Monday, July 31, 2006

Trunk Show vs Sample Sale

Bridal Dictionary

Trunk Show. Sample Sale. What's the difference?

Trunk Show - a trunk show takes place at a bridal salon. A designer will bring her entire collection - gowns carried at the store as well as gowns that are not - and meet with brides in order to sell her new gowns. By meeting with a designer the bride will be able to find out what options she has regarding altering the dress - make it strapless, change the colored beading, etc... Most trunk shows will offer a 10% discount on the price of a gown if it is purchased on the dates of the show. Bridal salons will know trunk show dates weeks, and sometimes months in advance, so if there's a designer whose dresses you love, make an appointment as early as possible.

Sample Sale - a sample sale is where a designer or bridal salon sells their sample dresses at a discounted price. Sample dresses are the dresses that brides view and try on in the salon. They are traditionally a sample size - 8 or 10. These dresses have not been worn by a bride at her wedding, but they have been tried on at the salon. They will be dirty and probably need alterations. Cleaning and tailoring is not included in the price of a sample sale dress, so take that into consideration when you buy a dress at a sample sale - alterations and cleaning can add a few hundred dollars to the price.

So, which is better to shop at?

Well, both.

Wedding Tip - Never start your bridal gown search at a sample sale. You need to have time to try different styles on to see what will fit you best. Consultants at a sample sale will not hold a dress for you. It's take it or leave it. And if you leave it, there's no guarantee it will be there when you get back.

So once you've visited a few stores and know what you like and want, check out a few sales and maybe you'll find the dress of your dreams at a fraction of the retail cost.

I did.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Dress

You wedding dress is the most important piece of clothing you will ever buy. It will probably the most expensive piece you buy too.

Think about it. Of all the clothes you own, it is the only dress you will only wear once. You will be photographed in this dress so many times - formal portraits, family pictures and candid moments with your guests - and these images will line the walls of your house.

When selecting your wedding dress have an open mind. Remember that buying a wedding dress is not like buying any other garment. A wedding dress looks much different on a hanger than it will on you, so try on everything the sales consultant shows you.

Start flipping through wedding magazines and wed-sites and pull/print out images of every dress you like, whether it's the style, color, lace, beading - whatever it is, bring it with you to show the consultant at the dress shop.

You may go in thinking you want a sexy, fitted sheath, and wind up falling in love with a tulle ballgown.

The dress pictured above was designed by Monique Lhuillier. Click here for the Monique Lhuillier national trunk show schedule.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Spreading the News

After saying "I will" there are the usual phone calls telling mom, dad, siblings, and close friends the exciting news. But how do you spread the word to extended family and friends?

Sending a save-the-date card will let guests know that you're engaged AND where & when the wedding will be.

Traditionally, save-the-date cards were sent out when a couple was planning a destination wedding, or sent to guests who had to travel to the wedding location. Today, you can send a save-the-date card to anyone, as long as you're planning on inviting them to the wedding.

When selecting a save-the-date card remember that you can be as creative as you want to be. Your local stationery store will have custom cards you can order, as well as ones you can buy off the shelf.

The card pictured above was designed by Iomoi, an online stationery store with a variety of designs for you to choose from.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Wine Country

If you and your fiance are wine lovers, then Napa is the perfect location for your wedding.

When planning a destination wedding, you want to pick a location that is meaningful to both of you, but also a place that your guests will enjoy.

Napa Valley offers more than just a beautiful setting for your nuptials. There are dozens of vineyards for guests to taste local wines, delicious restaurants to eat at, bike tours, spas and balloon rides across the valley.

And when you're putting together your Napa themed guest room gift, be sure to include the Wine Passport, pictured above. This pocket guide will inform guests all about California's Wine Country. Each Passport contains a map of the region, information on the wines they'll be tasting, including the variety of wines and grapes grown in the area, and easy-to-use charts to interpret what’s in a bottle of wine.

The Wine Passport is available at Smarts Co.

For information on planning a wedding in the Napa Valley, visit

Sunday, July 16, 2006

I Dream of Cake

My favorite part of planning a wedding is selecting the wedding cake. Planning the design of your cake is just as important as making sure it tastes good.

Shinmin Li, owner of I Dream of Cake in San Francisco, will work with you to design the perfect cake to compliment the look and feel of your wedding, as well as your reception menu.

Not sure what you want your cake to look like? No problem. You can view a portfolio of cakes, or bring her your inspiration and she'll create a masterpiece for you.

Wedding Tip: Once you set the date and book your reception location, make an appointment with a local baker. Even though the cake won't be assembled till the week of your wedding, it takes months to prepare the final design. You don't have to finalize the design and flavor of your cake at the time you leave a deposit, but by reserving the date early you'll know that your cake will be designed by the baker you want.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Gotta Dance

The best thing I ever did for my wedding was force my fiance, now husband of 3 years, to take dance lessons.

Like most grooms, Dave was not interested in learning the fox-trot, but after a few classes with a private instructor we weren't all that bad.

Your first dance doesn't have to be the traditional hug and sway. You can tango, swing or waltz your way across the floor and impress your guests with your new moves.

Visit a local dance school and talk to an instructor about what you want to dance to. Take at least 6 lessons to make sure you won't be stepping on each other's toes, and practice, practice, practice. Don't forget to practice while breaking in your wedding shoes - there's no superstition about seeing the bride's wedding shoes before the wedding - and get comfortable dancing in them.

Wedding Tip: Have your dance teacher score the bottom of both your shoes and the groom's so your first dance goes off without a slip.

PS - That's me and my hubby dancing to "It Had to be You" by Harry Connick, Jr. We took private lessons with Teddy Kern at Dance Manhattan in New York City.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Beautiful Blooms, Literally

Flowers will be a big part of your wedding. Bouquets, boutonnieres, centerpieces, corsages, posies and flower girl baskets are just a few of the many options available to you.

Donna O'Brien, owner of Beautiful Blooms in Philadelphia, will ensure that your blooms are lush, elegant and above all, beautiful. Elegant Bride magazine listed Donna as on of the best floral and event designers in the country in 2005.

Working with clients to create a unique concept for their entire event, Donna guarantees that your event will have a distinct look and feel, whether it is a small intimate affair or a large ballroom reception.

And when it comes time to toss your bouquet, you may want to save yours (contact floral preservationists Heller & Reid) and toss a "fake" one instead.

View the Beautiful Bloom's portfolio here.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Hold on to your Memories

Everyone will tell you that your wedding day will go by in a flash.
It will.

Before your memories become a blur write them down in a keepsake book.

Me & My Honey is filled with template pages to scrapbook everything from the day you first met to his proposal to your wedding vows and honeymoon. You'll also have room for dozens of pictures and momentos, and can even create your own themed pages: buying your dress, the first dance, cutting the cake.

Here's a keepsaking tip: After the wedding write down every special moment you remember - a laugh you shared with your new spouse or special words from a toast. You'd be surprised how easy our real memories are replaced with ones from a wedding reel.

To learn more about Me & My Honey, click here.

Monday, July 03, 2006

So it begins...

After calling mom, dad and everyone else you know, a mass e-mail to friends is fine, it's time to think about what your wedding will look like. Pick up a bunch of magazines at the newsstand - don't be surprised if your friends get you some - and read them cover-to-cover for inspiration.

Rip out every page you like, whether it's an ad or editorial, and remember that you can like anything on the page - a shoe, a flower, the wallpaper - anything can inspire you.

Since you'll be sticking to a budget, or at least trying to, subscribe to your two or three favorite magazines and pick up random issues over the course of your engagement. Get at least one local magazine (D Weddings, Vermont Vows, Charleston Weddings) and one national issue (Brides, Modern Bride, Inside Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Elegant Bride, InStyle Weddings, Town & Country.) Save the pages you like in your planner and refer to them when working with vendors.

You can subscribe to magazines at

Welcome to From "I Will" to "I Do"

Over the years I've learned quite a bit about wedding planning. Since 1999, I've worked as an assistant at Modern Bride, an editor at Martha Stewart Weddings and owned a wedding service business. I also planned my own wedding.

This blog was created to guide you, a future bride, through the wedding planning process including: my picks for top vendors, must-have products, wedding and honeymoon locations as well as words of wisdom.

From "I Will" to "I Do" will give you inside tips starting from the moment he slips that ring on your finger to beginning your new life together.


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