Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ten Bridal Gown Shopping Tips

Hey everyone! It's been QUITE some time since you've heard from me. I've missed my little blog here, just haven't been able to find the time to get to it. In two weeks I'll have been working as a Bridal Consultant for a year now...and let me just say, I'm loving it. =) In the spirit of my one year "anniversary" falling during a Mori Lee Trunk Show at * our store *, I thought I'd share ten things that the ladies at work and I all agree on about the hunt for your wedding gown.
Mori Lee style 1956 Fall 2013 

1)      Know your budget – Stick to it!
When it comes to actually going to the dresses to begin your search, this will be the FIRST question we will ask you. We do not care how big or small your budget is…and if you’ve found yourself at a bridal shop that it matters to them, perhaps you should try going to a different one. The sole point of a bridal consultant’s job is to assist you in finding you a dress you love. So don’t try to fake a huge budget where “price is no object” when in reality you can only allot $200 or are even only comfortable spending that amount. Do a little overall budget planning. First decide what you want to spend on a dress and then stick to it. But don’t forget any accessories you’ll want to wear such as a veil or tiara, bracelet, anything. You may want to include these in a whole bridal ensemble budget or make one completely separate for accessories. A surprise expense is the price of a veil. If you’re opting for a beaded or embroidered trim veil, you have to consider that it’s been hand done and that will apply to the cost.    
2)      Keep your entourage small
Please! Please! Please! Par down the amount of people joining you in selecting your dress. It can quickly become over whelming to the bride and even the consultant. Try keeping it more intimate such as your mother/step mother, grandma, sister or best friend. We aren’t hating on your tons of friends or large family; promise. The issue comes in when a) there isn’t anywhere for people to sit and it can actually interfere with other brides and their consultant’s ability to get around and do their job. B) Everyone wants to browse through and pull dresses. Budget is ignored, wrong sizes are pulled, the bride gets overwhelmed with 20 dresses…and yes. It becomes very frustrating for the consultant to lose any and all control of an appointment. You can break a serious sweat getting girls in and out of dresses, especially when the number of dresses people “just want to see” keeps increasing. Wait for a go ahead from the consultant before grabbing dresses. Two or three people is very ideal; keep it all simple.
Other people to leave at home…people who are overly opinionated or are going to ignore the bride’s opinion and what they are wanting. Wait until you have your own wedding, don’t try to hijack someone else’s. Already had one? Try a vow renewal. Let your friend or loved one have their own day.

3)      It’s not TV; you will have your own experience and reaction.
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but with shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” it has become quite necessary to talk about. Nearly every newly engaged girl automatically runs to this show. Fun and entertaining to watch? Yes, of course. It helps bring on bridal fever. Realistic for the vast majority of brides? No. let’s be serious and first discuss their budgets. I’ll pause to let you envy the girls on that show with a $5000+ budget……ok. Now let’s move on to the typical tears and big ta-do from saying “Yes to the Dress”. I’ve only seen this reaction 2 or 3 times, and that’s from also watching my co-workers’ brides not just my own. Consider that some of these TV brides may be playing it up a smidge for the cameras. Don’t get all down if you aren’t bawling over a dress, you’ll know in your own way. One of the queues I look/listen for is the coveted “L” word said about a dress. A second is wanting to stay in the dress as long as possible, wanting to drive home…not just with it…but in it. Trust me; you’ll know when to say yes.
4)      Once you’ve picked a dress, stop looking.
I mean it! Plain and simple don’t look anymore. You picked that dress for a reason…just like you picked your fiancĂ©’ for a reason. You wouldn’t keep looking for a fiancĂ©e if you already had one…I hope not. The only only only reason to look once you have a dress is if you truly don’t love your dress. I’ve seen this happen for a couple reasons: online ordering. You don’t really know what you’re getting when you’re ordering from the “cheap sites”. Sizing may not always be accurate, craftsmanship can be shotty…your dress may never show up! This last one I’ve had girls come in with zero time because their dress never showed up. Another reason is plus sized women don’t always get many options at some stores, so they end up getting a dress they practically hate because it “fit” and they felt like it was their only choice. Girls, there are so many more options available now. Do some researching and calling around. Sometimes a long drive is all it’ll take to find you the dress of your dreams, regardless of your size. The last reason a bride would be looking if she already has a dress is if she chose a dress that someone else liked and felt that’s what she had to choose. (See #2 and #5)
5)      Remember, your opinion is most important. (You are the only one who truly knows your vision for the dress/event.)
It doesn’t matter how many Pinterest pictures you show your entourage, it’s still only all really coming together in your mind. You and only you will know how you actually feel in a dress – emotionally and physically. We all know the emotional tie and attachment to “the” wedding dress. But is a dress heavy? Itchy? Make you feel heavy? Make you feel beautiful? Make you feel happy? Only you can know and feel these things. (yes, there are momma’s that can look on their daughter’s face and be able to read it without a word said but it’s still not the same.) Certainly be respectful of others’ opinions and feelings-it’s a big deal for those who have waited your whole life for this day too – but stay true to yourself.
6)      Time frame – come in early!
Yes, we understand the runaway and get married brides, the elopements, quickly thrown together military weddings planned around a service members’ rare time off. We really do! (Especially with our store being near Ft. Knox.) BUT!! If you are able to take your time, do. You’ll be able to get more exact with what you want. If a store doesn’t have a certain size or style dress (by a designer they carry) you will have to order. I only know our stores’ time frames but if a designer doesn’t have that dress already made in stock, on average it can take up to 6 months to come in. you like beading? Hand beading takes quite some time. Opting for a couture gown? prepared to wait. Want that ever-so specific bridesmaids dress in that oh-so perfect color? 12-14 weeks (by our stores’ times). It’s the bridesmaids that usually become a setback in matters of coming in near the wedding date. If you need a rush on a dress’ order, expect about an additional $30. The earlier you’re able to make your selections and orders, the less stress you’ll have. Don’t forget to figure in time for alterations that may be needed. (Consider that with budget too!) Leave about a month for bridesmaids and 2 months for bridal gown alterations.
7)      It’s ok to look dresses.
Your best bet is to wait until you are ready to purchase before trying the dresses on.You could very well find your dream dress the day you’re “just looking”. Then you’ll have some disappointment at having to leave the dress at the store where the next bride could walk out the door with it. In cases of clearance and discontinued styles, they are typically the only ones left so it’s gone, it’s gone. When it comes to someone buying your dress and you simply don’t have time to order, then (unless you are incredibly laid back) you’re left with dissatisfaction of having to pick a dress you aren’t really in love with. (Granted, a lot of girls have the “well then it just wasn’t meant to be outlook.) Our store offers the option of layaway (yay, layaway!) and that’s typically 25% down. Soooo…if you’ve established a budget, and really stick to it, then you’ll know pretty much exactly how much to bring with you.  Speaking of things to bring with you, you don’t have to bring anything in particular when you are coming to look for your dress. If you have something like certain shoes or a borrowed veil for example, definitely bring them along!
8)       It’s not about keeping up with the Jones’. Stay true to yourself.
It simply isn’t necessary to get yourself all overwhelmed and go bankrupt to put on an opulent display…especially if in reality you are a quiet, chill, very simple person. We looove big princess weddings, we love eeevvvverrryything on our Pinterest boards…let them inspire you but put your own twist on things to keep it close to your heart. You want your love reflected, your “couple-style” to be very distinct. Don’t forget about the groom either. Many will say, “Anything you want” but don’t put him on the side line. If he’s down for a huge event, go for it, girl! Just keep in mind a lot of guys are quite content to run to the court house.
9)      Be open.
You never know how a dress will look until it is on your body. Nothing wrong with trying on a couple different silhouettes even if you have one in mind already. It’s a quick, easy way to eliminate those styles for sure. OR it could open up a new style to you. For instance, a lot of girls with hips don’t think they can wear a dress fitted through the hip. Untrue my friends =) you’ve just got to be open to trying. This is also where it’s important to trust your consultant. We learn out inventory awfully quickly and while you’re introducing yourself, we’re already making guesses of what would look good on you. We’re getting a sense of your vibe and personality. As you describe what you’re looking for, the cogs keep turning. At our store we’ll have each other chime in and give suggestions as well. Sometimes one of the other ladies can remember that one gown you just can’t put your finger on. The worst thing that can happen when trying on a dress is that you simply don’t like it. Then we get your out of it and move on to the next. Oh, and by the way, sometimes the first dress is “the” dress. You can still try on a few others to be sure, but it really does happen! (A lot)
10)   Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Heard that before? It applies to your wedding too. You love a dress but it doesn’t have a sweetheart neckline; no bigs, that’s a simple alteration. The bridesmaids dress doesn’t come in the precise color you had in mind but a slight twinge darker; does that mean your life and marriage is ruined? Of course not. As with anything else in life it’s important to try to be flexible when things don’t always pan out 100% as you planned. It’s easy to get swept up, but your wedding is about being united together as husband and wife. Don’t let anything upstage or get bigger than that union. It’s all about the love =) 



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

S'mores Milkshake

We've finally started to have some cooler weather this week, but it's still warm enough to want a cold yummy drink. So why not combine summer time milkshakes and a camp fire classic-s' fire required.

Turn your oven's broiler on low and put about a dozen marshmallows on a baking sheet. They don't have to be too close to the coils or these little guys will burn super quick. They only take a couple minutes, so don't walk away.

While your marshmallows are in the oven, scoop vanilla ice cream into a blender. (As usual, I don't measure.)

Add some milk.

Resist eating them off the pan! I've done very well about far...

Pile those little babies in there!

Now just blend it all up.

Rim your glass with crushed graham crackers, drizzle with a little chocolate, add a toasted marshmallow on top or just drink it straight from the pitcher. No matter how "fancy" or plain, it's some good stuff =)


Thursday, July 19, 2012

Just a smidge of Helter Skelter

I'm so glad to not be in training anymore at work! Its been much better to really get to interact with the brides and be the one helping them pick their dresses as opposed to standing back and more or less observing. I feel like I must be doing pretty well since my brides have been so surprised that I had just started. It confirms for me that its definitely where I need to be and that I have a natural eye or "talent" for it. =)

The kids have done great adjusting to going to daycare too. So luckily we've all gotten into the groove of this whole me working thing. I think the best day was the day I got my first paycheck. It was so rewarding to finally be earning my own money after so long. The only stinky thing over the last week or two has been not getting to see my man very much at all. I'm working, he's working crazy, crazy hours, and my parents have been playing and conducting in the orchestra for the show my brother is they haven't been able to keep an ear out on the kids after they've gone to bed so he and I can get a little us time.

On a totally random note, I am two pounds away from the ultimate goal weight that I set so long ago...and I really don't know how! I certainly haven't been trying to lose any after reaching my last goal mark because I was pretty pleased with it. Now that I'm here....I'm really not sure if I like it! I've even been feeling overall unattractive. Gah! There's always a catch 22, am I right? I almost feel too skinny, like I'm losing my curves..and that's not what I wanted. I cant say I've really heard any woman say, "Hmm, I think I want to gain a few pounds back." But here ya go, I've said it. I suppose it is time to go bake a cake....

Now that I'm more accustomed to the work schedule and have a bit of a balance going on, I really really hope to be able to get back into my projects and new recipes!!! I know I haven't been keeping up with I.i.O very well the last couple months, but keep checking back! Any thoughts on what you, my awesome readers, want to see??


Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Finally, Finally, Finally! I get to FINALLY cross off number two from my * Goal List *.

2. Get daycare taken care of and get a job

In a whirlwind yesterday I managed to get daycare picked and registered for the kids in order for my first day at Bridal Warehouse this morning. =) I'll be honest, I was totally scared about putting my babies in daycare and even broke down crying about it last night because you just never know if you've chosen the right one or not. It's just a leap of faith and a chance you have to take though. The kids really seemed to have enjoyed themselves when I picked them up this evening and even said they wanted to stay. I guess I couldnt ask for more than that right now.

As for my day, I was really anxious and excited to get in there and get started. Anyone who knows even the littlest bit about me know that a bridal shop is PERFECT for me. It'll be a while before I'm on my own on the floor, but I got to shadow a couple of the ladies today and still help clients pick and try on dresses. It will also give me a little practice in learning to do some altering on the dresses or tuxes...helping with number 12 on my list a bit.

There's a few more things I'd like to have work out- some small things, some pretty dear to me- but I'm hoping things continue to pan out and fall into place.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

My DIY Bird Cage Fascinator

Having an affinity for almost anything vintage, head ware is something that went by the way side long ago. You look back at the women of the past and it was their hats, their fascinators that made their outfits complete and polished...and lets say it...totally fabulous! These days, yes they're making a little bit of a come back but lets be honest; it really depends on where you live and who you are. Where I live, its definitely not something you see people wearing and you'd most likely get hit with good shock or bad shock. I know you aren't supposed to care what others think of you, but come on. Who wants to be the "town freak", especially when it causes people to accuse you of trying too hard and being pretentious. (Yes, you did detect a hint of bitterness there.) But anyway! Moving on!

I decided I just had to make a little bird cage fascinator for myself. I saw other feathers when I made my * DIY Feather Headband * and then at the fabric store I saw they actually had the bird cage material. The two totally clicked and I just had to put them together. I was so anxious to see how it even would turn out I didn't even do step by step pictures. You will follow the same instructions as on the feather headband except you will want to replace the elastic head band with an alligator clip. It'll take a little while to get the bird cage adjusted exactly how you want it so be patient, play around with it. =)

Once you have your bird cage set, carefully apply hot glue to the felt attached the the feathers. While holding it in place, quickly cover the remaining area with hot glue and cover with a second piece of felt. To attach the clip, I applied a slip strip of glue to the back of the clip and pressed it onto the felt. Then with the clip open, I took a small strip of felt and glued it to the inside of the back of the clip and carefully let it dry. 

That's all! Super easy for a simple little bird cage fascinator. Now....I need some place to wear it! I've got a couple little ideas, so keep your fingers crossed that I'll get to do them and I'll post pictures asap if I do!!

Happy Creating!