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Want to Look Like a Princess on Your Wedding Day? Then You Need to Remember These 3 Easy Rules

A royal wedding doesn’t happen often, so when it does, it’s simply magical. It inspires everyone to want to look look like a princess on their wedding day.
 

Back in 2011, when Prince William and Kate Middleton were getting married, I was knee-deep in planning my own wedding. Actually, their wedding happened right at the same time I was planning on dress shopping. Shopping for my wedding dress was an event I had dreamed of for many years, and so I wanted to make the day really special. After all, I did go to school to become a wedding dress designer, so this was more than just a shopping trip.
 

I knew right away their wedding day was going to be the day I shopped for my dress. What better inspiration than to have a royal wedding take place on the day that you shop for your wedding dress? Since the wedding took place on a Friday, and since I knew Saturday’s would be crazy busy for bridal salons, I played hookie and took the day off from work.
 

I spent the night before at my mom’s house so we could wake up watch the wedding together (sweet, right?). I remember very distinctly what a beautiful sunny spring morning it was and waking up at 5:00 a.m. to start watching the live coverage. I got goosebumps when I saw the two princes, William and Harry, in their finest attire, and the moment we all saw the first glimpses of Kate in her dress was truly breathtaking. The Royal’s sure do know how to throw a wedding!
 

My dress appointment was at 10 a.m., which gave us just enough time to watch all the wedding events in London, and then get ready for my own royal engagement.
 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALITY BRIDAL GOWN

romantic garden wedding F.E.A.S.T. at Roundhill Windau Photography

Photo Credit: Windau Photography


 

I knew from the moment I saw Kate that I wanted to look just like her on my wedding day. However, I quickly realized that was going to be challenging for many reasons I explain below. So, brides, if you are watching the Royal wedding on Saturday, and If you want to look like Meghan on your wedding day, don’t go dress shopping…yet. Here’s why…
 

1) The trends have just been set
 

You will be watching history in the making, witnessing a trendsetting moment, and no one in the world, except for a few people, will know what Meghan is going to wear. That means on Saturday, designers all over the world are going to be taking notes and scrambling to create dresses inspired by the new princess. If you go to the store the day of the Royal wedding expecting to find a dress like what you just saw on TV, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one. I certainly was. Notice how many gowns today have sleeves? Guess who set that trend? Notice how dresses today have a more classic elegant vibe and silhouette than a few years ago? Guess why? Kate set that trend and Meghan will set new ones.
 

RELATED: YOUR WEDDING DRESS: HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN YOU’VE FOUND THE ONE?

 

2) You need to wait at least 3 solid months if you want to copy the new princess’ look.
 

There may be one or two designers that can create knock-offs quickly, but if you really want a good variety of dresses to choose from that are royal-inspired, you need to wait. It takes time for designers to design, source, make, and distribute gowns. Meghan’s dress is going to be the most analyzed dress in the world for the next few weeks, if not months, and so, you can rest assured designers are going to be busy making dresses you are going to want and love. You just need to be patient.
 

RELATED: WHO SHOULD HELP YOU SAY ‘YES’ TO YOUR WEDDING DRESS?

 

3) Does the way you want to feel match the way you want to look?
 

Looking like a princess and matching what you saw on TV sounds nice, but is it a reality? If the new princess wears a big, poofy gown, and you want to be comfortable, can you do both? Kate wore a dress with a beautiful long train, but for me, a train wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted something easy and no fuss, so a train (well, I had a small one) was out. Her dress also looked hot and heavy with the sleeves and all that material, and I wanted light and comfortable. Sleeves, though romantic and looked amazing on her, weren’t for me. I do wish I had waited a little while to get a Kate-inspired dress because she set the trend for dresses to have v-necks, which I love, moving away from the strapless sweetheart neckline, which, in my opinion, is overdone.
 

When are you getting your dress? Are you going dress shopping on the day of the Royal wedding? Do you want a royal-inspired wedding gown in any way?
 

Featured photo credit: Nidya Lloyd Photography

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Your wedding dress: how do you know when you found the one?

Buying a wedding dress is one of the most emotional purchases a woman will ever make in her entire life.  We all envision that moment when you put on a wedding dress, look in the mirror, and hear angelic voices serenade down upon you as you realize that this is THE dress. We all envision that moment where everyone is crying as you say ‘yes’ to your dress.
 

This inevitably puts a lot of pressure on the bride to get it ‘right’. Just like with your spouse, you never want to settle, but you also have to be open to knowing that not all brides get that weepy moment…and that’s ok. If you are expecting that moment and will not say yes to any dress until that happens to you, then you are setting yourself up for failure.
 

So we decided to go to the experts and asked local bridal gown shop owners for their insights into helping you find THE ONE.
 

RELATED: WHO SHOULD HELP YOU SAY ‘YES’ TO YOUR WEDDING DRESS?

 

To find THE dress, keep an open mind and trust your consultant

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Before even stepping foot into a bridal shop, brides will do research online or look in magazines, pulling pages or saving photos to Pinterest of gowns they like. In each of these clippings, there’s something about that particular dress that catches the eye of the bride – either the silhouette, the detailing, the designer’s name.
 

Often times the biggest disappointment comes when the bride tries on the dress she loved in the magazine or online and it doesn’t look the same on her. While it’s great to come in with ideas, as it helps to narrow down the focus, it’s also important that you shop with an open mind, for such an occasion.
 

Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon says when a bride comes in “They tell us what they are looking for. We’ll pull out what it is that they’ve asked for.” However, she says, as the women start trying on the dresses they came in thinking they wanted, and start sharing what they like or don’t like about the dress, that’s when you need to start trusting your consultant.”
 

At that point, Pomarico will usually say “’You know, I have something that I really think would work beautifully for you, would you be willing to try?’” She says, the brides-to-be usually all agree “…Because they trust in our expertise and all that we offer. So they’ll put something on and be pleasantly surprised and think ‘Wow! I didn’t really think this would be the silhouette I would really choose.’”
 

Your consultant is also helping you by empowering you to make the decision on your own, by ironically, saying nothing at all. Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck says consultants try to say as little as possible when the bride is on the floor in front of the mirror and in front of her entourage. She says “We don’t ever say ‘Oh, I love that on you!’, ‘I love this detail.’ We just let them kind of figure it out and we can tell if they need guidance. We say ‘Well this one has the lace that you were looking for’ or ‘What don’t you like? What aren’t you loving?’ …and we just have that dialogue to help them figure out themselves.”
 

Here’s a tip. If you have a dress on and the longer you have it on, the longer you find ‘issues’ with it, it’s not your dress. Take it off and move on. If, on the other hand, you have your dress on and the longer you have it on, you are just finding more and more things you love about it, chances are, that’s a good sign it’s a keeper.
 

To find THE dress, don’t try on anything that’s outside your budget

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

I can’t stress this enough that it’s so, so, so important that you do research on what you like and the price point you’re comfortable with, and that you go into the dress shopping appointment with that budget in mind, and that you NEVER go over budget. Why? Because it’s almost guaranteed that the minute you start trying on gowns that are out of your price range, you are going to fall in love with one that you can’t afford.
 

If budget is no issue, then, by all means, go for it. But for many brides, a budget is extremely important. Now, that being said, it’s also a misconception to think that lesser priced gowns are poorly made. The average wedding gown will cost anywhere between $1,200 and $3,500. In that range, you can find beautifully made, beautifully detailed dresses with all the bells and whistles you can think of.
 

But, be wary of the too-good-to-be-true-find-of-the-century dress deal that you find online. Never buy your gown online. Always go to a reputable salon to make sure you are getting what you pay for.

 

RELATED: LEARN HOW TO SAVE HUNDREDS ON YOUR WEDDING DRESS

 

To find THE dress, trust your gut and don’t wait for the waterworks

 

Finding THE dress is a remarkable experience. Pomarico says “It’s really great when you see that moment when they actually try THE dress. You know, when they put that gown on and that emotion comes through, that’s not something you can make up. And after 34 years…I still get the goosebumps.”
 

However, the biggest factor many brides use to determine if they’ve found THE one is whether or not they cry, or their mom cries, or their whole entourage and consultants cry. The reality is most brides DON’T cry!
 

You might be asking yourself “Well, if I don’t cry, how will I know it’s the one?” Pomarico says “You will know. It’s an emotion I cannot describe. But when you experience it, you’ll know.”
 

“Sometimes you get that very emotional bride,” says Pomarico, “And she’s crying and so is her mom, and then we get those who… don’t get that flood of emotion, but we can still tell. They have that look in their eye and that look on their face, and they stand there and they say ‘I don’t want to take this off.’”
 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Howard sees the same thing in her store. “We have people that are crying, then I’m crying, mom’s crying. Then we have girls that are just focused and analyzing. Nine times out of 10 you can tell immediately. They (the bride) stand up straighter, their posture is better, they’re playing with it, they’re sitting down, they’re giving it a full test drive.”

 

Betsy Wise, stylist at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon and owner of Betsy Wise Bridal also in Beacon says everyone is different. “You can tell when someone feels really great, you can see it on their face,” she says. Not everyone has the experience you see on tv. She says “people do find the dress and cry, but that’s not everybody’s experience, and I think it makes people (brides) feel insecure like, ‘Oh I’m not doing it right! I didn’t cry! I didn’t have that experience!’ Everyone is different, and everyone is going to find their right dress in their own way.”
 

Guess what… I was a bride who didn’t cry. Not one tear, but I knew, deep down, it was the one. I didn’t want to take it off. The longer I had it on and started twirling in it, and dancing in it and picking up on all the details and nuances, I knew it was the one and didn’t want to try any more dresses on.
 

So, if you’ve found your dress already, what advice do you have for brides who are still looking?

 

Featured Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

 

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Wedding Bands: What You Need To Know If You’ve Never Worn Jewelry

When it comes to wedding jewelry, the engagement ring gets top prize. The minute an engagement is announced, everyone wants to see “the ring!” However, once guys choose the engagement ring, they also have another important decision to make about jewelry…their own ring.

 

Believe it or not, men have just as many, if not more, choices when it comes to choosing their wedding band than they do choosing an engagement ring. However, unlike women who are used to frequently wearing jewelry, men don’t usually wear any jewelry. In fact, their wedding band may be the first (and only) piece of jewelry they ever wear.

Because of this, some men may feel uncomfortable wearing a ring, not because they aren’t proud to be married, but because it physically feels uncomfortable having a piece of metal on your finger. It does feel different and takes some getting used to.

 

It’s very normal, for men and women, who now have such an important piece of jewelry on their finger all the time to freak out at times and touch their finger to make sure it’s still there. I still do it sometimes, especially in the winter when it’s cold and you’re wearing and taking off gloves all the time.

 

There are several things to take into consideration when buying a wedding band, and so we asked Hudson Valley jewelers to help guide you through the process:

 

RELATED: ENGAGEMENT RINGS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEYOND THE 4 ‘C’s

 

Should I even wear a wedding band?

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

James Matero, co-owner of Jaymark Jewelers in Cold Spring says “wearing a wedding band is the tradition: ‘With this ring, I thee wed,’ so you want to exchange the rings if you are doing any form of a remotely traditional ceremony.”

 

If you don’t want to wear a band, make sure that you have that conversation with your spouse-to-be. It can be a very emotional subject to bring up, so make sure that both parties leave the conversation feeling happy about the final choice. Maybe you wear your ring out, but leave it off at home. Maybe you both forgo rings and get tattoo rings. Maybe you just don’t wear a ring at all. Whatever the case, make sure it’s discussed.

 

“If you’re going to buy a wedding band,” Matero says, “think about it because guys generally don’t wear a lot of rings. This is potentially the first one they’ve worn. Unless they wore a high school ring or a college ring, this is usually the first one. So, they don’t think about what they want in a ring.”

 

How do I start narrowing down my choices?

 

Jocelyn Z. Klastow, vice president of Zimmer Brothers Jewelers in Poughkeepsie, says a good way to start is with a budget. Trying on a few different rings is also a good start. “I encourage guys to try every different kind on, kind of like a wedding dress,” she says. “You may have this thing in mind, and when you try it on, you don’t like it. A lot of times they (men) end up with something totally different than what they thought they would choose.
 

Do you want something classic or trendy? “We are finding that coppery rose-gold accents, along with heavy textured finishes in gold and Damascus Steel are very popular,” says Mateo.
 

That leads to the next point, which is getting a good feel for the types of metal and design choices available for men’s wedding bands. You can get rings made out of old gun barrels, samurai swords, wood and everything in between. Matero says, “There’s everything from rings that look like a baseball, the stitching, to real tree and mossy oak patterns, there’s alternative metal bands that will hold up to anything, and then there are gold and diamond bands.” He says one of the things you should think about is how and when you are going to wear your ring. “A lot of times you can’t wear it to work: An electrician wearing a metal band on his finger, isn’t exactly safe.”

 

Is this ring right for me?

 

First, and foremost, Klastow says it needs to be comfortable. “This is the first piece of jewelry a lot of men will purchase that they are going to wear all the time.” Like I mentioned earlier, it does take a little getting used to, but you want to make sure that it feels good on your finger. Is it heavy? Thick? is it too thin? Does it chafe your finger? You need to have it on for a little while to get a good feel for it. Put your hand in your pocket like you are taking out your phone or your wallet. Does the ring catch on your pocket or does it slip right into the pocket?

 

Another thing to consider is if you want it to match your spouse-to-be’s ring. Remember, rings are going to be photographed as well. Do you want both rings to be white gold, or are you OK with one being white gold and one being yellow gold or a different color metal?

 

Lastly, Michael J. Halpy, owner of Hannoush Jewelers in Wappingers Falls, relates back to what Matero says about usage and how you are going to wear it. Halpy recommends taking a look at your lifestyle and finding a metal that matches. “I’m a big proponent of gold or platinum bands and the reason is because it’s a malleable metal that you can work with, so it can be sized, it can be adjusted, soldered if it cracks…it can be fixed without even knowing.” Other metals can’t be sized or altered as easily. Halpy says, “It takes special machinery to make these other rings that are forged in tungsten carbide or titanium or steel and all sorts of other different alternative metals.” If damage happens in a stronger metal, you need to get an entirely new ring, which, presents many issues, one of which being that the sentimentality is gone. Your ring will no longer be your original ring.

 

Are you going to wear a wedding band? Is there a special metal you’ve had your eye on? If you’ve gotten your wedding band, we’d love to see it to give other guys inspiration.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Jaymark Jewelers

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What is a Bustle and Why Do You Need One?

If your dream wedding dress comes with a train of any length, you need to do something with that train after the ceremony so that you (or anyone else) don’t step on it during your reception. The most common way to do that is with a bustle. A bustle ties up your train bringing it up so that the hem in the back matches the hem in the front and gets it out of the way for ease and comfort.
 

In order to bustle your train, your gown will need to have buttons and hooks attached to it during the alterations process. This is something you want to make sure is done properly and securely, otherwise your train will fall while you are dancing. How do I know that will happen? Because it happened to me. Trust me, the last thing you want to be doing at your reception is stopping every two seconds so someone can rehook it.
 

We spoke to Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, who teaches you everything you need to know about the bustle on your dress and how to hook it.
 


 

Where do the buttons and loops get attached?

 

There are really two main types of bustles: a French Bustle and Traditional Bustle. With either, the buttons are sewn onto the back of the dress and the loops are sewn onto the train of the dress. The difference is that French Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the inside, while Traditional Bustle buttons and loops are sewn on the outside. Each bustle gives the gown a very different look. With Traditional Bustles, Pomarico says, “When I’m bustling a gown, I try to make the bustles (loops and buttons) as discrete as possible because they’re laying on the train, and while it’s open and down, you really don’t want to see them, you just want them to blend into the gown.”
 

How many buttons and loops does it take to bustle my gown?

 

It really depends on the length of the train and the weight of the fabric. Pomarico says two or three is the norm, but sometimes as many as five or more.
 

RELATED: WHAT YOU NEED TO LOOK FOR IN A QUALITY BRIDAL GOWN

 

How do I know my bustle is secure?

 

Soutache Loops Photo Credit: WCHV

A secure bustle boils down to three things: the type of button, the type of loop, and the number of loops. “When I do my bustles,” says Pomarico, “I do them with a Soutache Loop (a narrow, flat, braided loop). It has no stretch to it, it really does hold and I always give my girls extra bustles (loops) because if it breaks from someone stepping on it, I don’t want them then to have to safety pin it up, so I’m always giving them extra.” These loops are also designed in a way where if someone does step on your gown and pull the train, the loop will break without ripping your gown. That’s why it’s always good to have multiple attachment points and multiple loops at each point, so you can easily fix it.
 

You also want to make sure that the buttons are strong ones with metal backs, called Hopper Backs, so that they can hold the weight of the train without breaking or ripping your dress.
 

If you still aren’t convinced, try jumping around in your dress for a few minutes. If the train stays put, you’re good to go.
 

RELATED: WHO SHOULD HELP YOU SAY YES TO YOUR WEDDING DRESS

 

How do I choose the right bustle?

 

The main thing with bustles is that you need to choose the one that complements the line and silhouette of your dress. You never want to break that line. When the bustle is up, your dress should look like it never had a train to begin with. Your seamstress or shop consultant should be able to determine what’s best, or at least have you see it both ways so that you can determine what you like best.
 

How do I bustle my train the day of the wedding?

 

The first thing to remember is to never start with the top middle button. “What’ll happen is if you do that it starts taking these folds and you kind of lose your way, and you can’t really find them (the loops). It’s much easier to bustle from the outside in,” says Pomarico. Plus, she says, “The center bustle carries most of the weight on any gown.
 

“When we start our bustles,” she adds, “start with the furthest one (button) out, and where there’s one on one side, there’s one directly across on the other so that it’s even.” Starting with the outer buttons also helps distribute the weight equally on the sides so it lays beautifully.
 

The best way to do this is to have two people help, so that they are pulling up the train at the same time. When you go in for your final fitting, your consultant will walk you, and whoever else is with you, through the process.
 

Featured Photo Credit: Wedding Connections of the Hudson Valley

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Learn How to Save Hundreds On Your Wedding Dress

Growing up, my dream was to be a wedding gown designer. After I graduated from high school I went to a great college to study fashion design, even interned at a couture London Bridal Salon where gowns were custom made for brides in the shop every day! It was incredible!

 

That experience taught me so much about the world of gown design, not only about what quality means but also about the time and materials needed to make a gown.

 

RELATED: What You Need To Look For in a Quality Bridal Gown

 

When you purchase a regular everyday dress off the rack, more often than not, the materials and construction are such in which it can be easily mass produced, manufactured quickly and made in a way in which the manufacturer and the seller make a profit. Retail prices on regular off-the-rack garments are much more affordable than a custom wedding gown.

 

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Now, you might be thinking that gowns are mass-produced, and I can see why: Hundreds of shops across the country carry the same style from a particular brand. However, those are just samples. Think of them as the floor model of furniture or cars. When you buy a couch or a car, you are not buying the one sat in and tried out, you are getting a new one customized (maybe) just for you. You can’t just walk out of the store with it.

 

Same goes with wedding gowns. With gowns, you also have to remember that because this is a gown worn only once on the biggest and most important day of your life, no detail is missed. The materials chosen are the best. The embellishments and beadwork are done by hand using only the finest beads and crystals, the lace is the most beautiful it can be, and that all comes at a price, both for labor and materials.

 

RELATED: Who Should Help You Say “Yes” to Your Wedding Dress

 

While all that is great, if you are a bride on a tight budget, shopping for a dress can be a source of tremendous stress because it’s a huge purchase that takes up a good portion of your budget. However, there are two great ways you can save money on bridal gowns, which you may, or may not have heard of before. However, they are not foolproof and come with some catches. Here are the pros and cons…

 

Save money on a wedding gown by attending a sample sale

 

Going back to the example of the couch and the car, when stores are trying to get rid of inventory, they put their samples on sale. So, the test-driven cars, the traded-in cars, the floor model furniture that everyone has sat on, the discontinued models, it all goes on sale to be sold to make room for new stock.

 

Bridal gown shop owners do the same, and their sales are called sample sales. The samples that brides have been trying on over the past year or more are going on sale to make room for new stock. Below is a video from a recent sample sale at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon, where we speak to shop owner Charlotte Guernsey and a bride-to-be about the sale.

 

 

PROS

 

What does that mean for you? That means saving a huge chunk of money, sometimes up to 50% or more, and each store does it slightly differently. Guernsey says “a sample sale is when we are clearing stuff off our rack, so you’re going to be buying something that was a sample that other brides have tried on.” She says, “It’s discounted because it has been tried on.”

 

CONS

 

There is a big catch with sample sales. Gowns are sold AS IS! They can’t be ordered in your size. Guernsey says, “We’re not going to be ordering it for your size, so it more or less need to fit you off the rack, but you’re going to get a great deal for it.” Additionally, the fabric may have slight tears or holes from brides trying them on, zippers may be broken or buttons may be missing, and the bottoms may be stained a bit from all the walking.

 

Many stores will list what is wrong with the dress on the tag, so that you are aware of it, and can fix most of the problems. Check with the individual store to see what they charge for fixing those problems. Dresses can be taken in, but because they won’t be ordered in your size, they cannot be taken out…much.

 

Lastly, bridal runs small, so remember that when shopping. The range of sizes can be very limited.

 

RELATED: What Top Bridal Gown Trends Will You See in 2017

 

Save money on a wedding gown by attending a Trunk Show

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

The term ‘Trunk Show’ was coined a few centuries ago when traveling salesmen would go into town showcasing their goods out of a trunk that they would carry around with them. In bridal, “The trunk show is when the company comes with their entire line…that’s not in stores yet. So it gives brides an opportunity…to try their entire line on, plus everything else we have in the store,” says Guernsey.

 

PROS

 

If you are a trend-setting bride, trunk shows are perfect for you. Bridal salon owners typically choose a few gowns from a particular product line to have in their stores and usually do this during Bridal Market, a semi-annual event where design houses and the buyers for bridal salons choose the samples they want to carry in their store. With trunk shows, you get to see the entire line of one particular designer, not just the styles the store carries.

 

Laura Howard, store manager of Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck, says the “designer will ship us about 10-30 gowns that we don’t normally offer… It’s also a really great time to try on gowns that you otherwise wouldn’t be exposed to…They are usually the upcoming season’s gowns or current season not in inventory.” She says it’s also a great way for the store to see what their customers are going to be wanting next season so they can make sure they have what brides are looking for and can get them in that season.

 

RELATED: Highlights from New York International Bridal Week

 

CONS

 

The major con with trunk shows is the discount, ironically. Because the dresses are for the upcoming season, many manufacturers put a limit on the amount the gowns can be discounted. Most of the time, you are only going to be saving about 10%, not like sample sales where you could be saving up to 50% or more.

 

However, 10% is better than nothing. If your dress is originally $1,500 and you’re saving 10%, that’s $150 which can then go towards a veil or alterations.

 

Another con with trunk shows is that if there is a particular designer you are looking for, you need to be vigilant about doing your research to see what stores offer that designer’s trunk show, if they do at all. That may mean you need to travel outside of the Hudson Valley for your gown, which can pose its own set of unique logistical problems.

 

Have you purchased your gown yet? Will you be attending a Trunk Show or Sample Sale? We’d love to hear your story.

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Bridal Gowns

Who should help you say ‘yes’ to your wedding dress?

Shopping for your wedding dress, hands down, is one of the most thrilling aspects of wedding planning. Your dress is so much more than a garment. Your life literally changes in that gown.

 

If you’ve ever spent a night binge watching “Say Yes to the Dress”, you’ve probably seen the excitement that comes when a bride comes in itching to try on all the beautiful gowns. You also know how quickly that excitement can turn to disappointment when the opinions of her entourage crush her dreams as the gown she loves quickly turns into a gown she wants to burn.

 

Bridal Gowns

Photo Credit: WCHV

There is an enormous amount of pressure for brides to find THE dress, self-inflicted pressure to make sure everything about it is perfect because brides know when that music starts playing on their wedding day, all eyes are on her. Let’s face it, with the amount of choices, and new trends coming every season, it can get overwhelming.

 

Dress shopping can be especially hard for women who normally have a hard time making
decisions or who want to make everyone happy. That’s why, when it comes to saying yes to your dress, NEVER follow the rule of the more the merrier. In fact, the less people you bring with you on your shopping trip the better. Top designers and local shop owners agree. Taking more people with you to your appointment adds stress to what should be a fun event.

 

Why is a small group better when dress shopping?

 

Smaller is better for one reason. Clarity. “Less is better.” Antonetta Forzano, Owner of SpecialOccasions & Bridal by Antonetta in Fishkill says “…if you bring too many people, everybody has ideas and they may not have your idea.”

 

wedding gown

Photo Credit: Cynthia Starr Photography

Have you ever heard of the expression analysis paralysis? When you bring more people to the appointment, they all add their opinions and analysis of the dress which confuses the bride and leads her to decision paralysis. She can’t make a move because everyone else’s thoughts are running through her mind…except her own.

 

We spoke to Martin Thornburg, head designer for David Tutera and Mon Cheri Bridal and head merchandiser for Mon Cheri Bridal, who say “Go with some ONE. Not some TWO. You don’t need all that, it can be a very daunting and very exhausting chore to look for dresses…” He goes on to say that “A lot of times brides are led by a girlfriend, and that’s very nice but the issue is a lot of times it becomes more about what the girlfriend wants rather than what the bride wants”

 

“I say to try not to bring more than three people, three people who’s opinions you really trust…Betsy Wise, stylist at Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon says. “The more people you have, the more opinions you have, the more confused it gets, it’s upsetting if you find something you love and your aunt hates it. It just adds extra stress to something that should be a really enjoyable fun experience.”

 

Who should you bring to your first bridal gown appointment?

 

Your entourage is not only about quantity but quality. Tina Pomarico, owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, says “Typically, a lot of girls like to bring their mom. I do find today that they do come with an entourage…but I think those that are most close to them are the people that they should bring.”

 

wedding dress

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

“I think also to bring people that support you…” says Laura Howard, store manager of
Chamonix Bride in Rhinebeck. “Try not to bring people that knock you down. Because at the end of the day, it’s the bride’s decision.”

 

Emily Glass DeGasperis, Owner of Blush Bridal Boutique in Kingston, says “We recommend
that you limit your party to three or less during your visit at Blush…we have found that the opinions of a trusted few always make for an easier decision for you (the bride).

 

What happens if the entourage confuses the bride or the entourage and bride can’t agree on a wedding dress?

 

First, Thornburg suggests that when you go dress shopping, have an open mind “…I would want to be open to suggestions of your consultant,” he says “that is what they are there for, and if you are going to a reputable company or a reputable salon, keep an open mind, you want to try on the different silhouttes, you might be surprised.”

 

wedding dress

Photo Credit: Hannah Nicole Photography

Once you find the silhouette you like and there is still no compromise or agreement from the group, Charlotte Guernsey, owner of Lambs Hill Bridal Boutique in Beacon says “you have to follow your heart. You have to feel comfortable and confident in your dress. At the end of the day it’s their (the bride’s) wedding and they have to feel beautiful. So it is hard especially if a family member is paying for the dress, they want that person to be happy as well.”

 

If you really love a dress, and those around you don’t, first, make sure you are spending your money wisely by looking at the quality of the gown and point out the benefits of the dress to the group. Then, ask the consultant to start adding the bling…the veil, jewelry, headpieces,have them pull your hair up, so you and those you are with can see the full picture. At the end of the day, it’s your wedding. You have to wear it, you need to like the way you look and feel in
it, and those around you need to understand that.

 

Howard says “it would be so nice to have a million people say ‘you know what, that’s your gown’, but it doesn’t matter, it’s up to them (the bride) entirely.”

 

We’d like to know about your dress shopping experience. Who did you bring? Did they all agree? Were there conflicting ideas and if so, how did you eventually end up choosing your dress?

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What you need to look for in a quality bridal gown

Purchasing a wedding dress is unlike any dress purchase you will ever make. Besides the symbolic importance of the dress, it will, most likely, be the most expensive piece of clothing you will ever wear in your entire life. Because of that, you need to make sure you take the necessary steps to ensure that the gown you are buying is of top-notch quality.

 

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

Unless you find a great sale or buy a sample dress off the rack, bridal gowns typically start, on average, around the $800-$1,000 mark and go up from there. Depending on the details, custom work and embellishments, gowns can cost as much as $10,000 or more! Believe it or not, I have actually seen wedding gowns as much as $40,000 made with poundage of crystals and gold thread.

 

However, on average, you can find absolutely amazing quality gowns under $3000. Designers know many brides are on a budget, and they want to make quality available for all brides, no matter your budget. Now, while you might think $1,000 is still quite high, think of this: When you go to a bridal salon, you are trying on a sample to see if you like the gown’s shape, silhouette, feel, etc. Once you choose the dress of your dreams, your bridal consultant takes your measurements. Why? Because your dress is made custom for you, exactly to your size and shape.

 

Bridal gowns are not mass-produced and unlike ready-to-wear clothes, you can’t go to a rack, find your size and check out. Because they are custom-made, you need to give the designers plenty of time to craft your gown and get it to your shop in time for your fittings. So, the money you are spending on that dress not only equals the quality of the materials and embellishments, but also the man hours it takes to make your gown. If you are spending that much money, you want the best. We asked local gown expert, and owner of Lady Gray Bridal in Beacon, Tina Pomarico, what you should be looking for in a quality gown. In this video, you’ll learn what to look for to make sure you are buying an exceptional gown

 

 

We also asked the design experts at New York International Bridal Week this past fall, who already shared with you what bridal gown trends you’ll see in 2017, what you should be looking for in a quality gown and they all agree on two things: fabric and fit.

 

Fabric

Photo Credit: Majestic Studios

 

Martin Thornburg, head designer for David Tutera and Mon Cheri and head merchandiser for Mon Cheri Bridal, says, “Number one is to look for fabric. You want something constructed out of good fabric. It doesn’t have to be silk. There are very beautiful fabrics that are high-quality polyester or woven fabrics.” This is why trying on dresses is very important?

 

As mentioned in the video, take a look at the inside lining fabrics, as well as the types of embellishments, beading or appliques on the gown. That all builds value. And if the value is there, then you know that the amount you spend on a dress is well worth it.

 

Kang Chun “KC” Lin, creative director for Enzoani Bridal Division, says, “There is a lot of dedication and time spent during the production process to choose the best fabrics, create the lace patterns, and put all the pieces together by hand. There is much more than meets the eye with a quality gown.” In couture gowns, for example, the price goes up because, in almost all cases, beading is all done by hand.

 

Fit

 

The only way you will be able to tell if a gown fits you well, or is made properly, is by trying them on and not basing your choice on looks alone. Wen Wu, CEO of House of Wu, suggests doing a bit of research first on the different brands of gowns, because each brand brings with it different levels of quality. He says, “You need to go to the store and feel and touch the dress and to see the inside construction. It’s very, very crucial. You know, you can’t buy a dress on the look, from a picture on the Internet because construction is where it makes the dress fit you or not. A picture can be very deceiving.”

 

Charlotte Pratt, Marketing & PR Associate for Casablanca Bridal, says, “You can just tell, as you try on a gown, there is a huge difference in the support and infrastructure of some gowns as compared to others.” She says specific Items that help with support are boning (stays), corsets, and hook and eye closures.

 

You are going to be wearing your gown all day, for hours and hours, dancing in it, sitting in it, eating in it, etc. You need to make sure that you are not only comfortable, but that it fits you correctly and doesn’t pull, tug or shift during the day. “For us, the inner construction is very important,” Lin says, “because even though the gowns feel lightweight and comfortable and are very flattering on your figure, there is a lot of work going on inside to give it the right support and shape.”

 

As you can see, a bridal gown needs to not only be beautiful on the outside but the inside as well. So we’d like to know, what did you learn about gowns as you were trying them on? What kind of gown are you looking for or did you end up with? Have you tried on gowns and noticed a difference in the quality or construction from brand to brand?

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What top bridal gown trends will you see in 2017?

This past October, I had the privilege of attending New York international Bridal Week (NYIBW) held at Pier 94 in New York City. For those unfamiliar with this event, it’s a bi-annual industry marketplace showcasing top names in wedding gown and bridal fashion from all over the world. Similar to corporate trade shows you might be familiar with, this event allows designers to showcase their upcoming collections while giving buyers of retail stores the opportunity to touch, feel, become educated on the fabric and embellishments used, see what the different design options are for each gown (meaning can straps or sleeves be added to a gown, can different bodices be swapped with different skirts, etc.), and, most importantly, purchase gowns to sell in their stores.

 

Designers and their representatives are there to answer any questions buyers may have regarding the dresses, as well as give buyers the opportunity to see the gowns “in action” during fashion shows held throughout the day. These events are only open to industry insiders.

 

We spoke with representatives and designers of the industry’s hottest and most sought-after brands, and want to share the trends you can expect to see in your local bridal shops this year.

 

Versatility and Customization

 

Photo Credit: Enzoani

Badgley Mischka and Enzoani will be bringing you something unique in that their lines will offer separate pieces you can mix and match to create your perfect look. Very similar to ready-to-wear, you can choose the bodice and gown to meet your exact vision. Kang Chun “KC” Lin, Creative Director for Enzoani Bridal Division, says, “The dresses are lighter; there are more color options like champagne and blush; and you can customize your look with pieces like bodysuits and removable skirts. It’s all about giving our brides everything they need to make their dreams come to life.”

 

Photo Credit: Badgley Mischka

Skirts are also going to play a different role. A brand representative for Badgley Mischka Bridal Division, said, “Going on the same page of separates is gowns that come with overskirts.  The overskirts for this season are larger volume, usually with ruffles, and when taken off reveal a sexier beaded mermaid gown underneath.” In addition to skirts, other customizations include gowns that have removable capes and jackets.

Look from convertible looks from Candace Wu, designer of Candace Wu Couture, as well. Convertible looks are great for making it seem like you are getting two gowns in one.

 

Soft, Feminine and Comfortable

 

Photo Credit: WCHV

Girls, we’ve all done it before. How many of you suffer through wearing something uncomfortable because whatever you are wearing looks amazing? On your wedding day though, you really want to take comfort into consideration as it’s a long day full of photos and dancing. Saundra Farr, US National Director of Augusta Jones, said their line for this year expect to see lighter fabrics, alternatives to the traditional lace and structured looks. Think more bohemian style with 1970s inspiration. Farr says, “Brides are looking for lighter fabrics, they’re looking for alternatives to lace, so a lot of structured looks, definitely boho bohemian looks so some of the 70s flares. … They still do like lace, but little cap sleeves, straps, some sort of alternative to strapless as well has been very popular, too.”

 

Photo Credit: Sam Aronov

From Casablanca Bridal, you’ll see comfort showing through in many different ways. Charlotte Pratt, Marketing & PR Associate for Casablanca Bridal, says, “One of the things we’re seeing a lot of, obviously with the rise of social media, brides want to capture their whole day on their cell phone. … So you’ll see this season and beyond, a lot of our gowns are starting to have pockets in them and the reason why you’re seeing that is because brides want to have pockets to keep their cell phone.” Their gowns for 2017 are also going to be very clean and modern. Pratt says, “Fall 2017 is clean modernism, so Casablanca has traditionally been very elaborate and beaded. That is still a huge signature and part of who we are; but we also are moving more toward designs that are a little more simple, like satin fabrics with maybe minimal beading at the waist or the neckline, but very clean, modern and fresh looking.”

 

“Brides are looking for comfort,” says Martin Thornburg, the head designer for David Tutera and Mon Cheri and head merchandiser for Mon Cheri Bridal. “They want to have a good time, so comfort is a really big fashion trend. Even though you might not think of it as such, it is.”

 

The Classics with a Twist

 

Let’s face it: Trends come and go, but some gown styles and fabrics always seem to withstand the test of time. If you are looking for lace or classic ballgowns, you might want to look at the Christina Wu brands. “Lace is still a very big trend, and I can also see brides wanting more glitz and bigger ballgowns, and that’s a little bit different than (what we’ve seen) the last few years,” says Wen Wu, CEO of House of Wu.

 

Photo Credit: Kat Irlin

Sam Pappas, co-designer for Amaline Vitale Bridal, says the most important thing about trends and more classic gowns is that

 

that you need to feel like yourself in the gown and “you want to look back 20 years from now and still be in love with the dress.”

 

For a bit of a twist from the classic look, designer Tadashi Shoji says to be on the lookout for off-the-shoulder looks as a variation of the more traditional strapless gowns.

 

What about Bridesmaids?

 

If you are a bride who already has a dress and are in the market for gowns for your bridal party, Vivian Diamond, owner and designer with the Dessy Group, says brides should always keep the bridal party in mind. Bridesmaids want to “feel really pretty and special too,” Diamond says, “because she’s walking down an aisle and being viewed prior to the bride, so she’s really a precursor to the bride coming down the aisle…”. What she sees happening sometimes is brides fear taking over. “So many brides are a little fearful of bridal party looking too good.” However, she thinks quite the opposite. “I think it’s a statement, it makes you look better as the bride. It makes you look really good if your bridesmaids look beautiful because they’re smiling and happy”. She says it gives everyone a very good sense of the effort put into your wedding.

 

Bridesmaid Trends

Photo Credit: Dessy Group

Following the trends of what you read earlier, Diamond says, “Chiffon I still a very, very strong trend”, as well as more romantic fabrics such as crepe and tulle. Additionally, you are going to see sleeker and sophisticated party looking dresses, as well as varying lengths. The trend of brides wanting longer dresses for their bridal party versus shorter dresses always flip-flops, but both styles are available.

 

 

 

Which of these gown trends excites you the most? What does your dress look like?

 

Make sure you check out part 2 of this series where we give you tips on how you can prepare for your first bridal gown appointment.

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Highlights from New York International Bridal Week

New York international Bridal Week happens twice a year in New York City and is the ultimate dress-lovers paradise. If you are a bride-to-be, shopping for your wedding dress is one of the most, if not the most, exciting events in planning your wedding. When you show up at the bridal salon and see all the beautiful gowns in front of you, you may not realize there is a lot of work shop owners need to do before you even try on a dress.

 

For most salon owners, going to Bridal Weeks across the country are where they see, for the first time, new styles and trends for the upcoming season, and get to decide what gowns they’d like to have sold in their store. Here, shop owners meet with designers, marketing and sales reps from bridal gown brands from all over the world to touch and feel the gowns, as well as get to see what they look like on models. How a gown drapes, flows and moves with walking are all aesthetic properties that make a gown appealing to you, the bride. In addition, shop owners are informed of any product details, such as the type of lace or embellishment they are made with, the types of straps or modifications that can be added or made to the gown, and colors the gowns come in.

This video gives you a behind-the-scenes peek into the bridal market at New York International Bridal Week.

 

So, we want to know, have you gone dress shopping yet? What type of dress are you looking for? What has been the most fun, or most challenging aspect of dress shopping for you?

 

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