Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ah-Maaaaazing DIY Shoes

I have a fabulous friend, Liz, who adores all things bling and has a shoe collection that rivals Carrie Bradshaw's.  She has top notch taste and I knew she wouldn't disappoint when it came to her wedding shoes.

It all started when she fell in love with a pair of Stuart Weitzman's that were just a leeetle outside of her budget. They were gold, gorgeous and well.. I'll just post a picture because words won't do these shoes justice.

She couldn't justify spending over $500 on a pair of shoes that weren't her preferred color. As luck would have it, she was introduced to a website that makes women squeal and men weep: ZAPPOS. After searching for a time she came across another pair of Weitzman's that were considerably more affordable.

For many brides that would have been sufficient, and they would have ordered the classic, simple shoe and called it a day. But, you don't know my friend Liz. Those plain shoes merely did not have enough pizzazz for my sparkle loving friend. She toyed with the idea of dying them blue, as it's her favorite color. Even cobalt blue shoes would have been memorable. Liz made the right choice though, and decided to create her own bedazzled shoes, inspired by the gold ones she had fallen for.

Liz used four different colors of rhinestones to "frost" her satin stilletos. The result is the most incredible pair of wedding shoes I have ever seen!

She is a brave, brave woman for attempting this on an expensive pair of shoes but they are TO DIE FOR! If you're like me, and not quite as bold, it would still be sensational to do this to a pair of say-- Benjamin Walk Touch Ups. Use whatever color crystals you like and have at it, lady!

DIY - Veils

If you've already found your dress, I'm sure you've seen the high price on veils. Assuming that you can sew on a button, I have no doubt you can make your own veil! Those of you not getting married can take a few notes for bachelorette parties or for a special gift to a bride.

Before you start, you need to know what length you want. This will determine what width of tulle, as well as how many yards of it you will need. For a full, poufy veil you should get 108" width. You also need that width if you're planning on a longer veil, such as cathedral length. For a bridcage, or sleek fingertip length veil you may favor 72" tulle. Tulle comes in a variety of textures, many of the extremely cheap variety will be fairly stiff. I recommend tulle that is a little bit softer to the touch, it tends to drape prettier.

Next, decide the type of trim you would like to use. Some of you may prefer your veil unadorned, if so, just skip this step. Tulle looks great unfinished and it won't fray like many other fabrics if you let it alone.

Most craft and fabric stores will have ready made trims. You can get something dazzling and save yourself the hard work of hand beading the edge. I popped into a local fabric store and found gorgeous lace for $9.50 a yard, flashy beaded trim for $6 a yard, and classic satin cord for $1.99 per yard. Keep in mind you will only need the detail on three sides of the veil. Use needle and thread to attatch your desired edging to the tulle. Take your time with this step, especially if you are new to sewing.

For an experienced sewer, you very well may be a little more ambitious. It won't be much work to find beading and hand-sew it yourself. I applaud veils that are one of a kind. I myself love to embroider, and found silver and gold threads for under 50 cents. Make your own pattern, or find one in a book and embellish that tulle exactly how you see fit!

Once you have your tulle gracefully detailed, it's time to attach it to a comb. To keep it simple, go to Hobby Lobby and buy a metal or plastic comb.

Find the very center of the top edge and sew it to the center of your comb. You will want to make sure the edge (as in the tulle you don't want seen) is on the inside of the comb. Some people have trouble figuring out which side is the top. The comb is curved so that it will lay flat on your head... Don't forget that while making your veil! Gather the tulle and continue to sew to each edge, ensuring you cover the sides of the comb. If the top of your veil doesn't look perfect enough for you, find a brooch or hair pin to attach to the top and hide your mistakes. You can either sew it or bobby pin into your hair on the wedding day. Not into bling? Satin ribbon or lace can easily be sewn across the top to disguise any "oops" moments.

*Please note, in this picture, you are viewing the underside of the comb!!*

Now, if all of that seems too much trouble, but you still want to save some dough, I have two suggestions. Browse Etsy for a variety of styles at an affordable price. Another suggestion? Ask your seamstress! She may have ideas or be able to incorporate something else from your dress to make you a one of a kind veil for way less money than the boutiques are going to charge!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

What to do for those lovely 'maids?

I have had a hard time deciding exactly where to start, I just have too many ideas swirling in my head. I figured one thing was easy to tackle-- bridesmaid gifts.

How many strands of plastic pearls do you own, from a well meaning bride that wanted all of her bridesmaids to have matching jewelry? Do you have a flask engraved with the wedding date of your best friend? How about a cheesy picture frame with an etched quote about friendship?

Let's face it, nearly all of the presents from your bride-to-be are a waste of money. You may keep them for a year (or more if you are a bit of a hoarder like myself) and eventually they end up in the trash. If you want to spend your hard earned cash on a gift for them, make it something they will actually appreciate!

For example, you can find inexpensive REAL pearls on the internet. Now, they may be freshwater or baroque pearls as opposed to those Tahitian and Akoya stunners, but at least they're the real thing. I recommend ebay vendor Pearllunar to get natural pearls at a fantastic price. They do custom orders, so you can get your girls whatever color, size, and length you want! You can still have a cohesive and classic look without feeling like you cheated your girls.

These days being green is something we all need to be thinking about. I bet your friends would really enjoy personalized, reusable totes for grocery trips and excursions to the mall. Sure, you can easily buy monogrammed bags online, but it would be even more special if you made them yourself. I adore this idea from Ashleyannphotography.

For instructions, go to her blog here. I love that a doily and paint can make something so adorable. Paint it in her favorite color, or maybe that lovely shade of lilac she'll be wearing on your special day.

Another idea to knock their socks off-- gemstone pendants. I know, they sound pricey, but, they don't have to be! My favorite vendor is a jeweler on etsy, Daniel M Jewelry. Daniel and his wife Caren are a dream to work with. They do all kinds of custom projects from rings, to cufflinks. His Rainbow Bezel Pendants are truly gorgeous and you have so many color options. You could either do them all the same shape and color, or switch things up. Pick colors each individual would like and then choose what cut they might wear most. It would show your best friends that while you may have been crazy in the months leading up to the wedding, you are still thinking about them. These necklaces are something any girl would absolutely cherish for years to come.

If all of those options are a little too girly-girl for your tom-boy sister, look for a nice, hardback version of her favorite book. Write her a meaningful note on the inside cover, so she can always think of you when she re-reads "The Great Gatsby" for the 10th time. Buy her a fancy bottle of wine or get her a years subscription to her favorite magazine. The possibilities are endless!

Just think a little outside of the box and get your bridesmaids a gift they will treasure. It doesn't have to be difficult or contrived! And please, don't forget to include a heartfelt card detailing how much her involvement in this special day means to you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be."

-Robert Browning

Monday, September 13, 2010

What's new in bridal fashions

Over the weekend I attended the Dallas Market Center's Spring 2011 Bridal Market, and I got to view some truly marvelous new fashions.

As expected, texture is even bigger and better in the gowns for next season. Roses made of organza or chiffon, silk petals  across the bodice and layers on nearly every skirt. Pronovias' "Gaudi" from 2010 was only a taste of what is to come!

Another huge trend is the return of the ballgown. Pickups are nearly a thing of the past (thank GOODNESS), and the newer ballgowns are less Disney Princess and more Grace Kelly. Once again, textured details are abundant on these dresses. Get ready for the return of the traditional bride.

Now, my favorite gowns--the dresses that make me drool--are all the stunning lace confections that are growing more and more popular. Say goodbye to strapless and say hello to open keyhole backs, high collars and feminine lace straps. My mother, who is not a big fan of strapless dresses in church, will be pleased to see that Ivanka Trump started a beautiful trend that I for one, hope lasts.

One more thing to look out for will be short wedding gowns. Tea-, knee- and cocktail-length are all in style. Nearly every line has at least one, sometimes three or four darling little dresses in their collections. These dresses will be fantastic for that backyard barbecue, courthouse elopement or beach wedding. Just look at the detail on this Justin Alexander frock:

Accessories in recent months have been throwbacks to the past. Birdcage veils are now a staple at any bridal salon, and headpieces look like they could have come from Grandma's jewelry box. Expect that to go into overdrive this season. I saw so many beautiful hats made from horsehair, feathers and silk flowers. A lot of these show-stopping pieces may take a little bit of nerve to wear, but those brave enough to wear them will certainly be remembered.

Now I will have to admit I spent a small portion of my day stalking wedding planner David Tutera. I briefly saw him last year in Chicago while he was promoting his new line of wedding gowns David Tutera by Faviana but I didn't have the nerve to snap a picture with him. I was bound and determined to get that picture this year, but I missed him by a little less than an hour. His showroom was pleasantly surprising. His new Spring 2011 line is sure to be a hit.

I can't wait for the new dresses to hit the salons and boutiques across America in late December and early January! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

"A good marriage is like a casserole, only those responsible for it know what goes in it."

Friday, September 10, 2010

You Are Cordially Invited...

... To start reading my blog!

I'll admit that I've never attempted anything like this before. Forgive me, friends and followers, as I try to navigate my way through the blogosphere!

I've been involved in some aspect of wedding planning for three years now, and I'd love to share my take on things. Here, you will find ideas, pictures, and things I hope can inspire brides while they begin to plan the biggest party they may ever throw!

That, dear readers, is my first topic of conversation. You're about to throw the most amazing and memorable event of your life! Put down the magazine and stop psycho-dialing your mom! Wedding planning is supposed to be FUN! When you look back 10 years from now, you will not remember the table linens or if the peonies perfectly matched your bridesmaid's blush colored dress. People who will remember that even less, will be your guests. They will remember a happy (sober) bride and groom, a great party, good music, and what a wonderful time they had. So relax! Let this process be an enjoyable way to express your relationship and your style.

Ask someone years ahead of you, such as your aunt or a family friend about her wedding. She may have great advice about what is important. I guarantee you it won't be the perfect bouquet or the perfect unity candle. In fact, forget that word... perfect! I bet some of the "flaws" will be the parts you will laugh about 25 years later.

A dear friend of mine was married several years ago and shared a story with me. Her wedding cake was nothing like she had hoped. She brought a napkin into her bakery to show the color of periwinkle she was using. She described a beautiful tiered cake, and left it at that. She was shocked, horrified, and later absolutely TICKLED at the cake she received! It was closer to powder blue than purple, and it took over then entire 10 foot table! Insead of stacking the tiers, each one was staggered around the table. She couldn't help but laugh! She pulled out the pictures to show me her "disaster" cake and I loved it!

There is something I must warn you, bride-to-be. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself. Something. Will. Go. Wrong. Did you pass out? Ok, if you made it through that, just listen. When planning such a huge event and counting on so many other people to come through for you, there will most likely be something that will happen that is not part of the plan. Guess what? You will STILL get married to Mr. Wonderful and life will go on! The sooner you accept that, the better off you will be.

I know that was tough to swallow, so why don't you take a break from the planning and call your best friend. Try not to bring up the wedding even once! And, have a glass of champagne on me!