Choosing your dream wedding dress

Continuing the bridal series, we are diving in with Sarah, talking all things wedding gowns and dresses! She walks us through the current dress trends for 2020 + 2021 and what to expect at your dress appointment. She lays out the full wedding dress boutique experience and how to feel prepared when choosing your dream wedding dress!

Meet Sarah and her bridal boutique shop, The Dress

Hi there Brides!  My name is Sara Recker and I am the proud owner of The Dress Bridal Boutique located in Medina, Ohio. I started The Dress from the ground up in 2010 in a small boutique and have not looked back.  I opened the shop just 6 months after I married my husband and the boutique became our first baby. 

Fast forward 10 years and we are now a 3600 square foot boutique with over 11 staff members. We have a sister store called The Dress Rack and have been apart of some fun opportunities as a shop. For example, we were featured on a new Lifetime show called “Marrying Millions.” Episode four was our little claim to fame on national Television.

With all that being said, we are so thankful for all the experiences and clients over these past 10 years. We cannot wait to celebrate in a big way with our clients and vendor friends when we can. For now, we are focusing on how we can better serve you and our brides. We are excited to see what the rest of 2020 has in store for us! 

2020 + 2021 Wedding Dress Trends

We LOVE the looks coming out for 2020 and 2021! Lots of sleeves, boho, and classic lace.Here are a few of my favorite current dress trends:

  • Clean fabrics of satins and silks: mikados and cuts that flatter the body so beautifully
  • Classic lace and texture: teh Sottero and Midgley line compliment this trend so well
  • The boho look: a mix of distinctive details of lace with a dramatic sleeve or open back

The Wedding Dress Boutique Experience

As a bridal boutique, we make it our priority to focus on the bride and her vision. Not Grams, Mom or your MOH. From the start, we will create a space where your vision is heard and that everyone understands the direction of the appointment. At the end of the day, our goal is to make you feel beautiful and confident on your wedding day!

So how do we personalize our boutique experience to you?

In our boutique we service three brides at a time, which allows you to have your own private suite.  Throughout your appointment you will have a stylist work closely with you. Your stylist will help you find a dress that encompasses your wedding day vision. One unique part of our experience is that our stylists select the gowns for you try on! In the first few years of opening, we found that this gives our brides the best dress shopping experience . It allows more time for our stylists to work with you and help you find the perfect dress.

All of our stylists are equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to translate your vision into a dress. They know the fit and look of the dresses and how they look different on the body than the hanger. It’s the stylists job to show you a variety of gowns that fit your vision. Creating an experience that leads to brides saying yes to a gown they would have never tried on for themselves.

It’s about building a trust with your stylist from the beginning and letting them curate an experience that makes you feel and look like a bride. Helping you choose your dream wedding dress and bringing your vision to life!

How To Preserve Your Wedding Dress

There are several options to consider when wanting to preserve or place your dress in storage. Whether you are wanting to recycle your dress or keep it in storage, there is an option for you! Here are different options to consider when preserving your dress. 

  • Getting your dress cleaned: This is a very important step to do before preserving your dress.
  • Recycling/ Reusing your dress: This is what Sarah personally did for her wedding dress. She had her gown made into a Christening gown for her four children. This allowed her to share a piece of her dress to her family and love on it a bit more. A few other ways you can recycle your dress are:
    • turning it into a tree skirt for Christmas
    • displaying it on a mannequin in a spare room
    • taking a piece of lace from your dress and turning it into a handkerchief
  • Storage/ Shadow Boxes

Take Time to Find Your Dream Wedding Dress

 If there is one thing I can leave to all future brides, give yourself time to find your gown. Finding your dream wedding dress takes time and should not be rushed. I highly recommend purchasing a year to nine months out. If you are not given that time frame, that’s okay! Make sure to place wedding dress shopping at the top of your wedding planning list.

Always feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions, we are here to help anyone!  All our love and well wishes to you all!  

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May 22, 2020

Choosing Your Wedding Cake and Desserts

I’m so excited to share this post with you! Before we dive into it, make sure you grab your favorite treat, because you will want one as you read this. Continuing the bridal wedding series, we are talking all things wedding desserts and cakes. Kelly of Sweethome Cakery gives a behind the scenes look of her business, current baking trends, and steps to take on choosing your wedding cake and desserts!

You are in for a treat!!

Meet Kelly and her business Sweethome Cakery

Hey, there! I’m Kelly. I’m married to my 3rd grade sweetheart. We have two little girls and are adopting our third this year! I’m a self-taught baker and am so grateful for the freedom of working from home that this profession gives me. With a college degree in Automotive Science and a background in mechanics, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with baking 3 years ago but thank God you CAN teach an old dog new tricks!

Creating cakes, cupcakes and cake pops for people with dietary restrictions, learning and mastering new trends, and bringing joy to my clients’ events are my favorite parts of being a baker. My husband (aka my taste-tester) is a pastor and sometimes works unconventional hours, so you’ll find me baking away during my kids’ nap-time, after bedtime or bright and early in the morning. I truly love what I do and am so excited to share some of my favorite tips + encouragement for brides-to-be!

Choosing Your Baker

When searching for your soul-baker, combine a healthy amount of online reviews, personal testimonials and photos of what the baker can cook up for you. Creating a tasty and beautiful cake is the main bit, but there’s more.

You want a baker that strives to understand your vision, has experience and ideas to add, one who pays attention to your details and will be dependable on the day of your wedding to arrive and set-up. 

If you or your family requires desserts that cater to dietary restrictions, have those specific restrictions in mind. Search for bakers that are experienced in such desserts. For example, gluten-free and dairy-free options are pretty common, but vegan and soy-free are tougher to come by. 

Get a few quotes if you can! It takes work to put together a quote for a wedding since there are many factors in play, but it will be worth it to get a good idea of the amount you are willing to spend and what you can get for your money. Your baker’s skill set, experience, and quality of ingredients used will all factor into the price. 

Current Trends for Wedding Cakes and Desserts

Dessert Tables

A delectable array of several types of desserts, encompassing many flavors that gives your guests choices. You can combine a smaller cake with cupcakes, mini-cupcakes, cake truffles or cake pops, all designed to flow together and fit the same style that you chose.  

Semi-naked cakes 

This is a classic that I hope never goes out of style. Semi-naked cakes can have a few different levels of frosting and cake showing, I always ask my brides to show me a photo of what they have in mind so I make sure I can get it right. These cakes are paired beautifully with delicate florals, fresh fruit or greenery. 

Modern or Rustic cakes with statement toppers 

These cakes demand attention with their smooth, frosted designs. You can choose thin lines for a modern look  or large strokes for a rustic feel. Pair these with a custom cake topper for a beautiful balance of simplicity and boldness. 


Caramel, white chocolate or chocolate ganache drips add texture and dimension to your cake. Plus an extra splash of flavor if you choose a fruit filling but are missing the sweetness of chocolate or caramel. 

Flavor Trends for Wedding Cakes and Cupcakes

Choosing your wedding cake flavor can be a big decision, I know it was for me!! Kelly provides a few flavors that are her go to choices for her couples.

  • Caramel cake with a salted caramel filling and vanilla buttercream
  • Vanilla bean cake with a fruit filling and vanilla buttercream
  • Chocolate or black velvet cake with a chocolate ganache filling and vanilla buttercream ** if the bride or groom want chocolate buttercream but they want a white cake, Kelly suggests putting the chocolate buttercream in layers**
  • Lemon (or lemon poppyseed) cake with a raspberry filling and a speckled vanilla bean buttercream
  • Red velvet cake with a white chocolate ganache filling and vanilla buttercream
naked cake with buttercream and pomegranate on top

Tips to Choosing Your Wedding Cake and Desserts

To help with the wedding cake process, Kelly gives you a few questions to ask your baker when you meet with them and are in the designing process! These tips should help ease the process of choosing your wedding cake and desserts.

Questions to ask your baker:

  1. Ask for a cake tasting box. I offer my clients a cake tasting box which includes 3 cakes, 3 fillings and 3 frostings. If they book their wedding with me, that amount they pay for the box gets applied to their final balance. 
  2. Ask your baker if they will apply florals for you, and if there is a fee. Sometimes your florist can make arrangements specifically for the cake that can be placed the day of the wedding. In my experience, the florist leaves aside flowers and greenery for me to trim, arrange and place when I set up the cake. 
  3. Ask your baker if they have a ‘pure white’ buttercream. When I design wedding cakes, I think about your wedding photos. I offer my brides a “wedding white” option of buttercream that is whiter than my regular buttercream, since regular buttercream has a natural yellowish hue.
  4. Do they offer fruit fillings for wedding cakes and cupcakes. If you want a fruit filling, request seedless. That will help you take worry-free photos after putting away some cake. 
  5. Ask your baker if you can add a small order of special treats to help curb the cost. If you have guests with dietary restrictions, order just what you need for them and label it accordingly. Dietary restricted desserts are typically more pricey, so if you only need a dozen gluten-free cupcakes, don’t order an entire cake that is gluten-free.
  6. Contact your prospective bakers shortly after your engagement! Whether you find your bakers through word-of-mouth, social media or bridal blogs, make contact as soon as you can! Some of the best bakers book out months in advance for weddings because of all the work that goes into planning. 
  7. When choosing your venue, think about your cake. Buttercream needs to be in an environment that is 70 degrees or cooler to stay stable. 
  8. Meet your baker and count the cost! I like to sit down for coffee with my clients and talk through all the details together to make sure we don’t miss anything. This is also a great opportunity to tune the order to the cost my clients are willing to spend. Some bakers charge more for different flavors or fillings, buttercream flowers, etc. Find a baker that is willing to take the time to help you work within your budget. 

In summary, when it comes to choosing your wedding cake and desserts, it comes down to knowing your wedding day style and favorite flavors! The rest of the details will come in place when you meet with your baker and start talking out the details!

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Go say hello to Kelly: Sweet Home Cakery


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May 15, 2020

Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

For week two of the bridal wedding series, we are talking about choosing the perfect wedding venue. This is one detail of wedding planning that sets the mood and style of your wedding day and plays a huge role in your wedding experience for you and your guests. Today we are talking with Hannah from one of the top venues in Cleveland Oh, The Lake Erie Building. Hannah breaks down this process and helps make it seem less intimidating. She walks through the questions to ask when touring venues, and what to look out for when choosing your perfect wedding venue!

You definitely want to bookmark this one!!

Meet Hannah

Hi friends! My name is Hannah and I am the director of events at the Lake Erie Building. I’ve been guiding others through wedding planning for seven years now and have helped more than 300 couples walk down the aisle. I am a certified wedding planner through the Bridal Society though most of what I do these days is strictly from a venue standpoint. Outside of work, I reside in a southern suburb of Cleveland with my husband of six years, our two dogs, and 18-month-old daughter. I love to garden – I’m growing a huge flower garden this year – and I also really enjoy baking.

Lake erie building wedding venue and florals
Photograph by: This Lovely Light

Choosing The Perfect Wedding Venue

So you’ve recently got engaged and Aunt Sally keeps asking when is the big day? A question that’s a bit difficult to answer until you find your venue. The venue is usually the first piece of the puzzle and the most stressful. It seems that venues are popping up on every corner offering something different at vastly different price points. Even though you have a vision in mind for your wedding day, how do you choose the perfect wedding venue?

Make a list of the venues that catch your eye. Next you will want to email or call them for more information. Before scheduling a tour, make sure you know their price, capacity, and what dates are available. If any of these three points are outside of what you’re comfortable with – don’t tour that space! It’s okay to tell a vendor, I’m sorry but that’s not going to work for us. I also strongly recommend touring alone, as a couple – at least at first! Once you’ve selected a location, that’s when you should bring your parents, siblings, and aunt Sally back to see the space and start daydreaming of décor.

Questions To Ask during Your Venue Tour

When you are touring, make sure you get a rundown on everything that’s included and everything that’s not. Hannah recommends to bring a pen and notebook to keep notes in or ask to record the conversation you have with the venue coordinator, so you can go over everything once you’re back at home. Make sure you come prepared! Here are a few questions she recommends to ask:

  1. Are tables and chiavari chairs included?  At the Lake Erie Building, we include tables and chiavari chairs for all your guests whereas some venues are simply the space and everything else needs to be rented in.
  2. What does the bridal and groom suites look like? This helps you plan out if this is a space you would like to get ready in or if you need to consider another location. If you are getting ready photos done, does it have good natural lighting for your photographer.
  3. Are there preferred vendors you are required to use? For example, some venues have a list of caterers that are required for you to use. Some couples love this and some others like to bring in their own.
  4. Are you allowed to serve alcohol? Yes, there are venues that don’t allow alcohol. If so, you need to ask can you bring it in or do you have to get it through the venue’s vendor.
  5. Is there an additional fee for a ceremony onsite?  Most venues offer two spaces for ceremony and reception, but there can sometimes there can be a fee to have your full wedding day there.
  6. What time does my event have to end and what time does everything need to be out of the space?  Make sure you take notes on this. Each venue has their own guidelines for this. So come in beforehand with an idea of how late you want your reception to go til.
Lake Erie Building wedding ceremony exit
Photography by: This Lovely Light
Photograph by: Mallory and Justin

The Planning Process with Your Wedding Venue

Once you have chosen your perfect wedding venue, give them a call or email to let them know you’d like to book. 

Following the booking process, you will start setting up your planning meetings. This is where the fun begins! Your first planning meeting will mostly like occur six months prior to your wedding date. This may seem too far in advance, but this gives you the ability to book your core vendor team and really narrow in on the details. Remember your wedding coordinator is here to help you along the way!

What To Expect at a Planning Meeting

At a planning meeting, you can expect to go over your vendor selections and walkthrough of the whole space. Going over the floor plan for your wedding day.

At the Lake Erie Building, all our floor plans are custom. This is where we sit down with you to discuss your wants and needs, and go over the vision boards and ideas you may have. Don’t be afraid to bring in any items you want to hang or have included in the space. This not only helps you to brainstorm with your venue coordinator, but start to see your vision come to life.

Hannah also recommends that you ask your venue coordinator if you are able to see the venue when setup for a wedding. She has found that this helps her couples understand the spacing of the venue and to see the space in different lighting. Most likely when you tour the space, it will be empty and during the day. So if you are able to see the space during a wedding event, you can see what the lighting will look like during your reception.  Granted it’s not always possible to accommodate these requests, it never hurts to ask!

Lastly, if your venue is providing the catering, this is likely when you’ll have your tasting and select your menu choices. This is a great time to bring your florist, photographer, family, or anyone that may be helping you make the space your own! communicate with your venue who you are bringing to the taste testing, so they can accommodate everyone.

The final planning meeting usually occurs two weeks prior to your wedding. This meeting generally includes the finalizing of plans and going over what to expect on the day(s) of your rental. This meeting is Hannah’s personal favorite! It’s when everything sets in and the couple realizes that they’ll be in the space just a couple weeks later celebrating their marriage!

Lake Erie Building wedding ceremony exit
Photography by: Lizzie Schlafer

How To Enjoy the Wedding Planning Process

Wedding planning can be stressful, and as cliché as it sounds, make sure you take the time to enjoy it! Hannah shares a few ideas for this:

  • Have a first look. Most couples like to stick to traditions, but having this time with your fiancé(e) before you make it official can be really calming. And I promise your walk down the aisle will still be just as special. 
  • If you haven’t seen the reception space set up for your specific event, ask to see if before the rest of your guests. Make sure your planner and photographer are on board so the room is ready to go when you arrive! 
  • Dance your feet off! Get on that dance floor – there will never again be a wedding that will have this specific group of people in attendance. So be on the center of the dance floor all night. This will encourage your guests to get out there and dance too! AND to go along with this, make sure you hire an amazing DJ – don’t skimp here – they keep the party going! 
black and white lake erie building wedding couple

Stay True To Yourself

If I could give one piece of advice to every couple, it’s stay true to yourselves! Between Pinterest and Instagram, I almost feel like weddings have turned somewhat into a competition of beauty. This inherently isn’t bad, but can easily tie a couple into a wedding that’s trendy and maybe not necessarily “them”. Have the wedding that is uniquely you, no matter what that looks like. Remember when choosing your perfect wedding venue, your wedding should be a celebration that highlights you as a couple and your love story!

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Lake erie building cleveland wedding venue

May 8, 2020