wedding belles

Inside Out Challenge: Fair Trade Fashion Truck Adventures

Yes, you read that right. Fashion trucks! They’re a thing, y’all! Think of a food truck, but with pretty clothes inside instead of tacos and burgers. It’s fantastic.

I recently wrote about my difficulties finding stores here in Raleigh at which to shop for fair trade clothing. At the end of that rather depressing post, I promised that there was good news coming. Here it is!

Back in January, I was telling a group of ladies about my interest in fair trade fashion and my struggles to find local vendors. One of them piped up and said she had recently learned about a local fair trade fashion truck through another friend. I was beyond excited and immediately hit the Internet to find out more.

The Flourish Market, which just opened its doors in fall 2015, camps out at various festivals, parties, and events around the Raleigh/Durham area in addition to running an online store. The truck carries fun fair trade brands like Threads 4 Thought, Tribe Alive, Grace and Lace, and Akola. In addition to clothing, the truck also stocks jewelry, shoes, purses/bags, home decor, and gifts.

After stalking the truck’s schedule on Instagram for several weeks, I finally caught up with The Flourish Market a month or so ago in Durham. It was a breath of fresh air for this shopping-deprived gal! Most of the clothing was just my style, and I thought the prices were very affordable compared to the sticker shock I had gotten on several fair trade websites. I probably tried on every single piece of clothing in the truck and left with some beauties, including this STUNNING dress, which I can’t wait to wear to every single party and dinner outing this summer:

Threads 4 Thought fair trade dress from The Flourish Market | Trés Belle

Since then, I’ve gotten to know Em, the truck’s founder, and learn more about her heart for winning people over to ethical fashion (you can read some pieces she’s written for The Huffington Post here). It’s so inspiring to connect with other Raleigh locals who have a passion for social justice and who are doing big things to change the fashion industry. AND, I’m just tickled pink that I finally found somewhere local to try on and buy fair trade clothing! Happy dance!

xoxo Laura

P.S. – If you’re new to the Inside Out Challenge, you can find previous posts here.

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Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details

Where all my fall 2016 brides and grooms at? Believe me when I say that you’re going to want to steal ideas from today’s featured wedding. Ben and Marie were married on a sunny September day surrounded by sunflowers, burgundy lace, and and a little white church. In true Southern belle style, Marie wore family heirloom jewelry and her mother’s veil, and the couple designed their reception to feel like a family reunion. Of course, they served up Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue and all the fixins. It was autumn wedding perfection! Enjoy these gorgeous photos, courtesy of DiPrima Photography.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

From the bride: We first met at a Christmas party given by mutual friends in 2012. There was a white elephant gift exchange, and we were the only two to agree on the rules to follow! Ben wanted to ask me out right away, but knew he was going to be out of town for the holidays. Instead, he requested the same friends throw another party at the next possible event – which turned out to be the Super Bowl – so that we could meet again. Ben asked me out for a glass of wine, and I said, “That could be fun!” We got engaged on December 19, 2014: two years exactly from the Christmas party when we first met. 

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

I’ve loved sunflowers for years; so much so, that every time Ben buys me flowers, he always makes sure there’s at least one sunflower bloom. Sunflowers were actually the first decision I made about the wedding! I remembered that, for my cousin’s wedding, my uncle grew hundreds of sunflowers for her. At the time, he promised if I ever needed a field of sunflowers to let him know – and he was able to come through for me with flying colors! All the sunflowers were grown on his farm in the eastern part of NC and transported to Chapel Hill and Burlington by my parents.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Our ceremony was at Orange United Methodist, the church we both have been attending since prior to meeting each other. It was mutual friends though church who brought us together, and the church has remained an important part of our relationship!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

My necklace was borrowed from my mom and was the engagement gift from my great-grandfather to my great-grandmother. I wore a bracelet borrowed from Ben’s mom and a ring that was Ben’s grandmother’s.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

We really wanted to make sure the ceremony was a meaningful part of our wedding day, not just an event to happen on the way to the reception. Ben and I both spent a lot of time talking about what was important to us in a wedding ceremony and made sure to incorporate those elements. We had two pastors officiate: the minister of our church and a retired minister from my childhood (who, incidentally, went to seminary together!). We searched for verses that we liked and decided on Colossians 3:12-17 as the cornerstone of our marriage.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Music selection took us a long time (final decisions weren’t made until the week prior!), but each song was chosen very specifically. “You Raise Me Up” was one of my favorite selections for the entrance of our mothers and grandmothers. We were lucky enough to have a very accomplished pianist friend in charge of our music!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

One of the most meaningful parts of the service, for me, was our incorporation of the unity candle. We wanted to make it an important part of our service, and so we had our parents each light their family candles just prior to us lighting the unity candle together. They each lit their candles from a memory candle, which had written on it the names of each of the grandparents we have lost. This was especially important to me, after losing my grandfather only three months before. It was a meaningful way for us to ensure our grandparents could still hold an important place in our marriage.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

The stone in my engagement ring is from Ben’s grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s engagement rings. It is incredibly special to us, and he worked very hard to pick the right setting for it.

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

In searching for a reception venue, we were hoping to find a location that would give off feelings of a family reunion. We were both so excited to have all our friends and family in one place and wanted to make sure everyone would be able to relax together. As soon as we saw Starlight Meadow, we knew it was the place for us!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Catering and cake were an adventure for us! My own mom is such a good cook, and I couldn’t help but compare everything we tasted to her home-cooked goodness. After a couple months of searching for caterers, we ended up deciding on the person we did our very first tasting with: Above and Beyond Catering out of High Point. They were extraordinarily professional and courteous through the whole process, and that went a long way towards our decision. And the food was fantastic too: NC barbecue, roasted chicken, summer veggies, mac-and-cheese, and baked potato salad. I wish I could request the same menu again!

After going to at least six cake tastings, Delicious (in Greensboro) stood out to us as, hands down, the best cake we tasted. We did layers of both yellow cake with fudge filling and white cake with raspberry jam and lemon cream. Both were incredible! Delicious is going to be our go-to bakery in Greensboro from now on!

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Autumn Wedding with Sunflowers and Burgundy Details | Trés Belle

Are y’all swooning over that last sunset photo like I am?? Congrats, Ben and Marie!

Photography: DiPrima Photography; second shooter Sammi Evans Photography
Invitations: Zazzle
Rings: Diamonds Direct
Bride’s dress: Mori Lee from Carolina Bridal World
Bride’s veil: Mother of the bride
Bride’s shoes: Aerosoles
Bride’s jewelry: Family heirlooms, 1928
Hair/makeup: Julianna Knox
Bridesmaid dresses: Simply Liliana from JCPenney
Groom and Groomsmen attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Ceremony Venue: Orange United Methodist Church
Officiant: Revs. Ken Hall and Jim Bailey
Floral design: sunflowers grown by bride’s uncle, reception flowers by bride’s family and friends, bouquets/boutonnieres by Designs by Mike
Reception Venue: Starlight Meadow
Catering: Above and Beyond Catering
Cake: Delicious Cakes
Linens: Above and Beyond Catering, Starlight Meadow
DJ/Singer: Gary Mitchell
Sunflower seed packet favors: Earthly Goods

Wedding Anniversary Celebrations

Wes and I celebrated our one year wedding anniversary yesterday. I can’t believe it! The past year (and especially this summer) has flown by, and all of a sudden we have graduated from being “newlyweds.” We made a pretty big deal out of celebrating this anniversary (we made it through some major milestones and trials this year!), and I am sharing so that others can steal ideas and maybe share some traditions of their own!

  1. Anniversary Photos: Yes, we have plenty of gorgeous engagement and wedding photos of the two of us already. But we thought the occasion at hand was special enough to warrant new pictures. Ideally, I’d love to have nice photos done each year so that we always have updated portraits in our house and on our Christmas cards. And, we got to include our recently adopted love pup, Rufus, which was extra special! Emma Emery Photography did an amazing job, no? One Year Anniversary Photo Session - Trés Belle Blog
  2. Dinner out: This one is pretty standard as far as anniversaries go, I know. It felt quite special though since we rarely eat out on week nights. After a long Monday at work, it was exciting to look forward to a night out on the town.
  3. Renewing our vows: Like the anniversary photos, this is something that I hope will be a yearly tradition for us. We are lucky that we live in the same city that we were married in, which made it fairly easy to swing by our ceremony location after dinner to recite our wedding vows. Unfortunately the chapel itself was locked, so we stood outside the big front doors and read our vows to each other. Hearing the pledge that we wrote together last summer was incredibly touching.
  4. Exchanging gifts: Wes and I don’t really buy each other extravagant gifts, but we still wanted to give each other a little something to celebrate the occasion. He scored a t-shirt featuring lyrics from our first dance song as well as tickets to an NC State basketball game (aka the only thing I could come up with for the traditional “paper” gift). I adore my gift, which was a wooden sign painted with the words of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. This verse is significant to us, as you will learn in number 7 below! Please excuse the poor lighting and mismatched furniture in the photo…we are in the process of moving 🙂1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Wooden Sign - Trés Belle Blog
  5. Watching our wedding video: Yet another yearly tradition in the making. We have the most incredible wedding video (shout out to Good Earth Films!), and it was really neat to relive the big day in sound and living color. I have said over and over again how quickly the past year has flown, but watching ourselves and our loved ones on film also made me pause and realize how much has changed over the course of a year!
  6. Eating the top tier of our wedding cake: The icing on the cake of our anniversary celebration was getting to eat the 1-year-old top tier of our wedding cake. Or rather, Wes ate the cake, and I had a few bites of frosting due to my recently developed gluten intolerance. The day before our anniversary, we took the cake out of the freezer, unwrapped it, and sat it in the fridge to thaw. Was it still delicious? I didn’t get to taste it in all of its glory, but Wes certainly seemed to enjoy it!
  7. A new verse: Yep, another yearly tradition (how am I going to remember all of these??). During premarital counseling, our pastor challenged Wes and I to choose a “theme” Bible verse for our first year of marriage. We decided we would focus on a different piece of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 each year for our first several years of marriage. Love was indeed patient this past year (we reflected on this on our drive to dinner!), and starting yesterday we moved on to the next part of the verse: the infamous “love is kind.”
  8. Anniversary trip: I guess it’s a stretch to call this an “anniversary” trip given that it is taking place nearly three months after our anniversary, but stretch we will. We are headed to Asheville for a long weekend, and I am beyond excited to FINALLY see the Biltmore (and it will be decorated for Christmas)!

So there you have it! Our one year anniversary celebrations in list form. I’d love to hear from y’all about favorite anniversary celebrations you’ve had or any traditions you keep each year. Comment or drop me a note!

And to my sweet Wes: Happy one year, hubs. I love you more and more each day.

xoxo Laura

Big News! Wedding Belles Blog is now Trés Belle!

Hi there everyone! Big news coming at you today that has been a long time in the making: Wedding Belles Blog has become Trés Belle, a more comprehensive lifestyle blog that addresses not only weddings, but other aspects of the Southern belle life (as well as more personal reflections from my ownself!). Don’t worry, though…Wedding Belles isn’t going away! You can find the Wedding Belles section of Trés Belle on the top navigation menu on the site, where I will continue to bring you wedding planning inspiration, tips, and tricks. I am beyond excited about the blog’s transformation (or perhaps evolution is a better word?) and can’t wait to see what you think about the new content.

xoxo Laura

P.S. – I have now linked my Instagram account to the site, so be sure to come follow me to catch up on my latest adventures!

Internet Roundup: Photography Edition

Hey belles! If you’re wanting tips for maximizing the quality of your wedding and/or engagement photos, today’s Internet roundup post is for you! Here are the articles I’m loving lately:

1. 10 Things Your Photographer Wishes You’d Tell Them.

10 Things Your Wedding Photographer Wishes You'd Tell Them, via Loverly - Wedding Belles Blog

via Loverly

2. What to Wear to Your Engagement Shoot. Great tips!

What to Wear for Your Engagement Photos, via WeddingWire - Wedding Belles Blog

via WeddingWire

3. How to Make the Most of Your Engagement Photo Sesh. Including a tip for anyone who feels awkward just thinking about smooching on camera!

How to Make the Most of Your Engagement Photo Sesh, via Loverly - Wedding Belles Blog

via Loverly

xoxo Laura

Deal Alert: Engagement Ring Ice Cube Tray

I love finding y’all deals, and I think you’re going to love this one! Check out this engagement ring ice cube tray, on sale for only $3.99 right now over at GroopDealz. Wouldn’t it be so fun to have these ice cubes floating in champagne at a bridal shower or engagement party? The site also suggests using them to make jello….my mind is already dreaming up all the yummy bachelorette party jello shot possibilities!

Deal Alert: Engagement Ring Ice Cube Trays for $3.99 - Wedding Belles Blog

They’re only available for two more days at the time I am writing this post, so scurry over, belles!

xoxo Laura

On Sale: Adorable Bridesmaid Tanks

Hello belles! I apologize that it has been awhile since you’ve heard from me. I have experienced quite a bit of illness the past few months, and between that and work demands, it has done a number on my blogging frequency. I am back today with a great wedding-related deal I spotted over on groopdealz: these adorable bridesmaid tanks!

On Sale: Bridesmaid Tanks - Wedding Belles Blog

These beauties are on sale for only $8.99. Wouldn’t they be fun for a bachelorette weekend or for your ‘maids to wear while getting ready the morning of the wedding? Hurry over to snatch them up, because they’ll only be available for two more days!

On Sale: Bridesmaid Tanks - Wedding Belles Blog

It’s good to be back, belles, even for a short post. Be on the lookout for some fun updates coming to the blog soon!

xoxo Laura

Wedding Day Louboutin Lookalikes for Much Less

I keep seeing this photo on Pinterest of a lucky bride showing off her gold Christian Louboutins. And I’ve got to say, they’re a gorgeous pair of shoes, no?

The only problem with these pretty pumps? They likely retail for upwards of $1,000. And how many brides have an extra grand laying around to spend on their wedding day shoes, which will spend most of the day staying hidden underneath their wedding dress, anyway? Yeah, not many. That’s why I’ve rounded up some less expensive lookalikes…so you can enjoy the look without the price tag!

1. Style&co. Simmone Platform Evening Sandals. Same crisscrossing straps and peep toe, but at a fraction of the price! On sale for $39.99 at Macy’s.

Style&co. Simmone Platform Evening Sandals - Wedding Belles Blog

2. Steve Madden Feliz Glitter Sandal. More crisscrossing, strappy goodness. $49.95 at DSW.

Steve Madden Feliz Glitter Sandal - Wedding Belles Blog

3. Betsey Johnson Tee Sandal. Not quite the same styling as the Louboutins, but still has the peep toe/strappy look. $69.00 at Belk.

Betsey Johnson Tee Sandal - Wedding Belles Blog

4. M by Marinelli Splendid Sandal. Again, a slightly different look, but still has those key elements (gold, crossing straps, peep toe) like the Louboutins. $59.95 at DSW.

M by Marinelli Splendid Sandal - Wedding Belles Blog

What do you think about these lookalikes, belles? None of them are exactly the same as the Louboutins, of course, but isn’t the price difference just fabulous?

xoxo Laura

Internet Roundup: Tips for Staying on Track with Your Wedding Budget

Hello belles! All of my favorite articles today have to with money…specifically, how to save it! Here are my favorite tips from around the Internet lately on how to save a few dolla dolla billls while planning your wedding and reception.

1. 6 Unnecessary Wedding Expenses You Can Totally Skip. Most wedding-related expenses these days are luxuries, not necessities, so keep that in mind as you hone in on what’s truly important to spend your precious savings on! This list can help you get started.

6 Unnecessary Wedding Expenses You Can Totally Skip, via Loverly - Wedding Belles Blog

via Loverly

2. 15 DIY Wedding Projects for Under $50. Don’t have money to buy a bunch of fancy decor? That’s okay – here are several DIY tutorials that look very doable!

15 DIY Wedding Projects for Under $50, via Wedding Chicks - Wedding Belles Blog

via Wedding Chicks

3. 6 Unnecessary Expenses You Can Cut from Your Catering Bill. Agreed, agreed, agreed!

6 Unnecessary Expenses You Can Cut from Your Catering Bill, via Loverly - Wedding Belles Blog

via Loverly

4. How to Make Your Own Envelope Liners. Great tutorial for those who want a custom wedding invitation look, but don’t want to drop a ton of money!

How to Make Your Own Envelope Liners, via The Budget Savvy Bride - Wedding Belles Blog

via The Budget Savvy Bride

Have any other tidbits of wisdom for cutting down on wedding costs? Share in the comments!

xoxo Laura

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding

Y’all, today’s real wedding is pure Southern goodness. We’re talking monograms, heirloom jewelry, and classic black tuxes with bow ties. Preppy perfection! Margaret and Mason were married in Concord, NC, on March 14, 2015. Many thanks to Anna Routh Photography for sharing their wedding photos!

Wedding rings and invitation shot - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

From the bride: I am from Concord, North Carolina, and Mason is from Morehead City. We met at North Carolina State University, where we both attended college. We dated for about five years before we got engaged. I enjoy being outdoors, being on the water, cooking, baking, shopping, and hanging out with friends and family. I really enjoy having my dog, Duncan, tag along on anything possible. Mason enjoys golfing, cooking, being outdoors, being on the water, and being with friends and family. We are both Wolfpack fans and enjoy football season.

Kelly Green Bridesmaid Dresses - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

I wore my maternal grandma’s jewelry for the wedding. All the girls on my mom’s side of the family have worn that jewelry when we got married since my grandma passed away in 1986. My aunt, sister, and two cousins wore it when they got married as well. It is kind of a family tradition.

Heirloom Pearl Wedding Jewelry - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Green and White Bouquet - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Kelly Green Bridesmaid Dress - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Custom Groomsmen Flasks - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

I chose the location of our wedding (First Presbyterian Church of Concord) because that’s the church I was born and raised in. It wasn’t a very hard choice because that’s the only church I have ever belonged to. I believe it is a very beautiful church; very timeless and classy. It is also the church where my sister and I got baptized and where my sister got married.

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

The organist and choir director at the church are both phenomenal at their jobs, so oddly enough, I was really excited about the music. I wanted something that was loud, big, bold, and over the top. I wanted to have goosebumps when I listened to it, which I think I achieved. I think the wedding guests got goosebumps from the music as well. 

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Monogrammed Church Doors - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

When it came to budget, I talked to lots of my friends to ask how they saved money. I didn’t go to the big name stores for my dress, the bridesmaid dresses, or tuxes. Hope’s Bridal in Kannapolis was great. They were very personable and easy to work with. I searched the Internet for good prices on things such as sparklers and the wedding party gifts. I tried to look around and give myself time, hitting the sales just right. My sister had moss wreaths on the church doors when she got married. I liked that idea, but at the end of the day the wreaths were already dying, so I chose to go for massive monograms from Etsy for the church doors. Now, they are hanging over our bed and on the front door. It’s something I didn’t pay for just for that day…I get to keep them for awhile.

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Wedding Trolley - Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

I really enjoyed my entire day. I was very pleased with all the choices I made.

Preppy and Classic Kelly Green Wedding - Wedding Belles Blog

Wasn’t Margaret and Mason’s wedding absolutely gorgeous? Congratulations, you two!!

Photography: Anna Routh Photography
Videography (not pictured): Lane Maloney, cousin of the bride
Invitations: PaperBuzz 
Rings: Diamonds Direct 
Bride’s dress: Hope’s Bridal
Bride’s veil: Hope’s Bridal
Bride’s shoes: Kate Spade 
Bride’s jewelry: Family heirlooms
Hair: Eclipse Styling Salon
Makeup: MadeUp by Brooke
Bridesmaid dresses: Hope’s Bridal
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s attire: Hope’s Bridal
Groomsmen’s flasks: Smathers and Branson 
Ceremony Venue: First Presbyterian Church
Officiant: Rev. Peter Bynum 
Floral design: Chelish Moore Flowers 
Trolley: Dave Calvert, American Republic Limousine