Friday, October 26, 2007

Shout Out to Modern Bride

I want to give a very public shout out to the folks at Conde Nast.

I just received the December 2007 issue of Modern Bride and I was blown away by the photo editorial on page 76; “Four Dresses Under $900”. I have been saying for practically forever that there are gorgeous gowns at all price points but you wouldn’t know it to read the bridal magazines. If the only information you have is what you see in these books you are left to believe that wedding gowns start at around $2000. That is so not true! There really is a gown for every budget, just go to the salons and look. Well finally somebody gets it. Thank you Conde Nast for listening

What you don’t know is the part that the Dish may or may not have played in this. Last July your Wedding Diva had a rather public discussion with a representative from Conde Nast at a conference in Philadelphia. As he stood there presenting the survey of the American Bridal market that the publisher produces every year I just couldn’t hold my tongue any longer. When the slide stating that the mean purchase price of a wedding gown in America is $1296 I asked why that was NEVER reflected in the gowns chosen for editorial. Suffice it to say that by the time this little discussion was over I had the microphone and everyone at the conference knew where I and the salons in attendance stood.

Every now and then when you protest loudly enough somebody hears you.

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Blog Notes

I have lots more good things from bridal market but I am knee deep in a 9 day video shoot right now.

Hopefully I will be able to get some of the information, gossip and images from New York up this weekend. Sadly though, until this shoot is over my masters at the cookware company owns my every waking moment. Such is the live of an all around diva.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

If Its Sunday Then It Must Be Nuts

Of course it was. Sunday was a blur. We started with the Gala show at the Waldorf, them Reem Acra, Monique Lhuillier, Pricilla of Boston then Claire Pettibone and finally Junko Yoshioka. In between I took time to visit with friends at Tigerlilly, Veil Trends, Kelly Chase and Mon Cheri.

Let me start by giving you two trends that have carried through all three markets. First and most important is a return to soft romantic gowns in soft sheer fabrics layered one over another to add texture and dimension. You can still find heavily structured bodices in some of the collection, notably Pricilla of Boston and Reem Acra but even they had some soft lovely layered gowns.

Look for shoes to take on greater importance as the gowns lose structure. Quite a few gowns with shortened hems, anywhere from the ankle to the knee, showed up in the collection. If this catches on it may become a real option for the bride not bent on being a princess for the day.

The one thing that I notice when I come to couture market is the fabrics. Brides always ask me why some gowns are so much more expensive than others. The answer is the fabrics. You can almost always find a gown in a similar style in another lower priced line than the top designers. What set these gowns apart is the sumptuous fabrics. These fabrics scream out to be touched; they drape better and hang more beautifully. When you go gown shopping look at some of the high end gowns in person; photos don’t tell the whole story. Go to the salons and touch them, look at the way they reflect light differently, take note of the way they fall. Our Grandmothers knew the difference; I think it is high time that this generation learned.

Another mark of a top end gown is the quality of the beading and embroidery. The patterns are matched perfectly, the beads are fully attached and the appliquéd lace is not just left hanging on the edges. All of these things take time and attention to detail not found in a less expensive imitation. They may sound like little details that you can live with out but they are the things that take a gown from nice to exquisite. Take the time to look at the difference before you do something silly like order a designer gown for $200 over the internet. Discover the differences the real thing has.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Wedding Channel Couture Show

Yes my friends, it is that time of year again. Your wedding diva is off to New York to feel the buzz and see all the pretty things.

I didn’t get in until late yesterday and only had time for one show, Carmela Sutera. Gorgeous! It was feminine and soft and romantic. Bits of little girl ruffles and bows done in a very grown up way. Oh and the fabrics!!! If you have never seen a cotton pique used in a wedding gown then you have to see these gowns.

Then it was off for dinner and fun with dear friends. Susi Rogol and Tracey Llewelyn with Bridal Buyer Magazine are in from London. We were joined by the fabulous Rani Totman, her sweet hubs and Tarsame her right hand. All together an even dozen feasted the night away.

Today is Sunday and if you have been following the Dish for a while then you already know…it is insane. I can’t even remember where all we are going. I know Reem Acra, Claire Pettibone and a new Japanese designer that Susi has just raved about. There is also a launch party for the launch of Get Married on Lifetime. I’ll have a full report by tomorrow.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Greening of the American Wedding Part 2


Your wedding gown might not seem like the place to make an environmental statement but a quick search of the internet will prove you wrong. A search for “environmentally friendly wedding gowns” brought up 206,000 hits. First think recycle. You can either buy vintage or reuse one that is in the family. A good seamstress can recut a dress to a more modern style to suit your taste and figure and in some ways you are carrying on a family heirloom. If what you crave is new that is also now an option. There is of course silk but also silk hemp blends and a fairly new synthetic fabric make from cellulose called tencel that is very soft to the touch. You can either buy gowns ready made or purchase yard good to have a gown custom made for you. All those options also hold true for bridesmaids.


With how much has been said and written about so called conflict diamonds many socially conscience couples are forgoing the traditional engagement ring altogether. A diamond is considered a conflict diamond if its profits is used to fund war, or it is mined or produced under unethical conditions. In fact there has been such a backlash against diamonds that in 2001 diamond industry figures convened and formed a new organization, the World Diamond Council. This new body set out to draft a new process, whereby all rough diamonds could be certified as coming from a non-conflict source. Dubbed the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme it tracks the origin of rough diamonds and follows the stone through it life. If you are considering a new stone you can look for its certification. Such jewelry stores as Tiffany & Co, Zale and even QVC have started marketing “Ethical Jewelry”.

Not everyone has complete faith in any system, especially one as steeped in human rights violations as the diamond industry. If that is you the best way to go may be to use recycled stones and precious metals. Both and specialize in using recycled materials. Better yet, recycle the family jewels. You can have pieces collected from both families recast into one beautiful new set to symbolize your joining.

After the Wedding

Consider taking your honeymoon close to home. You will be so tired anyway after all that planning and partying that not having a seven hour flight might be a relief. You will also reduce your carbon output.

When it comes time to preserve your gown you can even do that in an environmentally friendly way. Oakwood Cleaners, in Nashville,TN operated by Surendra Kumar is one of the most modern facilities in the world. Specializing in a non-toxic cleaning process they preserve and restore wedding gowns for customers all over the country. Most telling was when Kumar told me that the process is so gentle on fabrics that shops like b. Hughes Bridal and Formal and Ann Frances Couture trust them to pre-clean gowns before the wedding. That just isn’t done. Normal dry cleaning methods can sometimes be so harsh to delicate fabrics that salons usually only spot clean a gown if needed between the portrait sitting and the ceremony for fear of damage. I take that as a huge vote of confidence.

Just how green you decide to go is up to you. Whether your color is a hint of green or more of deep foresty green the people that supply you are catching on. As more and more couples make greener choices and ask for what they want the more resources like money and time the vendors will put into finding solutions. So you see, it really is up to you.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

The Greening of the American Wedding

One goal of most every engaged couple is to find ways to express themselves in their wedding; to make it a truly personal representation of who they are as a couple. To do this more and more couples are bringing their social consciousness to the party. From environmentally friendly weddings to ethical jewelry to charitable donation registries, today’s couples are seeking out ways to proclaim their love for the planet and its inhabitants as they proclaim their love for each other.

Going green doesn’t mean wearing hemp and taking your vows in a field of daisies while munching on organic tofu. In 2007 you may not even see much of a difference on the surface. This means that you can do your part for the planet without freaking out Granny.

The key factor in having a green wedding is to make conscience choices and to ask questions. Many vendors in the event industry are catching on to the different options available and jumping in to fill the need. From when and where you decide to get married to the invitations to your honeymoon there are ways to lessen the impact your wedding has on the environment.

As you start to plan your wedding consider the time and place. A ceremony and reception held in the spring or fall will require less energy to heat or cool the space. Host your wedding in a location central to most of your guests to minimize the miles traveled. If possible have your ceremony and reception in the same location or you can provide transportation between the two.


If you think about it weddings require an amazing amount of paper goods. This is also one of the easiest ways to go green. Recycled paper has come a long way from the brown rough texture of the early days. Now you can get beautiful invitations printed on recycled papers from most of the major manufacturers. You can also find printers that use soy ink.

Take it another step further and you will discover all the beautiful handmade papers now available for the bride that want to make her own invitations. There are papers that come with embeds like flower petals or seeds. The seeded ones are especially nice to use for your program; guest can take them home and plant them after the wedding. No waste and a new plant in the bargain. Anything you need for your ‘paper wardrobe’ can be found in an ecologically friendly format.


When you talk about decor the first thing most people think of is flowers. Even though flowers are a natural product they are one of the hardest places to have an impact. Unless you live in an area with a long growing season it can be very hard to find the kinds of flowers you want locally and organically grown. Don’t despair, there are still thing you can do. If you get married in a garden you have flowers all around you. For your table centerpieces you can use a tablescape of small potted plants, maybe a combination of flowers and herbs. Pot them up in a moss lined basket or put them in pretty little pots and have you guests take them home for their gardens. If you still want a more traditional look you can order organically grown flowers on the internet from Even if you go with completely traditional flowers you can make arrangements with your florist to donate your flowers afterwards. Perenity is an all volunteer organization that will pick up your flowers after the wedding and use them to make arrangement that are delivered next day to patients in hospice care. Harriet Karo of the local Perenity group told me that this trend has grown in Nashville to the point where they quite frequently receive enough donations to not only cover Alive Hospice but the Ronald McDonald House as well. Way to go Nashville brides! Not only that, but the florists love it too. Vicki Sanders owner of Branching Out said “not only are we doing something worth while but we don’t have to haul the leftover flowers back to the shop afterward.”

This is just the beginning of ways you can do your part as you celebrate your marriage. Tomorrow I'll take a look at fashion and jewelery. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Just Say No To Bad Accessories

I rarely post on the weekend or post about non-wedding things, but...

when I saw these purses at a street festival yesterday I just could not restrain myself.

Please, please, no matter how much of a sports fan you are, don't do it.
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Friday, October 12, 2007

Market Wrap-up From Head to Toe

These are the last of my pictures from the National Bridal Market Chicago. The mosaic above showcases the crowing glory of wedding regalia for either the bride or her guests.

The lovely lady in the center image is Jolene Picone, designer for Veil Trends out of Denver. As is my warped habit, I asked Jolene to model her favorite piece out of her collection. Although I am not sure it shows up well in the image, the veil she is wearing is called Neapolitan, the three layers are pink, white and light brown; how very fun.

Also showcased are Mandy Greenan designer for Tiger Lilly in the white veiled fascinator and Brenda Waites Bolling in the stunning pink hat. Oh how I wish hats were in fashion for wedding guests in the states. The beautiful jeweled combs are courtesy of Erica Koesler. The feather fascinators on the black velvet pillows are from Sara Gabriel and the tree display of feather fascinator in the third position are from Veil trends.

There were lots of gorgeous shoes to be seen but these two are the ones worth talking about. From Saugus Shoes the platforms on these are made out of memory foam.

Nothing can compare to a shoe this sexy AND comfy. WooHoo. These are shown in white silk but also come in black or can be dyed to match your look.

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Blog Notes

Next Monday is Blog Action Day. I have so much information on Green Weddings that I am going to post it in serial format over the course of the week.

Then on Saturday your Wedding Diva is off to Wedding Channel Couture Show in NY. I will post more on that as the schedule fills up. I know so far that Reem Acra, Amy Michealson and Judd Waddell are already on tap. This market is with a completely different entourage than in seasons past. What fun

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Virtual Wedding Planner Tool

By and large I am not a fan of big box stores; I much prefer the hands on customer service at a local salon. Having said that, one of them has done something right.

David’s Bridal has launched a virtual wedding planning tool that I can see as the cause of countless hours spent online. Dress Your Wedding allows you to play around with all the many different aspects of the look of your wedding. You can customize the coloring and physical features of the bride and groom and all the members of the wedding party. Add a bridesmaid, delete a groomsman, shrink one to a ring bearer. Mad at the groom, insert his best friend, is after all a virtual world. What fun.

That is just the beginning of the fun. As you would expect you can play dress up to your hearts content (as long as you want something from David’s). Like the style of the dress but not the color? Change it.

Keep going and you can just move your wedding if you don’t like the location. They offer a variety of different ‘location’ backgrounds from which to choose. Of course you can also manipulate a variety of little things like flower color and such.

I wouldn’t say that this is the planning tool to end all others I’m just saying it is a heck of a lot of fun and even if you aren't planning on shopping at David's you can still play with their toys. Hehe

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Dresses That Heal

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and even while you are shopping for your bridal finery you can help. Just look for the Compassion Collection hang tag.

Bridal designers are banding together to help support Dresses That Heal, Inc by doing what comes naturally, creating beautiful things. Dresses That Heal was started as a charity that auctioned off donated gowns to aid the Breast Cancer Recovery Fund. Rachael Rivard, founder of Dresses That Heal, Inc has taken it a step further and asked all her friends in the bridal industry to design a piece for their collection to be included in the Compassion Collection. The designers will then donate a portion of the proceed to Dresses That Heal, Inc
Breast Cancer Recovery Fund is all about helping those with breast cancer to become breast cancer survivors. This is a charity dedicated to recovery through the Infinite Boundaries program which hosts retreats created by survivors for survivors. Healing the mind and the spirit as the body heals.

Now you don’t have to wait for an auction date. Just look for the tag. To see a list of designers participating check out the DTH website.


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Friday, October 05, 2007

Oh The Bling!

Now you didn’t think I would be able to cover Bridal Market without drooling over a bit of bling, now did you?

As more designers start to show gowns in their collections that are softer with less overall embellishment the jewelry will start to take on more importance. Consequently there was bling in abundance.

The crystal necklace in the center tile is from my good friend Susan Allen. The girls from Weddingish tell me that the way-too-adorable onsie will soon be available in a full range of larger sizes. It’s just so me! I can’t wait.

Here are the rest from left to right:

Tsarina Bridal, Weddingish, Eugenia Couture, Sara Gabriel Veiling & Headpieces, Aalexis Bridals, Susan G Allen, Aalexis Bridals, Susan G. Allen, Aalexis Bridals, Tigerlilly, Tigerlilly, Susan G Allen

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Gowns

These beautiful creations are from Eugenia.

These are four of my favorite gowns from Sophia Tolli’s newest collection.

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National Bridal Market Chicago

National Bridal Market Chicago

I’m just back from a whirlwind two days in Chicago for Bridal Market. Everyone was showcasing their new ranges for Spring 2008.

It was wonderful to catch up with so many friends. Among them was Heather Levine, fashion editor for the Knot, Rani Totman, the force behind the fabulous St. Puchi and Mandy from Tiger Lilly Tiaras.

I am sad to say that for the most part there was nothing new. I kept hearing the comment that everything looked alike. Strapless, moderate beading, structured bodices with semi full skirts, ruching every where, fewer pick ups and lots of satin. In short the same thing, different day.

What I did see as new and fresh in some of the collections is a move toward a certain softness. Lovely soft laces and drapey silk chiffons. Soft net overlayed on beaded satin or taffeta. Two real standouts were Eugenia’s Nitsa line and Enzoani and Enzoani’s Blue.

I also got a really good look at the Sophia Tolli collection and I will have some nice shots of those in a day or two.


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