Monday, November 28, 2011

Buy Small Saturday Should Be Buy Small Everyday!

Saturday was Buy Small Saturday where shoppers were encouraged to make at least one purchase from a small business.  I say EVERYDAY should be buy small day.  Our small businesses are the backbone of the American economy.  The money you spend at a small business goes directly into the local economy, it doesn't go overseas, it doesn't go into the corporate money world and it doesn't go into a fat cat's wallet.  The taxes they collect from small businesses (and they are numerous) go into the local schools, streets, fire, police, etc.

For three decades I was a small business person, I ran the family bridal shop.  Small businessmen eat, sleep and breathe their business 24/7.  When you deal with a small business, they remember your name.   You get personalized service and you get great deals.   The money you spend is appreciated.   When was the last time you walked into a big box store and were greeted warmly and thanked warmly?   You are lucky if someone even looks up at you when they hand you the change.

I felt like I was part of the local community and providing jobs for people who needed jobs and weren't able to work the rigid corporate hours, but desperately needed work.

"Jenny" was a single parent  who's fiance left her in the hospital after the birth of their child.  She was living with her grandmother.  She also needed the flexibility to call off if her child was sick.  Today, she has her own place, paid off her furniture, drives a new car and volunteers in the community.  Her child is an honor student who helps mom do community work.

"Mrya" was 70 something divorced woman who couldn't make her house payment and buy groceries on  her pension.  No one would hire her because of her age, but she was a punctual, capable and experienced.  She was able to finish paying off her house so she could live on her pension.

"Candy" was a mother of four whose husband's job was downsized.  They couldn't live on unemployment and public assistance and he couldn't find a job.   She was able to feed and keep the roof over the family until he found work.   

Countless college students working their way through college who now are employed in their field.

Before you run to the big box store to make a purchase, check out the local independent shops.  Before you hit the big box bridal store, check your local bridal salon. They will remember your name.  You'll find better deals, higher quality and personalized service. Your dress won't look like thousands of other wedding dresses. Sounds like a win/win situation to me! 

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding Hats, From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Royal wedding hats worn by royalty and guests at the wedding of William and Kate. Some are cute, some are ridiculous, some are just fun.  My other was not only a dress designer, but a milliner and she has some hats in her collection that would rival these babies.  I love the idea of hats, I don't see them being worn a lot in the USA for weddings, but you never know.  How fun!

Bigger IS better.

Reminds me of a Vogue ad from the last century, very 50's glam.

Worn by a guest, probably in the crowd, my favorite! 

David and Victoria Beckam, looking amazing!  Check out the hot platform shoes.  Love them!

Camilla, looking like Camilla.

Not only is the Queen smiling, she has on some amazing jewelry.  I think she looks stunning in yellow!

Princess Anne looking like she's wearing a flower garden.

Get a stylist stat!

Fergie and Andrew's daughters, both princesses, looking like they are dressed for a costume party.                                 WTF is that beige donut bow?

The prime minister and his wife, I LOVE her red fascinator!

"Every Wedding Is A Royal Wedding" , Unconventional Thoughts on a Very Traditional Wedding

The last royal wedding I saw was when Princess Fiona married Shreck, and this pretty much blew that wedding out of the water. And what a royal wedding it has been so far!

OK, I swore I wouldn't get up early and watch the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. I was in the beauty salon yesterday and the gals had taken bets that I'd be their first customer to get up and watch the wedding. No way...I'm not getting up at 4:30AM unless I'm flying to Vegas or George Clooney and nudity are involved. When I went to bed, I told the husband that I wasn't getting up...and yet, here I sit, with the dog, watching the royal wedding.

OMG.....what a ceremony! Westminster Abby is a beautiful church, the choir and the orchestra blew me away! The pomp and circumstances are beyond comprehension. I also found the ceremony to be very meaningful. I didn't think he was going to get the ring on her finger, it sort of stuck on her finger. Loved that they kept exchanging glances and smiles.

Doesn't the Archbishop of Cantebury have an great voice? And I loved it when the Bishop of London or England) said "Every wedding is a royal wedding...." Hear, hear! Every bride SHOULD be a princess on her wedding day.

And what goes through the Queen's mind when everyone sings 'God Save The Queen'? She probably thinks...damn, right! I noticed her husband, Prince Philip, was mumbling along, but not with any sort of enthusiasm.

And the bride....beautiful, stunningly beautiful. I've never seen such grace under pressure. If Kate was nervous, she didn't show it, she looked so serene. And soooo beautiful! The dress looks so 1950's. Its not what I expected even though I knew she was REQUIRED to have a modest dress with long sleeves. It's so freaking traditional. The lace looks like gorgeous floral expensive Chantilly lace...the real deal, modified Queen Ann neckline, sheer long lace sleeves with the bridal point cuff. The skirt had pleats with solid lace embellished front and cathedral length train. I'm sure it's expensive silk because I can see the silk wrinkles in the skirt. I can't wait to see close up pics of the gown. I can't tell if the dress had any pearls or beading.

Loved the mantilla style veil as she walked down the aisle, hated it when it was pulled back. I thought it was too flat, but its a mantilla...what did I expect? I did expect a cathedral length (long) veil because she was marrying in a cathedral, but it was fingertip length. I loved that it was edged in lace. Will this bring back traditional veils?

I expected the tiara to be taller. If I was the Princess To Be, I'd want to wear the tallest tiara in the vault. Maybe tiara height is based on protocol or royal rank, you think? It's a Cartier tiara, given to Queen Elizabeth by her mother on her 18th birthday, so there is a big family tradition to the tiara. Just heard it was 42 carats of diamonds. I thought it was understated, yet perfect with the dress.

I also expected the flower bouquet to be bigger. I thought she'd be carrying flowers that extended almost to the hem of her gown. It was as if everything Kate choose was compact and uber traditional. It worked perfectly.

Pippa,her sister, wore white. Gasp! The dress was modest, with a draped cowl neck, short cap sleeves trimmed in lace, buttons up the back and figure hugging silhouette that was quite sexy looking. I liked it!

And the groom.....I am sure Diana is smiling down proudly. Wow, so handsome in his uniform. He reminds me of the prince on the Palace of Riches video slot machine.

The Queen looked sunny in her yellow coat and hat. Camilla looked matronly, as expected. Kate's mother looked beautiful like her daughters. I wonder if they remove their hats at the reception. Anyone know?

Prince Philip creeps me out. Why doesn't the royal barber tame down his eyebrows? He looks so fierce. You can never tell if he's happy or totally annoyed.

And what the heck were Prince Andrew's and Fergie's daughters thinking with the strange dresses and hats? I've never seen a hat with a donut in front and a foot tall structured bow perched on top of it. I expected it to twirl. Those gals needed a stylist. Maybe it was a should have invited our mother. Wonder what Fergie is doing today?

The royal kiss....a quick peck, a second quick kiss. For gawds sake, dip her and plant one on her! OMG, loved the flower girl on the balcony who covered her ears during the royal fly by. So cute!

None of us will be privy to the reception. Will Kate wear another dress for the reception? Will William change into something less formal? Did her parents high five each other that their daughter married well and they barely had to pay for the extravaganza wedding? Will Kate's wedding dress bring back more traditional wedding dresses? Inquiring minds want to know. I wish the couple only the best, despite living life in a fishbowl.

Send comments, love to hear your impressions!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Interview: Norakaren on Etsy, Wedding Shoe Artist Extraordinaire!

Norakaren is an artist on Etsy, her canvas is painting on wedding shoes.  Nora's work is amazing, how DOES she paint perfectly on a tiny curved pleated canvas?  How does she place every crystal perfectly?  

A pair of Norakaren shoes will take your wedding from ho-hum and average to rock star.  One great accessory sets you apart from your peers.  I'm so excited that Nora has agreed to our interview!
Weddingzilla: As an artist, where do you derive your inspiration?

I studied graphic and Fashion Design in Argentina.Painting and designing is a true passion for me. I owe this to my Father, whose love for life,art and the needed inspired much of what I am today as an artist,person and believer.
In my designs I try to display awesome moments in life, colorful places, creatures and most of all things that inspire me to live and let live a better life.

Weddingzilla: How long does it take to produce a pair of Norakaren shoes?
Norakaren: It depends mostly on the design and the variety of pattern and ideas the customer wants to add on them.  I will say that 90 percent of my designs are now custom made.Since the first conversation with the bride,until the shoes are finished and ready to ship there are 2 weeks to 20 days. It is a long but lovely process.

Weddingzilla: What was the most fun or memorable project you've created? 

Norakaren: That is a good question.I will say my first pair. I purchased a pair of vintage satin shoes, very pricey and stunning, a peacock color actually.
But they had a small almost invisible spot on them so,because I'm a neat freak,got a tissue with alcohol to remove the spot when I realized that I was removing the dye as well. I got mad for a minute,mad at myself....then I thought,....maybe I can paint them and see how they work.   Everybody loved them.It was my first peacock pair of shoes.I have to say  that all things turn for good for those who believe.

Weddingzilla: Describe a typical Norakaren bride.  

Norakaren: She is very modern.She is into trends and uniqueness.She wants to be the only one wearing that design,on that special day. 
She is not afraid of color. She is very avant-garde.

Weddingzilla: What can you offer a bride that can't be offered by a big box store or manufacturer?
Norakaren: Many things: my customer service,uniqueness, a desire to meet their needs and make them feel,for real: One of a kind.
Customization sometimes means adding their names to the soles of the shoes or the wedding date. 
I believe that my shoes are not only a piece of wearable art for a particular night but a keepsake to be treasured forever.

Weddingzilla: What advice can you offer brides?  
Norakaren: Once they know what they want it is much easier to decide and create together a dreamed pair of shoes.Like in all other decisions in life,it takes time to decide but once you know what you want nobody can make you change your mind. So,it is a 2 part advice: Know what you want and believe in your designer,they know their products and they want you make you look like a million bucks.Trust them. The result as a combination of both: the Bride's decision and the Designer's  input will make the item magical.

Check out her magical designs! 

Buy my #>

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Royal Wedding Questions That Aren't Being Answered

I swore I'd leave the royal wedding wedding pass and not comment.  The media is making me crazy with all the coverage.  Only two more days, but there are so many questions I NEED answered that aren't being answered or even asked.  Since my brain doesn't work like a normal brain, here are some of the wedding questions that I find interesting and I want answered.  

What if Kate has to pee during the festivities?   As our American queen, Oprah says  "Everyone pees."  Since a lot of women are nervous pee-ers,  did protocol go over the "what if's" with Kate?   Does she start dehydrating herself before the wedding?   Does she wear a Depend?  Or does she just stand there and suffer?   Or is she discreetly escorted to the royal throne room?   ;)  And is there a staff member assigned to hold up her train while she does her business?    OK, you many find this silly, but after working with brides for eons, I know brides worry about this subject.  Common brides usually assign this task to their maid of honor.  I hope Kate has this handled.  Stay away from the tea and coffee and soda, Kate.

And speaking of Oprah, why wasn't she invited to the wedding?  I mean, I can understand the Obama's, but Oprah?   Really?   Do the British want to open up old wounds from when we split from their rule?  

What happens if it rains and the feathered hats and fascinators worn by the guests start to reek and smell?  Nothing smells worse than wet feathers unless its a wet dog.   I can't imagine wet feathers in a musty old palace overtaking the smell of wedded bliss at the reception. 

What if Camilla needs a smoke?   Is there a place she can escape to light up? Nothing is worse than needing a smoke and not being able to smoke, kind of like suffering through a long airplane flight.  And is Camilla pissed that she wasn't able to have a royal wedding?   And will she cringe when the groom remembers his mother during the ceremony?  

Will Prince Harry stay sober during the festivities?  Will we see You Tube videos of him stumbling around London with some woman of ill repute in the early morning hours following the wedding? 

Will the queen have a little shot of  jagermeister to steady her nerves and keep her tiara headache from getting full blown?  Will she wear a tiara under her hat?  

And who will be the first company to produce the copy of Kate's dress?  One of the Moradi family  from Faviana was on the Today show and they have sketchbooks out and ready.  Shout out to the gang at Faviana....hey, Omid!   Faviana is a contender as are ABS by Alan Schwartz and every factory in China who manufacturers anything wedding related.   Or will it be some independent seamstress on Etsy?  

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Royal Wedding Predictions and What the Heck is In the Queen's Handbag?

Are you going to clip on your fascinator or tiara, brew a cup of tea  and watch the royal wedding?  As a wedding blogger, I am obligated to watch so I can critique the wedding and look for wedding trends that will be the buzz of the wedding world.  I've tried to avoid all the pre-wedding hype, but its unavoidable.  The royal wedding is on every news and entertainment program.  All the newscasters get excited when they talk about the wedding.....they aren't invited, they aren't related to the couple.  I don't get it. 

I turned on the Today show and they featured Kate's childhood home.  I'd only had one cup of coffee, so I was only marginally interested.  Actually, I confess, I've only been marginally interested in the entire wedding festivities.  I am interested in Kate's wedding dress because I am obsessed with wedding dresses.  And I'm also interested in seeing what Camill-er will be wearing.  (Where is the R in Camilla???)  The Queen's tiara will captivate me as I am easily distracted by shiny objects. The tiara is real, people....real priceless gems.  Now that's interesting and fascinates me.   And speaking of the Queen, what does she keep in her handbag?  She holds on to it in public like it holds the keys to the royal jewels and all the castles.  Here's my guess:  smart phone so she can play Angry Birds, cigarettes, dog treats and a pair of scissors for ribbon cuttings.   What's your guess? 

My royal wedding predictions:
  •  Humongous hats and fascinators worn by the female guests.  In the USA, we can only liken it to the hats worn at the Kentucky Derby. 
  •  I have no doubt that China will have copies of Kate's dress ready to ship by Monday morning.  It's what they do, it happened when Charles married Diana.  Diana's dress was in great demand, minus the mile long train, but lets face it, no one wore it like Diana.  
  • The flowers will be lavish and over the top.  I'm thinking monotone white flowers, like lilies, roses, gardenias and lots of greenery.   Diana did gardenias, they may be included in her memory. 
  • The bride will be uber thin, nervous, smiling and carrying a large bouquet.  
  • I am thinking veil versus hat, with a long veil as long veils are cathedral length and its being held in a cathedral.  I'm also going with tiara, after all, when you marry into a family with real gem tiaras, you want to wear one every chance you get.  A girl can never have too many tiaras, especially if they are real.  The tiara will be her something borrowed.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vintage Retro Wedding Dress Photos Bride's Spring 1970

This is what a bride in 1970 looked like from Alfred Angelo's point of view.  These photos are from Bride Magazine's spring forecast 1970.   It was an insert ad and I find it interesting that they called the bride...the girl!  In the 60's and 70's, the brides were a lot younger, many of them marrying right out of high school at the age of 17 or 18, so that's definitely a young girl.  

The dresses were designed by Edythe Vincent Piccone, wife of the owner of Alfred Angelo, Vincent Piccione.  The Piccione family still runs Alfred Angelo.    The  Piccione's opened a bridal salon in Pennsylvania in the 1930's and decided there were not enough choices for brides on a budget, so Edythe designed and produced the dresses.  They named the company Alfred Angelo.   I remember long ago hearing why the company had that name, but its somehow lost in my brain. 

There is something so pretty about this picture, its timeless! Long hair was definitely in style in this era., but it was usually worn long and straight. The lace and the veil matched, and the veil was worn over the front  of the shoulders so the lace framed the face.  Angelo called it the Total Look, when the veil and dressed matched.   Loving the bouquet, so simple, it looks hand picked.

High neckline, long sheer bishop sleeves and empire waistline defined the times. Pigtails?  So cute!  It sort of has that Princess Leia look, don't you think? They achieved this look by making pigtails, then twisting them into small buns and topping them with flowers.  Lacy parasols were used instead of flowers, or the parasols were decorated with flowers and trailing ribbons. 

Another high neck bishop sleeve dress, this time just an A-line with chapel train.  Not loving the huge bow on the veil, later in the 80's the bow moved from the head to the rear back waistline, giving us years of butt bows. 

A high necked wedding band collar lace wedding dress with the typical 1960's-1970's bell sleeves.  A pillbox hat worn on top of the head gives height...yikes!  Isn't the flower girl cute in her mini dress?   Daisies were a big fad for weddings, you tucked them in your hair, but they didn't survive the wedding day!  Yellow was a hugely popular wedding color.

Two similar bodied dresses, both with a bateau neckline and empire waistlines.  Check out the groom in the turtleneck, very 60's and 70's chic. 
See the waistline?  Empire again!  Huge bell sleeves, long cathedral train with flowers in the hair.  The groom is wearing a ruffled tux shirt, so Vegas lounge lizard!  Hope that trend never comes back!

Did you notice that all the dresses are snow white?  Also notice that all the wedding dresses were wore shorter than they are today, they came to the top of the foot.  Trains were shorter, they were chapel length and there were a lot of long cathedral veils.     Now, back to the future! 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Boys Will Be Brides, Dressing Men as the Bride

Every day when I opened the door to the bridal salon, I never knew who would walk through the door.  Same for the phone, I never knew what strange request was waiting or what was going to go wrong. 

As women, we can wear pants on a daily basis and not get a second glance.  But men, put them in a dress and they get stared down.  I was naive, I didn't know how many men dreamed of wearing wedding dresses.  I soon learned. 

One day the best looking man I'd ever seen walked into the salon.  He was drop dead gorgeous and built like a fitness model.   He told me he wanted to buy a wedding dress as a gag for his best friend's bachelor/Halloween party. He was so sincere, and since he had no clue how to put on a wedding dress, I told him that I'd help him get into it.   Then he dropped the bomb on me  "I wore a bra so the dress would look right on me."   I did a double take, he was wearing the most gorgeous hot pink bra I'd ever seen.  It was lacy and had a pink bow and pearls on it.  I wanted his bra!   But how did he find that gorgeous bra in his size?  I wanted to ask, but I was literally speechless.  (I'm never speechless!)   Then I glanced down, he was wearing a thong to match...a freaking hot pink thong on the most gorgeous man I'd ever laid eyes on in person!   And, did I mention panty hose?  How he pulled that off, well, I really didn't want to know.  Well, yes, I did, but I was afraid to look anywhere but his eyes and I couldn't find the right words to ask.  He decided instead of a wedding dress, he'd buy a frilly ruffly pink chiffon ballgown.  He loved it, he twirled and he pranced and kept talking about how he was going to be the hit of the party.  I have no doubt.  

Truthfully, I was more than a little bit freaked out. So was the rest of my staff.  So we had a new rule after that, any men in the shop become my customers.  I wasn't going to put them in any harm, should the guy turn out to be a total freak.  Like the guy who walked in barefoot wearing only ballet tights during a snowstorm.  Hello, 911!

About a week later, I met Brenda who was really named Steve.  Brenda strutted into the salon for her appointment, a stunning statuesque blonde in a mini skirt, stiletto heels and blood red nails.  Something seemed odd to the gal helping her, so I stepped in.  Took me all of a second to realize that Brenda was a guy.  Brenda had the best makeup I'd ever seen on anyone. I've worked with some amazing makeup artists, but Brenda was perfection.  So perfect, she looked Photoshopped.  The giveaway was her hands, even though they were perfectly manicured, they were men's hands.  Brenda knew that I knew and asked me to help her dress...then she asked me if I dealt with people like her.  I said  "Honey, I've dealt with everything, so lets get to trying on dresses."  The relief showed in her eyes.  

When I walked into the dressing room, I nearly fainted.  On the pedestal, Brenda had taken out her breast prosthesis, and there were two large breasts staring up at me  They looked so real that it was surreal.  She then asked me to help with her strapless bra, well, OK,  I do this for women every day.  Put on your big girl pants and treat her like a woman.  So I did....until I realized that Brenda was wearing a frilly pair of panties that made her look like a woman in front.  Then she bent over and she was um....extremely well endowed.  I saw all the family jewels.  After that, I looked only in her eyes until she was dressed.  The sight of her bending over is forever burned into my eyeballs......

It took Brenda nearly an hour to get herself back together. She changed her outfit and fixed her makeup because she had a date with her honey. Then we did the paperwork.  My manager saw my husband pulling in the parking lot.  With a big grin on her face, she told him she had a big surprise for him for his birthday and to keep his eyes open.  A few minutes later, Brenda sashayed out the door, my husband holding the door open for the stunning lady.  Brenda winked at my hubby and I watched him checking out Brenda while we girls were falling on the floor laughing at my husband.   What ticked me off wasn't his reaction, it was that Brenda looked so much better than me.  She looked better than all the women in the shop.  Damn!

Brenda and I became friends of sort.  I learned he was really married with small children and his wife allowed him Brenda time....where he became Brenda for a few days.  He and his wife were renewing their wedding vows and yes, he was wearing a wedding dress.  I never knew him as Steve.  

Brenda must have told her buddies, because suddenly, I had lots of men wanting to play dress up.  I had to make a new rule.  If the men wanted to play dress up, they had to rent the dressing room and pay for my time and the money would go towards a purchase.  It cut down on the players who were indulging in their fantasies..  I couldn't have men playing dress up in the dressing rooms because it freaked out the real brides. And I couldn't have my dressing rooms tied up when I needed them for my real brides. 

The one thing I've learned in dealing with man brides is that we are all human and to treat all humans as we'd want to be treated.  But please, no more man thongs!

Friday, March 25, 2011

DIY Bride: All Natural Beauty At Home Spa Day

Do you crave a spa experience before the wedding?  Can't swing an expensive spa days?  You can have a DIY spa day at home using ingredients in your refrigerator at minimal cost and get similar results.  Think relaxation, think results, think saving lots of money you can spend elsewhere.  Invite your besties to come and join you if you want to turn it into a girls spa day.  

Some of these natural ingredients can get a little messy, so wear something old or soak in the tub at the same time you are doing the facials and eye treatments. 

Honey:  Put a warm washcloth on your face to open the pores. Spread honey on your face, leave it on for 15 to 30 minutes and wash it off with warm water, followed by splashes of cold water to close the pores.  Honey will also clear up blemishes.  You can dot it on blemishes and leave it on overnight.  

Honey and Oatmeal mask:  Perfect for acne, mix up one tablespoon of oatmeal and one tablespoon of honey.  Apply to your face for a half hour.  For extra relaxation, cut up two slices of cucumber and put it over your eyes.

Banana Mask :  Mash up one banana and apply to your face.  Leave on no longer than 10 minutes and rinse off.

Avocado mask:  Peel and mash up an avocado, apply to face, rinse off in with warm water in 15 minutes. 

Olive oil:  If your face is really dry, apply some warm olive oil to the skin for moisture, rinse off.

Beer:  Warm flat beer is a great hair rinse, it adds shine and helps repair damaged hair. Apply to hair, shower and rinse it out. 

Lemon juice:  For blondes,  rinse hair with lemon juice, it will naturally lighten your hair in the sun and act as a clarifying agent on your hair.  (removes product buildup)
Apple cider vinegar will do the same for brunettes and redheads as lemon juice.

You can also use lemon juice to lighten up ashy spots on the elbows and heels.  

Mayonnaise:   Use real mayonnaise on your hair to condition your hair naturally, its perfect for dried out hair.  You can apply about a half of a cup of real mayo to dry hair by brushing it on and leave it on for an hour, then wash hair as usual.   The other way is to smear it through your hair and cover your hair (not your face) with a plastic bag for 15 minutes.  The heat that builds up inside the bag will speed up the conditioning.  

Body:  Epsom salts.   Pour 2 cups of Epsom salts into running bath water.   Epsom salts are made from mineral magnesium sulfate which relaxes the nervous system and muscles, removes toxins from the body and reduces swelling.   You can also use it as a foot soak to for aching feet after a long day in stilettos.  

Epsom salts can also be good for exfoliating your skin.  Just rub some into wet skin and rinse off well. Works great on dry heels, also. 

Tea bags work wonders for swollen, puffy, tired eyes.   Wet two used tea bags and place them on your eyes.  You can add a bag of frozen peas over the tea bags, this will help the swelling and puffiness.  (Shhhh....its a Hollywood secret!) 

I've tried them all and they work.   To get the full spa experience, you may need to light aromatherapy candles and play soft music.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Purple and Green Wedding Inspiration Board, RIP Elizabeth Taylor

I came across these amazing earrings from Rhonda Jewelry  on Etsy. I couldn't decide if they reminded me of wisteria or grapes or maybe even purple violets.  I thought they would be stunning on a bride with a strapless dress, just a touch of color and pizazz to match the wedding colors.  Love them!

Then I found these amazing shoes from Norakaren on Etsy.  She hand paints Dyeable wedding shoes!  OMG, I am so in shoe love.  I have a shoe thing and these shoes not only spoke to me, they SCREAMED at me, it was love at first sight.    How totally perfect are they with the earrings?  
Check out all her other designs while you are on the site, I have never seen hand painted wedding shoes in weddings, and I thought I'd seen it all. I  learn something new everyday, this creativity is truly amazing!

Bride Dita Von Teese,purple wedding dress by Viviene Westwood
Top maids Expressions by Forever Bridals
Flower girl dresses by Pegeen
Bottom maid Nordstrom's

I was working on this board when I got the news that Elizabeth Taylor passed away. She was famous for her violet eyes and her love of passionate purple.  So, RIP, Elizabeth, your film legacy and your humanitarian missions live on. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What To Do If Someone In Your Wedding Party Drops Out

It happens to the best planned wedding, a member of the wedding party suddenly drops out and sends the bride into a full fledged panic. The reasons may be bogus or legit, it might be a work conflict, a car accident or a  case of bad bridesmaid.  The reason doesn't matter, you suddenly have a gap in the wedding party!

Its not the end of the world and the wedding won't be ruined.  It's more common than you can imagine. It happened to me. The person got transferred for work a week before the wedding.  There wasn't any thing I could do.  Of course I cried, cursed my fate and cried some more, but it did nothing to remedy the situation.  So, I punted and decided not to replace the missing member.  It was OK.  I had an extra usher and none of the guests noticed.  

So what should you do should this (please God, NOOOO!) happen to you?  A lot depends on the wedding time line when it happens. If its early enough in the planning stages, you can simply replace that member.  If its closer to the wedding, you still have choices....replace or not replace.    

Not replacing is the easiest choice.  You can have an extra bridesmaid, you can have an extra groomsman or usher.  Have two groomsmen walk with one bridesmaid or vice versa.  Or bump an usher up to a groomsman and have him do dual duty.  If it's your maid of honor, have one of the bridesmaids step into that position.

Replacing is trickier at this stage.  If the bridesmaid dresses have been special ordered, someone has to pay for the dress because the manufacturer wants their money.  There is no way the manufacturer will cancel the order.  A special order is a special order in bridal. The bridal shop pays the dress manufacturer or the manufacturer will hold all the dresses.   You can scream all you want at the bridal shop, but it won't help.   You can demand the bridal shop give you YOUR dress, but unless you signed for the special order, put down the deposit and signed the contract that you are responsible for the balance, it is NOT your dress.  The dress belongs to the MIA bridesmaid.  Its becomes a legal matter and the courts won't be on your side.  

There is a solution.  Talk to the dropout about the dress.  99% of the time she won't want the dress, but you have to make sure she doesn't want the dress.  Offer to pay her back the deposit, then have her contact the bridal shop to tell them that she releases the dress to you.   You will then be responsible for paying the balance of the dress.  If your replacement is willing to pay for the dress in full, your replacement pay you for the dress.  You can offer to pay half of the dress for her because she's doing you a huge favor of stepping in at the last minute.  The key is communication between the dropout, yourself and the bridal salon.  

If the dropout is a groomsman, he can simply rent a tux.  Since the tux has to be paid in full when the tux is ordered, it won't be a problem if MIA groomsman doesn't show up.  The tux will just stay in the back room.   Again, the payment WON'T be transferred, the tux belongs to whomever ordered it.  Its the legality thing.
Your wedding won't be ruined if someone drops out.  Don't waste a lot of energy twittering, complaining, crying and skewering the dropout.  It's NOT worth it.  Sometimes things just happen.  And it could be worse:   I once had a wedding where all the bridesmaids were arrested for possession after the rehearsal dinner and were in jail the day of the wedding!  And the wedding went on as planned....but I think the friendships were permanently fractured. 

Take a deep breath, it will all work out. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Amy Michelson: Sexy Low Back Wedding Dresses

Amy Michelson is a wedding dress designer that "gets" women.  Not every bride wants to look like a cream puff walking down the aisle.  Brides are a little older, more sophisticated and want a dress that is sophisticated, womanly (not girly) and a bit sexy will find it with Amy Michelson's dresses. 

Brides clamor for dresses with low sexy backs  They don't want miles of covered satin buttons running down the train.   They want a dress that is as beautiful in the back as it in the front.  Amy Michelson gets it and she does wedding dress backs better than anyone!  Her dresses show off a woman's curves, some are bias cut and remind me of a golden Hollywood movie.  Some are more simple than others, but each style demands a double take look.   

Check out more styles at

Awesome Wedding Necklaces, Pearls and Ruffles and Bows!

I came across the Pemberley Collection on Etsy and saw these unusual bridesmaid necklaces.  I can also see the bride wearing them with her wedding dress.  How perfect are they with a strapless dress?  Not only are they affordable, but the colors can be customized to your choice of color.  They can be worn after the wedding with a simple jewel neckline for work or with a turtleneck and jeans. 

I think I like the femininity of the ruffles of them combined with the tradition of wedding pearls.  I think they are sweet and unique.   What do you think? 

Check the Pemberly Collection out!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Applause to Lazaro for A Unique Wedding Dress Design.

Lazaro has managed to bring something into the wedding dress market that hasn't been done before!  Sometimes when I sit through fashion shows at the bridal market, too many of the wedding dresses look alike.  I've often wondered why some of the designers don't get an original thought.  I understand that its a numbers game, if the silhouette is selling, keep doing it.   But this dress is totally original..... I've never seen a skirt like this one.   And for that, I applaud Lazaro.  I've been a fan of Lazaro Perez since he was with the now defunct bridal house, Galina Bouquet.   He is also designing for Tara Keely. 

What makes this dress stand out from every thing else is the organza accordion pleated skirt.  It sort of reminds me of coffee filters fanning out.  The amount of work to figure out the skirt design has to be monumental, as they start out small and get larger as they flow into the skirt.  I'm not sure how this dress would look bustled, but I wish I had the opportunity to try and bustle it myself.  (That's the bridal seamstress in me coming out!)

The beaded belt is a work of art in itself.  I'm quite impressed with the cut of the back bodice, its low and sexy, yet cut to hide a bustiere.  When you've sold wedding dresses as long as I have, you look for features like that.  The cut of the back is super important for a great fit.   This dress ranks 10 stars for cut, fit and originality!

Lazaro Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses Style LZ3117 by JLM Couture, Inc.

Lazaro Bridal Gowns, Wedding Dresses: Style LZ3117

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Irish Green Wedding Inspiration Board

St. Patrick's day made me think of some of the brides we dressed that were married in Ireland in a castle. The after the wedding stories and photos were just breathtaking, especially the photos of them in the green meadows.  They all said that they definitely felt like a princess getting married in a castle and honeymooning in Ireland.  

Here is an Irish wedding inspiration board, featuring, of course, green!

Happy St. Patrick's day!

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