Posts Tagged ‘dress’

You’re married. You have tons of odds and ends from the planning and the big day itself.


The fun doesn’t have to end.


I recently read about a “wedding dress party” in the Ann Arbor Observer. You pull your wedding gown out of its protective covering in the closet and wear it out for a party with other girls dressed the same. What a great idea! Otherwise, what happens? As my Aunt Dora would say, “nothin’!”


A friend of mine once told me about a wedding shower she attended. The guests were asked to wear the worst bridesmaid dress they were ever made to purchase by someone who was your best friend before she started dressing you. She said that everyone came super frilly and laughing.


If you’re little less nostalgic about saving your wedding gown, why not model for a Trash the Dress photo shoot? The newest thing in wedding photography is to take pictures in your dress doing something a little less, well, neat and tidy. Get dressed in that lovely gown and take your groom to run along the beach, ride horses, hike in the woods, dance in the rain… you get the idea. (Just make sure that you wait until after the wedding.) Here are some Trash the Dress photos on Flickr.


I hope you’ll share other fun ideas with us in the Comments section below.

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BravoBrideI first came across BravoBride in a New York Times article . It is an online marketplace *just* for weddings. Perfect. I’ve been scouring the website weekly since I learned about it. Everything from dresses and diamond rings to favors are for sale, used and new.


Why pay full price in this economy?


Founder and recent bride Susan Alexander Shapiro tells us more.




Susan Alexander Shapiro, founder BravoBrideHow did you come up with the idea for Bravobride?


I got married this past July 4th and when I was planning the wedding I found it frustrating to pay for expensive wedding items that I’d use once and only for a few hours.  I looked on Craigslist and Ebay but there wasn’t anything focused on just the bridal industry.


What is/was the most “out there” item for sale on your site? What is the most common item for sale?


We have a pair of ‘wedding boots’ on the site that are really unique. Our most popular items are definitely wedding dresses.


How is your site different from Craig’s List or other similar lists?

What sets me apart is that you won’t find fish tanks and bicycles on the site, we only focus on wedding products. Craigslist and Ebay are probably my biggest competitors but you have to search through so many things on Craigslist to find what you are looking for and it’s only for certain regions. Our site is nationwide and we have an advanced search so you can quickly find what you are looking for. The site is also broken down into different categories, such as dresses, jewelry, items for the ceremony and reception and more. Unlike Ebay is completely free to list items and there’s never a sale upon commission. There are a few other sites that that sell used wedding dresses but we are the only site that doesn’t charge a listing fee or take a commission upon sale.


What can the “unbride” find on your website?


The “unbride” can find everything from non-traditional wedding items, like these blue shoes to a Guide for the Groom book so you’re soon-to-be husband can help with the wedding planning.


What guarantee does a bride have that the product advertised is indeed what the seller says it is? In particular, I’m thinking about the rings and the more expensive items?


That’s a good question. Like Craigslist, we follow the buyer beware rule. We can not offer a guarantee since we are only connecting the buyers and seller and don’t stock actual merchandise. For more expensive items you may want to deal only locally or use a payment service where your transaction can be protected.


It is wonderful that you support the Go Red campaign. How did that relationship begin?


I wanted to support a cause that was for women since our site is geared towards brides. The Go Red campaign is near and dear to me because both of my Grandmother’s had heart disease and if effects more woman than cancer.


What was the best part of your own wedding?


Honestly the whole day was wonderful but I think the ceremony was the most special part. My husband’s aunt married us and they meant a lot to me.




Read a little more about the history of BravoBride here. You’ll get to see Susan’s husband Mark, too.


Have you bought something on BravoBride? Tell your story here.

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My fiancé recently went to a tux shop to inquire about the options. The salesperson asked what color his bride’s dress would be, “white or off white.” Being the perfect man for me, he laughed.


As we know, there are countless wedding dress styles, colors and details that can be chosen or added to make it your own. Our dance teacher last night said that she was dancing professionally when she was engaged and her dressmaker was her costumer. After the wedding, the costumer was able to turn the dress into a dance costume by removing the train and some of the details. Great idea! She said that for the wedding she wore a long scarf behind her, which sounds very stylish.


Shasta Grant Huntington married recently in a dress that had blush colored smooth material under the beading.  The overlay was off-white.  She chose pale gold shoes that were Marc by Marc Jacobs; not your traditional wedding shoes! She has worn them so many times since the wedding that they are wearing out.


Here are some pictures:

Shasta's dress 

















Shasta's dress and shoes













Kimberly Bertsch, an American who recently married an Italian in Italy, had her dress designed by an Italian dressmaker who, unfortunately, recently closed her store. The dress was modified from a designer dress by Fabio Gritti (www.fabiogritti.it). In the end, the dress was reasonably priced and fit her perfectly.


Here is a picture from her wedding:


Kim and her groom

Robin Sinins had a fall wedding and was married in a gorgeous white dress. She chose black bridesmaid dresses that could easily be worn again.


Here is a picture. Do you recognize our poet? I loved those flowers – they really stood out against the dresses.

Robin and her wedding party




You choose your perfect wedding day outfit. There are dressmakers throughout the country who can design dresses based on pictures or ideas that you sketch out for them. You don’t have to buy “wedding shoes,” but rather choose a great pair that are comfortable (you will probably be standing all day) and you can wear again. Why not make your dress something you can wear again, too?



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I know, we should be focusing on the more major decisions first: the wedding venue, the music, someone to marry us, guest list, etc.


Still, my fiancé and I enjoy discussing the nitty gritty details. Recently, we’ve been debating whether or not to see each other before the wedding.


Some general plusses and minuses:

Not seeing each other could be very romantic. We’d be moved when we first saw each other during the ceremony. It could be symbolic of our separate lives coming together. With our friends’ help, we could have fun plotting how to avoid each other.


But, what if we need to discuss something? It might just add a layer of difficulty on top of a very busy (and important) day. Rarely do we go very long without communicating.


I’ve been asking friends their opinion. My friend Yasmin said that her sister did not see her fiancé the day of the wedding. I asked her what we would do if we had to ask the other a question. She said that we could make our own rules; for example, we could decide that text messaging is allowed. I nodded. Of course! We can transform tradition to fit our own vision of a wedding.


My friend Rasheea, who had a beautiful wedding at the Liberty House in NJ overlooking the NYC skyline, wrote the following:


As for seeing each other, we chose not to for the romance of it all. 🙂 We had that cocktail hour with the jazz band so people could enjoy themselves while we took pictures at the pier just down the way from Liberty House. I actually had individual shots done a week before at the landing overlooking the Hudson River and NYC in Edgewater, so that cut down on the number of pictures we needed to take on the day. I guess the short answer is if your photographer thinks he or she can get all the necessary shots in an hour (the cocktail hour), then I would wait to see each other until you are walking down the aisle. It’s the most amazing feeling!


As an Italian-American, I’d like to incorporate both Italian and American traditions. My Italian friend Tiziana reminded me that it is an Italian tradition for the bride and groom not to see each other until the ceremony.


Lauren, an American who married an Italian and had the ceremony at a lovely villa in Tuscany, said that she and her fiancé did not see each other until the ceremony. It sounded both romantic and a good way for each of them to spend some quality time with out-of-town family and friends the night before the wedding. She added that some friends who were getting married and already living with their partners spent the night before the wedding together but then separated to get dressed. This seems like a good compromise.


We are still deciding. You are welcome to use the comments section to add your own thoughts.



Consider your guest list, photographer, dress and available space.


Some questions to ask yourself and your love:

Would you like some “single” time with your friends before the ceremony?

Would you like to take photographs together before the ceremony? (Your outfit, hair and make up will be perfect. You may, however, decide that you’ll be more relaxed after the ceremony.)

Is the dress a surprise?

Do you have separate rooms available (family or friend’s house? hotel?) for the two of you?

What time is your ceremony? Consider how long you would potentially be apart.



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I distinctly remember being a teenager and watching one of the 90210 characters go to prom in a “Mermaid dress.” (Was it Donna?) She could barely move and missed out on most of the fun, excluding the fun she created by trying to walk.


I want to find the perfect wedding dress: it shouldn’t cost a fortune, it should be comfortable and I should be able to walk.


I forgot an important detail regarding the bathroom.


My friend Grace recently wrote:


My dress was ivory, and much to my mother’s dismay, very plain (i.e. no beading or sparkly stuff).  But for the reception I wore a traditional Korean dress, which had a big red skirt.  When I was dress shopping, to be honest, my main concern was whether or not I would be able to go to the bathroom w/out assistance!


At a friend’s wedding, I accidentally walked into the bathroom as she was trying to use the toilet, and I was freaked out to see the maid of honor and a bridesmaid having to hold up her dress so that she could do her thing.   So that dictated the whole “can I go to the bathroom alone in it?” rule for me and my dress. 😉


Good point!


I will add going to the bathroom to the list of necessities on that important day.


This weekend my fiancé and I saw the Broadway show Avenue Q in Detroit. In one scene, a bride emerges with the largest, gauziest wedding dress you’ve ever seen. Suddenly, she is illuminated: there are lights under her dress! Would it be appropriate to add a detail like to that to the dress? That might determine the theme of the wedding.



While you are trying on dresses, see if you can bend down (what if you drop something?), sit down (you want to eat at your wedding, right?) and breath (that’s key.) You don’t need to be able to do yoga in your dress, but you should be comfortable.  


Readers: let me know if I’m forgetting anything!


Grace in her traditional Korean dress

Grace in her traditional Korean dress

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I received some email responses to my post “To wear white or not?” My favorite was from Courtney, a fellow Smithie alum.


She found a gorgeous *pink* dress at Filene’s Basement. Filene’s holds an annual wedding dress sale at select stores (twice in Boston.) Here’s the link: http://www.filenesbasement.com/bridal.jsp


A number of people have suggested it to me, but I was hesitant to try it because of this line on their website, “News reports so often compare it to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain that the event is now officially called the ‘Running of the Brides.’” (Yikes.)


Courtney said that she went around noon after things were calmer and the dresses were back on the racks. Sounds like good advice!


Here is the lovely bride and her dress:





As you know, I haven’t gotten my dress yet. I hope you’ll share your dress shopping knowledge with the readers. Where did you get your dress?


I’ll post your dress or wedding day pictures – email them to me here: chloemiller(at)gmail(dot)com.

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To wear white or not?

I’m not sure that I want to wear white on my wedding day.


My mother got married in an orange velure dress with a matching hat. My father wore a yellow tie. My great aunt, who recently turned 100, showed me a swath of fabric from her mother’s wedding dress which was dark brown with green floral stitching.


Their friend Susan Topper took this picture:


My parents' wedding.
The Orange Dress




Wearing white is a rather recent wedding development. It became a western tradition after 1840 when Queen Victoria wore a white dress at her wedding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedding_dress.)


Perhaps my family’s tradition isn’t to wear white.


I don’t want to make a mistake, however, so I spent a day in New York City trying on fancy white bridal gowns with my mother. We took down dresses bigger and heavier than we were and I was zipped into them in the tiny dressing rooms. Then, I stood on a stand in front of a mirror and was tugged on by salespeople. The dresses, which never were the right size, had to be pulled tightly in order for me to see how they could possible fit after being properly tailored. I asked to see a tiara and veil, in order to complete the picture.


I half expected to cry when I saw myself dressed like that in the mirror. (I think I’ve seen too many Lifetime movies.) I mostly felt short of breath and uncomfortable.


We thought we’d be able to take pictures, but it turns out that is against the rules. We did sneak some pictures in the dressing room, but the awkward angles made sure they didn’t come out just right. One saleswoman saw the flash under the door and reprimanded us. (Buying a dress is serious business. She didn’t like how we giggled in response. We left promptly.)


My mother and I had a wonderful day that day. If I were moved to buy a more traditional dress, I would have bought it at the Bridal Garden (http://www.bridalgarden.org/.) It is a non-profit boutique that donates money to NYC schoolchildren. The dresses are designer and on sale.


In the end, I am now in the process of looking at local dress shops and seeing what beautiful dress I can find.


And to be traditional, I’ll probably wear orange.



Everyone told me to try on dresses that I might not have expected to like. I think this is generally a good rule. Try different styles and see how you feel in the dress. You’ll pick the right dress because it will feel right. Ask a lot of questions – it seems that every dress can be reshaped however you like.


This, however, is an expensive endeavor. I went to a wedding this weekend and the bride looked beautiful in a JCrew dress. Many mainstream stores now have wedding lines. If you buy a wedding dress (or another dress to wear at your wedding) off the rack, you can save a lot of money.


Remember, even if something isn’t labeled “wedding,” you can still wear it at your wedding. Unless you tell the guests with pride, who is going to know?



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