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How to have a Winter Wedding (Part 2)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop, Ridgewood, NJ.

Read Part 1 first

Whether it be a crimson red nutcracker or a deep, blue wintery night sky…. It’s all about what winter means to YOU

Choose an indoor venue that gives off that winter vibe with a natural landscape: lakefront venues with a beautiful view, a romantic inn with a cozy fireplace, venues in the mountains like a ski lodge, historic mansion, or a banquet hall with big windows.

TIP! : Windows showcasing a snowy landscape is an effortless visual that will complement your photos making them pop against the white, bold backdrop of the glistening snow, reflecting an added natural glitter to your space.  Bold colors look even better when surrounded by a white backdrop…so keep this in mind when choosing color schemes throughout the venue, bridesmaid dresses, and maybe even adding a bold colored, sassy sash to really make your white wedding gown pop with a dash of color.

Color the chill

Infuse the atmosphere with warmth by incorporating your favorite tones to be complimented by the proper lighting.  Christmas reds & greens, reds & gold for a more elegant look, gold and apple greens for a bright, crisp color theme, traditional bright white with silver accents, frosted light blue hues and whites, shades of bluish greens accented by white or silver, and even metallic mixes of gold and silver…all of which can be color options for winter.

 

TIP! : Want to add some extra sparkle…and warmth?  Using a subtle touch of blue light will add shimmer to the room.  Glassware and linens will reflect the light in a way that will add a simple sparkle, rather than an overwhelming accent of color.

 

Daylight Savings, Strategic Lighting: Keep in mind that the winter season has shorter days, as it gets darker in these months, so you will want to plan your lighting practically.  Arrange for your ceremony to conclude by an earlier time in the afternoon so that the day still offers you enough light to explore the option of capturing photos outdoors if you wish.

 

Considering that it gets darker earlier, the use of candles and lights at the reception can really amp up the intimacy & warmth into creating a comfortable & cozy atmosphere for you & all your guests.

 

Dancing wicks & wax & flames: Warm up the winter setting by including accents of the element of fire…as in candles…and even a fierce fireplace if your venue offers you the option.  For a glam candlelight look, go for white or silver candles.  Feeling more rustic?  Use candles with birch holders.  Feeling magical? Suspend candles above the tables using invisible wires to make them appear to be dreamily floating in mid-air.

Read Part 3 and Part 4 next

How to shop for a wedding dress (Part 2)

Read Part 1 first

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop, Ridgewood, NJ

*Bring some friends along with you… but a small group of 2-3 people to avoid an overwhelming number of differing opinions.  Plus, some bridal stores may not even have the room capacity to fit your whole posse…so keep it small to keep it comfortable for everybody.  Your bridesmaids would be best for some moral support.  If not, just bring your favorite female family member…mom, grandma, godmother, aunt, etc.  It’s important to pick a person, or people, whose advice you appreciate and style you admire most.  You want somebody who truly supports, knows, and loves you, so their honest opinion of what you look best in is what you will trust most.

TIP! : Make first time ventures to the bridal stores fun & free from expectations by bring a really great girlfriend with you.  If you take the pressure off, you can enjoy it as an adventure as you begin to see what is out there.  The “real” visits should be saved with your mom or whoever you plan to involve in the final decision making process.  Do the groundwork, narrow down your preferences, and then proceed with a more defined idea of what you’re looking for…with giving yourself plenty of time to explore.

*Bring your flexibility along…your highest form of open-mindedness!  Listen to your loved ones’ advice and be open to the possibilities that the store offers you.  Most people who work in bridal shops are experts on their stock and what styles suit which body types, so stay open to what they have to offer you!

 

You may a have a certain style in mind…like a sultry fish tail gown, but maybe that silk & simple princess cut dress that the sales assistant suggests looks ten times better on you.  Maybe you’re trying to find a dress to “conceal” certain parts of your body, but you find a gown that celebrates your curves instead of downplaying them.  The best looking gown will be one that accentuates your best assets.

Continue with Part 3 and Part 4 

 

How to shop for a wedding dress (Part 3)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop, Bergen County NJ

Read Part 1 and Part 2 first

You should be clear from the start about what you know for sure you do not want.  But the whole point of the matter is to not be afraid to try on styles you might not have previously considered to be one of your options.

You may just surprise yourself about what you like and what your taste is…so if something catches your eye, or somebody surrounding you strongly suggests something, just try it on.  It can’t hurt…and it can help a whole lot!  And some of the most amazing dresses can even look awful on the hanger, but once you try it on your actual body…it can be a whole new story.

Make sure you really get what you want, but you have to try on different styles to get to this point so that by the time you try on “The One,” you will truly know for sure.

 

*Don’t deny your dignity….ever If you ever feel uncomfortable or like your feelings are being ignored, then you owe it to yourself to say no and leave the appointment.  Don’t ever let others’ stressful statements or energy affect you and escalate to an intensely stressful level.  To avoid stress, listen to the advice of the shop assistant and use their expertise and knowledge to the extent you wish to use it, and never take it further than what you feel comfortable with.

Be clear and honest about who you are, and what you want and what you don’t want.

 

*Look back and keep track.let your camera (or camera phone) tag along into the dressing room with you.  Having pictures of different dresses can help you remember all of what you tried on….and you could post some of your faves on your vision bridal board I referred to in the previous article.  It will enable you to keep record on your bridal soul search journey towards your perfect gown.

(Do make sure with the shop that you are allowed to do this beforehand, as some stores may simply refuse to let you and restrict this in their policy for further reasons).

 

*Another techie tip: Utilize technology by incorporating video calling apps on your phone or iPad, such as FaceTime or Skype, into your dress shopping experience…especially to send and show to family members or friends who are not present at the time so you can receive instant feedback from them.

Read Part 4 next

 

How to shop for a wedding dress (Part 4)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop NJ

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 first

 

 

*Alternate options for you non-shoppers: If you really dread the idea of dress shopping from store to store, you can forgo it all together and either just work with a solo dressmaker or shop online.

 

–       Matchmaker”: Working one-on-one with a dressmaker can be a very intimate, fulfilling experience if you two connect very well and her creations magically match your wishes.

 

        Virtual dress realms:  If you do order online, make sure you do so in plenty of time in case it doesn’t look, or fit, as you expected it would when it arrives.  Also, be aware that if you are ordering from overseas you’ll often have to pay custom charges.

*Communication is keyask questions and keep the flow of honest feelings into conversations going! To avoid any misunderstandings through lack of communication between you and the bridal shop you will be a client to, educate yourself beforehand as to what you’re allowed to do/bring, and be honest and just be yourself once you go to fittings to be as stress-free as possible.

I hope some of you brides-to-be find these tips valuable, and I hope it triggers even more thoughts to be conjured in your own mind as to what you can do as an addition to stress-free and smart, strategic planning.

 

CROWN YOUR GOWN

Remember to approach dress shopping as an absolute experience…not a result/destination.  By doing this, (ironically but beneficially), you will achieve the result you most desire, escaping the daunting and mundane experience of trying on gowns.

 

Most importantly, listen to your own head and heart…because nobody knows you better than you know yourself.  Wear your wisdom as the crown on top of your head…(and later, a veil).  You know the man you’re marrying is “The One,” and that same intuition and wisdom will guide you for when choosing the right dress.

This is how you will come out alive…and your real “crown” will be your most perfect gown.

How to shop for a wedding dress (Part 1)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal Shop NJ

Aleanas Bridal NJ

By Jaclyn Ianetti

This is more so about being prepared for your bridal fittings and what to bring along with you…the tangible and the intangible…so your overall experience on the hunt for a dress is less stressful.

 

What to bring to bridal fittings:

*First of, you should wear something comfortable that you can easily slip in to and out of, so avoid outfits with obstinate details, buttons, or zips.   A stretchy maxi dress and ballet flats is an appropriate go-to outfit to wear to fittings.  No hoodies/sweatshirts…you’ll be hot pulling those on and off.  A light jacket with an easy zipper to swing off you is more like it.

*Wearing modest underwear is a must…seam free with a strapless bra.   Some of the dresses will look best with a strapless or no bra.  Think about what type of underwear you will be wearing under your dress the day of your wedding…maybe bringing a nude color or something similarly simple to really get the feel of the entire look as you explore your options.

 

*Your very own bridal glass slipper….SHOES Of course, it doesn’t have to be a “glass” slipper, but you’re going to want a new, special pair for the very special occasion.  Bridal shops will have shoes you can try on with the dresses just to get the feel for it, but if you don’t want to share shoes with the other brides roaming the aisles in the stores then bring your own pair along with you…to set the tone for your unique stroll down your very own aisle once the big day arrives.

– Color doesn’t necessarily matter for fittings, as most bridal stores will provide you with a basic white satin shoe if you do need to get an idea of how your dress will look with an appropriate heel.  You can always go without a heel, of course…it’s completely up to you and what your style is.  Once you decide on your dress, then you can go about thinking what shoe…style, color, and height…will best fit.

Continue with Part 2,  Part 3, and Part 4

How to choose your wedding menu (Part 1)

By Jaclyn Ianetti

How do you choose the right meal menu for your guests to enjoy at your wedding?  Some of your guests may not be picky at all, while others may be vegetarians; your cousin is a vegan, your friend a diabetic, and so on.  It would be completely overwhelming trying to please everybody 100%, but you can get creative and choose a sensible menu made for all to avoid any complaints amongst guests.

 

This table guide from HubPages can prove to be very helpful, as it’s an excellent starting point for brainstorming possible considerations:

 

“Considerations for Planning a Wedding Reception”

  1. Buffet or sit-down dinner
  2. Finger foods or hearty fare
  3. Catered or cooked by relatives or friends
  4. Indoors or outdoors
  5. Any appropriate themes for cuisine, i.e. Polynesian, Southern BBQ, Coastal seafood, etc.
  6. Dietary restrictions (OR ANY FOOD ALLERGIES OF GUESTS)
  7. Mobility of your guests (elderly people may have a harder time at a buffet)
  8. Cultural traditions
  9. Cost
  10. Number of guests
  11. Time of day
  12. Decor (flowers, candles, ice sculptures, or whatever you fancy)
  13. Logistics of serving and/or buffet lines
  14. Beverage options
  15. Wedding cake and/or other dessert

(Found on: http://hubpages.com/hub/Wedding-Food)

 

A Memorable Mix-up

Between you and your beloved groom, you’ll want to incorporate your favorite dishes that hold a special significance, yet ones that also cater to the diverse appetites of your treasured guests.

Select comfort foods from your own “streams of consciousness” that take you on a stroll down memory lane: tastes that remind you of your most cherished, past dining experiences together.  Think of your favorite vacation spot restaurant, your favorite all-time restaurant in general, or a home-cooked meal that you two make together or one that symbolizes your grandmother’s traditional touches, etc.  Use these as a sentimental nod to some of your top-of-the-list foods.

Personal touches such as keeping these things in mind may go unnoticed by your guests, but at least you two will know where the inspiration came from…and their taste buds alone will celebrate along with you, since this is an opportunity to share something intimate with all of your guests.  Combine your culinary heritage, such as having an Indian-Irish buffet, or a full blown Italian wedding.

Read Part 2,  Part 3, and Part 4

Photo credits to Steve2.0 on Flickr.

How to maintain your manners: Proper wedding etiquette (Part 2)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal Shop, Bergen County NJ

Read Part 1 first

 

* If you choose to bring a guest along, make sure it is an appropriate choice.  Leave the wallflower and sulky date at home who will hinder your spirit as you shine on the dance floor…or the guy with an unpredictable behavioral pattern who tends to have a flared temper after too many shots of whiskey.  Leave him at home.  Better yet, what are you doing even being involved with these types of people to begin with?!?  Go alone and be free of the burden of entertaining a date all night.  You will have a much better time and be able to engage the people you truly care about as well as having a better opportunity for catching up with the ones you have been looking forward to seeing.

And if you weren’t invited with a guest, do NOT show up with one nor ask the bride or groom to make an exception just for you to bring somebody along. This puts them in an awkward position.  Once again, their day, not yours!

No bringing uninvited guests” rule can imply children.  Respect an adult-only wedding if that’s what the married couple wishes.  And if children are invited, please take responsibility that they remain on their best behavior.  Example: crying during vows.  Solution: Remove yourself and bring them away from the scene…FAR AWAY…!!!

* Send a gift when you are unable to attend the wedding, (and be sure to RSVP by the correct date so the bride and groom are aware!).  Proper etiquette dictates that if you were invited, you owe the couple a gift, despite your actual presence at the wedding or not.

 

Let the registry be your first shopping source to purchase a gift from.  If not, make sure your gift is thoughtful and personable specifically for the couple.

* Don’t just show up for the reception and skip out on the ceremony.  The ceremony is the most significant part of all.   It’s in poor taste to be seen downing drinks at the open bar without first making all efforts to attend the main event.

 

* Don’t be late!  Allow yourself plenty of time to arrive at the ceremony on time.

 

Traffic jam…when you’re already late?  Then watch from afar.  Stand in the back or slip quietly in a back row if the ceremony has already begun by the time you arrive.

 

Continue with Part 3

Photo credit to Steve 2.0 on Flickr

How to maintain your manners: Proper wedding etiquette (Part 1)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal Shop, Bergen County NJ

By Jaclyn Ianetti

 

Mi scusi…your manners Excuse yourself from making excuses to any bad manners at a wedding party.  There are no excuses on a day like this.  Everybody should be on their best behavior and adapt the proper social smarts at any formal gathering pertaining to a wedding: Engagement parties, Rehearsal dinners, and cocktail and dinner hours at the actual wedding day and reception.

 

You don’t need to have a royal bloodline or take etiquette classes to embody common courtesy.

But for those of you who can be quite facetious at times, and/or whose manners slip, this ones for you!

 

* Let’s start off with addressing our most beloved device we have become so attached to…our cell phones.   Ditch your addiction to technology…at least just for this very evening.  Nothing can be more rude than constantly checking your inbox or replying to your text messages during wedding vow’s.  Just turn them off!!!  Somebody trying to reach you will get sent right to your voicemail, instead of the embarrassment you will face when your obnoxious techno ringtone goes off blaring through the airwaves in the room during the maid of honor or best man’s speech.

 

Nowadays, people love updating their status to give some kind of validation as to what they are doing in the moment (an insecure habit of delineating a fun outer life, rather than living a rich inner one, if you ask me).  You are a guest, and you should BE at the wedding…not reporting on it.  Be present, and really focus on true communication with the other guests to get the most out of the evening.

*Sit at your assigned table.  This is a well-thought out plan made by the bride and groom, who best understand the dynamics of the various relationships their guests have to one another.  They designed their very own “compatibility chart” as the seating chart. Respect them, and don’t mess with the seating arrangements.  If you’ve never made the acquaintance of some of the people at your table, start off the evening by making introductions.  Personally speaking, I went to a wedding where I knew nobody at my table (besides an old flame, go figure), and I wound up meeting wonderful people and having a ball with them.

Have good manners at your dinner table: saying please and thank you, no interrupting, no taking over the conversations, never talking with your mouth full, etc.

Read Part 2 and Part 3

Picture credit to Normadic Lass on Flickr

10 Iconic Brides and Bridal Gowns (Part 2)

Read Part 1 first

Marilyn Monroe

  

They seemed, to some, like a match made in heaven: the big-screen siren and the baseball star.  While Monroe’s second marriage to Joe DiMaggio didn’t even last a year, the fur-collared brown wool suit she wore to their 1954 ceremony at San Francisco’s City Hall was utterly timeless.

Grace Kelly

 

The most iconic wedding dress of all time came with a real life fairy tale.  This Hollywood actress often played royal parts in movies, such as her onscreen princess debut in The Swan.  A trip to France’s Cannes Film Festival led her to meet Prince Rainier III of Monaco and a year later they were married in a dazzling ceremony as she wore a Helen Rose (award winning designer) elaborate, epitome of elegance with exquisite detailing dress: bell-shaped, taffeta skirt with an embroidered rose point lace bodice with a high neckline, pearl-studded long sleeves, and a graceful train.  This royal gown is of pure Hollywood fantasy.

Mia Farrow

 

Mia’s mod dress…On July 19, 1966, 21 year old actress Mia Farrow married 50 year old Frank Sinatra in a mod mini dress at The Sands hotel in Las Vegas.

Natalie Wood

When she wed Robert Wagner in 1957, Natalie Wood looked stunning and of-the-moment in a face-framing lace hood, white cocktail dress and ballet flats.  Sophistication at its’ finest.

 

 Princess Diana

 

Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, Diana’s wedding dress was one of the most fairy tale wedding dresses to be made in history.  Her puff sleeved, ruffled, silk taffeta gown was decorated with lace and hand embroidered with hundreds of sequins and around 10,000 tiny pearls.

The most memorable and mesmerizing part of the dress was the 25ft train that covered the aisle of St Paul’s Cathedral where she and Prince Charles got married.

 Kate Middleton

Kate managed to wow everyone in this stunning gown designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen as over 2 billion people watched her and Prince William’s Royal Wedding on April 29, 2011.  For her walk down the aisle, the new Duchess of Cambridge wore a French Chantilly lace dress with a plunging, yet modest, neckline paired with matching McQueen shoes.  The gown’s reminiscence to Grace Kelly in its’ lace bodice nipped at the waist and full skirt dazzled the world with a nostalgic sparkle and re-emergence of classic looks.

10 Iconic Brides and Bridal Gowns (Part 1)

This article brought to you by Aleana’s Bridal shop in Ridgewood NJ.

By Jaclyn Ianetti

The times may have changed, but classic dress trends do remain to exist.  The fashion world has seen some

incredible gowns on the runway in the past few decades and think they are as timeless as they get.

Lets take a look at some of the most iconic and memorable wedding dresses ever worn by shining the spotlight on some stars in their break-through bridal roles who are oh-so deserving of their classic, timeless, gush-worthy dresses.

 

Audrey Hepburn

 

She played a water sprite in a 1954 Broadway production of Ondine, then chose a decidedly elfin tea-length, chiffon-sleeved Balmain for her wedding to co-star Mel Ferrer later that year.  A wreath of fresh flowers is what really gave her wedding look an ethereal and magical effect.

Jackie O

(Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis )

 

The fashion icon and future first lady wore a voluminous ivory silk taffeta gown by the designer Ann Lowe when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953.  A portrait neckline and a wide, embellished skirt emphasized Jackie’s small waist…and an heirloom lace veil, which originally belonged to her grandmother, completed the super-romantic ensemble.

Caroline Kennedy 

It should come as no surprise that Caroline Kennedy’s 1986 wedding to Edwin Schlossberg was a stylish affair…her planner was none other than her mother, Jackie Kennedy Onassis.  In a white silk organza gown with a 25-foot train, the daughter of former President John F. Kennedy tied the knot near Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

 

Elizabeth Taylor

In 1950, Liz Taylor took her first trip (of seven! …Lucky number seven?) down the aisle, marrying hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton in Hollywood (Paris and Nicky‘s great uncle).  Her 1950’s silk silhouette, basque-waisted gown cost a then-staggering $1,500 (almost $14,000 in today’s dollars) to make and was a gift from her studio, MGM.

Continue with Part 2

Photo Credits to Getty Images (Bachrach, Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas, Steve Liss//Time Life Pictures, Keystone)