A Minimalist Wedding Aesthetic

A minimalist wedding aesthetic is becoming increasingly popular these days. Couples are yearning for a less is more approach. Weddings can quickly become overrun with too many details and fussy décor options, so an event centered on simplicity can be refreshingly beautiful. With a clean + spare approach, every detail becomes intentional. Without layers of flowers, linens, decor, and wedding brouhaha, there is nothing to distract from the elements that remain. A minimalist vibe allows the beauty of your venue to shine, and more importantly, keeps the focus on the two of you.

VIBE

So if your vibe is minimal and you’re seeking a day based on beautiful simplicity we invite you to keep reading. We’ve compiled a collection of stunning ways to bring this fresh take on weddings to life.

VENUE

Having a minimalist wedding has nothing to do with your guest count. So whether you’re planning a backyard ceremony with ten guests or a giant shindig with 300 of your nearest and dearest, you can still find a venue with a clean, stripped-back style.

DECOR

Just a few well-chosen details can bring to life your modern, fresh wedding vision. Clear acrylic chairs and a pared-down display of grasses provides loads of style to this chic minimal setting:

Your tablescape can be a vision of sweet essentials with the barest of pretty necessities embellished with a single strand of greenery and a few candles:

A row of simple arrangements in clear vases conveys a sense of beauty and serenity:

Welcome your guests and set the tone for your event with the perfect modern and minimal welcome signs like the one below, from Etsy:

Or this frosted acrylic + white ink wedding welcome sign:

INVITES

Minted Weddings offers the most elegant minimalist invitations, like these:

RINGS

How about a classic band of rich, lustrous yellow gold for an understated wedding ring? This beauty from Blue Nile, features a surprising profile, with accents of white pave diamonds. Every turn of your hand will shine with a clean, minimal look:

FLORAL

Your floral elements will take center stage so you’ll want yours to be amazing. We love this bride’s choice of simply carrying a few long stem carnations down the aisle.

A bouquet doesn’t have to be huge to have a beautiful impact:

An assortment of greenery and delicate blooms in glass transform this table into a minimal delight:

CAKE

A chic + simple cake tastes just as delicious as a many-tiered one:

This one is adorned with lovely natural elements:

Newly Engaged? Time to Budget for Your Wedding (and Married Life)

Congratulations! You just got engaged to your best friend and now you get to start planning so many fun things like your DREAM wedding. You might be a bride who likes to take a break between the proposal and planning, or you might be super excited and dive in headfirst. Whichever style you are, now is the time to start budgeting for both your big day and your life post-wedding. Read on for some of the expense related decisions you’ll soon be facing, with tips on how to tackle them like a pro.

 

The Dress

You’ve likely been dreaming about your wedding dress since you were a little girl, and now it’s finally time to make that purchase. Scheduling an appointment with a professional bridal stylist can make finding your dream dress even easier. If you and your fiancé will be financially responsible for both your dress and his tux, you’ll want to work both special outfits into your budgeting plan. Luckily, you can find tons of affordable options at The Gilded Gown, and we have a convenient layaway plan as well. 

Tux rentals are a breeze at Regal Tuxedo, where the groom gets his free when his groomsmen get theirs too.

The Venue

Venues often take a big portion of your wedding day budget. To help with costs, you could search for alternative affordable wedding venue options. We love Country Jewell in beautiful Heiskell, TN where you can exchange your vows in the charming wedding chapel, outdoors by the serene waterfall, or in the open-air gazebo.

You can also try booking on off-days, like a Friday or Sunday, which tend to be less expensive than the popular Saturday ceremony. To help you reduce costs further and budget your special day, look for venues that offer catering and linen packages. You can then compare what they offer versus outsourcing and pick the better option for your budget.

The Honeymoon

We recommend going on a honeymoon after your wedding day, and you’ll want the trip to be luxurious and relaxing. The cost will greatly depend on where you choose to go and what you choose to do. For example, an international trip will undoubtedly be more costly than a road trip; however, you can save on the upfront, out-of-pocket cost by sharing your honeymoon fund with your guests on your registry. By doing so, your guests can pitch in and help pay for the one gift you truly desire to start off your marriage the right way!

The House

Deciding where you’re going to live can be an exciting yet stressful conversation for a couple to have. Owning a home is a dream for many, but it’s also expensive. Since it will most likely be the largest purchase you ever make it’s important for you and your partner to understand how much you can afford in a house. From there you can make sure you’re solely looking at the options you can afford. Knowing your price range will keep house hunting stress free and fun.

This one is probably over budget, though!

The Kids

Marriage also brings a need to have a conversation with your partner about what you both want in terms of a future family. You should be on the same page, or at least close to an agreement, about what you see your family looking like as time goes on. It’s a good idea to save money before having kids because the fact is they’re darn expensive. This means sitting down together and coming up with ways you can save and cut costs to have a cushion built when the time comes for your family to expand.

The Emergency Fund

One of the best financial strategies for couples is to establish an emergency fund. As we all know, things come up and emergencies happen out of nowhere. Hello, 2020! A job loss could occur, your house could need a major repair, or even a pandemic could happen. Instead of having to scramble to keep things afloat, building an emergency fund can help you immensely when the unthinkable becomes reality. Remember, this is meant to be used for true emergencies, and even allowing room in your budget for a small monthly contribution could help you when you need it most.

Your engagement is a time to celebrate. It is also a time for planning to begin for both your wedding day and your future together as a couple. Implementing a budget can help make all of your dreams come true, as well as cover you when times get tough.

Celebrating Our Beautiful Brides of 2020

We absolutely love to see photos of our brides on their wedding days. We are always thrilled to see how beautiful and glowy they are in their gorgeous dresses from The Gilded Gown. Especially this YEAR! Thank goodness the best things in life prevailed. Read on to see all the love and happiness our 2020 brides shared with us:

 Abigail

Beautiful Gilded Gown bride Abigail married the love of her life Brennan at First Baptist Church of Benton. Her photographer, Savannah Renfro, captured this sweet pic of the happy couple. Abigail shared her experience, “My shopping experience was amazing. My stylist really knew what she was doing. She made the experience so fun and enjoyable. She kept my party laughing. And she listened to what I wanted and searched for dresses until I found the one.”

Abigail

Breathtaking bride Abigail’s Mom shared her feelings about the day she married Keegan, “I could not express enough, our appreciation for what you did to make my baby girl’s dream come true. The dress brought tears to her Daddy & Keegan’s eyes.”

Alicia

Alicia and William married on July 1, 2020, at Crystal Beach in Destin, Florida. Stunning bride Alicia says, “Our venue was booked through Crystal Beach Weddings. Our photographer was John Starrett. My makeup and hair were by Cedrian with Destin Mobile Makeup Box. Flowers by Destin Floral Designs. Tux was through Regal Tuxedo in Knoxville. My experience at The Gilded Gown was nothing short of amazing. Everyone was eager to help and answer any questions I had. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect place to get my dress from. Thank you all again.”

Allix

Gorgeous Gilded Gown bride Allix had this to say about her special day, “Andrew and I had planned on about 250 friends & family but due to the restrictions, we ended up having about 12. It ended up being the perfect day and our pups even got to be a part of it! We are planning to have a reception still in the fall but we will see! We had a small picnic after. It was the best day.”

Alyssa

The Vansant Church of Christ was the setting for this darling couple’s vows. Alyssa looked radiant as she walked down the aisle with her groom Cole. Alyssa says, “I loved shopping at the gilded gown because it was so easy to see all the selections. Everyone was super nice and made you feel beautiful! My dress was everything I could have dreamed of!”

Amber

Gorgeous Gilded Gown Bride Amber eloped to the Virgin Islands in January 2020. She says, “Joey and I had a small ceremony on Peace Hill on the island of St. John. His sister and one other dear friend were in attendance. After the ceremony, we all hiked down to a secluded beach just in time to catch that gorgeous rainbow.”

Angela

Photographer- Katie Leverenz, @the.unicorn.photographer, captured the romantic wedding of adorable couple Angela and Dennis. They married high atop Huckleberry Knob in the Unicoi Mountains of North Carolina.

Anne

Lovely bride Anne, looking stunning on her wedding day in her dress from The Gilded Gown.

Beth Anne

Beautiful bride Beth Anne McRary exchanged vows with her true love Logan on June 20, 2020, at Lighthouse Knoxville. @Vanrijnphotography was on hand to capture each precious moment.

Caitlin

Cheyenne

Captivating bride Cheyenne and her fiance Lucas struggled with 2020 issues. She explains, “With Covid, we went back and forth for a month before we decided to go ahead with the wedding. We both had waited so long to get married and we were determined to do it on May 16th, with or without the whole guest list. We decided to go on with everything as planned and hoped for the best! We tried to be as safe as possible with guests at the wedding, so we supplied masks for any guest that wanted one, had hand sanitizer everywhere, and instead of the buffet we had planned, our caterer pre-packaged all of the food so it was grab-and-go style. Considering all the obstacles that we had to overcome, we had an amazing wedding day thanks to all of our vendors, family, and guests that came to share our special day.”

Gracie

Gracie was a vision of loveliness on her wedding day.

Hollen

Hope

Jessica

Kassie

Katy

Gorgeous bride Katy married the love of her life, Zach, on April 26, 2020, at the Barn at Faith Farms in Athens, TN. A Thousand Times Photography captured the day beautifully.

Kaycee

Maddie

Adorable bride Maddie and her fiancee Matthew said, “I Do,” on July 12, 2020, at Tellico Village Yacht Club. Photo by @kenzthompsonphoto

Marissa

Enchanting bride Marissa got married at a picturesque farm in Blountville, TN. Her photographer was Desra Ramey.

Megan

Gorgeous bride Megan had an absolutely wedding day with Cody on the beach in Clearwater, FL.

Meghan

The historic Southern Railway Station & The Southern Depot was the venue for beautiful bride Meghan’s April wedding to Travis. She says, “Thank you all very much for making my experience as a bride the most special! I’m so thankful I was a Gilded Gown bride and you better believe anyone I come across engaged or looking for a dress I will send them your way.”

Meghan

Robyn

DIY Your Very Own Cute & Cozy Hot Chocolate Charcuterie Board

When it’s time for the comfiest, coziest wintertime drink why not elevate yours? Take serving hot chocolate to the next level by making the most fun trend of the season: a Hot Chocolate Charcuterie Board! You and your loved ones are guaranteed to enjoy this festive, playful take on a traditional deli board.

Here’s a cup of cocoa
To drink up as you may,
To help you take the chill off
A frosty winter day.
It comes with warmest wishes
For a Christmas filled with cheer,
And memories that sparkle
Throughout the coming year.

Instead of the usual charcuterie offerings like cured meats, cheeses and crackers, picture a board overloaded with delightful sweet things. You can let you imagination run wild as you think of dreamy items to add to your shareable platter, like:

  • Crushed peppermints
  • Pirouettes
  • Gingerbread
  • Hot Fudge Sauce
  • Cinnamon, Vanilla and Maple-Infused Whipped Cream
  • Marshmallows (get an assortments of sizes, shapes and flavors.)
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Sprinkles
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Cinnamon
  • Chocolate Covered Oreos
  • Mini Powdered Donuts
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Pretzel Rods
  • Candies
  • Candy Canes
  • Caramels
  • For the adults: Peppermint Schnapps

You and your guests will enjoy concocting deliciously decadent versions of cocoa. And someone is bound to put so many toppings on theirs it will be totally Pinterest worthy!

One of the best parts of a hot chocolate charcuterie board is how super easy (and fun) it is to construct. Think of how a child’s eyes would light up upon seeing a bounty of treats to sprinkle on their cups of cocoa.

DIY HOT CHOCOLATE CHARCUTERIE

Step One: Start with a board, platter or tray.

Step Two: Lay in the toppings. Be extravagant! The more the merrier.

Step Three: Include cute mugs, spoons and festive napkins.

Step Four: Decorate with cute seasonal decor items like jolly red and white striped straws, flowers, a mini Santa Claus, tiny wrapped gifts, Christmas greenery, twinkle lights and/or candles.

Step Five: Have hot chocolate packets and hot water available. Or better yet, make a huge batch of yummy, high quality hot chocolate in a crockpot.

SUPER EASY CROCKPOT HOT CHOCOLATE:

  • 3 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 14oz cans sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups of milk chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Pour the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and chocolate chips in a 6-7 quart crock pot, stir.
  2. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. Stir with whisk every so often, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted.
  3. Switch the slow cooker to the warm setting. Stir before serving.

Or, you could also serve cute hot chocolate bombs. They are little balls of chocolate. Once you drop one in a mug and pour hot milk over it, the chocolate melts and magically releases the marshmallows and cocoa hiding inside.

However you want to serve up your special treats, we think you’ll have an absolute blast making, serving and enjoying them. We’ve rounded up some of the best hot chocolate charcuterie board photos we found on the internet to inspire you:

Joyful Christmas Wedding Inspiration 2020

The Most Magical Time Of The Year

We love Christmas Weddings! We think it can be the very best time to say “I Do!” First of all, it is the hap-hap-happiest season of all. Also, Christmastime brings out the best in all of us. Everyone is in a festive state of mind, hearts are full, we have a spirit of giving, the twinkle of sparkly lights surrounds us, and a sense of childlike wonder prevails.

Plus, you know it’s a season that celebrates romance. Hello Mistletoe!

The magic of the season might even provide a wintery wonderland as the perfect backdrop, free of charge:

Get married at Christmas and it will feel like the world is celebrating your joy with you!

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy

So if you’ve decided to have your own Christmas nuptials we have compiled some incredible ideas and inspiration for you from dresses to decor and everything in between! Like, have Santa marry you!

And, for the dress, anything goes. For this type of wedding, we believe any style of wedding dress you love will work perfectly. The addition of accessories is all it takes to make you holiday ready. We just adore adding a topper to a bridal look! Throwing on a cozy plaid shawl or a sweet lace overlay to a wedding dress can utterly transform the ensemble:

And carrying a wreath certainly brings the Christmas charm:

A full-length fur-trimmed ivory cape with a hood delivers major snow princess vibes:

Christmas Color Palette

Our favorite color story for Christmas is the traditional red with hints of sage green, burgundy, and caramel:

Deck Those Halls

Seasonal decor such as garlands of pine and holly, red berries, Christmas trees, and tons of twinkling lights set the stage for the most romantic wedding.

Lushly abundant swags of greenery and flowers with loads of candles provides holiday swankiness.

Natural elements such as pine cones and moss add a festive touch, especially paired with some glitzy, icy crystals:

Swags of fragrant, fresh greenery with some gorgeous red roses make for a beautiful decor moment.

Bouquets & Bouts

Bouquets for you and boutonnieres for him are another way to reiterate your holiday theme. How stunning is this gorgeous armload of Christmasy floral elements!?!

This gorgeous profusion of florals reads Christmas with its’ profusion of bright red.

A wintery white bouquet with an armload of greenery and some beautiful natural accents is also amazing, as is the beautiful boho macrame drape:

For him, a Christmas boutonniere with a tartan plaid tie:

Come All Ye Faithful

Call your wedding guests to come celebrate with you at your Christmas wedding with the perfect invites.

A Gift To Bring

Show your loved ones you care with a sweet wedding favor. They are so so easy and affordable during this season. For instance, personalized ornaments are a nice choice:

Hot cocoa bombs would make a warm and comforting gift:

A colorful jar of candy canes makes for a festive favor.

Or consider the gift of mini Christmas trees!

The Sweetest Ending

The sweetest ending to a Christmas wedding (besides the bride and groom’s happy future) is a lovely holiday cake.

Any way you choose to style your Christmas wedding, we feel sure you will be surrounded by love and tidings of joy. And, we’re pretty sure you’ll be singing along merrily whenever this Christmas carol plays:

I don’t want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don’t care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas tree
I just want you for my own
More than you could ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you

Alicia & William’s Gorgeous Crystal Beach Wedding

A Destination Wedding

Gorgeous Gilded Gown bride Alicia married her true love William this summer in an amazing destination wedding ceremony in paradise. This sweet couple said, “I Do,” on July 1, 2020, on the scenic sugar-white sands of Crystal Beach in beautiful Destin, Florida.

A Backdrop of Beauty

The happy couple had the absolute perfect weather for their special day. They made their vows to one another underneath a beachfront arbor and a big blue sky in front of a vast sea-green ocean. And luckily, John Starrett Photo was on hand to capture each breathtaking moment.

The Beautiful Couple

William was dashing in his tux from Regal Tuxedo. And Alicia was stunning in her dress and headpiece from The Gilded Gown. She found an amazing hair and makeup pro to help her look her very best: Cedrian with Destin Mobile Makeup Box.

About The Dress

Alicia let us know about the day she found her elegant dress, “My experience at The Gilded Gown was nothing short of amazing. Everyone was eager to help and answer any questions I had. I couldn’t have picked a more perfect place to get my dress from.”

The charming fit and flare crepe gown Alicia chose was a stunning complement to her beauty. The dress features lovely beaded embroidered appliques on the bodice. The sweet scalloped neckline and delicate cap sleeves are so romantic. We love the flawless allover lace back on her gown, too.

The Perfect Finishing Touch

Alicia chose a soft palette of blush, pink, ivory, and green for the blooms in her romantic bouquet from Destin Floral Designs. The beauty of Alicia’s flowers were the perfect finishing touch for her wedding day look.

The Happiest Future Ever

We wish Alicia and William every happiness in their future together. We know their years ahead will be filled with lasting joy as they embark on this wonderful journey of building their new lives together. We bet there will be lots of beach vacays, too!

VENDORS

DRESS & HEADPIECE | The Gilded Gown

VENUE | Crystal Beach Weddings

PHOTOGRAPHER | John Starrett Photo

HMUA | Cedrian with Destin Mobile Makeup Box

FLORAL | Destin Floral Designs

TUX | Regal Tuxedo

Thanksgiving with The Gilded Gown

We cordially invite you to join us for our dream Thanksgiving meal. Our Gilded Gown team members each shared their fave recipes for this most grateful of holidays.

The Bird is The Word

Our fearless leader Jacqui loves roasted turkey. Every year she cooks up a masterpiece drenched in multiple bastings of butter and fresh chopped herbs from her garden. She infuses her bird with delicate citrus notes.

Herb Citrus Roasted Turkey

  • 14-16 pound turkey thawed
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) softened, divided
  • 1 head garlic sliced in half, plus 2 cloves minced into paste
  • 1 medium onion cut into wedges
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges
  • 1 orange cut into wedges
  • fresh sage
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh thyme
  • fresh parsley
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Remove turkey neck and giblets. Pat turkey dry, inside and out. Season the inside with lots of salt and pepper.  
  2. Place on roasting rack in a large roasting pan. Fill turkey cavity with onions, garlic, lemons, oranges, and 2-3 stems of each herb. 
  3. Combine 4 tablespoons of butter with 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper, 2 cloves of garlic minced into a paste, 1 tablespoon minced sage, 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, 1 teaspoon minced rosemary, and 1 teaspoon of minced thyme leaves. Gently loosen skin from turkey breast and legs and spread garlic herb butter under the skin. 
  4. Tuck wing tips under and tie turkey legs together with twine. Slather remaining butter on outside of turkey and season the heck out of it with salt and pepper.
  5. Roast at 325 for two hours, then increase temp to 425 and roast 30 minutes to one hour depending on size of turkey. Check for doneness at the 2-hour mark. Turkey is done when breast meat registers 165 degrees and thigh meat is 170-175 degrees. Let turkey rest at least 45 minutes before carving. 

Bread, All the Kinds

Our only Vegan, Grace, loves the carb-loaded deliciousness of all the breads of Thanksgiving. Her top picks for the meal are yeast rolls and cornbread dressing.

Yummy Vegan Yeast Rolls

  • 6 tablespoons + 2 tablespoons Earth Balance (divided)
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (one packet) (not instant)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 5-6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2-3 teaspoons canola oil (to grease the pans with)
  1. Add six tablespoons of Earth Balance to a small saucepan. Heat on low until melted. Add the soy milk and water. Heat to 115 degrees. Pour mixture into the bowl of stand mixer.
  2. Add the sugar and mix.
  3. Check the liquid with the thermometer to make sure the temperature has lower to about 100-110 degrees.
  4. Once the liquid is between 100 and 110 degrees, add the yeast and stir. Let mixture sit five minutes until you see bubbles.
  5. Now stir in the salt.
  6. With the dough hook on the mixer set to low speed, add the flour, 1 cup at a time. When the dough clings to the hook and then begins to fall back into the bowl you’ve got the right consistency. It usually takes around 5 1/2 cups of flour.
  7. Increase the speed to medium and knead 4-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. It will be soft and relatively sticky. Turn onto your counter that’s dusted with flour and knead softly.
  8. Divide the dough into 12 pieces, shape into balls, and place in a greased 8-inch round pan.
  9. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
  10. Brush tops with melted vegan butter and bake 18-20 minutes in preheated 375 degree oven.

Vegan Cornbread Stuffing

  • Vegan Cornbread
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  1. Slice the cornbread into 1-2 inch cubes, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake for about 30 minutes in 250 degree oven, so they can dry out and become a bit toasty. Remove from the oven and set aside while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch casserole dish.
  3. Heat the vegan butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and celery for 2-3 minutes, then add in 1/4 cup of the parsley, sage (1/2 tsp), thyme (1/2 tsp), salt (1/2 tsp) and the vegetable broth (2 1/2 cups). Bring to a boil and stir. Once boiling, remove from heat and set aside.
  4. Add the cornbread cubes to the casserole dish, evenly. Pour the broth/vegetable mixture over the cornbread cubes, and stir slightly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until toasted on top. Sprinkle the rest of the parsley on top and serve immediately.

Please Pass Me The Mac N Cheese

TiAndra is happiest when she digs into the most delicious and creamy macaroni and cheese for her Thanksgiving meal.

Mac-n-Cheese

  • 1 lb. dried elbow pasta
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 2 1/2 cups half and half
  • 4 cups grated medium sharp cheddar cheese – divided (measure after grating)
  • 2 cups grated Gruyere cheese – divided (measure after grating)
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and grease a 3 qt baking dish (9×13″).  Set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  When boiling, add dried pasta and cook 1 minute less than the package directs for al dente. Drain and drizzle with a little bit of olive oil to keep from sticking.
  3. While water is coming up to a boil, grate cheeses and toss together to mix.  
  4. Melt butter in a large saucepan over MED heat.  Sprinkle in flour and whisk to combine.  Mixture will look like very wet sand.  Cook for approximately 1 minute, whisking often.  Slowly pour in about 2 cups or so of the milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until smooth.  Slowly pour in the remaining milk/half and half, while whisking constantly, until combined and smooth.
  5. Continue to heat over MED heat, whisking very often, until thickened to a very thick consistency.  It should almost be the consistency of a thin condensed soup.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in spices and 1 1/2 cups of the cheeses, stirring to melt and combine.  Stir in another 1 1/2 cups of cheese, and stir until completely melted and smooth.
  7. In a large mixing bowl, combine drained pasta with cheese sauce, stirring to combine fully.  Pour half of the pasta mixture into the prepared baking dish.  Top with 1 1/2 cups of grated cheeses, then top that with the remaining pasta mixture.
  8. Sprinkle the top with the last 1 1/2 cups of cheese and bake for 15 minutes, until cheesy is bubbly and lightly golden brown.  

Extra Potatoes, Please

Our stylist Erin loves mashed potatoes and gravy the most.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

FOR POTATOES

  • 3 lbs white boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • kosher salt
  • 14 lb unsalted butter
  • 12 – 1 cup half-and-half
  • 12 cup sour cream
  • 12 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

FOR GRAVY

  • 14 lb unsalted butter
  • 112 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 14 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups turkey stock, preferably homemade, heated
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  1. Cook the potatoes in a large pot of boiling salted water for 15 to 20 minutes, until very tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the butter and half-and-half in a small saucepan.
  3. Drain the potatoes.
  4. While still hot, place the potatoes in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
  5. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the hot half-and-half mixture, the sour cream, 2 teaspoons salt, and the pepper.
  6. Mix until the potatoes are mashed but not completely smooth.
  7. Serve hot with gravy on the side.
  8. Make the Gravy:
  9. In a large sauté pan, cook the butter and onions on medium-low heat for 12 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned.
  10. Sprinkle the flour into the pan, whisk, then add the salt and pepper.
  11. Cook for 3 minutes.
  12. Add the hot stock, and cook uncovered for about five minutes, until thickened.
  13. Add the cream, and serve.

Hit The Sauce

Tart and colorful cranberry sauce delights stylist Taylor. The fresher the better.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

  1. Rinse cranberries: Place the cranberries in a colander and rinse them. Pick out and discard any damaged or bruised cranberries.
  2. Boil water with sugar: Put the water and sugar in a medium saucepan on high heat and bring to a boil. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  3. Add cranberries, cook until they burst: Add the cranberries to the pot and return to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until most of the cranberries have burst.
  4. Stir in mix-ins, if using: Once the cranberries have burst you can leave the cranberry sauce as is, or dress it up with other ingredients. We like to mix in a half a cup of chopped pecans a pinch or two of orange zest.
  5. Let cool: Remove the pot from heat. Let cool completely at room temperature, then transfer to a bowl to chill in the refrigerator. Note that the cranberry sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.

The Sweetest of Sides

Elizabeth has to make (and eat!) her famous Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole every year. The pecan topping is what makes it!

Sweet Potato and Pecan Casserole

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Light brown sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla
  • Flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and bake until soft, about 60 – 75 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  3. Peel potatoes (the peel should pull right off) and transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  4. Mash potatoes with a potato masher. Let cool for about 10 minutes.
  5. Add in brown sugar, 1/2 cup melted butter, milk, eggs, vanilla, and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste) and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
  6. Using an electric hand mixer blend mixture to combined well (don’t worry about lumps).
  7. Pour into a greased casserole dish (mine was about 12 by 8-inches) and spread into an even layer. Set aside.
  8. For the topping, in a separate medium mixing bowl using two forks mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans.
  9. Pour butter into mixture and stir until evenly moistened (it will seem dry at first, keep tossing).
  10. Sprinkle mixture evenly over sweet potato mixture in baking dish.
  11. Bake in preheated until heated through, about 40 minutes.

We Always Save Room For Desserts

We see no reason on earth to limit ourselves to just one dessert, especially during the holidays. And no Thanksgiving meal is complete without some of Stylist Diane’s delicious Southern Banana Pudding. And Vicki is kind enough to bake two kinds of scrumptious pie, Pecan, AND Pumpkin! Yes to all these!

Banana Pudding

FOR PUDDING

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 large eggs separated (save the whites for meringue)
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 box vanilla wafers approximately 45 wafers
  • 5-6 bananas
  • 3 egg whites reserved from above
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325º F.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large, heavy saucepan.
  3. Lightly beat egg yolks and combine with milk in a large bowl or measuring cup. Pour the egg and milk mixture into dry ingredients in heavy saucepan. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until ingredients are thickened and smooth. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in vanilla.
  4. To layer your banana pudding, begin by placing vanilla wafers on the bottom of a 2 quart oven-safe glass bowl or baking dish.
  5. Slice bananas and place on top of wafers.
  6. Pour one-third of custard over wafers and bananas.
  7. Repeat layering process two more times until all wafers, bananas, and custard have been used, ending with a final layer of wafers. 

FOR MERINGUE

  1. Whip egg whites with an electric mixer set at high speed.
  2. When egg whites foam, add cream of tartar, and then gradually add sugar one tablespoon at a time.
  3. Continue whipping until sugar is dissolved.
  4. Add vanilla once stiff peaks have formed and whip until well-combined.
  5. Spread meringue over banana pudding, making sure to spread to the edges of the dish.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes until the meringue is lightly browned.

Pumpkin Pie

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 oz) pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix) 
  • 1/4 cups evaporated milk or half and half
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 frozen deep-dish pie crust
  1. Heat oven to 425°F. In a large bowl, mix filling ingredients. Pour into pie crust.
  2. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F; bake 40 to 50 minutes longer or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool 2 hours. Serve or refrigerate until serving time. Store in refrigerator.

Pecan Pie

  • 1/2 cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/2 cup Dark Corn Syrup
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 (9-inch) unbaked OR frozen deep-dish pie crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix Karo® Light Corn Syrup, eggs, sugar, butter and vanilla using a spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in pecans and pour the mixture into pie crust.
  3. Bake on center rack of oven for 60 to 70 minutes. Cool for at least 2 hours on wire rack before serving.

Happy Thanksgiving from our Gilded Gown Family to You and Yours!

The Exceedingly Romantic Downtown Wedding of Meghan and Nate

The Sweetest Love Story

Beautiful Gilded Gown Bride Meghan recently shared the details from her gorgeous wedding with us. First of all, we asked how she and her husband Nate met and fell in love. Meghan explained, “We met for a drink after my boss set us up. We hit it off and got married just one year and nine months later. Nate has two sweet girls…ten-year-old Saylor and seven-year-old Kitelee. (I get to be a bonus mom!) He proposed in the North Carolina mountains on New Year’s Day and the girls were a big part of it. He wanted their approval and they gladly gave it.” Isn’t that the sweetest?

The Most Magical and Perfect Day

Meghan describes her wedding day as the “most magical and perfect day.” We are so thrilled that she shared the details of her flawless wedding.

The Perfect Setting

When the darling couple began planning their wedding they really wanted to find the perfect venue. Both Meghan and Nate knew they wanted somewhere special in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. Well, they succeeded and located an absolutely stunning space. With its urban feel, huge skylights, and exposed brick, The Standard was just the right fit for them.

This beautiful and unique event space in Knoxville was originally built in 1930 and once housed the building’s namesake, the Standard Wilson Glass Company. In 2011, Dewhirst Properties purchased the historic property and began extensive renovations. Today, The Standard features an original wood staircase, copper storefronts, exposed brick walls, arched doorways, and many of the stunning original architectural details—making the space perfect for Meghan and Nate’s sophisticated wedding.

Photographs to Treasure

Another must for the couple was finding a photographer with a sense of joy and the ability to document the day authentically and beautifully. Luckily they found Ashleigh Jameson. She captured all the special moments the couple shared with each other and their loved ones with gorgeous photos they will treasure for a lifetime.

Fabulous Florals

Of course, Meghan wanted some fabulous floral elements at her wedding. Always in Bloom provided the perfect arrangements to compliment the day. Their custom creations included charming bouquets for the beaming bride and lovely bridesmaids.

Love Was All Around

But the most important element of the day was love. And love was evident all around. From the quiet moments between friends to the sweet looks exchanged by the couple. From Nate’s precious daughters to the enchanted guests. Family and friends celebrated alongside the newlyweds.

Finding the Dress

Meghan recalls the day she found her dream dress at The Gilded Gown: “The dress consultant was friendly and helpful at our appointment. I tried on six dresses total, but when I put on the second dress I knew it was the one. It fit me like it was made for me and I felt like a bride. I knew before I walked out to show my family and friends that I would marry my best friend in this dress.”

The Behind The Scenes Team

Beautiful bride Meghan and her bridal party looked their absolute best thanks to the talents of Hair and Makeup Artist Amanda McIntyre. The guys looked sharp with their styles by Erick from Fountaingate Barber Shop

Watch Meghan and Nate’s sweet wedding video by Stephen Hoffmeister here >>> https://vimeo.com/462022380

Wedding Pros

The Dress | The Gilded Gown

Venue | The Standard 

Photographer | Ashleigh Jameson

Videographer | Stephen Hoffmeister 

Flowers | Always in Bloom 

Hair/make up for girls | Amanda McIntyre

Hair for guys | Erick from Fountaingate Barber Shop

Customize Your Wedding Dress with A Beautiful Sash or Belt

Customize Your Wedding Dress with A Beautiful Belt or Sash

Once you’ve found the perfect dress it’s time to personalize it with a beautiful sash or belt. The addition of this one accessory around your waist can completely elevate your wedding day look.

At the Gilded Gown, we have an extensive selection of uniquely lovely bridal belts and sashes. They come in rose gold, gold, silver, and pearl. They are tied with satin ribbons in the prettiest, palest shades of ivory, white, gold, and champagne. From slender and subtle to big and blingy we’ve got the sashes.

As a bonus to our Gilded Gown brides, we offer a discount of fifty percent off all of every single one of our pretty belts and sashes with any wedding dress purchase!

One thing we adore about our waist adorning sashes is that they can totally change the feel of a dress. Take, for example, the dress below. By adding a colorful dried floral belt to this traditional lace dress you can instantly transform it into a carefree boho look.

Whereas, the same dress with a rose gold option has a totally different feel. Here the gown is transformed into a more lavish and glam look just by adding the belt.

Miss Diane, one of our amazing stylists, is here for the sashes. She loves to accessorize all of her brides. And, she is an expert at providing them with the perfect finishing touches. So she’s just the right person to highlight some of our dazzling sash options for you all.

Follow along as she places various options on this little lace gown. The dress transforms from simple, to elegant with a quick change of belts.

A large scale floral element on this one-of-a-kind belt really flatters the waistline.

While a chunky gold belt adds a splash of glitzy style to the gown.

Whereas this smaller gold sash also puts emphasis on the waist, but in a more understated way.

An enchanting organza sash gives a romantic feel to the gown. The center provides a touch of beaded elegance.

And, this bold burgundy belt brings a pop of color and drama to the gown.

Here Diane demonstrates how a thin belt with beading and a pretty flower delivers a softly sweet feel to this dress.

And, here she shows how a lavishly beaded belt adds sophistication and elegance and complements the lace of this wedding dress beautifully.

This wide band of champagne satin embellished with pearls and appliques elevates the gown. (And, judging from her expression, we think this might be one of Miss Diane’s favorite looks so far!)

Inspired by her day of switching out belts and sashes Miss Diane decided to upgrade her outfit. Here she gets playful with another one of our unique sash options. This one is overflowing with florals in creamy ivory.

So come visit us at The Gilded Gown. We love to help you find both your dress and your belt. Miss Diane and all of our stylists will be on hand to help you accessorize your dress with the sash of your dreams.

Get Married In the Buff ;) Wear a Nude Bridal Gown!

Get Married In the Buff 😉

Wear a Nude Bridal Gown!

White dresses are great for a traditional wedding day look, but if you’re tired of the usual, and the ordinary we suggest shaking things up and going in the buff. We aren’t actually suggesting you show up in your birthday suit. (wink, wink) We are however advocating that you consider wearing a beautifully neutral gown. It’s easy to amp up your wedding day look with one of the wonderfully trendy nude wedding dresses available these days.

We love the gowns featuring nude underlays that make floral lace embroidery pop, like the one shown above. Nude wedding dresses are an unconventional option for the bride-to-be looking for something outside the box but still beautiful.

You can go nude in a the barest of ways, too. For example, you can find a gown with a subtle hint of color. Like the dress above which has a nude underlay topped with several layers of ethereal ivory tulle.

Nude gowns are perfect for brides desiring a boho aesthetic. Wild spirits, gypsy souls, and rule-breakers gravitate toward this vibe. Unconventional and artistic, these gowns exemplify the bohemian feel.

Another way to wear nude is to find a dress with sheer illusion panels. The cutouts on the dress (shown above and below) feature nude fabric in the deep v and sides. It literally disappears and makes the lace on the gown almost appear tattooed on.

It’s easy to fall in love with nude gowns featuring allover lace. This one has a jewel neckline, and a scalloped hem.

Nude options come in every style from cutaway skirts to sleek column silhouettes.

Any size bride can find a nude option in her style:

And those pretty details really, really stand out on a nude background.

Let your free-spirited bridal style shine in a nude gown.

We adore a theme. So with that in mind, we’ve sourced other ways for you to go au naturel at your wedding besides just wearing a nude gown. Consider, for example, serving a naked wedding cake like this one:

Set the tone with nude and metallic invites:

Tie on the cutest neutral shoes, like these, just $33 from Lulus:

Carry a relaxed and dreamy boho bouquet down the aisle in the barest shades of white, ivory, and nude:

However you choose to incorporate a little nudeness, your wedding will be dressed in gorgeous neutral style.