Miss Mink Goes to Charleston (And Comes Home with a Dress!)

A few weeks after I won the Upon a Star contest, I was scheduled to fly down to Charleston to get my Jorge Manuel wedding gown at the beautiful Maddison Row bridal salon. I took the day before off from work and went to tour the DC Design House, since I was flying out of one of the DC airports. I didn’t realize there would be a wedding connection to doing that, but it turned out that Filene’s Running of the Brides was happening nearby! I saw family trying to take a picture across from the store and noticed the girl in the middle had a garment bag in her arms. I offered to take a picture of the entire group and congratulated them on finding a dress. They were ecstatic and said they drove for hours to get there. I thought it was an interesting precursor to what happened the next day when I went to Charleston…


Image from Maddison Row’s website / Photo by Juliet Elizabeth Photography

A car met me at the Charleston airport and whisked me to the Maddison Row bridal salon. Lindsey Nowak of the Maddison Row, Wedding Row blogger and Smitten Magazine editor Della MacNicholas, and photographer Paige Winn were waiting for me when I arrived (late due to a flight delay). After some yummy treats and some of the best mimosas I’ve had in a while, we got down to business: trying on the dress.


That display case is original to the store! / Photo by Paige Winn

For weeks, I’d been staring at the dress on a teeny, tiny mannequin and was afraid it wouldn’t fit me. The dress was actually clamped in the back for pictures and there was no reason to worry. What a relief!


Photo by Paige Winn

Lindsey told me that no one had been allowed to try on the dress. Some brides had asked, since it was on display for the duration of the contest, but they made sure I was the first person to ever wear it.

The intricate floral embellishments were what attracted me to the dress in the first place. I have never seen a wedding gown with this sort of detail work. The swirls on rest of the dress are not part of the fabric. All of them are strips of taffeta that have been sewn in circles onto the dress. Can you imagine how much work that was?


Stunt double ring! Mine was getting sized. / Photo by Paige Winn

The top of the dress is clamped, but the skirt looks much more full since there is so much extra material. I actually wondered if it was a ball gown as I was spinning around in it for Paige’s photos. It’s a true a-line, though. It just needed some fabric removed from it to fit me!


This felt like a very surreal moment. / Photo by Paige Winn

The entire afternoon was pretty surreal. In a way, this was the ideal way to end my wedding gown shopping. I had so much fun visiting wedding salons to try on dresses that I probably would have had a very hard time picking a dress. If you remember, I had six favorite dresses from just three shopping excursions. Style wise, they were all over the map.


Me with Lindsey, the one of the Maddison Row managers / Photo by Paige Winn

Along with the dress, Jorge made a beautiful veil that has the most unique details at the edge. There’s an Irish lace mantilla in my family that was offered to me, but I am leaning towards wearing the veil that was meant to be with my dress.


Photo by Paige Winn


Photos by Paige Winn

Jorge even called while we were there so we could chat a little bit. Needless to say, I think he’s one of the nicest people on the planet. He told me that he enjoyed the contest so much that he’s going to make a tradition out of it, so there should be another Upon a Star winner next spring!

I could have stayed at the salon all day because it was such a beautiful space (Lindsey’s mimosas might have had something to do with it). Alas, the car showed up and I was sent to the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms for the night with all sorts of treats, including all the leftover food from Caviar and Bananas (isn’t that a great name for a gourmet shop?) and cupcakes from Sugar Bakery.


I devoured that Charleston Weddings magazine that night. / Photo by Paige Winn


I devoured those cupcakes, too! / Photo by Paige Winn

Pretty amazing, isn’t it? What do you think of the dress?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
Rehearsing on the Strip
Flying Like an Eagle...Straight into the Hive!

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  1. thimble Member
    thimble 857 posts, Busy bee @ 11:13 am

    oh my GAAHd it’s perfect for you :) Congrats again for winning your wedding dress. So so so gorgeous!

  2. eagle Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:15 am

    Love your dress Miss Mink! And the veil is amazing too – i think it compliments the dress so well.

    And how lucky are you!? Winning a dress and all!

  3. Member
    knvprincess143 1036 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:17 am

    Sounds like an amazing time and the dress is absolutely stunning!!! What an awesome story, you lucky girl :)

  4. hawk Member
    hawk 1117 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:17 am

    Pretty amazing is right! What a great and special experience! I adore you dress. It is breath-taking. And the matching veil is so perfect.

  5. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:19 am

    @Mrs. Thimble: Thank you so much! Sharing these pictures had gotten me so excited about the trip all over again!

  6. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:21 am

    @Miss Eagle: I love the veil! I’m sad to put the family mantilla aside, but I think it makes more sense to wear the one Jorge made.

    @knvprincess143: Thanks! Having those photos taken was so surreal!

    @Miss Hawk: Aw, thanks, Miss Hawk!

  7. Member
    malmal 162 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:21 am

    you look beautiful!

  8. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:23 am

    @malmal: and I didn’t even intend on that! I had never been to Charleston, but I think you are very lucky with all the fantastic wedding vendors, blogs, and publications you have down there!

  9. gazelle Member
    gazelle 1019 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:24 am

    What an absolutely gorgeous dress! You look stunning! The detail on it is so amazing. Nice win!!!

  10. Member
    All In 1550 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:25 am

    Wow, it’s beautiful!

  11. frenchbulldog Member
    frenchbulldog 1088 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:28 am

    You and that dress are absolutely stunning!

  12. eagle Member
    eagle 1552 posts, Bumble bee @ 11:29 am

    @Miss Mink: Maybe you could wear the mantilla (is it shorter?) for the reception?

    I want a cathedral length veil for the ceremony but a shorter one for the reception.

  13. warbler Member
    warbler 249 posts, Helper bee @ 11:32 am

    I’m not a fan of floral designs, but that dress made me stop in my tracks! It is so gorgeous!

    And omg the veil. It really sets everything off. Please, oh please wear it!

  14. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:33 am

    @Ms. Gazelle: I liked almost every wedding dress I saw in my search, but the detail on this one won me over. :)

    @All In: Thanks!

    @Mrs. French Bulldog: You are too kind! I’m a little old and I was a little worried about sharing the pictures of myself.

    @Miss Eagle: I’m probably going to leave the veil off completely for the reception. :)

  15. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 11:35 am

    @Miss Eagle: The mantilla is the same length! I forgot to add that.

    @Miss Warbler: I think I have to now!

  16. Member
    beignet 160 posts, Blushing bee @ 11:42 am

    the dress is unbelievable- you look amazing! you lucky duck!

  17. earrings Member
    earrings 2611 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:56 am

    Wow! You are so lucky! That dress is gorgeous and the veil just blows me away.

  18. Member
    Coffee cup 2319 posts, Buzzing bee @ 12:02 pm

    I love that dress! Congratulations.

  19. Member
    Cole B 1367 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:07 pm

    I love your dress but that veil is the most beautiful wedding accessory I’ve ever seen in my life. I can’t get over the edge!

  20. Member
    MrsKeAloha 1044 posts, Bumble bee @ 12:09 pm

    Wow, wow, wow. You are absolutely beautiful in it.

  21. mspony Member
    mspony 9265 posts, Buzzing Beekeeper @ 12:36 pm

    Your dress is absolutely stunning! And the veil is perfect! This seriously sounds like a dream…

  22. Member
    kayakgirl73 2593 posts, Sugar bee @ 12:53 pm

    Wow that dress looks like it was designed for you.

  23. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:17 pm

    Thank you all so much! I feel so lucky!

  24. trailmix Member
    trailmix 6663 posts, Bee Keeper @ 1:24 pm

    Woooooow, the dress (and you in it) is spectacular!

  25. Member
    totheislnds 7804 posts, Bumble Beekeeper @ 1:31 pm

    wow mink! you look beautiful! that dress is stunning and the veil is to die for! Charleston is such a beautiful city and Wild Dunes is a treat in itself. I was there a few weekends ago with my husband and my parents.

  26. honey Member
    honey 1684 posts, Bumble bee @ 1:45 pm

    Holy moly, what an amazing experience…and your dress is AMAZING!! You are one lucky bride :)

  27. Member
    futureMFG 283 posts, Helper bee @ 1:51 pm

    Oh my god, I love that dress! I thought it was going to be the purple dress that was shown in the picture from your last post, and was kinda worried. But this is beautiful!!!

  28. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 1:56 pm

    @totheislnds: They put me in a “villa” on the 18th hole, over looking the ocean. I was so bummed that I was alone. I was also bummed that there is almost no AT&T service that far out on the island!

    I’d love to go back…and maybe spend some time in town! I didn’t get to see any of it!

    @Miss Honey: Aw, thanks, Honey!

    @futureMFG: Hee hee! That would have been pretty interesting!

  29. dalmatian Member
    dalmatian 592 posts, Busy bee @ 2:24 pm

    This is freakin’ AMAZING! Your dress is stunning, and oh my goodness that veil – so unique and beautiful!

  30. ticket Member
    ticket 501 posts, Busy bee @ 2:37 pm

    That is amazing. Your dress looks incredible on you, can’t wait to see if fitted. Coolest wedding dress story ever.

  31. moonbeam Member
    moonbeam 1711 posts, Bumble bee @ 3:59 pm


  32. snowcone Member
    snowcone 1141 posts, Bumble bee @ 5:05 pm


  33. porcupine Member
    porcupine 633 posts, Busy bee @ 5:18 pm

    Oh my god, that dress was MADE for you. It’s really so original. You look gorg.

  34. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:26 pm

    @Mrs. Snow Cone: I just saw that you mentioned the lack of service from AT&T in one of your honeymoon recaps! You must have been in the same part of the island as me! I had service in the parking lot, but not in my villa.

    In a way, that’s a blessing…but not if you’re all alone!!!

  35. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 5:41 pm

    As others have said – STUNNING! Love the detail and classic silhouette. You are going to look gorgeous in June. Mr. Mink doesn’t know what’s coming… :)

  36. Member
    TinyTina 3312 posts, Sugar bee @ 5:43 pm

    What a gorgeous dress… And an amazing experience!

  37. Member
    CurlyRN 355 posts, Helper bee @ 5:53 pm

    Jaw on floor…how perfect, and what a great story to share with everyone.

  38. Member
    jpalm13 2964 posts, Sugar bee @ 11:14 am

    Amazing dress!!

  39. Member
    bookworm88 3316 posts, Sugar bee @ 9:22 pm

    Yayy!! This is one of my favorite dresses ever! So excited to see it when you wear it for your wedding day!

  40. painauchocolat Member
    painauchocolat 2298 posts, Buzzing bee @ 2:58 pm

    Love your dress so much!! And what an awesome veil! With the beautiful details and appliques, your gown looks like something I might have selected. Love me some texture!

  41. Member
    Future Army Wife 2213 posts, Buzzing bee @ 5:12 pm

    You look stunning. And that trip sounds like so much fun!

  42. Member
    kikigurl 172 posts, Blushing bee @ 12:14 pm

    It’s gorgeous on you! Don’t you just love Charleston! After reading your post I couldn’t help but smile. My wedding is this coming March at the Wild Dunes Resort you stayed at, and Sugar Bakery is where my cupcakes for my wedding will be from! :)

  43. Member
    van870210 18 posts, Newbee @ 6:39 pm

    Nice dress, I like it.

  44. misssparkler Member
    misssparkler 488 posts, Helper bee @ 6:38 pm

    Ok, I’m WAY late to the game on this one… but WOW! How lucky are you??? That dress is drop dead gorgeous!!! Ahhh!

  45. mink Member
    mink 2178 posts, Buzzing bee @ 7:28 pm

    Thank you so much!

  46. Member
    peachplum09 732 posts, Busy bee @ 5:31 pm

    What a fabulous story and happy ending :) Congrats!

  47. Guest Icon Guest
    Candy, Guest @ 6:53 pm

    Wow!!! What an amazing experience!! I have chills! I absolutely LOVE the dress! It really looks like it was made for you. And its so great that you didn’t settle for a different dress. That dress has the whimsical details you were looking for. I bet you looked amazing on your wedding day.. just read the blog saying it will be your last post. So you must be married now!! I hope your wedding day was amazing! Hope you post pics of the wedding too! Especially in that dress. Great story, thanks for sharing!!

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