Cheers to the North Carolina Azalea Festival going on in Wilmington this weekend! It is seriously one of the most gorgeous times of year there with all of the azaleas in bloom, and the festival always brings the fun!
I posted this photo for #tbt, and got so many funny comments! Unless you're from Wilmington or know someone from there, seeing girls in random hoop-skirt dresses seems super odd!
But, let me just tell you. Being an "Azalea Belle" is pretty much like a rite of passage for Wilmington girls. You have to be a certain age and have someone sponsor you. You get to go to these little old ladies' houses who own all of the dresses and try on a ton until you find the one-- it's totally a preview of what's to come when shopping for your wedding dress! You get assigned to certain fun events related the Azalea Festival-- I got to ride on the Henrietta with a bunch of other belles, attend the ribbon-cutting (and have an escort from the Citadel), do a photo-shoot for a local magazine, and sit in 3 beautiful gardens around Wilmington while people toured!
I had so much fun getting ready for all of the events! You get to wear bloomers and a little hair-piece so that your curls are "just right"! I do remember the hoop skirt being SO heavy, but man, that thing also makes you look so skinny! And, I absolutely loved my dress.
I love being a Wilmingtonian, and I love tradition. Getting to be an Azalea Belle was definitely a highlight of my time growing up there!