Dress Rescue for Former Alfred Angelo Couples in the Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh metro-area

Dress Rescue for Former Alfred Angelo Couples in the Western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh metro-area

Planning a wedding is stressful enough without having things you thought were already completed and check off the list suddenly being undone.  (And no one needs any extra sweating in this heat!) Yet, with Alfred Angelo closing suddenly last month, that is the situation in which many engaged couples have found themselves.  Not only are the couples who bought wedding dresses, accessories, and wedding party attire now potentially out of their money and their dresses, but those who bought from one of the 1,400 retailers who sold Alfred Angelo designs are also left in the lurch.   All of these engaged couples and wedding party members now find themselves asking, "What do I do now?," in varying degrees of panic.

    In western Pennsylvania and the Pittsburgh metro-area, the local communities and wedding industry members have rallied together to help engaged couples find wedding dresses quickly at Dress Rescue, created by planner Nicole Brough and owner of Your Big Day Pittsburgh.  Nicole has collected as many dresses as possible, for sale or donated to give away from individuals and local bridal boutiques, like This Magic Moment and One Enchanted Evening, to help those affected by the Alfred Angelo closing replace dresses and accessories they may have lost.  More than 30 brides have donated their dresses and more than 50 have given theirs to be sold.  Dress prices will be capped at $600.

    The event will be held Sunday, August 27, 2017, from 12-6 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn University Place in Oakland.
    Nicole Brough, owner of Your Big Day, created the Dress Rescue event to help Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania brides who lost their dresses when Alfred Angelo closed unexpectedly in July.  Photo by Nicole Cassano for Rust Belt Life.

    Nicole Brough, owner of Your Big Day, created the Dress Rescue event to help Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania brides who lost their dresses when Alfred Angelo closed unexpectedly in July.  Photo by Nicole Cassano for Rust Belt Life.

    In addition to dress shopping, other sponsors will supply music, goodies, and giveaways throughout the event.  All donated dresses not sold or claimed at the event will be donated to Treasure House Fashions, which assists women in transition or crisis finding the clothes they need to thrive in their lives and jobs.

    I am so excited to be assisting Nicole with this event.  If you follow me on social media, you know that I believe that a huge part of being a local business means being involved in and giving back to the local community.  I will be volunteering at the event to help everyone there find the dress they need, and I am so pleased that any dresses not used for this event will be able to help other women in the community fulfill a need in their lives. 

    If you would like to join in helping at this event, you can do so by donating or selling a dress, or by volunteering to help at the event itself or donating a gift/giveaway.

    The event is free to attend for anyone in need of a dress, not just those who lost their dresses in the Alfred Angelo closing.  Attendees do need to register online before the event.

    For more information, check out the article about the event in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Rust Belt Life

     

     

    6 Ways to Have Beautiful Wedding Flowers on a Budget

    6 Ways to Have Beautiful Wedding Flowers on a Budget

    According to Statistics Brain and Wedding Stats (yes, there is an entire website devoted to statistics about weddings!), the average cost of flowers in an American wedding is between $1,800 and $2,101, approximately 8-10% of the wedding costs.

    A number of factors can influence the actual cost of wedding flowers, including the time of year and location of the event, the size of the event, the number of different types of flowers (and the flower types themselves), the size of arrangements and how elaborate they are, how far in advance you place your order, etc.  Snippet and Ink, a wedding planning blog and resource, explains very clearly what exactly can effect the cost of a bouquet, and the factors discussed apply to most other floral arrangements as well.

    Usually, taking all of those things into account, the flower budget breaks out to something roughly like this for the average-priced wedding:

    • Bride’s bouquet: $50-200
    • Bridesmaids’ bouquets (each): $20-50
    • Corsages and boutonnieres (each): $8-30
    • Toss bouquet for the reception: $20-50
    • Church altar flowers (each arrangement): $50-75 or higher
    • Pew flowers (each): $10-40
    • Reception centerpieces (each arrangement): $40-150
    • Flower girl bouquet or petals: $20-35
    • Floral cake topper: $30-100
    • Extras you have like floral hair decor; decorations for outside of the church like a wreath or stair decor; extra arrangements for the cake table, gift table, etc.

    For couples on a tighter budget this can seem quite daunting.  Here are some options to keep your flower budget under control.

    • Use silk flowers or other non-floral materials. Some people think silk flowers are tacky, but I think they are a great alternative.  While they may not always be a huge cost saving measure, they have many other benefits that make them a great alternative to fresh flowers. 
    Silk flowers can be an alternative to fresh flowers.  Photo Credit: Lisa Ross Photography

    Silk flowers can be an alternative to fresh flowers.  Photo Credit: Lisa Ross Photography

    • Share your budget with your wedding planner and florist. Be up front about your budget as well as your dream wedding flowers if you chose to work with a florist.  They are trained to marry the two, and as long as you are flexible about your ideas, they will be able to create something beautiful in your budget.
    • Multi-purpose arrangements. With a little careful planning, nearly all of your arrangements from the ceremony can do double duty at the reception.  Bridal and bridesmaid bouquets can become centerpieces for the head table, the altar flowers can become decor for the cake or gift table and pew decor can line the walkway to the reception site.
    These beautiful altar flowers designed by Sapphire and Lace Event Design were re-purposed for the reception as decoration in front of the sweetheart table.

    These beautiful altar flowers designed by Sapphire and Lace Event Design were re-purposed for the reception as decoration in front of the sweetheart table.

    • Shop seasonally. Choose flowers that are in season where your wedding will be.  Getting flowers that are not in season where you are will cost you premium prices.
    • Larger blooms. Choosing flowers with large blooms means that you will have to buy less stems to create the same effect.  A single hydrangea or a couple of peony blossoms can do what it would take a dozen smaller blooms to cover.
    Large blossoms like Hydrangeas give you a lot of impact with fewer stems.  Photo Credit: Brian Kapur Photography

    Large blossoms like Hydrangeas give you a lot of impact with fewer stems.  Photo Credit: Brian Kapur Photography

    • Less expensive blooms or greenery. An alternative to using large blooms is to use lots of less expensive flowers or greenery and filler to create a large statement piece for less cost than an arrangement of the same size made totally from flowers or from more expensive flowers.

    If you are flexible about your flower dream, you can have gorgeous wedding flowers without blowing your budget.

    Laura and Michele's Harry Potter Proposal

    Laura and Michele's Harry Potter Proposal

    Laura, a Midwestern-transplant to Virginia, and Michele, an armed forces member from Tennessee stationed in northern-Virginia, met at church at one of the monthly Beer and Hymns events.

    One stop on the 13-hour first date was at the Iwo Jima memorial.

    One stop on the 13-hour first date was at the Iwo Jima memorial.

    The First Date

    "Our first date was not supposed to be a date. It was a group brunch, but everyone else cancelled and it just kinda changed into a date -- 13 hours worth of sightseeing in downtown Alexeandria and Washington, D.C.," Laura says, adding that "Our first real date was to be church followed by brunch a week later. It was promptly crashed by a church member and her two terrific children under the age of 5. So, the four of us had a perfectly wonderful brunch!"

    After being with Michele for about a year, Laura approached me about creating something special for her proposal.  Michele is a huge Harry Potter fan and Laura wanted to create a secret compartment in a Harry Potter book for the modern yellow diamond Golden Snitch engagement ring.  As a fellow Potter-head and wizard wanna-be, I was happy to lend a hand. 

    A special Harry Potter proposal.  Michele specifically wanted a yellow diamond, so Laura had a ring specially made that looks like a modern interpretation of the Golden Snitch.

    A special Harry Potter proposal.  Michele specifically wanted a yellow diamond, so Laura had a ring specially made that looks like a modern interpretation of the Golden Snitch.

    And never fear book lovers, no first editions were harmed in the making of this proposal!

    The Proposal

    In their own words:

    Michele: In the most adorable way ever!  Use of Harry Potter and a gorgeous custom designed ring :) I'll let Laura explain how she did it, but let's just say this:  I actually thought she was breaking up with me, and was internally freaking out!  Of course, once I realized what was happening, I freaked out for a different reason.
    Laura:  I took her back to the Torpedo Factory ( a series of artist studios ) where we went on the first date. I had two very meaningful lines ready to say to her (written down). I said them. I saw her eyes. I thought she knew what was happening.
    Then she said, " But......"
    Apparently, she had no idea what I was trying to do. I handed her the book. She thought I had done something with her first edition Harry Potter and was very confused. I took her hand and opened to the RIGHT portion. ( She, I think, had started to re-read at chapter 1!)
    She just stared at it all until I said, "Whatcha think? Wanna?".
    She still didn't understand. I then said "I asked your parents permission."  Then the tears and the 'oh my goodness' came. I asked her if that was a yes and if she could put the ring on.
    She forgot to say "YES". Of, course, I forgot to say " Will you marry me?". I guess we are even.
    "Whatcha think? Wanna?"  She said yes.

    "Whatcha think? Wanna?"  She said yes.

    Love Wins

    Michele is now on a deployment, but the couple is planning their small, intimate wedding celebration for next spring.  The ceremony will take place where it all started out, at their church.

    Michele: She looks out for me in a way nobody ever has before.  She just gets me, sometimes better than myself.  She keeps me safe, sane, and reminds me everyday that I am beautiful and loved.
    Laura: She brings lightness to my life. She grounds me. She makes me laugh.  There are a thousand other things, but this I know to be true - from the moment she and I started talking - I knew that my thoughts, dreams, and heart we safe with her. I just had no idea this is where we were headed.  I'm grateful every single day that this is where we have ended up. 
    Greensburg, PA event planning. Alexandria, VA proposal. LGBTQ wedding planning.

    A huge thank you to these two amazing women for letting me play a part in their special proposal story.  I can't wait to watch their journey together unfold. 

     

    Ring created by Etsy seller Irina of Bridal Rings.