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POV from the MOB | The Coulda, Shoulda, Wouldas of an Absent Mom

I am a second generation "absent" MOB. My mother worked in Africa and couldn't tell the American Ambassador in Cairo that she had to fly home for her oldest daughter's wedding. And then history tragically repeated itself when it was my turn to be the MOB for Chelsea. I lived on the West Coast, owned a business that required that I be there at the very time my oldest East Coast daughter wanted to get married.

I did the best I could online, by email, and by phone. Nothing could have kept me from the actual wedding day though! I closed my store. I wish I 'coulda' been there for the beginning, to see the sparkle of the tear in her eye when she realized that she had just tried on her wedding dress for the first time. I saw pictures but that didn't do it justice. I 'woulda' liked to have shared that Kodak moment. I 'woulda' liked to have known more about the Williamsburg venue; I missed taking the tour. It was so important to her, and I hadn't realized the gravity of how important that detail was until a few years later. I heard her wishes and understood her desires, but I could not have known how important those details were to her until I saw it for myself. I missed the cake tasting, and worse, the bridal shower. Maternal guilt.

Thank goodness for supportive close friends and family who made sure she had help in the planning stages of her wedding because that was the only consolation. I am very grateful to have had a "surrogate" MOB who was close to her and was capable of doing what my daughter wanted and needed.

With good timing, communication with her best friends and family-- your daughter can have her day, and you can still be part of it.

* Communicate with the "surrogate" and your daughter to ensure that plans are progressing as needed.

* Pay the vendor bills on time to avoid any delays or problems. Ask how you can help.

* Know your daughter, know her dreams and capabilities.

* Divide and delegate what can be done by someone else.

* Be grateful and appreciative to those who can and will be able to help her.

Be the biggest rock in the rubble of uncertainty. Most importantly, "be there" - in any way that you can. Life is full of "woulda, coulda, shouldas." It's important to accept that sometimes mothers in today's world simply cannot always be physically present for those special moments. And when you are able to be present, enjoy that time together.

- Kay

Looking for more POV from the MOB? Read the entire series!

Kay Dayton is a contributing writer to Tidewater and Tulle. Hailing from San Diego, Kay found herself back in Hampton Roads to be with her two daughters (one of whom is the Tidewater and Tulle editor!) in late 2013. With years of managerial experience (and a her passion for nature and macro photography) in the non-wedding world, she brings a refreshing perspective on the local wedding industry, especially as a past mother-of-the-bride. When she's not keeping things organized on the business end, Kay loves to go beachcombing, sailing, and rooting for the Chargers.

Photo by Fareine Benz.

Quirky Steampunk Inspired Anniversary Session by Buzy Bee Photography

The beautiful part about anniversary sessions is that they reflect the shades of a marriage and a commitment made years ago. So any chance to share those beautiful stories, it's a good one! And Tricia and Marcus' lovely quirky steampunk anniversary session from Jessica of Buzy Bee Photography hits just the spot.

Self-professed nerds and comic/anime convention junkies, these two were made to be each other's helpmates for life. For a little background, Tricia shared, "I already had two children. I am very blessed with Marcus as he never blinked at marrying a girl divorced with two children."

They married in 2008 at their local courthouse, but have not one photo from that important day. When 2012 rolled around, they planned a small backyard vow renewal with the intention of getting those photos they missed, but the monsoon-like weather had another idea. And sadly, yet again, they weren't able to get those memories on film, so when Jessica approached them with her concept set in Newport News, Tricia was, needless to say, excited.

And when asked what made this anniversary session special for them, Tricia responded:
The fact that it put me and Marcus in a place to really silently let our feelings for one another. We love each other, but with three children (ages 14, 11, and 3), my photography and design career, both of us attending school full-time, plus Marcus's full time job... It is very rare that we are able to stop and look into one another eyes for a few seconds. We have a very good marriage, and even though we have special moments where we fall in love all over again, the shoot was very emotional. Not to mention I almost melted out of the makeup chair when I saw my hubby all decked out!

Photography and Styling: Buzy Bee Photography // Venue: Boxwood Inn // Wardrobe: Echoes of Time // Makeup Artist: Makeup By MUA LLC // Invitation Designer: Labyrinth Productions // Hair Stylist: VanGar the Salon // Submitted via Two Bright Lights

Tuesday Tidbits | Personalizing Wedding Traditions, Part Two

Last week, we read the importance of making wedding traditions your own, and this week, we have some awesome examples from lead local Hampton Roads wedding professionals and some pretty creative couples here in Hampton Roads to help inspire you for your own wedding days.

The Edible Centerpiece
One recent wedding we had was for a beautiful, fun-loving couple. Ashley and Nick's favorite dessert was the Mozart Cake from Sugar Plum Bakery (which is truly to die for!), so they decided this was the must-have for dessert at their wedding. To stay on budget, instead of having to have a big cake to feed 75 and centerpieces for 8 tables, Ashley came up with the brilliant idea to have individual Mozart Cakes as the centerpieces. Each cake was decorated differently and made for a gorgeous centerpiece, plus later in the evening, the guests got to enjoy what they had been eyeing all night! Ashley and Nick's cake table consisted of beautiful flowers, candles, and a 6" cake of their own to cut and savor - it could not have been more perfect for them.
- The Courtneys of The Attic at Waterman's

The Private Dance
My very favorite "reinvented" tradition at a wedding is the private last dance. It is my absolute favorite dance that can be had; and it's a tradition in the Antonia Christianson Events Family. It's a fantastic time for our couples to enjoy each other, for a few final moments, and to savor the day. It usually works great while the guests exit the venue to get ready for the grand finale exit of the happy couple...the couple take just a few minutes to have this dance. It's a fun twist on the first dance. Only it's private, and romantic, and perfect. (what's the nice way to say, we kick everyone out so it's only the band, photographer and couple).
- Antonia Christianson of Antonia Christianson Events

The Bouquet Dedication
Instead of tossing her bouquet, my bride dedicated and gave her bouquet to her parents as a thank you for all of their love and support. What made it even more special was that she was married on her parents' anniversary. There weren't any dry eyes from that!
- Chelsea LaVere of Bit of Ivory Photography

The Ceremonial Love Potion
We have a 2015 couple that's going to add a different element to their ceremony. Since they're both self-proclaimed geeks (she's a nurse and he's really into comic books), instead of a sand ceremony, they're going to each pour a "love potion" into a graduated cylinder. And to keep the theme going throughout the day, they're also going to use graduated cylinders and beakers instead of traditional vases for the centerpieces. It's such a cute idea, especially for the two of them, and I can't wait to see it all come together!
- Crystal Beng of Cherry Blossom Weddings

The Tying of the Knot (Literally)
I love the updated spin on the unity candle with the "tying of the knot"-- very literal and nautical for this area. The wedding ceremony of Morgan and Austin this past October 2013 at the Half Moone Celebration and Cruise Center shows this beautifully. And can I say, stunning bride!
- Jill Brown of Sunkissed Events and Design

The Edible Centerpiece by the Courtneys: Personal photo // Bouquet Dedication by Chelsea LaVere: Bit of Ivory Photography // Tying the Knot by Jill Brown: Amanda Hedgepeth Photography

Classic Chesapeake Winter Bridal Session by Sarah Street Photography

That moment when the image of Skylar's gorgeous bolero appeared in front of me, I knew this Chesapeake bridal session was going to be a gem to share. Bride Skylar contacted Sarah of Sarah Street Photography only a few short weeks before her wedding. She wasn't originally going to have bridals taken (it was almost as if she had read into the future and saw our Tuesday Tidbits on Bridal Portraits!), but she wanted to have no regrets as there aren't very many times you can wear a bridal gown!

At the ripe temperature of 35 degrees, it was a very cold afternoon, but you would have never known it by how radiant Skylar looked. Between her family friend's farm, the gown, soft wintry bolero, and her Badgley Mischka heels, she was picture perfect.

Skylar and her hubby were married late November in Williamsburg, so we wish them much happiness as newlyweds!

Photography: Sarah Street Photography // Venue: Family Friend's Farm // Bridal Gown: Silk Bridal Consignment // Veil: Alisa Brides // Bridal Bolero: Nordstrom // Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Florals: Norfolk Wholesale // Hair and Makeup: Kelle Townsend of Mosaics Hair Salon

Friday Recap | Local Wedding Happs, January Edition

Happs: n. a quirky term for "happenings" or could be a silly shortening of "happy."
(We'll let you take your pick.)

It's the start of 2014, and we have the latest in some local wedding news to bring you up to speed about some local pros doing some pretty neat things. :)

Peninsula Wedding Professionals Join Together
To bring the Peninsula wedding community closer together, area businesses from Hampton and up meet every month to discuss new ways to serve and support the local wedding industry. If you're a local wedding professional who lives and serves the Peninsula, you can find out more information on the dedicated Peninsula Wedding Professionals Facebook page about meetups.

Wedding Workshops by Event Professionals at Wayside Village Shoppes
Vendor Fam Antonia Christianson Events and friend Isha Foss Events have started up hosting fabulous monthly flower- and event-related workshops for ladies, gents, pros, and whoever loves all things weddings in Virginia Beach! Some are complimentary, some are BYO, and some have a materials fee. You can find out more about each month's topic on their Facebook page.

Honoring a Local Legend
Known for her modeling, big heart, and presence in the wedding industry (particularly the bridal fashion shows), Jeanette "Cookie" Cooke-Dabney passed away on January 20, 2014. Her obituary on is a lovely tribute to her life's accomplishments and influence on many.

Love and More Love
While a little bit broader than the 757 region, Virginia's Attorney General Mark Herring declared the state's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional which ultimately will affect our whole local wedding industry. We know LGBT-cheerleader Vendor Fam Cherry Blossom Weddings is ready to pounce with excitement when word is given!

Williams-Sonoma Wedding Gift Registry Contest
Our local Williams-Sonoma stores in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Norfolk all are participating in a cool wedding registry contest for brides and grooms where they have the chance to win a $5,000 Williams-Sonoma gift card. Tidewater and Tulle did get sponsored to chat about wedding registries yesterday, but we are crazy optimistic and hoping someone local wins it!

Happily Ever After Even for the Wedding Pros
At the Uniquely Yours Bridal Showcase in front of dozens engaged ladies and gents, Roger Cruz of Astro Entertainment led a special light design turned marriage proposal (with the help of Stage Right Lighting and Maya Couture)... of his own! You can watch the proposal right on YouTube! See, even we pros are suckers for swoonable stories in our personal lives! :)

The Bridal Dish Comes to Williamsburg
Opening up its first Peninsula location, Kelly Coronel of The Bridal Dish of Williamsburg will be serving area brides and grooms in this unique wedding planning studio. A website is still pending but you can find her on Facebook for grand opening updates.

Know something else that's going on in the Hampton Roads wedding industry for next month's LWH edition? Please send an email to Disclaimer: Announcements and news will be posted at the discretion of the editor and its overall benefit to the wedding community as a whole. All news is welcome, but priority is given to Tidewater and Tulle Vendor Fam members. For sponsored posts and paid event announcements, please email for advertising rates.

Wedding Registry Tips and Ideas for Every Budget

Known for chic kitchenware and unique entertaining goodies, Williams-Sonoma stands as a culinary mecca for most. Personally, any company with a pineapple of hospitality as its logo is going to be a fan of my Williamsburgian heart, and surprisingly enough, even for us everyday folks, there are wallet-friendly treats to give and receive. Which is something I wish I had known when I was getting married!

So I'm dispelling the myth of the unattainable high-end wedding registries and sharing the wisdom of fabulous wedding registry items for under $100 that is sure to make any bride or groom hug you for the thoughtfulness. Or even better, for any bride or groom to get excited about when they hit every budget across their registry spectrum!

But before we get into the goods, there are some key tips when it comes to the wedding registry arena.

* No matter where you register, you want to do it well in advance of your engagement party, bridal shower, and of course, the wedding. Give guests time to budget accordingly through your wedding-related events-- some may be attending more than one. It will also help you figure out what you truly need in your married life.

* Going online to different retail websites to register is one easy way to do wedding registries stress-free. And the cool thing about online wedding registries is that friends and family from all over the country can access it, email you any questions, and then can send their gift directly delivered to you-- even if they don't remember your new home address!

* Wedding website, yes. Invitation suite, no. Etiquette does say that it is perfectly acceptable to put a website link to your registry on your wedding website! So link away, happy couples! However, tradition still reigns true with your formal invitation suite-- never insert registry info in that envelope! Have your loved ones (especially lead bridal party ladies and gents) be the ones to communicate that important information.

* Register for more than what you think you need and in every price range. Giving people choices just makes the entire process easier. And above all, it's the considerate thing to do!

* Choose up to three retail locations for your wedding registries. Traditionally, it's best to choose one low, middle, and high retailer for each style and budget.

* And don't forget that Thank You note! Timing and choice of words are key. Check out our Tuesday Tidbits on Thank You Notes for the full scoop.

So are you ready to register? If you're a chef, baker, or hostess with the mostess, you'll definitely be inspired by what Williams-Sonoma has to offer at every price point. And here in the 757, we're in luck with three different locations! You can find Williams-Sonoma locations all over Hampton Roads in Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Norfolk. So grab that dream list and go!

To sweeten that sweet, sweet registry pot, if you do so now and between March 16, 2014, you will enter their Dream Registry Sweepstakes for a chance to win a $5,000 Williams-Sonoma Gift card plus weekly prizes from KitchenAid, Le Creuset, Wusthof and more dream kitchen paraphernalia!

And dear readers, just in case you want to send a little Tidewater and Tulle editor some love, you know, just because, I gladly accept Cup4Cup Gluten-Free Flour as a form of affection. ;)

Many thanks to Williams-Sonoma for sponsoring this wedding registry enlightenment with me! And while the disclaimer is that I was sponsored to write this, these words and my hardcore love for the brand are all my own.

You can get inspired by more eye candy à la Williams-Sonoma
on their Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter.

14 Years Later: The Story of Alfonso and Michelle

More is created on the wedding day than bouquets and confections, favors and libations. It's when new life is created in the form of a family. It may be small at first – or contain three, four, or more – but when those vows are exchanged, it starts a new family off on an incredible journey, one that no other person can know or understand as deeply or as richly as the people within it.

Your wedding is about celebrating who you are, where you came from, what you like. It should be personal to you as a couple, as it serves as the medium with which to share the beginnings of your family's story. The day after the wedding is when you start to fill in those chapters - maybe you will travel the world or care for your parents as they age. Maybe you'll raise children with the same passion for the Ravens or maybe they'll miraculously end up with the artistic talent that eluded you. Maybe you'll live on a houseboat or open a business together. Maybe you'll see all of your plans to fruition, and maybe none at all. Now's the time for your real creativity to kick in.

In this "Something Old and Something New" series, I will catch up with couples who have already written a few chapters of their family's story. They've been married, 10, 20, 30 or more years. They've seen a few things, experienced a few things, learned a few things (or not...). They are from Tidewater and of Tidewater, even if their personal journeys have flung them far and wide.

Get ready y'all... the best is yet to come.

Meet: The Hay Family

They are a close-knit family of four - mom and dad, Alfonso and Michelle, and daughters Talia and Emelia. An athletic and well-traveled bunch, they are a military family currently stationed in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Alfonso and Michelle met back in 1994 but the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel proved to be a barrier to immediate romance, as they lived at opposite ends of the Tidewater area. Michelle went to Liberty University in 1996 and became friends with Alfredo (Alfonso's older brother). Whenever she would travel back to Virginia Beach to see her family, she'd drop him off in Newport News. Eventually, Michelle became a fixture over at the Hay household, and Alfonso and Michelle started dating in the summer of 1998.

Right before Michelle's 21st birthday, Alfonso took her to Yorktown Beach, the site of their first date, and proposed to her on a nighttime stroll with the Beatles song "Michelle" playing in the background. Alfonso's friends had snuck out to the beach earlier in the day to set up the romantic scene, but unfortunately the gaslight they left behind had burnt out, so the proposal was done in complete darkness. (She still said yes!)

Alfonso and Michelle were married on October 9, 1999, at the chapel on Langley Air Force Base in Hampton with the reception in the ballroom of the Enlisted Club, right on the water. Michelle's favorite part of the wedding was when they were announced into the reception as Mr. and Mrs. Alfonso Hay, though her dress, imported from Spain, was a close second (isn't it gorgeous – so classic and graceful).

The couple just celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary, but time hasn't jaded them or made them take each other for granted. Marriage is hard work, and they're still learning to get used to each other's idiosyncrasies. They take special joy in the life the Air Force has given them, allowing them to live all over the United States and Germany. The biggest joy of all has been their two daughters, who keep teaching them new things about themselves.

Michelle has a final piece of advice to offer newlyweds just starting out – your belief and value system plays a large role in your marriage. You need to be on the same page as each other when it comes to big decisions like raising kids. And from my own personal observation, make sure there's a lot of laughter in your home. The Hays are crazy-close and their energy is infectious to everyone around them. It's obvious when a family has a lot of love to go around – it can't help but be reflected on to the people who have joined them on the journey.

- Heather

Heather Wilson-Atherton is a Florida native who relocated to Hampton Roads about four and a half years ago with a journalism degree in hand. An avid history buff and rescuer of dogs, she just got married in Virginia Beach to another Florida native who politely puts up with her slightly “off” sense of humor and penchant for junkin’ and reality TV. (Well, sometimes. Depends on the day...) When the Gators aren’t consistently breaking her heart, Heather can be found reading, kayaking Rudee’s Inlet, touring the various wineries and breweries in the region, and dreaming of the day when Tina Fey and Amy Poehler jump her into their gang.

Photos are from family and personal archive.

Navy Blue Suffolk Planter's Club Wedding by Beth Hamilton Photography

With their faith as a foundation and a sweet love for each other, no rainy weather could dampen the cheerful celebration of Christie and Matt's Suffolk wedding at The Planter's Club captured by Beth of Beth Hamilton Photography. Their joy was infectious and their moments special, the happy couple enlisted the help of her grandmother to create their bridesmaids' bouquets for that tribute to family (while hiring Daevid's Flowers to do the rest of the gorgeous florals).

On the day of, it poured and poured all morning while they were getting ready, but just like the promises made during the ceremony, afterwards, they were gifted with a beautiful rainbow painted across the sky.

Christie reflected that she knew there were many options for weddings in Hampton Roads; she said it made it easy to find exactly what she had always dreamed of. While she loved all of her vendors, she felt like she was missing one, "I did all of our wedding planning myself and looking back, I wish I would have had the help of a professional planner."

But they were reminded of that rainbow all day, and Christie and Matt most enjoyed the time they spent with just the two of them and their loved ones.

Photography: Beth Hamilton Photography // Bridesmaids' Bouquets: Family of the Bride // Caterer: Creative Catering of VA// Bride's Bouquet and All Other Florals: Daevid's Inc. // Ceremony Location: Ebenezer United Methodist Church // Bridal Gown: Fabulous Frocks // Cake: Incredible Edibles Bakery // Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew // Reception Guitarist: Lewis McGehee // Tuxedo and Mens Attire: Men's Wearhouse // Wooden Signs: DIY by Bride // Hair Stylist: Sassy Salon Spa // Reception Venue: The Suffolk Planter's Club // Invitation Designer: Wedding Paper Divas // Submitted via Two Bright Lights
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