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Manolo for the Brides » Bridesmaids Dresses http://manolobrides.com Manolo Loves the Brides! Wed, 30 Apr 2014 11:36:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3.11 Wedding In a Winter Wonderland http://manolobrides.com/2012/11/28/wedding-in-a-winter-wonderland/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/11/28/wedding-in-a-winter-wonderland/#comments Wed, 28 Nov 2012 20:26:20 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=12269

There’s nothing like a winter wedding. Snow (if you live in an area where it’s common) makes a pretty backdrop for a wedding. And since winter is a far less popular time of the year to marry than spring or summer, it’s quite possible to get extra good deals on halls, catering, and flowers. And with all the decorative items on sale for Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, etc. it’s easy to get all kinds of pretty sparkly things to make your day beautiful on a budget.

Of course, there are some practical issues to consider, too. Weather is more likely to be stormy. One unexpectedly heavy fall of snow could spell the difference between a full house and lots of empty pews at your ceremony. Since many people travel for the holidays at this time of year, it’s also possible that you’ll wind up with less guests than you’d hoped due to family obligations or used up vacations days that won’t allow people to come out your way.

Once you’ve looked over the pros and cons and decided to set your wedding in the winter months, here are a few ideas to make it extra pretty and seasonally suitable.

Cover up!

If you’ve found love in a cold climate, chances are you’ll want a pretty jacket, coat, cloak, sweater, or shawl. Even with the slow but steady return of sleeves to bridal couture, the fact is most wedding gowns are not designed to keep you warm in the great outdoors. This is festivewear, not survivalwear. Even if you only need it for getting from the limo to your wedding site and perhaps a few pre-ceremony photographs, it’s a good idea to have something that will keep you from turning into your something blue.

Looking for bridesmaids’ gifts? Matching shawls or sweaters would make a pretty and practical idea.

For your feet? Maybe pretty Victorian boots would be a good idea to keep feet both attractive and dry.

Go with the season!

Remember that there are less flowers in season during the winter months. That means that using a lot of bright flowers will cost more than it might in another time of year. So choose what’s in season to make your bouquets, centerpieces, boutonnieres, and corsages. Use a variety of pretty evergreen sprigs like in the bouquet shown, decorate tables with poinsettias or tiny living evergreen trees, or go blatantly and fabulously fake with sparkly brooches or festive pinwheels.

And don’t forget the season when picking your menu! Looking for a good signature cocktail? Try a mulled wine or eggnog. Consider gingerbread for your wedding cake. Want a delicious, popular, and satisfying main dish? Think about lasagna, roast beef and mashed potatoes, or a mac and cheese bar.

Don’t ignore the obvious decorations!

If you’re planning a wedding for next winter, I would heartily recommend hitting the stores for the post-Christmas ornament sales. Bowls of Christmas balls filling a glass bowl would make great centerpieces for your wedding. Strings of lights will make your hall all the prettier. Wired ribbon can be lovely tied in bows on pews. Linens in rich colors will also be on sale in preparation for the lighter spring colors coming soon.

As I said before, winter weddings can be lovely in a very special way. They warm our hearts in the cold months, and give us one more reason to celebrate. So use your imagination to bring the best of the season to your wedding day. Everyone – including you! – will be glad you did.

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What Price a Bridesmaid’s Dress? http://manolobrides.com/2012/07/02/what-price-a-bridesmaids-dress/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/07/02/what-price-a-bridesmaids-dress/#comments Mon, 02 Jul 2012 17:25:22 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=11592
(Image via Emily the Professional Bridesmaid)
We all know that bridesmaid’s dresses are expensive, and ugly, and not something you can ever wear again… unless you get an amazing break from a very special friend. But The Awl decided to ask whether the price of bridesmaid’s dresses has really increased significantly over the years in real money.

After all, you may have paid $35.00 for a bridesmaid’s dress in 1972, but after adjustment for inflation, how different is that from spending $200.00 on a Desigual dress today.

Oh, they also asked whether people re-wore those gowns. The answers ranged from women who wore bridesmaid’s dresses until they literally fell apart to one colorful tale I’ll give a highlight from:

As for wearing it again, I would fish clothes from a foetid river before wearing that dress again. I hung in the back of my mother’s guest room closet, and refused to even bring it home to Boston. You can’t cut up stretch knit for cleaning rags, after all. They don’t absorb. Although, against my usual environmental sensibilities, I hope it is in a landfill. I hope that in 300 years or more, it is excavated more or lest intact, causing the people of the future to acknowledge fashion travesties of the past that they must not repeat.

But don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think.

As for the results of the poll… well, they aren’t terribly scientific, based as they are on whoever happened to see and answer the poll, assuming they’re telling the full, unvarnished truth about the price tags, and realizing they didn’t get even one response that concerned any wedding in the eighties. Still, what they did come up with is kind of intriguing. Go check it out and learn more.

Then come back and tell me the worst horror story you have about a bridesmaid’s gown. Was it something you were forced to wear? Did you inflict it on someone else and now wish you hadn’t? Dish, folks! Let’s hear it!

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Treat Your Bridesmaids Well http://manolobrides.com/2012/04/23/treat-your-bridesmaids-well/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/04/23/treat-your-bridesmaids-well/#comments Mon, 23 Apr 2012 12:30:10 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=11277
(Image via WedLoft where you can see some great photos of and thoughtful advice for dressing pregnant bridesmaids)

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple weeks catching up with a bridal reality show I’d managed to miss for a long, long time. Say Yes to the Dress Bridesmaids is yet another spinoff of the original Say Yes about shopping for wedding gowns at Kleinfeld in New York City. This one, though, is a spinoff of a spinoff and takes place at Bridals By Lori, featured in Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta.

The series is on par both in production values and general sorts of message offered with the other shows in the franchise. The search for a dress is presented as a power struggle with a villain, a damsel in distress, and the heroic members of Lori’s team arriving to save the day… or at least the appointment. And most often, in the episodes I’ve seen, at least, one or more bridesmaids take on the role of villain.

This can happen. I have actually been in a wedding where one bridesmaid ran amok and tried to change the entire wedding to suit her rather than the bride.

But my experience has been that the vast majority of bridesmaids, like the vast majority of brides, mean well and honestly want everyone to be happy. It’s just that not everyone may have precisely the same priorities and needs. Taking a moment to really think about your bridesmaids’ needs and priorities might just avoid some awkward situations along the way.

You’re not the only one with a budget. You may have a lavish budget for your wedding (it happens!), but one or more of your closest friends may be seriously sweating paying for that dress… and shoes… and jewelry… and transportation… and two shower gifts… and a wedding gift… and anything else coming along. Every extra expense may actually make the difference between having your friend stand with you at the alter with her rent paid and a decent meal to eat the next day or not. So if you want something extra like matching manicures or updos, consider paying for it yourself. And do be sure to let any strapped bridesmaids know (privately, of course!) that their presence is present enough.

The cost of being a bridesmaid can add up quickly. Do your best not to add to any potential debt disaster for your friends. Lori may have been scandalized by two bridesmaids worrying about an extra six dollars for the dress, but she doesn’t know how high their student loan payments are or what kind of rent they’re paying. It really could be that an extra six dollars on an evening gown they would never wear again meant an extra three days of living on beans and rice.

Comfort does matter. If you’ve got bridesmaids who have never worn high heels, this might not be the time to go with five inch stilettos. If you have a maid of honor who last wore a dress to her first high school formal, try to take a moment to talk with her about how she would feel wearing an evening gown. If you have someone in your wedding party who has difficulty standing for long periods, make sure you arrange for ways for her to sit down during the ceremony, especially if you’re having a long one.

Taking a few minutes to think about someone else’s comfort will not only be of practical use to your bridesmaids, but it also takes some of the focus off yourself, which can reduce bridal stress, oddly enough.

Don’t ask for opinions or ideas if you aren’t going to listen to them. I’m not saying turn the wedding planning into a free-for-all. In fact, you’re perfectly free not to ask any opinions of your bridesmaids at all… though I wouldn’t personally recommend it. All I’m saying is that if you ask for opinions, be prepared to really listen and consider what’s being suggested. Think about their ideas before simply rejecting them.

You never know. Your junior bridesmaid might just come up with a fantastic idea that really makes the reception.

Please and thank you are your friends. Most people who care about you truly do want to help out, but a little consideration keeps them feeling that way.

If your bridesmaids are getting stroppy, ask yourself when you last said thanks for the things they’re doing for you. It may be time to let them know how much you appreciate them wearing a color they hate or running bridal errands for you… though it could also be you’ve got a generally annoyed bridesmaid just acting out. Speaking of which:

Communication is important. Sometimes it’s not something specific you’ve done that is making someone act out. Sometimes it’s a general sense of not being taken seriously, or fear that your marriage will change your relationship with your friend, or jealousy… or goodness alone knows what.

If that’s the case, take that woman aside for a heart-to-heart and see if you can get to the root of the problem.

Then again, there’s communication and there’s not knowing when to stop beating a dead horse. Which leads me to:

Remember the buck stops with you. There are times when a really strong-minded person – even with the best possible motives – becomes a pain by trying to take over. Make it clear that you appreciate input and intend to do your best to find solutions to issues, but that you are the one getting married and that means you get the final say. If you’ve got five women on the same page with you and one fighting, it’s time to put your foot down. Not only will the question be done with, five other innocent bystanders won’t wind up wasting time waiting for the argument to be over.

Make time to just be friends. Planning a wedding has a way of taking over lives. Remember to take time to do the sorts of things you’ve always done with your sister, your friend, your niece, your brother, or whomever is attending you. It makes the transition time easier emotionally for everyone, including you.

Ideally, the people standing next to you at the altar ought to be the people who will support you and your new marriage over time. With a little consideration and a little thought, you can make sure they’ll still be there when you get back from the honeymoon.

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LOVE/HATE Where Do You Put a Bra? http://manolobrides.com/2012/03/02/lovehate-where-do-you-put-a-bra/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/03/02/lovehate-where-do-you-put-a-bra/#comments Fri, 02 Mar 2012 16:37:31 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=11068
Let’s take a look at this bridesmaids’ dress.

Attractive color, check. Pockets, check. Choice of knee or floor length, check. Rewearable? Pretty decent chance, check. Comes in sizes up to 24, which is great.

But that’s a mighty low plunge in front. Well, maybe if I find a plunge bra with a transparent front closure…

… whoops! I guess that won’t work, either. Better hope all the maids are A cups who don’t fear a wardrobe malfunction! Either that, or give all the girls wedding cardigans to cover up the dresses you chose.

So while I love nearly everything about this dress, I still have to go with HATE here, because of the impracticality and strong probability that at least one girl will spend the entire wedding desperately trying to rein in her girls.

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Inspiration: Neon http://manolobrides.com/2012/02/18/inspiration-neon/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/02/18/inspiration-neon/#comments Sat, 18 Feb 2012 16:10:21 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=11007 When thinking about wedding colors, many of us tend toward pastels or deep jewel tones. Neutrals also have a strong following. But what about neon?

I know, it struck me – child of the sixties and Yellow Submarine fan though I am – as possibly a bit scary and OTT… until I saw it done right.

The key, as shown in this fabulous photo of a real wedding featured at Design Sponge, is restraint. Keep the backgrounds to stark white or black, and use the neons sparingly. Stick to just a couple colors, but don’t fear them.

As you can see here, a bright white background and carefully considered touches of neon pink, neon orange, and lime green make for a festive, fun, yet surprisingly sophisticated look.

One way to show you don’t fear neon is to put it on yourself. From funky jewelry to fabulous fun tights like these (though I have to say I dislike pairing them with white shoes. I would probably go bold on the footwear with them), or spectacular neon nail polish, you can carry out your theme in bold touches from head to toe.

While I saw several people encouraging neon bridesmaid’s dresses, I have to say I’m not wild about that one. It sounds like a great way to alienate your best friends and any sisters-in-law you have in your bridal party… unless they all love neon, too. My advice? Stick to your background neutral and dole out neon details like the nail polish, tights, and jewelry. Trust me, your bridesmaids will thank you.

For flowers, go with gerbera daisies, or just go crazy and do fabulous faux blooms, like these felt and button flowers I saw at Blog.Celebration.Co.Za.

Another great place to use neon is the dessert table. Whether you go for a super bright cake:
like this one I spotted at Pink Cake Box, or a variety of colorful treats such as Parisian macarons:

or cupcakes:

… you can go big with neon in the desserts.

Yes, a marriage is a serious thing, and I do believe in taking the wedding seriously. But it doesn’t have to be solemn, or timid in color. Have a blast… of neon!

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Lhuillier’s Lulu of a Bridesmaid’s Collection http://manolobrides.com/2012/02/10/lhuilliers-lulu-of-a-bridesmaids-collection/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/02/10/lhuilliers-lulu-of-a-bridesmaids-collection/#comments Fri, 10 Feb 2012 17:53:57 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=10957
At long last, it’s here! Monique Lhuillier’s much anticipated bridesmaid’s collection has been unveiled, and I have to say I’m liking a lot of what I see.

For instance, I love this crinkle chiffon one shoulder gown in eggplant. It’s perfectly on trend for today, but will look classy in a wedding album for decades to come.

Overall, there’s a lot of chiffon and a lot of taffeta in the collection, and a nice range of mostly rather deep or muted shades ranging from plum and eggplant to sage and leaf green to a very zen sky blue to a soft, warm yellow that makes my mouth water. Both short and long looks are shown, mostly either strapless or one shoulder looks, though there are a couple with two straps. No sleeves, alas, but at least it’s a line designed with spring in mind.

In fact, the lowest note I saw in the collection was a strapless, leaf green column dress that reminded me a bit too much of tossing on an oversized towel on leaving the shower. Still, even that one I believe could be saved with the right accessories.

Prices range from $275 to $395. Not chump change, but pretty sweet prices for such a big name designer. All in all… yeah, I think Monique did a pretty great job on these.

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LOVE/HATE: Bridal Party Prints http://manolobrides.com/2012/02/01/lovehate-bridal-party-prints/ http://manolobrides.com/2012/02/01/lovehate-bridal-party-prints/#comments Wed, 01 Feb 2012 19:43:40 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=10920
(Image via Brides.com)
When thinking about what the wedding party will look like, many brides have a clear vision right from the start. Some imagine matching dresses, shoes, jewelry, make up, and hairstyles for all. Some think of a single-color free-for-all where she says ‘blue’ and everybody just goes out and gets what they want, and then styles it their own way.

One thing both generally have in common is the assumption that these dresses will be in a solid color… but that’s not in any way required.

I’m not personally all that wild about this particular Betsey Johnson dress worn by the bridal party above… but I really like the idea behind it. I think it might be fun to see more weddings where the bridesmaids wear stripes or floral prints or polka dots. It’s festive, and my guess is that a lot of women who will never, ever, ever on pain of death wear that shell pink chiffon evening gown or the emerald green taffeta ballgown again might actually haul this little sundress out of the closet and wear it for a variety of occasions.

So, yeah, I’m going with LOVE on this trendlette. I’d like to see a lot more of it.

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LOVE/HATE: It’s Not Easy Being Green http://manolobrides.com/2011/12/27/lovehate-its-not-easy-being-green/ http://manolobrides.com/2011/12/27/lovehate-its-not-easy-being-green/#comments Tue, 27 Dec 2011 12:30:33 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=10780
My eyes don’t even know quite where to go on this one. Do I focus on the strips of colored… I think it might be lace? hanging down diagonally yet limply from the various layers of the dress? If so, do I watch the ones going left or right? Should I focus on the heinous belt? Or maybe the funky little hat consisting of a blue fabric rose and a sad peacock feather?

I can guarantee one thing: make your friends wear this and they will drink themselves under the tables to forget they ever knew you.

In short: HATE!

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LOVE/HATE: the Rainbow Connection http://manolobrides.com/2011/11/18/lovehate-the-rainbow-connection/ http://manolobrides.com/2011/11/18/lovehate-the-rainbow-connection/#comments Fri, 18 Nov 2011 17:55:17 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=10588
(Image via Hanle Productions)
So. Mismatched bridesmaid dresses. I know we’ve talked about this before, and the response has been pretty much universally favorable. Most of the time, though, we talk about dresses that have something in common with one another. We’ve talked about brides who give the dictum: ‘find a tea length dress in navy blue’, or ‘wear anything you like so long as it’s black and hits your knees.’

Not every bride gives even that much direction. Here, for example, the only thing that matches about these is the bouquets are the same color/shading as their dresses. Even with that, the lady in very pale pink on the right and the girl in the aqua number have bouquets that aren’t a precise match.

The dresses are every color of the rainbow, the hems hit everywhere from mid-thigh to floor-length, there are strapless, and halter, and spaghetti straps, and one even has cap sleeves. Most of the shoes are black with a mid-heel… but the girl in the pale pink seems to have ivory shoes. Their hairstyles are different. Though most seem to be wearing their hair down, there are a couple who appear to have put their hair up. In short, there is absolutely not one thing these women have consistently in common other than the fact they’re holding bouquets and standing with the bride.

Me? I love this. Every one of these women looks happy, confident, and rather fabulous in her own right, which makes for great photos. These all look like dresses they can wear again. How often does that happen? And while a glance makes it clear that each woman has her own look, it all seems to work happily together.

Yep, this is made of love.

What do all of you think?

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LOVE/HATE: The Flashdance Edition http://manolobrides.com/2011/07/22/lovehate-the-flashdance-edition/ http://manolobrides.com/2011/07/22/lovehate-the-flashdance-edition/#comments Fri, 22 Jul 2011 09:40:11 +0000 http://manolobrides.com/?p=10113


First impressions, from my end: NOOOOOOO. Do not want. Maybe I’ll write a letter to Dessy letting them know that a huge bias ruffle trim at the neck – paired with what looks like a giant elastic belt, no less – isn’t going to flatter any bridesmaid ever. Look, maybe I’m just against this because I was a little kid in the 80s and the fashion of the day scared me. But I don’t think so. Hating the nouveau 80s bridesmaid dresses with a passion over here.

Would YOU wear it willingly? Or subject your bridesmaids to it?

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