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Monday, September 24, 2012

Tutu Cute!


Our wedding was full of lots of beautiful moments and fun ones too, but the cutest part of the day was our flower girls' trip down the aisle. You see our little ladies were a tad skiddish about making their entrance, but once they saw Uncle Boo (my husband) at the end of the “runway” holding out Altoids, they were moving. 
Who knew Altoids were a treat for kids?
This scene alone was enough to draw “awwws” and “how cutes” from our guests, but the girls' tutu dresses were a scene stealer throughout the day. People adored the fluffy frocks and I got dozens of questions about them. The dresses were a big hit with the girls too. One of our nieces, Anna, said she looked like a “ballet princess" and a "cloud.”


Ready for their close-up. Photos by Fine Arts Exposure.
Dresses by Baby Eliza Boutique. Purses by Les Deux Soeurs.
So, where did these magical pieces come from? The dresses were a custom order designed by Shanna Hanner, owner of the Etsy shop Baby Eliza Boutique. While the dresses were made especially for our little ballerinas, Baby Eliza Boutique carries all sorts of tutus in different colors.

Photo from Baby Eliza Boutique. 
For my flower girls, Shanna matched a swatch of my dress to the tulle used for the girls’ tutus. Their sashes were made with recycled scraps of eco-friendly silk from my bridesmaids' dresses, designed by Elizabeth St. John Couture. The girls like matching the "big girls." Shanna also tied little tulle knots along the bottom of their dresses to match the detail on the bottom of mine.

We match! Photo by Fine Arts Exposure. 
In addition to the tutu dresses, Baby Eliza Boutique, also outfitted my bridesmaids and readers, providing the hairpieces they wore, as well as my bridal hairpiece and garter. The pieces were all made with sustainable materials and cruelty-free feathers and a portion of the proceeds benefitted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF).  The boutique still features a hairpiece (in the same design my reader Manda wore) that has 50% of the proceeds benefitting CFF. 

Photo from Baby Eliza Boutique. A beautiful, cruelty-free hairpiece that benefits a great cause!
To see more of the hairpieces or to learn more about Baby Eliza Boutique you can read my past post “Accessorize to Save Lives” or visit Baby Eliza Boutique to check out the variety of bridal products that are offered, ranging from bridal sashes to hairpieces to tutu dresses. 


Monday, September 17, 2012

Helping Those Who Serve Us


This weekend, while my husband was scanning the pages of reddit, we ran across a link called "A Love Story in 22 Pictures." Upon clicking the link to the buzzfeed article, the picture below appeared with the accompanying caption, "A picture is worth 1,000 words. Keep tissues handy." For those of you who frequent reddit, you'll know that this isn't necessarily a typical post.  What followed was beyond moving.

Tim Dodd Photography.  Photo found online.
The photographs, from Tim Dodd Photography, captured the story of a young couple's bittersweet and inspiring love story. While the images depicted a story that was filled with loss and at times suffering, the couple's resilience and devotion to each other stood out. Really, the pictures showed what words can't. 

Sadly, they are not the only ones who have experienced such tragedy. Thousands of military families face difficult struggles and long roads to recovery. This couple's journey was a reminder of all the other military families whose sacrifices keep us safe and how important it is to show them how much we appreciate their service.

The stunning couple. Tim Dodd Photography.  Photo found online.
Recently, I learned about Brides Across America, a fantastic organization that works tirelessly to give back to military families by helping them celebrate their big day. Founded by Heidi Johnson, the organization unites military brides and bridal salons to help give the brides (and their grooms) the wedding of their dreams. Heidi’s background in the wedding industry gave her the knowledge and connections to make this happen. The inspiration for the idea came when she read an article about a soldier in Afghanistan who felt the US servicemen and their families were being forgotten. So, Heidi used her bridal boutique as a wedding gown donation drop off point and began Brides Across America. To make her vision happen and to reach as many military coupes as possible, Brides Across America teamed with Smiles Across the Miles and Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network. Since its founding in 2007, the organization has helped thousands of military couples have the wedding of their dreams. The program has received over 7,000 dresses.

A couple that benefitted from Brides Across America. Photo found online.
The organization accepts dress donations and monetary gifts. If you are interested in donating your gown, it must be in excellent, clean condition and cannot be older than four years old.  The organization also accepts veils, tiaras and accessories, but no undergarments or petticoats.

If you had your gown preserved please unpack it from its original box and inspect it before shipping. Do not ship it in the preservation box, but in the smallest box possible.  If you would like to receive a tax donation receipt, include it in the shipping box with your name, address and email address. 
If you have questions about making a donation or would like to support Brides Across America, you can email donations@bridesacrossamerica.com. To find out about a Wedding Gown giveaway event near you, click here.

It might be just a small step in a much bigger "battle," but Brides Across America is making great strides to bring a little bit of joy into the one day when these couples should be able to leave all their worries behind.  


Monday, September 10, 2012

A Snapshot of a Great Cause

While organizing files on my computer, I stumbled across some of my favorite wedding pictures. With our one year anniversary just around the corner, it was nice to reflect back on what was a wonderful day for us both. During the trip down memory lane, I found pictures that Dear New Orleans took at our rehearsal dinner too. 

Dear New Orleans is essentially an interactive photo booth.  The photographers came to our rehearsal dinner at Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar (if you're from Nola- you know the place) and took pictures of our friends and loved ones holding up signs, chalkboards and bare hands with notes ranging from how they met us to well wishes for our wedding day. 

My beautiful bridesmaids on how they met me.
And yes, that does say close wombs-
my cousin Laura and I are only months apart.
Don’t worry- the markers were all dry erase, so we didn't have any sharpie tattoos at the wedding :)

The idea is original, but what made Dear New Orleans a must-do for us, was their socially conscious commitment.   Dear New Orleans gives 10% of their net revenue to Evacuteer.org, which assists with New Orleans’ public evacuation during disasters, such as the recent evacuation for Hurricane Isaac. 

I can't say enough about what a great addition Dear New Orleans was to our wedding festivities.  To learn more about Dear New Orleans or Evacuteer.org you can check out my post "Love Notes that Save Lives." Here are just a few more shots that made me smile:

Our friends Casey and Emily.
Andrew went to prom with Emily and Casey was one of our groomsmen.
Our nieces + Andrew's sis and brother in law.
How cute is my mom?
My sister and her boyfriend Robert's awesome and nerdy well-wishes.


Monday, September 3, 2012

A Cinderella Story for your Bridesmaid Dress


Many of you have asked for information on where to donate your bridesmaid dresses. If you're like me, you have a rainbow of pink, purple, blue and black bridesmaid dresses hanging in your closet- dresses that you may or may not have worn since you rocked them on your buddy’s big day. Personally, I haven’t been forced to wear anything horrendous or even ugly, (Thanks, ladies!), but I have done a lot of wedding duty in the past 1 1/2 and have gotten a lot of new dresses. Check out the gallery below:

With my sister, Caroline, in  an elegant navy for our friend Rach's classy affair.
March 2011
Celebrating my friend Liz's wedding in fabulous Hahn purple.
October 2011
My sister doing MOH duty, sporting my favorite "Julie Green."
October 2011



Caroline and I again - this time rocking pretty pink frocks for my cousin Laura's spring wedding.
April 2012
Looking serious & chic in black for my friend Manda's Iowa nuptials.
July 2012
What to do with so many dresses? Especially when I need to buy two more new bridesmaid frocks in the next few months? Well, if you're trying to make room in your closet (like me), donating your lightly worn bridesmaid dresses is a great way to help others, particularly young girls who can’t afford prom and homecoming dresses.

If you are in the Houston area, The Fairy GodmotherProject (FGP) is a great option. It was created to help students who could not afford a prom dress still have the chance to attend prom in the proper attire. 

Since being founded in 2000, every year hundreds of girls from the Houston area have been able to get free dresses for events such as prom, graduation and Homecoming. teen guys are also able to get tuxedos free-of charge to wear as well. Donations are accepted all year.
The organization also looks for accessory donations too. You can visit the website to view FGP's wishlist.

Another similarly titled organization is the Chicago based not-for-profit, The Glass Slipper Project (GSP). The GSP operates a boutique that provides underserved teens in the Chicagoland area with a chance to select the dress of their dreams at no cost to them.
High school juniors and seniors are able to choose lightly used formal dresses and accessories from the boutique. To date, the organization has helped over 16,000 students have their Cinderella moment! Here are just a few pictures:



Donations are accepted all year and then during prom season, they are brought to the boutiques where the girls can shop. All students who shop in the boutiques must be currently enrolled in high school and are required to provide current high school ID cards and letters from their teachers or principals.

The Glass Slipper Project also accepts shoes and purses as well as unopened make up and hosiery. Like FGP, they also seek monetary donations for space rental costs and to purchase plus-size gowns. Additionally, they actively seek out beauticians who are willing to donate their services for hair and make-up.

If you are not in the Houston or Chicago areas and looking to be someone’s fairy godmother, don’t fret- the website DonateMyDress.org provides a directory of organizations like The Fairy Godmother Project and The Glass Slipper Project where you can donate your dress. DonateMyDress.org is the nation's first campaign to encourage teen girls to donate their prom and special occasion dresses to others who are less fortunate. (We adult ladies can donate our bridesmaid dresses too). 

Featuring organizations from across the USA, DonateMyDress.org allows women and girls to find places to donate in their area. The site even gives recommendations for some of their favorite dress donation sites and provides information on upcoming events and promotions. You can also check out a photo gallery of real girls who have donated or received dresses. There is also information on prom planning, including hair and makeup tips and information on other great causes.

Donations can be shipped or dropped off anytime to 
The Fairy Godmother Project:

The Fairy Godmother Project
7418 Pony Creek
Missouri City, TX 77459 Send items via parcel post from USPS. Financial contributions are also requested to purchase larger-sized dresses for plus sized and very tall teens and for accessories such as shoes and purse and to rent tuxedos. For more information email info@fairygodmotherproject.com or call 832-545-0202.

Donations can be shipped to the Glass Slipper Project:

Glass Slipper Project                                   
c/o Central Blacktop, Co. Inc.
6160 S. East Avenue
Hodgkins, IL 60525

If you would like to receive a tax receipt include a self-addressed, stamped envelope or if you provide an email address and request an email receipt that can be arranged as well.