Friday Tips and Tricks: Wedding Dresses 102: Shopping

Hello Birdies! Congratulations you’ve made it to Friday! If you’re in the trenches of planning a lot of you may be spending the weekend dress shopping. How exciting! Here are some tips and tricks to gear you up for a weekend full of fun, and hopefully, stress-free shopping.

  • Get organized.
    • If you’ve been reading since day one, you’ll know that this is one of the rules that i live by. Don’t go out there and start shopping without doing your research first. Once you’ve found the styles and designers you like, make a couple of appointments at a few stores. If this is your first time out, limit yourself to a couple of stores as to not get overwhelmed. Make sure to take any visual aids with you like magazine tear-outs or saved photos on your mobile device.
  • Take a reliable posse.
    • Believe it or not, who you take with you can make or break your shopping experience. You want to make sure that you only invite the most important people, but also people who will be honest and subjective. Now I know this is easier said than done. You may have a brash sister, or outspoken aunt. Give yourself a pep talk before you walk into the bridal salon and promise yourself no matter what feedback you get from the outside, you’ll be true to yourself and what you want because whose day is it? Yours. YOU. ARE. THE. BRIDE.
  • Throw in a monkey wrench.
    • Just go with me on this one. You’re going to see a lot of dresses. Obviously your more likely to try on the dresses that best fit the vision in your mind. But…a dress may catch your eye. One that is totally not what you expected, but for some reason you can’t help but like it. Try it on. You may hate it or you may totally fall in love. Either way, it’s not a bad idea to shock yourself with something different.
  • Follow your instincts.
    • Yes, another one of my go-to rules. No body knows your heart better than you. If you found the dress of your dreams, if you have that moment where you say, “This is how I want to look, this is the me I want to be when I marry (insert your handsome groom’s name here). Trust that feeling. On the other hand, if you feel like you’re not ready to make a decision, it’s ok to walk away and think about it. You can always take a day or move on to the next appointment before you make any final decisions.
  • Don’t forget to have fun.
    • Yes, this is probably one of the most, if not the most important dress you’ll ever wear. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have fun. Enjoy the process of trying on beautiful gowns and accessories. These are the memories you’ll look back on when you reflect on the planning process.

Happy Shopping and have a great weekend!

Happy Anniversary!

Hello loves! Happy Hump Day! Today marks a special day. Today my husband and I are celebrating our four year wedding anniversary!

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Four years ago today, I married my best friend. The person that makes me laugh until I have tears in my eyes, the person who is always down to snuggle, and the most loving, supportive man I’ve ever met. Marrying him was one of the best decisions I have ever made, and our wedding day was one of the best days of my life. Here are some of the specs from our big day!1009671_10151773814173454_117958140_o

Date: Friday, August 26, 2011

Location: Chicago, IL

Ceremony: City Hall

Reception: Harry Caray’s

Dress, veil, and earrings: David’s Bridal

Shoes: The Left Bank

Cake: Bittersweet

We are very excited to be celebrating our anniversary next year by renewing our vows! We decided to celebrate our anniversary next year with a vow renewal because 1) i couldn’t wait 10 years haha 2) we didn’t have a traditional ceremony, so we wanted to express and recommit our love to one another in front of our closest friends and family. The really fun part for me, is that, from this point on, I’ll be sharing my planning experiences with you as I go along! Along the way, you’ll get all the goods like, what my dress looks like, our venue, our vendors, etc. It’s going to be so fun and I’m excited to share this experience with you all. Stay tuned ❤

Wedding Dresses 101: Silhouette

Happy Monday brides and wedding enthusiasts! Dresses! Dresses! Dresses! Finding your wedding dress can be the most fun (and sometimes the most stressful) part of the planning process. Some brides already have an idea of what they want. Others have no idea where to start. Let’s start with the basics: silhouettes!

 

Photo created by Alyson Pedro
Artwork created by Alyson Pedro

First you have your classic ball gown shapes, also known as the cupcake dress 🙂 On the left you have your classic ball gown, where the skirt of the dress expands from the natural waist. The one on the right is a dropped-waist ball gown, where the skirt of the dress starts at just below the hips, hence the term “dropped-waist” I love a good ball gown. Classic shape that comes in many different materials. Check out this gorgeous Pronovias ball gown and this Pnina Tornai dropped-waist ball gown

Artwork Created by Alyson Pedro
Artwork Created by Alyson Pedro

Next up, you have on your left your fit-and-flare/trumpet style, and on the right your sheath style. I love the flow of a trumpet-style gown. They accentuate the waist and floats away from the body at the hips. It’s a particularly wonderful silhouette for a beach wedding! Fit-and-flare dresses with gorgeous overlays, like this one, are very in right now. The sheath dress is the silhouette that I wish i could pull off! It creates long lines, making you look tall, statuesque and drop-dead gorgeous. One thing i love about sheath dresses is that with this style you can have a flowy material like organza or you can go for a something that is a little more structured. This sheath by Badgley Mischka  is to die for ❤

 

Artwork created by Alyson Pedro
Artwork created by Alyson Pedro

Lastly, we have to your left (my personal fav) the mermaid, and on the right your classic A-line. I believe that every woman’s curves are beautiful. If that’s something you want to show off, the mermaid style is definitely the dress to do it in! The mermaid style hugs all the curves your momma gave you, ending in a beautiful mass of volume at the bottom. It’s the perfect balance of elegant and sexy, like this Mori Lee gown. The A-line is your classic silhouette, floating away from your hips at the waist, creating a nice beautiful line. The difference between A-line and the ball gown is that the A-line silhouette doesn’t have quite as much volume. When I hear A-line, i thing soft and romantic, like this beautiful Jenny Yoo gown.

As you start the hunt, no matter what look you decide to go with, choose the dress that you are the most comfortable in, makes you feel like your best possible self, and most importantly, makes you feel like a bride!

Special Friday Feature: Chicago Wedding Planner, Michelle Jacob!!!!

Happy Friday loves! I hope you had a great week. To kick of the weekend, instead of my usual “Friday Tips and Tricks” I have a special featured guest for you guys! The woman behind Personalized Events by Michelle, Michelle Jacob is one of the premier wedding planners in Chicago with over ten years of industry experience. She was gracious enough to give me insight on her expertise and share it with all of you 🙂

AP: What initially inspired you to become a wedding planner?

MJ: Hospitality. I love taking care of people, and doing what ever I can to make sure they enjoy themselves.

AP: How would you describe your planning style?

MJ: Detail oriented, calm, and thoughtful.

AP: What is your favorite part of the planning process?

MJ: The actual wedding day is my favorite part. There is always so much excitement, and I enjoy seeing my client’s vision finally come together.

AP: What is one of your favorite venues to work and why?

MJ: The Trump Hotel. The views are beautiful, the color palette lends itself for any type of décor, and the service and food are amazing.

AP: Some brides are anti-planner because they are afraid that the wedding planner will take over the entire wedding. What advice would you give to those brides?

MJ: Communication is key. Remember that this is your wedding and your opinion is the most important. Don’t be afraid to say what you like or don’t like. A planner should be there to guide you in the right direction while keeping your best interests at heart.

AP: What is one of the most important factors that a bride should take into consideration when selecting a wedding planner?

MJ: I truly believe that you should select a planner that you feel the most comfortable with. You will spend a lot of time communicating with your planner throughout the months leading up to your wedding, and they will be by your side on your actual wedding day. You want to make sure they are responsive and someone you feel comfortable with.

And now for the fun stuff:

Cake or Pie? Favorite flavor?   Cake. White cake with white frosting.

All time favorite food?   Salt and vinegar chips.

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All time favorite wedding treat?     Doughnut Vault.

Favorite color palette?       White, blush, ivory. (MINE TOO!)

What’s one item that you always have to have in you purse? Chapstick.

Can you give one interesting fact about yourself? I am always the first one on the dance floor and the last one off.

Thank you so much again Michelle for sharing with us! If you’re a Chicago Bride in search of some wedding planning expertise, check out Personalized Events by Michelle . You can also find her on Facebook

Wedding Planner Match Making!

pexels-photo-256737So you think you might want a wedding planner…But how do you decide? You really have to consider your own personality, who you think will mesh well with you, and the type of planner that you want. This person is going to be with you through the entire process so it’s very important to be upfront about what you want and the kind of planner you’re looking for. Do you want a planner who is very strategic, literally kicking ass and taking names when it comes to getting things done? Do you want someone that’ll be the guiding force in the planning process, where you can just sit back and enjoy the ride? What about a planner who is more collaborative with you every step of the way?  Best way to find out which planner is best for you is the same way you would hire a photographer or a DJ. True to form, I always start with research. Do a google search, or use online sources like The Knot or the latest wedding magazine for your city. First see who meets the services that you think best fits what you’re looking for. Some people have their pricing online, others you’ll have to request a quote. Once you’ve narrowed it down to the services you want and planners you can afford, time to start pounding that pavement honey! What better way to choose a planner than to actually meet them in person! You’ll really get a feel for each person that way and have a better idea of who will be the best fit for you. There are some great resources about questions you should ask, like this awesome checklist courtesy of Here Comes the Guide and this wonderful Knot article. Question? Comments? Leave comments below or shoot me an email! Happy hunting!

Wedding Planners 101: To Hire or Not To Hire, That Is The Question

I hope everyone had a relaxing and fun weekend, hopefully full of productive wedding planning! No matter where you’re at in the planning process, one of the biggest questions that is bound to come up is whether or not you should hire a wedding planner. There are a lot of brides who definitely decide to hire a planner, and there are some who decide to go without. If you’re not sure, here are a few things I think you should take into consideration: 1) Wedding size. Are you having an intimate wedding or something on a larger scale? Think about handling all the details for the amount of guests you’re planning to host. If the idea of organizing stationary, seating arrangements, and table decor for 200 people gives you heart palpitations, you may want to consider it 🙂 2) Location. If you’re having your wedding in your city of residence where you know the lay of the land, you may be okay without a planner. If you’re having a wedding in another state or country, a wedding planner who is more familiar with the area may be useful. 3) Your level of organization. Would you consider yourself an organized person? Are you type A. If you love organizing little details, and if you feel like you can handle it, go for it! There have been many a bride that thrive off of having a 5 inch wedding binder with the wedding broken down in minute details. If that’s not you, maybe consider a planner for a little extra help. 4) Life in general. Consider what your life is looking like right now. Are you super busy at work? How much responsibilities outside of work do you have? Can you realistically see yourself carving out time to plan all of the details? If you do, then Godspeed! Some brides are fortunate to be able to balance both. If you just don’t have the time, you can have a planner handle all of the things you don’t have time for.

 

There are also different levels of planning services:

  • Full Service Planning
    • Full service wedding planning pretty much is what it sounds like. This is great for anyone who has no time to plan themselves, or just want to be a little more hands off. Ideally you would have a planner that assists you with ever single aspect of your wedding planning, from helping you find a venue, vendor selection, budgeting, attire hunting for the wedding party, stationary (invitations, save-the-dates, place cards, etc.), menu selection, and pretty much every other detail. This will vary from planner to planner so just make sure that they are covering all of the services that you really need.
  • Partial Planning
    • Partial wedding planning, is great for the more hands on bride who wants to be involved in her planning process by needs someone to kind of guide her along the way. The services included vary from planner to planner as far as how involved they are. Do you research and find someone who matches the level of involvement and the services that you want.
  • Day-Of Services
    • Day of planning services are great for anyone who can handle all of the planning but would like someone to step in towards the end of the process to help with all of the last-minute details. Depending on the planner, they can step in anywhere from one to three months prior. There are some planners whose day of services include checking in periodically every few months or so to see how you’re doing, in addition to stepping in a couple of months out. Some of these services include organizing the rehearsal, touching base and confirming all your vendors, and last-minute budgeting.

As you can see, there’s something for everyone. In Chicago, there are so many planners to choose from, with a wide range of budgets. IMPORTANT: Your best friend’s second cousin who plans the family picnic every year is NOT the same as a professional wedding planner (no offense to your best friend’s second cousin. I’m sure the annual family picnic is fabulous). Whether you’re having a casual wedding or something on a grand scale, it’s still your wedding day! If you’re going to bring a planner on board, you HAVE to have someone who knows what their doing, especially someone who has done weddings before. Questions or comments, let me know! I’ll have more information about planners this week. Until then, as always, happy planning!