'tis the season! for my intense attraction to sparkle, the holidays are just the best sensory overload for me - so here are some etsy finds for you fellow glitter bombs of glory. this little collection is inspired by the alexandra dress by nicole miller, available at glitter & grit.
alexandra dress by nicole miller, available at glitter & grit * penguin cake toppers by wishdaisy
star confetti by LaZoie * druzy earrings by wrenn jewelry wedding
wide lace bangle by inbar shahak * the frances dress (how fun for bridesmaids!) by ktjean
mini gable boxes by inkkit {pssst - perfect for to-go cookies!}
table number holders by reserved seating * silver constellation flower girl dress by doloris petunia
mixed glitter garland by glitter and grain
a milestone, the holidays, the end of the year... these three things have me thinking an awful lot about the past year; the last six months.

this coming weekend marks the six-month anniversary of glitter & grit, and i just cannot believe it's only been six itty-bitty months. i feel so at home, so right in what i'm doing, that it feels like so much longer - in the very best way. i have no way to appropriately thank everyone that has gotten us ("us," meaning me and the store because yeah, we're a couple) this far, but i will try my best. firstly by simply saying: thank you.

thank you to the customers who have supported my business (and for all of the hugs!!). thank you to the designers for creating amazing dresses that the world so needs. thank you to the friends and family who have supported and lifted me up from the early days of brainstorming.  thank you to the lovely ladies of propelle, for helping me take flight. without all that you have offered, i may not have had the courage to leap, arms spread wide with a huge grin on my face and peace in my heart. you kick ass.
and lastly, thank you to the local wedding vendors that have welcomed me in my stumbling eagerness to be a part of something so much bigger than each of us...

seven months ago, before glitter & grit was in any shape to open its doors, i had the honor of providing dresses for an amazing photo shoot with veronica varos photography, mt. lebanon floral, bliss events, ltd., and a handful of other creatives from around the city. what happened that day was pure magic. ladies: thank you for that entire experience, and for the friendships that followed. and a huge, inappropriately gushing thanks to lindee daniel for hustling to finish part of my opening sample order so that i actually had dresses to use for the shoot!

since that day, i have been honored to connect and work with a star-studded list of local vendors on various photo shoot and events, and i couldn't possible be more humbled and grateful for each and every connection.
behind the scenes of my first styled shoot!
before opening my doors, i set my intention, here, for exactly what it was that i wanted glitter & grit to be, and i feel that i have upheld my promises to be real, to try to love myself as i am, and to empower other women to shine their damned brightest - every day, but especially on their wedding day.

as the months have passed, i have grown to love every inch of this business so much more than i ever imagined, and that's because of all of you... i wanted to make a difference, and even though, on the surface, trying to do so in the wedding industry seems like a shallow way to do it, it had been immensely rewarding to make women happy - and if i've turned anyone's prior - or anticipated - experience around to a positive one, then i AM making a difference, and one that matters.

i hope to continue on with my mission in 2014, and to help spread the *love* of self-love and truly personal weddings around pittsburgh. i hope to remain honest, inviting, and accepting in my life and in my business. i hope to keep dreaming and making those dreams come true, for you and for me... but most of all, i hope for a lot more hugs.

sweeping and dreaming, as captured by veronica varos - who was selflessly helping me prep the store for opening
i've really been looking forward to sharing with you a little bit more about veronica varos photography. if you've looked around on the website or the glitter & grit facebook page, you've probably seen some of her work. i met veronica before the store was even open, and instantly connected. she's an insanely kind soul, and mega-talented to boot. if you're looking for a photographer to capture each special moment of your wedding day, this is your gal. oh, and p.s. - veronica also offers amazingly elegant boudoir sessions!

{scroll down to see & hear a little more from veronica}
when did you enter the wedding industry? what made you want to do so?
-My first wedding was in July of 2008. I had been a concert photographer for years at that point and had a friend who asked me to photograph her wedding. I was hesitant. Extremely. But I did it and I loved it. I shot half of the wedding on film and half digitally. It felt really comfortable and reminded me a lot of concert photography. (With wedding AND concert photography, you must be on your toes, you must catch moments as they happen - you cannot recreate anything, you have to be quick with the always changing lighting situations, and they're both very fast paced.) A cousin of mine from Boston visited shortly after and gave me the extra push and support I needed to make the switch. (She's an incredibly talented wedding photographer - so that extra encouragement was so helpful!) Making the switch into the wedding world was certainly one the best choices I've ever made!
what was your most glittering moment in your business?
-I love it all. Can I say that? When I initially receive an inquiry from an eager bride and groom, that's glittering. When I meet with that excited couple and we share stories over coffee and tea, it's glittering. The day of the wedding is a glittering experience - of course. And, after the delivery of the images, the crying thank you phone calls, the quickly typed excited emails expressing pure joy, or the well thought out thank you letter. Those moments will stick with me forever. Perhaps, if I had to narrow it down to one glittering moment (per client!) it would be that moment. The final delivery of those incredibly special moments and the reactions from the couples.

what's your grit / what sets you apart?

- I take pride in the fact that I'm not a cookie-cutter wedding photographer. I'm not a traditional photographer. and it's my goal to be a fly on the wall of each wedding day, preferring to photograph things as they happy naturally, rather than posing them. I absolutely love receiving emails after the fact, saying things like, "I don't even remember you being there for that!" or "I had forgotten that even happened!"
please share a most memorable moment in your adventures in the industry.
- I had the pleasure of working on a styled shoot with Glitter & Grit (the lovely Erin!) and a number of other amazing vendors earlier this year. It's something that will stick with me forever. Erin, Carmel at Mt. Lebanon Floral, Ansley at Bliss Events, and I spent months meeting and preparing for the shoot and on the big day - it was clear all of that time had paid off. It was so beautiful, so perfect, so everything-I-expected-and-more. But it wasn't only a wonderful and memorable experience in terms of details and work. I walked away from the shoot with closer friendships with some of my absolute favorite vendors in the business which was just wonderful.

please describe your ideal client, i.e. who will love you?
-My clients tend to be very creative individuals. Sometimes they are obviously creative based on their professions. Artists, inventors, architects. Sometimes, their professions do not necessarily scream artist. Lawyers, scientists. But regardless of age, profession, or hobbies - the bottom line is that they always have some sort of creative side - some massive appreciation for art or photography. I've been lucky enough to book my ideal clients for the last few years and I certainly hope that streak never stops! :)
gritty details:
established: 2008 (weddings)
price range: Currently average bookings between $3500 - $5000, starting at $1800 for four hours of coverage.
amenities / inclusions or options: Engagement or other portrait sessions, albums, and prints available.
location: Pittsburgh
website: http://veronicavaros.com
email: hello@veronicavaros.com
facebook: veronicavarosphotography
twitter: @veronicavaros
instagram: instagram.com/veronicavaros
i'm so very, very excited to share with you the first glitter & grit bride, lauren! lauren was so much fun when she and her mom first came to visit glitter & grit; i just knew she was destined to have a joyous and beautiful wedding - and the pictures easily confirmed that hunch.

she and david were married at the gorgeous omni bedford springs resort in bedford, pa on september 22nd. lauren looked simply stunning in her Nicole Miller dress and Camilla Christine sash, both from glitter & grit. scroll down to see photos and more details from the bride, herself!

all photos are courtesy of the wonderfully talented kelsey kradel.
q: when you tried on your dress, how did you know it was the one?
a: i knew i was looking for a lace dress that was both beautiful and regal but i also wanted dress that was elegantly simple, comfortable, and one that i could receive within a short time frame! i knew the Nicole Miller Aneka was "the one" the second i tried it on because it encompassed everything that i was looking for in a wedding dress! additionally, the gorgeous Megan sash by Camilla Christine instantly added a hint of glitz and pizazz that solidified the whole look!
q: what was your groom's reaction to seeing you in it?
a: my husband had a huge smile (and he has the best smile!)! kelsey kradel, our photographer, caught our "first look" perfectly! it was such a special moment; we were so excited to be married soon after we first saw each other.
q: tell us your favorite thing about david...
a: there are too many to count - it's hard to pick just one! aside from his loyalty, integrity, and quick-witted humor, i adore how he is so family oriented; he is already is an amazing husband and I know he will be an incredible father one day too. i truly feel so grateful to be married to someone who i admire so much and who is also my best friend.
q: did you incorporate any traditions into your day?
a: we did! we had had a traditional Jewish ceremony where we were married under a chuppa, signed a ketubah, and had a "breaking-of-the-glass". the chuppa symbolizes the home that we plan to create together; the ketubah is our "marriage contract" which also served as our vows to each other; and "breaking-of-the-glass" represents that love, like glass, is fragile and must be protected.
q: please describe the most memorable moment of the day.
a: over our morning coffee before before all of the primping started, my husband gave me a beautifully handwritten card. it set the tone to our absolutely perfect wedding day.
q: would you do anything differently, if you had to do it all again?
a: there is really nothing i would do differently except get married sooner!! perhaps i should have worn a veil but at the time a single orchid seemed just right.
thank you so much for sharing, lauren! best wishes - and continue to shine brightly!
one of the most fun things i've been doing in my limited experience as a bridal boutique owner is photo shoots... sometimes i get to be present, and sometimes i'm just loaning the dresses out for a day or two. i love seeing how each photographer's vision is unique and what dresses and accessories they decide to use. i thought i might start sharing the results with you!

the first one i want to share was a completely impromptu occurrence, and i really love how organically it came together. my friend nicole jarock stopped in the store with her friend stephanie during the janay a handmade trunk show, and we decided to have some fun with the one-of-a-kind dresses that she brought with her! while some of the specific dresses shown are not available at glitter & grit, it gives you an idea of what kind of custom work janay is capable...  stop into the store to see her designs that are in stock, or to discuss custom options!

and now, for the eye candy:
oh, and hey! there's me!
i have  a confession: i found planning my wedding to be an incredibly isolating experience.

being an introvert, i'm very much not comfortable with being the center of attention - and that includes things WAY before standing in front of our friends and family last june. it's hard for me to talk about myself or even, good god, asking OTHER people to talk about me - even my very, very nearest and dearest.

i didn't want my wedding plans to dominate conversations with my best friends or family, and so i held back and held in a lot of what was on my mind - making me feel pretty alone, even when i knew i was doing it to myself! of course my besties would have gabbed for hours about every last detail if i asked them to! and rob (my now-husband) would have indulged me, but all he was really concerned with was the act of getting married to me, and maybe the food {wink, wink}. knowing that, i didn't want to "burden" him with talks of flowers, hair accessories, and table arrangements.

photo by hot metal studio
in retrospect, of course, all of that up ^ there ^ is pure crazytalk.

but, i've been thinking... i can't be the only person in the midst of wedding planning to have felt that way. as i want my shop to be a safe space for those that aren't necessarily the typical bride, i want to create a safe space online for those of you who might feel a little like i did: wary of over-sharing, obsessing or complaining too much, or "burdening" the people in your life with your wedding planning. let's just acknowledge that  feeling that way is a little ridiculous, but totally. freaking. normal. and then do something about it.

i present you with {drum roll, pleeeeeease} :

the glitter & grit gathering: a safe space for gabbing, gloating, and griping about all things wedding.

here you can ask for advice, recommend vendors, and discuss details. you can talk traditions - honoring or bucking - and blow off steam about having to make decisions about so many tiny things that you can barely see straight
. you can admit that working out has now come second to hand-making your decorations, share tips for writing your own vows... the list goes on!  and i'll be there too, contributing in any way i can to help you shine your brightest and making sure that it remains a safe and useful place in your pre-wedding life.

here's what you get when you join the glitter & grit gathering:

  • an online extension of the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the brick-and-mortar store, that is open to all lifestyles and wedding concepts; this is a no-judgement zone!
  • access to a private members-only facebook group where you can ask questions, get support, and reclaim romance with other brides - and grooms! - to- be.
  • personal encouragement to make your wedding your own, and advice and support to help you do so, from yours truly
  • tips, tricks, and resources catered to your specific wedding ideas and needs

So, join me - and let's reclaim romance together!

Have questions
about the Gathering? Ask away in the comments, or shoot me an email at glitterandgritpgh@gmail.com
dress fatigue: it's a real thing.

when you've tried on so many dresses and imagined so many scenarios of you, in those dresses, on your wedding day, that they're all blending together a little bit and starting to feel not-so-special...

we'll talk about that more another time. but for now, take a break; that's the first step to coming out of it. to help you, below are some fun links from around the web.
photo by cara rufenacht photography
* cute DIY centerpieces *

* i just love a leather jacket paired with a wedding dress! here's a roundup of some other great covering options *

* 4 ways to live a more creative life *

* how's your man wearing his hair for the wedding? *  {teeee-heeee!}

* be gentle with yourself *

* it's that time of year: everything pumpkin. and oh, hey: i love food. *

* pittsburgh is getting an awesome new addition!! *

* wedding invitation wording that won't make you barf. their words, guys. *

have a kick-ass weekend, friends! and don't forget to walk away from the wedding planning for a little bit, and just be with your partner. xoxo
hello friends! i've been a little quiet on the blog lately but i'm going to spend november refocusing on connecting with you here. so first, here's a new series: "so tell me," where i answer, in greater detail, some of the more common questions that i hear that are not addressed on the faq page.

since this month is packed full with trunk shows, i thought i'd tell you a little more about what, exactly, a trunk show is... and p.s. you're totally not expected to already know. none of us have actually been shopping for our wedding dresses for years, so being unfamiliar with phrases and terms and events is more than okay!

the full 2014 Elizabeth Dye collection during the trunk show at Glitter & Grit

alright, so. the phrase "trunk show" goes back to when vendors traveled with their wares in a trunk to present to buyers. because boutiques often don't have the space or resources to buy an entire collection, a trunk show creates an opportunity for customers to view - and purchase from - the full collection. additionally, it gives the shop an opportunity to gauge the interest of their clients before fully committing to the line.

occasionally, the designer will travel with their collection, to be present at the trunk show to meet the clients and answer questions about their designs. also, there will often be an accompanying discount available on orders placed during the trunk show. both of these factors vary, based on the designer, but may be a little extra incentive to attend and purchase during the show!

the fun selection of dresses during the Janay A Handmade trunk show at Glitter & Grit {photo by Nicole Jarock Photography}

there are so many win opportunities to scheduling your appointment during a trunk show: exclusive access to the full collection by a specific designer, opportunity to meet the designer, discounted prices, and the chance to influence the future offerings of the shop. it's a great way to make your wedding dress shopping even more exciting.

you can see the upcoming scheduled shows over here - and don't forget to book your private appointment!
are you looking for a beautiful, peaceful oasis within the city to hold your small wedding, or other wedding events {rehearsal cookout, day after brunch, etc.}? yes? then. you need to know about choderwood. nestled between the allegheny river and allegheny river boulevard - at the base of washington boulevard - in highland park, this property is perfection in a just under one-acre package.
there is such a variety of gathering spaces, and such an air of relaxation, i was immediately imagining all the different kinds of soirees i could hold here just so that i could spend as much time as possible enjoying the river views, company of chickens, and the sound of the breeze in the trees. three minutes after your arrival, any notion that you are within city limits is gone, gone, gone.
and, in my opinion: the best part of this? the owners, jody and steve, are amazingly kind, interesting, and imaginative. i really feel that they thought of every possible setting a person could dream of, and made it possible. choosing choderwood for your event supports their dream, and validates all of the hard work and consideration that they put into the property!
a perfect space for a small ceremony, or dinner tables... or cocktail hour... or... ...endless possibilities!
here's more from jody:

when did you enter the wedding industry? what made you want to do so?      
- After decades in Corporate America, my husband and I both retired from our jobs during 2013 and are starting a new chapter in our lives.  We have a very unique home situated on the Allegheny River in the City of Pittsburgh. During the 12 years that we have lived at Choderwood, we have lovingly created a variety of gardens (potager garden, shabby chic garden), koi ponds, a Meditation Hut, fire pit, swimming pool/pool house with fig and lemon trees, Amish built garden shed and chicken coops, and a hot tub overlooking the Buddha Bed as part of our urban sustainable homestead.  We enjoy entertaining and sharing our touch of Eden on the river.       

what was your most glittering moment in your business (what are you most proud of)?
- I organized the first ever City of Pittsburgh Urban Chicken Coop Tour - Chicks-in-the-Hood, which has successfully showcased urban chicken farmers throughout the City while raising money for local non-profits such as Grow Pittsburgh, Just Harvest and the Food Bank.  I was  featured on the front page of the Wall Street Journal for the Coop Tour, and as a lawyer, it certainly was a big deal to be featured on the front page of the WSJ without being indited!
heated pool, fireplace, retractable ceiling: i want to live here.
what is your favorite part of what you do?
- I enjoy entertaining and ensuring that people have a memorable, fun-filled good time.  Watching people relax and enjoy themselves is my favorite thing! 

please share a most memorable moment in your adventures in the industry.
- One of the most memorable events we've hosted was a clam bake at the fire pit along the banks of the Allegheny River on a starry summer night.

please describe your ideal client, i.e. who will love you?      
- Choderwood is a relaxed, non-traditional urban venue for the non-traditional bohemian, cowgirl/cowboy with a touch of anti-bride symptoms!     
a fire pit with river views, a.k.a. "heaven."
gritty details:
established: 2013
price range: Prices vary depending upon number of guests, starting at $300
amenities / inclusions or options: We supply the venue {comfortably accommodates about 75 guests}. We can make recommendations for all of your other wedding needs from caterers to party tents to music to wedding doves or goats! 
location: Choderwood is located in the City of Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River, very close to the Pittsburgh Zoo.
phone: 412-441-4975
one of the most-asked questions at glitter & grit is where to find bridesmaids dresses that aren't a nightmare of crappy fabric or provided with terrible customer service... a lot of people end up at david's for their bridesmaids because it makes things easy when your ladies are spread out all over the country. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. seriously. there ARE other options! since i have no immediate plans for offering bridesmaids dresses in my little shop, i thought i might send you in the right direction.

first up is bella bridesmaid. with over 40 locations around the country - and growing - you can easily choose dresses for your friends to check out in their area. bella bridesmaid was created to fill the overwhelming need for chic, stylish, and wearable bridesmaids dresses. with collections including joanna august, jenny yoo, and ivy & aster, your 'maids will be able to select a beautiful, modern dress to wear as they stand beside you on your big day. what i really love is that this is a store catering specifically to your bridal party, so you won't be sifting through prom dresses to find more appropriate options. visit bridget at pittsburgh's location to check out the selection!

photo via joannaaugust.com
next, i want to share something truly awesome with you. let's all just admit that pretty much no matter how much you want your friends to find something that they're so comfortable with, they'll actually wear it again, it's pretty rare that, in fact, happens. i'm not saying never-ever, but most of us love the excuse to buy something new to wear to each event we attend! {guilty. so very, very guilty.} so let's be real and give your bridesmaids a change to borrow their dresses for your wedding. what!?! little borrowed dress is awesomesauce. browse their online collection and email, tweet or pin your favorites to get your party’s opinion.  bonus: order a free fabric swatch to ensure a perfect color match! double-whammy-bonus: they'll include a second size with every rental - free of charge, just in case!
photo via little borrow dress
and lastly? free-for-all's are pretty damn good. if you truly want your ladies to wear their dresses again, get rid of the label. shop out of the box. it totally works... i asked my gals to select something that was in one of the colors that we were using to decorate; and left the rest up to them. and they looked awesome.
photo by hot metal studio