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Weddings

Rocking Your Role as the Maid of Honor

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

The maid of honor is there to do more than just hold the bridal bouquet. The maid of honor is there to remember all the little things that no one else is thinking of; she’s essential to making the bride’s wedding day as special as it can be.

If you’ve been given the privilege of being someone’s maid of honor, these are some of the essential tasks you’ll be expected to handle:

Shopping and Planning Partner

One of the most exciting things about a wedding is getting to help plan it. Hopefully, you can accompany the bride when shopping for her dress, shoes, or any other accessories for the wedding. You may be able to help sort out the details of the wedding and help plan, too.

Better than Xanax

Planning a wedding can be stressful. Having a support system and someone to talk to and vent to is crucial. From getting her away from it all for a manicure or massage to helping with errands and wedding tasks, you can make this time less stressful.

Bridal Shower and Bachelorette Party

These are two distinct and different events, and only you know whether or not the bride wants both. A bridal shower can happen a few weeks before the wedding, and should include family members and close friends. Whether you host a brunch, a scrapbook party, or a spa weekend, the bridal shower is an opportunity to bond and share the excitement of the upcoming wedding.

The bachelorette party is a night out, traditionally the night before the wedding – although I recommend holding it a a couple of nights before so that the bride can sleep the night before the wedding. You need to know what the bride wants – some are ready for a wild night of tequila shots and strippers, and others just want a girls night out with martinis and friends.

Wedding Day Manager

On the wedding day your chief bridesmaid duties may have doubled, tripled, or even multiplied by five, depending on how many bridesmaids there are. Play hostess to the other bridesmaids, but don’t be afraid to enlist their help, too.

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Weddings

10 Tips For Planning The Perfect Outdoor Wedding

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

One of the many, many decisions that every bride needs to make is whether to say their vows inside or outside. The former option is certainly the easiest but if you’ve been dreaming about the latter your entire life, an outdoor ceremony is the only way to go.

The good news is that while certainly more challenging, planning the perfect outdoor wedding isn’t quite as difficult as most people believe. Provided you’re both aware of the inherent challenges and plan for them in advance, there’s no reason why your big day can’t go off without a hitch.

Here are ten straightforward tips for throwing the perfect outdoor wedding.

Choose the Right Month

First off, we have the small matter of scheduling, if there’s one thing that you don’t want to get wrong, this is it. Rather than blindly choosing a Summer month, take the time to do your research. Which month is historically the most reliable in terms of both sunshine and the absence of rain?

Keep a Tent Standing By

Regardless of how hard you try to predict the weather, freak rain and wind cannot be completely ruled out. What you can do however is prepare for them. Wedding tent hire isn’t expensive but it’s an invaluable back up plan to have. Even if you don’t use it, you’ll benefit from the peace of mind of knowing that you have it.

Visit the Venue

When it comes time to check out potential wedding venues, it’s important to time your visits appropriately. Don’t visit during the morning if you plan on having your ceremony during the afternoon or evening. Noise, insect and tranquillity levels can all change drastically over the course of a day.

Go Easy on the Decor

One of the many perks of hosting your wedding outside is that you don’t need to spend as much money on décor. In fact, excess décor can easily take away from the natural look that you should be trying to create. Choose somewhere beautiful and let the location speak for itself.

Keep the Insects in Check

For all the beauty of an outdoor wedding, there’s no denying that indoor ceremonies tend to have a lot less insects. If you don’t want your wedding guests to be swatting the air while you’re saying your vows, it’s therefore important to take a few countermeasures. Look into bug sprays, citronella candles and granular repellents.

Hire Experienced Professionals

As you’ve probably guessed by now, outdoor weddings come complete with quite a few unique challenges. It’s therefore important to hire professionals with actual outdoor wedding experience. Do your caterers know how to keep food warm/drinks cold on a Summers day? Is your photographer familiar with ceremonies that are held in the sun?

Choose Appropriate food

Regardless of how experienced your caterers are with outdoor food, it’s important to realise that they can’t work miracles. Some foods just aren’t a good idea in the Summer sun. When they tell you what those foods are, listen to them and take their advice. The last thing you want is to serve your guests spoiled food.

Accept That Your Dress Will get Dirty

If you want to a spotless wedding dress, have an indoor wedding. If you want an outdoor wedding, accept that keeping your wedding dress spotless is impossible. Don’t spend the happiest day of your life worrying about a dress that you’re never going to wear again. Even the most well cut grass leaves stains.

Help Your Guests Prepare

In theory, telling your wedding guests that you’re having an outdoor wedding should be a sufficient way of encouraging them to dress appropriately. In reality however, fail to give instructions and half of them are likely to turn up completely unprepared. Your wedding invitations should therefore include a brief note about outdoor shoes, cool clothing and sunscreen.

Keep Everyone Hydrated

Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of keeping everybody hydrated during the ceremony. Alcoholic beverages might be a wedding essential but they are the very opposite of thirst quenching. It’s therefore important to serve your guests a wide selection of non alcoholic beverages too. For style points opt for home made lemonade and delicious virgin mojitos.

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Weddings

8 Steps to an Eco-Friendly Wedding

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, wedding season isn’t far behind.

Are you planning an eco-friendly wedding? Eco-friendly weddings are becoming a bigger trend, allowing couples to maintain their commitment to the environment by having an ecologically responsible wedding. Eco-friendly – or “green” – weddings are planned in consideration of how each factor – invitations, beverages, food, location, and flowers – will impact the environment.

With the average wedding costing more than $35,000, going green for your wedding can save you plenty of green along the way. Here are some ways to make your wedding more eco-friendly:

The Wedding Invitations

Your wedding invitations provide an easy area to save money and be good to the environment. Printing your invitations at home on recycled paper allows you to minimize the impact, and if you skip the response cards and ask people to RSVP electronically, you eliminate not only the paper and ink cost and impact but also the environmental impact (more gas, more mail trucks, etc). You can also hand write invitations to make them more unique. Alternatively, you can create your invitation online and send out virtual invitations or even create a small website for your wedding.

The Wedding Dress

While we may have grown up thinking that we have to spend $5,000 or more on an heirloom dress that we then carefully store for 30 years in the hopes that our daughters will wear the dress, it just doesn’t happen. Rent a dress or buy a used one to save money, or choose a dress made of hemp, cotton or silk with no synthetic materials or dyes used. If your mom saved her dress for you, but you just don’t love it, see if she’ll let you use the material from it to create something new.

Wedding Flowers

When choosing wedding flowers, you can save money and be environmentally friendly by choosing to work with a florist who uses recycled flowers and foliage for bouquets. You can also work with your florist to create inexpensive and memorable centerpieces with live plants that your guests can take home.

Wedding Favors

There are a number of different wedding favor options that are environmentally friendly while still creating a lasting memory for your guests. From organic jellies to handmade jewelry to beeswax candles, you can choose wonderful and memorable favors.

The Wedding Cake

If you have ideas about how to make a wedding cake that tastes good while still being good for the environment, you’ll have to let me know. But you can choose to support a local bakery or chef rather than a chain store, and you can opt for a smaller cake (a lot of it ends up going to waste anyway). You can opt for organic ingredients, too, and make sure any ingredient is fair-trade.

Wedding Food

One of the best ways to be more environmentally conscious when planning your wedding is to choose locally grown, organic products to serve. From organic greens to range-fed chicken, you can offer food choices that make a difference. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that organic food tends to be pricier than non-organic, so shop CSAs and Farmer’s markets to save extra money, or limit your menu choices to make it more feasible.

The Wedding Transportation

There can be a huge environmental impact to destination weddings or even having a large number of out-of-town guests, so arranging to provide group transportation using hybrid vehicles can be helpful. Arrange to have your guests stay near the wedding location to reduce the impact, too. Instead of departing your wedding in a limo, consider a horse-drawn carriage instead.

Wedding Location

Green weddings are often held in natural environments, such as botanical gardens or nature preserves, or even in your own back yard. This reduces how many decorations you need. Hosting the wedding and reception at the same location can also minimize transportation requirements for everyone and allow your guests to spend more time with you. Choose a venue that already embraces eco-friendly practices, such as solar energy and recycled water and trash, or even offer to connect you with other green-friendly vendors. Some eco-friendly venues even donate a portion of your fee to supporting environmental causes.

After the Wedding

Rather than throw rice, have your guests throw biodegradable options, such as freeze dried flower petals. Bird seed is also a great option.

Do you have ideas or products to help people have an ec0-friendly wedding? Let us know!

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Love Weddings

10 Wedding Planning Tips

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

Valentine’s Day is coming, and with it, many marriage proposals. Planning a wedding is something most of us do from the time we’re young, but when it comes to the real deal…well, wedding planning can suck. It’s stressful. It’s expensive. It’s so expensive you might be better off having a simple wedding at home and blowing the budget on your honeymoon. But if you’re going to plan a wedding, start with these 10 tips.

Get the right dress

When I was shopping for a wedding dress nearly 20 years ago, I walked into the bridal shop, tried on a dress, and it was perfect. I mean, absolutely perfect. It fit wonderfully, it made me look fabulous, and it was only a couple of hundred dollars.

And I walked away from it.

I thought it was too plain. This was going to be my one big deal wedding (the first one having been at the courthouse in a white shirt dress). I wanted the “wedding dress of my dreams.”

$1200, I had the “perfect” dress. It was fancy and had a long train and was completely romantic and had even been featured in one of those 500 page bride magazines.

And it was almost impossible for me to wear. They had to sew my bra into the dress because otherwise, it wouldn’t stay up, but because my bra was actually one of those one-piece girdle-bra-smoother contraptions, that meant I had to step into the dress, wrestle it up over the curvy spots and wedge my way into it. The other dress just slipped on perfectly and I could have worn sexy underthings.

The dress also wasn’t a perfect fit so I had to have it altered.

Get the dress that is right for your body, not the one you think you must have. And spend less on the dress – save it for the honeymoon.

 Choose the Right Photographer

How do you know if you have the right photographer? It’s more than just looking at a few portfolios and choosing based on price. You want a photographer you feel comfortable being around so that he or she is capable of bringing out your best smiles and moments. We spoke to a lot of photographers, but we knew we’d found the right one when our 15-minute chat turned into a 30 minute conversation about music and other interests. He just fit.

Choose the Right Venue

Most wedding venues have strict limits regarding just how many guests you can invite. Make sure your venue will hold your maximum number of guests (which means planning the guest list first). Think about practical considerations like parking, whether or not the venue will be used for the ceremony and the reception, and how easy it will be to decorate. We chose our venue because it fit well with the theme of our wedding, they allowed us to bring in outside food, and the cost was reasonable.

 

 

 

 

Choose the Right Maid of Honor

My sister was my maid of honor; my baby sister was the hostess (like an usher, but prettier). It was wonderful to have them so involved in the planning of my wedding and the hosting of my bridal shower. It made it very special.

Have a Rehearsal

At first glance, a wedding rehearsal might seem like an optional formality, but you are going to be nervous. If you don’t do a walk-through of your wedding before the actual event, you can’t address little issues. For example, my dad was going to walk me down the aisle, but when we did the rehearsal, we realized that because of the size of my dress, he would not be able to walk me down the stairs but instead would need to wait for me at the bottom and escort me the rest of the way. That would have been a horrible thing to discover during the actual wedding.

Make a Budget – and Stick to It

Sure, you could crack open your wallet and charge whatever it takes to have the “perfect” wedding, but at the end of the day, if you stick to your budget, you’ll have more money for the honeymoon.

Manage Your Own Expectations

We’d all like to be lowered into our wedding on the wings of angels and have Sting sing at our reception, but sometimes, it’s our own expectations we have to manage. (Dave wanted KISS to perform at our reception).

Be Flexible

Not everything will go perfectly. We were supposed to depart our castle-in-a-cloud-themed wedding in a horse and carriage. They took our money happily enough…and then disappeared off the face of the earth. The limo was a fine replacement. And our florist was supposed to deliver large bouquets of WHITE, fresh flowers; they brought ORANGE. Thanks to some quick finessing by my mother, they were quickly replaced with the right color – but they were silk, not real. In the end, I’ve never regretted that, since I still have those flowers.

It’s YOUR Wedding

Everyone will have an opinion about how the wedding should go. So what? It’s your wedding. Plan it the way you want it.

Savor the Moment

This is a piece of advice that might fall on deaf ears, but I encourage you to stop stressing and savor the moment. Your wedding day should be special and wonderful, memorable and amazing. It doesn’t matter if you have a $25,000 extravaganza or a wedding in your living room. You are celebrating the love and wonder and future of your life with your chosen partner. That’s what matters.

 

 

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Weddings

Modern Weddings – All the Frills, Frugally

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce
Modern weddings can be fancy and fun – with all the frills – while still being frugal. These money-saving tips will help you make the most of your nuptials without breaking the bank, giving you more money to spend on the honeymoon. From dresses and flowers to photography and gifts, you can have the wedding of your dreams without going broke.

The wedding industry is a multibillion dollar industry, and when it’s your turn to say “I Do” it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you need to have the biggest and the best wedding.

My advice? Save it for the honeymoon.

The Wedding Dress

At the end of the day, no one is going to care if you were in a $99 bridal store special or a $5000 custom-made gown with real diamonds. It may take a little more time in the dressing room to find the perfect dress for your body, but buying off the rack – or if you’re really trying to save, renting the wedding dress – is one of the best ways to save money. Saving money on the veil is even easier. Rather than paying $200-500 for a store-bought veil, buy the materials for less than $40 and make one.

The Wedding Flowers

Whether you work with a florist or put together your own floral arrangements, consider silk. Silk arrangements can be used later to adorn your new home. If you love the idea of real roses, save them for the bridal bouquet – but be sure to make a smaller silk bouquet for throwing. Boutonnieres and corsages can be simple – and inexpensive – carnations wrapped in a ribbon that is in the colors of the wedding.

Wedding Photographs

While forgoing a professional photographer may not have been something a couple would have considered even five years ago, the advances of digital photography have made it possible to have most of your photos taken by friends and family with digital cameras from which you can make inexpensive prints using an online service.

Wedding Decorations

It’s amazing how nice a wedding hall can look with tulle, balloons, and Christmas lights. For less than $75, you can have everything you need to create magic. Centerpieces for the tables can be simple candles, and wedding favors can be simple, handmade mementos that let people take something home to remember the special occasion.

Wedding Video

Like photography, the ability to obtain excellent quality video from a home video camera has never been better. You can ask family members and friends to capture video, splice it together, and share the entire thing on YouTube with no more than a few clicks of the mouse and free software.

While not every cost is avoidable, even the more expensive wedding items such as the cost of renting a hall and catering can be minimized with some creativity. Perhaps someone you know owns a beautiful home that would make the perfect backdrop for the wedding. It never hurts to think creatively while planning. The more money you save on the wedding, the better the honeymoon and your future, debt-free life can be.

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Let's Talk Weddings

5 Tips for the Bride for a Happy Wedding Day

A happy wedding day might be difficult to imagine if you’re stressing about the wedding plans and all that goes into them. Your wedding day is supposed to be the most wonderful day of your life, so why is it always so stressful? Let these five tips be your guide to a happier, less stressful wedding day.

Getting married is an exciting and stressful time. They don’t have shows like “Bridezillas” for nothing! For some women, the stress is overwhelming. These five tips are designed to help you survive the day in style.

Happy Bride Tip 1

Every time you start to worry about whether or not you like the DJ, why your fiancé insists on doing the chicken dance, or how frustrated you are by your future mother-in-law’s constant criticizing, take a deep breath and think about how you plan to celebrate your tenth wedding anniversary. Ten years after the big day, you’re not going to be thinking about how embarrassed you were on the dance floor or how frustrated you were with your mother-in-law. You’re going to be thrilled she’s watching the kids while you and your husband escape for a weekend. Put it in perspective.

Happy Bride Tip 2

Everyone is going to have an opinion about everything. The truth of the matter is, though, that it is your wedding. You and your fiancé should have the ultimate say on the details. Where compromise is possible, do it. Where it’s not, learn how to say a firm “no thank you.” It’s good practice for all of the helpful opinions that will come with the first child.

Happy Bride Tip 3

Tact and diplomacy aren’t just for global peace; they help keep peace on a familial level as well. People want to feel like they are contributing to the day. While you may not want 15 bridesmaids, you might need someone to help seat guests, to encourage people to sign the guest book, or to take gifts as the guests arrive. Put your willing friends and family to work doing things that are important but won’t equate the cost of another gown or tux rental.

Happy Bride Tip 4

Quit worrying about the myths and legends and do what’s right for you. If taking photos before the wedding means your wedding album will be picture perfect, then by all means let your fiancé see you before the ceremony. And rain doesn’t mean bad luck; it means there’s a rainbow right around the corner. Happiness is all about how you choose to look at things (advice worth remembering after the wedding, too).

Happy Bride Tip 5

No matter how chaotic and busy things become, take one moment for just you and your fiancé on the day of your wedding. That moment will be something you cherish.

Image via

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Let's Talk Weddings

Important Dos and Don’ts On Your Wedding Day

For a couple in love, their wedding day is the most important day in their lives. It is the culmination of their dream and their togetherness as official  and for life – that is, for most couples at least.

Weddings are intimate occasions where only chosen guests are invited — usually only those related to the couple, their close friends and some extended family members.

As expected, every wedding takes a lot of planning and preparation to make things run smoothly and without a hitch. Nevertheless, it is unavoidable that things can still go wrong even with a wedding planner assisting the couple. This usually happens when it comes to last-minute details before the wedding day itself.

Here are some dos and don’ts to make that day hassle-free, smooth-flowing and especially memorable.

Wedding Day Dos

1) Have an emergency kit ready. You can prepare it days before the wedding. Make sure you have all must-haves for “just-in-case” situations like safety pins, hair spray, breath spray, nail polish, comb, nail cutter, scissors, or anything else you may think will be useful for similar scenarios.

2) Put someone you trust in charge and let him/her be the point person for your wedding vendors. Vendors are the people who have assisted you in making this wedding come to life. They can be the caterer, the florists, the photographers, etc.

3) Organize all the things you need to bring along with you, if any. Have a separate basket or bin for your shoes, of which you should have at least 2 extra pairs to change into after the wedding ceremony. Anything with lower heels or wedges and flats would be fine. Extra hankies would also be handy for your happy tears.

4)  Have a fixed schedule ready for the hair and make-up for you and your entourage. Even if you know how to do make-up, on this occasion, it would be best to let the professionals do the job for you so you can relax and maintain focus.

5)  Take care of yourself. Get a good night’s sleep and drink plenty of water. Do not let the pressure get the better of you. One important thing most brides forget – eat before and during the wedding.

6) Hand the rings to someone responsible and trustworthy. It can be your mom, a friend or another relative. Instruct the person to be the one in charge to give the rings to the ring bearer before walking down the aisle.

7) Remember your wedding vows. Take time to practice your wedding vows before you actually say it in front of your spouse during the wedding ceremony.

8) Don’t forget to say thank you. A lot of people were helped you prepare for the wedding. Hence, before the reception is over, it would be apt to give acknowledgement to these people behind the scenes. Such gesture would be greatly appreciated.

Wedding Day Don’ts

1) Not showing up. Are you having wedding day jitters? It is normal that brides go through doubts and fears before the wedding day. Make sure you have this sorted out before the actual ceremony. Talk to your fiancé about it. Having cold feet on the wedding day (and bolting) is not only embarrassing, but also a waste of time, effort and money.

2) Being late. It’s understandable to be late, but not on your wedding day. It will not only be annoying to your guests, but especially to your spouse-to-be.

3) Complaints about wedding gifts. It’s unethical and uncalled for to gripe about such trivial matters. Furthermore, you can avoid this by signing up for a gift registry so that your guests will know what are the things you need and like. Remember, gift giving is not mandatory. If you have received something you don’t like, you still have to be gracious and thankful.

4) Getting drunk. It’s fine to enjoy yourself, but not too much. Everything should be in moderation. Don’t forget that being drunk during your wedding party can cause embarrassment to your spouse.

5) Not being flexible. Sometimes things may not go as planned, and some disasters or mishaps may occur which are beyond anyone’s control. Don’t lose your cool. Try to have a back-up plan for such eventualities. Most of all, try to retain a good sense of humor.

You will surely cherish fond memories of your wedding by following these important do’s and don’ts for your wedding day. For more wedding tips, features and similar articles, visit Best Bride 101.

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Let's Talk Weddings

A to Z Wedding Trivia

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

Weddings are filled with tradition and draw from ancient customs. Did you know that brides in Zimbabwe think it’s bad luck to get married in the month of November, or that the average age of a Western bride has continued to increase?
Have fun discovering the history of popular wedding traditions as you explore fun wedding trivia from A to Z.

Age: In ancient Greece, the age of the bride was calculated from the day of her wedding rather than from the day of her birth.

Bridal gowns and veils: The longest wedding dress train was more than 7,500 feet long. The Greek believed the veil protected the bride from evil spirits, which is why it covered the face and was not lifted until the end of the ceremony. Now that it has become part of the wedding costume, many brides choose veils that do not cover the face at all.

Cake: The towering shape of the traditional wedding cake was modeled after a building in London.

Danish brides and grooms, in an effort to ward off evil spirits, cross-dressed.

Embroidered cranes on a wedding robe symbolize fertility in some Asian cultures, although today most women choose a Western style gown for the ceremony.

Favors: Giving out wedding favors is a custom that dates back to 16th Century French royals, who were likely to give out precious stones or gold to their guests.

Garter: The garter tradition stems from an ancient tradition in which the garter was a virginal girdle that the groom removed as a part of the wedding ceremony.

Here Comes the Bride, the traditional Wagner wedding march still popular today, was first played at Princess Victoria’s wedding in 1858.

Internet dating has had an effect on relationships: 19% of married couples who participated in a 2007 survey met online – 2% more than those who met at work and the same as those who were introduced by friends.

Jumping the Broom is an African wedding tradition that symbolizes the fresh start that comes with getting married.

Kissing: Ancient Romans believed that the Kiss at the end of the wedding ceremony sealed the contract, while many Christian cultures believe the kiss represents an exchange of souls.

Length of engagement for a pre-marital couple has increased from 12 months to 16 months in the last five years.

Marriage vows can be traced back to Medieval times. The vows, which were published in the Book of Common Prayer in 1549, are eerily similar to today’s vows, with the bride and groom promising to love each other “for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.”

Number of weddings in the United States has two million per year each of the last 20 years.

Old, new, borrowed, blue: Something old represents a link to the past while something new represents the road ahead. Something borrowed is supposed to be something borrowed from a close friend or family member whose happy marriage will bring good luck to the newlyweds. Blue was the traditional color of wedding gowns prior to the late 18th Century, but today blue is often incorporated in more subtle ways.

Planning a wedding takes an average of seven to twelve months.

Quilted gowns were popular in 17th Century Provence.

Rings are worn on the fourth finger of the left hand by nearly three-quarters of the world’s cultures.

Standing on the left of the groom became a tradition because the groom needed to keep his sword hand (the right hand) free to protect his bride.

Throwing rice does not harm birds, and will not cause them to explode. This myth was perpetuated by Ann Landers when she implored her readers to consider the birds when planning their weddings. Rice does, however, provide a dangerously slippery surface for the humans who are walking through it.

Ushers were originally men who were friends of the groom and protected him from the bride’s angry family after she was kidnapped to be wedded.

Valentine’s Day is the busiest wedding ceremony day of the year in Las Vegas.

Wedding costs have continued to spiral, with the average wedding ringing in between $20,000 and $25,000.

X-rays of the chest are required in Mexico as a part of the health exam in order to be able to marry.

Young brides are becoming a thing of the past in the Western world; for the first time, the average age of the bride tipped past 30 (2009 statistics).

Zimbabwe brides believe it is bad luck to wed in November.

 

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Let's Talk Weddings

The Perfect Wedding Dress for Your Body

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

There is not a bride out there who doesn’t think some part of her body is less than perfect. Even if others look at her and think she is the most beautiful person, the bride herself will see only her perceived flaws. Just getting ready for a normal day for most women has pressure, but when you absolutely must look perfect, it’s even more daunting when you don’t have the confidence you need to look beautiful.

There are so many mistakes that women make with everyday fashion when it comes to dressing for the body they have (not the one they want, the one they think they deserve, or the one they “plan” to have by the time that big day comes) that it is easy for the same style problems to carry over into bridal fashions.

Brides want to be beautiful and look fabulous when they make their grand entrance, whether they are being escorted by their fathers in front of 500 guests or standing in front of a justice of the peace in the county courthouse.

With 40 million women wearing a size 13/14 or larger, I want to focus on finding the perfect dress for the plus-size bride. Plus-size is not a one-size-fits-all problem. Two brides might wear the same size or weigh the same amount but have very different bodies and different areas they want to emphasize. One bride might have beautiful legs but a larger, rounded middle. Another may be thinner all the way through the behind but have large thighs. Still other women may be “thick” all over.

There is nothing to worry about!  You are perfect the way you are and shouldn’t be trying to mold your body to fit the dress – you just need to find the dress that works for you. There is a perfect wedding dress out there for each type of bride.

A few secrets you should know up front

  •  Shiny materials make everyone look heavier.
  • Thinner materials outline every bump.
  • Pleats and ruffles around the waist are not complimentary for most fuller-figured women, since they make everyone look bigger.
  • Simple elegance that makes you feel great is better than intricate design that draws attention to all the wrong places.

Shopping tips

The best advice is to visit a bridal store with an open mind. Scouring bridal magazines is important, but sometimes the dream style in a magazine might not be the most flattering for you. Let bridal consultants make suggestions (they are the experts!) and try on at least three different gowns.  After all, what could be more fun than trying on gorgeous dresses? Make a day of it with one family member or friend you trust and enjoy this special time!

  • Obtain help from the professionals in the bridal boutique.
  • Take someone with you whom you can trust to give an honest opinion.
  • Once you’ve found a complimentary dress, make sure you can sit and move around in it safely and comfortably, without having to worry.
  • Buy the appropriate undergarments AFTER you choose a dress to make sure they work together.

Dress Trends

Some of today’s wedding dress trends are perfect for the plus size bride. According to TheKnot.com, “Ball gowns are bigger than ever, ruffles are more elaborate, and covering up — it’s never been more chic.” Their top ten trends for 2012 include these perfect plus-size styles: off-the-shoulder designs, ball gowns, and A-lines. The wonderful thing about being a bride, though, is that you can choose from any style that suits you and you’ll always be the most beautiful woman in the room. The beauty of today’s bridal assortment is that there is truly a look for everyone. Brides can feel like a princess with beautifully embellished ball gowns or channel their inner diva with sleek, sexy sheaths and trumpets. Brides can choose a classic figure flattering A-line or float down the aisle in a soft and billowy chiffon gown.

Foundation Garments

Having the right foundations are key to adding support and a smooth, sleek look. A push-up garment is perfect for filling out strapless gowns while a supportive corset with boning for support can minimize while still flatter a full-figured bride. The emergence of soft “goddess” silhouettes have made sleek lycra slips important while A-lines and ballgowns still require the traditional full slip. Undergarments don’t have to be uncomfortable!!  The key is working with the consultant to get the proper measurements and fit, which are essential to the overlook look.

Cultural Considerations

Many religions and ethnicities require more coverage for the ceremonies than the classic strapless silhouette.  You can easily find a gown with a lace jackets or higher neckline.

Dressing for Your Body Type

Pear-Shape

Pear-shaped brides may want to accentuate the bust and torso while minimizing the hips. A classic A-line dress, off-the-shoulder design, or a ball gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline will help complement her silhouette.

Hourglass Shape

Brides with an hourglass shape can choose a mermaid style or corseted bodice to really accentuate her curves. (The full figured bride can show off her curves just as much as a size 8!)  Regardless of the size of your waist, an A-line dress with princess seaming and corset boning help create the “illusion” of a smaller waist and a best complement to your body.

The “Top Heavy” Bride

Cleavage can be a blessing and a curse, but finding a wedding gown can be difficult.  Depending on your size, off-the-shoulder or strapless gowns are difficult because even if you can find a strapless bra to support you, the worry will be there that it won’t.  If you are big-breasted but still have a defined waist or hourglass shape, choose a dress that has a simple bodice – extra frills around the bust only add more attention.  Ball gown dress styles work well.

If you have a large chest but you also have a thick waist, an A-line is the best choice. This style also works well for the “Bottom-Heavy” bride, as it easily disguises larger thighs, hips and behinds while still being extremely flattering and feminine.

Round Waist

Brides with a little extra around the waist should avoid sheaths which draw attention to the midsection and show everything.   Empire waistlines are perfect for hiding any imperfections and help to fit and flatter. The bride with the round waist is sometimes the most difficult to fit, depending on how large the belly area is.  While the A-line above is complementary, it may not completely hide the larger tummy.  The Empire waistline slenderizes the thicker waist and gives the illusion of a longer, thinner, smoother body.  This style also works well for those brides whose hips present an issue. Another style that works well for hiding hips is a gorgeous A-line.

Remember, this is YOUR day. This isn’t about fitting into the latest fad or being something you’re not – it’s about you being comfortable in your own skin, wearing a dress that makes you feel fabulous.