Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trend Alert: Flower Power

Our 2011 collections have been steadily streaming in for about a month now, and one of the trends I'm most excited about is the presence of floral details.  Flowers are everywhere!  You will see them as bold, singular statement pieces on the waistline or neckline of a simple silhouette, to floral fabrics and patterns that cascade through an entire flouncy, romantic style.  For the modern bride look for flowers that are bold and three-dimensional with loads of structure, so they pop off the gown and come to life.  There is no shortage of this look in the 2011 season.  Flowers worn in the hair are more popular than ever.  A single flower to accent a soft chignon, or an updated take on a vintage look with feathers and crystals complimented by a birdcage veil are sure to be the most popular looks.  Let's not forget the bridal party either.  Bridesmaids dresses of all lengths, fabrics, and colors will offer the floral accent.  Flowers are feminine, romantic, soft, and are an expression of love and adoration - perfect for bridal wear!  This season don't hold back...your floral desires will take you far beyond your bouquet!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Bride's Story...In Her Own Words

Bakari and I have known each other since high school but it wasn't until last year that we became a couple. We have been best friends since 9th grade and our parents still live in the same neighborhood! We have a beautiful 11 month old daughter that was one of our flower girls. You may have seen her crawling over the back fitting room floor!

Our experience with Maya Couture was wonderful. I am not the kind of girl that has to try on a million dresses. I did my research online and found a designer that I loved. I went on the Essense of Australia website and found a dress I had to have. It was #D985. I just knew this was the one! I went to the store just to see it in person. When I walked into the store, everyone was super nice and helpful. I was 8 1/2 months pregnant so I didn't want to try it on. One of the young ladies said "oh come on, try it." I did and I LOVED it!! I didn't make a final decision that day but I promised I would be back.

After I had the baby in Dec 2009, I returned in January. I met with a lovely sales rep named Ashley. She was wonderful. She made sure that we were comfortable even with a newborn around. I told her what dress I wanted and she brought it out along with another one by the same designer #D963. Suddenly I found myself in love with two dresses!! I couldn't make a decision but she was patient with me as I tried on both dresses a few times. Even though she had to lace and unlace each one, she never complained. Then I realized I needed to see both dresses on at the same time. She looked confused but I wasn't going to have her put it on…, I had my mother put one on! We both stood in the mirror and the decision was made. D963 won!! While in the store, I found a gray fabric sash that I was allowed to purchase. At the reception, I put the fabric around my waste and put the jeweled band on top of that. It gave the dress a whole different look. I also had the seamstress add a halter strap which was good for a busty woman like myself.

Since the wedding I have started a wedding and event planning business and I will be recommending Maya Couture to all of my brides.

Our Wedding:

We were married at the Historic Chamberlin Hotel in Hampton Virginia on Sept 4, 2010.

We had an evening wedding that started at 7 pm. My dress was a Pearl color and it shimmered as the sun went down behind the gazebo! Our wedding was photographed by Jason Jarvis of Jason Jarvis Photography. He was the best. He stayed from morning until the last person left. And his prices can't be beat!

Well I think that's about everything. Thanks Again the Maya Couture staff for their professionalism and dedication to their brides!! Keep up the good work ladies.


Tamika Rice-Haley

Friday, October 15, 2010

Real Wedding: Ashley and Charlie - September 18th

Our lovely couple Ashley and Charlie kicked off the Fall wedding season with an outdoor wedding on September 18th at Amber Grove in Midlothian, VA. The color contrast of chocolate brown and sunshine yellow complimented the time of year and wedding location perfectly!
Ashley's gown was style #8357 by Davinci Bridal. The soft ivory gown evoked a vintage flair with a lace overlay and beaded embellishments enhanced the romance of this gown. A satin band and handmade flower created a sweet empire accent. For the bridesmaids Ashley chose a short and sassy strapless A-line chocolate brown taffeta dress by Impression Bridal (style 1667). To stay with the chocolate brown color scheme the groom and his party wore the Jean Yves Chocolate Brown Parisian tuxedo by Jim's Formalwear for Maya Couture.
The wedding flowers were by Vogue Flowers in Richmond. Ashley and Charlie's wedding day memories were captured by photographer Terry Payne and Videographer Trevor Hager.
Congratulations Ashley and Charlie! It was a pleasure helping you with your entire wedding party attire!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Alterations 101: Ensure the Perfect Fit

There are two very important aspects to the perfect wedding gown. The first is finding your dream gown. The second is altering the gown to fit you perfectly! Unless you actually had your gown custom-made, then most brides can expect to have a series of alterations done on her gown to achieve the perfect fit.

One of the most important things to understand is that altering a bridal gown or formal dress is an art form, and not all tailors have the expertise to properly adjust these garments. Just because they can hem hundreds of pants, does not qualify them to work on formal wear. It's apples and oranges! You can also expect to pay more for bridal gown and formal wear alterations than on everyday street clothes.

We have two full-time seamstresses who combined have over 45 years experience specializing in wedding gown and formal wear alterations. We will alter gowns that were not purchased at our store as well. So if you're in need of a reputable and talented tailor please contact us (757-461-6004). If you are not local but want to make sure you find a tailor who is qualified we recommend calling your local bridal stores to see if they will do alterations on outside merchandise or call a fabric store or friend who may be able to offer a referral. Your local dry cleaner may also have someone they can recommend. No matter what, do your homework. Make sure the seamstress you meet with has plenty of years altering wedding gowns, and that they work for a reputable company.

Here are some other tips to ensure your alterations process is stress-free and the look and fit you desire is achieved:

1. The standard turn-around time on wedding gown alterations is 6-8 weeks; bridesmaids is about 2 weeks. But this can vary. If you plan on having a bridal portrait prior to your wedding and/or you will be having any custom work done to your gown or your bridal party dresses (ie. changing the neckline or adding sleeves etc.) you may want to give yourself a couple more weeks. You should build this time into when you want to order your gown. Delivery on a wedding gown can run anywhere from 4-8 months. This is why it's so common for a bride to purchase her gown a year or more in advance of her wedding date.

2. When you receive your gown you may make a fitting appointment then or wait until you are ready (if time allows). If your weight does not fluctuate you can schedule your first fitting well in advance of your wedding date. If you are planning to lose a significant amount of weight (over five pounds) or are known to fluctuate in weight, we recommend you not start your fittings until your weight has become more stable. If you have a question about when to start fittings, ask your seamstress what she recommends.

3. I get asked all the time "how much will my alterations cost". We don't have a crystal ball and what you can expect to spend cannot firmly be determined when you buy your gown or bridesmaid dresses. I can tell you alterations are almost always needed unless you are 5'10" tall and have perfect proportions. The work that will need to be done and the fees incurred are based on a woman's proportions along with the style and complexity of the dress, and how well it was made. General rule though is, the more proportionate a woman is the less alterations and fees she will have. A woman who is more disproportionate will most likely need more work and her fees may be higher, but the dress itself is a huge factor as well. We do have an itemized price list readily available so you can get a "ball park figure".

4. Your undergarments and foundations are vital to the perfect fit. Time and time again we have clients in the wrong bra, or no bra at all and that compromises the overall fit. We sell seamless long-line bras, bra cups, and silicone bra cups. Our seamstresses can advise you on the best fit. I also recommend going to a bra fitting salon in your market - especially if you have a full bust-line and/or the back of your gown requires a special undergarment. Locally, we send our clients to the Full Cup. 1860 Laskin Road #121 Virginia Beach, VA (757)226-9441. If you are wearing a ball gown you may need an additional petticoat. Ask your seamstress her advice on additional petticoats, spanx, or other body shapers. If you do wear these, then you need to make sure you have them at every fitting. Bring your shoes to all fittings as well.

5. Make and appointment. Know when the alterations hours are and make time to build your alterations appointments into your "time-off-requests" at your job. Your alterations appointments are just as important as the appointments you would make to go to the Doctor or the Dentist. Most bridal gown fittings are made by appointment so the seamstress may give you her full attention at each fitting. It is important to arrive on time for your appointment so that the seamstress has enough time to service you properly. It’s courteous to provide 24 hours notice if you wish to cancel or reschedule a fitting.

6. Alterations are a process that takes place over several visits - on average three. The first fitting is very important, as this is when the fit of the dress is first customized to you. During the subsequent fittings the fit and accessories are fine-tuned. Fittings are a subjective process. Do not hesitate to tell the people assisting you in your fittings if you are unsure or unhappy about something. They are there to help you. Try to relax and enjoy the process!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Rachel & Bryan - Botanical Gardens

I have to give Rachel and Bryan so much credit (besides what a beautiful couple they are!). This lovely couple got married on one of the hottest summer days we had all year - outside - at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. But the heat couldn't compare to how "hot" they looked! Rachel's wedding gown was "Arden" by Maggie Sottero. This lightweight sumptuous silk gown was romantic with a soft sweetheart neckline, A-line silhouette, and embellished with lace and a scalloped lace hem. It was timeless and breathtaking!
For her bridesmaids Rachel chose style #8001 by designer D'Zage. The full length dresses were in a rich scarlet color. A style for almost any body shape, the satin strapless dress with an empire waist and asymmetrical pleats throughout the bodice, also had a slight back train, adding flair and formality.

The groom and his groomsmen wore crisp white, classic cut 2-button tuxedos to compliment Rachel's classic white wedding gown. Picture perfect! To see these tuxedos or other options for your bridal party visit our store or go to our suppliers website - Jim's formalwear.
Rachel and Bryan's wedding memories were photographed by Keith Cephus Photography.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fit for the Wedding...Fit for Life!

OK, as a woman I can say this. We are just too hard on ourselves; particularly when it comes to our body image and weight. These issues we grapple with are amplified and even more scrutinized when the ring is slipped on the finger and the wedding planning kicks-off. I witness women on a daily basis picking themselves apart behind the dressing room curtain, and inevitably almost every bride I've ever worked with pronounces the statement "I PLAN ON LOSING 15 POUNDS BEFORE THE WEDDING". It doesn't matter age, height, weight, shape, hair color, skin color - that one sentence reverberates off our dressing room walls into thin air all day long.
The challenge is most of us don't know how to get in the best shape for the big day in a manner that is healthy, realistic, and sustainable after the last wedding dance. In addition, the stress of planning a wedding can throw a curve ball into your regimen and how your body responds to stress. If you are bride whose experiencing this right now, we have the solution!
WeddingFit - Presented by Lacey Lee Fitness
Sunday, August 22nd, 4-5pm @ Maya Couture
$15 per person (cash or check only)
Come learn how YOU can look your best for your big day. Planning a wedding is stressful enough so let Lacey educate and show you how to implement realistic, long term lifestyle changes. She will tell you the truth, dispel myths, and provide you with the essential tools you will need to not only look your best for your wedding day but for a lifetime.

Bring you fiance, wedding party and/or friends. More the merrier!! Receive 1FREE personal training session with Lacey. Value $50.00!

Questions or to register email Lacey at Lacey is a certified personal trainer and nutritional consultant. She has over 10 years experience, with a focus on bootcamp style fitness classes and a training approach that is a fusion of cardiovascular and strength training exercises. No two workouts will ever be the same, with maximum results. Lacey Lee Fitness offers: at-home personal training, group training and nutritional counseling. All services are 100% customized to YOU, your current fitness levels and your personal fitness goals.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Three Maya Couture Brides - One Talented Photographer

When brides ask my opinion on what wedding details are the most important, a great photographer is always at the top of my list. Just think, you spend an average of 16 months planning the biggest day of your life. Don't you want all the fruits of your labor, and the day you've dreamed of all your life, captured in the best, most personal and creative way possible? Don't you want a photographer who can bring to life the emotion of the moment, and with their keen eye use lighting and personal aesthetic to present a finished product that's a reflection of your taste and transports you back into that moment? Many of our brides have found just that in photographer Justin Hankins.
I had the pleasure to peruse many of Justin's wedding photos and found that we shared lots of brides. So I asked him, "What draws so many brides to Justin Hankins Photography?" His response was truly original and reflects the passion he has for what he does and for the couples he works with:
“I shoot a hybrid style of fashion and photojournalism, which translates into beautiful, magazine-quality images that look natural and unrehearsed. After all, a couple's wedding day is perfect already, and documenting these authentic moments is absolutely critical to me. In order to create such timeless memories, I've built my business around providing each couple with the best customer experience they've ever received. The relationships I grow through my sensitivity to each couple's needs plays a vital role in helping me create photographs that honor the significance of their special day. It's a distinct privilege to be part of such an important moment in the history of a family, and I want each couple to walk away knowing their wedding meant the world to me.”
Thank you Justin for translating the true beauty of our brides in your photographs! I look forward to many more Maya Couture/Justin Hankins brides! Visit to see more amazing wedding photos.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Pampered Bride!

Why wait until the honeymoon to indulge yourself! As I’ve written over and over again, planning a wedding can be stressful! Every bride should take a pause from planning and rejuvenate her spirit, her senses and overall beauty.

One of the perfect ways of doing this is a day at the spa. Whether you want a peaceful day alone or a sensual experience with your significant other or a way of saying “thank you” to your bridesmaids, the day spa experience is a fun and special occasion to incorporate into the wedding details.

As someone who is in the throws of all the stress with you, I too find time to indulge, so I can be the best service provider to you! I’ve spent my fair share at spas over the years and have mingled with the professionals running some of our most successful spas - dedicated to pampering the bride, groom and all their attendants. Below are some of my favorite – who have the capacity and “private functionality” to accommodate an entire party. Additionally, these spas offer incredible packages and services that cater to the bride and her attendants. The ambiance, d├ęcor, and flow each offer are unique and an integral aspect of the relaxation and rejuvenation that will fill your spirit during your treatments. So I say, go pamper yourself…

Natural Elements Spa & Salon *(Interior Photos are the inside of Natural Elements)
717 Eden Way North Suite 612, Chesapeake
From Natural Elements – “Unmatched in Quality Service, Beautiful Ambiance and Voted “Best of Chesapeake” for 6 years! With a talented and professional staff offering exceptional beauty and relaxation services, providing hair, makeup, nails, skin and massage services for bridal and bachelorette parties. Wedding Day Services both in-spa and on site are available.”
Changes City Spa
222 West 21st St., Norfolk
From Changes – “There are SO MANY details to take care of – flowers, dress, church, invitations, music, sign-in book, matching shoes... All those things are important, but the bottom line is this: On your big day, there is one thing that will get the most attention –YOU! Don’t take any chances – let our professionals take care of your total look. Call our wedding consultant for an appointment to find out more details on what we have to offer. Special packages are available for our brides and bridal parties, based on the services you choose.”
Metamorphosis Salon & Day Spa
624 Independence Blvd., Virginia Beach
From Metamorphosis - Owners Beth Volz and Molly Zemke have known each other for many years. They met each other while working together, Beth as a stylist and Molly as an aesthetician. They shared a common vision of what would make a beautiful, well run, efficient and friendly salon and spa. After four years of working together, they broke out on their own with the goals of giving Virginia Beach and surrounding areas the quality service that they have been waiting for. Beth and Molly strive for a family feel to their salon and spa and welcome you to a calming and revitalizing experience.
Aqua Essence Day Spa
1174 Duck Rd., Duck, NC
From Aqua Essence – “Our mission at Aqua Essence Day Spa is to make you feel the best you ever have. We offer a wide variety of services with the hopes that you will have the ultimate spa experience. The love for our work is evident in our effort to provide the quintessential spa experience for each and every client.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

5 Tips for Stress Free Shopping to find the Perfect Gown!!

The path to finding your dream wedding gown is so exciting! However, this very important purchase can be a bit daunting. Since we were young girls the dreams of gown shopping, standing on the pedestal and twirling in a wedding gown began, and lasts until that real experience presents itself. So the anticipation and "hype" of this moment is bigger than most can imagine. To ensure that it's all you've dreamed of I have 5 tips sure to help any bride about to embark on this milestone!

1. It's something you've dreamed for a lifetime, so begin shopping early. It generally takes 6-8 months for a designer bridal gown to deliver once it's been purchased, and then you can expect 2+ alteration appointments spanning 6-8 weeks. If time is not on your side we can certainly accommodate you with our endless stock piece options or by ordering your gown on a rush. However, you can never buy your gown too early. Doing so will serve you well, save you money and minimize your stress!! So many of the other decisions you make with regards to your wedding will depend on the gown you choose. So once you can make this decision, the rest of the pieces will fall into place!

2. Keep an open mind! Most of our brides end up purchasing a gown they would have never picked for themselves (this is what makes our assistance so worth it!). The mystique of the wedding gown is that it's like no other garment you will ever wear again! Finding "the one" evokes a feeling and emotion you will never get from a pair of jeans! And, don't dismiss the veil! The impact this sheer, feminine, and sacred "ritual accessory" offers, is what makes a bride, A BRIDE! So many of our brides will adorn a cathedral length veil, when their first intention was not to wear one at all! You will pleasantly surprise yourself if you keep your options open!

3. Make an appointment. To ensure you have the expertise and guidance of one of our highly knowledgeable consultants then you should make an appointment. I think many brides are surprised at how overwhelmed they feel when they start perusing the racks with hundreds of gowns calling to them. Having a consultant to help you weed through the options, dress and accessorize you, and answer all your questions makes the process that much more fun for you! Your consultant should be your expert, confidant and touchstone throughout your planning process.

4. Be very selective choosing your "entourage". Only bring the person or few persons that have your best interest at heart and can provide you sound advice and feedback based on YOUR taste, style, and budget. You need to be surrounded by those people whose opinions you value most and who will help you make the best decision for YOU! Too many conflicting opinions will only confuse and discourage you - and it makes our job, and the relationship we want to start with you that much harder.

5. Embrace value over price, and understand the difference. A few dollars savings may not be worth it - and most times it's not. In bridal you truly get what you pay for. I can't tell you how many horror stories I've heard, and how many times we've come to the rescue of brides who have "cut corners" just to save a few pennies! Our philosophy is the real service begins after you've purchased the gown. We are committed to our brides from the moment they walk into our store until the moment they walk down the aisle. Understand that planning is a process and hiccups arrive, sometimes on our end, sometimes by a member of the bridal party, sometimes by the designer, but we do whatever we have to do to make sure our brides and grooms and their attendants are happy and well taken care of, and that they do get the wedding they've always dreamed of!! Therein lies the value!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer Love: Debbie & Evan June 19th

One of the many joys of working with brides is the special friendship that's established between the bride, her family and the staff at our salon. But it's even a bit sweeter when we have the opportunity to help a family who are already so special to us! This was the case with Debbie and Evan. Debbie's mother Cora was the seamstress for Tiffany's Bridal for about 20 years, and then I had the good fortune of "inheriting" her for another 4 years before she retired a couple of years ago. So needless to say we had so much fun helping Debbie and Evan coordinate the elements of their special day.

Debbie picked one of my favorite gowns as her wedding gown. "Lasarte" by La Sposa is a fit and flare silhouette with a fully ruched bodice. The soft sweetheart neckline presents delicate swarovski beading and three-dimensional baby rosettes. This detail is emulated in soft patterns throughout the cascading sash on the left hand side of the skirt and the train. This gown is romantic with loads of texture and crisp details that don't overpower the silhouette or the bride. It's a stunner!

To compliment her look Debbie chose a ruched v-neck chiffon slim A-line dress in scarlet for her bridesmaids. This neckline is appealing on all women and the dress as a whole works on any shape from size 0-30! The style (8965) was created by Me Too Bridesmaids for Moonlight Bridal.

The groom and his party selected a classic yet sleek rental by Calvin Klein for Jim's formalwear.

The wedding flowers were designed by Char's Floral Designs.

Debbie and Evan's wedding memories were captured by Keith Cephus Photography

Both Char and Keith's businesses are located inside Maya Couture. To learn more about our one-stop-shopping services visit our Facebook Page One Stop Wedding Shop

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pamela Cruz: Casual Elegance

I had the pleasure of helping our beautiful bride Pamela Cruz select her perfect wedding gown. Her choice, style 6074 by Impression Bridal was the perfect design to compliment her petite frame and her desire to wear a classic yet simple silhouette. The v-neckline adds length to her stature and is visually slimming. The gown has timeless details with an all-over Alencon Lace overlay, duchess ribbon in ice blue under the empire waist, and button details along the zipper, and a scalloped hemline. This slim A-line with its' soft details was perfect for Pamela's garden wedding at the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. Pamela's wedding memories were captured by Keith Cephus Photography.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

One Great Bride, Two Amazing Bridal Gowns!

We recently had the pleasure of working with a bride whose vision allowed us to expand our creativity and provide products and services that extend beyond the typical "cookie-cutter" realm that most bridal salons provide. When Natalie Driver came to us she had a clear vision of the look and feel she wanted to exude on her wedding day. Natalie had the great fortune to indulge in one of today's hottest trends of wearing two wedding gowns; a more formal one for the ceremony and a casually elegant one for her reception.
The formal gown she found among our stock of designer bridal gowns. Her pick was a fitted corset style gown by Maggie Sottero . The silk taffeta gown presented a fully ruched and fitted bodice and torso with a slim A-line skirt and cascading ruffle. The scoop strapless neckline was embellished with beautiful crystal and lace accents, and was repeated on the hip for a more pronounced look.
For her reception gown she enlisted us to create a custom bridal gown. Her inspiration was a red carpet gown worn by Kate Hudson during awards season. Eliminating the jewels that adorned Kate's dress we created a bias cut matte Jersey gown that wowed with a plunging backless feature and asymmetrical details. The gown was the epitome of minimal, modern elegance! We also had the pleasure of designing and making Natalie's Mother's dress! Natalie describes her experience as "truly a blessing" and that she was 2,000% happy with Maya Couture!
Her wedding captured modern sophistication, and was emphasized by her bridal party gowns. For her bridesmaids Natalie chose a long flowing chiffon gown in bold black that adorned a trend-setting floral one-shoulder accent by designer Bari Jay .
Natalie it was such a pleasure working with you and your family and friends. We wish you all the best in the future, and don't be a stranger!
Natalie's wedding day memories were captured by Keith Cephus Photography

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Weddings are beautiful and momentous. Gowns are breathtaking. The energy and emotion that goes into planning one of life's biggest affairs is infectious! Every wedding is different with so many unique and personal touches. The level of attention we give and pressure those of us who gleefully choose to be in the wedding industry feel, eclipse's all of these things. This is a career in which to be successful you need to be 100% selfless and 110% passionate about each and every client! The reward is knowing you've had a hand in making dreams come true. This is what sustains us!

We are so focused on our clients and their needs we often go unrecognized (and that's OK, because this is our job). But while we toil away it is nice to be reminded and recognized for the hard work we do, the businesses we manage and grow, and for the unparalleled services and products we offer. This has been a year of recognition for Maya Couture. We are 5 years young and have steadily grown each year. We've done this by committing ourselves to our clients through their entire planning process, by making sound business decisions, and by offering a convenient, exceptional, and inviting place of business that is not like any other bridal retailer in the market. These awards confirm that we are moving in the right direction and it's just the beginning of more exciting things to come for you, our clients and friends of Maya Couture! We thank you for all of your support!