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Ok soooo you all saw the Brother’s and Sister’s Wedding before the holiday hiatus right? Ok maybe not all of you did, but I did, and the Walker girls were sporting some lovely and non matchy match printed bridesmaid dresses. Which got the sisters in my house thinking a little bit… printed bridesmaid dresses. Kind of awesome. Oh, and Glamour has dubbed it a “Trend Alert” so we think it might be something worth mentioning… Mix it up though. Prints, solids, a whole bunch of different dresses in the same color scheme. We love it all.

Wine & Roses Pleated Dress $235 from Amanda Archer- Etsy

Wine & Roses Pleated Dress $235 from Amanda Archer- Etsy

Izzy Full- Length $480 by Thread

Muse Cutaway Sheath Dress- Nordstrom $148

Ashley Blossom Print by Thread $480

Stephanie Shift by Lilly Pulitzer $168

Or just do it in small ways… like at your feet. These printed shoes from David’s Bridal are great for a simple and solid colored dress that needs just a touch of fun.

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Ok- so chloe & reese just launched this fab new line called Ardour, after bridesmaids united and banning tulle and sating down the aisle.  A bridal strike if you will. So Ardour heard the ladies calling and VOILA… new versatile and modern dresses for the wedding party. Count it.

The Ardour Collection features a whole bunch of new product. Full- length dresses, high- waisted skirts, one shoulder silk faille party dresses and dresses with froof and strapless classics. Plus they customize, AND they’re made locally right here in NYC’s Garment District. Love it.

Here’s how it works. Bride picks dress style. Then chooses from hundreds of luxury fabrics and color options imported from France and Italy. The dresses ship worldwide and specialists will work closely with out of state and international customers to send swatches, photos and samples for brides who are unable to visit the Manhattan showroom.

For more information on choloe and reese visit their international custom shoppe at www.chloeandreese.com and for Ardour call 888-317-1695.

Ardour Champagne Party Dress

Ardour Champagne Party Dress

 Ardour Rasberry & Navy Party Dresses

Ardour Rasberry & Navy Party Dresses

Ardour Yellow Faille Party Dress

Ardour Yellow Faille Party Dress


Oh the ultra preppy, ultra fun and flirty color combo. Perfect for beach side, destination and tropical weddings that embrace the bright colors. 

Photos COurtesy of TheKnot.com

Photos Courtesy of TheKnot.com

 Depending on your details you can substitute traditional wedding dresses with patterned Lilly dresses. I will caution you. Lilly is not a cheap brand. But you get what you pay for, and your bridesmaids… providing they like to pop their collar as much as you do…. will thank you for opting for a dress they WILL actually wear again. If you’re feeling extra sweet offer to pay for your bridesmaid dresses as a thank you for agreeing to make you their priority for the next 8 – 10 months. 🙂

 

Fitch Shift Dress in Grasshopper Green $348

Fitch Shift Dress in Grasshopper Green $348

 

 

Briere Dress Silk Chiffon $428

Briere Dress Silk Chiffon $428

 

AND… Lilly has a great part of their online shop called “The Little White Dress” which might be a perfect bridal outfit change for a more casual wedding, a rehearsal dinner or an out fit to leave your giant party in. People still do that right? A fun new take on the “honeymoon suit.” Or keep with your own theme and don your own pink and green ensemble fit for traveling to someplace exotic, warm and honey-mooney.

 

Fiesta Dress Sateen $288

Fiesta Dress Sateen $288

You can always opt for something a little bit more conservative and go with solid colored bridesmaid dresses from David’s Bridal in shades of pink or green with alternating colored flowers. Lime green dresses with bright pink flowers are beautiful! And a pale pink dress with a bouquets of green and white works too! Plus it’s a little less expensive for your ladies in waiting. You can always incorporate the patterned look with “Little Lilly” for your flower girls. They have adorable children’s dresses that are perfect for a preppy wedding.

 

Green Bridesmaid Dress from Jasmine Bridal

Green Bridesmaid Dress from Jasmine Bridal

 I know I put this dress up a lot. It’s just so pretty. I can’t help it.

Cotton Candy Sydney Dress $225 J.Crew

Cotton Candy Sydney Dress $225 J.Crew

 

 

 

Maren Dress $98

Maren Dress $98

 Even the groom and his boys can get in on the action. Brides.com put together this look for a preppy chic wedding.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Brides.com

Photo Courtesy of Brides.com

Photo Credit: Three-button suit, Charles Tyrwhitt, ctskirts.co.uk. Pink-and-white striped shirt and tie with turtles, Vineyard Vines,vineyardvines.com.

Always Vineyard Vines Groomsmen ties. Always.

 

Photo Courtesy of Brides.com

Photo Courtesy of Brides.com

Photo Credit: A clutch of peonies, roses, ranunculus and hydrangeas adds a jolt of color; about $275, Belle Fleur, NYC, bellefleurny.com.

Invitations can go one of two ways too. Pick a solid color and embellish with the other color, or use both in a more complex patterned invite.

 

Summer Fever Invitation from Custom Creations (Etsy)

Summer Fever Invitation from Custom Creations (Etsy)

 

 

Secret Garden Wedding Invitation by Tulaloo (Etsy)

Secret Garden Wedding Invitation by Tulaloo (Etsy)

 

 

Custom Invitations by Embellished by Tiffany (Etsy)

Custom Invitations by Embellished by Tiffany (Etsy)

Greet your guests with this Pink and Green guest book and pen set from Etsy seller Creative Bridal Solutions.

 

 

Pink & Green Guest Book by Creative Bridal Solutions (Etsy)

Pink & Green Guest Book by Creative Bridal Solutions (Etsy)

 

I’m a big fan of the out of town bachelorette weekend. I’m a bigger fan of brides saying thanks to their bridesmaids as much as possible. Do you really have any idea how much money we are spending on you?? A lot. 

To say thank you, fill a monogrammed (obviously) bag from The Palm Gifts with adorable preppy treats like, flip flops from J.Crew or these adorable pink and green checked ones from The Palm Gifts, Notecards from Lilly Pulitzer, and maybe even a silver monogrammed ring or preppy bachelorette coozies from Preppy Monogrammed Gifts. Also just a quick note about J.Crew… if you still have your student discount lying around you can get 15% off in-store (varies) purchases. Definitely worth using.

 

Flip Flops by J.Crew $24.50

Flip Flops by J.Crew $24.50

 

 

Lilly Circle Notes $16

Lilly Circle Notes $16

 

Polka Dot Bridesmaid Glasses $15

Polka Dot Bridesmaid Glasses $15

Seriously. How cute are those glasses!? I am obsessed. I love them. They are from Etsy seller The Preppy Polka Dot.  They also have these adorable shot glasses with fun ribbon that would be adorable to carry around for a bachelorette party!

Preppy Polka Dot Shot Glasses $9 each

Preppy Polka Dot Shot Glasses $9 each

And for further inspiration… courtesy of Vineyard Vines… because they’re awesome. Here are some pink and green wedding parties to rock your world.

 

Pink and Green Wedding INspiration

Pink and Green Wedding Inspiration

 

 

Pink and Green Wedding Inspiration

Pink and Green Wedding Inspiration

 

Pink and Green Wedding Inspiration

Pink and Green Wedding Inspiration

New bridesmaid dresses from Ann Taylor for Spring 2009. I for one am very happy the Ann Taylor dresses are back! (Even if they are a little bit more expensive than they used to be.) They’re still very chic, simple and elegant.

Ann Taylor Weddings & Events

From Left to Right: Iridescent Dupioni Dress by Unger for Ann Taylor $229, Crossdye Dupioni Flower Sash Dress $199,  Karen Crossdye Dupioni Dress with Charmeuse Waist $199

Eliza, this one is for you honey. Eliza asked a pretty common question that many stylish and perpetual wedding guests wonder…What do you do when the perfect “Wedding Guest Dress” is a bridesmaid dress on paper… and how the hell do you go about hanging it in your closet without confirming actual bridesmaid participation to the designer?

This is tricky. Those bridesmaid designers… they think they’re god. No handing out dresses to the common folk. Nope. Bridesmaid’s only. No, no. They mean well, really.

First I’ll say this. It’s not what you say… it’s how you say it. Plenty of women get married all the time without a true “bridal party” and still have women in beautiful dresses at their weddings.

Choose carefully when you explain why you only need one “bridesmaid” dress.

I tested this out via email and got little to no response with most of the designers I tried, but via phone with the right wording, you might have a better shot. Also if you go to the actual boutique or shop, you will fair much better face to face.

you have to remember, the designer’s concern first and foremost is with the bride and her bridal party. A “guest” sale is secondary. 

First of all, some designer dresses are easier to score than others… obviously. Anyone can walk into David’s Bridal, claim bridesmaid status and walk out with a pile of pink chiffon. But, not everyone can order Melissa Sweet without a bride to back her up. 

Not that I’m advocating cheating the system, but these dresses should be made available to the general public (and some of them are). As long as the perfect dress you’ve found isn’t:

a) the same make, model or color as the “actual” bridesmaid dresses

b) Not so over the top that you’ll look ridiculously over dressed for the type of affair they’re having

c) You don’t in any way, shape or form overshadow the bride or her actual bridesmaids intentionally. ie. floor length satin with a low back at a backyard wedding in June. Not ok.

That said, shop away. First stop. Ebay. Ebay is an EXCELLENT place to find lovingly worn, or sometimes never worn designer dresses (both bridesmaid and bridal) for WAY cheap. And who doesn’t like cheap in recession times right? 

If you’re a guest, even better. You can score some seriously smashing dresses at seriously reduced prices. Think of it as a bridal “luxe for less.”

Just search the designer name, and “bridesmaid dress” a list will pop up. If you know the dress # of the dress you’re looking for, you could try to search that too, but that might limit your options.  

I tried this with one designer and four dresses from the new spring 2009 collection popped up. One was regular price $358 with FREE Shipping (which lets be honest is a little ludicrous) one for a very low $150 bid, and another $175 BUY IT NOW “no bidding necessary”. The nice thing about Ebay is the turnover. If you give yourself enough time that dress you’ve been searching for just might pop up in your size.

If that doesn’t work we move to phase two. The Wedding Bee, another one of my favorite bridal reads has a marketplace where just married brides often sell their own used or unused in some case dresses and those of their bridesmaids at a discounted rate. It’s definitely worth checking the message boards to see what’s out there.

If you still can’t find the dress of your dreams and you refuse to settle for anything less than perfection, do what you gotta do.  Ask your bride to back you. Although, I say this with the following caveat. The bride is busy, and making sure you have that perfect dress is probably not her priority.

Work hard for that dress. If you want it bad enough, I’m sure you’ll find your persuasive side.   Happy Shopping girls!

 

Those of you who know me, KNOW that I love me some froof. Ya know… oversize flower pins, a touch of feather in the hair, big satin flowers on the shoes a la Carrie Bradshaw. I love it. I think it stems from wearing too many bows as a child…Either way, I seriously cannot get enough of it. It’s everywhere this season, from tank tops and headbands to slingbacks and dresses. So go out and make a statement. Whether it’s at the shower, out on the town, or strutting down the aisle… go big or go home.

Etsy is a fabulous place to find all things froof. The stuff out there is so fun! If you’ve never been… you’re missing out. They have Hairpieces, headbands and flowers….

 

Etsy Seller NevaPlume- $36

Etsy Seller NevaPlume- $36

 

AOKI feather headpiece- $49 Etsy Seller Portobello

AOKI feather headpiece- $49 Etsy Seller Portobello

 

Etsy Seller $10 PierogiPicnic

Etsy Seller $10 PierogiPicnic

 

The White Collection- Etsy Seller calexandra $8.95

The White Collection- Etsy Seller calexandra $8.95

 

 

 

The Sophie Headband from Etsy Seller theLittleOak $20

The Sophie Headband from Etsy Seller theLittleOak $20

Anthropologie also has some really fun and flirty headbands with loads of froof

 

 

Brooches and pins…

 

Etsy Seller- $22 Jilliann's Pink Rose Brooch

Etsy Seller- $22 Jilliann's Pink Rose Brooch

 

Pale Beauty brooch $12.95

Pale Beauty brooch $12.95

And other fun things…

 

Etsy Seller- $25 Star Selection

Etsy Seller- $25 Star Selection

This is so great. This is a 5 satin rosette piece that detaches and can be added to any garmet! How much do you love that! Imagine adding it to the top of a simple little black dress! Not simple anymore… LOVE THIS!

Old Navy had some really great tanks in-store. They’re not available online, but they come in a whole bunch of colors with giant ribbon bows on the top left shoulder. It’s a nice little twist to the household beater.

And then there are Shoes…..

J.crew has these fabulous sandals that I would honestly kill for in every color. And they’re not $300+ like the rest of their shoes.

 

Satin Rosette metallic capri sandals- $78

Satin Rosette metallic capri sandals- $78

 

Matisse Black & Yellow Sandals- $118 Shoes.com

Matisse Black & Yellow Sandals- $118 Shoes.com

 

Steve Madden

Steve Madden

And on to the dresses… Seriously. Lela Rose is FANTASTIC. There’s froof everywhere. 

Lela Rose Spring 2009

Lela Rose Spring 2009

 

Lela Rose Spring 2009

Lela Rose Spring 2009

 

Lela Rose Spring 2009

Lela Rose Spring 2009

So, for those of you new, and not so new, to the bridal world let me diffuse a myth. Being a bridesmaid is not cheap. In fact, it is incredibly expensive. The brides who have had the (pleasure, luck, experience, nightmare) of being a bridesmaid know that it can cost a pretty penny, and hopefully go easy when it’s their turn to head down the aisle.  But brides who have never been a bridesmaid… it’s like those people that leave bad tips who have never worked in the restaurant business before… Bad form.

Here’s the reality. Bridesmaids drop cash on a blender for the shower,  the food, prizes and cake for the shower (usually the bridesmaids pitch in to pay for this), an array of ridiculous and sometimes tacky sashes, crowns and other nonsense for the bachelorette party, a wedding gift, their hair, their makeup, their bridesmaid dress, shoes, a bag, hotel accommodations, travel (planes, trains and automobiles- yeah that means you destination wedding girls) all with a giant smile. I spent close to $1,500 on one wedding I was in when all was said and done. 

The dresses can be the most expensive part of being in a wedding.

A good rule, especially in these economic times….

Brides…if you want your bridesmaids in $350 dresses, you better buy them yourself.

It’s unfair to impose expensive dresses on your bridesmaids when they’re going to be shelling out a lot more cash for everything else. Keep the next few things in mind when picking the dresses.

Top 3 things every bride should remember:

1. If you’re wedding is a destination wedding that requires hotel, airfare etc. for showers, bachelorette and wedding, offer to pay for something! Your bridesmaids hotel rooms or their dresses maybe? Taking some of the edge off is a nice thing to do if you want to keep your friends when your wedding is over.

2. If you and your hubby are “just-out-of-college” newlyweds, and so are your bridesmaids, odds are no one has established themselves in the real world and don’t have unlimited funds to spend on you. 

3. Yours might not be the only wedding your friends are in/attending this year. Ease up on the bridezilla antics.

There are cheap dress options. Buying in bulk and asking for a discount always works nicely. It’s amazing what you can get if you ask nicely. The worst thing that happens is the store says no and you take your business elsewhere…

Of course you can always opt out if you can’t afford to walk the walk. It’s completely allowed and bride should never hold it against her bridesmaids if they can’t afford to participate. It just makes life easier if all of this is taken into account BEFORE the wedding.

Happy Wedding Season…

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

 

HOORAY! for Project Runway and their fanciful bridesmaid dress challenge in last night’s part I Season Finale! Personally, I’m a Runway whore and I love everything there is to love about Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum. Here’s my recap for those of you that missed it.

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

 

 

I happen to love Leanne and her pretty little architectural wave design collection. I liked her initial wedding dress, but with a little editing… HEYYYY now THAT my friends is a wedding dress. Watching that dress come down the aisle was perfection, and the thing had pockets. How great is that.   Her bridesmaid dress was magical and I would wear it to anything and everything always and forever.  WINNA. Hands down.

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV  

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

 

Jerell and Korto, ehh. I gotta say I was not a fan of either. Jerell’s bridesmaid dress looked like a cheap velour dress I wore to homecoming in 9th grade, and the “ I wanna be couture please let me” wedding dress was looking a little haphazard.  Plus the girl had a flower pot growing out of her head. I mean come on…

 Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Korto, I liked her wedding dress upon first glance back in Arkansas, but after her editing, unlike Leanne’s, I was less impressed, it was overworked as the judges claimed and the bridesmaid dress looked like it was cut from the exact same fabric, but whipped up in 20 minutes. Meh. Which, is sad because I have consistently loved her designs. I hope she can reach the wow factor place at Bryant Park.

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

 

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

Photo Courtesy of Bravo TV

 

 

 

 I could live without Kenley and her nasty little attitude forever, but I have to give the girl credit for her whimsical little “Alice” collection. I especially loved that featherific wedding dress, which, is so out there it’s just awesome. (Although the fact that she may or may not have yanked the idea from the Alexander McQueen runway show, bugs me a bit) I didn’t love the bridesmaid dress. Maybe it was the length that threw me off.  I don’t think that hemline would fly in god’s house. It just wasn’t my favorite. And I happen to love navy, I just don’t like Kenley and her eye rolling, and snide remarks to Heidi of all people. It’s not the Kenley show darling. Respect your fashion elders.

 

So Jerell gets the boot and the ladies take Bryant Park. Hurrah Hurrah. I hope Kenley can keep her attitude in check long enough to get some clothes made. 

 

Courtesy of Alfred Angelo

Courtesy of Alfred Angelo

 

 

Brides magazine online, a Conde Nast publication which also does Modern Bride and Elegant Bride, recently blogged about the new line of jersey knit bridesmaid dresses from Alfred Angelo. If bridesmaid dresses can go from hot n’ stuffy to chic and fabulously comfortable… I’m definitely in. Check out the new line at Alfred Angelo’s website, or check out Brides Magazine for more information. Enjoy!

I went. I found. I conquered. (Trumpet Music)

I have to admit I have always been a little bit afraid of David’s Bridal and every single person who works there. I had to pick up my bridesmaid dress this weekend and opted for an upstate New York store location over one closer to my current address because, well, it seemed easier.  The thought of traveling to either Jersey or Queens to find and fit a dress on a Saturday made my head spin.

So I went to David’s Bridal on a Wednesday morning and was greeted slowly by a woman sitting at what looked like a bridal show check-in table.  I flipped through her catalogue, pointed to what I thought was the dress I was supposed to be getting and promptly asked her to double check the bride’s stats in the computer. Check. Right dress indeed.

I followed a less than enthusiastic salesperson through the maze of rainbow colored dressed to a rack in the back.  I don’t know, after seeing these women pounce on every living soul at bridal shows, I was kind of expecting the David’s Bridal Dress Fairy to come skipping out with bubbles and confetti with enough enthusiasm to send me right back out the doors. Dammit, where was Neil Patrick Harris when I wanted him!?

This one didn’t even seem like she had had her morning coffee yet.

Regardless, there was my dress, in my size, in my color hanging on the rack. Hooray! No ordering, shipping or ever having to return!

Now, it is March, it is cold, and I am quite pale.  A fellow bridesmaid warned me. “It’s the middle of winter.  I look like a booger,” she said.

Hmm… I see the resemblance.  Pasty I am.  Spray Tanning I will do.

But it fit. Done and Done.

It was so quick and painless I wandered over to the SALE rack while my unenthusiastic salesperson informed me “they” were sewing a hook into the back of the dress “out back”.

Ohhhh…. so the David’s Bridal Dress fairies were busy in the back with Neil Patrick Harris and their confetti, sewing hooks back into floor samples. That explains it.

After turning down multiple attempts to shell out more cash for shoes and a bag, both of which could be “dyed the exact same shade of green for me,” I left with not one but TWO dresses.

(I scored a short little dress in burnt orange, marked down to $30 from $110 for one of the gazillion weddings I’ve agreed to attend this year.)

Seriously, if I wear it once and never again, it was worth buying.  Plus I found some FABULOUS shoes later in the day to go with it.
Shoes make everything better.

It was a very painless trip. I was surprised. That doesn’t mean I want to go back anytime soon- especially on a weekend- but it was definitely not as bad as the nightmare I had imagined in my head.

The bridesmaid that coined us boogers had a completely different experience (on a Saturday). Her head exploded.  Plan accordingly.

Later that day I found the exact Silver shoes to match my exact bridesmaid specifications.

They will not make me taller than the groom,  trip down the aisle, look like a high school prom queen or like I regularly dance on tables.
(I only do that sometimes)

Very productive day.

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