Questions for a Bridal and Menswear Fashion Designer| Meet White Dress by Greta Kay

I am loving my vendor spotlight posts and learning so much from all the talented, local wedding vendors we are fortunate enough to have in our area. I have known Greta now for about 2 years and have had the opportunity to photograph several of her custom dresses and new menswear line! Every dress I have photographed has been unique and fit to perfection. Below you will find the interview with White Dress by Greta Kay as well as images from weddings and styled shoots I have photographed of Greta's custom bridal and bridemaids' dresses and menswear. Now, you must check out White Dress by Greta Kay's website and Facebook page to see even more of her amazing dresses and more photographs.

 

Tell me about yourself.
I’m Greta Kay, fashion designer, boy mom, and Oma (grandmother).  I love living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and just moved into an historic pre civil war home that my husband and I are looking forward to restoring.  Speaking of my husband, Scott, we will celebrate our 29th Anniversary on Valentine’s Day.  That should prove that I love a great love story and I love weddings.  I take pride in helping couples design their wedding day fashion.  I love to be a part of their love story!


Tell me a little bit about White Dress by Greta Kay.
In 2013, I left my corporate job with a leading national sportswear company.  I still have designs in their national catalog!  I decided that it was now or never to launch my own brand and have my own design voice.  In 2014, my capsule collection walked the runway for the first time at Virginia Fashion Week where I was named the Emerging Designer of the Year.  
In the spring of 2015, I decided to open my flagship boutique, White Dress by Greta Kay, a showroom housing our existing Greta Kay bridal line, bridesmaids and accessories.  Couples can select from our existing collection or take advantage of our custom design services.

How did you get started as a fashion designer?
I have always loved fashion.  I recently found a few fashion magazines that I had kept since I was a teenager.  My mother was a seamstress and taught me to sew when I was very young.  I never bought prom or formal dresses.  She and I designed and made them together.  We also designed my wedding dress and accessories.  I designed and made wedding dresses and formals for people on the side along the way and then got away from it for a while.  While working for the sportswear company, I started doing some freelance design.  That just ignited my passion and told me that I needed to not waste another year not doing what I love.


How long have you been in business?
The boutique and studio opened to the public in early 2015.  We are now just entering our 3rd year.


What gets you excited about what you do?
I love hearing people’s stories and being a part of their story.  Every couple has a unique vision for their wedding.  I feel honored to be a part of that vision.  When I hear someone say they just can’t find exactly what they are looking for, it is exciting to put pencil to paper and help them see their vision come to life in a concept sketch.  The best part thought is the reveal, when they see their custom fashion for the first time.


What’s a typical day like for you?
Because of the custom nature of my brand, I wear a lot of hats.  That means a lot of hours and often working 7 days a week, even when the boutique is closed.   I manage the day to day operations of my brand and meet with clients to work on designs.  When I’m not meeting with clients, I am often working late hours in the design studio, draping or patterning and sewing.  Because we source often from the Asian textile markets and our factory is located in China, I’m often actually working in the middle of the night because of the 13 hour time difference.  It takes a lot to oversee a design from start to finish.  
And, believe it or not, I try to be a mom first and foremost.  I try to carve out time for my family and have dinner at home as a family.  On Saturdays during little league football season, you’ll find me on the sidelines cheering on my little football players as often as possible.


What is your favorite part of your business?
Designing!  I have so many ideas and concepts for new wedding fashion and I love sketching fashion croquis and then seeing those ideas walk the runway.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your field that would help others just getting started?
Never put your dream on hold because you think you should be doing something else “more lucrative or productive.”  Follow your passion from the beginning and take the necessary steps to learn more, whether that is college classes, research, or working with a mentor in the field.  Put what you learn into practice every day, even if it’s just on the side until you can make it your career.  Do not be afraid to take a risk or knock on a closed door and if the door you are focused on doesn’t open, that’s ok.  Build your own door.


What is your current favorite wedding trend?
Separates!  I have had a collection of separates for a while now and it just makes sense in both versatility and comfort.  I’m also slightly obsessed with custom modern cut suits for grooms.  Anyone can wear a black tux, but to see a groom styled in a perfect fitting suit?  Yes, please!


What is a trend you would like to see less of?
I am not a fan of the lingerie or sheer trend.  I’m not a prude,  I love illusion and playing with cut outs in a fun way, but I also think brides choosing to wear those barely covered, strategic lace placement designs (think Jennifer Lopez or Beyonce) will regret that choice on their wedding day.  Do you really want Grandpa or your partner’s Crazy Uncle Joe to see that much of you?  It’s definitely a trend still seen at market in 2017, but I’m hoping we will see those sheer dress designers making use of lining fabric again soon.


What tips or advice can you give a couple that has just gotten engaged?
Hire a wedding planner and write out a budget.  The budget has to be the blueprint for every decision that you make for your wedding.  Be realistic about what you can afford and the max that you plan on paying for each thing on that list.  A professional wedding planner will be worth their weight in gold.  They will have amazing resources for every wedding vendor you will need and can help you stick close to your budget.  
Once your budget is set, book your venue and then make an appointment at White Dress by Greta Kay. Your venue will dictate the aesthetic of your wedding. When we know the venue, it helps us understand the look you want.  We are a one stop shopping resource for everything wedding fashion related and can help you make decisions that you will love for your entire wedding party in your price range.


What tips or advice can you give a couple that is ready to start shopping for their wedding attire?
If you have decided your budget, that should be the top of the list.  You will then want to create a mood or inspiration board for your colors and style.  Look through magazines, Pinterest, etc. to get a feel for what appeals to you.  Bring these to your appointment as they can be inspiration for what you ultimately wear.  Be prepared to think outside the box too.  Your wedding should be a reflection of your style, not an exact copy of your Pinterest board.  
Please share a favorite memory or story from a wedding you have done this year.
This is easy.  I have many stories that I have loved being a part of, but my favorite was meeting a bride and her mother with the mother’s vintage wedding dress.  The bride wanted a modern style, but wanted to use what she could from her mother’s dress.  When the bride came for her reveal, she informed me that her mother had passed away.  I cried, she cried.   Her sister, her father and her aunt were at that appointment.  It was just so special that she had that dress that had been created from her late mother’s dress.  We also made a handkerchief for the sister so that she could have a piece of the dress at the wedding too.  


What are things your past clients have said about you after working with you?

We love when we get reviews and they are out there on Facebook, Wedding Wire, The Knot, etc.  Often our clients are amazed that we offer the customized experience that we do in a budget friendly way, for all body types and styles, right here in Virginia.  I’ve been called “Greta the Gown Guru,”  I loved that!
 Here are a couple statements that reflect what people have said about us:
“We got just what we wanted at a great price.”
“I absolutely loved my experience with Greta.”
What business accomplishments are you most proud of?
Every day that I get to come to work and design wedding fashion makes me proud.  I consider it an honor when someone selects me to design her dream dress.  
It’s also nice to be recognized in the fashion world internationally.  Already this year, we have been invited to show at Vancouver (Canada) Fashion Week and The Grand Bahamas Fashion Week.  


How can readers find out more about your business?
We are on social media, Facebook and Instragram – White Dress by Greta Kay
You can also visit us on the web at www.whitedressbygretakay.com

 

 

 

 

Questions for a Wedding Planner and Florist | Meet The Faded Poppy

I have had the pleasure of working with Sara and Jason Kite on several occasions for weddings, events, and styled shoots and they are such a dynamic duo! Sara is so creative and always thinks outside the box. Sara and Jason are also serious supporters of their local community. Their networking skills and ability to support and encourage other professionals in the wedding community is one thing that sets the apart from other small businesses. I have learned so much from working with them and am lucky to also call them both friends. Please visit their website, Facebook page, and Instagram to learn more about their amazing business and everything they offer to their community. Also, read their interview below mixed in with some of their amazing floral arrangements!

The Faded Poppy: Vendor Interview

Tell me a little bit about yourselves
We, Jason & Sara Kite, are the creative husband & wife team behind TFP. After meeting during one of Jason’s visits from the UK and spending a few months of 8+ hour phone calls we found ourselves planning a wedding oceans apart. Sara has always loved flowers, planting, cutting and arranging them, she grew up with a grandmother who taught her everything necessary to be a great hostess. Jason, coming from England which is the epitome of extravagant gardens and flora, has a natural eye for creative arrangements. 


Tell me a little bit about The Faded Poppy
The Faded Poppy is an event planning & floral design business that specializes in weddings.  Based in Waynesboro we are on the doorstep of a great number of exceedingly beautiful outdoor wedding venues including wineries, breweries & historical presidential sites.  The “Poppy” portion of our name stems from “poppit” which is an old English term of endearment and is what Jason’s parents called him when he was a child and what Jason continues to call Sara.  Associating this with our business saw this converted to “poppy”.


How did you get started in floral design and event planning?
As the wife of a prominent minister, Sara’s grandmother would frequently decorate her home to entertain large gatherings of friends & family.  Sara would assist her from a young age and that passion continues into The Faded Poppy.


How long have you been in business?
Sara started planning & designing small events for family & friends around 7 years ago and created flowers for her first paying client 5 years ago.  This was very exciting for us because they were getting married at Ash Lawn–Highland which, as the estate of James Monroe, is very important to Virginia and the entire country.  2 years ago The Faded Poppy was officially formed and last July we moved into our own dedicated premises in Waynesboro.

What gets you most excited about what you do?
Floral design trends are cyclical meaning that a large number of our clients approach us with similar color palette & design requirements.  For us we love the challenge of purposefully creating something unique for each client so we get to experience their elation upon seeing the unexpected on their wedding day.  We have never failed to disappoint and our business statement is to continuously & consistently exceed all expectations.

What’s a typical day like for you (can answer as a wedding day or a working day or both)?
Work day: Long.  We start our day off with a finite list of tasks to accomplish.  Half way down the list things are under control and the end is in sight.  Then responses to emails start coming in as well as a couple of new enquiries.  It’s hard work but good fun.  We never want anybody to wait too long for a response; we are very proud of the commitment we have to our clients, responding promptly and in the detail & clarity they deserve.  Jason will send the first emails at 6:30am and Sara the last, typically, around 2am!

Wedding day: This is hard work in a completely different way.  Where correspondence is mentally taxing this is both mental & physical.  It requires a lot of running, answering questions, putting out fires, a few tears, lots of pretties, a couple of hugs, many thank yous, from & to us, and, at the end of it all, a grand exit.

What is your favorite part about floral design and event planning?
Floral design: an art piece is being formed: a small basis culminating in something huge & beautiful that brings joy to the recipient and gratification to us.

Event planning: besides attending a wedding each weekend and visiting our plethora of beautiful venues, it’s the clients we get to work with and seeing their joy when they commit to each other for the rest of their lives.

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in your field that would help others just getting started?
Don’t underestimate the power of networking, making friends and having a support system.  Above all else pound the pavements and put your name in front of everybody that will listen.

What is your current favorite wedding trend?
The abundance of greenery and textures being used.

What is a trend you would like to see less of?
Conformity or feeling obliged to follow the rules of traditional weddings.  We get enthused by those couples we meet that have ideas & desires away from the norm.

What tips or advice can you give a couple that is planning their wedding?
Do not underestimate the benefit of hiring professional wedding vendors, no matter how tempting the idea of performing this yourself or accepting the offer of free work from a friend or guest may be.

At the end of the day it’s your wedding and, with lots of opinions coming in from all directions, decisions should be made by you and your spouse.

How do you think couples can most effectively use a wedding planner?
A wedding planner has the knowledge to assess their client’s requirements and recommend those professionals that are going to work best with them and produce the best results.  Clients should tap into this and let the seasoned professional do all the hard work.  On your wedding day, be a guest and enjoy it rather than wear yourself out by attempting to coordinate it.

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Could you share some examples of when couples have been very glad they brought a wedding planner on board?
The overall consensus from reading reviews from our clients is that hiring a wedding planning & day-of coordinator was the best decision they made because it reduced their stress immeasurably and allowed them to enjoy their day.
We coordinated a wedding this past summer where, moments before we arrived, an out of town bridesmaid discovered her dress was sized incorrectly.  Fortunately, armed with a good network of fine wedding professionals, I was able to call a local wedding dress maker (White Dress by Greta Kay) and within 20 minutes the bridesmaid was measured and her dress in the process of being altered.  She was returned to the venue without a trace of modification to the dress and the ceremony took place on time.

What are the main characteristics of a good wedding planner?
Patience, preparedness, organization, tough skin, selflessness, creativity, quick thinker, professionalism, dedication, motivation & likability

Please share a favorite memory or story from a wedding you have done this year.
We coordinated the wedding of a couple that had been friends throughout school but, following graduation, went their separate ways.  He became a Navy Seal and was deployed to Iraq.  While in the front line he and one other were ambushed and he took what should have been a fatal shot to the abdomen.  As soon as they were able to they crawled out of their hiding and made it to the medical center back on base.  Certain he wasn’t going to make it he had the hospital phone his friend back home who, at the advice of her father, flew out to Iraq to visit him as soon as she could.  With this, their long term friendship took a different direction resulting in marriage.

What are things your past clients have said about you after their wedding day? These can be reviews online, emails, thank you cards, or in person comments.
Thank you card:
“Words cannot express how deeply thankful we are that you were able to help us coordinate our wedding day so perfectly.  We feel so honored that you were there to help us celebrate one of the biggest days of our lives together.  It was fete that our paths crossed this year in such a beautiful way.  We wish you and your flowering business all the luck in the world!
We look forward to seeing you again soon!
With lots of love & gratitude,
Megan & Erin.”

What business accomplishments are you most proud of?
A growing familiarity of our business by other professional wedding vendors in the area.  It’s always a pleasure to have people exclaim “I’ve heard of you!” or “we love The Faded Poppy’s work” when we introduce ourselves to them for the first time.

How can readers find out more about your business?
They can visit our website (www.thefadedpoppy.com) where we have information on the different planning & day-of coordination services we offer as well as many examples of the floral arrangements we’ve created as well as our Instagram (www.instagram.com/thefadedpoppy) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/thefadedpoppy) pages.

What are you working on at the moment?
We’ve launched a discussion forum (www.thefadedpoppy.com/forum) designed principally for couples marrying in Central Virginia providing them a way to pose wedding-related questions for vendors, venues and married couples to share their knowledge and offer impartial advice.  By being specifically for our area it aims to provide posters with more relevant information.  As a new service we’re just now building awareness but hope this to bloom soon.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?
We already have a long list of fabulous couples that have asked us to plan & coordinate and create the floral arrangements for their wedding next year so we’re looking forward to that, and we’ll be working at some amazing venues for the first time so look forward to forging relationships with them.

Questions for a Wedding Photographer | Meet Christy McKee Photography

I am so excited to start a new series of blog posts highlighting local vendors with my vendor spotlight posts!! Not only will couples get to know some great wedding vendors, but these interviews will help answer a lot of questions that couples have about planning their wedding. I decided that I will go first to help the vendors I've asked to answer questions ease into them, it's always challenging talking about yourself! So here is my own "self interview", I am not sure what else to call giving myself an interview, ha ha!!

A little bit about Christy McKee: I was raised in a military family and moved around quite often. I never know how to answer the question, "where are you from" which people around here ask often. I was exposed to many different cultures and environments at a young age which has led to my eclectic style. I went to college for special education and was a teacher for several years before starting my photography business. I was married in 2007 to my then boyfriend of 6 years! We had a very small outdoor wedding on a chilly April day. We now have three girls and are in the process of building our dream home on 65 acres.

Images by Kelly Dean Photography

A little bit about Christy McKee Photography: I have been interested in photography since grade school and photography had been a serious hobby growing up. I took photography courses in college as my art electives. I started shooting on a film camera and still use my first "real" film camera from time to time. I started my business is 2010, but officially in 2011 when I received my business license. When I first started business I only wanted to photograph families, but after photographing my first wedding this all changed! I always thought weddings would be stressful and too much work (mostly because I had young children). However, they were NOT, to me anyway. My first wedding was so much fun!! I loved getting to know the couple and helping them plan their timeline. I enjoyed every minute of the wedding day and teared up more than once (this hasn't changed). The wedding day was anything but stressful. I am very organized, but also very laid back. I was able to keep up with the schedule and also make adjustments easily as needed and there was zero stress involved. While the editing was a lot of work, it was work I truly enjoyed. I never got tired of editing those images. Each image was such a pleasure to see and improve upon. As I've shot more and more weddings the editing has gotten easier because I've learned to get the image right "in camera" meaning I don't have to do as much editing as I did with my first wedding.

What specifically do I like about photographing weddings? This answer always seems the same from every photographer, and yes I do "love love" like everyone else, but to me it's more than that. First, going to a wedding doesn't always feel like work to me and that's how I knew it was the right job for me. I don't think your work should ever feel like a job! Anyway, when I go to a wedding I feel a rush of adrenaline. There is so much energy in the air and emotions fill the entire day and I love this type of a working environment. I also enjoy wedding photography because of the creativity. There are so many beautiful details and moments happening ALL DAY LONG, and so many chances for being creative! My favorite things to photograph also happen to be everything you see during a wedding. I love capturing emotion and telling stories and that is what a wedding day is all about!

If I could describe my wedding photography is 6 adjectives they would be: Bold, rich, emotional, intimate, classic,  and detailed.

What is my favorite part of the wedding day? This is hard to answer because there are more than one that immediately comes to mind. If I had to pick just one it would be the bride getting into her dress. It's such a beautiful moment filled with emotion. It's also the moment it becomes real, she's getting married and now is the time! I love capturing all the emotions in the room while she's getting dressed and seeing herself for the first time. I love capturing the details of the dress itself and being buttoned or tied, and adjusted by everyone around her.

Some advice for couples looking for a wedding photographer: First you should LOVE their style. Take a few minutes to view all the images on their website and blog. These images should invoke a feeling inside you and speak to you in some way. Next, you'll need to inquire about their availability and pricing. I always book my fall dates the quickest, I think fall brides tend to like my style more because of my use of color. Do not hire a photographer based on pricing.  You are making an investment that will give you images that last forever!! This is not an area you want to save money. I offer payment plans to help with the cost of my collections and others may as well. Lastly, meet in person or have a phone conversation. You want to make sure you feel comfortable around your photographer as they will be there during some very intimate and emotional moments. Feeling relaxed around your photographer will show in your images.

A few tips to help your wedding day go more smoothly: Create a detailed timeline and stick to it. If you have a coordinator they will help with tremendously and I highly recommend using one. However, if you don't have a coordinator delegate a close friend or family member to help keep track of the timeline. I love a good schedule and work closely with the couple before the wedding to create a timeline. I also have the timeline on me at all times and follow it throughout the day. Now, we cannot control everything that will happen and that is OK. I am great at making up time and rolling with the punches, or changes, of the day. Communicate with your vendors about your timeline and share copies with them. Double check delivery times prior to your wedding day with vendors.

A few tips to help couples enjoy their wedding day: You have a great timeline in place and a good coordinator and your big day is finally here, so now you get to just enjoy it!! The day will go by so quickly and there will be so much going on. Don't worry about the details anymore. What's done is done and you have to let yourself enjoy your wedding day. Enjoy getting ready, enjoy watching your friends and family. Enjoy dreaming about getting married and your future. Play your favorite music, have a glass of wine/beer/soda, and don't let everyone into your space while you're getting ready. Create a relaxed and fun getting ready atmosphere. After the ceremony don't feel obligated to talk to everyone, you will have lots of time at the reception. Let your coordinator guide guests away and allow you space and time to enjoy the first few moments of being married! If your wedding party, or groom, seem to be getting tired of taking pictures towards the end of the day then start having fun with them. Being silly always helps everyone smile! Also, trust in your photographer and vendors. You hired people to help make your wedding day perfect so now sit back and relax and know they will help make your wedding details perfect. Don't miss out on moments happening while they are happening. Be present and take it all in and I will be there capturing it all for you to look at over and over and over!  

What couples have said about Christy McKee Photography: This is always the hard part, sharing good things about yourself, but it's important. These are the comments that let me know I'm doing a good job and doing something I should be doing! I'm not using direct quotes, those can be found on my Facebook or Wedding Wire reviews. Couples have told me first and foremost how calm I am. Even if we're running one hour behind schedule I always feel calm, because I know I can handle it. Me being calm keeps the couple calm! I've been told often that I'm flexible, easy to work with, and good with communication. I have been known to be helpful too. Couple's always express how much they love their final images. Specifically images they didn't even know I took, details or moments they forgot or missed. I am so lucky to work with such amazing couples. It really is so important to me that couples take the time to get to know me and hire me because they not only love my work but enjoy being around me and trust that I will capture their most important images in a way that they love!

Last, but not least my favorite wedding memory this year: I had a mother of the bride ask me a very unusual request early in the wedding day this year. Her father, the bride's grandfather was in the hospital and not able to make it to the wedding. She was very upset about him missing the wedding and not being in the family portraits. She asked if there was any way we could all go to the hospital so he could be in the portraits with their side of the family. I'll be honest that my first thought was looking at the timeline and worrying how this change would affect the rest of the day. This thought quickly subsided as I said, of course we can, we'll make it work! So after the ceremony we did the groom's family portraits at the church and the rest of the family and bridal party head to the hospital. We spent about 15 minutes there taking large and small group portraits with the family. The bride had a special moment with her grandfather and we all left for the reception. A few months after this I received and email from the bride that her grandfather had passed away. Those were the last images of her grandfather and they are more meaningful than ever. I am so lucky I was able to be part of such a special moment and had to chance to meet such a special man!