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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.

Finding the Gown that Makes the Most of You


(Image via The Breathtaking Bride)

Shopping for a wedding gown can be one of the most exciting, and one of the most frustrating parts of planning a wedding.

It’s exciting because you’re getting to play dress up with wildly luxurious dresses, the like of which you will probably never wear again. It’s exciting because finding that just right dress makes the whole thing seem real for the first time to a lot of women. It’s exciting because salons pamper brides.

It’s frustrating because it’s rare that a bride has the budget for the really spectacular gowns. It’s frustrating because sometimes it’s hard to know which gown to pick… especially when choosing between gowns that look an awful lot alike. It’s frustrating because everyone you bring with you has an opinion, and sometimes it’s the polar opposite of yours, which leads to second-guessing and fear of making a bad decision.

And then there are those oh-so-helpful guides to choosing the right gown for your figure flaws.
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How Much Does it Cost?


Money doesn’t grow on trees. Weddings aren’t necessarily cheap. In fact, the average wedding in the US, according to statistics, costs roughly $26.542 today. That’s a lot of money.

But there’s a funny thing about average statistics: they reflect all weddings and none, not any one specific wedding.
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Flowers By Mail – Nothing to Fear

There’s still something off-putting about the Internet where brides are concerned. Sure, they read the bridal blogs – and thank goodness for that! – and use Google to find all of the reception sites in and around their zip codes, but plenty of brides still balk when it comes to buying certain things online. Wedding gowns, for one, which I can totally understand, though at the same time, many brides who wouldn’t buy their wedding dress online totally ask their bridesmaids to buy their dresses online.

Another area where brides tend to shy away from buying online is wedding flowers. Part of that, I’d wager, is that there’s not a zillion shops selling wedding flowers by mail. Favors online? No problem, you have an almost infinite number of choices. Wedding shoes online? The sky is the limit! Bulk fresh flowers online? Even then it’s no problem – there’s Fifty Flowers, for example, and Grower’s Box (a personal favorite of mine). Most of the sites selling bulk flowers don’t, however, arrange them for you, so unless you’re keen on giving DIY wedding flowers a go, you’re mostly out of luck.

…but not entirely out of luck!

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Is Using the Regular Search Function Really That Hard?

As you probably already know, I’m a huge fan of Bluefly for bridesmaids’ dresses and even wedding gowns. Shopping there makes so much sense to me — for what you pay, you get a beautiful dress with a good name attached and oftentimes pay less than you would at the bridal salon. Yay!

bluefly-weddings

At some point in the not-too-distant past, Bluefly opened the Wedding 2.0 section of its web site. While I hate the whole ’2.0′ thing, I like the way you navigate it. First, you indicate whether you’re attending the wedding or in the wedding party, then you either choose what sort of wedding it is or your role in the wedding party. Finally, Wedding 2.0 presents you with a number of options. It’s not perfect, natch. I pretended to be a size 12 bridesmaid looking for a yellow dress and got two results. Slimming down didn’t help, either. And if you’re larger than a size 14, you’re out of luck all over the map, apparently.

All the same, it makes it a teeny bit easier to shop on Bluefly for wedding-wear. Not enough to get excited about, but that’s not going to stop me from featuring some lovely wedding-ready dresses and gowns later this week. Of course, I’d also love to hear about your favorite online shops that carry wedding appropriate gear for guests and members of the wedding party. Have at it in the comments!