Friday, January 31, 2014

Modest Weddings Around the World

When was the last time you saw a modest wedding? They're few and far between in my experience. I try to make up for it by browsing wedding photos. How about you? I think it's time for a wedding splurge, and I have four lovely links for you.

The detailed photo journalism of this modest American wedding so generously provided by Alicia Ann Photographers here (and, astonishingly, available to the public) holds a charm and joy you won't want to miss.

I'm astounded at the size of the event. That kind of organization takes a lot of dedicated service behind the scenes. It's easy to tell what a special, memorable day it was, and the bride looks relaxed throughout.

My absolute favourite detail--the bride's shoes. Ladies, if you've ever wondered how to do cute AND comfortable feet, take note of Becky's footwear choice!

Bree of Cover Up for Christ featured the delightful story of a modest Ukrainian wedding and the miracles that accompanied it. Ukraine holds special interest for me because my older brother was married there. Many of these photos remind me of the images my sister captured for me so I could enjoy the day post-event from the other side of the world.

The Ukrainian traditions bring a visual splendour we don't tend to see in the west, but western influence is nevertheless present, demonstrated by the white tiered cake with royal icing. My mother toted the ingredients for my brother's wedding cake in her suitcase all the way from New Zealand, and baked it in an oven without a thermostat (hot job on an already hot day!). When the guests at the wedding feast looked upon my mother's three-tiered creation, they supposed it to be a stack of white boxes.

My family encountered intriguing and delightful Ukrainian customs that were new to them, and we have even tried some of them at weddings here. Experiencing other cultures adds a wonderful richness to our lives.

I googled 'modest wedding blog' and this tumblr site came up. It hasn't been updated for 2 years, but there's a lovely sequence of pictures provided by modest brides Sheena, below, and and Jackie, bottom. Photos courtesy of Amber Weimer.

Happy browsing, and if you've seen a modest wedding recently, please do share the link with us!
Fiat lux,

Monday, January 27, 2014

How to subscribe so you don't miss any BN updates

Boutique Narelle will soon be making an exciting announcement, and if you want to make sure you don't miss any of what's going on, our best advice is to subscribe, or add Boutique Narelle to your favourite feedburner. Here's how.

Option A:
Get email notification of new posts by using the subscribe button at the top of the righthand side bar which you'll see wherever you roam on BN.

Option B:
My favourite feedburner is FeedReader. Once you have it installed, go to the File menu [see small red circle in image below], select New then Feed, and a search bar will pop up [see long red squiggle in image below]. You can paste in the URL of the blog you wish to add, click Ok, and the feedreader will immediately load the blog's most recent posts for you, and will update the feed every time you open the application.

Happy modest reading!

Shortest Definition of Modesty

I've been improving features on the sidebar. Here's a new version of the "what is modesty" poster.

Modesty: inner radiance, outward grace.

Like it? Agree or disagree?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Awesome Updates (of the modest kind) on Boutique Narelle

In December I spent eight hours adding stores and features to the Modesty Mall, and I've just done a tweak for January. I'm thrilled that new stores offering modest clothing are opening all the time. If you know of one not on the list, please let us know! Boutique Narelle's Modesty Mall is the most comprehensive regionally categorized list of modest stores in the world, making shopping for modest clothes easier for ladies like you. Don't miss the special discounts listed for BN readers!

I've spent the past 15 months finding a way to make a bedroom also function as a fashion photo studio. It's not finished, but after intermittent testing sessions, it's getting a real workout this month. Surprises coming!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fabulous Modest Fun: lively English Country Dance event

Here at Boutique Narelle we're delighted to support events that promote and enjoy modesty. Jess Rademaker and family extend an invitation to you for a lively evening of fun. Jess says, "I hope you're all ready to come and dance with us at the upcoming English Country Dance! Please invite your friends--anyone is welcome to join in with us!"

WHEN: Saturday, 1 February 2014, from 6:30pm onwards

WHERE: Reformed Church of Palmerston North (541 Ruahine St), New Zealand

BRING: a gold coin donation and your best dancing shoes (bare feet work too, but we recommend soles that slip and slither)

Here's a video from a previous English Country Dance event. Notice the wide variety of clothing styles. Maid Marian, Jane Austen, Queen Victoria, and Audrey Hepburn comfortably trip the boards together.

Share video:


Gentlemen are asked to please wear tidy dress (trousers and collared shirt) and encouraged to explore formal costume apparel, entering into the fun of travelling back in time to a period English Country Dance.

Ladies are asked to please wear long skirts or dresses that are modest
so that we can all have a great, family-friendly, enjoyable time together. There will be some dresses available to borrow, but first in, first served and best fitted. Alternately, make your own or hire an outfit.


Aim for comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that does not restrict movement, and low, broken-in, soft-soled, non-marking shoes, such as dance shoes, lightweight sneakers, or sandals, for best foot comfort during a couple hours of quick stepping. Dress gloves are recommended if you want to avoid sweaty-hand contact.

For modesty, ensure that clothing covers your shoulders/armpits, that no midriff will show when you raise your arms, and no cleavage will show during your swings, gallops, and jigs. You'll want a skirt with enough fullness to accommodate lots of knee movement--narrow skirts with splits are not recommended. We encourage costumed apparel, but regular tidy dress is also acceptable. This is a chance to dress up! Have fun with it!

Photo by Steven Sandrbook Photography. View Steven's album at

Photo by Steven Sandrbook Photography. View Steven's album at

For more information on what to expect or ideas for what to wear, browse these Boutique Narelle posts on English Country Dance events.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Streamline Your Holiday Experience: 2 Simple Packing Tips for Easier Travel

TRAVEL TIPS for modest women
"What should I pack? What will fit in my bag? How much will I need?” Delight at her imminent vacation forgotten, the strain of this holiday horror dragged the lines of her face into a weary pucker.

Sometimes we need a holiday to recover from packing for our holiday. Do you know that feeling? I’ve learned a few tricks that ease this process.

After months of anticipation, my parents and I treated ourselves to 6 days of early summer retreat at a thermal village. We secured the same accommodation we enjoyed on a previous year, so I knew what to expect in the way of facilities, activities, and weather.

Since that holiday, I’ve invested time and energy in wardrobe improvements. This, and knowing what to expect, allowed me to streamline my packing experience.

For the road trip, I wore a dress I termed my ‘travelling outfit’, an aqua polyester check that was comfortable, temperature-adaptable, and made me feel pretty for the public part of my journey.

In my pack, I stowed two sturdy sleeveless dresses (one blue denim, one melon cotton sateen) and enough button-up shirts for a fresh one each day (aqua, blue, rose, and peachy printed voile). The shirts could be worn under or over the dresses. These dresses allowed me to pack the lightest I ever have for a week’s holiday. They’ve been well tested and I knew they would serve.

In fact, they served even better than anticipated. I wore the denim dress four days and one of the shirts for two (cooler) days, leaving the other sleeveless dress fresh and available for the homeward journey.

The result was I didn’t have to launder my ‘travelling dress’ ready for the return trip! It would have been a simple task given the easy-care fabric*, but this was the first holiday of this length which didn’t require me to do laundry (other than draping out swimwear and towels to dry) and I liked it.

*Washing would have been done by hand in the kitchen sink, squeezed dry, placed on a coathanger, and hung on a porch line I set up or from the shower curtain rail in the bathroom.

Other wardrobe pieces included:
two zipped fleece jackets (one thick aqua, one thinner melon red) which could be worn layered on cool, wet days and cold nights;
a light cotton cardigan;
a waterproof skirt (Boutique Narelle design) and jacket (Kathmandu);
closed-toe walking shoes, sturdy sandals for the hot days, warm slippers, jandals (thongs/flip-flips) and swimsuit (custom-made from Simply Modest Swimwear), and a satin kimono for transitions from bathhouse to changing room.

And finally, my little extravagance, a collection of hats, for sun protection and turning any of my garment combinations into an outfit worthy of a stylish lady on a visit to town. I took three and wore two, the bone baker boy cap for travelling, the wide-brimmed aqua cotton for outdoor adventures and playtime with the children and excursions to town.

That week’s weather, and I being familiar with the environs, meant the felt Akubra, whose stiff shape requires it to travel independent of my pack, wasn’t needed on this occasion. I like a stiff hat on windy days (which are very common in New Zealand), because wide-brimmed cotton hats, even starched ones, engage in perpetual argument with the air currents, to the detriment of the wearer’s vision and composure.

On the two days when rain bucketed down without ceasing, I went walking clad in sandals (quicker to dry than shoes) and hooded rain gear, minus spectacles. I may have seen less detail of my surroundings, but it meant I didn’t need a hat visor to keep my external eyes dry. Nevertheless, I’m glad I had the Akubra available in case of need.

I took photos of what I packed for the last trip to this spot, and comparing them with this trip, I see that I made progress in shrugging off the holiday horrors that accompany the challenge of what to put in that suitcase.

So how can you streamline your packing experience? Try these two things that make a difference for me:
  • Find out what to expect.
  • Invest time and energy preparing for it.
Once you’ve established a system, the process will be even smoother next time. 

Bon Voyage!

What tricks have you learned that make packing and travelling easier for you? Share with us in the comments box below.

Sisters Sarah, Narelle, and Katrina enjoy a rare day together.

Narelle's favourite holiday activity: spending time with her nephews and nieces.

The Elizabeth Club play a matching game with "children around the world" cards.

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