Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Manzanita Tree and Shells

When I first thought about writing this entry I had yet to see the damage that was done to our home by Hurricane Sandy. It's hard to find a silver lining for the fact that I am officially "displaced" due to 3 feet of water that flowed throughout my entire house. Now that I am settled in my parents home in Boston, I can see the extent of the damage in the New York area from a distance of sorts and am deeply affected by the families who are without power during this winter season.
 I sat on finishing this post due to the fact that there are so many devastated families and neighborhoods on the northeast coast. In some ways it would be insensitive to write about collecting twigs for a wedding that at this point is probably canceled due to the fact that many venues, let alone homes are ruined. But being as that I'm obsessed with DIY and helping others save money during these trying times I wanted to share an idea I had while watching for falling branches during my first coffee run after the Super Storm Sandy. Brides-to-be in the northeast who desire a wishing tree for their special day and are still able to celebrate their nuptuals should try to salvage large sections of the fallen trees in their neighborhood. Start looking for long wide tree branches or saw some off of larger sections. In my opinion I wouldn't worry about stripping the bark off. Instead I would sand down any particularly rough patches and just paint the whole thing for a clean consistent look. Try to look for branches that have the most width, which will make for the most drama.

Here is a great Manzanita DIY from Wedding Chicks which also includes a free wish card template made especially for card stock. You can also checkout my previous Manzanita post to get some centerpiece and decor ideas.

Martha Stewart Weddings
Those of you who live near beaches can also take advantage of the seashells and driftwood that has been cast ashore from the storm. Above is an image from Martha Stewart Weddings site. They painted a branch from a Manzanita tree to give a beautiful coral effect. With a smaller piece like this it would be much easier to strip the bark of any type of wood to attain this smooth look.

Do you have any creative twig ideas? Share them with us!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Money-Saving Monday: Pronovias Inspired Etsy Dress

Ok, I've been MIA for a few weeks but I'm back with your money-saving Monday find.
I am a proud member of the Etsy handmade and vintage community and wanted to be sure to feature my fellow handmade artisans and designers. This week I would like to feature a handmade seller, Wanderxue. This impressive shop has a great selection of designer inspired dresses and low price-points.
It was hard to pick a dress to show you due to the large number of dresses already reserved. I fell in love with this Pronovias inspired gown the second I saw it. I actually like the Wonderxue version better than the designer version. The sweetheart shaped feather bodice covered with white feathers, and tulle skirts makes this piece truly ethreal. And at a price of only $388 it fits any  budget.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Anniversary Special

Last Wednesday was my husband and I's 3rd wedding anniversary. Because of our busy schedules we were not able to do anything romantic. A tender and kiss and hug had to do for the day, but we made plans for a date this coming weekend.

Just last night I found myself looking at pictures from the last three years and realized how drastically things have changed. When we were married I was still working in The City in the fashion industry, but was soon laid off. I was also pregnant at the time so we opted to get married at the courthouse and save money for  our new family.We had a reception a month later in the event room of my sister's building in midtown. Back then and even now I am so glad that we did it the way we had. I don't think that I would have handled the stress and excitement of planning and executing a wedding very well at that stage of my life.

You would think that writing a blog about weddings and making couture veils would cause me to long for a grand affair with all the bells and whistles. Actually I am just as excited if not more excited about being a part of so many other people's weddings. To make something that speaks so intimately to a bride that she wears it for the world to see is my dream come true.

This veil pictured above is the veil I made and wore to the courthouse September 25th 2009. It is not only the anniversary of me and my husband's day of matrimony, it is also the anniversary of my love affair with beautiful bridal things. So cheers to Beyond A Veil! May we have many many years and memories together.

Love, Kiara

Monday, October 1, 2012

Money-Saving Monday: Manzanita Tree/ Wishing Tree

So I bumped into this great discount craft supply site while researching my Babies breath post. The site Save On Crafts sells everything  from preserved flowers to LED lights from 20% to 50% off of retail price.
I clicked on their "specials" button and was delighted to see a faux 4' Manzanita tree for only $45. This tree, which usually sells for $120, comes black but can be easily painted any color to fit your wedding decor.

With Halloween just around the corner these pieces can be used for a Halloween themed wedding or party. Or how about brown for an autumn themed affair with flowers dotting the branches with your wedding colors. My one main tip would be to wrap a plastic bag around the base to protect it from paint splatters. Then consider painting the base also incase the black looks to severe with your new look.

I would personally paint it white and add some salt while the paint is wet to give it a whimsical winter look to it. Then I would hang crystals to a few of the branches to add elegance. What would you or will you do with these great buys?

Here are some ideas I found on Pintrest.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Cheap & Chic: Babies Breath

I once read a quote that said something along the lines of "If I spent as much time finding a mate as I do planning my wedding on Pintrest then I'd be married by now". With constant images of lavish weddings like the Kardashians and the millions of images on Pintrest its hard to not desire a million dollar wedding. This is why Babies Breath is one of my favorite flowers. It covers a lot of space, is very inexpensive, has a clean almost whimsical look  and is very easy to maintain. I did a bit of research and found that the wholesale site Whole Blossoms offers the best price by bunch. 10 bunches of 6 stems is $99.99 with free shipping.

Babies Breath or Gypsophilia as it is technically called has three different types of styles:
Million Star

There is the "Million Star"variety which is used most often for bouquets and garland because of its small clusters that have the appearance of star clusters.

New Love

"New Love" has the same clusters as its sister but the flowers are a bit larger and it has a longer vase life. 

All images from Fifty Flowers

I couldn't figure out what exactly is the difference between this "Party Time" variety and the rest but it was offered on one of the wholesale sites that I found.

Below are a few of my favorite ideas that I found on Pintrest and other various blogs around the web.

Munster Rose Blog

I'm in love with the idea of gluing doilies over colored paper. If you are having a lace theme wedding then this  idea can be used for flower girls and snack holders as well as aisle decor. 
Once Wed
I found this gorgeous garland DIY on Once Wed. There you can find the template for the birds and a detailed description of how to make it. I think that this idea would also be great for holiday parties and any types of showers (baby or bridal).
Munster Rose Blog
This look is so easy. Just mason jars and various trims or yarn make this rustic but chic. Again the doilies on the tea lights add to the simple elegance of this style shoot.

Are you thinking of using Babies Breath for your wedding? what ideas or images do you have in mind for your dream day. Share with us on Facebook! How about you Like us while you're there!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Book Review: Adornments by Myra Callan

Image: Amazon 

Myra Callan, designer and creator of Etsy superstore Twigs & Honey has made a living off of beautiful things. If you have browsed any bridal or wedding blog and especially Pintrest then there is a good chance you have seen her work. And just as I was aksing myself "how do you hand make flowers?" My answer was given in the form of this extremely informative and exceptionally beautiful book. 
Twigs & Honey 

In Adornments you are given trade secrets by one of the handmade communities biggest stars. Everything from petal shaping to feather stripping is described in detail and illustrated by her gifted friend and photographer Elizabeth Messina.

The book, however, is not for the novice crafter. I would recommend this book for an individual with intermediate to advanced skills. Some tools and supplies, such as a millinery iron and various clips and headbands, should be purchased before approaching any project.

Because I am a big fan of Myra Callan and her growing empire I am very excited and happy to have preordered this book. It is of course available on both Amazon and Barnes & Nobles websites at this time. When you get a chance check it out and make something pretty for me! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Money-Saving Monday: Tadashi Shoji @ Nordstrom

Happy Monday Everyone!
Here is your Monday Money-Saving eye candy. If you act fast you can get this knockout Tadashi Shoji mermaid at a fantastic price. At 40% off this bandeau style, strapless, bead and sequins embellished mermaid beauty is only $406.90. Currently it is still available in all sizes, 4-16, so act fast before your size is snatched up.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

New from the Shop: Choose Hope

Do you have a Breast Cancer Survivor near and dear to you? Are you a Survivor Bride? Show your support and pride with our gorgeous Hope fascinator. 25% of the processed will be donated to the American Cancer Society. 

Plus there are more Pink Ribbon inspired pieces to come.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How To: Dye Feathers

Dried by Morning
I've had this idea in my head for an ombre feather piece for a while. I could not,however, find the right color and look on any feather vendor's sites. So I looked it up on YouTube and thanks to the high demand for feather extensions there were a few DIY tutorials.

What you'll need:
Rit dye
Distilled white vinegar
Feathers (dont have to be white, but should be clean)
bowl of plain cool water

How to:
• I used Rit's fushia color (i didn't have the patience to order the Jaquard acid dye that was recommended for feathers. Fly Dye was also one mentioned but I have yet to find a link for this)
• I brought a small pot with one part vinegar and one part water to a rolling boil then added a table spoon of dye to the water and stirred for 10 seconds and turned down the heat.
• I also had a container of plain cool water beside to stove for rinsing.
• With a gloved hand I dipped or dropped the feather into the dye and stirred for upto 15 seconds or less . It really depended on how dark I wanted it.
• I fished out the feather with a plastic fork and dropped it into the water to rinse. If it was too light I would dip it back in the pot of dye.
• Not sure if it helped but I would carefully take the feather out of the rinse by its quill so as to keep the plume smooth.
Wet Feathers
• I then laid them smoothly on a paper towel to dry and when I was done dyeing all of them I took another towel and pressed it on top to make sure they were not drenched.
• After 15 minutes I rubbed apart some of the plumage with my thumb and middle finger to make sure they dried all the way through and smooth.

What I learned: that there are dyes specially for animal product (i.e. Wool, feathers, silk) and there are dyes for plant product (i.e. Cotton). Rit dye is available almost everywhere and it mentions everything from silks to nylon.  I personally found that the colors were pretty vibrant and easy to control. So I will be using it again in the future. There were a few variations of techniques the ranged from very professional to just for crafts which I list below. Like Goldylocks I found a technique that was just right for me.

Here are the videos I watched on YouTube:
I basically used this technique the most : EscapeNormal
This was interesting but she used food color: SherryWolfe
And this one gave me ideas for drying larger feathers and showed me how resilient feathers can be: BlueWhaleArts

Let me know how yours come out. Send me a photo or let me know what techniques you use.
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Money-Saving Mondays: The Belated Bridesmaids Edition

For some reason I have not been able to get anything done but a tiny bit of research last week so I'm a bit behind. I did, however, discover these fabulous dresses from Target.
Unveiled in April, this new line was made to fit all body-types and budgets. They range from sizes 2-28, are all under $70 and come in all of this year's hottest wedding colors. If you act now you can get free shipping with purchases over $50.
Need a bit of a personal touch to enhance these dresses? check out my shop for sashes and fascinators. Anything you see can be made into a brooch or you can contact me for custom pieces for your whole party. Now for a limited time use code Blogbride12 to receive 15% off your purchase.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Money Saving Tips For Your Wedding Dress

Raise your hand if you know the difference between Swarovski crystals and regular rhinestones. Raise your hand if you can eyeball a picture and tell the difference between inexpensive satin and higher end satin. Still no hands? Ok, how about this, raise your hand if you know what your paying for when you buy a custom made wedding dress.

When planning a wedding there are so many things to consider and the wedding dress is one of the most important factors. But lets look at what's really important when considering the dress. This is the one time in your life that you get to go all out and feel like royalty so its understandable that you would like to spare no expense, but you will only wear this dress once. It will however, live forever in pictures so you do want to take into consideration style and presentation, but that doesn't mean you have to spend thousands of dollars.

When your paying for a dress you are paying for essentially parts and labor, just like your plumber or mechanic (keep in mind an Italian or french worker will be paid more than a Chinese worker). You are then charged wholesale markup so that the dress company makes profit, and the store's markup so that they can also make profit. Before you walk into a boutique there are a few questions you need to ask yourself:
 What is more important, dazzle or fit? How much beading do you really need? More times then not less is more when it comes to wedding dress fashion.
Here are some tips to saving a lot of money on your wedding dress

  • find a fashion school near you and ask them to help you find a student who can do bead work and/or tailoring for you. 
  • ask if they have your dress or a similar dress in a less expensive fabrication. A man made satin can look just as good as one made of silk.
  • See if your favorite designer has a lower-end line. Often times designers have a line that is much lower in price with the same body and design concept.
  • Look up sites that sell vintage dresses, hand made dresses and used dresses for a fraction of the price: Etsy,, Craig's List and Ebay. Note: be careful with Ebay. be sure that the seller shows pictures of the actual dress and tags not just the magazine photo.
With any website try to get one size up as apposed to the size you would like to be on your wedding day. There are no guarantees that you will hit your goal weight and a dress too large can always be taken in. 

Just keep in mind that you looking good an a perfectly fitting dress with a glowing face will be a much better topic of conversation than your overpaying for a designer name.

New Blog Fridays: Oh So Lovely Blog

Just found this great blog: . Brainchild of Kansas City graphic designer and freelance photographer Audrey, this great blog features beautiful DIY's and gorgeous FREE printable tags and menu cards.

 Also checkout her business website Ohsolovelycreative if you live in the KC metro area.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Be Productive Today!

At this very moment I may have spread myself too thin. I am not only a stay-at-home mom of two, I am now a freelance writer for two great new blogs, MommyNoire, and Black & Brown News and I am a veil designer. All of which require a lot of social media work including this blog. So it is important that I manage my time.. a task I have yet to master.
As a bride-to-be you are consumed with ideas, budgets, fittings, bridesmaids' complaints and oh yeah your job and relationship.

So here are some time managment tips that I have been reading about (during my long bouts of procrastination). 

1. Time yourself
Set aside 10 mins per day and attempt to knock one of your tasks off your massive list. 10 minutes is a comfortable amount of time and before you know it you'll be so engrossed in what you are doing that time will fly by and you'll be able to knock it completely off your list. This will work well for party favors, address labels and other tedious tasks. 

2. Make a list of importance
There are a lot of small details involved in planning a wedding. Some of them are more important than others. Get some of your more important tasks out of the way first before you become bored with all of the wedding hoopla.  

3. Ban yourself from social media (with the exception of this site of course)
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Take a day off from Facebook, Pintrest and Twitter. I know, you're gagging right now. But I promise you will survive a night of not knowing what Lady Gaga had for dinner.

4. Put a movie on
Sounds redundant right? But I find that I get the most work done when I put on a good romantic comedy, or something with a simple story-line that I have been looking forward to seeing. It's also important to pick a task off your list that doesn't require concentration like wrapping and tagging favors or printing out table assignments. Do avoid making an evening cocktail. It's bad enough your watching a movie, add alcohol to the mix and your asking for a sloppy mess.

5. Think about the BIG DAY
The only thing that is worst than a looming deadline is to rush around right before it. Just remember what the day is about; the celebration of you and your fiancee's worlds coming together. The more you put off the more stress your adding to yourself as you get to your wedding date.

This time of your life is suppose to be special not stressful. Pace yourself so you can enjoy every part of the journey. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Money Saving Mondays: JCP Steal

Check out this ultra chic one shoulder wedding dress from . With a ruched bodice and one ruffled shoulder this dress fit most body types and every budget at just $90. Comes in sizes 4-16. Can somebody say "STEAL!!"

Friday, September 7, 2012

Professional Hair Color @ Home

Last night while surfing the web I found this great site called . The site has real colorists who create a custom salon quality semi-permanent or permanent hair color for you based on your individual apearance and desired hair color.The process is simple, you answer a quick survey that asks you questions concerning things like your skin tone, natural hair color and ethnicity. Then you tell them the color you desire which is shown on a model so you can get a good idea as to what it will look like. And in case you were skeptical (like me) that you are actually getting a real live human to process your order, you can upload up to 5 pictures of yourself and even add specific details to your request about your lifestyle and concerns.
"Many clients incorrectly identify their natural or current color- people tend to think their hair is darker than it actually is," says Kim, an eSalon colorist.

the best part about this online service is that you can get it for just under $25 including shipping. But if you click here, you can try a free trial and only pay $4.95 for standard shipping or $6.94 for express shipping. Just remember to give yourself 4weeks before the big day to try any new color. This will give your stylist a healthy amount of time to correct any mistakes you may make and all coloring to settle.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome to Beyond a Veil Brides. I'm pretty sure that by now you have heard a million times that the average cost of a wedding is well over $20,000. Well BAVB is a place for fashion forward brides to find budget saving tips, tricks and inspiration. Stop by weekly for fresh ideas, beautiful images and stories from real brides.