Where Memories Are Made

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Mom’s Dress Part 3, The Big Reveal


Photo courtesy of Photography by Sarah Crail


Photography courtesy of Photography by Sarah Crail

Thank goodness for other kindhearted  wedding pros. I had this idea for the big reveal after I was done making a fabric bridal bouquet. My goal was to capture “that moment”, you know, the one that made all of the effort and contemplation worth all of the hours of worrying. Worrying if I lived up to what I said I could do for the bride.

I met Sarah Crail, Photography by Sarah Crail at an Indy Wedding Ideas networking meeting. I asked her if she would be interested in photographing the big reveal. She didn’t hesitate. She told me it would be an honor. What a wise decision on my part to have asked this talented photographer. You’ll see why in a moment.

God bless Katie. I knew it was going to be somewhat emotional opening the box that contained her bridal bouquet. Emotional because I transformed her mom’s wedding dress into what she would be carrying down the aisle. Emotional because her mom is no longer physically here, but she would be here in spirit and that was a big deal to all of us who participated it this adventure. Katie said yes to the photo shoot. She brought her mom’s sister with her, Aunt Laura.

Right now I am holding my breath praying I got this right

Right now I am holding my breath praying I got this right. Photo courtesy of Photography by Sarah Crail

The big moment

The big moment! Photo courtesy of Photography by Sarah Crail

It was a pretty blustery day as Pooh would say. We had planned to meet up at a local park. Preferably one with flowers, but it was just too cold & rainy. Here comes Sarah to the rescue. She contacted a local B&B, Four Sisters Inn and asked the owner if we could use the space for a couple of hours. The owner so graciously agreed. What a perfect setting! Surrounded by vintage items in a beautiful old house. The place of dreams for me.

Her eyes say it all. This right here makes it all worthwhile.

Her eyes say it all. THIS right here makes it all worthwhile. Photo courtesy of Photography by Sarah Crail

In case you were wondering, the flowers in the bouquet and boutonnieres were entirely made from her mom’s wedding dress. We also made pendants for the girls in the bridal party using lace, organza and appliques from the dress. All were beautifully sentimental, but I just had to sneak a little bit of fun into the ring bearers boutonniere.IMG_2867


I’ve sprinkled some pictures here and there throughout this blog entry. My hope is that others will see what can be done with the old wedding dress that is hanging in the closet. If you are not going to wear it, but it has great sentimental value why not turn it into the piece that you will carry down the aisle? What better way to represent your loved one?

For the girls in the bridal party

Sweet gifts for the girls in the bridal party. Photo courtesy of Photography by Sarah

Something special for Aunt Laura

Something special for Aunt Laura

Many, many thanks to Katie who shared something so very personal with me. It was an honor and great pleasure to make this bouquet for you. I believe wholeheartedly that your mom was smiling down on you and was pleased with your sweet gesture.

And many thanks to Sarah Crail for sharing her time, talent & ingenuity with setting up this wonderful experience.

Four Sisters Inn, you made it a much more comfortable shoot. Your place is absolutely gorgeous! We enjoyed checking out all of the wonderful vintage items you have in the home. It made for a perfect backdrop. We are forever grateful.

A tribute to mom

I LOVE this image taken by Photography by Sarah Crail

Lovely shot of the stem & Katie's engagement ring.

Lovely shot of the bouquet stem and Katie’s engagement ring. Photo courtesy of Photography by Sarah Crail


Mom’s Wedding Dress Part 2

Becky's Dress

Becky’s Dress


 I’ve finished taking apart the dress that belonged to Katie’s mom. A true labor of love that took about 3hrs total to deconstruct, using a handy little seam ripper and lots of determination. What I ended up with was yards and yards of material, lace, and appliques.

Bits of loveliness

Bits of loveliness


Yards & Yards of Appliques

Yards & Yards of Appliques

Yards of material that will make up fabric flowers

Yards of material that will make up fabric flowers

I was so excited to start on the fabric flowers. First I had to iron the under slip and cut  into more manageable pieces. These would be the base of most of the flowers. Then add the layers of chiffon and lace for a softer effect. I really like the look and feel of different types of materials together. It adds so much more depth to the finished product.

These are a few of the 25-30 fabric flowers that will go into making Katie’s bridal bouquet. I popped a few pieces of Grandma’s jewelry into the centers and this made the sweetest little flowers. I made sure to send all pictures to Katie first and let her know that I would be sharing sneak peeks through social media and my blog. I didn’t want her caught off guard this time. I’m afraid the last time I posted about plans for her mom’s dress I sent the published blog to her email and she read it at work. Yikes! Not a good idea to get emotional at the office.

We only need about 27 more until the bouquet is complete.

We only need about 27 more until the bouquet is complete.

It’s going to be quite lovely when it is finished. I need to figure out how to fit as much of her mom and grandmother’s jewelry into the bouquet without it being “too much” and weighing in at 10 pounds. I am up for the challenge (insert wink). Pictures will be posted here and there, but the big reveal won’t come until after Katie’s October wedding. Feel free to follow along on my Facebook business page, Couture Keepsakes, if you want updated more often.



Grandma's beautiful brooch in the center of the 1st flower made for Katie's bouquet

Grandma’s beautiful brooch in the center of the 1st flower made for Katie’s bouquet


Mom’s Wedding Dress

I’m amazed and excited every time I meet with a bride 2 b and she brings family items to share in a bridal order. I love listening to the stories behind each piece while I look at her face as she reminisces. I’m amazed because she trusts me to take care of her precious items and to make something that will capture the emotion she feels for her loved one(s).

Some of Grandma's jewels

Some of Grandma’s jewels


I met with Katie a couple of days ago. We had been emailing each other over the course of a few weeks. We even met up one time to discuss possibilities. I was late. By an hour! I take complete responsibility for that. I misunderstood and had the wrong time written down. Luckily for me Katie stuck around and waited for me. We sat down in a Starbucks discussing plans for her wedding. She told me about her mom passing away and how she had her wedding dress, but it was dated and she wasn’t going to wear it. I suggested maybe incorporating her mom’s dress somehow in her bridal bouquet. We chatted about her fiance and how his name, Maco was pronounced like taco, the colors she chose, the location, her style of dress, etc….We parted, both with ideas floating in our heads on how to pull her bouquet together and represent her mother well.

These are just some of the things going into Katie's bouquet

These are just some of the things going into Katie’s bouquet

This definitely has to make it into the bouquet

This definitely has to make it into the bouquet


I couldn’t have planned our last meeting any better, not only did Katie have her mom’s jewelry, she had grandma’s jewelry as well. What fun to look through it all deciding on what pieces definitely have to go into the bouquet and those we will put in if space allows. But the crowning moment was when she handed over her mom’s dress. Certainly dated, but still quite pretty. We will make fabric flowers for Katie’s bouquet, the groom’s boutonniere, and of course the father of the bride boutonniere. Not to worry the dress will not be chopped up. I promise. I have consulted a dear friend of mine, who happens to be an amazing seamstress and together we will deconstruct the dress so that I can make her flowers and Katie will be able to have several pieces of useable material left over in case she ever has something else made down the line. Who knows, perhaps a baby blanket?

So excited to peek inside!

So excited to peek inside!

Mom's dress

Mom’s dress



Pretty veil


Pretty details

Working on a bridal order is an intimate experience for me. My brides will never be just a number. They trust me with their family items. They let me in just a little bit to share in stories and memories. I picture the looks on their faces when they were telling their stories as I work on their bouquets. I want to make something that, I hope, creates a strong emotion. There is nothing better for me than making a bride cry……..happy tears of course!


Loving the sleeves



Barn Weddings, Fabric Flowers and the Wedding Planner

Wedding planners. What a fantastic concept! To help a bride pull together one of the most important days of her life, he or she can be invaluable. My friend, Renea owns a wedding planning company, Elite Coordinators.  She also owns Personal Tux . The woman is a powerhouse! She contacted me about one of  her brides needing bridal bouquets. I wish you could all meet Renea, she is becoming a good friend. Crazy, funny, sassy, drop dead gorgeous, and the consummate professional when planning an event. No, she won’t pick up your wedding cake from the baker, but she sure will delegate who will.


Her bride, Hannah loves everything vintage. She is getting married at her family’s barn. Perfect for her and her fiance. Very sentimental. We  met up at Renea’s office to discuss details. It was an 8am meeting and we didn’t leave until 11:00. It was fun. More like friends chatting and trying not to eat all of the yummy pastries Renea was so sweet to provide first thing in the morning.


Hannah told me she has buttons, brooches, doilies, and grandma’s lace. Once I heard “grandma’s lace”….that did it for me! I knew we would be a perfect match. I am beyond excited to start working on her bouquets. We’ve decided on a button bouquet for her and her sister (the maid of honor), but I’m going to make fabric flower bouquets for the rest of the bridal party. Fabric flowers, sigh… new love. The richness of the fabrics, the colors, the texture. They are oh so pretty.IMG_0603


   It’s a bit overwhelming to be a young bride to be and plan all of those details. How much better to have someone else handle the planning. You get to be stress free and enjoy the journey. Someone to bounce all of those ideas off of, but will keep you grounded as well. Reminding you that you do have a budget when you start showing all of those Pinterest ideas.


Who better than a planner to find you someone who can make you something that no one else has, be it a bouquet made out of buttons, fabric, brooches, or a combination of all three? Had Renea not known me through networking Hannah may not have decided to be so unique on her wedding day. So, what do you think? Would you forgo traditional flowers for something completely different? Hannah’s bouquets will last a lifetime and guess what? No wilting, no watering, no lost petals. Perfect for a barn wedding.

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Women’s Night of Whimsy

So, last Friday evening the sis and I went out to a local antique mall. It was for an event called Women’s Night of Whimsy. It was the first year for this type of event that benefited  The Julian Center, a local organization that helps victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other life crises. They had wine tasting, snacks, and pop up vendors along with their permanent booths filled with all kinds of goodies. I can tell you that they need to change a few things around next year. You don’t have 300 plus woman in a place that says there will be wine and then make them wait 20 minutes in line for said beverage. They should have had someone passing out complimentary wine like they do at cocktail parties. Everyone knows once the wine starts flowing the purse strings magically open, but then again maybe that’s just me.

It was a great evening. Not only did I get to hang out with my little sister, I also got to do one of my most favorite activities……..for vintage items. I could have spent the whole evening pouring through old buttons, brooches, hats, gloves, pictures and such. I hit the jackpot when I found rhinestone buttons. They will look beautiful in someone’s bridal button bouquet and/or hairpiece. Oh, the possibilities!

Walking into The Southport Antique Mall is an adventure. The place is huge, 30,000 square feet! It seems to go on and on forever with so much to see and touch. The sights may well remind you of your parents or grandparents. The shocking part for me is when I see something from my own childhood! How can that be? I’m not  old, but then I gaze upon that Barbie jet  my little sister and I used to play with and realize with sudden clarity that indeed to some I am old. Old enough to have childhood toys in an antique mall!

Making the climb upstairs to their newly renovated Gypsy Boutique was a vintage lover’s dream. Filled with wedding gowns, veils, formal wear, hats, gloves, and shoes, I get goosebumps just remembering. The Sony and Cher Show was playing in the background. I was in heaven. I took some pictures with my phone. It really didn’t do any justice to the loveliness I found within (my apologies). Sis and I kept repeating “This reminds me of mom.” It was fun to travel back just for a little while and laugh at the things people used to wear or sigh at the beautiful things that we wish we could pull off, sadly we have a little too much poundage to fit into those tiny exquisite pieces from the past.

I think Julie and I need to stop by again real soon. After all, I could bring my good camera and get some really awesome pictures, not to mention buttons, brooches, hats, etc….Vubtage hat with veilvintage veilsphoto1