November 25, 2009

Let there be Lace!

Lace is the most intriguing of all fabrics because of the way it is crafted with holes and gaps deliberately woven into the fabric to create an interesting pattern. Cheaper versions of lace are woven into regular fabric, and the holes are cut out of the fabric later. Lacy patterns are often a combination of floral and leafy designs but the options are endless. In contemporary fashion, lace is mainly seen in the lingerie department, although it makes occasional appearances as trimming on blouses and party dresses. Many women stay away from lace because of the myth that lace tends to look dated and dreary but the truth is, there are so many different types of lace made out of completely different fibers such as silk, cotton, linen or synthetic fiber; thus while some types of lace may invoke the vintage spirit of previous centuries, there are other types of lace with a more contemporary appearance.

Lace is usually light weight with a sheer or transparent quality to it, so it regularly used as an overlay with a heavier fabric underneath it. The delicate beauty of lace has resulted in it being used as trimming or added embellishment on wedding dresses. Brides have the option to go for a gown with all over lace, or choose the simpler alternative of lace detailing on portions of the gown such as the hemline, neckline or waist. Lace adds a unique textured quality to garments unlike any other fabric, it is frequently incorporated into many other bridal accessories such as veils, gloves and wraps. Many modern bridal designers add lacy elements to their gowns in an effort to blend past and present trends, resulting in timeless pieces that can be worn for years to come.

November 23, 2009

The Balloon Debate

Are balloons ever really stylish enough for a wedding? Balloons are the most universal decoration used all over the world. They seem to transcend age, gender and social class. I have attended more than my fair share of weddings and seen an overdose of the best and worst of balloon decorations used in the wedding ceremony itself and at the reception hall. Objectively speaking, there are good reasons to use wedding balloons and equally good reasons to run a mile away from them.
The good Balloons are affordable, they have significantly smaller price tags than fresh flowers and involve much less work and risk than candle arrangements. They are an easy way to incorporate the wedding colors into the decoration as they are available in literally every color imaginable. They are also extremely multi-functional, possessing the ability to take on several roles in the wedding d├ęcor, adding up to a great overall saving. Balloons can be use as aisle runners, reception centerpieces or arches and pillars for the couple to stand or sit under. They can even be made into exploding balloon drops that release cascading mini balloons on the couple during their first dance or serene balloon clouds that float above the guests at the reception. The possibilities are endless. Many couples have their friends and family release handfuls of balloons into the air as the couple exits they church, creating a beautiful visual effect which lasts longer than throwing confetti or rice and can be captured better in the photographs.

The bad In all honesty, balloons are terribly reminiscent of clowns and 6 year old birthday parties; by their very nature balloons have a childish quality, so the choice to use them in a formal event is always a risky one. Many people wrongly believe that balloons are easy to handle so they attempt to do the balloon decorations themselves which can result in tacky balloon arrangements. To succeed in pulling off a stylish balloon arrangement, experienced professional help is an absolute must and this will of course cost more money. Balloons have an exceptionally short life span; they can easily be popped by any number of sharp edges that abound in a room full of people such as hats, belt buckles and the eager hands of excited children. In addition, helium filled balloons have the cheeky tendency to come loose and fly away in respectful obedience to the gravity defying gas within them. Finally, regardless of how much experience the balloonists have, wedding balloons only look good in metallic colors and pastels, dark colored balloons seem to look childish no matter how nicely they have been arranged.

Balloons have the potential to look chic and stylish enough for a wedding, but only when they are handled by experts who treat them as delicate pieces of art rather than childish toys.

November 18, 2009

Off the shoulder bridal gowns

Brides tend to flock towards a specific type of gown in their attempts to look authentic, and fit into the generally accepted mould of a bride. Without a doubt,  the strapless neckline would definitely win the popularity award but there are many other necklines available to brides who dare to venture from the norm.

Off the shoulder gowns feature a wide neckline with straps or sleeves that appear to be literally falling off the shoulders. These gowns are very reminiscent of the romantic era of old Hollywood. Brides in the 1950s were particularly fond of this neckline; famous women like Elizabeth Taylor  (shown in the picture above) and Jackie Kennedy (as seen below) walked down the aisle in stunning off the shoulder wedding dresses. This type of neckline offers more coverage to the back and upper arms of the bride as compared to completely strapless dresses. They are ideal for women who prefer not to have completely bare arms and shoulders. The key to choosing the right off the shoulder gown is making sure it is the perfect fit! Despite the fact that it is meant to look as though it is falling off the shoulders, it still has to stay in place right on the edge of the shoulders or at the top of the upper arms. If the fit is anything less than perfect, the straps will keep slipping too high or too low and will ruin the overall look. 

Off the shoulder gowns create the illusion of broader shoulders, so women who are heavier on the top with big arms and very broad shoulders should steer clear of these gowns. Aside from that, they are generally very flattering for most body types; they add a feminine touch to any gown and are a refreshing break away from the standard strapless neckline that is currently dominating the bridal scene.  

November 15, 2009

Birds of a feather

Feathers often make an appearance at weddings, they show up on the hats of the guests, as part of the hair pieces for the bridal party, on shawls, purses, shoes and even on the bridal gown itself! When executed properly, feathers add an air of polished elegance and high class sophistication. The character Carrie Bradshaw of SATC wore a full bird on her head for her on screen marriage in an attempt to look and feel the part of a truly stylish bridalista. Several of the top designers featured feather embellishments in their bridal collections for late 2009 and early 2010. Some of the dresses such as the peacock feathered gown by Monique Lhuillier shown below are avant garde pieces that are interesting to look at and admire but aren’t a practical option for the average bride to actually wear down the aisle. But the feathered gowns by Ysa mokino and Romona Keveza prove that it is possible to make use of feathers in a tasteful way to enhance the appearance of the garment rather than cheapen it.

For winter brides, feathered wraps and shawls add an extra layer of warmth protecting the bride and her party from the harsh elements, and keeping them 

stylish at the same time!   

November 10, 2009

Dreaming of a white winter...

I'm ever drawn to unusual combinations of bright and fun colors, but my latest interest is completely void of color; all white bridal bouquets. They seem to be appearing in all the recent celebrity weddings like Milla Jovovich, Khloe Kardashian and Ivanka Trump. The white bouquet is appealing because of its simple beauty; it looks ultra chic and stylish without being too loud or over done. An all white bouquet can consist of a mixture of several different kinds of flowers in different shades of white, giving each bride the chance to create their own unique version of the monochrom
e bouquet.
The downside to having a white bouquet is that when the photographs are taken, it is easy for the bouquet to blend into the white wedding gown and fade away from notice. For this reason many photographers and wedding planners strongly advise against white bouquets unless the bride intends to wear a bright colored gown, but there are ways around this; such as choosing flowers that are a significantly darker or lighter shade of white than the bridal gown. Alternatively, incorporating flowers with bright colored centers or even adding non floral elements to the bouquet can make a big difference. The miniature pine cones added to the winter bouquet shown below help to add texture and light to the bouquet, giving it a life of its own and making it stand out more against the white wedding gown. Some brides choose to wrap the handle of the bouquet with a bright colored fabric thereby adding a splash of color and contrast which translates beautifully in the photographs

For more photos of white bouquets visit my page

Photo credit Photos by Carlos Andres Varela and Allan Zepeda, Claire Barrett Photography, Ksenija Savic Photography, Echard Wheeler Photography Azul Photography, Kari Kochar Photography

November 5, 2009

Maid to love!


We've all heard the horror stories of bridesmaids having to wear awful dresses that they couldn't wait to take off, burn and then grind the ashes! Frilly contraptions with dollops of ugly lace, cheap satin and horrendous sleeves are now a thing of the past. At Nordstrom, their bridesmaid collection is full of chic and modern designer dresses that combine great silhouettes with amazing color choices. Thanks to their current sale, their prices have been completely slashed bringing several stylish gowns to under $100! Some of them even as low as $40.

Does it get better than that? Yes it does; their online wedding shop allows you to browse through their entire collection and view the most up to date price reductions without leaving home. What I love the most of the Nordstrom website, is the dress guide which is a saving grace for all women; it clearly spells out the different body types and the best dresses that flatter each body type. Every woman needs a dress guide like that!
Why spend thousands of dollars on designer bridesmaid dresses when you can get the exact same labels at astoundingly lower prices? At the sale prices,  the total cost of all the bridesmaid dresses together would be less than the price of one dress at other bridal stores. All the dresses shown are under $100.

November 3, 2009

All things bright and beautiful

As I searched through the mountain of information available on the internet, I came across a photo that caught my eye; the bright colored floral spheres adorning the aisle at a wedding.  I was drawn to the photo because the colors were bold and attractive and were unlike most wedding decorations I've seen in the past; the usual were often pale pastels.

The article I published on my page today The bold and the beautiful displayed several different ways to add splashes of color to the wedding aisle without spending a fortune. Bright colored decor adds a  breath-taking quality to the photos as the bride is bound to stand out more when her pale gown is contrasted against bright colors.
Several of the photos feature multi-functional pieces that can be used both at the wedding ceremony and at the reception party later. For extra savings, flowers can be avoided all together and can be replaced by other bright colored pieces such as Chinese paper lanterns,  pillar candles or petals. Whenever candles are used as aisle runners, an appropriate flame guard must always be used to avoid the fire hazard of open flames.  Real petals can actually become very slippery when walked on so it is always best to have them on the sides of the aisle rather than in the center. See below for more affordable ideas on how to add  color to your aisle decorations.

November 2, 2009

FABRICATED. Understanding bridal fabrics: taffeta

When brides go in search of their dream gown, they want to have a good time. The last thing they need is a thunder storm of unfamiliar words and terms that make the whole process seem tedious and confusing. Keeping up with the endless combinations of fabrics involved in a wedding can be quite overwhelming, but it no longer has to be thanks to my fabric encyclopedia otherwise known as FABRICATED.

Taffeta is a crisp woven fabric with a medium sheen and fine cross rib. The word TAFFETA always reminds of me of sweet and chewy taffy, and the fabric is just as yummy as it sounds! It is said to have originated from Persia, although the main producer of taffeta today is India. It was originally woven from fine silk, but modern versions of the fabric make use of synthetic fibers such as nylon too. Some versions of taffeta are deliberately creased or crinkled for a more aged effect. It usually catches the light in a dramatic way with its quiet luster, and makes a hushed rustling sound when the bride moves. The firm nature of taffeta makes it the perfect choice for brides who want a more structured look for their gowns. Here are some of my favorite taffeta gowns.

To read more of my bridal articles, visit my pages on