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LOVE/HATE: On and Off


This is the top of Rosa Clara’s new wedding gown, BASILEA.


So are both of these.

Rosa Clara’s latest line features a slew of gowns that are mostly strapless with sheer boleros on top. BASILEA is unique in that it features spaghetti straps and a more imaginative jacket with French cuffs.

Me? I LOVE this one. I like the clever nods to a man’s formal shirt combined with lacy, feminine details. I also rather love the elegant wedding dress yet stripped down ballgown underneath. And the pockets? Make me smile. I love pockets.

What say all of you? LOVE it? HATE it? Something in between?

Wedding In a Winter Wonderland

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.
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Fun Tool to Narrow Choices

Going shopping for a wedding gown can be an intimidating and confusing process to start. After all, how many of us have tried on a formal gown since Prom? A tiny minority, that’s how many. And then so many women go in with a Vision – complete with a capital Vis – that may or may not have anything to do with the shapes of their bodies, or their usual style.

So how to figure out before you get to the salon with an hour long appointment that maybe mermaid isn’t your best look? Or that ballgowns drown you? Or that strapless does precisely nada for your bosom?

Well, one thing you can do is go to the Bride’s website and check out their virtual dressing room tool. It’s free to use, and can give you good idea of how different sorts of wedding gown styles are likely to look on you. You simply upload a photo of yourself (tips included on how to best do that for the tool), and use over four hundred photos of real wedding gowns to see what your best and worst bets are. Save the pics of the best and worst looks for easy reference. Oh, and one feature I really loved? It tells you whether the gown you’re looking at is available in plus sizes or not. But even if you fall in love with a gown that doesn’t come in your size, chances are someone out there makes one in a similar line that will fit you.

Don’t feel like handing over your email? That’s okay. They also have a series of generic pictures that you can use. Pick the one closest to your body shape, and you’ll still get some valuable winnowing done. You can’t save those photos for later reference, but you can always take another look.

Obviously there’s no substitute for actually seeing gowns on your specific body in real life. No matter how good the program is, it won’t be the same as a three-dimensional, moving, breathing experience. Still, it’s a handy tool to start with if you’re confused about what is going to look good on your figure.

And do try a bit of everything. You never know what surprisingly good look there might be for you.

Besides, if one of the experiments looks bad, who’s going to see it? Just you. Isn’t that better than you and the salon consultant and your entourage?

Yeah, that’s what I thought, too.

‘Reality’ Becomes a Reality


Brides.com has an overview of wedding gown designer Austin Scarlett’s latest collection for 2013… and I was struck by how familiar this gown looked.

In fact, I knew precisely where I had seen it before.
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Paper Dolling: Is This Happening?

An article by Sandy Malone was published by HuffPo the other day. In it, she tells the harrowing story of a client of her wedding planning service and what happened to her when she went shopping at an unnamed bridal salon in Waltham, Mass.

According to Malone, the bride informed the salon of her size (though I have to say I’m puzzled as to why an ‘average sized’ woman should have to do that) and was told it would be ‘no problem.’ I should certainly hope there would be no problem fitting an average sized woman in a reasonably well-stocked bridal salon. And while samples rarely fit brides precisely, there certainly ought to be a few gowns in a size close enough that a woman can try some things on to get a general idea of how they might look on her.

Apparently, this was not the case.

It seems that what the salon did instead of putting an ill-fitting dress on the bride and asking her to use her imagination as to how it will look when it is properly fitted, the consultant took the gown and began pinning it to the bride’s undergarments in front… in a tiny room with mirrors on three sides and only a flimsy curtain on the fourth wall. This process, apparently, is called ‘paper dolling.’ To add insult to injury, when the bride’s friends wanted to see what the consultants were oohing and ahing over in that tiny cubicle, one of them simply threw open the curtain, exposing the bride’s panty-clad backside to all and sundry without warning.

The bride, of course, was pretty traumatized by this experience, as would be any right-thinking person. Paper dolling sounds pretty useless. After all, a dress needs to be seen in three dimensions to get the full effect, and wedding gowns in particular need to be seen from the back, because during the ceremony, chances are that’s what your friends and family will be seeing the most of. Most bridal couples do stand facing the officiant who faces the witnesses.

On top of that, the sudden and completely insensitive near-indecent exposure of the bride was appalling. You ask first whether the bride wishes to show off the dress she’s trying on, and if it’s not actually on her, this is an extra vital step.

Malone winds up the article with a warning to all brides to shun this pernicious practice, which is excellent advice. I, too, would counsel brides not to allow a salon to ‘paper doll’ them into a dress.

But here’s the interesting thing. When I googled the term and several variations on it… I got only Malone’s original article from two days ago, and a whole lot of articles about making or collecting actual paper dolls. Is this one shop in Waltham the one place in the world that does this? Is there another reason the term might not get a lot of hits in bridal terms?

Has anyone out there heard about this anywhere else? Known someone subjected to it? Survived the experience themselves?

Curiouser and curiouser.

How Low Can You Go?

This is the late Amy Winehouse on her wedding day. Note the anchor printed cotton sundress she wore.

It’s been stolen.

That and a Moschino newsprint cocktail dress she wore in an appearance on the Jools Holland show were both stolen from the late singer’s Camden home.

How low does one have to stoop in order to steal a dead woman’s wedding gown?

To make matters worse, the wedding dress was scheduled to be auctioned off in New York next month to raise money for the Amy Winehouse Foundation. It was expected to sell for pretty big bucks, too, considering its purpose in Winehouse’s life.

To whomever did this: shame on you! You’ve just taken away a lot of funding from a charity to help people overcome addiction. And always remember: karma runs over dogmas.

Will You Think Pink?


I assume all of you have heard about Jessica Biel’s pink gown that she wore when she married Justin Timberlake.

Pink wedding gowns tend to cause a bit of a stir, but they’re hardly something new.

After all, this wedding gown dates from 1877.

Just a month before my own 1993 wedding, I attended one where the bride wore bright rose pink.

It’s not for everyone, of course. I’m not a pink lady, and never was. But if you look good in pink, and you like it, and it feels festive to you, why not?

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