Something old, something new

Blue wedding shoes | The Lush's Blush blog
Photo Courtesy of Elise Brown | Photography by Kunal Mehta of Events by SPL

While weddings are beautiful, magical, wonderful things, they can also cause a bride stress. One of the things I didn’t want to stress too much about was the “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”

On my wedding day I chose to wear a sapphire ring that belonged to my mother. I counted this as my something blue, something old and something borrowed. My dress was new, of course, so I counted that.

Weddings have a lot of tradition associated with them, but I think, like myself, most brides today are making choices based on what they like.

My good friend Erin agreed. She’s a hair and makeup artist and owner of Glass Door Salon in Winston-Salem, NC, and has worked with hundreds of brides over the years. She said most brides today try to honor the “something old” saying, but also they just go with accessories they like and best fit the style of their wedding.

“Most brides are choosing things they like as opposed to ‘something blue,’ but still incorporating it. Some choose to use a brooch with a blue stone, use a blue garter or sew a patch of their dad or granddad’s blue shirt into the underneath of their dress,” Erin told me.

Memorial heart | The Lush's Blush blog
Photo courtesy of Elise Brown | Photography by Kunal Mehta of Events by SPL

I love what my sorority sister Elise did for her “something old.” She had a special fabric heart made from pieces of her mother’s, aunt’s and grandmother’s wedding gowns that she had with her on her wedding day.

Incorporating a special family piece is still very much a key theme for brides today, a manager at my local bridal boutique told me. Vicki Hendrix is the manager at Southern Bride in Yadkinville, NC.

Vicki said tradition is still a very big part of bridal fashion and especially when it comes to the accessories.

“Brides are using a lot of tradition in their weddings, they’re incorporating a lot of elements that may be from their mother or grandmother in jewelry, most classic is pearls.”

Bridal earrings | The Lush's Blush blog
Photo courtesy of Elise Brown | Photography by Kunal Mehta of Events by SPL

Simple bridal jewelry like a necklace and earrings and possibly a bracelet. Again, a piece of jewelry from a family member is often a popular choice, Vicki said.

What special pieces did you choose (or are you planning to do) for your “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue?” I’d love to hear about it. Leave me a note in the comments!




Vineyard weddings in the Yadkin Valley

I am extremely proud of the beautiful Yadkin Valley Wine Region I call home. I got married an one of our area vineyards, RagApple Lassie, and it was a magical experience. If you are in North Carolina and considering a wedding venue, one of our state wineries or vineyards is a lovely choice. Below is a piece I wrote for On The Vine magazine.


Bridal portrait by Rod Hunter

The busy holiday season is over, but for many couples, excitement is building anew as they plan to start their lives together. The holiday season is one of the most popular times of the year for engagements and so as a new year begins, many are planning for that special day — their wedding day.

Following the all-important dress decision, the ceremony and reception location is one of the biggest decisions for a couple. Many of the wineries and vineyards of the Yadkin Valley play host to multiple weddings a year. Couples may choose to have their wedding and/or reception at a winery for various reasons, but most, said winery owner Lenna Hobson, love the atmosphere of a winery or vineyard.

“There’s a romance and a mystique attached to wineries and that’s part of what helps

Mary and Blake Johnson at Raffaldini Vineyards | Ron Day Photography

to bring people to the Yadkin Valley,” Hobson said. Hobson and her husband Frank are the owners of RagApple Lassie Vineyard and Winery in Boonville.

“It’s romance, pure and simple. It’s a centuries old mystique that weddings and love and romance pairs with perfectly,” Hobson said.

While some of the couples who have been married at RagApple Lassie found the location by happenstance, Hobson said many have a connection with the winery in some way. Several couples got engaged at the winery and returned to have their wedding or reception there. Hobson said they often return every year to celebrate their anniversary at the winery as well.

When a unique building adjacent to their property became available a few years ago, the owners of Hanover Park in Yadkinville added on a special space just for weddings and other events. Amy Helton, who owns the winery along with her husband, said the new space has been a big hit with brides. Having a space separate from their winery tasting room also allows a lot of flexibility for couples to decorate and prepare their space in advance of the ceremony or reception.

Jennifer K. Photography

Helton said couples who have been married at Hanover Park have been from all across the state of North Carolina and some from out of state as well. The unique setting of the vineyard provides a scenic place for a couple’s special day.

Those scenic views showcasing the beauty of nature get in the blood for some, including Jennifer and Nick White. In October of 2008, the couple said their “I dos” at Elkin Creek Vineyard where they became friends with the owner. Now, the couple, along with their friends Louis and Carrie Jeroslow, own the vineyard.

“Elkin Creek Vineyard speaks to couples who are looking for a wedding venue that

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showcases nature, is secluded, but is not remote or hard to get to,” said Louis Jeroslow. “The site of a Historic Grist Mill built in 1896, our special location features two creeks flowing through the property. One of our most sacred and symbolic places at Elkin Creek Vineyard is where the two creeks join together to form one. This extraordinary setting can host very intimate ceremonies and larger-scale celebrations.

“Elkin Creek Vineyard embodies the elegant-rustic qualities that are now so highly sought after,” Jeroslow added. “We have worked very hard to create wedding packages that are completely scalable to the size needed. We often provide an all-inclusive wedding experience to private elopements and can also host weddings up to well over 100 guests. The flexibility and personal touches are what really attract couples to want to have their wedding here.”

Local wedding photographer Jennifer Kleinheksel has photographed multiple weddings at Elkin Creek and other area vineyards. She said a vineyard setting for a wedding makes for beautiful images which will be treasured for years to come.

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Jennifer K. Photography

“I love photographing weddings at our area vineyards and wineries because I get to be a part of one of the most important days in someone’s life and at a beautiful location,” Kleinheksel said. “There is so much love and joy that is part of the day and it is a true honor to be the one to capture it all. It is my job to not just be taking photographs of the day, but to actually capture the essence and feelings that the couple felt so that every time they look back at their images, they will be able to relive and feel those feelings all over again.”

For couples looking to tie the knot at a Yadkin Valley vineyard, the best place to start is visiting area vineyards to get a feel for the setting. Most area vineyards also have information available on their websites or by contacting the location regarding wedding and reception options.

Wedding photos courtesy of Rod Hunter, Ron Day and Jennifer K. Photography


Websites for the newly engaged

IMG_3541Christmas is the most popular time of the year to get engaged. I should know, as my husband proposed last year on Christmas Eve. The holiday season is so magical and it becomes even more special when your love pops the question.

So if you said “yes” this holiday season, here are a few of my favorite websites to get your started with the wedding planning process.

Before you delve into all these wonderful sites, however, I have an important piece of advice to share. The internet (and books and magazines in print) are full of literally millions of amazing wedding ideas. The bottom line, however, is that at the end of the day you need to choose things for your wedding that make you feel happy and are special for you and your future spouse.

Of course along with all these wonderful ideas can come lots of price tags. Don’t get too overwhelmed with all the wonderful ideas. Just find what is special for you and your wedding day is sure to be amazing!


Weddings Link Roundup

Here a few sites I used while wedding planning. Purchasing an actual wedding magazine was something I really planned to do, but with a scary budget already looking me in the eye, I couldn’t bring myself to shell out the $10 for the magazine.

The Knot is a good place to start. I will admit I found it a bit overwhelming though I did use it to make our wedding website.

The Broke Ass Bride is one of the cutest and most creative wedding websites I came across. I recommend the book and the website.

If you want to look at beautiful wedding pictures to start getting some ideas of what you want your wedding to look like, I recommend Style Me Pretty. 

If you’re style runs a little more to the eclectic, you’ll love The Rock and Roll Bride.

I also enjoyed The Wedding Bee. You can ask questions in the forum section and get real answers from other brides.

Getting help and advice from friends and family is really what made my wedding come together so beautifully, but the internet was a good place to start getting ideas.

Best of luck to all you new brides and grooms to be!


A bride’s confession about thank you cards

I have a bit of a confession to make in the wake of all the wedding excitement, and hopefully my confession will serve as some helpful advice for other newly engaged or married folks. My confession is in regard to thank you cards. Now, from a young age, my mamma instilled in me the importance of sending thank you cards.

While I think there are many traditions or protocols relating to weddings that can be ignored based on personal preference, sending thank you cards is definitely not one of those things. And when I say thank you card, this does not mean a text message, an email or a Facebook message. This means an actual handwritten, personalized, stamped, mailed, signed, sealed and delivered snail mail thank you card. I personally think handwritten thank you cards should still be sent for any gift you receive for any reason, but bridal shower, wedding and baby shower thank you cards are a definite must!

According to the Emily Post Institute, a couple should send out thank you cards no later than three months following the wedding. However, etiquette also indicates that should that deadline pass, the cards should still be sent no matter how late. Weddings are a busy, hectic time and settling back in following the honeymoon can be crazy too. I imagine people are understanding when it comes to receiving that thank you card several months after the fact.

Another part of traditional thank you card etiquette involves mentioning the specific gift received. At

the bridal shower one of my bridesmaids took copious notes on who gave what. We registered on a honeymoon site that conveniently tracked each monetary gift we received towards our trip and even had a handy downloadable spreadsheet which included the gift and address of the person who gave the gift. I digress again here to say that I highly recommend a honeymoon registry, especially for couples who have everything they need as far as housewares.

After the wedding and reception my new husband and I got into a limo, our heads buzzing with excitement (and some champagne) and headed off for our honeymoon. At this juncture we were handed a stack of cards from our wedding guests. In our excitement we tore open the cards. To our delight there was money in the cards. In our excitement we did not even think to take note of who gave what. So my confession is that I cannot be as specific as I would like in some of our wedding thank you cards. What we should have done is put each card back together with its enclosed gift and waited until we were at the hotel so we could make notes on each gift. So, brides and grooms, if you can contain your excitement when you get into your limo to head off for the honeymoon, try to remember to do that.

A popular new tradition when it comes to wedding thank yous is to take a cute picture of the newlyweds either at the wedding or on the honeymoon holding a sign that says thank you. We did not do this, but I think it’s a really cute way to say thank you. We did however have a photo card made with one picture from the wedding and two pictures from our honeymoon. This is particularly nice to send to any family members or friends who may not have already seen the 600 plus honeymoon photos on your Facebook page.

When it comes time to send out those thank yous, just parcel it out a few cards at a time if you don’t have time to sit down and write them all out at once. Some may be particular that the addresses should be handwritten also, but that’s one tradition I do ignore. I suggest printing address labels for the cards, which can save you a lot of time. You can really save time if you sit down as a couple and do them assembly line style with one person writing out the cards and the other labeling and stamping them. I love printing out labels on the Avery site. There are cute designs to choose from so the outside of your card still looks very personalized. I even printed return mailing address labels that included a tiny picture of me and my groom.


Mimosas are a girl’s best friend

I’m not really a morning person so I’m a huge fan of the meal known as brunch. You don’t have to be up early to eat it, in fact anytime between 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. is a good time to serve brunch.

A few weekends ago I enjoyed the most spectacular brunch. My wonderful Godmother Connie prepared an absolutely fantastic brunch which served as my bridal shower.

My very favorite part of my bridal brunch, aside from being showered with love by friends and family, of course, was the mimosa bar. Yes, you read that right, a mimosa bar. Mimosas are pretty much the best part of any brunch. Drinking alcohol in the morning is typically frowned upon, but not when it’s brunch and it’s a mimosa.

In case you are not familiar with this delightful beverage, it is so very simple to make. A basic mimosa is comprised of orange juice and champagne. My Godmother really went all out for my special celebration and these were not your typical mimosas.

Set up in a most delightful tablescape were crystal champagne flutes with colorful swizzle sticks, three different kinds of sparkling adult beverages including Champagne, Prosecco and Moscato, seven different juices, plus multiple kinds of fruit for garnish.

When I’m rich and famous, I want to have brunch with a mimosa bar every single day! My Godmother had all sorts of beautiful flowers and tropical decorations in honor of my upcoming honeymoon in Key West, but she really outdid herself with the mimosa bar. If you plan to host a special brunch event anytime in the near future, I highly recommend making it extra special with fresh fruit, juices and champagne!

The dishes served for this brunch were also superb. Connie made delicious mini-frittatas as well as some out-of-this-world french toast casseroles. To top off the brunch menu we had mini crab and shrimp quiches as well as tropical desserts like key lime tarts and piña colada cupcakes.
Aside from the mimosas, of course, my favorite was the frittata. A frittata is basically a crustless quiche. Connie used a muffin pan to make the mini frittatas so they were a perfect serving size for each guest. This is another great tip if you are serving brunch for a crowd.

You could really take your favorite frittata recipe and make it in the muffin pan to create individual serving sizes. Connie used Food Network chef Ina Garten’s recipe which included proscuitto.

Below is a recipe I found for frittata that also sounds delicious from The Girl Who Ate Everything.Com.

Muffin Pan Brunch Frittata (Recipe from
• Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray
• 8 large eggs
• 1/3 cup whole milk
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 4 ounces bacon, cooked and crumbled (you could use diced ham or cooked sausage here too)
• 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
• 1/4 cup chopped spinach leaves (you could use 2 Tablespoons of chopped basil or parsley here instead too)
• 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray 2 mini muffin tins (each with 12 cups) with nonstick spray. Whisk the eggs, milk, pepper, and salt in a large bowl to blend well. Stir in the bacon, cheese, and spinach. Fill prepared muffin cups almost to the top with the egg mixture. Sprinkle tops with cheddar cheese. Bake until the egg mixture puffs and is just set in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes. The frittatas will be really puffy right out of the oven and will settle once removed from the oven.
Using a knife, run the edge of the knife around the edge and loosen the frittatas from the muffin cups and slide the frittatas onto a platter. Serve immediately.