Custom Clutches for the Mink Bridal Party

Back in January, I mentioned that I’ve met some interesting people while doing volunteer work. I wrote about meeting Anita Gupta of Maliha Creations, who is baking our wedding cake, while working with the Charlottesville Design House. I made a friend who turned into a vendor while I stumbled upon some volunteer work at a bridal salon last year.

About an hour south of Charlottesville, there is a charity bridal shop that sells samples donated by bridal salons to raise money for several women’s programs. I wandered into the shop a year ago and was stunned by the number of gowns they had from high end designers (we’re talking Carolina Herrera, Rivini, Monique Lhuillier, and more). At the time, they were getting a steady stream of donations from a major bridal salon that is a household name. Though I was only there looking for a hair accessory, I had a blast looking at all the gowns on their racks. I decided that I had to do something to get the word out about the place.

So, I posted about it on the Weddingbee boards and bees from around the world started buying gowns from them. I decided to spend a few days at the shop as a volunteer to help with photographing dresses. Hauling dresses was hard work, but Michelle Duncan, the amazing woman who managed the shop at the time, made the experience so much fun. I didn’t want to stop volunteering and was a little sad when it was time for me to go back to the office.

Michelle eventually left the shop to focus on a small business that had taken a backseat to the mountain of work she was doing for the organization behind the shop. It was a handbag business called e&a handbags that had a small but loyal group of enthusiastic clients. Since she’s also into interior design, Michelle was using some fabrics meant for home in her designs, which I found so appealing. When a dress or veil came into that bridal shop that was too damaged to sell (some salons are really rough on their samples!), she often salvaged the trim and incorporated it into a clutch for a bride.

I decided to give Michelle the fabric I had leftover from my framed table number and escort card board projects to see if she could make some clutches for the Mink ‘maids. I threw in some solid satin to use for lining and some ribbon to use for trim.


Photo by David Duncan Photography / Used with permission

The result: the Claire Clutch! When I went through Michelle’s site and loved the Duncan clutch, which was named after her photographer husband (who took all these pictures for me!), I asked her to shrink the Duncan down a bit and she decided to name the resulting bag after me! Actually, I suggested that she use my middle name since my first name is long and often mangled a bit when people read it.


Photo by David Duncan Photography / Used with permission

I gave Michelle some solid satin to use for liner. I thought it would complement the pattern of the outside perfectly. She also did an amazing job with the blue-green grosgrain I gave her to use as trim.

I also noticed that she made a label that matched my colors for the back.


Photo by David Duncan Photography / Used with permission

I didn’t even think to ask, but she added feet on the bottoms of the bags. Isn’t that neat?


Photo by David Duncan Photography / Used with permission

I can’t wait to see the Mink bridesmaids in their dresses with these bags. They are going to look so awesome!


Photo by David Duncan Photography / Used with permission

Michelle even made a clutch for me. I’m not sure I’ll use it on my wedding day, but I’m so excited that I’ll have a bag made out of my favorite fabric.

While I think all of my vendors are wonderful, I’m so happy to have a few that I consider to be good friends now.

Did any of your vendors become good friends during your planning?


Mrs. Mink

Charlottesville, Virginia
Wedding Date:
June 2012
My Adventures in Pinup Swimwear
Oh My Deer---The Elks Are Married!!


  1. Member
    CurlyRN 355 posts, Helper bee @ 7:12 am

    Ms Mink…I bought my Jim Hjelm from that shop thanks to you and found Michelle to be fantastic. I am sooooo happy you shared this exciting venture for her as I wanted clutches for my girls instead of flowers, something that would be a lasting memory. I will be sure to visit her site today!!

    On a side note, I had the shop send me a handful of their brochures and I placed them around the Twin Cities to get the word out on their mission and to help other brides wishing for that designer gown without the sticker shock.

  2. Member
    alicia1745 1118 posts, Bumble bee @ 9:03 am

    Those are so adorable! I want one for me now!

  3. Member
    FutureMrsKamilDark 303 posts, Helper bee @ 9:08 am

    That was such a fantastic idea, Ms. Mink! They turned out so beautifully.

  4. Member
    eahandbags 10 posts, Newbee @ 12:01 pm

    Jeannine, thanks SO much for this. I LOVE how these turned out and had SOOOO much fun helping you. I also miss my CSB brides like crazy and am happy to help any of them. I also welcome those who are not familiar with me as I love this blog so much for the chances it gives all brides/vendors to access a wealth of networking! Visit and also feel free to email me at or call 434.229.0631. Bravo Weddingbee and CONGRATS “Miss Mink!”

  5. beanstalk Member
    Mrs. Beanstalk 770 posts, Busy bee @ 3:21 pm

    these are so cute!!! your maids are going to love the custom made clutches!!!

  6. turkey Member
    turkey 654 posts, Busy bee @ 8:28 pm

    These are lovely!!

  7. Guest Icon Guest
    steel targets oregon, Guest @ 5:44 am

    Aw, this was an exceptionally nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to
    make a superb article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a
    lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

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