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$30,000 Free Wedding

On September 28th of last year Couture Keepsakes participated in a free wedding contest put on by Indy wedding Ideas. The couple was chosen at a bridal show back in February of 2014. Dozens of vendors offered their products and services to make this wedding a dream come true for the bride and groom.

Yellow & Grey Fabric Flowers

Grey & yellow fabric flowers with bits of sparkle in the centers.

I made Niki a fabric flower bouquet in yellow, grey, and white.

Niki's Bouquet

Niki’s custom fabric flower bouquet. Photo courtesy: Leigh Robison Photography

She wanted lots of sparkle, so I found some lovely rhinestone buttons for flower centers. Music is also a great love of Niki & Brandon. I must say, part of the joy of making a bouquet for a bride is searching for the things that convey her personality. I spend countless hours on the Internet,  fabric stores, and antique shops searching for things I think will work well. It’s like finding treasure when discovering a vendor who sells music-themed lace trim to put on the collar of a bouquet, or searching several antique shops when you uncover a sparkly vintage music treble clef for the stem.


A vintage rhinestone treble clef brooch for the stem of Niki’s bouquet.

A vintage rhinestone treble clef brooch for the stem of Niki's bouquet.

A vintage rhinestone treble clef brooch for the stem of Niki’s bouquet.


We all began our journey with Niki and Brandon shortly after they were announced the winners of Indy Wedding Ideas’ Free $30,000 Wedding. The date was set for March of 2015. Meetings were held. Details worked out. We were on our way to putting it all together when life threw the couple a happy curve ball. They were expecting! Niki came to find out that not only was a bundle of joy on its way, but much sooner than anyone could imagine!

Beautiful image of Niki with her bouquet. Photo courtesy: Leigh Robison Photography

Beautiful image of Niki with her bouquet.
Photo courtesy: Leigh Robison Photography


I love the wedding professionals here in Indy. By working together Indy Wedding Ideas was able to  shave 6 months off of the original date and give Niki & Brandon a beautiful wedding day. I’m proud of everyone who worked together during the peak of wedding season to pull this all together. Can you just imagine the logistics of  20 plus vendors trying to find a weekend day (during wedding season) for everyone to come together?

Congratulations Niki & Brandon. It’s done. It was beautiful. We can all now breathe a sigh of relief.

The blended Jones family. Photo courtesy: Leigh Robison Photography

The blended Jones family.
Photo courtesy: Leigh Robison Photography

Special thanks to Leigh Robison Photography for sharing some of her beautiful images.



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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


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.