  

…….Alarming, meaning ZIP ;)

So I decided to do some research on my own and found a few boutiques in Northern VA.   

Your probably thinking there are a ton of Bridal Boutiques in Northern VA.  Maybe this is a ton to you, but I wasn’t blown away…  still room for one more :)

Jeanette’s Bride and Boutique in Manassas

White Swan Bridal in Vienna

Hannelore’s  of Olde Town

Soliloquy Bridal in Herndon

Leesburg Bridal & Tuxedo

Le Reve Bridal in Leesburg

Elegance by Roya in Alexandria

Labella Bridal and Consignment Boutique in Occoquan

Moni’s Bridal Boutique in Manassas

Amy’s Bridal Boutique Woodbridge

4 Everly After Old Town Alexandria

Gilda’s Bridal Boutique Collection Dunn Loring

Trousseau in Vienna


Brides to be, remember, most brides order their gown 6 to 9 months before their wedding date ~ it can take up to 16 weeks for delivery from the designer.  Plus the fitting process can take between 6-8 weeks for the in-house fitting process. 



Bridal Boutiques…ready, set, go!

Hello all my patient blog followers ;) 

It’s been awhile!   I hope you all are well.  I’ve missed you! 

I was hoping to get some help from you tonight…

For all of you DC and non-DC Metro Residents:

Where did you get your wedding dress?  Would you recommend it to a friend?  What did you like about it?

I would love to hear from all of you!  


Thank you :) 


style extender

hello again everybody! sorry for the lack of communication these days.  I am back.  I promise.

This product is $money$. Seriously, add it to your hair care products NOW. I was at the spa a month ago… I promise this doesn’t happen often, but I was treating myself for landing a new job!  (I’ll get to the new job later) Back to the spa, I was reading a random magazine…maybe good housekeeping and came across this product:


So I thought I had my dry shampoo routine mastered….this product rocked my world.  It has helped me go even longer between washes and holds the style longer.   For example…and sometimes I am too honest, but I can go longer in between washes…maybe even as long as a week now ;) It’s Wednesday and my hair is still completely down with fresh curls.  Usually by this point, I have it pulled back in a ponytail or half way up because it’s stiff and not styling as well.

The pricing is about $20.00 and it’s worth every penny.  A little goes a long way so this bottle will last a long time.   Plus, Jeniffer Aniston co-owns this company.   We all know she has some amazing hair. I recommend you go for it. Try it out.  I hope you have the same results that I have had.  Please do let me know!

Wedding Dress Appointments Part 1

One of my favorite TV shows is “Say Yes to the Dress.”  I know, I bet you NEVER would have guessed!  My husband LOVES to watch this with me too *kidding*.  I love seeing how the appointments go: who they bring, what their style is, watching them try on several different dresses, what the Bridal Consultants have to say and so on…Love all the dynamics.

That being said and this may be a shocker to you…I did not ever have a bridal appointment.

I know, right?  Crazy! ;)

I was Maid of Honor in a dear friend’s wedding and we were shopping for Bridesmaids Dresses for her upcoming June Wedding.  My Wedding wasn’t until November, but she told me to keep an eye out while we were going from dress shop to dress shop.  She’s so sweet to let me even look while we were concentrating on her wedding. More or less, I only wanted to see if there were any dresses that caught my eye and were worth coming back for.

On the last stop of our Bridesmaid dress search, I saw a dress that was what I was looking for.  My friend, who was also my MOH, encouraged me to try it on…and why not?   What would it hurt? I did and I just knew it was the one.  People in the store, that I didn’t even know, walked over to tell me that this dress had to be the one.

It was not your typical dress appointment and my own Mother didn’t even get to be there.  I do have a very close relationship with my mother and she is one of my best friends so it wasn’t that I didn’t want her to be there.  I felt really bad that she wasn’t there to see her only daughter try on her wedding dress for the first time.  One thing my mother has been so good about teaching me is independence.  Even when it’s hard for her and I, she has always been good about loving me in such a unique way that has grown me into an independent woman.  Even when it would be nice and convenient to live close by to my parents, my mom taught me to pursue new challenges, find the best opportunities, and explore new places.  I made that decision to get that dress without her seeing it and her approval of the dress, but I knew she would love it.

She may not have been there for my Wedding Dress appointment, but we shared one very special Mother – Daughter moment that very few have… She altered my wedding dress and made my wedding veil.   It was only her and I there for the fittings and alterations.   She was the only one to see me put on my shoes to make sure my dress was the right length.   She was the only one to see me in my dress for the final fitting and one week before the Wedding. She took hours of her time to make alterations and make my veil from scratch.   She did such a great job and I am so glad that we were able to share these moments.

I’m a little early, but with Mother’s Day right around the corner, I wanted to have a little shout out to my Mother and wish her a wonderful Mother’s Day.  I love her so much. I would not be the person I am today, without her.   You rock, Mom.

Also, for your entertainment, I learned this little saying for a Mother’s Day skit when I was probably in Elementary School and it just stuck…  “My mother is a seamstress, buttons and bows and she doesn’t even get thanks for all that she sews. “


In the weeks to come, I am to talk more about the Bridal Appointment. This is just my entry way into the succession of posts to come.  Please let me know if you have any questions that you would like answered! :)

sharing my love for dry shampoo

So I am about to reveal to you something that I am pretty open about.  My husband thinks maybe I am too open about it, but I was encouraged to share with all of you.  It may be considered quite a “skill” by some of you… I can go several days with out traditionally washing my hair.  Yes, boys think that is gross but us girls know that it’s not healthy to wash our hair everyday and it’s too time consuming!

It’s really something that you have to train your hair to do.  I’ve heard people say that I have to wash my hair everyday because it’s too thin or too greasy(blah blah blah) and I don’t believe it.  The first couple days that you start to train your hair may be rough, but hold on.   Your hair will get used it with the faithful help from dry shampoo.  Here are two of my favorite dry shampoos and I have tried plenty:


Blow Pro Dry Shampoo


Oscar Blondi Dry Shampoo

These are powder dry shampoos.  I have not had much luck with the spray cans.  I go through the spray cans quicker and they are typically more expensive.  I also feel they make my hair feel stiffer to work with.  I usually work the powder through my hair and then run the blow dryer through it for a few minutes to add some volume and absorb excess oil.

When I was first training my hair to go longer in between washes, I followed this routine:

Day 1 wash and wear hair down

Day 2 dry shampoo and wear hair half way pulled back

Day 3 dry shampoo and all hair up

Day 4 start over

Do you have a favorite dry shampoo?  I am always looking to try new dry shampoos!

This is a good tip for all of you Brides-to-be because your hair stylist will ask you to come with your hair unwashed the day of your wedding and this will help get your hair in a place where it looks fresh and clean when it may not be ;)

First guest post! An introduction!

I’m so honored to have my first guest post on the blog.  Especially the very talented, Sabrena Deal.   I am a satisfied customer of her photography business, S. Carter Studios, and will be back for more!

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Ok, enough from me…I don’t want to steal any of her thunder..and I will go on and on about how much I love her work!  Her she is, Ladies and Gentlemen:


What do you do, how long have you been doing it and what makes you awesome?

I am Sabrena Deal of S. Carter Studios. I share the role of photographer with my husband Josh. We have been doing weddings since May 2007 and have done 88 weddings to date! I’m not sure about what makes me awesome, I can just say that we see each wedding as an opportunity to serve not only the couple but their families and their future generations by capturing the big, planned moments and the spontaneous ones in between.  We also recognize that brides without big budgets also deserve beautiful images and seek to price ourselves in a way that makes quality photography coverage available at a price that we could have afforded when we were getting married.
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What sets Virginia weddings apart from weddings anywhere else?
Virginia weddings are unique in that couples can choose to mix styles of ceremony and reception venues from modern, elegant, country, chic and traditional in the same town! We have the best of both worlds with mountains and beaches available in our great state and some of the best vendors in the nation to work with!
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What is your biggest piece of advice for people planning a wedding?
My biggest piece of advice for planning a wedding is: Make a list of your priorities, the things about your wedding that are most important to you, and let that list dictate how the budget should be spent. If the most important thing to you is that your guests enjoy a great meal, then your highest budget item should be food. Identify your top three priorities and protect those! Let the sacrifices be made to the items that fall lowest on the list, even if it breaks tradition!
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What is your favorite trend right now?
I am actually loving wedding gowns that aren’t strapless! It’s great to see details on the gowns that create beautiful shapes for the brides and don’t require the strapless shuffle ::picture the tugging at the neckline that inevitably happens as the night goes on::
Share some VA Vendors that you have visited with us:  scarterstudios 0013 copy
Downtown Roanoke (on top of a parking deck!)
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Downtown Roanoke (on top of a parking deck!)
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Berry Hill Estate
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Lynchburg College
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Lynchburg College
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Emory and Henry College
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Virginia Beach, VA 
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Emory and Henry College 
Thank you so much for sharing your talent with us, Sabrena.  Not enough?   Get more S. Carter Studios:  website, facebook, twitter, and  S. Carter Studios blog! Plus stay tuned, Sabrena will be back for another guest post!

oh snap!

Have you checked out Wedding Snap?


I have been to a wedding that has used this new picture tool.  Wedding Snap allows you to collect all pictures and videos from your guests in one place. This allows you to view and even print albums from the pictures shared by your guests.  Plus you can play the slideshow of pictures being uploaded to Wedding Snap live at your reception.  Pictures are instantly available to view and your DJ can assist with playing the slideshow.  It’s easy!


Are you thinking that is why you have a photographer?  Well this will give you all the pictures your guests are snapping since the photographer can’t be 10 million places at once.   I think it’s great for getting photos that your guests are taking with each other.  Also, they might capture a unique photo of the bride & groom that the photographer didn’t catch!  Everyone will be able to view and share these pictures before the official photographs are back from the photographer.  It’s something to hold you over until you see the main event!

You will receive 200 FREE customized business cards with instructions for your guests on how to download the iphone/droid app and where to upload their digital camera photos. Many couples include these cards in their invitation cards or upon arrival to the ceremony.  Photos can be added during or after the wedding day.

Text ‘snap’ to 415-659-9877 to download the app for free!

yesterday’s mail

I apologize for the little hiatus that I took the past couple weeks.  I did miss blogging and all of you!

Yesterday was exciting day for my mailbox!  Look what I received:


First Wedding Invitation of the Season! My dear friend Teresa is getting married and I couldn’t be happier for her!  Back in the good ol’ days when I first moved to DC, Teresa and I worked together.  We had so much fun taking long lunch breaks to shop, check out DC restaurants and work out.  I am so looking forward to her May wedding.

Are you ready for Wedding Season to begin?   This is the first year that my husband and I don’t have at least 5 weddings to attend.  What are we going to do with all of our free time?  I guess the wedding craze has ended and the baby train has started.

My mailbox got more action yesterday when it received these beauties:


Business cards for the blog! My plan is to start visiting a new bridal boutique at least once a month to share with all of you! I hope to share my business cards with those boutiques willing to display them.   I used Vista print for the first time.  They seemed to have the best and most affordable options.  I am pretty happy with the quality and speed.  After drooling over a business card I found on Minted, I decided to go with the most affordable option from Vista Print.  Have you used Vista Print before?

I also wanted to remind you on Friday I will be heading to back to Ava Laurenne to attend a Fashion Show.  Special guest Jose Dias, gown designer for Justin Alexander.  If you would like to join, register here.  I will be sharing with you all next week so stay tuned!

in the spirit of giving…


In of spirit of giving, since yesterday was my hubby’s birthday–Happy 26th Birthday, Kyle!!!–let’s talk presents.  I’ve been asked this question several times over the years…What was your favorite Wedding Gift?

I am a strong believer, when in doubt, follow the registry. But, some like to know what is the best item to pick from the registry.  Especially, since the couple may not get everything they have listed on the registry.  Others like to be unique and not get something that is listed on the registry.

Here are my 6 favorites:

Monogrammed anything– towels, blankets, glasses, vases, etc.  Pottery barn does a great job at monogramming just about everything.

Linens, Towels, even Beach Towels for the Honeymoon –Who really wants to buy this stuff themselves?  Not I.

Address Stamps–  With the couples married name and new address. I got mine from here.

Air Mattress– for real.  One of the best wedding gifts that I have gotten.  Comes in handy.

Personalized Wine bottles — With the couples names, wedding date and a wish.  Perfect for celebrating anniversaries.

Framed Wedding Date– Recently saw this done, where someone took various pictures of all the numbers (11-21-09) and framed them for the couple.  Simple and thoughtful.



What was your favorite wedding present?  What do you normally give when going to a wedding?

St. Augustine

In my Florida travels, two weeks ago, I visited St. Augustine.  I had actually vacationed in St. Augustine once before, but did not really get into downtown St. Augustine to explore.  Although, I had limited time to explore when I visited for work, I was able to see more of the heart of St. Augustine since I visited my customer at Flagler College.  Seriously, the most beautiful campus I have ever visited. So much history and old architecture would easily convince me to go to school there. The main building is actually an old hotel filled with a huge rotunda and original Tiffany’s windows.  The students were even lucky enough to regularly use this building as their dining hall.


That night, I stayed at the Casa Monica Hotel right across the street from Flagler College.  Absolutely beautiful!! Originally built in 1888 and restored in 1999, this hotel is a member of the National Trust Historic Hotels of America.  Like most hotels they offer wedding packages.   This would be such a nice destination wedding spot, if you are looking to stay State side.   The hotel is filled with artwork and the decor is all Spanish influence.   Plus there is so much for your guests to do outside of the wedding ceremony.  The town of St. Augustine has plenty of little shops and good eats. The beach is close by too (mainly why I didn’t make it to historic downtown St. Augustine the first time around).  If you are looking for a destination wedding, romantic get-away or honeymoon spot, check out this hotel.  It’s also a Marriott hotel so rack up or use those points!!

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What do you think of Destination Weddings?

Have you been to St. Augustine before?

I can’t wait to go back to St. Augustine and spend some more time there!