Fabulous Fashion Show Recap: Downtown Culpeper Bride and Groom Expo

We love participating in local events and meeting newly engaged fashionistas! Last month, we were the featured bridal boutique at the first Downtown Culpeper Bride and Groom Expo. This event was held at Culpeper Center. Our fashion show was a smashing success, and allowed the audience to view a beautiful collection of wedding gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Here are some of our favorite looks. All photos courtesy of Ciao Bella Photography. Hair and makeup by Main Street Hair Studio. Flowers by Good Earth Flowers.









Designer Spotlight: Jose Dias of Justin Alexander Bridal

Blush Bridal Boutique takes pride in carrying wedding gowns from designers we both adore and respect! Justin Alexander Bridal is one of our top selling lines, and we are so excited to be hosting an upcoming trunk show during the last weekend in July. Jose Dias, the fashion-forward mastermind behind these incredible gowns will be in our boutique to work with brides during the trunk show.


Justin Alexander debuted on the bridal fashion scene as T&G Bridal in 1949 in Brooklyn, New York. It was a time when femininity in women’s fashion was re-emerging from the masculine scarcities of the war-torn 1940s. Brides could now afford bigger gowns and bolder headpieces and T&G’s exquisite tiaras and detailed headpieces met that demand.

Continuing to meet the demand for classic style and romantic details, Justin Alexander offers contemporary bridal gowns and accessories touched by vintage inspiration. Its mid- to high-end designs combine couture style with affordability.


One of America’s and Europe’s most influential producers of wedding fashions, Justin Alexander designs are found across the globe because of their exceptional quality and superb style. The collection captures the romantic dreams of brides everywhere who seek Old Hollywood glamour. If you love Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy, you’ll find Justin Alexander the right fit for your most important day.

How is this achieved? Justin Alexander eschews extreme trends in favor of timeless looks. In a Justin Alexander gown you can be demure yet sexy. Glamour is created with lavish lace, stunning silhouettes, distinctive necklines and memorable details. Accessories such as jackets, shrugs, belts, and wraps add a feminine touch which makes brides feel and look even more special on their most special day.


Jose Dias is the designer currently tasked with creating fresh collections of wedding gowns each season for the Justin Alexander line. His attention to detail, creativity, and devotion to interpreting the newest trends at reasonable prices make him both successful and inspirational in the bridal industry. This legendary designer took some time to chat with me last week about dresses, trends, and brides!

The upcoming trunk show at Blush Bridal Boutique will showcase the Spring 2015 collection. What was your inspiration for this collection?

For me my greatest inspirations are Old Hollywood movies. I adore everything Doris Day wore, so I would say she was a big influence for this year’s collection. Another influence was Downton Abbey. I guess I am attracted to movie stars, their costumes as well as the glamour that once was Hollywood and still is.

What new and unique touches are featured on these gowns? What is fresh and new for Spring 2015?

For sure we have really researched and come up with the nicest laces as well as very intricate and delicate beading. We are all about attention to detail. We are also loving the layering of fabrics to create dimension as well as volume.


Are there any gown trends (or wedding trends in general) that are increasing in popularity for 2015?

I would say there are two trends that are increasing in popularity. The first would be the a-line to fuller ball gown. More and more brides are returning to the notion of being a princess on her day, but infusing a little more glamour and glitz to it. The second trend would be softer and cleaner. This bride wants none of the fuss of a more voluminous gown. She wants to be carefree and tries to channel her Bohemian side.

What is the biggest mistake brides make when shopping for gowns?

They sometimes are so stuck on a “look” they feel is them. For example she may go into a store assured she wants to wear a mermaid or more fitted style and then she finally is coaxed to try on something completely opposite, and to her surprised she falls in love. It also goes the other way around with a bride wanting to wear a huge ball gown and then goes for a more streamlined look. I would say that about this happens to about 70% of my brides. It’s fun to see their reaction when they walk out of the dressing room smiling because they would never have thought they would liked this other look.


Any favorite celebrity wedding looks?

Can I just tell you the ones I didn’t like? I am joking. There are SO many in my book. My favorite of all time has to be Grace Kelly of course. Most recently I would say Jessica Simpson this past month because I love ball gowns, and of course embroidery. Others that stole the spotlight are Kelly Clarkson, Ivanka Trump, Anne Hathaway and Portia De Rossi.

You are obviously a very busy designer. Why is it important to you to take the time to visit boutiques and work with brides?

It is so important for me because this is when, hands on, I get the most inspiration. Meeting these REAL brides is great because I get to hear from them first hand what they have been looking for and either cannot find or what their opinion is after shopping around for a while. At the end of the day these are the women I am designing for,  not the size 2 model we use on our shoots.

Are there any charities or philanthropic causes that you are passionate about?

For sure my greatest philanthropic passion over the past 4 years has been GLSEN. This organization nationwide helps both grade school and high school students find a safe place within their schools to go talk about bullying. This is an epidemic on every level. Even though GLSEN stands for Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network, it is about all students. It may be that you are being discriminated against because of your sexual preference, weight, handicap, religion or anything else. This organization educates and provides a safe kit space to every school in America with the help of donations and fund raising. It only costs $25.00 per kit per school.

Thank you so much for chatting with me, Jose! We can’t wait to see you at the Justin Alexander Trunk Show at Blush later this month!

Trunk Show Alert: Israeli Designer Julie Vino’s Latest Collection

If you’ve spent any time on social media in the last month, I’m sure you’ve swooned over the wedding gowns from Israeli designers like Berta Bridal and Galia Lahav. In our search for the most amazing wedding gowns, we found our favorite Israeli designer: Julie Vino.

Julie Vino’s dresses are a combination of classic laces and fabrics with a touch of sexiness to make a fabulous modern style wedding gown. If you are on the hunt for sheer lace sleeves, a low back or a plunging neckline, Julie Vino has the dress for you!  We are thrilled to announce that we will have Julie Vino’s Fall/Winter 2014 collection at Blush Bridal Boutique for a trunk show June 19-21, 2014.

Julie Vino studied fashion design and held internships with leading fashion houses in Canada and Israel. Six year ago she created her own brand in Israel and has just expanded to the U.S. market within the last year. Blush Bridal Boutique is the first bridal salon on the East Coast to carry the collection. If you are not familiar with the collection, allow me to introduce the stunning FallWinter collection from Julie Vino…

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What Silhouette Looks Best?

When helping a bride find her wedding gown, we often encounter a bride who says she doesn’t know what looks best on her body. If you google “what looks best on my body type”, you will be inundated with how to decide your body type and what  you should wear based on that. We don’t play by those rules because there is always an exception.

We encourage a bride to bring pictures of dresses she loves to give us an idea of her style then, using them as a guide, we pull gowns that will look great on her. The wedding and reception location sometimes also play a role, but, ultimately, the style of dress should be based on what looks best and makes you feel like a beautiful bride.

If there was a universal silhouette, it would be the A-line. An A-line dress is flattering to every body style because it is fitted through the bust and waist then graduates out at an angle to the hem of the gown. Style 8627 from Justin Alexander is a perfect example.


Ball gowns seem to have a bad reputation. Brides sometimes think you have to be very tall to make it work. Choosing the perfect dress is all about proportions. If you are vertically challenged (as I am at barely 5′), a ball gown is certainly an option if the bodice is short and ends at the natural waist. On the other hand, a tall bride can not only wear a ball gown, but a drop waist can be especially thinning on her. Style 8502 is a silk chiffon ball gown from Justin Alexander that has a natural waist.



The same basic concept is applied to a mermaid, trumpet or fit and flair. Proportion-wise, a simpler style may help to elongate a bride’s silhouette if she is small. Sometimes we will have a bride say she would like to wear a fitted style, but she is concerned about her curves. Asymmetric draping, or ruching, goes a long way to cover those places on our bodies we like to mask.blushbridal.ja8683

The last style is a simple sheath. Fitted in the bust and waist, a sheath falls straight to the floor. A sheath style can be flattering on most body styles as well. They are typically a simpler silhouette and can appeal to more mature brides or those planning a destination wedding.


The best advice we can give when shopping for your wedding gown is to keep an open mind. Sales associates will use your pictures as a guide, but more often than not, a bride will ultimately choose a gown that is completely different than her original thought. Most of all, enjoy the shopping experience!

Frosty Photo Shoot

I love it when I am invited to be a part of a styled photo shoot. As a bridal salon owner, my job is done the week prior to the wedding when the bride picks up her gown. The alterations have been finished, we steamed her gown and it’s ready to go. I never get to be a part of the big production and rarely even get to see pictures in the end.

During a styled shoot, I get to see first hand what the other wedding professionals do and I am in awe. You really have to have a great eye to be a wedding planner, florist, or, especially, a photographer. I have a great camera, but I point, click, and hope something pretty happens. Lelia Bartruff with Lelia Marie Photography showed us a little of what she can do with a camera… and magic happened.

The day came together with a great group of wedding professionals. Even Mother Nature added her little touch in the way of snow. It meant chilly weather for the model and team, but added a fantastic glimmer to the final product.






Thank you to a great team of wedding professionals and the lovely model, Laurie. (If you have been to Blush Bridal, you know that we name dresses. This lovely Sincerity Bridal gown was named “Laurie” after the first bride who ordered her. It was so fitting that it looked amazing on our model who was also aptly named Laurie.)

Venue:  Oak Hill Estate and Barrel Oak Winery

Event Planner: Simplicity Events by Johanna

Dress: Blush Bridal Boutique

Hair & Makeup:  Enlightened Styles

Hair Pieces:  Ann Leslie Designs

Florist: Buttercups Floral Design

Cake:  Gateau

Stationery:  Staccato

Linens:  Everything Linen


Shopping For Bridesmaid Dresses: 7 Simple Tips

Your bridesmaids are a perfect collection of your favorite friends and closest family members, right? Then why is selecting a look for all of them so intimidating for the bride? With a few simple tips, brides really can avoid the drama of telling a group of differently sized and shaped girls what to wear for your big day!


Tip 1: Be firm in selecting the color scheme for your wedding FIRST. Your color scheme needs to reflect YOUR taste and YOUR vision for the day! It will be visible in your flowers, linens, invitations, cake, etc., not just in the bridesmaid dresses. Do not obsess over the fact that cousin Michelle is a tomboy and won’t like pink!

Tip 2: If you have lots of bridesmaids, pre-select dresses (available in YOUR choice of color) with just one other person. Choose someone honest like your maid of honor or a close relative like your mother. Have maybe 3-5 dresses selected that are acceptable to you BEFORE bringing lots of bridesmaids to give their thoughts.

Tip 3: This tip is really a continuation of Tip 2! Your selected dresses should ideally be by the same designer and in the same fabric if you want a perfect match for everyone! Make a decision regarding matching styles AHEAD OF TIME. Are you comfortable with your girls wearing different dresses as long as they wear your selected color? Do you want them to match in color AND style? Be firm and stick with your decision!


Tip 4: It is perfectly acceptable to select a color scheme instead of a single color! Maybe you want all of your girls in the same cocktail dress, but in different citrus hues like yellow, orange, and hot pink!

Tip 5: When dealing with girls of different shapes and sizes, A-line dresses are your friend! This dress style is the easiest to wear because it flows away from the body in the hip area. This creates the illusion of a small waist, which makes everyone happy!


Tip 6: Have fun on your group shopping day!  Don’t put your girls in dresses that you wouldn’t wear. Remind your girls that dresses ALWAYS look better in the proper size with professional alterations. Schedule a fun activity after dress shopping like a girls’ lunch or pedicures!

Tip 7: Shop at a boutique (like Blush Bridal Boutique, of course) that will offer lots of personalized attention and help everyone to remain calm and find dresses they love.

Wedding Gown Shopping For Fabulously Real Brides That Are Fabulously Real Sizes

plus3As brides first begin searching for the perfect gown, they may gather piles of wedding magazines and admire the plethora of dresses…all modeled by tall, size zero model-brides.

One may be led to wonder whether there are gowns for curvier, real-sized brides.

At Blush Bridal Boutique, we are actually asked this question often. Our answer is simple. Blush Bridal Boutique specializes in brides. Period.

We realize that beautiful brides come in all shapes and sizes. We have always had a full selection of fabulous gown in stock for sizes 6 through 28. And our style experts are trained to assist all brides in finding their dream dresses!


With the upcoming closure of CurvyGirls Bridal, a store that specialized in brides of all sizes, Blush Bridal Boutique is ready to emphasize that we are here to make all brides feel amazingly confident and perfectly gorgeous on their wedding days. We want every woman to be the bride she’s always dreamed she would be.


Welcome to The Blushing Blog!

We recently moved our boutique a few miles away to Haymarket, Virginia. Haymarket is a lovely little historic town and we are so excited about our new store. We are located in the Bloom Building at 15125 Washington Street, Suite 212. We share the building with a fun group of small businesses including Cupcake Heaven, Needles in the Haymarket, Tranquility Day Spa, Sound Box Fitness and DeGrasse Studio.

Although it is a work in progress, we absolutely love our new home!