From the Editor: On Our 5th Issue

One of our questions on our wedding submission form is “What made your wedding day unique?” While every wedding is superbly beautiful and unique in its own right, it’s this question that often merits a variation of the same response:

“Our family and friends.”

This is not only funny to me that so many respond with this answer, but incredibly eye-opening. Perhaps what is so magical about our wedding day is not the gorgeous gown or fantastic flowers (though those are certainly important!), but instead the idea that your wedding brings people together.

Whether your families are meeting for the first time or your reception is a great excuse to bring your best friends from college back together, every couple has the same dream in their head – that their loved ones will be there on your big day to support, love and celebrate your marriage.

Your wedding day is the ultimate showcase of love, but not only for you and your spouse. It’s also a chance to show your love for guests who have traveled many miles or helped you hand-stamp 100 invitations. When we dance the night away, it’s with our very favorite people in the entire world. And what could be more special than that in making your wedding day so uniquely you?

In our 5th issue, you’ll find incredible weddings that will not only inspire you (and maybe swoon a little), but will hopefully give you that cozy warmth felt when surrounded by “your people,” those who know and love you best.

To love and magic, friends and family – may we all be so lucky to celebrate with the uniqueness that is your wedding day!

Liz Long, editor

Cover Reveal: Our 5th Issue

We are so excited to reveal the cover for our 5th issue, featuring Morgan Coartney surrounded by her beautiful bridesmaids on her wedding day that took place at Sinkland Farms. Cover image by Skyryder Photography.

You can see Morgan’s wedding on page 64, plus more amazing weddings that are sure to inspire! Magazines will be hitting newsstands across southwest and central Virginia over the coming weeks, found at B&N, Target, Walmart, CVS and more, or can be ordered on our website. We can’t wait for everyone to see it!

Be sure to check back as we update our site with new blog posts, newsstand locations, more Wedding Wednesdays and much more!

Top 5 Reasons to Submit Your Wedding to bridebook

bridebook 2015As we head into our fourth issue of bridebook, we get to thinking about why brides should be involved with our publication. There are several reasons, the most fun of which being that you get to relive your wedding day! Keep reading for a few more – and learn how to submit your wedding here!

1. You Could Be in a Magazine! It’s not every day you get the opportunity to be featured in a magazine, much less show off your wedding to thousands of people. And with us, you even have the chance to be the face of bridebook as the cover bride!

2. It’s a Keepsake. After the thrill of your big day winds down, you’ll want something to help you relive the excitement you felt at your wedding and bring back fond memories. For years to come, you’ll be showing off your bridebook registry to friends, family and maybe even your future children.

3. The Price is Comparable to Other Publications. For a reasonable cost, ($195 for a single-page; $295 for a spread) your registry will feature colorful images from your wedding, a story written by our award-winning editorial staff and a list of the vendors that helped make your day special.

4. It Makes a Great Gift. Hey parents and grandparents! A bridebook registry is a special present to give your soon-to-be or newlywed son or daughter. It will be something they – and you! – will treasure for a lifetime.

5. You Could Inspire Brides-to-Be. With your registry, brides-to-be get inspired by your favors, flowers, cake or other wedding essentials. You know how much work goes into planning a wedding. Why not inspire future brides by sharing what made your day special? (You might even start a trend!)

Ready to submit your wedding? Find out more here. We look forward to seeing your gorgeous weddings!

2 page spread

2 page spread

Real Bride Blogger: What If It Rains?

Guest Post by Real Bride Blogger Sandee McGlaun

One of the questions that pops into my bride’s head in the middle of the night and pins me to the bed with worry: what if it rains?

venuestairsOur venue does have an indoor area, and we have a loose rain plan in place. But so much of the appeal of the Rooftop is in the vistas of the town below and the surrounding mountains, the prospect of watching sunset fall over it all. And I confess, there is more than a little appeal in the drama of descending the curved ”glass” staircase in a beautiful gown, which will be all but impossible in a downpour.

I got a little sneak peek into the “what if it rains?’ scenario with my bridal portraits. I elected to have portraits taken ahead of the wedding in part to ensure that if it did rain on our wedding day, I’d still have some good photos of me in my gown in those dramatic rooftop spaces. What I didn’t count on: that I would wake up the morning of the bridal portrait shoot to the gentle patter of rain on the roof. And that it would keep raining. And then rain some more.

Of course, bridal portraits, unlike a wedding, can be rescheduled, right? Well, yes. But that’s not as simple as it sounds. My dress fitting had been arranged specifically to accommodate portrait day, and I’d also been scrambling to make sure I had all accessories (shoes, jewelry) selected and in place. None of those elements had to be reworked, but everything else did. Arranging the first bridal portrait session required pulling together a significant number of puzzle pieces: coordinating the availability of the venue (we had to find a night there wasn’t another event on the roof) and my photographer, along with same-day appointments for makeup and for hair, plus arranging for a small bouquet to be delivered by the florist. I’d had my nails done a couple of days before, and most importantly, I’d also asked two of my girlfriends, D.B, and Shannon, to come and help. They both have roles in the wedding, and they both happily agreed. We were all really looking forward to sharing what I hoped would be a special evening.

By 1 pm on the day of the session—we were aiming for a sunset shoot—I got a text from my photographer, noting the rain, and asking what I wanted to do. If we didn’t reschedule, we’d have to change locations. My hair and makeup appointments started at 3:30, so I had to call it by 2 pm. The problem was, I couldn’t call it until I knew whether there was another date when I could get all the pieces put back together again. I’d started weeks ahead, arranging the first shoot. This time, I had an hour.

Thus began a flurry of emails, calls, and texts. If we moved it to X day, could the hairstylist fit me in? What night is the venue free? What was the forecast for those nights? It was too late to cancel the bouquet, but if I kept it in the fridge and didn’t put the shoot off too many days, it might last. Okay, let me check back with the photographer again. Should we just give up and change the venue?

By the time I talked to my makeup artist, the stress overwhelmed me. I had a minor meltdown and burst into tears.

Despite the rain and all the anxiety it caused, I did manage to get everything moved to the following Friday. The weather was perfect, and the shoot went beautifully. My one regret: girlfriends D.B. and Shannon had prior commitments, so they couldn’t be part of the evening. My friend and wonderful trainer Sondy came to help, and we had lots of fun. Still, I missed having the other gals there, too, and I later wondered at the wisdom of privileging the pursuit of an ideal (the perfect portrait) over sharing meaningful moments (making memories) with people you love.


The experience gave me some valuable perspective on the question, “What if it rains?” For the bridal portraits, the rain meant my girlfriends couldn’t be present and couldn’t share my joy, and that was deeply disappointing. But if it rains on our wedding day, there won’t be any rescheduling. We’re still going to get married. Our family and friends will still be there, and we’ll still celebrate the occasion surrounded by people we love. If it rains, it rains. It’s still going to be a beautiful day.

And brooding clouds or stunning sunset, the happy smiles that light up every picture will make it seem like the sun was there all along, beaming high and bright.

About Sandee:

Sandee McGlaun chronicles the adventures of marrying at mid-life on her blog, 40-Something First Time Bride. She directs the Writing Center and teaches at Roanoke College in Salem. When not writing, teaching, or planning her wedding, she enjoys puttering in the craft room, hiking through the woods, and checking out the local music scene with fiancé Steve. She likes to dispel stereotypes and thus looks forward to becoming a married crazy cat lady.

Mothers, Daughters, and Wedding Dresses: A Middle-Aged Bride Shops for “the One”

Editor’s Note: Meet our new real bride blogger Sandee, who will be sharing her journey via our blog. She also blogs on her personal website, 40-Something First Time Bride, and we highly encourage you to check out more information on Sandee’s engagement process!

By Real Bride Blogger Sandee McGlaun

SandeeI’m a forty-something first-time bride, and this is my story.

I don’t mean that to sound overly dramatic, because if there’s anything I’ve discovered in taking on the identity of “bride-to-be” in middle-age, it’s that I am actively anti-drama. Life is complicated enough, and after all these many years of waiting and wondering, now that I’m finally in love, engaged, and planning to marry in September, I want all things wedding to be simple, fun, and (relatively) stress-free.

As a forty-something bride, I know what I like, and I’m clear on what traditions and trends appeal (Dad walking me down the aisle, yes) and which aren’t for me (unity sand, no thanks). With so many years to dream, though, my desire for simplicity has occasionally run smack up against those more elaborate visions I concocted over the years of what this process would look like.

For example, more than once I’ve imagined the scene of going wedding dress shopping with my mom. I’ve always been close to my mother Margaret, a retired biology teacher with an artist’s eye and a grandma’s heart. She’s still my favorite shopping companion, and I’d long envisioned an elegant and exciting day filled with white tulle and happy tears. We’d dress up, shop multiple bridal boutiques, then share a lovely lunch and a cup of tea (or glass of wine) in a cozy café, laugh, cry, and generally bond ourselves silly.

That was the fantasy.  The reality looked a bit different.


First of all, between the time my fiancé Steve and I started talking rings and he put one on my finger, I found a Nicole Miller dress I loved and bought it on eBay at half the retail price. It was the practical, smart, and simple thing to do. But I couldn’t quite let go of the dream of dress shopping with my mom. So when she came to visit some months later, we decided to head to the bridal store. Our excursion wasn’t an empty exercise: I had some concerns about the fit of the Miller dress and wanted a back-up, and even if I kept it as I hoped, I still needed accessories.

dressshopping-13We planned to hit at least two shops. At the first store, Mom and I were stopped ten feet inside the front door by an elegant 60-something woman seated at a table. Dressed in a chic black suit, she asked if we wanted to just look around or try on.

“Um, look around to see if there’s anything we want to try on?” I said, thinking logic dictated that approach.

She noted we were free to look around all we wanted, but trying on required filling out a form. Wedding gowns were to the right, bridesmaids’ dresses to the left, veils in the back.

We perused the racks and found a few contenders for a back-up dress. I wasn’t crazy about the bridesmaid styles on the racks, and nothing appealed to Mom for mother-of-the-bride. As I held up a birdcage veil to my head—frowning at its excess frou-frou—two saleswomen drifted to the back of the store to watch us. Were they trying to figure out if we were serious shoppers, or worried we might steal something?

I suspected my age and lack of apparent bride-ness was confounding them, and I was right. When Mom and I returned to the check-in table, a twenty-something blonde sat there. “Can I help you ladies?” she asked.

“Yes, we’d like to try on some things,” I replied.

She looked at me skeptically. “What kinds of ‘things’?”

Suspicion and disdain had not been part of my fantasy shopping excursions. “Dresses,” I said. “Bridal gowns.” I reached for the form, resisting the urge to wave my ring under her nose.

“Oh, well, it may be two o’clock now before we have a stylist available,” she said. “We have another new bride who just came in.”

“Oh,” I said, glancing at Mom, who raised her eyebrows. This young woman didn’t seem too interested in selling us a dress. We decided to grab lunch and come back. As we exited, we overheard the older woman chide the blonde.dressshopping3

There were no cozy cafes nearby, so we ended up at a chain restaurant across the street. It was startlingly awful. The foyer stank of wet table-rag. Mom’s strawberry avocado salad had no avocado. My shrimp scampi not only lacked the fresh basil that made it so appealing on the menu, but it also came with…marinara sauce? Which, of course, I ended up wearing, then promptly turned into a big grease blotch when I tried to blot it out of my top. Mom and I were still laughing about what had to have been –the worst- dining out experience we’d ever shared when we returned to the bridal shop.

This time I got the full treatment: a bride bag filled with ads, coupons, and a Skinny Cow (ouch?) snack sample, and my name written on a big heart and stuck to a dressing room door. My stylist, “Mary,” began gathering the dresses I liked on a rack, while Mom settled into one of the chairs lined up, fashion-runway style, next to the mirrors, and readied her camera.

Almost all wedding dresses look lovely on the hanger, making it seem impossible to choose. But I figured out two things fast: how a dress feels when you try it on is just as important as how it looks, and taking pictures to see how it reads in photographs can help narrow your choices.

The first dress was a bomb. Partly because it was way too big and no amount of clipping could fix that, but also because its boat-neck and cap sleeves looked matronly. Next. The second gown featured the same ivory-over-champagne illusion lace as the first, but with a v-neck and fitted empire waistline, it was more me. Mom and I both liked a trumpet-silhouette gown with floral detailing and daisy-like flowers trailing down the skirt, but I was wary of its train. Something many brides may not know: dresses with trains don’t come ready-made to bustle, so you either have to trip over the extra fabric all night, or factor the alteration into your dress budget.

The most stunning dress I tried on was a Gatsby-inspired mermaid gown with lots of beading—but it weighed something like 15 pounds. That didn’t sound fun to haul around for a four-hour reception. I also liked a simple ruched mermaid gown neither Mom nor Mary seemed wild about, but in photos, it was one of the most flattering.

dressshopping-11It was a strange day in many ways. Though I’d looked forward to shopping with Mom, I spent as much or more time in the dressing room with the stylist, joking about the upper body strength it required to wrestle women in and out of 15 pound dresses all day. I felt like a princess in the Gatsby dress, but a pudge in the shapewear, which I swear added a good ¼ to ½ inch of bulk (though it did give me bigger boobs.) Lunch was a travesty, and after just one bridal shop, Mom and I were both so exhausted, we elected to call it a day.

As far as veils went, at least, the day was a success. I’d briefly considered a cathedral veil for the flow factor, but when I put one on, it made me feel too…catholic. A birdcage veil was better suited to my age, my style, and—as my mother reminded me—my love of vintage hats.


Before we’d embarked on our shopping excursion, I’d modeled the eBay-purchased Nicole Miller dress hanging in my closet at home. When I was ready, I called to Mom, and she came up the stairs and stopped to gaze at me from the room’s doorway.

“Ohhhh,” she said, framing her face with her hands, “It’s beautiful, you look beautiful. I think I’m going to cry!”

She choked up, and I choked up, and then we hugged each other tight.

And though our shopping trip, even with all its wacky surprises, was memorable and fun, this I now understand: if we’d stopped right then and there and held that moment as close as we hugged each other, it would have been more than enough.


About Sandee:

Sandee McGlaun chronicles the adventures of marrying at mid-life on her blog She directs the Writing Center and teaches at Roanoke College in Salem. When not writing, teaching, or planning her wedding, she enjoys puttering in the craft room, hiking through the woods, and checking out the local music scene with fiancé Steve. She likes to dispel stereotypes and thus looks forward to becoming a married crazy cat lady.

Wedding Wednesday: The Tibbs Wedding

Cory & Rebecca Tibbs
November 10, 2013
Photography by William Mahone Photography

Rebecca thanks her older sister for meeting her future husband, since Cory told her he was drawn to her because of her shoes, which she’d borrowed! In early November, Rebecca woke up to find a note and rose from Cory requesting a dinner date. After dinner, he suggested they go back home to watch a movie; upon returning, he blindfolded Rebecca and guided them into the house, where she heard their song playing. Once the blindfold came off, Rebecca, who has an “unusual obsession” with all things Christmas, found a winter wonderland in her living room, complete with snow, multiple trees, lights, wrapped photos, and more. In the middle of the snow pile, Cory got down on one knee and proposed. Rebecca says her favorite memory of their wedding day was the last song – as she and Cory danced to the Lumineers’ “Ho, Hey” the guests formed a circle around them and sang as the newlyweds danced. The evening ceremony allowed everything to be lit up by lanterns and candles, giving it a romantic feel. This fit well with the theme of romantic and rustic, with a navy, grey, and pink color palette. Guests were able to sit on couches in front of a fire and enjoy the reception. Centerpieces of lanterns with three-tiered pink candles or a shallow dish with flowers sat on all the tables, while handmade paper pom-poms and floral balls hung from the ceiling. Guests received handmade chocolate truffles. The couple took their honeymoon to Hamanasi Resort in Belize, where they visited Mayan ruins, snorkled, hiked, and satisfied their desire to have both adventure and relaxation.

Be sure to see the Tibbs wedding on page 110 of the second issue of bridebook, on newsstands now!

Dress: David’s Bridal
Florist: Cindy Gibson and Amy Dudley
Cake: Linda Adams
Venue: The Kyle House
Caterer: Schaal’s Catering and Events
Jewelry: Simon G
DJ: RSP Entertainment
Attendants’ Dresses: Liz Fields
Groomsmen’s Attire: Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse

Wedding Wednesday: The Jones Wedding

Kevin & Kristin Jones
November 2, 2013
Photography by Magnifico Photography

Fate must’ve stepped in for Kevin and Kristin on the night they met. Kristin declined a Halloween party invitation due to an already scheduled blind date, but when the date didn’t show, Kristin decided to have some fun and attend the party. Kevin, dressed in a Chargers football jersey, flexed his muscles to no one in particular; Kristin’s opening line, “I bet I have bigger muscles,” won his attention – and his heart, since they’ve been together ever since! A few days before Christmas, Kristin picked Kevin up at the bus station for his visit. He and her family joined forces to surprise her, with her sister yelling at Kristin to go look at something outside. Kristin stepped out to find her Prince Charming – Kevin, all dressed up in a prince costume, riding a horse like something out of a fairy tale. After Kristin said yes, they rode to a staging area where a limo took them to dinner, a restaurant she’d worked at in high school and where her parents had met. Kristin says her favorite wedding day memory is walking down the aisle and seeing her future husband for the first time, like it was just the two of them in the room. (Moments later, they were trying to figure out their choreographed dance because her dress was so big!) The couple incorporated many ideas into their day that in some ways, told their life story. White pumpkins were seasonal and also reminded them of Kevin’s Cinderella proposal; green was chosen as it was her late father’s favorite color; and her bouquet had a Hawaiian orchid to represent Kevin’s family. Simple decorations and colors of gold, hunter green, and bronze complemented the venue’s gold and off-white colors. Memorial pumpkins represented family members no longer with them while centerpieces were soft gold votives and pictures of the newlyweds at their ages to correspond with the table number. The happy couple spent a honeymoon week at a friend’s beach house in Atlantic City, where they relaxed, ate well, and even won some money.

Be sure to see the Jones wedding on page 108 of the second issue of bridebook, on newsstands now!

Florist: Best Wishes
Cake: Sandy’s Cakes
Venue: The Corinthian Ballroom
Caterer: Chanticleer Catering
Planner: Events by Sherri
Jewelry: Jared
DJ: RSP Entertainment
Attendants’ Dresses: Jordan Fashions
Groomsmen’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Caricature Artist: Kyle Edgell

Wedding Wednesday: The Marshall Wedding

Samson & Ashley Marshall
October 26, 2013
Photography by Laura’s Focus Photography

Ashley swears she and Samson should be in a commercial as one of their success stories! After a movie for their first date, they opted for a dinner date, where Ashley became “more and more smitten.” For their anniversary celebration, Samson insisted they have dinner at Lucky, their favorite restaurant in downtown Roanoke. As they were sipping drinks, Samson said he had a present for Ashley, which turned out to be THE ring and a proposal. After she said, “of course!” the couple had their photo taken in front of the restaurant. Ashley definitely got “lucky” at Lucky! Their wedding was unique because of the blending of their heritage and personalities. A vintage style dress (along with gorgeous faux fur shawl) fit perfectly, while Samson wore his best Iron Man socks, three piece suit and hand-tied bowtie. Ashley knew it was important for the wedding to represent each of them as well as together as a couple. Ashley also wanted as locally-sourced as possible, showcasing the best of Roanoke to her DC in-laws. Black and royal blue with touches of gold and ivory complemented the country club’s existing decor. Centerpieces were created using wooden cigar boxes, while a variety of cupcakes were a sweet touch. Firearm brass was used for boutonniere holders, while the bride carefully chose non-traditional blooms for her flower bouquets. The cake toppers were two-fold, as they had a Southern touch for Ashley and a nerdy touch for Samson. The newlyweds celebrated with a honeymoon to Puerto Rico with a Caribbean cruise so they visit six islands to celebrate.

Be sure to see the Marshall wedding on page 106 of the second issue of bridebook, on newsstands now!

Dress: Vera Wang
Florist: The Crystal Orchid
Cake: Viva La Cupcake
Venue: Roanoke Country Club
Caterer: Roanoke Country Club
Planner: White Peonies
Jewelry: Azar’s Jewelry and Masterworks Jewelry
Band: The Funk Cousins (No Relation)
DJ: Sam Lumsden
Attendants’ Dresses: Two Birds Bridesmaids and David’s Bridal
Favors: The Candy Shop and Chocolate Spike
Cigars: Milan’s


Wedding Wednesday: The Kaylor Wedding

John & Wendy Kaylor
October 26, 2013
Photography by Maya McMahon Photography

Wendy and John’s love story all began with a “wink” on What was supposed to be a quick dinner turned into an evening out together, talking until 3 AM in the parking lot. When the couple went on a cruise to the Grand Caymans and Cozumel, she noticed John acting a little strange on their second night together. As they waited in the atrium for dinner, John complimented Wendy on her fancy dress and jewelry, but said one thing was missing. John got down on one knee to propose and the cruise guests quickly caught on to congratulate and make them feel like celebrities for the rest of the trip. Wendy says she has many favorite moments from her wedding, but one important memory was dancing with her grandfather, who used to get her to do things around the house as a child by promising he’d dance with her at her wedding. John’s favorite memory was arranging for a vintage fire truck to take them from church to reception; as they rode through Grandin, people clapped and congratulated them! Wendy loved how their special day was a reflection of them as a couple. Their first look took place at the old downtown fire station. They also tied a literal fisherman’s knot during their ceremony. Colors of navy and ivory had fall accent colors, with Boxwood centerpieces with lanterns in the middle. Wendy grew up making apple butter, so they made an extra batch that fall to pass out to guests for favors. John’s uncle provided his band for entertainment and guests enjoyed a buffet of homestyle food. The bride’s sister also surprised them by filling John’s car with orange balloons that released as they departed. The happy newlyweds took a cruise out of Charleston to the Bahamas for their honeymoon.

Be sure to see the Kaylor wedding on page 104 of the second issue of bridebook, on newsstands now!

Dress: The Newfangled Bride
Florist: The Crystal Orchid
Cake: Diane’s Cake Creations
Ceremony: Virginia Heights Baptist Church
Venue: Kazim Shrine Temple Ballroom
Caterer: Country Kitchen
Planner: Dearly Beloved Events
Jewelry: Zales and The Jewelry Connection
Band: Encore
Attendants’ Dresses: Country Formals
Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Videographer: Michael’s Video
Hair/Makeup: Les Cheveux Salon & Day Spa  (Jolina Goad)


Wedding Wednesday: The Morgan Wedding

Andrew & Leslie Morgan
October 26, 2013
Photography by Lori Hedrick Photography

After Andrew and Leslie met at work, they discovered their mutual enthusiasm for aerospace, astronomy, and engineering. On a cold December night, Andrew took Leslie up to “their hilltop” in Blacksburg where they often go to watch meteor showers. In between two ISS passovers (a rarity to see), Andrew popped the question. Leslie describes the style of her wedding as traditional and slightly vintage. Their ceremony was held outside under the tall trees in the Maridor’s garden. The chilly but lovely evening reminded them of their engagement night. Andrew’s childhood pastor performed the ceremony, which meant a lot to the family. Colors of dark purple, lime green, and orange were complemented by vibrant centerpieces and decorations. Along with a “spunky little flower girl,” the bridal party was full of friends and family, who helped create a memorable moment when they joined the newlyweds on the dance floor for an anniversary dance. Guests received gourmet cookies prepared by the groom (moral support and samples provided by the bride) and they’re still talking about the incredible food. The new Morgan couple closed on their first home just five days after the wedding, so they planned to take a European riverboat cruise in the spring, including an extended stop in Paris, France.

Be sure to see the Morgan wedding on page 102 of the second issue of bridebook, on newsstands now!

Dress: Oleg Cassini
Florist: The Crystal Orchid and Fifty Flowers
Cake: Cakes by Lisa
Venue: The Maridor
Caterer: The Maridor
Jewelry: IGS Diamonds
DJ: Master Taylor Entertainment
Attendants’ Dresses: David’s Bridal
Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Designer/Consultant: Embellish
Floral Design: Jean Self
Hair/Makeup: Zee’s Salon & Day Spa

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