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06/03/2015

The Tale of Samantha Woo

A little, white house off Old Canton Road in Jackson has three large, pink fabric flowers in a row on the porch. A horizontal pathway of stones in varying shades of light brown and gray spans from the driveway to the edge of the house. A mannequin wearing a pale white wedding dress stares out from a large window at passing traffic, and a small sign in the yard says "Woo Couture."

 

When you enter the building, completed wedding dresses greet you. A dress form wearing pink and lace sits by a table full of beading and sketches.

 

Fabric swatches, dress sketches and other fashion-design paraphernalia are scattered about the studio.

 

Woo Couture is the brainchild of Samantha Woo, a wedding-dress designer from Vietnam. Woo's family has been making clothes for generations. She learned much of her craft from her mother, Su Dong, who is still in Vietnam. Her father, Toan Tran, is an artist, and her grandfather, Tin Tran, is a photographer who is most famous for his photos of the First Indochina War.

 

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Pictures: simple wedding dresses

 

Samantha Woo opened Woo Couture at 4750 Old Canton Road in the fall of 2014. There, she designs custom wedding dresses. Photo courtesy Amber Helsel"Growing up in Vietnam, we didn't have a lot of toys," Woo says. "The only toy I had was the scrap of fabric my mom left on the floor. I would make dog clothes and ... make a Barbie doll out of fabrics. I had to be really creative. Growing up (in a) third-world country, I didn't have very much." Woo says that as a child, she was always drawing and sketching.

 

Though she says her mom made everyday clothes, Woo was fascinated with designing wedding dresses. "I love going to weddings. I love seeing wedding dresses, even when I was younger," she says. "My mother always says that I (was) at every wedding, almost. Even the neighbors'. Somehow I always snuck in."

 

She came to the United States when she was 13 in 1994. Woo says that 10 years after the Vietnam War, the country was in the midst of a bad economy. Missionaries connected to Catholic Charities of Jackson brought Woo to Mississippi.

 

"They took interest in me because I was so curious about Western people," she says. "I would always follow (the missionaries). They just kind of checked me out and saw how I was." Woo says she was the last Vietnamese child the organization sponsored.

 

The missionaries brought her to Jackson, where she was adopted and lived with different families as she grew up. "Everybody I met has always been my family," she says. "I was in America—a strange land—with nobody, but now everybody is my family." She is closest to foster family the Caseys, whom she lived with for about four years.

 

Woo graduated from Murrah High School in 2001. She went to Belhaven University, where she graduated with a bachelor's degree in history and political science in 2005. She studied fashion design at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and received her master's degree in fine art from Mississippi College in 2013. She married her husband, Dr. Mack Woo, a physician at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, in 2008. The couple has two boys: Samuel, 4, and Matthew, 2.

 

When she was growing up in the U.S., Woo didn't know many people and learning English as her second language wasn't easy. Embroidery, beadwork and other types of handwork were her escape, though she didn't consider it as a career possibility until after she graduated from Belhaven.

 

About 10 years after leaving Vietnam, she went home to see her mother. After seeing her making clothes, Woo began missing doing that. Over the next few years, she picked it back up and then stopped, and picked it back up again, though she never stopped sketching and designing.

 

Her first insight into the world of wedding dress design was when she designed five dresses for her own wedding.

 

She and her husband bought the building off Old Canton Road, with the intention of it eventually becoming her studio, about three years ago. However, Woo Couture didn't open until fall of 2014.

 

Though she says she has created her own collections, Woo loves doing custom designs for brides. She does a consultation, and then sketches a few designs. Once the bride picks a design, Woo can spend 50 to 60 hours making a dress, and that time doesn't include beading, embroidery or other detail work. Though she pulls her inspirations from the likes of Christian Dior and Coco Chanel, Woo says her clients are the biggest inspirations.

 

"I think (the clients) are the ones that design the gown," she says. "I just put it into life." Besides wedding dresses, Woo Couture can do anything from flower girl dresses to mother-of-the-bride dresses.

 

Woo says her love of wedding-dress design comes from her love of fairytales, and through her designs, she ensures that each bride gets the wedding she wants.

 

"The wedding is something special and something intimate, and your dress can be the same thing," she says.

 

"The one thing special about us is that it will fit you."

More info: A-line wedding dresses

07:45 Publié dans wedding | Tags : weddings | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

28/02/2015

4 Under-the-Radar Places to Make Your Wedding Album Online

As part of my budget-friendly, non-waitress-salary wedding, I choose to not use a photographer with a package that included an album. If I could go back, would I have made the same decision? Unsure. I've honestly struggled with finding a site to make my own wedding album online and have had some mixed experiences with the company I used (MyPublisher, FYI, and we can talk about that on another day).

There are a lot more sites than I'd expected—I'd only heard of the big guys like Shutterfly and Snapfish. I'm about as laid-back as they come, but I figure that my wedding album is likely to be the only one I really care about, both in terms of how it looks and how it holds up over time. If you're like me and searching for a spot that gets all the factors just right, consider these guys I've just discovered via searching and studying message board comments from that chattiest of group: brides.

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picture: wedding dresses online

Milk. For minimalists who want something classic, crisp, and devoid of flowery details. The most inexpensive style I see is just $45, which makes this a definition option if you're tight for cash, and the site's beautifully laid out. Get more info here.

Blurb. Likewise, this site is fresh and simple to navigate, and all the books look really clean (a.k.a. there's not a whole bunch of wedding clip art cluttering pages). The most unique feature I've spotted is that you can play with media; the below example is from a baby book, not a wedding, but gives you an idea of how you could incorporate notes, cards, or anything other scrapbook-type of items you saved.

Adoramapix. I read a few enthusiastic reviews for this one, and it's worth checking out, especially if you want a premade layout that's specifically for weddings. If the clean and simple look I referenced above isn't your things, consider this site to get your fill of bright colors and space for quotes or captions. Get more infohere.

BrideBox. If too many options sends you into a tailspin, check out this one. There are three main options and each has an accompanying video to see what the pages look like, how they turn, etc. (um, this is genius). The prices are on the high end of what I've seen, but I like that there's a satisfaction-guaranteed promise, a huge plus if you're shelling out a fair amount of money. Get more info here.

Have any of you guys made your own albums online and found a site or company you loved?

Like I said, I'm easygoing (example: I didn't freak out when my photographer missed our ceremony). Still, I'm just not quite happy with what I have right now. Part of me thinks I'm crazy for wanting to try another site, but part of me also thinks, Hey, you only get one wedding album.

read more: bridesmaid dresses

04:32 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)

26/02/2015

10 Things Every Guest Wants At Your Wedding

When planning a wedding, it is so easy to get caught up in all the glamour, fashion and photos that sometimes you forget you are actually hosting an event for 100+ people! These people have given up their Saturday, dressed to impress, arranged a babysitter and want to have a great time... so lets make sure they do!

Here are 10 things that every guest hopes you'll think about when planning your wedding:

1. Convenient, reasonably priced accommodation

As we get older, start a family and generally get caught up in everyday life, weddings are sometimes our only excuse to book a night off and get away. Weddings in remote locations or at luxury venues are truly breathtaking, but you have to think about where your guests are going to stay. Most of your guests will want to have a drink or two, or could live miles away, and don't want to drive home at 2 a.m. So when booking your reception venue, also consider if it has or is near convenient, reasonably priced accommodation -- your guests will thank you.

2. Good food

The reception meal is at the center of the wedding festivities. It can both impress your guests and make them feel satisfied for the rest of the night or it can become something everyone is moaning about for the rest of the evening. Serve your guests quality food, make sure you have a tasting prior to the event and create the best menu your budget will allow. (For 20 tips on how to make your budget go further, download this guide: "20 Top Tips To Save £2000 on your wedding")

Wedding planning top tip: If you are having an early ceremony don't forget to serve an abundance of canapés as part of the arrival drinks reception. Don't let your guest's tummies growl! Oh, the horror!

3. Free booze

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Picture: wedding dresses

Yup its true, everyone wants free booze! Whether it's an all night open bar or a few bottles of wine on the table and a champagne toast, every drink you provide is one your guests don't have to pay for. Treat your guests, thank them for giving up their time to spend the day with you, and buy them a drink!

4. A short journey from ceremony to reception

If you are having a civil ceremony in the same venue as your reception, you are offering your guests the ultimate convenience -- a short walk from one event to another. However, if you are having your events at multiple venues, say a church followed by a hotel reception, make sure your guests don't have to go too far and know where they are going. Avoid making your guests hike across a city or drive 30 miles in wet rainy weather -- choose venues close to each other.

Wedding planning top tip: Create a map with directions to the reception venue and have your ushers hand them out with the order of service at your wedding ceremony.

5. A peaceful atmosphere

You can create a warm atmosphere with candles and fresh flowers, but that is not what I am getting at here. With most families there is some tension -- perhaps it's a rowdy relative who can't hold his liquor or the ex-wife who just can't let it go. If you think someone will get out of hand, don't invite them. If your Dad is re-married, don't make the new wife sit next to your Mum. Cleverly planned seating arrangements or a quiet word before the event will go a long way. You have 100 other guests to think about, make sure one misbehaving guest doesn't spoil the night.

6. A short ceremony

Of course all your guests are there to celebrate the unity of your marriage, to share your joy when being joined as husband and wife, but keep it short! No one wants to sit through readings from all of your five sisters or an entire set of your choir's favorite hymns. In my opinion, 30-40 minutes is a good length for a ceremony, after that you might see a few yawns and glazed over faces.

7. Interesting conversation at dinner

Weddings are a great way to meet new people and catch up with friends you haven't seen for years. When you are creating your table plan, try and organize your tables so that there is a mix of personalities and relationships at each table. You want your guests to feel comfortable (i.e. they know someone at the table) but you also want to encourage your loved ones to mingle and make new friends.

8. Knowing what to do next

There is nothing worse at a wedding than feeling lost and not knowing what to do next. You have gone to a lot of effort to organize your perfect day, make sure half your guests don't miss an activity because they didn't know it's happening.

Wedding planning top tip: Hire a toastmaster. Toastmasters are professionals, they are experts at knowing where your guests should be and how to make sure each one gets there on time. They are instantly recognisable so if your guests have a question about the schedule they know who to ask.

9. A little time with the bride and groom

Your wedding day is hectic! There is so much to fit in and everyone wants a piece of you. In the end, your guests have come to your wedding to see YOU! The more guests you have, the harder you will have to work to make sure you speak to every single one, but make sure you make the effort -- your guests will be truly grateful.

A top tip for making the rounds: try and visit each table just after the main course (you may have to skip dessert, but you can have some cake later) if you have more then 100 guests, and don't think you will get to all the tables before the entertainment starts. Visit the older guests first to make sure you see them before the evening party begins and you can see all the younger ones on the dance floor!

10. To be entertained

Weddings are made legendary by the entertainment. A string quartet during the drinks reception, a magician visiting tables during the meal, a caricature for each of your guests to take home, a totally rocking band or a DJ who keeps everyone on the dance floor all night. Guests live for the entertainment. Make sure there is something interesting at every turn and your guests will be talking about your wedding for years to come!

So what are you doing to make your guests happy? Comment below, I live for this stuff...

read more: bridesmaid dresses

07:54 Publié dans wedding | Tags : wedding | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)