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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Donald Yeager Photography (2)

Friday
Feb252011

The Unfake Engagement of Hillary + Don

I tell you, I am so about to love the hell out of this post. I think you will too. OK, remember a long-ass time ago (OMG, almost a year ago now. Wait, did I just type "OMG"? I totally did. Sorry.) I was one of the many, many people who came together to ambush a one Miss Hillary Robson, a florist in Nashville, for the show What Not to Wear, on TLC.  You can read the backstory and my experience with that here. But more importantly, you can see Hillary's kick-ass What Not to Wear transformation here.

I watched the show when it premiered and there's like a few nano-seconds me on camera as well as a slew of Nashville friends and acquaintances from the wedding industry there. It was so fun to watch Hilary go from her frumptastic approach to fashion to a complete freakin' bombshell. A few months after the taping, I was the Ashley's Bride Guide's Sex and the City party and Hillary came up to me and started chit-chatting. I hadn't seen her since the taping and  I swear, I was standing there looking at her, going (in my head) "I know this person. I know this person. How do I know this person? What is this person's name?" and then I almost fell over! Of course I knew her name, I just didn't freakin RECOGNIZE her without her apron on! She looked fantastic. Seriously, like bombshell fantastic. I couldn't get over it.

So Hillary has her own wedding blog she writes called The Renegade Bride, aptly named as she had started planning her own wedding before she was even engaged! Her floral design work has been featured everywhere as she is the hugely talented brain-power behind Nashville's Brocade Design Arts. Seriously, go check out her amazing portfolio. The woman is an incredilby talented florist.

So as a regular lurker on both her floral website and personal blog, I just about fell over dead when I saw her amazing engagement pictures. I immediately emailed her and demanded a feature. OK, I didn't demand, per se, but I was super excited about them and had high hopes that she would share. And being the wonderful person she is, she did. But it wasn't just the pictures I was interested in. I wanted to know a little bit about her WNTW experience and how it has affected her. I also wanted to know what it was like being a wedding vendor and planning a destination wedding (Hawaii - WOOT!). So please check out her kick-ass pictures, but then make sure you read her interview below. Hillary's transformation, both inside and out, will tug on your little heartstrings. 

So without further ado, may I present the Unfake Engagement of Hillary Robson and Donald Yeager (also a wedding industry insider, Donald Yeager Photography)

All photos by Sam Hassas of Hassas Photography

 

First, as a bridal industry player, how has your wedding planning been easier?How has it been harder?

In some ways, it’s been both...it’s easier because I know for the most part what’s out there and what I can expect out of the process.  The ease has been in the familiarity with the subject, but believe me, everything is totally foreign when it’s your wedding, even if you’re an expert. I’m constantly annoying myself with my inability to make decisions. I feel like they are so permanent and I hate that I can’t see and experience every aspect before I book it, so I get really nervous and apprehensive. For example, I’m walking down the aisle to a Ukulele version of one of our favorite songs, and for the life of me I can’t imagine how that song can sound GOOD and not like it’s from some strange movie or alternate universe where I laugh the entire way down the aisle in embarrassing snort laughter, which would so not be cool...

Do you see yourself the same way you see other brides you've worked with? Do you catch yourself doing things you find distasteful in bride-clients?

Of course! Being a bride is a universal experience. We’re all going through the same thing-- every bride is at sea when it comes to her own wedding. It’s a big day and it’s important! That being said, I know that i’m a total type A, Control Freak, crazy-o bride who agonizes over every decision and has nightmares about people forgetting things. I constantly am hoping I don’t tragically insult our wedding planner in Hawaii for my MS Word documents with ideas, organizational tools, and pieced together Photoshop design files of my wedding cake. It’s not that I don’t trust her, it’s just that I like to be thorough. :)


You've had significant weight loss - how has that affected how you feel about dress shopping, wedding planning, life after the wedding?

I actually went dress shopping pretty soon after WNTW, and even though I’d lost 40 lbs before I went on the show, I still had a long way to go in terms of overall health and being at a healthy weight. When I went dress shopping, it was a totally invigorating experience. I loved trying on all the different dresses and being in my own skin. But in July, I kind of kicked my focus on being healthy inside & out in full gear and have since lost thirty pounds, which is totally incredible. The way I feel trying on clothes now is even better, since I’ve not been at this size and weight for over ten years...which is kind of insane!  Loosing that weight helped me to feel all the more comfortable in my own skin, and really kind of reflected the inner transformation I’d gone through in the months following WNTW.  I sometimes catch my reflection and have to take a second look, because I feel like I’m someone that’s the same, yet entirely different. That feeling has impacted my life in lots of ways, all of which are positive. I’ve never been happier or more focused, and I love it!


How has the WNTW affected you as a person? How has it changed your life? How has it affected you in terms of wedding planning, if at all?

 

I’ve thought about this question a lot in the months that have followed WNTW.
A year ago today I was in a really different place emotionally. I had an entire host of issues that largely stemmed from a general lack of self confidence. I had an amazing business, an incredible boyfriend, and the best friends that anyone could imagine, and I still felt kind of like a total outsider in my own life. There wasn't a day that I woke up and looked in the mirror and said "I'm going to take this day and own it." I just never felt like I could have any kind of power to do that-- to just be totally self confident in who I was and what I could accomplish.
Enter What Not to Wear.  I can't tell you how many times I had watched self-improvement shows and argued, "there's no way that person could have totally changed their outlook and view of life in a week, that's impossible," but seriously...that show changed my life. I was so timid and scared when I left Nashville. I cried in the car ride to the airport after being picked up by the driver, crying like a child because I was going to be alone in NYC in a strange hotel room and my boyfriend wasn't going to be there. I lugged my three pieces of luggage and went to New York with this crazy fear in the pit of my stomach that threatened to consume me whole.
In that crazy whirlwind of an experience,as the old clothes stripped off and I started trying on the new clothes, the evil little self esteem monsters came and latched on to my shoulder and started their dangerous whispers. "You're fat. You're ugly. Look at how disgusting you are." Those are the nice versions. I'd look in the mirror and see nothing but a blob of a girl, an ugly, unlovable thing. I wanted my sweaters back.
But then, something happened. Talking about my feelings after every single turn in front of a camera, listening to what Stacy and Clinton had to share...I was breaking, emotionally, and instead of it being a breakdown, it was a total break out. I had my hair and makeup done and when I looked in the mirror, someone else was looking back at me: a woman I didn't even know existed, and this lady was ready to take on the world. From that moment on, I've not looked back at ugly sweaters or covering myself up. I have totally changed my entire philosophy I’d had about myself for my entire life, and I really do kind of get up and look in the mirror and want to own my day. :)
When it comes to planning-- before WNTW I was planning *my* wedding, not our wedding. There’s a big difference. Once we got engaged and started talking about what we wanted, it was amazing. I thought I’d had everything all figured out, and being on the show helped me to just fully actualize every.single.thing in my life, and that’s been awesome.

What kind of stone is your ring?

It’s a yellow Sapphire in an Asscher cut. The center stone is surrounded by diamonds & accented with four yellow diamonds that match the color of the sapphire.


How does planning your destination wedding been harder/easier than doing it at home?

For me, planning a destination wedding has been harder than doing it at home, mainly because I’m so familiar with everything locally that I feel the pressure of that distance. I’ve never even been to Hawaii, and as we get closer to the wedding, my lack of familiarity becomes more and more apparent, and that’s hard! I have to rely on email and phone to make connections with my vendors, and that’s a bit disconcerting...so far there are people I’ve only spoken to via email, and that can make you kind of paranoid that you’re going to miss some detail, colossal or tiny.  I think if we were still having our wedding here in Nashville, I’d feel a lot more confident, since I’d actually *know* all of my vendors.

 

 CONGRATULATIONS TO HILLARY AND DON!

Tuesday
Apr132010

Step Down!

Wah, Wah, Waaaaaaaaaaah. You lose.

Not you, per se. Actually, it's me. I was so excited and I know how crap like this totally doesn't play out, but I HAD to give you a bit of a tease yesterday because I was so excited!  

So as I do with all things fun, you gotta read all the preliminary bullshit FIRST, then I'll get to the good stuff. So let's see, about a year ago I started shopping for wedding gowns. My first stop was The Bride Room. I tried on this freakin' to die for Reem Acra sample that was for sale. It was pretty trashed so I knew I wasn't going to buy it, but it was too gorgeous not to try on. Amy, who plays a part in this little tale later on, was my sales woman. When I tried on the Acra gown, she prefaced the zip-up with "This is a runway sample, it probably won't zip-up. They are really small." So I'm all, "Um, OK. Whatever." And then ZIP! Up it went, no problem. Amy bends her sweet little head around my should and says, "You should be really happy about that." In fact, I GLOWED. I thought to myself "Booya, Bitches! I can fit into a runway sample!" Who the "bitches" were in my thought process? Eh, who cares. It was just a gut reation.

Sooooooo, fast forward to a month or so ago where I went to the Priscilla of Boston trunk show at The Bride Room. I reminded Amy of the interaction, and while she didn't remember it, we had a good laugh and a nice time together. I think she's pretty effin' cool. Fast forward AGAIN to my showing up at The Bride Room for the start of the Monique Lhuillier trunk show. Long story short, Amy remembered my fit staus, they throw me in a Monique sample gown and Charlotte (The Bride Room owner) tells me she'll call me later about it. She does and she invites me to the fun thing that is the point of this damn post.

TLC's What Not to Wear. Yes, that's right. TLC has come to Nashville. Our little baby city is all growed up. AND I was supposed to wear a Monique Lhuillier ON TV! On NATIONAL CABLE TV! ME! I cannot tell you how excited I was. The plan? To ambush our own Miss Hillary Robson of Brocade Designs, one of Nashville's premiere florists. I heard this morning that we're not supposed to post or put pictures up about this. Hm. WHY did they not mention that at all yesterday? Everyone was taking pictures and such. Makes no sense. So in order not to blow it for Hillary, I won't post anything about the show or anything that hasn't already been all over Twitter since yesterday. 

The plan was for me and several other women to model wedding gowns as part of the show.

Oh no. That did NOT happen.

When we showed up to sign in, we were rudely told to sit, preferably in the back, in the room with the extras who were playing the wedding guests. And we were all, "Um, but we're brides." And again, we were told to sit. And wait. My first reaction was to bitch-slap the tramp wearing the hip clip-on walkie-talkie who clearly thought she was some sort of bad-ass in control in  Nashville. In reality, she's a freakin' twenty-nothing assitant to someone not in charge who was left to manage sweet, Southern extras who showed up to have a little fun, help out some friends or just try to get on national TV. You, the twenty-nothing with the hip clip-on walkie-talkie? You. Are. Not. Nice. If you don't like your goddamn job then quit. If you don't like working with the public, don't work on a damn reality-based TV show. Idiot.

ANYWAY (I think that might be out of my system, but probably not.), we head to the back of the room, me mutteriung under my breath how I'm about to blow Nashville's ranking as one of the 5 friendliest cities in America by going verbally postal on this New Yorker who thinks she's a bad-ass. Here's a tip y'all: a Southern accent doesn't make you stupid. It makes you Southern.

One of the first people I recognized when I got there? My own wedding officiate, Minister Ralph Griggs! Also met Mandy Whitely of Mandy Whitley Photography. All such nice people. Unlike the WNTW crew. Ahem.

 

Me & Ralph.

Now, there was plenty in my original post about all things related to this What Not to Wear thing. In an effort to be cordial, I'll wait until AFTER it airs to share it.

I will tell you that I did not get to wear the Monique. That was all I really wanted to do was play the bride again. I even bribed Amy Lynn Larwig to do may make-up that moring at the crack of dawn because we all know that I am incapable of more than mascara and lip gloss these days. I just suck at make-up application. She agreed to be bribed and did the prettiest make-up on me. I can't tell you how thankful I was for her help! I feel it was all for naught though as I never even got to put on a gown. Boo. I think there were several other people there who felt the same way as there were clearly some professional up-do's and other really nice make-up jobs going on. What a waste of people's time. Grrrr.

I've never been a part of a TV shooting like this (unless you count being in th studio audience of Suddenly Susan, and I don't count that at all). It went pretty smoothly. I have to say, the folks who work on WNTW, really need to watch their own show, listen and learn. The best article of clothing I saw was a pair of Iron Maiden Vans on the boom guy. I talked to him about their snaziness. He informed me that his last pair was better - Slayer. Awesome. The worst article of clothing was a FANNY PACK. I didn't witness this number myself, but the folks who were a part of the friends and family group encountered the beast who wore it. Apparently, Amy was trying to get into the room that held all the dresses and some roadie crew bitch wouldn't let her in the room. Um, hello. There were 20 gowns in that room all worth, what? Over $1000 each minimum? Like Amy's not going to be in charge of them? So I guess she said as much to her and the women held her hand up to Amy's face (stop-in-the-name-of-love-style) and said "Step down." 

Oh, sweet Jeebus, how I wish I had been Amy. How I wish I had been there. I might have broken that girl's hand. Or at least her spirit with the biting-words of The Thirty-Something Bride cloaked ever so sweetly in the charms of Southern hospitality. I'll bet Amy was sweet as pie to her face, but like any good scorned Southern woman, we had a grand ol' time smack-talking later. In fact, I'd like you to witness a chorus of "Step Down" impersonations by our local wedding friends.

 

OK, now that I've properly bitched about all things that needed to be bitched about, I have to say this - I am so excited for Hillary. She's getting great advice from WNTW. She is just the sweetest thing. So despite the bitchy New Yorkers, I was really glad that I was a part of the whole experience. And you never know, maybe the back of my head will be on TV.

On my way out I saw Stacy, the hostess from WNTW, hanging out in the foyer of the hotel. I asked to take a picture. A few mean things: she's not pretty. Not just in an aesthetic sense, but her immediate negative vibe was totally off-putting and it made her physically unattractive. She reeked of smoke. When I chastised her (in my charming Southern way) about smoking (as an ex-smoker, I'm allowed) she goes, "Save it, I'll never quit." And I'm all, "Then you're gonna die. Painfully." We shared a  "Yeah, I can handle your bullshit NYC attitude and give it right back, bitch" look/moment and then that was it. She smiled for the camera and then I left and went grocery shopping at Wal-Mart. True story.

Please ignore my hideous hair. And what's with my face? I look like a marionette. WTF? Photo Cred is all Ashely, from ABG!

So until the show airs, you'll just have to be satisfied with this non-post post about WNTW versus the real deal. So sorry. In the meantime, just drool over these gorgeous pics of the dress I was supposed to wear. Le sigh.

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