Above Photo by Leah Haydock Photography
Veils, custom couture, and the "aha!" moment
by Laura Pope
Q: HOW FAR IN ADVANCE SHOULD I SHOP FOR MY WEDDING GOWN?
A: Be sure to leave plenty of time to choose your wedding gown. It should be among the first things you do. We like to have gowns on order nine months in advance of the wedding date. This allows for plenty of time for alterations, if needed, or to solve any problems with the design manufacturer.
Our shop does custom bustles on all of our gowns, so we need time for that. We love it when brides-to-be come in and tell us that their wedding is in a year and a half! This means less additional stress for the bride.
HELEN DIONNE, A Day to Remember Bridal Boutique, Concord, NH 603.228.8031
Q: HOW DOES THE BRIDAL CONSULTANT HELP ME CHOOSE MY WEDDING DRESS?
A: The bridal consultant or expert has years of experience in finding that dream dress for you and is familiar with the hundreds of dresses in the store, so she will be of great assistance.
First, she’ll ask you your budget and what you’re looking for. Then—and this is especially significant—she should always ask about the venue. I make it a point to always ask because the dress should match the wedding site. You don’t want to wear a cathedral train in a small hall or wear heavy taffeta to your beach wedding. The venue is key.
The first dresses pulled will be the ones you’ve dreamed about wearing. If those looks aren’t flattering, we’ll pull dresses in different styles for you to try on, but we always try to keep some of the elements you’ve always had in mind for your wedding dress.
TAMMY FOLGER,William & Roberts Bridal Salon, Newington, NH 603.436.8080
Q: HOW DID COLOR SEEP INTO BRIDAL GOWNS?
A: The stringent rules of wedding fashion dictating a white gown for the bride have been liberated. A white dress is not imperative anymore. At first we saw the introduction of off whites and ivories and now there are new hues in the mix including champagne, which has a soft pink tone, and a white color with a blue tint.
Color got tested earlier on when brides began wearing shoes and carrying flowers in bright hues. Basically, that idea to include color has expanded to the gown.
I’ve noticed many brides choose a conservative, all-white look for their ceremony but then embellish their wedding attire with color for the reception. They change their hairpiece and shoes, add gloves and/or a colorful sash to their gown.
JAY BISHOP, 125 Bridal & Tuxedo, Plaistow, NH 603.382.4511
Q: WHAT COLORS WORK BEST IN WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY?
A: Navy blue is the hardest to photograph, it almost always renders as black. I know brides love this color for their bridesmaids, so I suggest they add a bright complimentary color, such as a hot pink sash. Then the navy works better.
I love to see really bright, fun bridesmaid dresses and accessories. I’ve heard that brides are afraid if all the bridesmaids are in bright, pretty colors it distracts from her, but I think the opposite is true – it makes the bride more visible. A white bouquet will disappear against a white dress. Use some pops of color in the florals, too.
Finally, use a veil or fun hair piece. It’s the most fun and “bridey” thing you can do. If you hire a great photographer, they’ll use all your “props” to create amazing photos that you’ll treasure forever. Your grandkids will think you were super stylish and chic, which, of course, you are.
GENEVE HOFFMAN, Geneve Hoffman Photography, York, ME 207.475.3000
Q: WHAT ARE SOME OF THE POSSIBILITIES IN WINTER WEDDING ATTIRE?
A: Winter brides generally go for more formality in their attire. Wraps of some sort – a faux fur wrap, pashmina or a caplet – are selected for warmth and for the look.
Winter brides gravitate toward metallics – gold and silver, and black as part of their color scheme. These colors add to that winter formality. There are more dresses in satins this time of year, and the ivory wedding dress still reigns.
You can get away with more embellishments in winter wedding wear. You may choose bigger, more glamorous accessories such as bigger earrings, a glittering tiara or a sparkling cuff in rhinestones.
Kate Middleton’s dress brought back longer sleeves, so we’re seeing many three-quarter sleeve dresses, though by far, the strapless gown is still the most requested. Winter dresses tend to have more lace, as an overlay on a strapless dress or as the sleeve on a cap sleeve dress.
Shoes add shimmer to a glistening winter look, so those blazing with rhinestones or sequins are quite popular.
JEANINE HINES, Pure Bliss, Newburyport, MA 978.462.0700
Q: WHAT IF, AFTER SHOPPING FOR A GOWN FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, I NEVER HAVE THAT "AHA" MOMENT?
A: When you see yourself in the perfect wedding dress, you should have an emotional response, a feeling that it’s “the one.” This very special gown should meet your expectations and make you feel distinct, exceptional and beautiful.
If you haven’t had that “aha” moment, then you really haven’t found your dress. I advise shopping until you’ve found the dress of your dreams. The “aha” moment is essential; it ends your search and ensures that when you walk down the aisle, part of your beaming smile will come from the fact that you look stunning.
ELIZABETH DIROM, Madeleine’s Daughter, Portsmouth, NH 603.431.5454
Q: WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER CUSTOM ATTIRE?
A: Brides usually come to me after exhausting all other sources. The bride may admire the neckline in one dress, the material in another; she definitely wants expert fitting and some want a custom alteration of a dress they already have.
The dream dress is about translating what you’re about and your nature. If you’re having a beach wedding I might make something ethereal, romantic and airy.
We talk about the definition of your style – empire or vintage, for instance – discuss fabrics (silk is wonderful because it’s organic), budget and the timeframe for making the dress, usually several months to a year in advance.
MARIA ANTONIETA, Maria Antonieta Couture, Portland, ME 207.871.8200