Event & Wedding Planning

Bridesmaid Dress Bliss

I’m venturing into new territory with this post, but I felt inspired as I looked through pictures from my dear friend’s wedding. Bridesmaid dresses are always an interesting, sometimes polarizing, topic. The bride (usually) wants her maids to look and feel beautiful, but also has to marry (teehee) that with her own vision for the bridal party.

To make things even more difficult, the process of choosing a bridesmaid dress is no picnic either. It can be overwhelming to search through hundreds of styles, colors and materials just to get to a shortlist of options to try on. Then, on top of that, the lack of sizes and colors available forces you to choose a final dress based on a one inch square color swatch and a sample that could be three sizes too big. Oh, and let’s not even address the fact that these dress designers are playing some kind of sick joke on all of us ladies with their sizing. Whatever your dress size, in bridesmaid land you might as well add two sizes or more.

With all of these variables at play to produce a potentially disastrous experience, I feel its just as important to share when they all work together in perfect harmony! Gotta share the good to balance out the bad, right?

The good comes in the form of Love Lane, a ‘simple chic’ line created by Ivy & Aster. For this wedding, a few of us ladies ventured to Bella Bridesmaid in Bethesda and the bride, being wonderfully low maintenance and lovely, set us free to choose the dresses we so desired. We had eyed the Love Lane line prior to arriving, so we knew they’d be a contender, but once we tried them on, everyone was sold. The line offers seven dress styles and two fabric types in an array of colors, all available to view on their website. In our case, we were wearing dresses, of which there were three options, in one of three colors. I chose the Tori style in Champagne and couldn’t have been happier! Here is the dress picture from Love Lane’s website:

Photo from Lovelane.com
Photo from Lovelane.com

And a full length shot from the wedding:


So cute, right? It was a bridesmaid-frock trifecta: flattering, comfortable and it had POCKETS! It just doesn’t get better! Oh wait, it does. I forgot to mention it was under $200!

All three styles of dresses were extremely flattering and the colors went together beautifully. I’d highly recommend the line to any bride hoping for a classic but effortless look for her bridal party. I’d venture a guess that the line was designed to be mixed and matched as the dress styles all complement one another and the range of colors offer at least two options of every hue.

A few tips for any ladies considering this dress:

  • The sizing of this line is a bit more forgiving than others, yet another reason why its so wonderful! I purchased the Tori one size up from my usual dress size, despite the saleswoman’s insistence that I go two sizes up, and it fit like a glove. I didn’t have any alterations, other than hemming, done to the dress.
  • Like most bridesmaid dresses, these run long. It will likely require hemming and since there are three layers of fabric, instead of the typical two, it could be a bit more than a typical hemming job.
  • For a small charge, you can order thick straps which can be a fun and functional addition for the reception.
  • Like most bridal shops, all members of the bridal party must submit their dress order before the entire order can be placed. Make sure all bridesmaids are aware of the production time on the dresses so they don’t delay the order.

Now, the only catch is that Love Lane is available exclusively at Bella Bridesmaid stores, but with more than 40 locations it shouldn’t be too hard to find one near you. Trust me, you won’t regret it!


Spring-sational Centerpiece

I hosted an impromptu Easter dinner the other weekend and due to its somewhat last minute nature, I found myself running around a bit more than I would have liked! This was the first time we hosted anyone in our new apartment and despite the fact that we’ve been there for 5 weeks now, I still haven’t managed to get things in order! After a bit of scrambling, I was able to get the place presentable and prettied up a bit for our guests!

The quickest and in my opinion, easiest, way to add some pizazz to any get together is to create a simple flower arrangement. Many people can find flower arrangements intimidating, but really all it takes is a little bit of elbow grease and a whole lotta willingness to experiment.

I prefer more of a romantic, vintage look (think Anthropologie catalog), so I tend opt for shorter containers and more voluminous flowers. Hydrangeas are a permanent fixture in my household and I was so excited I was able to find ranunculus at my local Trader Joe’s. They can be hard to come by!

DSC_0411 DSC_0410 DSC_0400

20130403-110341.jpgFlowers from Trader Joe’s ($3.99 – $5.99) | Assorted tumblers from World Market – ($3-6) | Chevron coasters from World Market ($14.99) | Anthropologie Lacework coasters ($6)

This particular arrangement took about 5 minutes and cost me $25. It is simple to recreate for any occasion, from a dinner party to a bridal or baby shower. Why spend a fortune at a florist when you can just DIY?

I also made these fun little gift boxes which would make an adorable party favor. Full DIY details to come…



Skirt the Issue

There is no shortage of gorgeous wedding gowns out there. See here, here, oh and here. OK, we know this. But, I am always on the lookout for fresh approaches to wedding day fashion. While the concept of two-piece formal wear is not a new one (those midriff baring skirt and top combos from prom still haunt me), it is a fairly new idea for bridal fashion. And there are some pretty delightful options out there right now!

Tulle is taking over. It’s even begun to make a name for itself outside of the bridal fashion universe and stores like Ann Taylor and BHLDN are catching on. These two skirts, considered wedding separates, are downright dreamy.

ann taylor tulle ball skirt
Ann Taylor Tulle Ball Skirt | $350
BHLDN Tulle Tiers Skirt | $800

To achieve a more traditional look, consider one of these two options which offer a trumpet silhouette and the always coveted ballgown look.

ann taylor duchess satin ball skirt
Ann Taylor Duchess Satin Ball Skirt | $350
BHLDN Beatific Ball Skirt | $280 on sale from $800

Love the idea of a skirt, but not sure what the heck to put on top? Depending on your style and the level of formality of your wedding, you can pair a skirt with almost anything. A halter corset top from BHLDN, a sequined tank from Neiman Marcus or a chiffon tiered top from Ann Taylor?

With prices ranging from $300 to just under $1,000, this option may or may not save you some money, but will allow you a bit more freedom to create a completely unique, one of a kind look.


Untamed Petals by Amanda Judge

I’ve had my eye on Amanda Judge’s designs ever since I was an engaged lady myself. I was an avid fan back when all she had was a pretty little Etsy shop to peruse. And, peruse, I did. I fell in love with her whimsical, feminine headbands, hair accessories, belts and other accessories. Which is why I am so excited that her company, Untamed Petals, now has not only an accessories and jewelry line carried at more than 30 stores, but a collection of fabulous frocks, too.

With about a dozen dresses to choose from, soon-to-be brides can find the perfect rehearsal dinner or bridal shower dress. It isn’t easy to find a white dress for a reasonable price, particularly this time of year! Not a bride? Don’t worry, these party dresses are perfect for a cocktail party, girls night out or just a date night! Check them out! While you’re visiting the world of Untamed Petals, be sure to check out all of the stunning jewelry and bridal accessories, too!

Wear this dress if you’re envisioning a more casual bridal shower or rehearsal dinner. I can see this being a boho-chic summer staple, too!

On the Fringe | $78
On the Fringe Dress | $78

If you like to show a little more skin and appreciate unique detail and texture, this is such a fun choice for a rehearsal dinner.

Garden Party Dress | $89

We all know about my love affair with peplum, so it is no surprise that this is one of my favorite choices. The illusion neck, sweetheart neckline and crisp white color make this dress perfection. I might just have to buy this one!

White Haute Party Dress | $89


Rehearsal Dinner Dressing

I’ve put together plenty of posts on wedding day attire. However, as I’ve been oohing and aahing over holiday dresses, I realized that I’ve yet to include anything about dressing for a rehearsal dinner. Sure, the big day is the primary focus, but a bride is still the main attraction of her rehearsal dinner (sorry grooms!).

Your rehearsal dinner allows you to have a bit more fun with fashion choices. There are very few times in a woman’s life in which she is going to have all eyes on her; two of which are her wedding day and rehearsal dinner. Looking fabulous is a must. Wearing white is not required, but I tend to gravitate towards lighter colors even in winter. After all, how often does a lady get to wear a white dress?

The good news? During the holiday season, there is an onslaught of white, ivory and sequined things to choose from.  Here are a few of my favorites which are ideal for a rehearsal dinner, but I’ve also got my eyes on them for New Years!


BCBG: SAS Strapless Evening Dress & Aveda Pleated Cocktail Dress (both $368)
J Crew: Collection Framed Bow Dress | $398
BHLDN: Horizon Dress | $380 & Twinkle Dress | $280


Winter Wedding Warmth

All of you Winter brides are likely nailing down all of the final details for your impending nuptials. One of those details? What to wear to keep you warm when you’re exchanging your vows or snapping pictures with your sweetheart. It can be a challenge to find the perfect finishing piece that is both functional and fashionable, but I’ve rounded up some gorgeous options.

Embellished, Ladylike Cardigans

One of the easiest solutions to staying warm on your wedding day is adding a cute, stylish cardigan. To keep from looking like you threw on grandma’s sweater over your gorgeous wedding gown is to find a cardigan that complements, not competes with, your wedding gown. A cropped style will be best, as it won’t interfere with the skirt or detract from your overall look. Go with a white, ivory or pale pink, depending on your dress color or opt for a cardigan in one of your wedding colors. Look for feminine details, such as bows, embroidery or sequins to add some pretty pizzazz.

BHLDN Colony Club Cardigan | $280
BHLDN Colony Club Cardigan | $280
Madame a Paris Cardigan from Yoox | $85
Madame a Paris Cardigan from Yoox | $85

Faux Fur

If you’re more of a glamour girl, then you’ve gotta break out the faux fur. Count your lucky stars that this season, faux fur, particularly in white, is a popular trend, so you will have no shortage of jackets, vests, stoles and boleros to choose from. There aren’t too many limitations with this look, since the fur is an obvious addition to your overall look, not just an accessory. However, stick to shorter styles, as a long fur jacket will compete with your dress. If you’re planning to wear a fur piece for the ceremony, I’s go with a classic white to keep with the bridal theme. But, if you’re donning this warm weather accessory just for photos, have some fun with it. Go with a brown or even a light gray. One must: Avoid colors that are not natural. A light pink fur stole might sound pretty in theory, but in practice, you’ll look like a wanna be Playboy bunny…wearing a bunny.

A gorgeous bride rockin' her winter white fur. (Photo from Dragonflight Photography via Style Me Pretty)
A gorgeous bride rockin’ her winter white fur. (Photo from Dragonflight Photography via Style Me Pretty)
Calvin Klein Faux Rabbit Fur Jacket | $138
Calvin Klein Faux Rabbit Fur Jacket | $138

Whatever you choose, plan to have something on hand other than your groom’s tux jacket, even if its just a pretty pashmina. Comfort is key – and trying to exchange vows with chattering teeth might prove more difficult than one would like!

Don’t forget to check out Carine’s Sample Sale TONIGHT starting at 5pm! First come, first served so get there early to save 50-75% on gowns by Monique Lhuillier, Carolina Herrera, Rivini and Marchesa!


DC Bridal Happenings

This is a big week for brides to be! DC’s best bridal boutiques are pulling out all the stops for the remainder of 2012. You won’t want to miss these upcoming events, sample sales and trunk shows.


White Thursday Pop-Up Sample Sale
TOMORROW – Thursday, November 29th from 5-8pm
The Presidential Suite at the Westin Georgetown
More details here.

Styling Night Featuring Erin Cole Accessories
Thursday, December 6th from 5-8pm
Appointments aren’t necessary, but RSVP is requested
(202.333.6162 or info@hitchedsalon.com)

View Erin Cole’s latest and greatest jewelry, veils, headpieces, belts, sashes, hair flowers and more and receive 10% off all accessories during the event! Choose from awesome accessories including this gorgeous belt.

Carine’s Bridal Atelier

Junko Yoshioka Trunk Show
Thursday, November 29th- Saturday, December 1st
Appointments required (202-965-4696 or info@carinesbridal.com)

Known for unique silhouettes and asymmetrical cuts, if you’re looking for a one of a kind dress, make an appointment. If you’re looking for a totally on trend peplum gown, the spring 2013 showed three peplum gowns.

Peplum gown from Junko Yushioko

Sample Sale
Friday, December 5th
No appointments necessary. Dresses are first come, first served.
More details to come but get this on your calendar!

The Bridal Salon at Saks Jandel

Year-End Sample Sale
Saturday, December 1st through Monday, December 24th
Pre-sale Friday, November 30th
Walk-ins are welcome, but special order requests require an appointment.
(301-652-2250 or thebridalsalon@saksjandel.com)

There will be more than 60 gowns on sale, with all designer collections included in the promotion. Ladies, if you’ve dreamed of donning Vera or Oscar, on your wedding day, this is one sample sale you cannot miss. Gowns from Reem Acra, Peter Langner and J. Mendel are also available. You can snag discounts ranging from 20% off for new Spring 2013 collection dresses up to 75% off on dresses from past seasons. Hours are Monday-Saturday from 10am-6pm.

Photo from The Bridal Salon at Saks Jandel

Hitched White Thursday Sample Sale

Who needs Black Friday when brides have got White Thursday? Hitched is throwing the best post-Thanksgiving sale a bride could ever ask for! They’re taking over the Presidential Suite at the Westin Georgetown on Thursday, November 29th from 5-8 pm to showcase 30 of their best sample gowns. The best part? Every gown is going to be marked at just $1,500! And you’ll be able to choose from dresses from some of the industry’s top designers including Amsale, Christos, Lela Rose and Modern Trousseau, saving thousands of dollars.

Here is a sampling of a few of my favorite gowns you’ll find at the White Thursday Sample Sale:

Christos Nevine
Christos Gretta
Amsale Penelope
Amsale Blair
Judd Waddell Tiered Organza Ballgown

You can view all thirty gowns here. Peruse the selection and see if any of the gowns are exactly what you’ve been looking for and be sure to RSVP via email or call 202-333-6162 to secure your spot. If you’ve had your eye on a specific gown that just so happens to be part of this sample sale, you won’t want to miss it!


Beloved BHLDN

I love Anthropologie. I love weddings. Anthropologie’s spin on weddings? See BHLDN. They’ve been open for a year and a half now, but the gowns they’re churning out just keep getting better.

You don’t go to BHLDN for a traditional bridal gown. You go to BHDLN for something special and completely unique. A BHLDN bride is a bit alternative, a tad ethereal and a whole lot of romantic. The BHLDN line is all about simple silhouettes adorned with unexpected, unique details. Each dress has a touch of old fashioned charm mixed with modern details to make one positively perfect bridal creation. Here are a few of the bridal dress I’m swooning over:

Aguille Gown | $1,200
Blossoming Weir Gown | $1,800
Burnished Organiza Gown | $1,400
Golden Strata Dress | $850
Pleated Fantasy Gown | $3,600 on sale for $2,000

The only challenge with these dresses is that the only physical stores are in Chicago and Houston, meaning that unless you are able to visit one of these locations, you’ll be buying a wedding dress without trying it on first. However, BHLDN accepts all regular priced unworn merchandise within 30 days for a full refund and has a comprehensive sizing chart on their website. On the flip side, this is an excellent benefit for a bride on a short timeline. You can get a gown within a week, which is virtually impossible to do at any other bridal retailer unless you purchase a sample dress on the spot.

BHLDN also offers gorgeous bridesmaids dresses, shoes, jewelry, veils and headpieces, and, of course, party dresses. Do yourself a favor, bride or not, and peruse all of the beautiful things BHLDN has to offer!


Bridal Headpieces

Bridal headwear has seen a major evolution in the past few decades. We’ve come from the tulle monstrosities of the 80s to a wide selection of delicate, sassy and romantic veils, birdcages and headpieces. I love that there are so many styles to choose from and am a proponent of choosing multiple headpieces and creating different looks for the reception and ceremony. A bride’s wedding is the one event at which outfit changes are completely acceptable for us non-Hollywood folk, so why not hair accessories too?

Cathedral viels have a special place in my heart and always will, especially since I wore one on my wedding day. However, some of the more playful, whimsical hairpieces are catching my eye. I’ve seen a few lately that make me wish I could pick a new wedding day look every week.

BHLDN has a wide range of hair accessories, some much more expensive than others. These hair clips add a pop of pizazz to a basic updo. If you envision yourself as a classic bride, these are right up your alley aisle.

BHLDN Bracken Clip | $42
BHLDN Les Bijoux Hairpins | $400

Birdcage veils’ popularity has surged in the last few years. They are a fun alternative to a classic veil and while most brides are convinced they can’t pull off the look, almost anyone can with the right dress. Mermaid, fit and flare, trumpet and sheath look best. A birdcage competing with a ballgown tends to be a bit much.

Brenda’s Bridal Veils via Etsy | $109

I’m gushing over this bejeweled headband. The epitome of effortless elegance, this headband complements an updo or loose waves. Simply gorgeous!

Untamed Petals Poppy Double Headband via Etsy Shop | $145

1 2 3 4