Friday, August 29, 2008

What Does Black Tie Really Mean?

So we’re having a little debate in my house. What exactly is Black Tie? We were invited to a wedding and the bottom of the card had “Black Tie” printed on it. We figured evening gown and tux, but then we were told by a friend that the bride said a black suit was fine.

So Dave decided on a black suit, and my evening gown became a fun (and knee-length) party dress.

Then through an email exchange we learned that a black suit is no longer appropriate and that a tux is required. After talking to Dave and looking at what some of the magazine’s have been showing as formal - red carpet looks - I thought that a formal black suit with a “fancy” tie would be fine for Dave and I can still wear my party dress (which I really want to wear).

But the debate goes on… can a guy substitute the classic tuxedo and bowtie for a nice black suit and tie?

If you put “Black Tie” on your invitation what would expect/want your guests to show up in?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Shoe Rules

Now that we’ve taken care of the undergarments, let’s focus on your feet. It is so important to buy comfortable shoes for your wedding day. That doesn’t mean unattractive, and there are ways to make fabulous but uncomfortable shoes more comfy. After all, you’ll be standing and dancing in them for over 6 hours so comfort should play a factor in your purchase.

I chatted with shoe expert Meghan Cleary to get some great tips and advice when it comes to wedding shoes. Here’s what she had to say:

First, let’s debunk some common myths:

NO – your shoes do not have to match your dress
NO – you do not have to wear white, satin shoes
NO – you do not have to wear heels
NO – you do not have to be in pain on your wedding day

Instead of thinking about colors and heel heights, think about what mood you want to be in for your wedding day. Elegant? Funky? Casual? Retro? Go with shoes that have something extra for your big day — an extra layer of elegance, a beautiful bauble or two, or a really fun color.

Once you’ve decided what shoes to wear, pick three days in a week where you will be at home doing some otherwise mundane task – vacuuming, reorganizing your closet, or kvetching at your fiancĂ©, and don your wedding shoes. Not only will you put a little bounce in your step as you buzz around the house, and no doubt will also send you into a bridal reverie, you will simultaneously identify potential trouble spots, and break them in.

Comfort Tip 1
If you are wearing leather shoes, spritz your shoes down with a mist of water to get them a little damp before you put them on. Wear them until they are dry. This will activate leather’s natural organic give and let them form to your foot.

Comfort Tip 2
Tailor your shoes just like a suit. Identify any area that is the slightest bit painful or gives a rub – this will be a major source of pain after 6 hours of getting married, dining, dancing. So let’s prevent the pain shall we? For an area inside the shoes where it rubs, take a bit of Dr. Scholl’s For Her Rub Relief Strips and stick it to the inside of the shoe. This will head off any potential blistering. You can use Rub Relief strips for the back of the heel as well, and for the entire length of the shoe use DSFH open toe insoles—they have a soft velvety side and a massaging gel—you can use them in other shoes and they will not ruin the insides of your wedding day shoes.

Comfort Tip 3
If you are wearing ballet flats – please put an insole in – I know it seems like they should be totally comfortable but do not succumb to the ballet flat myth. Instead pop in a DSFH 16-hour insole. These are lavender and fabric and are very cushy.

Get more shoe advice and shopping tips on Meghan’s site:

A note from me: Remember to score the soles of both your shoes and the groom's to prevent slipping. And one more thing: It’s okay for your groom to see your shoes before the wedding. He’s just not supposed to see your dress!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

How to Avoid VPL

I know this is going to sound strange, but let’s be honest, we’ve all seen it… visible panty lines or VPL. On the subway this morning I couldn’t believe the tight, ill-fitting pants and the horrible panty lines on so many women.

A few weeks back on Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood (the best show on television – 9am Sunday mornings) had a segment on Spanx, and how they have revolutionized the underwear and shapewear market.

While nobody wants visible panty lines any day, you definitely don’t want them on your wedding day. If your dress has a voluminous skirt you probably won’t have to worry about this issue. But, if your dress is a more fitted – sheath, trumpet, mermaid – silhouette you need to test out a few different types of undergarments during your dress fittings to make sure that not only are the bulges and bumps smoothed out, but that no one can your panty lines.

Ask the salon where you bought your dress if they carry a line of undergarments or shapewear, and also visit some local lingerie stores or lingerie departments at a department store. Before you buy anything find out what the return policy is so you can return items that don’t fit properly.

Here are some links to recommended shapewear and undergarment stores online:
Spanx by Sara Blakely
bare necessities

The product featured above is Marry Me Footless by Spanx. This $18 shapewear product offers tummy control, smoothes thighs, eliminates visible panty lines and has a soft waistband so it's comfortable. It's available in black and pearl.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Wedding Album Advice

If you can believe it, after five years of married life I still don’t have a wedding album. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. I just didn’t make it a priority after the wedding. I saw all my pictures, which I love, but once I saw them I sort of focused on our post-wedding life.

If you opted for a package deal with your photographer you will probably get your album by your first anniversary. If you chose an a la carte option of services, be careful you don’t fall into the trap that I did.

With an a la carte deal, you’re not locked into a specific album style or number of photographs, but then you must stay on top of the process and watch the dollar amount. Your photo budget can easily get blown by adding more and more photos to your album.

Once you get your proofs, or a CD of images, go through them with your fiancĂ© and pick the ones you want for your album.  After you’ve picked the photos you want in your wedding album, and the ones you want framed, ask both sets of parents to select pictures for their own albums.

If you think you’ll have trouble finding the perfect first anniversary gift for your new husband, remember that paper is the traditional first anniversary gift. Wouldn’t the perfect paper gift be your wedding album?

The photo above was taken by Jenny Ebert. Jenny is based in New York City, but can travel to any location around the world.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Eco-Wedding Invitations

Since your invitation will set the tone for your wedding, it’s important to find something that fits its style. A wedding in a ballroom on a Saturday night deserves a more formal wedding invitation, than a Sunday morning wedding at a local restaurant.

For brides and grooms looking for a green component to their wedding, it’s also important to find an eco-invitation.

Over the past few years more and more stationers are printing sustainable invites. One eco-stationery company I love is Bella Figura. This upstate-New York firm works with several (extremely talented) designers and have a beautiful collection of eco-friendly invitations.

The company can also print your complete wedding stationery wardrobe so all of the elements complement each other – place cards, menu cards, programs, table cards, etc.

In addition to being stylish and good for the environment, Bella Figura is also good for your wallet. The company runs several promotions at a time that either save you money or allow you to give back to a worthy cause. Click here to see their current promotions and here to view their wedding invitation gallery.

The invitation featured above is the Pavilion design by Amy Graham Stigler.
Since your invitation will set the tone for your wedding, it’s important to find something that fits its style. A wedding in a ballroom on a Saturday night deserves a more formal wedding invitation, than a Sunday morning wedding at a local restaurant.

For brides and grooms looking for a green component to their wedding, it’s also important to find an eco-invitation.

Over the past few years more and more stationers are printing sustainable invites. One eco-stationery company I love is Bella Figura. This upstate-New York firm works with several (extremely talented) designers and have a beautiful collection of eco-friendly invitations.

The company can also print your complete wedding stationery wardrobe so all of the elements complement each other – place cards, menu cards, programs, table cards, etc.

In addition to being stylish and good for the environment, Bella Figura is also good for your wallet. The company runs several promotions at a time that either save you money or allow you to give back to a worthy cause. Click here to see their current promotions and here to view their wedding invitation gallery.

The invitation featured above is the Pavilion design by Amy Graham Stigler.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Random Wedding Planning Tip

I had an idea for a great post today, and to be honest, I completely forgot what it was, so here’s a random wedding planning tip:

While you’ve been overseeing all of the details of your wedding for the last year, on your wedding day delegate all responsibilities to your wedding planner (if you hired one), vendors and bridal party.

On your big day you should not be setting out seating cards – you can alphabetize them the week before and pass them off to your planner, location manager, florist or bridesmaids.

On your big day you should not be trying to figure out why table 6 doesn’t have the right amount of place settings – give the final seating chart to your catering manager who will set the tables.

On your big day you should not be trying to figure out how to get to the ceremony site – if you’re ordering a limo or other car, confirm the order the day before and if they’re running late don’t panic, just ask your wedding planner, mom or a bridesmaid to call and find out what the hold up is.

On your big day you should let all the little things fall to the wayside and just enjoy the special moments – seeing your groom for the first time in your dress, saying your vows, and sharing your first kiss and dance.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Wedding Blog: Eco-Chic Weddings

Planning a green wedding is much easier (and more stylish) than it used to be. There are so many designers – mainstream and indie – who have created everything from eco-invitations to eco-attire. You can also decorate with organic flowers and serve organic food. But where should you go to find all of these green goodies?

Emily Anderson, author of the book, Eco-Chic Weddings (and a Martha alum) has the best resources green brides are looking for. The blog, appropriately named Eco-Chic Weddings, will give you ideas of how to make your wedding eco-chic, as well as where to find products both online and off.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One (Bridesmaid) Dress 30+ Ways

As you already know it’s not so easy to find the perfect bridesmaid dress. Between each girl’s personal style and size, a bride could spend months searching for one that will make everyone happy.

Butter by Nadia offers one dress – in over 20 colors! – that can be worn in over two dozen ways. The Signature Wrap Dress comes in jersey, satin or as a stain ball gown, so you’re sure to find one that matches your wedding's palette and style.

Click here to visit Butter by Nadia and view the different design possibilities. Remember, it’s okay for your girls to wear different style dresses, as long as the colors are either the same or complimentary.

I think this dress is truly one of the few bridesmaid dresses your girls will be able to wear again and again.

Butter by Nadia is sold online and at retailers across the country. The designer will be opening a store in Brooklyn in the coming months, but you can click here to find a store near you.

P.S. - And if you’re looking for an inexpensive wedding gown, these dresses are available in white too.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Bridal Showers: Recipe Cards

Speaking of showers, many bridesmaids ask guests to bring recipes with them, or send them in advance, in order to create a recipe book for the bride.  I love this idea, and if you’re planning on doing this at an upcoming shower, or you just need to organize your own collection, here are my two favorite recipe organizers:

This lucite Recipe Box from Jack and Lulu ($50) has sectioned tabs and 50 monogrammed recipe cards. There are several patterns that you can choose from, and the lid has a small tray to hold a recipe card while you're cooking.  You can also add the bride's monogram to the decorative front card and each recipe card for a personal touch.  

russell+hazel’s Recipe Binder Set ($60) includes a binder with 15 section tabs, 40 recipe pages, 50 recipe cards and 60 menu planning sheets. If you’re looking for something a little smaller, russell+hazel also make a Recipe Card Keeper ($40).  This mini-patent binder holds 50 recipe cards and 20 page protectors so you can display the card while cooking and not have to worry about food getting on it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bridal Shower Assembly Lines 101

I went to a shower over the weekend – baby, not bridal – but they’re really similar. The mom-to-be sat in a chair with all of the guests around her (about 35 women) and surrounded by gifts. Some gifts were in big boxes and others were baskets filled with multiple (5 or more) items.

There was one person to write down who gave what and another person was on garbage detail, but no one helped the guest of honor unwrap anything. So after sitting for over 2 hours in a small room with no food or any entertainment (except watching the gifts being unwrapped) I’ve decided that an assembly line is so important when you have so many gifts to unwrap – for a baby or bridal shower.

Some of you may remember my post last July about the assembly line debate I had with a fellow bridesmaid at a shower. (The bride had agreed that we should have an assembly line to help her open gifts.)

I understand that people want to see the gifts opened and the idea of the bride opening each one herself, but if you are having more than 20 guests at a shower and each person has brought at least one gift – and sometimes a basket filled with multiple items – it can be boring for your guests to sit there for longer than 20-30 minutes.

And there’s nothing wrong with an assembly line – your ‘maids are there to help you and you still go through each item, just at a faster pace. Here are the roles you’ll need filled for a gift unwrapping assembly line: 1-2 unwrappers/hand to the bride, 1-2 packers to repack opened boxes, 1-2 ‘maids on garbage detail, 1 person to write who gave what, 1 person to make the ribbon bouquet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Giving the Groom a Say

Many of you may already be familiar with my obsession with pigs-in-a-blanket. I had a conversation with a colleague earlier today who said she knew of a couple where the groom basically told the bride that he will not marry her if they don’t serve PIBs at their cocktail hour.

I’m assuming to some extent he was kidding, but it’s important to note that if your groom is really adamant about having something at the wedding – ceremony or reception – you should really consider letting him have this one detail. Of course if he wants something that’s truly offensive you don’t have to acquiesce to his request. (I always wanted to use that word. I love Pirates of the Caribbean – but just the first one.)

Think about it. Your groom probably doesn’t care what type of flowers you select and he’s probably letting you choose his attire and most of the other details, so let him have something if it’s really important to him. If you’re not sure about it, then sleep on it. Don’t automatically think it’s a bad idea. And don’t automatically say no.

After all, it’s his wedding too, right?

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Are Wedding Garters Still in Style?

In the last 10 years, I think I’ve been to 50 weddings, and of that 50, maybe five to ten brides included the garter toss at their reception.

I’ve seen very wild grooms literally put their heads up the bride’s dress and remove the garter with their teeth. And I’ve also seen brides just give the groom a tossing garter. Similar to having a tossing bouquet specifically for the tossing ceremony.

I know garters are still a big part of a bride's wedding day attire, but I don’t think I wore one, though I did receive one at my shower.

I found this crazy site with the wildest collection of garters, appropriately named,, and then wondered why, after spending $40 or more on a garter, would you just throw it away, so a bunch of crazy single guys can dive on the dance floor for it? Or would you buy a less fancy one for the toss?

The garter featured here is $14.99 at Target. I was really surprised (in a good way) at the selection they had.

But I guess my main question is: Are you/Would you/Did you have the garter toss at your wedding? And if the answer’s yes, are there any rules you have set: Your groom can’t use his mouth or hands? The song has to be…

Just wondering.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wedding Blog: Elizabeth Anne Designs

I’m sure you know that there are so many wonderful wedding blogs it’s hard to keep track of what everyone is writing about. So to help, I want to start a series on them. I’ve already listed some of my favorite reads, but I think it’d be a great idea to do a summary of the ones already listed as well as new ones I come across. So here goes…

The creators of the blog Elizabeth Anne Designs (EAD) find unique items and amazing images to inspire brides. In addition to their beautiful inspiration boards they also have a great amount of vendor resources.

They just launched the EAD Library filled with vendor recommendations and reviews. While I always recommend getting vendor suggestions from friends and relatives, you can trust that Rebekah and Ami know what they’re talking about.

Here’s the link to the Elizabeth Anne Designs blog and the EAD Library.

P.S. – If you come across a great wedding blog please email me the link.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

RSVP Card Formats

I’m not a big TV watcher, I’m more of a movie person, but this weekend we discovered the British comedy, Coupling on BBC America on Demand. It is the funniest show I’ve ever seen, and if you don’t get it on demand, you can rent season one through four on Neflix.

In one of the episodes we saw, each character received a wedding invitation and when they zoomed in on it I noticed something interesting. The last line read: RSVP and then a phone number followed.

While most wedding invitations come with an RSVP card and envelope set, I have seen alternative ways to have guests reply to your invite. But what is the most proper form?

I’m a fan of the more formal/traditional style so I always recommend sending an RSVP card/envelope or postcard with your wedding invitation. But I’ve also seen RSVP capabilities on personalized Wed-sites couples create and I’ve also seen 1-800 numbers posted on wedding invites, with directions to call in your reply. Press one to accept, press 2 to decline.

But what do you think? Would you ask guests to phone in or email their replies? Or are RSVP cards the only way to go? (They also make great wedding keepsakes when guests write messages to the bride and groom.)

The RSVP card featured here is the Sweetheart design from Hello! Lucky.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Lela Rose Sample Sale and Shopping Tip

If you can be in New York this Wednesday, August 13th and are still looking for your wedding dress you may want to swing by the Lela Rose Wedding Gown Sample Sale. The sale is by appointment only, so call 212-947-9204 to make one.

Wedding Planning Tip - Remember when you buy a wedding dress at a sample sale, the first thing you need to do is get it cleaned.

Don’t just drop it off at your local dry cleaner, unless you know someone who has used them for their wedding dress and they were happy with the outcome. A gown preservationist/cleaner has experience handling gowns made from delicate fabrics and adorned with beading and embroidery.

If you don’t know the name of a reputable company ask the salon where you bought the dress to recommend one.

Once you get the gown back you can take it for alterations. Since a sample sale dress will most likely not be altered at the salon where you bought it, you’ll have to ask the store for recommendations for a seamstress.

Here are my recommendations for gown preservationists:
Hallak Cleaners
Imperial Gown Restoration
J. Scheer & Co

All three companies work on the national level.

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Cake for Your Wedding Cake

I can admit it. I’m a chocoholic.

And my favorite chocolate is the double fudge chocolate Entenmanns’s cake with the chocolate icing. My Grandma Ruthie always had a box (or two) in her house when we came to visit.

When we started planning our wedding I actually called the customer service department at Entenmanns’s and asked if they would make my wedding cake. They wouldn’t. And they wouldn’t give me the recipe either.

I’ve been looking online for some beach-themed cakes for a story I’m working on and I came across this fabulous cake on Kate Sullivan’s site,

At my shower, in addition to petit fours and chocolate lollies, my sister got me an Entenmanns’s cake – actually four and made them look like one big one – it had "Congratulations Anne & Dave" written on them. But if I knew this one existed, I’m sure I would have emailed her and recommended they get this one for the shower. Or if the groom’s cake could be more about the bride, maybe I would have served this one along with my moon and stars wedding cake by Ron Ben Israel.

Anyway, my point is that when you’re thinking of your cake design – for the traditional bride’s cake or a creative groom’s cake - you should talk to your baker about all the possibilities. Talk to him or her about all of your/his interests and hobbies. A talented baker can turn almost any idea into a delicious masterpiece.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

More Wedding Hairstyling Tips

Here are the rest of Antonio’s wedding day hairstyling tips:

4) A trial should take at least one hour, sometimes the excitement takes time away fast!

5) It may be helpful to have a look at the back in the hand mirror to ensure you are on the same page, so if any changes are to be made you can save precious time.

6) If you are a little unhappy with your trial, ask if some changes can be made at that time and see if he or she can produce a satisfactory result. If you are still unhappy, politely get up, say thanks, pay and EXIT THE BUILDING!! :)

7) Remember not to be worried about hurting the stylist's feelings by going to someone else; it's about you not the stylist. In our field we can't take it personally. All we can do is our best.

BONUS TIP from me: Don’t forget to take photos at your trial of your ‘do from the front, back and sides. Paste them in your wedding planner so you can refer to them on your wedding day.

Don’t forget to check out his blog, Hair by Antonio, for more hair care tips. And if you’re looking for a hairstylist for your wedding, or any day, you can schedule an appointment with Antonio at the Eva Scrivo Salon.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Wedding Day Hairstyle Tips

It's very important to start thinking about your wedding hairstyle early on.  If you want to grow your hair, color it or highlight it you'll need time to let it grow and test out colors. It's not a good idea to show up the morning of your wedding and say to your stylist, by the way, I'm getting married today.

You should meet with him or her a few months before and talk about your ideas. Bring photos from wedding magazines and Web sites for inspiration. If you know that you're wearing a tiara, hair pin or other accessory, bring it with you.

I asked Antonio Gonzales of the Eva Scrivo Salon (and a Vogue magazine favorite) for his tips on how to ensure your wedding day hair is picture perfect. Here's what he had to say:

Your wedding day is special to you and should be special to your stylist. Some women have dreamt of this day since they were girls and others have a more casual approach. With this in mind, have patience and fun while approaching your special day where your hair is concerned.  Here are some tips that are designed with your best interests in mind:

1) If your existing hair stylist does not dress hair for weddings, that's OK, ask for a recommendation in the salon or go to another salon.

2) Always do a trial; there should be no surprises on your special day.

3) Ask the salon if they do complimentary consultations before booking an appointment. This way you can decide if there is a positive energy between you and the stylist. After all, you want to trust the person and be able to be emotional in front him or her without feeling uncomfortable.

Check back tomorrow for the rest of Antonio's fabulous tips. And visit his blog, Hair by Antonio, for more ideas and hairstyling tricks!

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Bridal Showers: Ribbon Bouquets

I think making a ribbon bouquet instead of a ribbon hat at bridal showers have become the norm. Part of every bridesmaid’s shower kit includes paper plates, scissors, a stapler, tape and extra ribbon to ensure that the bride has a beautiful ribbon bouquet for her rehearsal.

I came across a new tool to help make the lives of bridesmaids everywhere easier, and bridal bow-quets prettier.

The Bow-Quet Ribbon Organizer, at, is a sturdy plastic holder that has holes for each ribbon to be easily thread through. In addition to being easy to use it's also affordable - $13.49 – and will last as a permanent wedding keepsake for years to come.

Monday, August 04, 2008

CT Brides: Wedding Dress Sample Sale

For brides based in or near Connecticut, you may want to check out the sample sale next Sunday, August 10th at The White Dress by the Shore. Gowns by Anne Barge, Melissa Sweet, Judd Waddell and Priscilla of Boston (as well as others) are 25-75% off!

The sample sale is from 10am to 2pm, one day only, and appointments are not required, but they are recommended.

In addition to bridal gowns, there will also be mother of the bride, flower girl and cocktail dresses on sale too.

For more information and to schedule an appointment call 860-669-4596. Click here for directions.


Blog Widget by LinkWithin