Wedding Attire Guidelines

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Tuxedo I'm always a big fan of including a dress code on wedding invitations. Guests that live in your area might be able to guess the formality based on the location, but out-of-town guests won't have a clue! Save everyone from embarrassment of being under- or over-dressed by adding a little line on the bottom of your invitation with the suggested attire.

  • White Tie (channel your inner Downton Abbey) Men: Tuxedo with tails, a white vest, and a bow tie. White gloves are appropriate for dancing. Women: A formal, floor-length evening gown, preferably in a dark color.
  • Black Tie Men: Traditional tuxedo, preferably with a black bow tie and cummerbund. (yes, you'll look like a maitre d', but so will everyone else) Women: A long dress or a formal cocktail-length dress in a dark color.
  • Black Tie Optional / Formal Men: Tuxedo or dark suit. Women: A long dress or a formal cocktail-length dress in a dark color. (think little black dress)
  • Semi-Formal Men: Suit and tie, either light or dark depending on the season and time of day. Wear darker colors for evening, lighter colors for daytime. Women: Cocktail dress or other dressy dress.
  • Casual Men: Dress of khaki pants with a button-down shirt or polo shirt. Women: Sundress or even capris and a cute top. (If it's a beach wedding, use "Beach Casual")

For even more attire guidelines, check out EmilyPost.com's Attire Guide.

Steampunk Themed Photo Shoot

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Last summer, I had the honor of working with Ann at Premier Bride Magazine to create a steampunk-themed photo shoot for their Winter/Spring 2015 issue. The magazine is out now, so we are finally able to share the photos with you! Not only did we get to shoot at my alma mater, Flagler College, our photographer is a fellow alum too. It was amazing working with such a talented team of wedding pros on this shoot: zach•thomas•photography, Jade Violet Wedding & Event Floral Boutique, Beautiful Faces by Erin, Jill Stonier, Professional Makeup Artist, Bridals & More, Take One ProductionsFlagler College, Brooch the Possibilities, LLC St Augustine FL, The Panama Hat Company of St Augustine, Men's Wearhouse, Southern Charm Events, First Frost Designs and Simply Delicious Cakes.

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

Premier Bride Magazine - Zach Thomas Photography

And here is a great behind-the-scenes video to show how it all came together! It was so fun to think outside the box a bit for this shoot.

Pantone Announces 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid

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Pantone 2014 Color Of The Year

Yesterday, Pantone announced the 2014 Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid. According to the press release,

"Radiant Orchid blooms with confidence and magical warmth that intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination. It is an expressive, creative and embracing purple—one that draws you in with its beguiling charm. A captivating harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, Radiant Orchid emanates great joy, love and health."

If you don't work in a design-related industry, you might wonder what the heck the "color of the year" is exactly.

"For more than a decade, Pantone’s Color of the Year has influenced product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design."

pantone radiant orchid bridesmaid dress

So next year, as you are strolling through the mall and see lots of this color everywhere, think back to this blog post and say, "Ahh, I get it!"

The photo on the right is an example of a bridesmaid's dress from Dessy in Radiant Orchid. Will you incorporate this color into your wedding? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Bridesmaid Robes As Pretty As Your Girls Are

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plumprettysugar I had the most delightful package arrive this week - our friends at Plum Pretty Sugar sent a sample of their beautiful new robes!

They have all sorts of gorgeous options that would be great gifts for your bridesmaids. Most popular are the knee-length kimono style robes, and there are lots of great prints to chose from.

But don't stop there! They also have tank/lounge pant/robe sets, cover ups, and all sorts of other loveliness in their shop.

Stop by their Flickr page for a glimpse at real live brides and bridesmaids showing off their Plum Pretty Sugar attire.

2013 Wedding Trend: The Great Gatsby

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I remember reading The Great Gatsby for the first time in high school. I was in love. The imagery is still so vivid in my mind, and I re-read the novel at least once a year. So it's safe to say that the day the new movie staring Leonardo DiCaprio, Toby Maguire, and Carey Mulligan opens on May 10th, I'll be there. But I'm also loving the 20's inspiration we are seeing in fashion, decor, and yes, weddings. It's easy to take a theme too far in a wedding, and the wedding ends up looking like a costume party. But there are ways to incorporate touches of a theme without making it too "theme-y." Here are some examples:

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A classic lace dress, embellished with a vintage (or vintage-inspired) belt, flower or other accessory.

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And speaking of accessories, how about some beautiful chandelier earrings? And these feature Emerald, the 2013 Pantone Color of the Year.

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Touches of gold, silver, crystal, diamonds and pearls - playing up the decadence of the era.

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This cake could be very modern, but the gold accents play up the Jazz Age feel.

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These gorgeous linens, lit underneath the table, add texture that is reminiscent of 20's fashions. And the dangling crystals... need I say more?

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This ceremony area is definitely a statement! Without the chandeliers, this could take on a number of styles. But the gold and crystals really add opulence.

240661173807173697_r2Mk5WX6_c Adding feathers and rhinestones to your bouquets is another nod to the Jazz Age influence, but these additions look beautiful in many styles of bouquets.

For more inspirational photos, and for the sources of the photos featured in this post, check out our Great Gatsby/Jazz Age/Roaring 20s Inspiration board on Pinterest. And if you haven't read the book, get thee to a library or pick up a copy for your Kindle on Amazon!

Custom-Tailored Shirts and Ties For Your Groom and Groomsmen

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The rented tux is pretty standard for weddings. On occasion, it might be a suit instead. But men's attire doesn't vary that much from wedding to wedding. Have you considered having the dress shirts custom-tailored to go with the rental?

For the grooms, this is a great way to have a special memento of the wedding day. And did you know that a special fabric can be sewn to the under-side of the cuffs, so that we you're out there dancing and rolling up your sleeves, you have a stylish surprise! Or check out the groom in the photo - he and his groomsmen all wore these great Gator shirts under their Air Force uniforms.

As a special touch, have his monogram embroidered on the cuff.

If you can't afford to buy custom shirts for all the groomsmen, think about having ties custom-made. Not only is that a great way to get the exact color or print you are looking for, but it's a great groomsman gift.

Whether buying shirts for all the groomsmen or just the groom, you'll need accurate measurements. There are also a variety of fits and collar types, and your tailor should be able to help you make selections based on body type. There are also fabric choices - not only in color but also thread count. Similar to buying sheets, higher thread counts tend to be softer.

A top-notch tailor will help you through all these decisions. If you are in Jacksonville, we recommend that you visit The Tailor Shop for expert guidance.

Pearls For Your Wedding - Or Everyday

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Even though Florida isn't always considered "The South," I have always felt like a Southern girl. And as such, I know that a strand of pearls goes with everything, from a business suit to a pretty sundress to jeans and a sweater at a football game. Pearls are timeless, classic, and versatile. There are three key pieces that should be in every girl's jewelry box:

  • A classic single strand necklace (16" to 18" flatters most women.)
  • Pearl stud earrings (7mm is a good size for everyday use.)
  • A strand of colored pearls  (my faves are pink! Other popular options include gold, black, and gray.)

Then add in some little extras:

  • A super-long strand that can be knotted, layered, or even wrapped into a bracelet (Coco Chanel loved  the 60" rope of pearls, and was quoted as saying "Every woman should have ropes  and ropes  of pearls!")
  • A pretty pearl pendant, hung from a sterling silver chain
  • A multi-strand bracelet embellished with some sparkly jewels

On your wedding day, you may want something simple that can become a family heirloom, or you may want something extravagant. We were recently introduced to Pearl & Clasp, a jewelry company located in New York's Diamond District that specializes in - you guessed it - pearls and clasps. Here are some pretty options beyond the basic strand of pearls, although they do those too!

Another service they offer is pearl restringing. Imagine taking a family heirloom necklace that is a bit dated, and having it restrung into a new piece for your wedding! Or, they could add a beautiful new clasp to your necklace to make it unique.

As a special bonus for our readers, Pearl & Clasp has offered a special discount of 20% off any item on their website (use promo code Heather20). They also offer free restringing with the purchase of a clasp, and shipping for orders over $175 is free as well.

What kind of pearls will you wear on your wedding day?

Why Are Diamonds So Expensive?

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The other day I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Stuff You Should Know, when a topic caught my attention. Diamonds. I love these sparkly beauties as much as the next person - in fact, since my birthday is in April, the diamond is my birthstone. Lucky girl! The podcast talked about lots of cool stuff about diamonds, beyond the 4C's and two-month-salary hype we hear about constantly in the wedding industry. If you're in the market to buy a diamond, or just want to know more about the rock sitting on your left hand, check out this episode/article!

Prior to the 1930's, diamonds were rarely given as engagement rings. The N.W. Ayer advertising agency created the De Beers "A Diamond is Forever" ad campaign in 1947, and transformed the diamond market into the giant it is today.

According to the article, "The only reason why we pay so much more for diamonds today than for other precious gems is because the diamond market is controlled almost entirely by a single diamond cartel, called De Beers Consolidated Mines, Ltd., which is based in South Africa."

So guys, you can thank De Beers for creating the expensive rings that your girlfriends drool over!

Be sure to check out the article on HowStuffWorks.com for more cool information, including stories of the supposedly-cursed Hope diamond, shown here. (photo from SmithsonianScience.com)

How To Tie a Bow Tie

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Let's face it; most men do not know how to tie a bow tie. But on your wedding day, do you want to look like a high school senior in an adjustable-strap, pre-tied tie, or do  you want to look like James Bond and impress your friends with your bow-tying skills? With a little practice, you can feel sophisticated and dashing in your tuxedo. Here is an illustration we found on Google to help get you started:

David's Tuxedos posted these tips over on their Facebook page:

1. Change the length of the bow tie if needed. A longer length is needed if you want a larger bow. 2. At the beginning, one end of the bow tie should be longer than the other by a few inches. The longer end should be on your right side. 3. Cross the longer end over the other end. 4. Bring the longer end underneath the shorter end and then bring it out from the center. 5. Fold the shorter end horizontally. 6. Place the longer end over the shorter end. 7. Fold the longer end horizontally. 8. Insert the longer end through the loop at the back of the shorter end. Pull both ends gently to tighten the knot.

Need more help? Check out the Bow Tie Tutor app for iPhone, or the How To Tie A Bow Tie app for Android.

Wedding Dress Shopping Tips

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Jasmine F459 Dress

It's here! The day you've been waiting for since you were a little girl. The day you FINALLY get to put on a wedding dress for the first time!

Before you start shopping, select your wedding date, venue(s), and level of formality for your wedding.  If you will marry in a house of worship, be sure to ask about any restrictions they have - for example, some churches will not allow bare shoulders.
Once you've made an appointment at a bridal salon, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Don't be afraid to try on a variety of styles and looks.  The dress you don't like on the hanger may look the best on your body!
  • Think about your personal style - if you are a fashion-forward trend-setter, a classic/traditional dress may not be the best choice for you.
  • Bring or wear appropriate undergarments, if you have them already (strapless bra, etc.) Also remember that the sales person will have to help you into the dresses, so it's probably not the best time to wear a thong or other revealing items.
  • Also wear shoes in a similar height to those you'll want to wear at the wedding.
  • Beware of too many opinions.  While your first instinct is to bring lots of friends and family members, their opinions may alter your feelings about a dress.  Bring one or two people with you when you are first trying on dresses, then have the rest of the group join you once you have your decision narrowed down to 2 or 3 dresses. Or, ask special people like your grandmother and future mother-in-law to help you choose accessories, like your veil, jewelry, etc.
  • Take your time. Don't feel rushed or pressured into making a decision right away.
  • Choose the dress that makes you feel amazing - not what other people tell you that you should get.

Bridemaids' Dresses from Target

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Did you know that Target now offers bridesmaids' dresses?! It's true. I haven't gotten to see one in person, but they have some cute and relatively inexpensive styles on their website. Here are some examples, all priced at $69.99:

All 9 styles come in a variety of colors. So if you are looking for a budget-friendly option for your 'maids, this might be it!

Why Do Brides Wear White?

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The white wedding gown has been worn for centuries. Egyptian brides wore layers of pleated white linen. In Rome and Greece white was worn because it was the color of celebration. But white wasn’t always an easy fabric to find. It was a difficult color to achieve before bleaching techniques and was very hard to maintain. Wealthy brides then wore white to exhibit their prosperity. So for many generations brides would just wear their best dresses.

On February 10th, 1840, Queen Victoria took weddings took the next level. Victoria’s train was so long it took twelve train-bearers to get her down the aisle, and her cake was said to be three yards around. She made the white wedding gown the dress to emulate, not because she was the first to wear one, but because hers was the first royal wedding to take place after the invention of photography. Brides all across England finally had a wedding dress to imitate after.

The Queen wasn’t necessarily known for her beauty, but was stunning on her wedding day. Her presence convinced the world that every bride can be breath-taking on her day.

Newly Maid - Recycle Your Old Bridesmaid Dresses!

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I got a great tip from one of our former coordinators, Lauren, about a great alternative to leaving all those old bridesmaid dresses hanging in your closet! Check out NewlyMaid.com! They accept dresses from ALL manufacturers including bridesmaids, mother of the bride, social occasion and prom dresses. The dress must be in good quality condition with no pulls, tears, stains or other blemishes. All zippers and clasps must be in good working order.

How does it work?  You request a mailer from their website, and then package your dress and send it in.  They inspect the dress, and then credit your account.  You go back to their website, and purchase an awesome new Little Black Dress, like the one shown here, for a discounted rate.

What happens to your old dress? Newly Maid will either recycle the fabric and turn it into a new garment, or they will donate the dress to a charity organization.

As you are cleaning out your closet at the end of the year, why not make some extra room and ditch the old dresses?

Wedding Gown Tips

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While I was attending the Association of Bridal Consultants' annual conference last week, one of the sessions was called "All About The Dress."  Here are a few tips from Sally Lorensen Conant of the Association of Wedding Gown Specialists I thought I would pass along:

  • Never hang your dress by the shoulders. Use the loops inside the dress that are stitched to the side seams to avoid stretching and sagging.
  • Never use a wire hanger for your wedding gown - consider a pretty hanger like the one shown below from Ten 23 Designs!
  • Most gown shops provide a breathable bag for your dress. If they don't, purchase one. You never want to store your dress in plastic.
  • Know what fabric your dress is made from, so you (or your wedding planner) will know how to handle spills on the wedding day.
  • Even with professional steaming, you might get a few wrinkles in your dress.  If you have a portable steamer, be sure to use a towel or sock to prevent water spatters from getting on your gown.

A Woman Can Never Have Enough Shoes

"Why is it that women are so obsessed with shoes?" This is a question that many men have pondered probably since the 1800's. Sure it might be a little bit stereotypical. But who cares. Shoes are great. Feet are the one area that stays slim even if the rest of you adds on a few pounds. That could be one reason why women love them so much. Another is that there are so many different styles of shoes. They can make a simple outfit look stunning, and they are just plain pretty. The best occasion for shoe shopping is when it comes to your wedding. Depending on the location, theme, or style of your wedding. There is a shoe out there for you. Here are some examples of the various routes you can take.

Flats

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Flats are a great choice if you are having a simple wedding, or especially one on the beach. Sand is never easy to walk on, and when there is a crowd of guests looking your way, the last thing you want to do is trip or sprain an ankle by wearing a pair of heels. Also, this is a terrific alternative to walking barefoot, if you want to prevent the sand from getting stuck between your toes.

Sandals

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If your toes want a bit of breathing room, then sandals are a great decision for wedding shoes. They can be casual and elegant. They are also a great way to show off your dance moves.

Boots

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For all you country girls out there, there's nothing better than a good leather boot. They will also protect you from any creatures if you are planning on having a wedding in a location such as a ranch or a big meadow.

Peep Toe

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A popular shoe for brides is the peep toe heel. It shows off your brand new pedicure and also gives your toes some room to breathe. For summer weddings, that's definitely a plus.

Pumps

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The classic pump has gone a long way. More and more you see brides with brighter colors such as the above royal blue. Red and yellow are popular choices as well.

Words of Wisdom from Randy Fenoli

I recently attended an event in Orlando for wedding professionals featuring none other than Randy Fenoli, star of Say Yes To The Dress and Fashion Director at Kleinfeld Bridal. At the end of his presentation, Randy opened the floor to questions.  I asked, "What is the one thing you wish every bride would do before their first dress appointment?"  After the shouts of  "wear underwear!" from every seamstress and bridal shop owner in the audience, Randy answered the question quite simply: bring  in  pictures!

He suggests pulling  a few pictures (don't get carried away) from magazines of dresses that you like.  He said he can tell a lot from a picture - and it's not always about the actual dress.  It might be the fabric, it might be the look on her face.  So don't be afraid to bring in some ideas when you make your first appointment to try on gowns.

Randy has a new book coming out in November, which you can pre-order on Amazon.com.  It will have tons of his tips - and will feature only photos of real brides in real dresses in every shape and size.  We can't wait to read it, Randy, and thanks for helping make every bride beautiful!

Dull to Dainty: Top Wedding Hair Accessories

So your wedding 'do is all picked out and ready to go. Now what? Whether it's an extravagant feathery flower or a delicate headband, these hot wedding hair accessories will be sure to liven up your style.

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Depending on the hairstyle, this feather flower idea is perfect to stick right into the knot of this up-do.

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A more simple accessory would be this crystal hair tie. It really holds these curls into place and is just the right size to not draw too much attention away from this exquisite hairstyle.

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Windy days are the worst. Especially when it comes to your hair on your special day. In this case, an elastic headband is a great choice to keep your hair tamed, while also looking 100 percent gorgeous.

Wedding Veils 101

Historically women wore veils on their wedding day to hide their face from the groom before they were married, but today veils are more viewed as a bridal fashion accessory. There are many different types of veils to choose from, for example: Blusher:

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Also known as a birdgecage veil, the blusher veil is very short and has only one layer of material. It falls just below the chin and complements any style of dress.

Chapel Veil:

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This type of veil is considered more formal then the blusher and is made from two layers of material. The first layer covers the face during the ceremony and the second layer extends to the floor. This type of veil works best with wedding dresses that have a longer train and are more formal.

Fingertip Veil:

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This type of veil is made with either one or two layers of material. The length of the veil extends to the bride’s fingertips and looks great with formal, floor length gowns.

Flyaway Veil:

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The flyaway veil is less formal and is made from several layers of material. This veil is worn short and falls just below the bride’s shoulder blades. It can be worn with less formal dresses that are short or ones with no train.