Saying YES to the Dress

A bride’s search for THE dress is a daunting but exciting time.  I had many mixed feelings about going wedding dress shopping:  fear of not finding the right one, dread of feeling too fat to look good in them, joy at thinking of yourself on your wedding day, and relief that you are finally getting to shop for a wedding dress for an actual wedding for yourself!  I had poured through bridal magazines tearing out pictures of gowns I loved for 5 months before I went gown shopping.  My mom flew out to LA and we went to a couple of bridal boutiques in an effort to track down the perfect dress.  It was such a memorable experience that we had together, and not just because of a Denzel Washington encounter that we had on our way home!  In the end I found my perfect gown, the one I had loved most from my magazine ripping phase, and the first one I tried on. 

For some brides, it is an easy thing to find a wedding gown.  Others search far and wide and can’t make a decision.  Luckily for the newly engaged, there are many gorgeous gowns from the Spring 2010 season to choose from.  Here is a wrap-up of the highlights, plus a few of my all-time favorite from past seasons:

Ballgown:
   Left:  Monique Lhuillier
Right:  Vera Wang
A touch of bling:
  Left:  Ramona Keveza
Right:  Jenny Packham
A-Line:
 Left:  Vera Wang
Right:  Anne Barge 2008
Simple & Elegant:
Left:  Lela Rose
Right:  J.Crew 
Ruffles:
    Left:  Vera Wang
Right:  Badgley Mischka
Floral touches:
    Left:  J.Crew
     Right:  Rivini
Crumb Catcher:
   Left:  Carolina Herrera (2009)
Right:  Amsale
Vintage Inspired Lace:
  Left:  Melissa Sweet (2008)
Right:  Rivini
One Shoulder:
   Left:  Ramona Keveza
Short:
   Both gowns by Amsale
Unique Details:
 Left:  Amsale
Right:  Carolina Herrera (2009)
I am LOVING Vera’s 2010 Spring Collection!  The Lela Rose gown would be so elegant worn in an urban wedding and the simple J.Crew gown has a beautiful back and would be great for a gallery venue.  The simple Vera gown is perfect for a summer garden wedding or a beach ceremony.  The Anne Barge gown is more beautiful in person and has amazing details (pockets and pleating on the bodice) that would make it perfect for a preppy, nautical themed wedding.  I love the neckline of the bottom Amsale gown and the polka dots in the bottom Carolina gown are adorable.  Both short dresses would be perfect for a simpler affair, a city hall wedding, or as a second dress for a bride who wants to change for the ‘party’ portion of her wedding.  Both gauzy ballgowns are perfect for a more formal affair…or for any bride with an inner Cinderella.  And my very favorite is the vintage inspired lace Melissa Sweet gown…because it was mine!
Photo by Jennifer Roper

{Inspiration Board} Navy & Lilac

I was just contacted by a friend whose brother is in the early stages of wedding planning.  They are having an outdoor wedding in early October in North Carolina, and my friend asked my opinion on color combos and wedding party attire.  The couple wants a dark or navy blue for the bridesmaids, and a more casual option for the groomsmen, but without looking too casual or country.  A lavendar accent color was suggested, a combination that I think is very fresh and chic.  I designed an inspiration board for them to see how they liked the colors together and to get an overall feel for the design of their wedding.  Here is what I came up with:

Top row from left:  photo by Molly Fitzsimmons, photo by Stacey Kane, photo by The Sartorialist, photo by Punam Bean, boutonniere via Martha Stewart Weddings, lavendar photo by Jose Villa
Row 2:  calligraphy by Betsy Dunlap, church photo by Laura Dombrowski, invitation photo by Holland Photo Arts, lemonade photo by Cooper Carras,  blue Converse photo by Worthington Photography
Row 3:  place setting via Martha Stewart Weddings, macarons from Paulette, photo by Punam Bean,  hydrangea photo by Meg Smith
I love the feel of the hydrangeas and lilacs, natural and effortless.  Picture them placed in mixed sizes of blue and clear mason jars…very outdoor southern wedding. Imagine the country charm of a green field and a big oak tree and guests mingling while drinking lemonade and sweet tea out of jelly glasses.  The groomsmen wearing khaki’s and blue converse or vans, and coordinating ties, and the bridesmaids in different dresses in the same family of navy and indigo.  The groom could wear a light grey suit and the bridesmaids matching grey pashminas when it gets chilly after dark…there are so many options my head is spinning!  I can’t wait to hear what the couple comes up with.

{DIY} S’mores Kits for Favors or Gifts

One of the most important things I think any bride can do in planning her wedding is to come up with at least one DIY (do-it-yourself) project.  Whether it is your menus, programs, favors, or a cute extra project (or all of the above!), DIY elements add a special touch to your wedding, show your guests you put time and thought into the elements of your wedding, add a little bit of ‘you”, and save you money!  I am going to try whenever possible to post DIY projects or ideas for weddings that I have come up with or found on the blog circuit. 

One of my favorite DIY ideas I have come across is actually quite simple – a s’mores kit.  It would be a perfect wedding favor idea for a fall or winter wedding or an element to use in out-of-town bags for guests, not to mention a great gift for everyday use (think holiday gift, thank you gift, hostess gift…)  How perfect would this project be as a favor idea for the winter inspired wedding previously featured!?

DIY and Pictures from Twig & Thistle

Materials needed:  marshmallows, chocolate, graham crackers, acetate boxes or clear plastic bags (depending on how big you want the kits and how you prefer to package them, but I prefer the acetate boxes, which can be found here), and baker’s twine or your choice of ribbon

Go to Twig & Thistle for full instructions here!

{Inspiration Board} Winter Inspiration

Since I am not suffering in snow like most of the country, I am still a little nostalgic for winter.  That, combined with wanting to help someone come up with ideas on how to design a winter/holiday wedding for next year without looking too Christmasy, led me to utilize the Style Circle Inspiration Board creator over at Style Me Pretty that I mentioned in a previous post.  It really is an amazing design tool!
To see what I came up with, follow this link:
https://circle.stylemepretty.com/chandra/blog/2010/01/07/january-7-2010-3/

This was the first picture I found and built the board around.

By Allison Events via Snippet & Ink

I Heart Etsy!

The best website out there in my opinion is Etsy!  It is basically a collection of stores that sell any handmade good you can think of.  They have a wedding section, which is amazing, but there are also sections for just about anything you are in the market for.  If you register for a free account you can save your favorite items and sellers for future reference.

Need a great gift for a friend who is from or lives in Chicago? 

Go here to Moxiedoll

How about a great gift idea for a wedding or anniversary? (they also have ones for baby births)

Go here to Paloma’s Nest (they also have ring bowls for weddings which I LOVE!)
What about a unique hair piece for your wedding?
Go here to ClarkandDiversey for amazing finds!
(the piece above was custom made for me to wear in my own wedding and turned out beautifully)
How about splurging on a gorgeous custom made dress?  This is definitely on my dream etsy purchase list!
Go here to sarahseven for this and other beautiful handmade pieces.

Run over to etsy and start picking your favorites, but be prepared to get swept away by all of the unique, fun, vintage, and lovely items for sale!  You’ve been warned…

J.Crew Flu

It is truly a sickness how much I love J.Crew.  I still remember going to my mailbox in my dorm my freshman year at Miami of Ohio and getting my first J.Crew catalog (everyone got them…they call Miami J.Crew U for a reason!)  Growing up in a small town nowhere near a J.Crew store, I had never really been exposed to J.Crew before.  It was there that my sickness began.  I would order sweaters in the winter from my J.Crew catalog and get so excited when they would arrive in the mail, like a package from home!  While J.Crew did go through a dull period, it has been revamped in recent years and now has so many beautifully chic and feminine pieces that it is hard to buy just a couple of things.  And now that the first lady has made J.Crew a staple of her wardrobe, things often sell out quickly!  Here are a few of my current favorites:

Long beach cardigan $138.00 item 20796
Frances stripe ruffled tuxedo shirt $89.50 Item 17669
Crystal Malibu necklace $68.00 item 22711
Silk bouquet sash was $35.00 select colors $25.00 item 21398

And for those of us living in warmer weather:

Jersey promenade gown $118.00 item 23480
Cyprus metallic gladiator sandals $115.00 item 20415
Luxe très bow bandeau top and bikini $44.00 item 21556

They also have an amazing wedding collection!  From bridal gowns to bridesmaid dresses, shoes and accessories…you could literally find your entire bridal party wardrobe at J.Crew.  I got my bridal shoes and clutch from J.Crew, each on sale for under $100.

Both from J.Crew, no longer available online.