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.


Trash the Dress Comp Winner: The Hunter Rocks Her Frock

Remember the Trash the Dress photoshoot competition we ran a month or so back?

[For anyone who missed it, brides were invited to submit their ideas for a Trash the Dress Photoshoot , with the prize being to win that photoshoot, with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography]

The winning entry came from a bride who had the idea of photos wearing her gown, doing something that she really loves: Hunting. Yes, that’s right, she wanted to wear her wedding gown while hiking into the bush, shooting an animal and carrying it out of the bush, even gutting and dressing the meat. Yes, all that, wearing her wedding gown.

She was sure that we would never pick her entry, because, on the surface, it’s kinda gross. What Sandra and I loved about it, though, was that it’s genuinely something that’s part of her life, a passion that she shares with her husband, and, while it will, indeed trash her dress in the truest sense of the words, it’s not simply wrecking it for the sake of it.

We were hoping to even convince the groom to climb back into his suit jacket [and old boots and shorts] for a totally new take on the formal bridal portrait series. Then we discovered that her groom is willing, but [redacted for privacy] unavailable until later in the year, so those photos will have to wait, for now.

In the meanwhile, Sandra and Renelle headed out into the local countryside for a bit of a test run – and having seen these images, I cannot wait for the ‘real’ photoshoot.

Take a peek:

>More here<

Congratulations, Renelle, you really do rock that beautiful frock!


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!

Wedding Planning Extravaganza: Nelson Wedding Show 2011

If you’re even remotely dreaming of getting married in the next few years, then the wedding expo this weekend should be at the top of your ‘things to do’ list.
This Sunday, 26th June, 9.30-3.30 at the Trafalgar Centre, $10/person.

It’s a great opportunity to get ideas and information, but most of all, it’s a really efficient way to meet with a wide range of vendors and get a feel for how they might fit with your wedding plans. It’s a really important factor in your decision-making, and usually, the only other way to do it well is by spending literal hours traipsing around meeting with vendors individually.

This Sunday, you have the opportunity to wander the aisles, checking out over 75 different options in one go, watching the way different vendors interact with people, and actually getting to see their setup.

Given the choice between two similar, great options, you’re always going to go with the one that you ‘click’ with – whether that’s a good rapport with the people, or a preference for the colour of their particular version of things – and those are the kind of things you can quickly and easily get a feel for at a bridal show.

If you haven’t already, you still have time to enter the competition to win a wedding dress from Beautiful Brides of Hope, just by telling us about your proposal [enter here or submit to the entry box before 11 on show day] or tell us how you’d rock your frock and you could win the opportunity to do it in an awesome Trash the Dress photo shoot with Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography [enter here]

As well as all of that, there will be three really practical, FREE wedding planning workshops, at 9.30, 12 noon and 3.00. I recommend you arrive early, and plan to stay a while – It’s going to be busy:
The first workshop starts at 9.30, as a warm up to the wedding show opening at 10.00, followed by a fashion show at 11, a second wedding planning workshop at 12, the winner of the Beautiful Brides of Hope gown will be drawn at 1.45, before the fashion show repeats at 2, and the show closes at 3 with a final workshop to finish up the day.

– Just for coming along you could win one of the following great prizes: a luxury night’s accommodation at The MudCastle,  $250 voucher for wedding decoration or hire items from Creative Occasions, Custom designed wedding bands from Glen James jewellers, or an engagement photo shoot from Tasman Photography.

I’ll be there, of course – the last site as you head out the door, and at the workshops – and I’d love to chat with you about what you discover, and how what you’ve learned fits into your wedding plans.

I’m looking forward to chatting with you see you Sunday,


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!

That’s not lipstick on my collar…

…but that IS pine sap on my new pants!

A regular, reflex part of my wedding planner routine is the quick once-over to check that the bride, groom, and bridal party still look like they’re fresh out of the packet – keeping an eye out for extra lipstick and rouge in the wrong places on the bride, [and anywhere on the groom!], zippers zipped, ties tied, hems free of cling-ons, and so on.

It’s amazing how much muss can happen between the top and bottom of the aisle, and it’s part of my job to quietly make it go away. A “thumb-flannel” is sometimes enough. A babywipe is a godsend. Spit on a hanky, even among family members, a definite no-no!

I love the idea of  ‘Trash the Dress’, but your wedding day is not the time, or that place to do it, and never accidentally! So, I know how to deal with automobile grease on a white gown, baby vomit on a dark suit, and a horde of other minor disasters. This boy-scout attitude has not, unfortunately,  saved me from my own day-to-day battle with spaghetti sauce down the front of  my white T-shirt, dog slobber on my shoes, beetroot juice on my socks [don’t ask!], and today’s addition to the stain family –  pine sap on my brand new black pants.

My daughter had a fight with her best friend, ran out to the wood pile and  sat on a log to cry, I hauled her onto my lap [because she’s still not too big to hug] and got pine sapped. The resulting mess could pass for a “Monica Lewinsky blue dress”, and if I’m ever going to wear them in public, it’s going to take a lot more than a babywipe to get them clean.

Polling my friends gave me a variety of options to try ranging from rubbing alcohol to professional stain removal. But there was one solution I hadn’t ever tried, and it’s so good, I plan to add it to my stock of babywipes and clean hankies. Riv’s suggestion was:

“But that’s how we tell the good parents from the bad parents. The ones without pine tar stains, or any other stain, or rips, or the hems of shirts pulled out of shape by the waist-high crowd– those are the ones who might as well start the kids’ therapy funds now. Wear that pine tar stain with pride.”

Which, IMO, beats babywipes and spit-on-a-tissue, hands down. She’s right – pine sap on my new pants is nothing if it’s the only thing stopping me comforting my baby girl.

Smeared happy-tears-mascara on the collar of the groom,  or baby drool on the bride’s gown might not be something you’d set out to collect, but if the badge fits, you might as well wear it as hide it.

Which is a long way of saying,  if you ever see me at a wedding,  not rushing to clean up a fuchsia lipstick stain, you should look around and find which lips it matches. I guarantee, it will be one of the best beloved old nanas or aunties. It will, no doubt, look as garish in the flesh as it does on the bride’s forehead, but you’d do well to find yourself a seat at her table. Best beloved old biddies are something pretty special.  Riv was right. Some stains you should wear with pride!

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