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Planning an At Home Wedding?

16+ Tips from One Happy Mother of the Bride Plus a List of Her Local Faves

 

With nests for the most part empty, our lives are transitioning from the bittersweet graduation season to the phase of life known as wedding season, when our own and our posse’s children and members of their posses start getting hitched. While Bridezillas provide the most colorful tales, here at The Gracious Posse we love a beautiful wedding story sans the angst and tears. How delighted we are that one of our own has offered to share how she pulled off an at-home wedding and lived to tell the tale with a smile on her face.

Martha’s Vineyard flower bucket indicates entrance to home wedding © The Gracious Posse

We previously featured aKs’s colorful and comfortable home filled with family and needlepoint momentos in Reflecting Motherly Love: A Tale of Two Christmas Trees. The mother of three girls, aKs had over a year to plan the early May wedding of her oldest. With common sense and aplomb, she embraced the challenge and created an event filled with meaning and love. Here aKs offers her encouragement to others considering a similar approach with these tips she learned along the way.

1. Embrace the Digital Age

a. Record-Keeping

While aKs likes the old-fashioned notebook for keeping everything at her fingertips, the 29-year-old bride, accustomed to operating in the digital age, preferred a collaborative cloud approach. They compromised by keeping the guest list and gift list on Google Docs, and mom, acting as the wedding planner for most all of the details except the food, printed copies of all of the contracts for her physical notebook that rarely left her side. Additionally the bride managed all of the wedding communications with the bridal party (presumably by group text).

aKs wedding notebook © The Gracious Posse

b. Social Media

You can’t host a wedding these days without a hashtag. It’s usually a play on the bride and/or groom’s names. Embrace the convenience and spread the word. Once the wedding is over, open Instagram, search the hashtag and relive the wedding through candid photos taken by all the smart-phone-wielding guests.

runuculus budvase at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

2. Choose Your Battles

Even though the party is at your house, chances are, in this Pinterest world and after attending a few weddings, your bride will have pretty strong ideas of the look she wants. In aKs’s case, she expected that her colorful home

aKs iconic pink door © The Gracious Posse (apparent from the moment you walk through this pink door)

would set the tone for the wedding, but the bride insisted on neutrals. The bride also had no interest in a wedding cake. aKs realized that she wasn’t going to win these battles but did insist on having the photographer provide a wedding album, an expense most brides are happy to forego (see 1b above). In the end, aKs embraced most of her daughter’s choices and was pleasantly surprised how well they worked.

3. Focus on Your Outdoor Spaces ASAP

aKs front yard © The Gracious Possebefore front yard

ceremony seating area © The Gracious Posseset for the ceremony

aKs had a lovely yard to start but used the year+ of planning to get it in tip-top shape with Plant by Design’s help. As a result despite a week of rain prior to the wedding day, the yard held up great. There were only a very few muddy spots on which, in hindsight, aKs would have laid some straw.

aKs backyard © The Gracious Possebefore backyard

tent for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Possetented for the reception

Don’t forget to keep your neighbors in the loop, too. aKs lives on a narrow street with a cul-de-sac, where everyone knows each other. Neighbors made space for necessary vehicles, and aKs arranged for bus transportation for most of the guests.

lush garden spots © The Gracious Posseflowering front bed

Most localities will require parking permits if you want to provide valet parking and restrict parking, so plan accordingly. The Golden Rule applies: be good to your neighbors, and they will be good to you.

lush garden spot © The Gracious Posseflowering side yard

4. Plant the Bourbon Bottle

If you want to insure that it doesn’t rain on the wedding, aKs swears by this old wives tale. Plant a bottle of bourbon on the site where the ceremony will take place exactly one month before the wedding is to take place at the same time that it is schedule to begin.

ceremonial floral arch © The Gracious Posse

Despite the dreary weather forecast the entire week of the wedding, aKs remained confident and, behold, the skies cleared two hours before the bride walked down the aisle and just in time to capture these pictures.

aKs front yard set for ceremony © The Gracious Posse

Bourbon played another role in the Derby Day wedding. The guests sipped on bourbon-based mint juleps as they gathered around a flat screen tv that made its way outside before dinner was served to watch the Run for the Roses. What a great icebreaker for all of the guests – especially the one who won $100!

5. Set a Budget Early On and Stick With It

Wedding costs can easily spiral out of control. You need to clearly communicate the budget with your bride. aKs’s husband even offered to let the bride and groom keep any difference between the budget and the actual expense. How’s that for incentive?

reception farm tables at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Possesimple and elegant table decorations gathered from favorite stores and aKs’s home

Your wedding planner will be full of recommendations: that’s part of her job. While most of her ideas will sound amazing, every one of them has a cost. Don’t feel bad for saying no to her suggestions. The process itself will help you and the bride narrow in on what is important.

variety of local beers chill in vintage tub for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Possebeer played a central role in planning the party

6. Invest in a Design Theme

program and guest book at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Having a design theme that you can use throughout different aspects of the wedding will actually help with decisions as you get down to the smallest details. The bride is blessed to have the friendship of artist and fellow Sewanee graduate Harrison Blackford, who created the initial artwork for the Save the Date card. Her design married aKs’s bold front door with a more neutral leaf and became the basis of the stationery suite that Typecase Industries created for the wedding. aKs’s money saving tip with the stationery wardrobe: use a postcard for the rsvp card.

7. Get a B*!%h

rhodedendron backdrop to tent bar at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Ask a friend with thick skin and a can-do attitude to be your people: the person you can express your frustrations to and call on when you get in a pinch.  Even if it is just helping to roll and tie 700 napkins and forks with ribbon, you will find jobs that you will need to delegate, no questions asked. Graciously accept any and all offered help.

simply decorated farm table © The Gracious Posse

8. Hire Extra Help at Your House

aKs’s needlepointed vase © The Gracious Posse a. Housekeeper – aKs engaged a housekeeper who arrived about 2½ hours before the wedding began. The woman straightened and continually vacuumed. She put gifts away and kept the in-house bathroom cleaned throughout the evening.

b. Hair and Makeup – The bridesmaids arrived at aKs’s in plenty of time for primping and lunch. With 3 hairstylists and one makeup artist at the house, the girls felt pampered and the bride relaxed as they wined and dined on a delicious lunch provided by the wedding caterer.

patio garden at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

c. Ironing – The bridesmaids dresses will likely need touching up. Have them corralled at your house days before the wedding and hire someone to come and iron. Then you can check that worry off of your list.

bouquets at the ready © The Gracious Posse

9. Incorporate Your Own Dishware, Furniture and Accessories

Why not use what you have and help your budget? aKs shopped her home for extra tables for the dessert bar and used her collected antique plates there as well.

desert station tables at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Once the bride had determined that she wanted a relaxed feel for the wedding with farm tables, aKs and her daughter did some shopping at one of their favorite stores, Terrain, for tabletop accessories and signs. The bride will be able to use some of these items in her home, and aKs hopes to sell the extras.

seafood station at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

10. Welcome Bags Are De Rigueur

patio bar arrangement second view at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

If you have guests coming from out-of-town, you want to be sure that they feel welcomed. aKs and the bride chose meaningful items, as well as a printed card including the schedule and description of all of the wedding events, to express their love and appreciation for the travel. Using Scout bags in honor of one of her bridesmaids who works for the popular company, they gifted RVA’s 3 Sisters cheese straws, Hubs peanuts, Martha’s Vineyard coffee (a nod to the family’s annual vacation retreat) and aKs’s homemade chocolate and sprinkled pretzel rods, a favorite treat aKs would make for her children and friends when they were growing up.

11. Limit Houseguests to Immediate Family on the Wedding Eve

family room arrangement for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

aKs’s family spent one last night together as just a family of five. Waking up to a normal household started the wedding day on a peaceful note. A last walk with the bride before the crazy final preparations began was a special treat for her mom and dad.rose bed at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

12. Plan a First Look for the Bride and Groom

view of ceremony seats from cocktail bar for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Every wedding faces this debate: pictures before or after the ceremony? Traditionalists can’t abide the thought that the groom will see the bride before she walks down the aisle, but the post-wedding formal photo shoot can take an hour as the photography team tries to get all those special family and wedding party shots. The modern solution: the Bride and Groom’s First Look. Private time with only the photographer to capture the intimate moments, the first look has become a thing, and allows the reception to get under way immediately after the bride and groom head up the aisle.

reception tent at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

13. Use Stemless Wine and Champagne Glasses

wine bar in vintage dough bowl on cocktail bar at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Even though the vast majority of the wedding was held outside, aKs’s house was used for Kentucky Derby watching and as a quiet getaway during all of the festivities. Eliminate any worries over spills both inside and out by using stemless wine and champagne glasses. aKs was thrilled with this decision and that her rental company could obtain them.

14. Let the Florist Be Flexible

special bouquets for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Once the bride set the date, the location and the color scheme, aKs engaged one of RVA’s favorite floral designers, David Pippin.

peach rununculus in bouquet for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Knowing they were in great hands, they gave him the budget and carte blanche within the bride’s color parameters.

white rose in bouquet for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

You can save a lot of money if you don’t have your heart set on one type of flower that may not be available or only at a hefty price.

single bouquet for 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

David used soft white roses and salmon-colored ranunculus to stunning effect.

table decorations in progress © The Gracious Posse

Another cost-saving idea from aKs: let the bridesmaid’s bouquets serve as the flower arrangements on the dinner tables. Just leave some vases unfilled until after the wedding and ask the maids to stow their arrangements in them.

15. Put Wedding on AmEx or An Affinity Card

cocktail table view at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

A wedding is one of life’s big budget items. Why not take advantage of the best rewards card that you can to charge all possible wedding costs? aKs used her American Express for practically every wedding purchase, allowing her to …

16. Plan a Post-Wedding Getaway

cocktail bench seating at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

whether with girlfriends or husband. Planning an at-home wedding is not for the faint of heart. Knowing that a reward awaits at the end of the months’ long planning may get you through those moments when you question your sanity in agreeing to host this shindig. aKs chose France with girlfriends, and from the looks of it on Facebook, she is having a marvelous post-nuptial time.

patio bar arrangement at 5.7.16 wedding © The Gracious Posse

Recommended Vendors

In no particular order, aKs recommends these vendors who helped make her first bride’s day so unique and memorable.

Over coffee a few days after the wedding, aKs was beaming with pleasure about how smoothly all of the festivities ran. She truly enjoyed hosting her oldest daughter’s wedding in the home where she raised her family. The setting provided an intimate spot filled with personal meaning and fun for their nearest and dearest. With aKs’s tips and vendors, you too might be able to pull off such a meaningful day for a beloved child and live to tell the tale with a smile on your face.

salutationa&e

May 24, 2016

The Empty Nest Disrupted

Our college boys have returned to the nest for a bit, and Ellen and I are embracing this rare time with our youngest offspring. Having finally adjusted to our empty nests, our schedules are completely disrupted during their visits as even cooking for them becomes a time-consuming challenge. We’ll also be speed-parenting as much as possible whenever our unsynched body clocks collide.

My son’s first dinner request when he comes home:

Meaty Cheesy ManicottiMeaty Cheesy Manicotti and

Fauls Favorite Tiramisu © The Gracious PosseFamily Favorite Tiramisu

So what we are trying to say is that our postings may be a bit sporadic over the next few weeks, but we hope that you will keep checking in, whether via email (have you noticed our new opt-in box in the upper right hand corner?) or social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), for the latest from The Gracious Posse. Your following makes our empty-nest-ness tolerable. In the meantime, we’d love for you to share your favorite recipes for college boys.

salutationa&e

May 17, 2016

From Bluebonnets to Boots ~ Rediscovering the Charm of Texas Hill Country

As a child my family lived in several places, so I called such distinctive locales as Phoenix, Arizona, St. Paul, Minnesota and Atlanta, Georgia home. Lucky for me my geographic and metaphoric constant resided in my mother’s hometown of Kerrville, Texas. I spent many a Christmas and summer vacation at my grandparents’ home in the Hill Country. 

Last weekend I somewhat reluctantly returned to the Hill Country. Honestly, after my last trip there in January for my step-father’s funeral, I was hesitant about the visit. It had been so dry, frigid and bleak, worsened by the shocking confirmation of the rumors that I had heard about Live Oak wilt. The spectacular live oaks

Live Oak and Stone House in Harper, TX © The Gracious Posse

gracing the countryside were dying due to a fungus.

Von-Netzer-Ranch-May-2013-228-live-oad-wilt

The dead and dying trees distressed me so much I couldn’t photograph them. (I pulled the above off the internet). 

Happily I can report that the Hill Country has rebounded, and I am proud to show off what makes it a beloved destination.

Where is the Hill Country?

Hill Country Map via texashillcountrydotcom

The Hill Country is a geographic square, with Austin at the northeast corner, San Antonio at the southeast, Bandera at the southwest, and Harper at the northwest corner. Kerrville is north of Bandera, and Fredericksburg is east of Harper.

Its rolling hills, broad vistas, laid back ranch culture and agreeable weather (for Texas) make it popular and is featured regularly in Southern Living and Garden and Gun as a result. Perhaps you remember Waylon Jennings’ song Luckenbach, Texas? It’s in the Hill Country. Enid Collins bags? They originated in Fredericksburg. Camp Longhorn? Burnet. James Avery jewelry? Headquartered in Kerrville. I can’t help but believe the natural beauty of the region inspires creativity.

So why visit the Hill Country?

Hills, Live Oaks and Wildflowers

The rolling hills,

Texas_Hill_Country_187N-2

Live Oak trees

Live Oak on Harper Road © The Gracious Posse

Live Oak in Fredericksburg © The Gracious Posse

and wildflowers in the spring

Heart of the HIlls gate with wildflowers © The Gracious Posse

wildflowers in Harper © The Gracious Posse

distinguish the Hill Country from the rest of Texas (it’s the pretty part!).

Truly I cannot get enough of it. This year the endless and destructive rains in Texas yielded the greenest terrain I’ve seen in these parts. 

Windmill and water trough © The Gracious Posse

German Influence

The Hill Country was settled by German immigrants in the mid-1800’s. From proper names

Duderstadt grave © The Gracious Posse

to restaurant cuisine

auslander-restaurant via tripadvisor

to numerous beer gardens,

Silver Creek beer garden © The Gracious Posse

you feel the Teutonic influence. 

Kerrville

Situated on the banks of the Guadalupe River, Kerrville is the county seat of Kerr County. Compared to Fredericksburg (where the above photos were taken), Kerrville is an authentic (non-touristy) hamlet. 

Guadalupe River in Kerrville © The Gracious Posse

The Guadalupe is its chief asset. The Louis Hays Park is a lovely and accessible (not to mention free admission) way to experience the river. 

The Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library downtown is situated on the north bank of the river

Butt-Holdsworth Memorial Library via Kerrville United

and boasts enviable views of the river from its upper floors. This library was my godsend as a child when I got bored at grandma’s house; I spent hours whiling away the tedium searching for my next good read.

James Avery Jewelry

James Avery Jewelry was founded in Kerrville in 1954. As a child I would save up my precious pennies for a trip to the factory to buy a charm or earrings. Today that small outpost has grown to a full-on destination with a visitor center

James Avery Exterior Sign © The Gracious Posse

and picnic shelter

James Avery picnic shelter © The Gracious Posseon the compound.

James Avery compound © The Gracious Posse

The Schreiner Influence

Charles Schriener, a wealthy rancher, merchant and banker in the late 1800’s, left his mark on Kerrville, forming the Schreiner Institute (now Schreiner College), establishing a bank and opening a department store in downtown Kerrville. He and his family built stunning mansions, including this one I have long admired which now serves as the club house for the Riverhill Country Club.

River Hills Club House © The Gracious Posse

Hunt

Up the river from Kerrville on route 39 is Hunt. 

Hunt, Texas © The Gracious Posse

A general store with a cafe serves the surrounding residents. Mostly one comes to Hunt to shuttle kiddos to the numerous summer camps dotting the Guadalupe,

Heart O' the HIlls Camp gate © The Gracious Posseentrance gate to Heart O’ the Hills Camp

to enjoy one of the most scenic drives in the land

Guadalupe River South Fork © The Gracious Posse

wildflowers at Guadalupe River S. Fork © The Gracious Posse

Route 39 in Hunt © The Gracious Posse

or to wade in the gentle waters of the river.

Banks of the Guadalupe in Hunt, Texas © The Gracious Posse

Fredericksburg

Growing up we made the 27-mile drive from Kerrville to Fredericksburg for three reasons: cheap gasoline, fresh peaches and Enid Collins bags. Today, the main drag of Fredericksburg is a festive street of shops, restaurants, beer gardens and galleries. I make a point to pop into Whistle Pik Galleries

Courtyard at Whistle Pik Galleries © The Gracious Posse

to scout the latest in Hill Country landscape art. Whistle Pik represents the best artists and sculptors who depict the natural beauty of Texas. Although Enid Collins is defunct and cheap gas is plentiful, peaches are still the best crop in Fredericksburg!

Bluebonnets and Boots

For all the years I’ve journeyed to Kerrville, this is the first time I’ve seen the renowned bluebonnets. May is the tail-end of the season, but I saw enough to satiate.

Bluebonnets in Harper © The Gracious Posse

Bluebonnets and Prickly Pear © The Gracious Posse

Bluebonnets in field © The Gracious Posse

Yes, Western boots are ubiquitous. Whether in San Antonio,

Cowboy Boots at North Star Mall © The Gracious Posse

40-foot tall boots at North Star Mall

Fredericksburg

Cowboy boots in Fredericksburg © The Gracious Posse

or Hunt

Boot Fence at Boot Hill © The Gracious Posse

Boot Fence with bluebonnets © The Gracious Posse

the cowboy boot symbolizes the Hill Country heritage.

Have I tempted you to plan a trip? If you’ve traveled out there, and I know a number of posse pals who have, what’s your favorite part of the Hill Country?

salutatione&a

May 12, 2016

Container and Window Box Inspiration Compliments of Historic Garden Week RVA 2016

Thanks to the recent chilly rains, my annual container planting chore remains unfinished. Visiting garden centers in search of just the right thrillers, fillers and spillers for the annual potted outdoor display is time-consuming in the loveliest of weather. Who wants to be dragging muddy flats and bags of dirt into the car in drizzly cold?

With the rain outlook a bit better than last week, I am planning final visits to a couple of garden centers in the next few days. At least these May showers have given me some time to study the container designs of the homeowners on the three RVA Historic Garden Week of Virginia tours. In doing so, several themes have emerged.

Color Combos

Classic Green and White

T-E statuary planter with greens and whites T-E zinc bucket with a variety of greens F-W boxwood in formal container with white annuals

RVA Favorite: Pink, Purple and Green

F-M porch pot W-US purples and pinks

F-S purple and pink classic

More Exotic Medleys

T-S focal axis planter T-S dahlias and dianthus in gray pot T-W glazed yellow pot accented with lavender-filled buckets

Container Clusters

F-D patio container garden

T-M variety of patio containers F-S two smaller flanking one larger pot in complementary colors F-S potting table container garden

F-M variety of porch pots

Winning Window Boxes

F-S front window box F-S shed window box with pink mandevilla thriller F-M copper window boxes and blue glazed planters

W-D deep purple and yellow in window box

Adorning Vertical Spaces

F-W small wall-mounted basket T-S faux window box in a variety of greens with hint of white T-E potting console vignette

Evergreen Thrillers

T-E aubergine and green in trellised cement planter T-MG three tier topiary with purple and white accents T-M pedigreed planter with perennial grass thriller F-M tall and thin box spires flanking garden bench F-B box-filled iron urn centered in cutting garden F-B box in cement planter

Why Not …

F-S purple and white verbenause two different colors of the same plant? (here purple and white verbena)

F-S pot contents mimic ground cover colorsmatch your pot fillers to your bedding plants? (here mint green and aubergine colors accent both pot and bed)

F-W basil and johnny jump-ups in small potterymix in annual herbs with annual flowers?

F-W roses in pots on wheelsplant roses and other perennials in large pots to dress up a patio without beds?

F-W delicate blossoms in pot on wheelsput large pots on wheels for flexibility with planting materials and space usage?

All this inspiration has me rethinking my traditional green and white with splashes of pink pots, and I have already added a couple of evergreen thrillers to the mix. Maybe one day I’ll even be brave enough to try aubergine and orange – are you? That’s one of the beauties of container gardening: you can experiment every year without fear of making a lifelong commitment.

What are you planting in your containers this year?salutationa&e

May 10, 2016

Stylish Walking Shoes…The Quest

After my choir trip to Italy three years ago, I vowed to find more stylish walking shoes. Who wants to go abroad and feel frumpy? With an upcoming choir trip to England this summer, my quest has begun in earnest.

Since we celebrate inspired living with a little help from our friends, I have enlisted fMb‘s help: my sister-in-law has impeccable style and I trust her suggestions. If you are in need of the nearly oxymoronic stylish walking shoe for the warmer months, I hope you’ll find my scouting helpful.

So what makes a comfortable shoe stylish? Everyone has their own criteria, but this is what I use: shoes must

  • have a slight heel (flats are not super-flattering. A slight heel makes the legs and garments more attractive
  • possess a comfortable foot bed, either via cushioning or with a raised platform at the ball of the foot
  • provide support either with a strap, ties or as a firm slip-on
  • not have a thong-type impediment between the big toe and second toe of the shoe. That is the surest way to a miserable blister situation
  • velcro closures are not desirable (they remind me of children’s or orthopaedic shoes), but if I had to give up on one requirement, this would be it. So many sandals have velcro closures that it’s hard to find a style without them
  • and finally, have that certain je ne sais quoi. 

Maybe I should just jump on the sneaker footwear trend and quit agonizing over this whole issue. I guess I just don’t feel hip enough to pull off the whole athleisure look.

athleisure shoe collage © The Gracious Posse

 

My survey of options began the old-fashioned pedestrian way, going from store to store in Richmond, making stops at Richey & Co. Shoes, Monkee’s, Dillards, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Saxon Shoes and Nordstrom. If you prefer to shop online, many of these styles are available from Zappos.com, Amazon.com and 6pm.com.

Richey and Company

This shoe store specializes in shoes that are comfortable and stylish. I was hoping to find a pair of Dansko sandals like these that I have worn for a few seasons.Dansko in black at Richey & Co © The Gracious PosseSadly my size and desired color wasn’t available, but I did try on a pair of Beautifeel shoes that were extraordinarily comfortable.

Beautifeels at Richey & Co in black © The Gracious Posse

The Beautifeel brand has oodles of styles, some rather fashion-forward. If you are on your feet a lot, check them out.

The trusty Munros that supported me through Italy are still available, but as you can see 

Munros in black at Richey & Co © The Gracious Posse

they are a bit nondescript. Serviceable, yes, and lightweight, but I want to kick my heels up a bit more.

Monkee’s

Next I wandered into Monkee’s and was delighted to find numerous stylish choices there, including my favorite Jack Rogers

Jack Rogers shorter wedge at Monkee's © The Gracious Posse Jack Rogers wedge at Monkee's © The Gracious Posse

which aren’t an all-day walking shoe, but certainly make a walk to dinner and beyond very comfortable. Another style from Sofft

Sofft Rasida at Monkee's © The Gracious Possewas try-on worthy and very cushy.

Dillard’s

Dillard’s carries several comfort brands, but this Born turned my head.

Born from Dillards © The Gracious Posse

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saks’ shoe department is not the first place that comes to mind when thinking about a stylish walking shoe; Jimmy Choo did not make his name designing the equivalent of fancy yoga pants. However, Tory Burch does have one espadrille that could take you places.

Tory Burch espadrille in gold at Sak's © The Gracious Posse Tory Burch espadrille in natural at Sak's © The Gracious Posse

Macy’s

I headed to Short Pump to scout Macy’s, Saxon Shoes and Nordstrom. Macy’s large shoe department had numerous choices, but the Clark’s platforms stood out from the rest in terms of quality, comfort and style.

Clarks's wedge in neutral at Saxon Shoes © The Gracious Posse Clark's wedges at Saxon Shoes © The Gracious Posse

Saxon Shoes

Saxon is the one-size-fits-all shoe store in RVA with everything for kids, men and women, casual and formal. Lucky for me the new Clark’s models had just been put out on the floor. 

Clark's at Saxon Shoes © The Gracious Posse

Clark's platforms at Saxon Shoes © The Gracious Posse

Nordstrom

Nordstrom was my last stop. Strangely, I found these Danskos appealing (they defied my criteria) for an all-day outing on foot. Given the comfortable and stiff footbed for which Dansko

Dansko athletic shoe at Nordstrom © The Gracious Posse

 is known, I can also bike in them. 

Teva is a brand I didn’t see in any of the stores I visited, but while in Sanibel in April I admired aCa‘s adorable wedge.

aCa's Tevas

Although that style is no longer available, similar are and I can attest to the comfort of the shoe.

Teva wedge via Teva.com

As I mentioned, fMhas been my go-to for brand suggestions. I went to her impressive closet and she modeled shoes that have carried her across the globe. Perhaps her consistently favorite brand for comfort and style is Arche, readily available on Zappos.com. 

fMb's Arche in black © The Gracious Posse fMb's Arche in fuschia and black © The Gracious Posse fMb's Arche Latex Noir © The Gracious Posse

Another favorite brand is Clark’s

fMb's Indigo by Clark's © The Gracious PossefMb Clark's Bendables © The Gracious Posse

She has a few other lovely foot soldiers in her stable.

Campers © The Gracious PosseCamper

fMb's Think © The Gracious PosseThink

fMb Paolo in Black and White © The Gracious PossePaolo

Many thanks to fMb for her guidance, and to both aCa and fMb for their willingness to have their feet photographed, all in the name of helping the posse.

I am feeling more chic already with several outstanding choices to satisfy my need for comfortable yet stylish walking shoes. 

Do you have any shoe brands or retailers you like? We’d love for you to share your shoe secrets with us. Whether you are touring Carytown or Rome, you’ll feel better if your feet are comfy and stylish.

salutatione&a

May 6, 2016