Sunday, April 15, 2018

Garden Party Ready

I now have three favorite dresses in my closet: my wedding gown, that one dress, and this one. Seriously though, this dress - I just can't get enough of it and it's perfect for this time of year. Every spring in Wilmington, we have the North Carolina Azalea Festival. It's been a big part of my life for the last 10 years - I was an Azalea Belle (read about that tradition here), the North Carolina Azalea Princess in 2009, and served on the Queen's Court for two years when I was a preliminary titleholder for Miss North Carolina. It's safe to say I love the festival and I love this time of year!

One of the highlighting events of the festival is the annual Garden Party, which is held in beautiful Airlie Gardens. Stephen and I got tickets to go this year and I kept procrastinating what I was going to wear, though I knew it would be something from ZIA. As soon as I opened this box (week of the festival), I pulled this beauty out and knew this was it! What I look for in an occasion maxi is comfort, a flattering cut, and a beautiful color. This one had all of those elements, though I will say that the slit in this maxi is pretty serious and can result in some interesting experiences on a windy day. We also carried fascinators at the store, which is perfect for a garden party, themed shower, or derby party. 

My mom ended up being my date to the garden party as Stephen's dad unexpectedly got pretty sick (please say a prayer for him - he is thankfully on the mend, but all the thoughts and prayers are needed as it ended up being more serious than any of us ever thought it would be). 

The azaleas are blooming so beautifully around here. Both my yard and my parents' have gorgeous blooms (these photos are at my parents'), but while we were in Stephen's hometown over the weekend to be with his dad, we spend some time out at his grandmother's home, and her yard is filled with stunning Azalea bushes. They could easily hold a candle to the flowers in Airlie Gardens, which is probably the most beautiful place in Wilmington. 

Have you been to a garden party? What's your must-have for your look?

Dress is from ZIA Boutique. Shop the rest of the look below:



  1. Such a great dress on you and makes me wish I had a garden party to attend! Hoping everything with Stephen's dad is okay! xo, Biana-BlovedBoston

  2. Beautiful dress. Sending prayers for Stephen's dad.

  3. You look absolutely stunning, and you're right - the backdrop setting is so pretty. Thinking of your family - hope all is okay!

  4. Zelle, this dress is beyond stunning on you! I am so in love with the colors, the cut, everything! You look absolutely gorgeous babe!

  5. I just saw this dress and added it to my RTR list! You are KILLING it! Absolutely lovely friend! xo

  6. Obsessed with this dress - the colors, the fit, all of it! You rock it!


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