Monday, June 28, 2010

Bridesmaid Dresses: Garden Print Dresses

 Photo copyrighted Lori Barbely Photography via Celebrity Bride Guide

Inspired by Project Runway designer Jesse LeNoir, who created one-of-a-kind bridesmaid dresses for his bridal party with a unique garden print on them, we looked for more garden print dresses that could be worn for a bridesmaids. We love the idea of floral print dresses-they're country club chic while being just a little different and adding some color to the bridal party.  They're simply perfect for garden ceremonies and receptions-the flowers bring a touch of nature into the dress.

For Jesse LeNoir's wedding, he even let the dresses dictate the wedding theme, ending up with a predominantly white palette with light blue, green, pink and purple.  The theme ended up being a white canvas with a floral painting inspired by the colors in the dresses.

Our picks:
Love this day dress by designer Tracy Reese.  Bright and vibrant, it features a ruffled V-neckline, wide shoulder straps and a woven belt with a distressed goldtone O-ring buckle. Best of all, its under $200.

This floral-print dress by Elie Tahari takes a different approach to a traditional floral print dress adding sequins to the bold floral print.  The pencil skirt is also flattering and sophisticated.

Okay most garden dresses are going to be vibrant, but you can still find ones in other color combinations like this black and white floral dress from Modcloth. Flattering and beautiful, the best thing is the price-just $52.99. And there's ton more options where this one comes from with plenty to choose from under 50, 60, and 80 bucks.

Just because its a floral print doesn't mean the dress can't be sexy.  This dress is one shouldered with flower embellishment and is pleated throughout the body. The fun floral print will make it perfect to wear to a cocktail party reception in spring.
A fresh floral watercolor print blossoms on this pretty fitted sheath dress by Jones New York Signature.  Available in petite and plus sizes, sheath dresses are flattering for a variety of body types.

Who says floral dresses have to be short? This fantastically vivid floral maxi dress from French Connection has a black fabric and gold bead-embellished halter neckline and inset waistband for extra pizazz. 

This floral print long gown shows that the garden theme can even be used for more formal weddings. The black and white print makes the dress perfect for formal occassions.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

DIY: Hot Pink & Zebra Bachelorette Party Invite

For her friend's bachelorette party, Kate made these incredible hot pink, black, & zebra bachelorette party invitations. 

What's needed:
Hole puncher
Cardstock (Black, Hot Pink, and Zebra)
Ribbon (Zebra)
Envelope liner templates

Get the rest of the easy step-by-step instructions on her blog
Image copyrighted-

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Response to Dear Abby: Do Guests Expect to Pay?

A recent Dear Abby column had a guest to a pre-wedding event perplexed. The guest had received an invite for "Manicure/Pedicure Party" for a friend who is getting married. The invitation the guests received stated, "Please join us for a manicure and pedicure in honor of the bride-to-be." After the guest left, she received a phone call from one of the hostesses stating that the guest had left without paying for her manicure and pedicure. The guest was floored. The guest had assumed since the invitation stated "Please join us" that the hostesses were paying. 

Our dilemma: how to address situations like this so as not to offend guests.

Our response: The column was vague on several details-was this a bachelorette party, a bridal shower, the pampering the day before the wedding, none of the above? 
  • For bridal showers, guests are NEVER expected to pay their own way. If this was a bridal shower, then the hosts should have treated everyone.
  • For bachelorette parties and pre-wedding pampering, it's fine to expect every guest to pay for themselves.  
  • If you're hosting or throwing a party like this, clear up the confusion ahead of time. When guests call up to RSVP, politely remind them that a mani/pedi will be about $50 or so so they know they are expected to pay. This doesn't have to be included on the invite but guests should know ahead of time.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are Pampered Chef bridal showers tacky?

Q: We've heard of people doing Pampered Chef bridal showers and were thinking of doing them for our bride's wedding shower. Are they considered "okay" from etiquette standards? What do people think?
A: At first glance, parties like Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Lia Sophia, Tastefully Simple, purse parties, or "toy" parties, can be a nice change of pace from other bridal showers. For one, it helps lower the cost of the party and be the entertainment for the shower. However, the general consensus is that these parties are bad etiquette and shouldn't be done.

Most of these showers work this way: they are much like a typical party except the bride has picked put a registry or wishlist for guests to purchase from. The guests though can pick items for themselves too. 

Some tips to consider:
  • Is the bride crazy about the products? If the bride has never even heard of a PartyLite candle, her shower might be the wrong place to introduce her. And, of course, she might have strong feelings about the products-many people have a surprisingly strong love/hate relationship with some of the items being offered for sale.
  • These parties tend to put the guests on the spot. Yes, we all know that at wedding showers, the guests bring gifts but guests have freedom to buy the gifts wherever they want to-usually by having these type of showers, the guests typically buy something from the party going on which limits the choices. What about those guests who wanted to give fine china or make an item personal?
  • Many people in general have strong feelings about these home parties. We all know people who always turn down invites to the parties simply because they don't like the products, don't like sales pitches, or have another personal preference (like preferring MAC cosmetics over Mary Kay.) These guests might be conflicted and feel like they have to attend and buy something.
  • If the bride does like the items, she could always set up a registry. Party companies like Pampered Chef and Longaberger allow brides to set up gift registries so brides can still get the items they want without the party or the sales pitch.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cost of Being a Bridesmaid-$1000 and up!?

Now that you've been asked to be in a wedding, you might be wondering what costs you are expected to incur and how much being in your best friend's wedding will run you.  According to BrideTide in 2009, a single bridesmaid can expect to spend $1009 on wedding related expenses.  A simple breakdown:

Bridesmaid Dress-In the US, most bridesmaids are expected to pay for their own bridesmaid dress.  Obviously dresses range in price-one from David's Bridal might run from $100 to $150 while one from Vera Wang might run closer to $300 and up . After you buy the dress, expect to have alterations done which can vary in price but will most likely be another $50 to $100.  The Wedding Report says the average bridesmaid spent $178 on a dress in 2009 and $56 on alterations.

Dress Accessories-Those matching satin clutchs in mermaid? The dye-able shoes to match the fuschia gowns you're wearing? The new strapless bra?  Accessories don't come cheap and most bridesmaids can expect to spend around $100 (at least) on them.

Bridal Showers-Even if you're throwing lunch or a casual party in someone's house, throwing a shower does cost money. Tea at the Four Seasons will obviously run more than a dessert shower at the Maid of Honor's house but there are invites, food, and favors to consider with a shower.

Bachelorette Parties-Whether you're doing drinks at the local dive bar on karoake night or heading to Vegas for a three-day weekend, bachelorette party guests pay their own way and pay for the bride.  Depending on what you and the rest of the bridal party decide to do, bachelorette parties can vary widely in price.

Gifts-We've left out the gifts until now. Figure on a gift for the engagement party, bridal shower and wedding.

Travel-Much like with regular weddings, there is often a traveling cost to weddings.  Unless the wedding is in your town, expect to pay for transportation and hotel rooms. Of course, since you're a bridesmaid you are expected to be at the rehearsal dinner and morning after brunch (if there is one) which means you're probably looking at a two-night hotel stay.

Day of Wedding-Expect to pay for hair and makeup the day of the wedding. Updo's can be expected to be around $60, although prices vary depending on the area you live in, length of hair, and style you want.

Of course, costs of being a bridesmaid vary depending on the wedding and bride.  For one wedding, the bride searched for $35 clearance bridesmaid dresses at David's Bridal, didn't want a bridal shower, and had a night at a local bar for her bachelorette party making it extremely cheap to be her bridesmaids.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cute Gift Idea: Household Item Poem (aka the Mr. Clean Poem)

Ahh, we think this idea is such a cute way of presenting everyday household items to the bride at the shower.  It's a cute yet practical way to give the bride things like laundry detergent.  Many showers do it as a gift from all of the bridesmaids or you could do it as a cheaper, more creative bridal shower gift.

Bridal Shower Game: Make this gift into a game. Pass the items out to guests and have the guests hold up the items while someone reads the poem.

Put the items in a laundry basket or reusable container for the shower.

Poem 1:
Dear Bride, 
You are entering a new ERA. There will come a THYME in your marriage when you find [GROOM] is not always MR. CLEAN, but don't send out the S.O.S. Because he might VANISH. [GROOM] will always bring you CHEER and you will find JOY, so remember your PLEDGE and give him your ALL. To [BRIDE] and [GROOM] the Best of Luck & Good Fortune in the years to come. And may [GROOM] always be your HONEY.

Poem 2:
Dear [BRIDE],

We gather together with you to celebrate the (dawn) of a new (era). Marriage is a journey. Some days it will be pure (joy) but let's take a moment and talk about the others.

There may come a time when you realize your big (brawny) guy isn't necessarily  (Mr. Clean). When this and other little glitches occur, don't  (shout) or send up an  (SOS). Go (easy-on) him. Hopefully the (Tide) will change quickly, tensions will (vanish), and things will (bounce) back to normal.

We think you and [GROOM] are a  (fantastic) couple with a (zest) for life and a sincere appreciation for each other. We fully support you as you and [GROOM]  (pledge) to spend your lives as one.

We wish you all the best... Including love, happiness and lots of time to (snuggle).

The Bridal Party (or whomever is giving the gift.)

Poem #3
It is only fair that we let [BRIDE] in on a little SECRET. [GROOM] may be FANTASTIC but wait until she finds out that he is not MR. CLEAN. He'll expect her to be a DYNAMO in the kitchen and he thinks all women should MOP & GLOW. At night he'll wake you up at DAWN to SNUGGLE up close. We all AGREE that [BRIDE] and [GROOM] will have a very happy LIFE together. Our wish for you is that your home be filled with JOY and you remain as happy as ever in the FUTURE.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Melissa Rycroft & Ty Strickland Joint Bachelorette/Bachelor Parties

Celebrity Bachelorette Parties: Melissa Rycroft

The Bachelorette and her fiancee held a joint party where they flew out 12 of their closest friends for dinner, dancing and theater shows at The Palazzo and Venetian hotels in Las Vegas.  The couple and their friends each took in a separate theater show -- Rycroft  and her girlfriends saw Jersey Boys while Strickland  watched with friends the Phantom - Las Vegas Spectacular -- before coming together for dinner at Dos Caminos. Later in the weekend, the group played in a girls vs. boys poker tournament at The Venetian Poker Room.

Although they spent much of the weekend separated with their pals, Rycroft and Strickland were able to sneak away for some private time before their wedding. On Saturday, the couple enjoyed a gondola ride down the Grand Canal at the Venetian and enjoyed cupcakes from Sweet Surrender. 

Recreate their bachelorette party:
  • See the Jersey Boys a musical about four blue-collar kids, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Erik Bates, Tommy DeVito, and Nick Massi, working their way from the streets of Newark to the heights of stardom. Of course, the show features electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these guys all the way to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You," "Dawn," "My Eyes Adored You," and more.  Want tickets?  If you're not going to be in Vegas, you can also catch the Jersey Boys on Broadway, London, Melbourne, Toronto, and through the national tour.
  • Take in  "Phantom - The Las Vegas Spectacular" an all-new production of the most influential musical of all time. Phantom at The Venetian reunites Andrew Lloyd Webber, director Hal Prince, choreographer Gillian Lynne and others from the show's original creative team, who together reconceived their show into a 95-minute spectacular, including each and every song from the original production. 
  • Head to Dos Caminos for an authentic Mexican dinner and try one of their 35 unique tequilas with custom flavored salts, sangria, or margaritas.
  • Play some poker with friends at the Venetian Poker Room. At nearly 11,000 square feet, the Venetian Poker Room is among Vegas's largest venues for this classic table game with 39 poker tables featuring a variety of poker games including Texas Hold ‘Em, Stud, or Omaha.  There's free lessons where you can learn to play the poker games that are taking the nation by storm in the poker room and you can start your own game with your party.
  • Even if the party is just girls, take a gondola ride at The Venetian where you can float beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies and through the vibrant Venetian streetscape as your singing gondolier sweeps you down the Grand Canal for a ride like no other.  
  • Head over to the Palazzo's Las Vegas cupcake and candy store, Sweet Surrender which has a variety of sweet treats including the $750 Decadence D’Or.  Of course they also have other popular flavors including: Red Velvet, Lemon Strawberry, Chocolate Ganache, Carrot, Black Forest, Strawberry, Coconut and Chocolate Fudge cupcakes.  Pick some up for after a night of drinking.