American Wedding – A Wonderful Family Affair

The American wedding has become truly a family affair right from the start. Once “the decision” between the bride and the groom is made, they rush off to tell all their friends and families the great news! It’s only natural that they’re excited about the prospects and want to share their great joy with those members that are closest to them. The wedding tradition would suggest a party to announce the engagement to all family and friends. Traditionally speaking, the engagement party is the responsibility of the parents of the bride, which also means that they will be paying for the expenses and planning as well. The engagement party is a fun atmosphere and provides an opportunity for both sides of the families to meet for the very first time in many cases.

When it comes to the planning aspects of the wedding that is usually handled by the bride and her mother with a little bit of input from the groom and his family. It only makes sense that the parents of the bride make most of the major decisions because they are paying for most of the expenses. The American wedding will usually take place in a very special setting, such as a religious center were the view is very beautiful. Most of these places offer not only beauty but also built in facilities right from the start. Chances are, the church will have an organ or piano for the basic music requirements. These institutions are perfect for people who want that special ceremony.

An American Wedding Is Both a Ceremony and a Party

The American wedding will usually start with a ceremony love and commitment. This is a very romantic part of the wedding with all of the friends and families there to witness this happy union. Over the course of the ceremony, the bride and groom will say their vows to each other to show their love and commitment to each other. This setting is usually spectacular and all the people are dressed in beautiful clothes. At the end of the ceremony, the bride and groom become legally bound by this commitment. Yes the American wedding is very romantic, but there is also a legal procedure that now binds that couple together until death or divorce do they part.

Now comes the party! After the ceremony, the bride and groom will meet with their friends and family at the reception. This part of the reception has been planned for months, perhaps even the year or more in advance. The reception is a time to eat, drink and socialize with old friends as well as an opportunity to make new friends. The party will mainly focused on the wedding couple and guests will have the opportunity to offer their good wishes, prayers and wedding gifts. The American wedding is truly a special occasion with lots of joy and happiness for all those involved. The memories created will truly last for all lifetime for both sides of the family.

African-American Wedding Music

What makes your wedding uniquely African-American?

It’s easy to adopt Western traditions. Even in Africa, brides are choosing to go with Western-style weddings.

You can preserve your heritage in your wedding with African-American wedding music. What does this mean exactly?

Most couples have their own taste in music and that usually means the popular music of the day. But let’s explore the roots of African-American music for your African-American wedding music…

Spirituals

Blues

Rags

Jazz

Swing

Perhaps these styles don’t seem like they will fit into YOUR wedding, but look deeper.

If you are having a Christian ceremony, the spiritual fits well into the wedding. The spiritual is one of the most significant genres of American music. Yes, many of them are mournful, speaking of hope beyond present day circumstances, but many are stirring and uplifting, professing their faith. Try A little more faith in Jesus…

All I want, All I want, All I want is a little more faith in Jesus

Whenever we meet you here we say, A little more faith in Jesus

What’s the order of the day? A little more faith in Jesus.

I tell you now as I told you before,

A little more faith in Jesus,

To the promise land I’m bound to go,

A little more faith in Jesus.

What an exciting way to start a joyous occasion!

The blues are another uniquely African-American musical form. Now you might think the blues are just way too depressing for a happy wedding day. Blues music reflected the newly-acquired freedom of slaves in America. There are many songs that have a sad origin, but in the context of a happy wedding, work well. Consider, for example, Can’t help lovin’ that man of mine from the movie “Show Boat.” Yes, she lost her man in the movie, but he’s all yours on your wedding day and the words convey a beautiful sentiment…

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly,

I gotta love one man ’til I die,

So I can’t help lovin’ that man of mine.

Rags or rag-time – another great African-American tradition. Ever heard of Scott Joplin? This pianist extraordinaire practically invented the idiom. If you saw the movie “The Sting,” you heard a lot of rags. This style predated jazz and reached its popularity in the first two decades of the 20th century. Most rags are upbeat and could work as prelude music, and would be fantastic during the cocktail hour or during dinner. You could hire a pianist to play a selection of rags.

Jazz is the epitome of African-American art and is fabulous African-American wedding music. All you need to do is hire a great jazz band and your reception will be awesome. And don’t forget that swing!

Jazz can work well in the ceremony as well. Embraceable You and The Nearness of You are great jazz vocal solos as the mothers are seated or when the bridal party is entering.

Drums – If you want something really exciting and truly African, why not process down the aisle to a traditional African drum beat with musicians dressed in traditional garb? Contact your local university music department, music union, or music store, and ask if they know of any African drum ensembles. Or do an on-line search for an African drum ensemble.

Vera Wang Wedding Dresses – Why Are They So Loved?

Vera Wang was born in 1949 to affluent Chinese immigrants. She lived a luxurious life in Manhattan’s Upper East Side where she attended private schools and studied at the School of American Ballet. Wang was a very talented figure skater and competed professionally throughout her teens and even placed fifth in the U.S. National Championships. When Wang graduated from college, she went to work at Vogue and was already a Senior Fashion Editor by the age of 23. After 15 years at Vogue, she went to work for Ralph Lauren.

When she was 40 years old, Wang finally decided to marry her long-time love. As all brides do, she went in search of the perfect wedding gown. She was so frustrated by the lack of bridal gowns that she sketched out her own gown and commissioned a tailor to sew it for her. The cost for this elegant gown was $10,000.

With seed money from Wang’s Father, she opened her first bridal boutique in the upscale Carlyle Hotel on Madison Avenue in New York. Her gowns are now sold in very upscale retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and are worn by celebrities such as Anjelica Huston, Meg Ryan, Jennifer Lopez, and Goldie Hawn. Vera Wang is now the most prominent bridal gown designer in America and has been honored with a large number of awards for her achievements such as the 2005 Womanswear Designer of the Year.

While Vera Wang wedding dresses are the envy of all brides to be, most cannot afford the huge price tag of her premium designer dresses. But what if there was a way to walk down the aisle with a Vera Wang dress on and only pay a fraction of the cost? This newly discovered discount wedding gown opportunity is now becoming popular. This is how it works: Major retail bridal stores allow brides to try on wedding gowns called “sample gowns”. Once the choice of the gown is made, the bride places her order for a new gown in the correct size and the one she tried on goes back on the floor. This process continues until the gown is discontinued, the store needs room for new inventory, or they have stopped carrying that collection all together. What happens to the gowns that are no longer needed? Bride Couture purchases these gowns and then sells them to brides at 50% to 80% off their original price. Imagine walking in and trying on a ten thousand dollar gown for a fraction of the cost? Better yet, why not have Bride Couture send you three or four gowns to try on. Keep the one you love and return the others. You can try on the gowns in the comfort of your own home and have whomever you want there to give you reviews.

Vera Wang uses the tradition of Paris Couture when she designs a dress. Her style is more focused on using gorgeous fabrics and unique construction rather than heavy beading or embroidery. Her gowns are very romantic, whimsical and high fashion while still remaining timeless. This is your day to be the center of attention. Why not feel and look like one in a Vera Wang wedding dress?

Tips for Finding Lovely Contemporary Wedding Dresses

Whether your desired look is traditional or fashion forward, super-sleek or buried in an ocean of tulle, immaculate whites or antiqued beiges, long or short, fit or flare, you’re sure to have your work cut out for you finding the perfect gown to wear on your special day. With a virtually endless array of wedding attire available on the market, and new entries popping up from every corner of the fashion world, there have never been more options available to brides-to-be for whom fashion represents a vital and highly personal statement.

You can narrow down that pool by focusing on newer designs that pay homage to traditional cuts and colors. Make sure to focus stubbornly on exactly what you desire in a fantasy wedding gown – because, the truth is, with such a generous variety available for browsing, you can enjoy the luxury of going for perfection. So keep your standards high, your mind open and your maid-of-honor on hand for trusted advice and encouragement. The possibilities are practically limitless. Here are just a few special gowns to get your search off the ground.

Taffeta Ball Gown with Organza Underlay

The Taffeta Ball Gown with Organza Underlay is a highly dramatic gown straight out of a fairy tale. It is just right for the bride-to-be whose wedding fantasies have been exactly that – fantastic. The gown’s flattering bodice features exquisite beaded embroidery along its classic strapless neckline. A peek-a-book organza underlay adds dimension and movement to the full skirt while offering a striking contrast with pick-up detailing at the waist.

Observe the careful placement of a glittering bow just above the skirt of this gown – a subtle, feminine touch that sets this dress apart from the pack. Its chapel train makes you appear to practically be floating down the aisle. This dress is available in petite sizes, so smaller-framed bride-to-be can rejoice – no tailoring required. Your dress, your size, the perfect look for one of the most important days of your and your beloved’s new life together. Strike a romantic figure at your wedding in a pure-yet-modern celebration of American matrimonial styling.

Satin Fit and Flare Gown with Bow Detail

The Satin Fit and Flare Gown with Bow Detail is a radiant choice for the brides who seek sophistication with a modern twist. This fit and flare gown follows your figure to mid-thigh and then bells gently into a remarkably flattering silhouette that your assembled witnesses and beloved guests are not likely to forget. Classically feminine from neckline to hem, this gown starts with an alluring sweetheart bodice and finishes in a modern bubble hem – a subtle grace note that you’ll relish like a secret as you make your way down the aisle. While fit to flare at bottom, this dress features a high empire waist that flatters any bride’s natural contour while celebrating vintage inspired fashion. It’s a stunning choice for the modern bride. Choose between classic White and creamy Ivory.

Short Sleeve Lace and Organza Knee Length Dress

Ultra-feminine, dynamic in dimension and one hundred percent gorgeous, this short 60’s-inspired wedding dress is perfect for an outdoor summer wedding among beloved friends and family. The Short Sleeve Lace and Organza Knee Length Dress’s cheerful lace bodice provides extra coverage for the modest bride. A stylish panel of lace has been incorporated to draw the eye upward. At waist level, the ruched satin band establishes an elegant silhouette that is both slimming and shape-defining. Organza pleating below the gently flared skirt provides just the right amount of volume, hitting just below the knee to achieve a playful, vintage appeal. Order yours in Soft White and pair it with pearls to enhance the vintage look of this gorgeous and unusual wedding dress.

Satin Off-the-Shoulder Side Draped A-Line Gown

The Satin Off-the-Shoulder Side Draped A-Line Gown features clean lines, immaculate white layering and a neckline so timeless, you can be sure that this very special gown will span generations of brides-to-be. Its off the shoulder bodice is a sweet declaration of feminine style that universally flatters the shoulders and upper arms. This bodice is enhanced even further by an exquisite beaded pattern across the bust. Choose a classic A-line cut for your wedding gown and enjoy the benefits of its figure flattering lines and simple movement – priceless qualities that have been turning heads for the better part of a century. Meanwhile, the real twist comes when you turn your back to launch that bouquet – it’s a dramatic deep-V that you’ll just love. Available in White or Ivory with a chapel length train that will create a floating effect as you walk down the aisle toward your beloved.

African American Wedding Hairstyles – Tips and Tricks

African- American women have great styling options for their wedding day, however keep in mind of comfort because you have a long day ahead of you. Go with a style that celebrates who you are!!! I will give you some tips, and some do’s and don’ts to create the best Black Wedding Hairstyle for you.

Popular African-American Wedding Hairstyles

Two Strand Twist
Locs
Straight weave
Swing Braids
Cornrows
Flat Twist w/ Two Strand Twist
To see samples of hairstyles go to http://www.blackbridalguide.com and click on “Articles

Have a conversation with yourself:

What type of style have you always envisioned for that special day? Ask yourself the following questions:
Do you want your hair up or down?

Do you want it close to your head?

Do you want to glue in hair pieces or get it sewn in?

Do you want braids?

How much money are you willing to spend?

Once you are able to answer these questions you will be fully armed with a look you’d like to achieve.

Avoid Common Mistakes

Your photos are cemented forever, you don’t want to look at them and cringe regretting you’d wish you had chosen something else. Here are some things to avoid when creating your hairstyle.
Be careful when choosing a style because it’s in fashion or because a celebrity rocked it. Don’t choose a style you normally wouldn’t wear. What may look good on a celebrity may not work well for you. Remember these celebrities have a battery of stylists to get them to achieve those looks.

Don’t succumb to peer pressure. Don’t choose a style because your friend thinks it will look good on you. It’s your day and you need to be as comfortable as possible. Also you need to have people around you that are HONEST and aren’t afraid to let you know if something doesn’t look good on you!

Less is More Pt. 1

If you are adding hairpieces be careful not to overdo it. Don’t forget that you are wearing a veil. All eyes will be on you, so don’t give them more to talk about. Don’t feel the need to add extra pieces of hair when it’s not necessary. Why style your hair to make it look like a sky scraper or a bird’s nest??

Less is More Pt. 2

If you are wearing a simple dress, there is no better way to glam it up by wearing beautiful accessories to adorn your hair. You can get Custom Designed Hair Pieces & Accessories by Beauloni. Go to http://www.beaulonistyle.com for more information.

Don’t Do it yourself!!

This is the worst time to try to cut costs. Don’t attempt any highlighting, braids, weaves or coloring yourself. Leave it to the professionals just for once! Even if you have styled your hair before, don’t add the extra stress to yourself!! Enjoy being a bride and let someone else take care of you. Don’t set yourself up for something to go wrong. If you don’t have a regular stylist ask a friend to recommend someone.

Go for a Trial Do to avoid a don’t!!

Make an appointment with your stylist at least one month before your wedding. Have a representative from your wedding party present there also. Take along your veil and any accessories so that your stylist can make any necessary adjustments. One more important thing you must do is to ask your stylist what is the best way to maintain your hair throughout your wedding day.

Celebrate your day and look great doing it!!!

Beautiful Designer Wedding Dresses for Cutting Edge Brides to Be

The growth of the wedding industry in America has been nothing short of astonishing. In the past two decades alone, costs have doubled, bringing the total price tag for the average ceremony to just over 24,000 dollars. And that doesn’t include the honeymoon! Why are wedding costs on the rise?

There are many reasons. One simple explanation is that couples are waiting much longer to get married. The average couple is about six combined years older than they were just thirty years ago. As a result, they generally have more money in the bank and are more secure in their jobs. In other words, they can afford to spend more on vacations and special events. And what is more special than a wedding?

Another reason why connubial costs are on the rise is the modern bridal gown. A few decades ago, brides were perfectly content to wear their mother’s old gowns or to purchase one second-hand. That is not the case these days. The average wedding dress now costs well over one thousand dollars, according to a recent survey. This is what we like to call the designer effect. What do we mean?

Fashion designers have had a love-hate relationship with bridal gowns for many years. Most of the world’s top designers avoided wedding dresses like the plague for decades. Since almost all bridal gowns were white and most of them were highly formal, there really wasn’t much a talented couturier could do with them. She was circumscribed by convention. But when tradition took a backseat to comfort and style, most of the top designers started making bridal gowns again.

The bride on a limited budget can purchase a dress off the rack for only a few hundred dollars. These gowns are typically knockoffs of original designer bridal gowns. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with purchasing a replica, but they certainly cannot compare with the real thing.

The reason designer dresses are so expensive is that they are made by the best in the business using only the top materials and techniques. When a designer puts her label on a gown, it is like an artist signing her name on an original painting. It means that she is proud of it, that it is the best she can do. That is why most designers take the time to personally inspect each and every bridal gown that leaves their workshop. They want to make certain that every stitch is perfectly in place and that the dress will please the client.

Spending up to ten thousand dollars on a wedding dress is not as uncommon as you might think. A top designer who is given carte blanche to create an original dress with all of the best fabrics, trims, and accessories can easily charge that much. Kate Middleton’s designer royal dress cost 40,000 dollars!

Bridal Gown Trends

Color

Designers have changed the way American women think about wedding dresses. Twenty years ago, few brides would have the chutzpah to walk down the aisle in anything other than a white gown. Today, non-white gowns are the fastest growing segment of the bridal gown industry. Off-white colors like champagne, silk and diamond have gained a loyal following in recent years. Some brides are even going with colors like yellow, red and blue, especially at outdoor ceremonies.

Silhouettes

Designers love them because they look and feel fabulous on the right women. The truth is, you really have to have a slender figure to wear them, because they hug every curve and leave little to the imagination. It is no wonder they are such a hit on the runway!

Ball Gown Styles

While it is true that more and more brides-to-be are planning more casual weddings, when they do plan a formal one, they are choosing ball gowns in greater numbers. The ball gown is great because it is not nearly as cumbersome as the average formal gown. They typically have open shoulders and plunging, décolleté necklines, which most brides love, because it allows them to show a little skin in a formal setting. They are, however, almost impossible to remove without help. Of course, that could be a plus on the wedding night!

Tea-Length Dresses

With the economy in the lurch, most brides are looking to save a few bucks, even on formal designer gowns. One simple way to accomplish this is to use a bit less material. The less fabric a designer needs, the smaller the bill. That may be why many modern brides are choosing gowns with tea-length hemlines instead of the more traditional full-length hemline. A tea-length number has a hemline that falls between the bottom of the calf and the ankle. They are incredibly popular at outdoor affairs and are even catching on with more formal brides.

Designer wedding dresses can be found in a wide range of styles and prices on the web. Take a moment to browse around and find your favorite styles and designs.

12 American Wedding Practices Couples Must Know

America – “land of the free”. This is a country where liberation in all senses of the word forms the cornerstone of society. Americans live their lives where they have the freedom of choice as to what to do, where to live and who to love. And unlike so many other people throughout the world, Americans are not shackled by centuries of traditions that are still adhered to despite their lack of relevance in modern-day society. There is, however, one area in which tradition still plays an integral part and that is in the area of weddings. The American wedding is a combination of tradition interspersed with a distinctive American flavour and it is these uniquely American wedding practices that set the American wedding apart.

1. Popping the question
More and more, couples are attempting to make their marriage proposal as unique and unforgettable as possible. As there are no specific traditions regarding the actual act of becoming engaged, couples are more inclined to first become engaged and then inform their respective parents of their engagement.

2. Making it official
Although not a requirement of engagement, many couples choose to host an engagement party. The party is generally not as formal or lavish as a wedding reception and can be a dinner party, a luncheon or a cocktail party, dependent on the requirements of the couple. For many couples who have financial constraints, the engagement party may include a number of people who will not be invited to the wedding, but with whom they wish to celebrate their pending nuptials.

3. Showered with gifts
American wedding practices, more often than not, involve a bridal shower. This event is generally organised by the maid of honor and the bridesmaids and, along with the bride, all the female guests who will be attending the wedding are invited. It is often common practise that the groomsmen organise a bachelor’s party for the groom, which is often held the night before the wedding. It is obviously advisable for the groom to refrain from overindulging in alcohol and running the risk of spoiling his wedding day.

4. Coming or not
A general guideline regarding the timeframes during wedding preparations, is that the invitations should be dispatched around four to six weeks prior to the wedding. One of the most efficient American wedding practices is the inclusion with the invitation, of a response card. This card is returned to the bridal couple to inform them whether or not a guest has accepted or declined the invitation to the wedding.

5. Try, try and try again
In preparation for the big day, most couples have a rehearsal of the wedding several days prior to the main event. This rehearsal usually includes all members of the bridal party and a rehearsal dinner is then hosted by the groom’s parents thereafter.

6. Food, glorious food
An American wedding practice that is not always adhered to, is that of a bridal luncheon, hosted by the bride for her attendants on the wedding day. For most brides, however, time constraints render this impossible. Should he so choose, the groom may host a dinner attended by his groomsmen.

7. Keeping the faith
Despite a lack of religious observance, many couples still opt for a religious wedding ceremony. For inter-faith couples, however, the choice of ceremony may prove to be difficult.

8. Omens and portents
Although many people profess not to be superstitious, it is still a fundamental belief for many that it is bad luck for the groom to see his bride at any stage prior to her walking up the aisle.

9. Aiding and abetting
American wedding practices dictate that the groom, accompanied by his groomsmen, make use of the side door to enter the church. The bride, accompanied by her father, walks down the aisle to join her groom at the front of the church. With so many families these days that are no longer in tact, it is not uncommon for a bride to be escorted by both her father and her stepfather as she walks down the aisle.

10. Wining and dining
At a formal reception, a bridal table is usually placed as a focal point. The bride and groom, their parents and the balance of the bridal party are seated at this table. Guests’ appearance is greeted with a welcome drink, while they await the arrival of the wedding party.

11. ‘Tis better to give than to receive
In the past, guests were left to their own devices with regard to the selection of wedding gifts. Modern day American wedding practices entail the bridal couple registering for gifts at one or more stores for gifts within a specific price range. This ensures that wedding guests select those gifts that the couple have selected, which is easier for the guests and more practical for the bridal couple.

12. Manners maketh man and woman
Although a verbal “thank you” may convey gratitude to the giver of an engagement or wedding gift, it is far more preferable that the bridal couple send a personalised thank you note. This should be done timely – within two weeks.

These American wedding practices are followed by a large number of bridal couples, who have specifically elected to have a more traditional wedding. Nowadays, however, many people are opting for more unconventional weddings which flout tradition. Whichever type of wedding a couple decide on, one thing remains clear – American’s do still believe in the fairytale ending of “’til death do us part.”

How to Shop For Your Once in a Lifetime Wedding Dress

He proposed, you said yes. The wedding planning is in full gear and its time to shop for your wedding dress. Your wedding dress is the most memorable and expensive dress you will ever purchase. Here is some practical advice to make your shopping trip fun and let you know what to expect.

Make an appointment to try on wedding dresses. Some bridal salons don’t require them, but an appointment will guarantee you the individual attention of a bridal consultant and space in the dressing room.

Time your shopping trip to your best advantage. If you shop on a weekday afternoon, you will get the most attention and you will not be competing with a lot of other brides like you would on weekends. You also get more time to shop.

You will get the best deals if you shop in November and December when the bridal salons are slow and new merchandise is arriving. There will be more sales and more incentives to buy because they need to clear out stock to make room for new stock that is arriving. Wedding dresses arrive in cycles, with the late fall and early winter being the time the manufactures ship out new merchandise.

Don’t shop too early, if your wedding is two years away and you are not prepared to buy, stay home and surf the net for ideas. The styles will change and your idea of your dream dress may change, along with your weight and wedding plan. The style may also be discontinued by the manufacturer.

Don’t shop too late. Wedding dresses should be ordered 9 months to a year in advance. The manufacturers take 16 to 20 weeks to fashion your dress because of all the hand work that is done on the dress. You also need to allow transportation time and time to have alterations done. If you shop at the last minute, you will risk major disappointment. You will either have to buy off the rack or pay the manufacturer extra for rushing your dress.

Shop prepared. This should not even have to be mentioned., Wear underwear on your shopping trip. Wear clean underwear and be freshly showered or risk major embarrassment. Some salons will send you home to shower or come back with underwear and who can blame them? You are trying on expensive white dresses! And if you don’t wear underwear, you’ll be standing in the dressing room buck naked. If you are uncomfortable, you consultant will be doubly uncomfortable.

Bring along a strapless bra if you have one and a pair of heels to get a feel for how the gown will look on you.

Don’t shop with a posse. Shop with someone you trust, your mom, your sister, your best friend. Don’t shop with your entire wedding party. Too many people means a lot of confusion for you and your consultant. Too many opinions will make you crazy. Are they giving you their true opinion, or picking out a dress they would wear to their own wedding? Invite your friends to see your choice after you’ve made your choice. They’ll be more interested after you’ve chosen your dress. Sure, a huge shopping trip sounds like fun, but you’ll totally regret it when you leave exhausted, confused and aggravated.

Don’t try to cram too many shopping appointments in one day. Trying on wedding dresses is exhausting. You’ll be standing up in heels for a long time. Some of the dresses are very heavy. Pretty soon you’ll be suffering from white blur, a wedding term that means that all the dresses are starting to look alike. Limit your appointments to no more than two a day and take time in between to grab something to eat and drink. The only way you can be on top of your dress shopping game is to be fueled up, hydrated and relaxed. Its going to be a long day!

Shop with an open mind and a good attitude. You have a dress etched into your mind. You are closing yourself to dresses that may be more flattering on your figure, cost less money and be THE dress. Be open and receptive to different necklines, body styles and fabrics. You may leave with the dress still etched in your mind, but you may just find THE dress if you stop telling yourself that you are picky. By constantly reinforcing your pickiness, you’ll make yourself and your shopping companion crazy. Bridal consultants are trained and experienced in finding dresses that make the most of your figure and hide the parts that need to be hidden. Stop whining and listen, you’ll be amazed at how fabulous you can look if you just open your mind and adjust your attitude.

What to expect when shopping for your wedding dress. Expect to be warmly welcomed into the bridal salon and meet your consultant. Your dress consultant will ask you some questions about your wedding. They’ll ask you about the type of wedding, the formality of the wedding and your wedding dress budget. They aren’t being nosy. They need to help you choose a dress from a mind boggling selection of dress styles. You can’t try everything on in the store, its physically impossible. They also need an idea of your dress budget, so you don’t fall in love with a dress that is out of your price range. If you want to see dresses under a thousand dollars or under five hundred dollars, tell them honestly to avoid a lot of disappointment on your part.

You will be shown styles, feel free to say no to anything you don’t like. Be honest, you will not like everything and it will help your consultant pull more dresses that are in line with what looks best on you and you like.

You will be helped try on the dresses. Dressing yourself in a bridal salon is difficult, so expect to be helped on and off with the dress, in addition to zipping the dress.

You will be asked more questions, for example, do you feel comfortable in this style?

Your consultant will categorize your dresses by the dresses you like, the maybes and the definite no way. You might want to retry the dresses you like to cut down on your selections. Your consultant will keep the dress style on file so when you return, the can find the style.

If you are uncomfortable in the style, its a no. If you feel overwhelmed in a style, its a no. If you feel fat in a style, its a no.

And above all, do NOT be pressured into buying a dress by anyone. If you feel pressured, gracefully say you’ll be back to try it on once your mind is cleared. Don’t buy anything from pressure. Buy the dress because you love it and its THE dress!

Rose Trifero is an internationally known expert in the field of weddings and bridal fashions. She has been involved in the industry for over 30 years and has written and been quoted in national bridal magazines including Vows, the magazine for bridal professionals. She is also the force behind [http://www.weddingloco.com] a free wedding planning site.

Choosing the Right Wedding Dress – What “David” Won’t Tell You

As a wedding planner, I have spoken to thousands of brides and witnessed, at close hand, at least a thousand in their wedding dresses. As a photographer, I have closely studied the bride’s photographic images in print. I, therefore, have an experienced eye and feel qualified to give some good advice.

I know many brides go out shopping for the perfect wedding dress within days and even hours of the proposal. Some go even before the proposal. Almost every bride I talk to discusses her dress. I know that the choosing of the right wedding dress is very important. Every bride I have seen is beautiful, but not every bride’s dress suits her. Some wedding dresses are a definite detriment to the bride’s appearance, the pictures and even the whole wedding.

So brides, I want to offer you some criteria for picking the right dress. Let these three principles guide you:

1) YOU LOVE IT AND WILL LOVE IT ON YOUR WEDDING DAY.

Above all else, you need to feel beautiful and comfortable. Don’t let your mother, sister, bridesmaid, shop clerk, Goth teenage cousin, or even your groom decide. This is YOUR day, and you need to trust your own taste and style. You will be the one walking down the aisle – the “Star of the Runway.” You will be the one looking at your wedding pictures for the rest of your life. So, how will YOU decide what the best dress for you is?

2) MAKE SURE IT IS COMFORTABLE AND FITS YOU.

Don’t buy your dress a year in advance – your taste or your shape might change during that time. Don’t buy your dress to fit after you have lost twenty pounds. You might not, or you could lose even more. In either case, it won’t fit.

Definitely enjoy browsing wedding magazines, but keep in mind your own budget, taste and figure. Too many of those dresses in magazines can actually only be worn by the anorexic thirteen-year-olds modeling them. Also beware of knock-offs or imitations of expensive wedding dresses in a magazine. They are often poorly fitted, badly sewn, and made of cheap, synthetic material. They might look alright on the mannequin in the shop, but they won’t look good on you in natural light.

Poorly made dresses often fall down, are too tight in some places and too baggy in others, with crooked seams and zippers that show. The bride is continually pulling and wrestling with her dress throughout the wedding and reception. Much too often, the bride’s underwear shows. It’s alright to buy an inexpensive dress, but, make sure it looks good in natural light – natural fibers such as silk or cotton are preferred. Make sure you have the right underwear to go with the dress, that can’t be seen. Walk around in the dress, sit down and move and check bra straps and panty lines. If they appear at home or in the shop, you can be sure that they will at the wedding. If necessary, you can have your dress altered by a good seamstress. A proper fit cannot be over estimated.

You might want to consider having the seamstress make your dress from scratch. This way, you can have total control over the style and fabric and be sure of a perfect fit. Make sure to get an accurate estimate of the price of the dress and labor before the seamstress starts sewing, so there will be no unpleasant surprises. And, allow enough time for delays and fittings. It is a wonderful feeling of power and creativity to design your own wedding dress, if you are so inclined, and it doesn’t have to be more expensive than buying off the rack.

Another option is to browse small boutiques. Some of the most lovely wedding dresses I have seen were not wedding dresses at all, just great dresses, usually white but not always. It is amazing what you can find when you venture away from the wedding dress department or shop. Some of our brides wait until they come to Hawaii and find real treasures that fit perfectly in one of the local shops. They are also perfect for a Hawaiian wedding, which brings me to my last criteria.

3) MAKE SURE YOUR DRESS IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE PLACE AND CLIMATE WHERE YOUR WEDDING WILL TAKE PLACE.

Even if you love your dress, and it fits and it looks great in your bedroom mirror, there could be a problem on your wedding day.

These are some problems I have seen: A bride buys a beautiful but elaborate and heavy dress for a tropical beach wedding. The result is misery – red, flushed, sweaty skin, heat stroke and even fainting! Another common problem is veils and trains worn for outside weddings. Trains drag in the dirt and sand, catch on twigs, and inhibit free movement in an outdoors wedding. You may think that your bridesmaid will carry the train, but do you truly want her trailing after you, always in your pictures, as you try to stroll on the sand, romantically, with your groom? Brides often come back from the beach with their train, heavy with sand and water. Unless you want to participate in the Trash the Dress fad, this is not recommended.

And, Veils – Now they can cause a spectacle on a windy day. The veil becomes a kite or parachute. I swear, I have seen brides nearly pulled away from their groom by a six foot veil unfurling in the wind. You don’t want to do a “Mary Poppins” on your wedding day. At the very least, the flying veils end up destroying hairdos, blowing in the groom’s face and being a general nuisance. If in doubt, make sure your veil can be easily removed, if necessary. The same goes for trains. Some can be removed or clipped to the dress for easy movement. But, make sure you test these apparatus before purchasing. I have, actually, witnessed four or five people trying unsuccessfully to figure out how to pin-up the train.

Or, perhaps, you are going to have your wedding in a church. Veils and trains won’t be a problem, but still consider temperature. Is the church or event room hot or cold? Don’t overdress or under dress. If you’re planning a winter wedding, or your venue is overly air conditioned, make sure an appropriate shawl or jacket is part of your wedding outfit, or wear a long-sleeved wedding dress.

Blue “chicken skin,” is not much more attractive than red, sweaty skin. Neither is teeth chattering. You want to be comfortable, because you want that smile on your beautiful face to be real, not forced. Your smile and joy and love are your most beautiful “apparel.” So, even if you don’t pick the right dress, don’t let it ruin your wedding day. Think about that sweet guy who is pledging to love you for the rest of your life and be merry.

If you want to know more about how to go about planning a Hawaii or a Maui Wedding, please contact Rev. Ayesha Sandra Lee from Merry Maui Weddings & Vacations, at (888)588-0400. Mahalo!

7 Top Tips For Choosing Your Maternity Wedding Dress

Tip 1: Your Maternity Wedding Dress Style

So … here’s the BIG question … “How far along will you be on your wedding day?” If you will still be in the early months of your pregnancy on your wedding day, you may not need maternity wedding dress tips or even a maternity wedding dress. You might just get away with a slightly larger size dress in the style you love already.

Do you have a good dressmaker on hand for last minute alterations? Double check with her that your dress can be altered or let out where needed before you buy or order anything … because you can’t predict how fast your bump will grow or how you will carry your baby. Ball gowns and dresses with a tight bodice are not generally very comfortable or flattering for pregnant brides-to-be because they’ll emphasize your expanding middle! Best to steer clear!

Empire line gowns and A-line dresses look fabulous on most pregnant women thanks to their loose structure which creates a beautiful silhouette. “Proper” maternity wedding dresses aren’t second best … they are beautiful! Designers understand the modern pregnant bride’s desire to look fabulous and there are some amazing maternity wedding dresses to choose from … whatever your budget.

2. Where will you be tying the knot?

Brides usually choose a long formal gown for a religious ceremony although long gowns are equally suited for civil celebrations too. If you’re planning a small or informal civil or beach maternity wedding, maybe you will prefer a shorter, less structured dress?

There are no hard and fast rules … it’s all about you finding a maternity wedding dress that makes you feel great on your big day!

3. Enhance your beautiful blooming figure!

Traditional brides look for a dress to enhance their natural assets and as a pregnant bride, that’s just what you should do too. So, here are some physical considerations before choosing your pregnancy wedding dress

What shoes will you be comfortable in and how will your chosen dress look with the wedding shoes you plan to wear?
Do you have a great cleavage … why not show it off?
Would you like a strappy or strapless gown? Think about the width of your maternity bra straps …will you be able to cope with a strapless bra for the day or do you really need a bit more support?
Do you want to hide your baby bump?
Are your arms toned and beautiful or would you like to hide them away? Would you be happier with a dress that has sleeves if you’ve gained weight on your arms in your pregnancy. What about a stylish wrap or bolero jacket?

4. Fabulous Fabrics

You should think as carefully about the fabric of your maternity wedding dress as the style of the dress itself, especially when thinking about the season of your wedding. The same dress in different wedding dress fabrics will look and feel quite different. It will certainly drape quite differently around your body.

5. Think about the colour of your gown!

Traditional western brides have married in white: the colour of maidenhood and purity. Today white is simply considered to be the colour that represents joy. As a pregnant bride, you CAN wear white if you want to … if you want to inject a little colour, you can do that too!

Natural shades such as champagne, ivory, grey and very light pastels are always popular, but striking reds, blues, pinks and black are very fashionable. It’s your wedding … and as a twenty first century bride … you really can have exactly the colour scheme you want. And if you love bold colour, but want a traditional coloured maternity wedding dress, why not introduce your chosen colour with your flowers and accessories?

6. Your bridegroom, attendants and guests

Once you’ve found your dream maternity wedding gown, it’s time to think about the other key people who will take part in your maternity wedding!

What ideas do you have about wedding attire for your husband-to-be, the best man and the ushers?
How would you like your bridesmaids, flower girls or page boys to look?

As you’re working to a tight time budget with a maternity wedding, don’t forget to keep it simple … and accept help when it is offered to you!

7. Preserving Your Maternity Wedding Gown, Once the Big Day is Over!

After you’ve spent time and thought selecting your maternity wedding gown, you’ll probably want to hold on to it for sentimental reasons. If it is properly, professionally cleaned and preserved, your wedding gown can last for years to come. What a wonderful and meaningful keepsake to share with your family in the years ahead!