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Say “I Do” to Second Dance Workshops

By Margaret Alkerton

If the ambitious, do-it-yourself bride can take comfort in one thing, it’s Pinterest fails. After all the hours and bottles of sparkling, after all the stenciling and re-stenciling and running out for more supplies, a quick scan of wedding decor DIY gone wrong can brighten any craft-failing bride’s day.

It won’t, however, give that same bride-to-be her 200 pinwheel drink toppers. It won’t give her 100 jam jar favours or 75 glitter-dipped escort cards, and it certainly won’t do it before her very pressing deadline.

Enter Jennifer Newman and Sandy Middleton. With the rise of Pinterest and online inspiration, and decades of experience between them, these two women are out to save the new DIY bride from herself- or show her just how successful her next wedding DIY can be.

Newman, mother of 5 and owner of Kaunis Jewellery, opened Second Dance in downtown St. Catharines in April of 2015. Second Dance aims to give formal gowns- including bridal, bridesmaid, and mother-of-the-bride- a second chance. Although roughly 70% of her stock is unworn, all of her gowns are pre-owned, and more than half of them are on consignment from local women.

“A strong premise of the store,” Newman explains, is to be “ethical and sustainable to a very wasteful industry – weddings. Because it really is, when you think of it, all the products that get purchased to be used for just a couple of hours.”

Middleton, an artist who also teaches encaustic painting workshops out of her own downtown studio, agrees that weddings have become “outrageously expensive.” She describes how expanding on these concepts was a natural next step for her friend and business-owner. She asked herself: “what else can I do to serve my customers?”

With the idea of minimizing both waste and wasteful spending, and bringing something more to her customers at Second Dance, the answer to that question was simple: DIY workshops. Wedding themed DIY workshops, hosted in-house at Second Dance and led by Middleton.

Newman and Middleton first worked together in 2002, with Newman doing piecework beading for Middleton’s home decor line, “All Wired Up.” Since then, Middleton says, “we’ve always sort of worked creatively together.” Notice the fresh, fun, and ever-changing designs in the Second Dance storefront, and it’s obvious this creative partnership is a perfect match.

Their first workshop is called Heart Strings, and will teach their students to create a simple yet striking display- perfect for a head table accent or a non-traditional guest book. The project will involve using a template to nail a pattern into a natural or distressed board, and completing the pattern by weaving thread around the nails.

Their mission, with each of their workshops, is to equip students with the skills and confidence to replicate their projects at home. This time, when they’ve #NailedIt, it will be only, preciously, ironic.

Newman and Middleton have several other workshops lined up as they move into spring and the start of wedding season. Newman believes they have chosen projects “that could work for weddings and have staying power as a piece of decor in the home,” and encourages bridesmaids, grooms, and all interested crafters to come out and learn something new.

The Heart Strings Workshop will run 1-4pm at 122 St. Paul Street on February 14, 2016. Spaces are limited and participants must register at SecondDDIY@gmail.com by February 7, 2016. Further details about this workshop and upcoming workshops can be found on the Second Dance Facebook page.

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