2012 Springtime Sample Sale

With all the beautiful new 2013 season gowns arriving at The Corner Store, I’m looking around The Store and once again thinking… there are just too many gowns here!

Since I’m not keen to repeat the ‘so many gowns the racks fell off the wall and broke’ adventure of earlier this year, the logical solution is to throw a sale. So… here are a few of my personal favourites – loads more styles and bargains in store!

You can find photos of some of these beautiful gowns on my pinterest board, but the best way is to come into the store and view them for yourself!

Please see below for sale T&C

Sample Gown: Jasmine F274R
Grecian style gown in chiffon. Sweeping Empire/A-line gown. Sweetheart neckline, button over zip back with button detail all the way down the train. Little sparkle detail under bust.
size 16
RRP$1790   SALE PRICE:  $650

Sample Gown: Jasmine F304
Heavy satin fitted ruched gown with flared skirt. Flower and diamante belt and detachable one shoulder strap. Button over zip back.
size 14
RRP $1750  SALE PRICE: $650

Sample Gown: Jessica Couture Nadia
Silk satin gown with ruched bodice and A-line skirt. Sequin detailing. Zip Back.
Size 14
RRP$2,200 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Jessica Couture Cicily
Grecian Style with lots of sparkle, wide shoulder straps with diamante and crystal detailing on shoulder and at waist. Silk georgette overlay and train.
size 16
RRP $2380 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Valencia Bridal V125
Pretty, delicate lace gown, strapless satin undergown with heather lace overlay
Ivory and Silver
size 12
RRP $1860 SALE PRICE $650

Sample Gown: Valencia Bridal v202
Structured, fitted gown with long sweeping train. Zip back.
Cream size 12 RRP $1820 SALE PRICE $550

Sample Gown: BelllaDonna Calllie
Vintage classic A-line gown with wide corded lace and ribbon wrap at waist. Zip back. Ruffled chiffon over bust, satin and chiffon skirt.
Ivory with latte ribbon
size 14
RRP $1650 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: BellaDonna Jana
Corded lace empire line gown with ribbon under bust, wide straps and deep V neckline
size 10
RRP $1820 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: SylviaRose Amber
Chiffon over satin gown, lace up back, heavily embroidered over bodice, with chiffon wrapping detail. Long train with beautiful embroidered detail
size 14
RRP $1640 SALE PRICE $600

Sample Gown: Sugar and Spice 6211
Satin and organza gown with diamante and glass crystal beading under bust and at hip.
size 10
RRP $1920 SALE PRICE $660

And there are so many more I can’t find pictures for just now!

The Fine Print

Please note that these gowns have been our store samples, and may have been tried on by many people. Most sample gowns are as good as new,and all are definitely discounted [most priced below cost – up to 70% off RRP!]

Gowns are offered for sale on an ‘as is, where is’ basis. Cleaning, or any alterations for fit or hem is not included in the price of a sample sale gown.

The terms of this sale are strictly ‘first come, first served’, no holds or layby available, sorry.


Unveiling the Veil

I’m sitting at my desk, in the midst of a chaos of order forms, tape measures, fabric swatches, and thinking that if I’m having this much trouble figuring out which veil is which, then maybe it’s time to shine a little light on the subject!

For what’s more or less a flimsy piece of flyaway tulle, it’s sure not anywhere near that simple!

But let’s start there – with the tulle. I’m looking at snippets of ‘Mystic Tulle”, “China Tulle”, “Bridal Illusion” as well as the old familiars, organza, chiffon, and plain old ordinary tulle.  Side by side, there’s a lot of difference, which is one good reason not to buy your veil online. It’s impossible to guess at texture from pictures, plus, if possible, you really want to match your veil to your gown [see below for tips on this]

Most veils are made from 100% nylon tulle. The texture can vary from one manufacturing run to the next, but what you can usually expect is a fine netting which is soft to the touch.  Bridal tulle [mystic, china, bridal illusion] drapes, flows, and moves beautifully. It is much less ‘crunchy’ than the tulle you’d find at Spotlight under the same name. The stiffer tulle is fantastic for a fuller, pouffy veil, or more dramatic effect. Bridal Illusion tulle is the go-to for quality veiling.

Different edging effects how the veil behaves, too. A raw edge veil will be very light, prone to movement, where a beaded or satin bound edge will sit more steadily and hang with a more formal drape.

Lace veils are usually be made on a soft tulle base, spreading the motifs across the tulle for economy, mostly because lace by the metre is expensive, but also because heavy lace is, well, heavy.

Chiffon veils are less common, probably because chiffon is far less translucent compared with tulle. Chiffon falls with incredible fluidity, and if your gown has chiffon detailing, it’s worth considering complementing your gown with a chiffon veil. You really won’t see any detail of your gown through a chiffon veil, and single tier bridal veil is best for a chiffon veil. The exception to the rule would be silk chiffon, which is very soft, fine, and close to translucent. I think of it like a very very VERY fine muslin in texture.

It’s easy to get chiffon and organza muddled up – here’s my rule of thumb: Chiffon tends to be matte, where organza is often a little bit sparkly or shimmering. It’s also a stiffer fabric, standing out where chiffon would flow, so it’s great for layering, and fluted edges.

The ideal length and edging for your veil will be determined by the style of your gown. For example, if there is a lot of beading or other detail through the bodice, you should choose a veil edge which will sit either above or below the detailing, so as not to visually block your gown.

As a general guideline, the slimmer the gown silhouette, the longer your veil should be.

For longer veil lengths, either choose a cut/raw edge for your veil [so that the edge just invisibly blends into your train], or have your veil cut slightly longer than the length of your train. This helps draw out the veil as you’re walking up the aisle, creating a beautiful silhouette. Ideally, the longer the veil, the softer the fabric.

A-Line gowns generally look great with a fingertip length circle cut veil, complementing the lines and proportions nicely. If you’ve dreamed of a longer veil, you can still have it, just add plenty of gentle tiers.

If your gown has a full, pouffy, “Disney princess” skirt and fitted bodice, try a shorter, fuller veil.

If you’re shopping for your veil by length, remember to consider where on your head you’ll be attatching the comb. A veil which comes out from underneath your hair will have as much as 4 more inches than a veil which sits right at the top of your head. The position of the comb will greatly effect the look of your veil from the front, too. It’s best to experiment a bit and see whetehr you prefer to have the veil framing your face, or just falling behind you.

If at all possible, you should match your veil not only to your gown colour, but also to shape – at The Corner Store, we encourage brides to bring in their gown, no matter where they purchased it from, to try on veils with. It’s kind of fun, playing dress-ups with a serious reason, and it’s another chance to get into the gown, win/win!  If you don’t have a friendly bridal store nearby, or don’t have the time to take your gown in, here’s an easy way to figure out your ideal veil length at home. It’s easier [and more fun] if you have someone to help you.

You’ll need: a hairclip/comb, or your hairpiece, if you’re using one
A couple of metres of string or wool
Tape measure or ruler

Tie one end of the string to your headpiece or a hairclip, and pin it into your hair around where you plan to anchor your veil. Run the string down your back until it’s at the length you like best. Get a friend to cut the string [if you try to do this yourself, I’d suggest you cut the string, then stand up again, to check the height before you take the pins out. It took me three goes to get it right when I tried it on my own!] Take the pin from your hair and measure it. Most veils are measured in inches. I don’t know why.  Or, you can use this handy picture to figure out what the name of your preferred veil lenght is called.
[ courtesy of Veil Trends]
Fly Away or Short Shoulder (20″ or less) or Shoulder Length (25″) These veils can be casual and/or very cute. They look best with a gown that has no train.

Elbow Length (30″) –  This length enhances detailing around the waist of the gown. It also balances nicely on a full skirted gown, as it ends just before the skirt begins to pouff out.

Fingertip or Waist Length (36″) –  If this length has an oval cut, it can make your waist appear smaller because the fullest part of the veil is at your elbows.

Waltz or Ballet Length ( 54-60″) This veil length hits your body somewhere between your knees and calves.

Floor Length (72″) – A floor length veil is very elegant and can be quite formal. Unless you have a raw edge veil, I don’t recommend this length for a gown with a train.

Chapel Length (90″) – Perfect if you are looking for a long veil to compliment a gown with a short train.

Cathedral Length ( 120″)  For maximum effect, make sure your veil extends at least six inches past the end of your train.

Sometimes, STUFF just HAPPENS

Bleargh. The weather has been a fiend lately!
Plan A and Plan B have rain and sun covered, but there’s only going to be discontent when you’re facing gale force winds on an otherwise sunny blue day.

I want to give full credit to all the couples I’ve worked with this past weekend. The weather was beautiful but lousy, and they rolled with it, incredibly well. In particular, one bride who solved her own problem, instead of battling the wind and her [stunningly beautiful, fine lace] extremely long veil, she just pulled the comb out, and tucked the rolled up veil under the edge of her train, mid-ceremony. In that one action, she removed a distraction, not only for her guests, who were watching and wincing as it wound and flicked itself about, but also for herself and her groom. By removing the distraction, she brought the focus back to where it belonged, quickly, calmly, and without any fuss.

Stuff happens. The groom ends up with his Mother-in-Law’s lipstick on his collar before the formal photos. The dog runs off with the rings tied to his collar. The flower-girl shows off her Dora The Explorer knickers mid ceremony.
It rains. It blows a gale. It rains AND blows a gale.
Babies cry, candles refuse to light, pens don’t write… Stuff. It happens.

If you plan carefully, and you’re lucky, stuff happens to other people. But occasionally, all the stars align, and it happens to you, at your ceremony. Here’s the one thing you can do to control that random stuff that happens:

Stay focused. Keep your eyes on your bride or groom, smile, laugh if you can, and carry on as if you’d planned for things to go that way. Your family, and your guests will take their cue from you. How you react will give them a script for their own reaction. And, more importantly, how you react will determine whether that random stuff that just happened becomes the defining moment in your guests’ memories, or just another cute anecdote among many warm memories of a beautiful day.

I’m a great fan of the idea that you should ‘solve your own problem’. So if there’s a simple solution, like taking off your wind-whipped veil, do that. But if it’s not actually YOUR problem, or not one you can solve for yourselves, have faith in your Celebrant and ushers, or during your reception, your Emcee and parents, to take care of the problem for you.

A good Celebrant or Emcee will guide you safely through a potential disaster during the ceremony or speeches, your ushers will help with your guests. Everyone there is on your side, wanting the best possible outcome.Stay calm, and let them help. Don’t waste time or energy on getting cross, pulling faces, or doing the angry stabby gestures dance – all that does is keep everyone’s attention on the other stuff, and you will keep the focus where it should be -on  the committment you and your partner are celebrating.

Stuff happens? Ah, let it. It’s not even important. Unless you allow it to be.
So, yeah, don’t do that!

Caring for your gown between now and The Day

This week, I’ve had bride after bride popping in, asking about ways to store their gown until the wedding – how to keep it clean and out of sight until it debuts. As much as I’d love to sell everyone a whiz-bang gadget at 60% markup, my advice is actually: Just hang it, wrapped loosely in a clean old cotton sheet, right at the back of your everyday wardrobe.

Hang It: If possible, hang your gown up by the ribbon loops inside the gown. These loops connect  to the strongest part of the garment, [usually the side seams] taking the pressure off the delicate seams at the shoulder, which may stretch out of shape if left with the whole weight of the gown on them.

Wrap It: Dry Cleaners do it, gown shops do it, but really, storing your gown in any kind of plastic bag is a Bad Idea. You’ll hear people say that plastic doesn’t breathe, what that means is that any moisture in the fabric will stay there, causing a musty smell, and perhaps even allowing mildew staining. Not only that, but many types of plastic can leach chemical residues which can cause discolouration of the fabrics. An old, [really old] well washed cotton sheet shouldn’t leach any colours or chemicals, will keep surface dust and grime away, and keep your gown hidden from prying eyes.

For longer term storage, you’re better not to hang it at all – fold it gently, wrap loosely in that old cotton sheet, and store it inside an acid free box with plenty of room for the gown to just sit loosely. As long as it’s not squashed in or under pressure, you shouldn’t get too many creases, and allowing it to hang again will see most of those drop out again.

Just a quick aside about acid free storage. Paper and card contain a naturally occurring acid, Lignin, which comes from wood pulp. This, and other acids added in the paper making process, can leach out and discolour your fabric.

Luckily, it’s easy to tell if a box is acid free – basically, if any parts of the box are brown, it is not acid-free. Generally, all parts of the box wrapping tissue should be white, including the corrugates between the inner and outer walls of the cardboard. If the corrugates are brown, they contain acids which can still migrate through the white and into fabric.

In Your Ordinary Wardrobe: It may seem sensible to tuck your gown away in a wardrobe in a spare room, but they are often colder and can be damper than one in a room in regular use. Being in your everyday wardrobe also means that if it slips off the hanger, or a leak in the roof develops, or something – you’re much more likely to notice quickly and set it right.

If the worst happens, and for some reason your gown needs cleaning before you wear it, seek professional advice before doing ANYthing! Something that will clean off one type of dirt or mark may set another type – so it’s really important to have as much information about what caused the problem, and get good advice about what to try first.

For spills and staining on the day – Know the fabric of your wedding gown.If possible, go back to the person who made/sold you your gown for advice. Different fabrics need different treatment, too – silk, for example, should never be wetted. Some cleaning solutions will dissolve some polyesters, and so on. When you spill something on artificial fibre, it tends to stay on the surface of the fabric, so it is much easier to get rid of the stain than if you spill something on a natural fibre such as silk, which are hollow, and tend to absorb the spill. In either case, unless the mess is major and makes you uncomfortable, better leave it alone until you can get professional treatment for your bridal gown.

If you must do something and the stain is coffee, wine, mud, blood, tea or some other water-soluble stain, dab the spot gently with cool water and air dry. But remember, silks and rayons are water-sensitive, and you may create permanent water spots.

Try camouflaging [dry] marks on your gown with something white and relatively harmless such as baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder [NOT twink or white nail polish]—especially if the stain is not water-soluble. Grease, lipstick, and other cosmetics can only cleaned with solvents which can also dissolve any dye that may have been used to color your wedding gown. Again, you are better to leave the spot alone until you can get professional treatment for it, and remember that your wedding is about much more than just your dress – your friends, family, and new husband will be looking at you – not checking for spots or tears on your bridal gown!

Getting It Ready To Wear: Several days before the wedding, look over your wedding gown and wedding accessories and make sure everything is ready to wear. Hang your veil near the shower to smooth any wrinkles. If you are staying away from home, and will be dressing there, double-check that you have everything you may need before you leave the house. Allow plenty of time to get dressed in your wedding gown, and if possible, have someone to help you get it exactly right.

After Care: It’s worth planning ahead for what will happen with your gown after the wedding.  In the longer term, you might plan to pass the dress on to another generation, or simply keep it because of the memories and emotions attachment to it. If so, it’s essential that you take steps to preserve your gown properly, or it may become discolored and, over time, the fabric can even begin to disintegrate. Even if all you plan to do is to pass it on or sell it, you’ll still want to make sure it’s in good condition, and the sooner you have it cleaned, the easier it is to remove all the cake and lipstick and floor dirt you may have picked up the day of the wedding. Perspiration, unnoticed food spills, grass stains, etc, will only get worse with time. The sooner you start, the less damage there is likely to be.

BUT are you really ready to give up your gown? You might want to enjoy it some more and just look at it hanging over the wardrobe door or laying on the bed in your spare room, or even wear it for a second photo shoot – and just remember how much fun it was to wear it on your wedding day. Unless your gown is silk and/or and splattered with red wine or covered with mud, it’s okay to delay the trip to the cleaners for a couple of weeks.

The first step in either storing or selling your gown is in cleaning it. There’s a difference in the level of cleaning required for sale than for preservation. Wedding gown preservation cleaning is something that you should absolutely do if you plan to keep the dress. If you are going to sell it, then a simple cleaning is sufficient. Be realistic – if you know of serious stains – spilt wine or large grass stains – there’s little that will be able to done to remove them. You may need to reconsider your plans, and adjust the cleaning regime accordingly.

As wonderful as that gown is, the most precious part of it is the hopes and dreams, the tears and memories it’s gathered along the way. So, remember to take as much care over preserving them, as the gown itself.

Enjoy your day!

Speaking of Trashing the Dress…

In preparation for an upcoming competition…
[The Wedding Whisperer and Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography are giving away a fantastic ‘Trash the Dress” photoshoot on the Classic Hits Morning Radio Show! Watch this space!!]
….I got to tag along while Becky got her dress trashed for the promo photos!

I’m always banging on about how Trash the Dress doesn’t mean you have to wreck your frock… well, this time was a little different:
Our intent is to create a tiny tad of drama – so… Becky got paintballed:image copyright Sandra Johnson
But the paint wasn’t even the worst of it!
After being splattered with fluorescent paint, image copyright Sandra Johnsonand then being instructed to pose demurely under a tree
[read: sit in the mud, in the rain, and smile!],

Becky’s coworkers
[oh so lovingly]
doused her with buckets of coloured water.
Have you noticed that it’s winter?  And did I mention it was raining?
So do you think it was warm water? oops. No, sorry bout that, Becks.
And did anyone bring a towel? Oh, um, no, sorry about that, too Becks…

image copyright Sandra Johnson

Yet she still smiled and laughed and just looked gorgeous, all the way through. Becky totally gets my vote for Nelson’s next top model!

This clip shows a little more of the process, see some more of the stunning photos [and what a good sport Becky was!].
You can get an idea of how cold it was when you spot me [around 1:30] in thermals, boots, hat and coat… and *I* was still cold!

If you’re inspired to give it a go,  just tell us how YOU would rock your frock, and you could win your own fabulous Trash the Dress photoshoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography. Enter online at http://www.classichits.co.nz

Rock the Frock

Your wedding gown has a value far beyond the amount of money you paid for it – the memories of searching for, and finally finding the gown, trying it on, making it yours, and finally wearing it for one magical day.  And then… what?

You surely can’t just relegate such a treasure to the back of the wardrobe, so, here’s The Wedding Whisperer’s boxful of ideas of things you might choose to do with your wedding dress:

Heirloom it: If you loved your dress, why not save it for another generation to enjoy? As a bride who got to wear my grandmother’s wedding gown up the aisle, I know that a wedding gown can make a beautiful heirloom. There are no guarantees, though. Fashion is a fickle thing, so it’s a long-term investment.  Be ready to store your gown for two generations – that’s how long it may take for your gown to transition past kitsch and back into style again.
If you think your gown will stand the test of time, make sure you pack it away spotlessly clean, and well wrapped in acid free white tissue, or clean calico/cotton, never plastic. Remove any metal parts or boning, to guard against rust. It would be a tragedy to keep carefully for years, only to discover that the armpits have rotted out, or that the colour of the box you stored it in has leached into the fabric.

Frame it: Last summer, a bride showed me the stunning 3D mount and frame she’d arranged to display her gown as an art installation – she’s definitely getting more than one day’s pleasure out of it!

Model it: If you enjoyed walking down the aisle, all eyes on you, then why not unpack your dress and take a stroll along the catwalk! This year’s Bride of the Year is open for entry, and the prizes are fantastic!
Nelson Brides, married between 31 June 2008-1 June 2011 have until 4 June to register, for the Nelson Bride of the Year / Hospice fundraiser on 11th June.
Marlborough Brides married between 7 June 2010 and 7 June 2011, register now for the Marlborough Bride of the Year with Beavertown Blenheim Lions on 18th June 2011

Rock it:  A Trash the Dress photo shoot can simply be a way to get those artsy shots you simply couldn’t squeeze into your wedding day schedule. Or, it can be the beginning of something totally audacious – paintball, mud-stomping, whatever appeals to you – to create an album of stunning photos that celebrate how beautiful you feel while wearing your gown. Facebookers, check out a recent [paintball!] photo shoot

ReStyle it: It’s really rare for a wedding gown to successfully do double service – no matter how much you may have tried to choose a gown that you could wear again, somehow it always feels like you’re wearing your wedding dress out to dinner. A little bit of re-styling may be all it takes to bring it back into your useable wardrobe – add a touch of colour with a belt or sassy wrap cardi, or even dye it;  shorten the skirt, change the details, so that it’s not JUST your wedding dress any more.

Quilt it: A really neat way to keep your gown in the family, without relegating it to a box in the attic, is to use the fabric and accessories to make a quilt, wall hanging, pillow covers, christening gown, bassinette ruffle – something that will be part of your family’s day-to-day life.

Gift it or Sell it: The Wedding Whisperer sells a lot of pre-loved wedding gowns, and I really enjoy watching a bride step up to the mirror in a gown she never dreamed she’d be able to afford. It’s really satisfying to call a bride and tell her that the gown she wore and loved has found another bride who loves it just as much. If you really don’t have any other plans for it, bring it down to the store, and we’ll be happy to match-make on your behalf!

Confessions of a Confetti Lover part deux

While I was scouting fireworks for Guy Fawkes, I found some great spring-loaded confetti cannons  [the big ones shoot streamers up to 20 metres] and snaffled them up, thinking that would be my confetti fix for the next wee while. They’re very cool – palm sized or arm length tubes full of fun, and make me come over all Roald Dahl whenever I talk about them.

But amidst all the fizzwhiffling and bang!popping love, I apparently still have a soft spot for those handfuls of stuff for quietly showering the newlyweds. So when Shirley from Marlborough Lavender walked into The Corner Store today to show me their natural lavender confetti, I got excited about confetti all over again!

Marlborough Lavender have created beautifully packaged cones full of lavender heads, a deliciously scented, natural, environmentally friendly confetti alternative. Each cone has several handfuls of lavender, enough to share with a friend, or create a complete flurry of fragrant confetti. The cones are ideal for tucking into your bridal shoes or gown box as you pack them into storage, too.

Even better, it’s another local innovation, meaning you can support the local economy, the environment, and still have a unique and beautiful accessory for your wedding.

Being a local company also means greater scope for customising the boxes or other packaging to suit your theme and colour scheme. I know that Shirley recently harvested 1,000 head of lavender on long stalks, for a couple to strewe across the floor for their mediaeval themed wedding. Because scent is so strongly linked with memory, I’d bet that a whiff of fresh lavender will take them back to their wedding day, for years to come.

I’ll plan to get the details up on the website, or you can call into the Corner Store and see it for yourself!

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