Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ready-to-Wear Bridal

For most brides, finding the perfect wedding dress is a stressful occasion. Brides typically spend several hours in a by-appointment-only boutique (with an entourage of female relatives and BFFs of course) and then undergo hours of custom fittings topped off with a hefty price tag.

All that is set to change though. Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal reported that several major retailers were getting in on the bridal game with off-the-rack wedding dresses. J.Crew was the first to sell bridal gowns back in 2005, but Ann Taylor, White House Black Market, The Limited and Urban Outfitters are all set to follow suit. In addition to avoiding lengthy appointment-booking times, brides can find gowns that are, for the most part, considerably cheaper than the average boutique wedding dress.

J. Crew sells dresses for as low as $295, Ann Taylor retails for less than $500, and Urban Outfitters' line, which is set to launch in February 2011, will start at $750. The Limited will be offering two dresses in June for less than $300.

Reasonably-priced bridal behemoth David's Bridal has even stepped up their game by announcing an upcoming collaboration with high-end designer Vera Wang. Gowns will start from as low as $600, as compared to Wang's regular line which retails from $4,000 and can go to higher than $25,000. Of course diffusion lines are hot these days, with everyone from Zac Posen to Thakoon having lower priced lines (for Target) under their belt. Vera Wang is no stranger to the concept of mass fashion; she has designed a line for Kohl's, Simply Vera, since 2007. However her planned collaboration with David's Bridal is the first of its kind.

A lot of ready-to-wear bridal creations are less formal than their designer counterparts. The J. Crew dresses are more suited to a low-key event than to black-tie nuptials. But since the recession has resulted in a nationwide trend of more laid-back weddings, savvy brides everywhere should rejoice at high-quality, off-the-rack options.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Catering Ideas

I have been spending a lot of weekends at the Brooklyn Flea lately (I'm writing a piece about the food vendors there). After sampling too many of the treats and interviewing several vendors, it occurred to me that several of the dessert products would be wonderful edible wedding favors.

My favorite are Nunu Chocolates:

The husband-and-wife owners, Andy Laird and Justine Pringle make super delicious organic chocolates. Their best-selling salt caramel choc is pictured. In addition to vending at the weekend flea market, they recently opened their own store, a coffee shop-wine bar hybrid in Boerum Hill which is cozy and cute. You can order or find out more here.

I also think the mini cupcakes from Kumquat Cupcakery would be super delish favors. Owner Keavy Landreth comes up with all kinds of unique flavors like Peanut Butter Banana Honey, Coffee Caramel Bourbon (pictured above), and for the adventurous couple, Maple Bacon. Yes with real bacon, see photo below!

Kumquat's mini cupcakes are $15 for a dozen here.

Wouldn't these tasty gourmet treats be so much fun than a knickknack favor? Would you ever have edible favors at your reception?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Monday Pick-Me-Up: More

I know this is the second week in a row that I am a posting a lust item but I can't help it. I am seriously obsessed with their latest Black Label line. And I'm not the only one, several of the items are already sold out!

Lucky for us, this little gem is still available. I love the feather accent. Wouldn't you feel like a 1940s bride if you wore it on your wedding day? The faux jewels are sky blue, so they would double as your something blue accessory. Buy it here for $300.

Q & A with a Bride-to-be

Would you ever wear a non-white wedding dress? A pretty cream or champagne colored frock could be lovely. What about something bolder? Like deep red, say?

Last week I interviewed Kelly M.-K., 31, from Berkley, CA about her upcoming June 5th nuptials and she told me that she plans on wearing a bold, red gown when she walks down the aisle. Kelly’s future in-laws have no idea about her sartorial risk, so she asked that I keep her last name confidential on the blog.

Q: How did you decide on such an unconventional dress?
Kelly: I tried on a few more traditional dresses but they didn’t feel like me. I went shopping with my sister and she saw this fancy, red dress and said that I should try it on for fun. I did and I fell in love with it immediately. I knew straight away that I was going to get married in that dress, I just had to break the news to everyone else.

Q: How did your fiancé respond?
Kelly: He was incredibly supportive. He said ‘that’s cool, you should wear what makes you happy.’ He knows me though.

Q: What about your family? His family?
Kelly: Well in the store, my sister’s reaction was “whaaaaat?!!” My family wasn’t surprised at all. But his family doesn’t actually know yet. I decided not to tell them, so it’ll be a surprise on the wedding day. I’m a little worried that his mother is going to have a heart attack when she sees the dress, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to wear it.

Q: What does it look like?
Kelly: It’s formal: floor length and silk with a train.

Q: Do you think you’ll regret not wearing white?
Kelly: I hope not. I wasn’t ever the type of girl who pictured myself in a white dress so I don’t think so. I’m also not a fan of wedding conventions so I don’t feel the need to conform to them.

Q: Are there are any other offbeat aspects to your wedding?
Kelly: There are a lot actually. We’re not having a traditional cake, instead we’re going to have 10 mini cakes of all different flavors from a local bakery. We aren’t the same religion, so we’re having a Presbyterian minister and a Catholic priest conduct the ceremony together. That was pretty hard to pull off. Also we worked in a hand binding ceremony into the service.

Q: What’s that?
Kelly: Our attendants will literally tie lengths of fabric around our wrists. None of our grandparents are still alive, so we’re using fabric that used to belong to them, my grandfather’s tie for example, we thought it would be a way to honor them and to literally show our families being bound together.

Q: Interesting. Anything else?
Kelly: The reception is going to be in my parent’s backyard. My aunt and uncle who are musicians will be playing music. We’re also having a juggler, a belly dancer and a fire-eater. Oh and my five-year-old nephew is performing a dance.

Q: Are you joking?
Kelly: No! I’m completely serious.

Q: That’s amazing.
Kelly: I know! It sounds crazy, right? But I’m thinking it will be a really fun day if nothing else. I’m a little worried about my nephew’s performance, but I mean he’s 5, I couldn’t say no.

Q: A juggler and a fire-eater sound more like a circus than a reception!
Kelly: Yeah. It’s going to be the best party ever though. We both knew going into this that we were going to make unconventional choices, so we were open to anything.

Thanks Kelly!
Thoughts? Would you ever consider having a fire-eater at your wedding? They kind of freak me out, so I don’t think I would!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Pick Me Up: edition 2.0

I have mixed feelings about veils. On one hand, I think they are classic and beautiful and could seriously add to making a bride feel special on her wedding day (when else would you EVER wear a veil?!). But on the other hand, they can be heavy, cumbersome and look a little dated. That's why I was so excited when I saw this sweet, stylish birdcage veil from, my favorite headband line.

Beautiful right?
I love that something which looks so vintage, manages to seem super modern as well. You also wouldn't have to worry about a veil messing up your wedding day hairstyle. This is part of's Black Label collection, which is their higher priced, "couture" line, so it's hand-stitched. It'll set you back $350: very reasonable for a dramatic hairpiece for your wedding. Get it here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Green Wedding Tips

Last week I posted my five top money-saving tips for planning an affordable wedding. This week I am talking about my top three tips for reducing the carbon footprint of your wedding.

1. Go Paperless:
Use virtual invitations: it is cheaper, faster and more convenient. What's not to love? Wedding evites can be customized just like a paper invitation, without killing trees. If the idea of not holding beautiful, thick cardstock in your hands, gives you hives, then get invitations made from recycled paper.

2. Go Vegetarian:
Not only are meat catering options far more expensive than vegetarian choices, they are also worse for the environment. It takes 24 gallons of water to produce one pound of lettuce, as compared to more than 2,000 gallons of water needed to produce one pound of beef. A meat-free menu is just better for the planet. If your carnivorous guests would balk at pure rabbit food, have a chicken option instead of the ubiquitous and pricey skirt steak option.

3. Location, location, location:
This is the one piece of advice that all green wedding experts agree on. The best thing that you can do to reduce the carbon footprint of your Big Day, is to select a location that is the closest to the majority of your guests. Sorry, but that means 300 guests can't fly out to your destination wedding in the Bahamas. One green expert says that if you MUST have a destination wedding, then the eco-conscious bride should elope there.

What do you think of these suggestions? Too extreme or would you consider adopting one or all of them?

Monday Pick Me Up- Valentino edition

Love, love, love these champagne colored Valentino heels. Valentino is known for glamour and luxury and these shoes are the perfect representation of that. I absolutely love the peep-toe detail and the luxe bow. The neutral color means that they would be perfect with any lovely jeweled bridesmaid’s dress and of course they would be amazing with a wedding dress.

I would be thrilled to wear these gorgeous shoes on absolutely any day and I only wish I am so lucky as to wear them on my wedding day. Fab.u.lous.

Buy them here:

ps: I know it is not Monday. This has not been a good week. I need a pick-me-up for every day, I figured that would be too much for readers, so I compromised and made it a Hump Day Pick-Me-Up.