What an amazing time we had at the Engage!13 conference last week at the gorgeous Biltmore in Asheville, North Carolina. We came back so inspired and thought it would be the perfect venue to feature as our first wedding location of June! Built in 1895 as the residence of George and Edith Vanderbilt, the Biltmore house is still the largest home in America. Not only does the castle-like house cover four acres and feature 250 rooms, the surrounding area has a village filled with restaurants and shops, a winery, and an outdoor adventure center, making it a destination your guests can enjoy for days.
Photo credit: The Biltmore Company
Photo credit: Woodward & Ricky
Photo credit: Parker J Photograpy
For a dress fit for this historic and elegant venue, we’ve chosen a shimmering gown with a tulle overlay from Johanna Johnson.
We love this dress for a Biltmore bride because it’s sleek and sophisticated, with a feel of old-world glamour just like the venue. To highlight the subtle metallic sheen of the dress, we’ve paired it with accessories in tones of gold and ivory. The gold cuff bracelet and coordinating earrings are perfect for the statement bride, and a beaded clutch completes the look.
As I was watching this Vera Wang wedding dress walk down the runway, I fell in love with the chic simplicity of it. It proves the saying that sometimes less is more. They describe it as a “silk crepe soft mermaid with a sheer back”. And while I think this dress can lend its self to many different settings, I can really see it as-is in a chic downtown loft. It will drastically change with how it is accessorized, but I happen to LOVE the kid-skin gloves. So chic.
When deciding on where the hem of a dress should fall, most people do it by sight and like it just above skimming the floor. But there is actually a lot of room for interpretation. Sometimes, the client wants it a bit shorter if she knows she’s prone to tripping, or sometimes they want it as long as possible.
Of course it is important to get it where it looks best, but something most people don’t consider is whether or not the dress will be worn on carpet. This has a big impact on where the dress should fall because when you walk (even on low pile) carpeting you sink just a bit into it. If the hem of your dress is skimming a hard floor in the fitting, it will most certainly get caught on the pile when you walk.
My advice: make it just a quarter of an inch higher so that you won’t be dealing with friction when walking. There is nothing worse than having to lift up your hem all night.
This week we are featuring another one of our friends from the Engage12 conference, and heading to Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel on the Magnificent Mile. When I think of a Chicago wedding, I think of a traditional black-tie affair that is the epitome of understated elegance. In Chicago, there are few better places to do that than The Peninsula’s Grand Ballroom with floor to ceiling windows and breathtaking views. The Peninsula prides it’s self on incredible service and providing a relaxing environment for its guests. To us, it sounds like a wonderful place to check in for the weekend and get away from it all!
We love Monique Lhuillier’s “Candice” gown for it’s long sleeves and demure lacy sexiness. Sometimes the most alluring thing can be to show nothing except the shape of a woman. This dress does just that with it’s slim column silhouette and long sleeves. The detachable sheer skirt gives the bride a more traditional and voluminous look for going down the aisle and then a sophisticated dress for the reception. We would suggest changing up your hair and accessories to really make the two looks different and distinct.
This week we are focused on the The Hamptons as inspiration for our wedding attire. The Hamptons are the epitome of chic, country, and New York sophistication. When we think of The Hamptons, we think beautiful beaches, lush lawns, and gorgeous estates that are the perfect balance of country and chic. Hosting your reception in a tent gives you a blank canvas and lets you decide on everything from carpet to chandeliers! Here are some snapshots of The Hamptons and reception tents for inspiration. We think the perfect dress for a tented backyard wedding is this beautiful Carolina Herrera gown. It is classic, chic, and has a touch of sparkle making it the perfect compliment.
This week are thrilled to feature our friends at The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado. While you may typically think of Aspen as a perfect winter wedding destination, it is absolutely stunning in the warmer weather! The property its self is a haven of mountain luxury, and arguably there is no better place to get married than at the top of Aspen Mountain. Your guests will take a gondola ride from the hotel three miles up to the Aspen Mountain Club where the ceremony takes place outside over looking the Rockies. Truly breathtaking!
Clearly, our bride this week loves things that are the utmost in luxury. But she also loves the natural, peaceful setting that the Rocky mountains provide. Playing off that combination, we chose this Valentino Haute Couture dress. Between the lightness of the organza and the floral motif with slight beaded accents, to us it is the perfect dress for a wedding at The Little Nell.
Q: What do I do if I arrive at my destination wedding and my dress is wrinkled?
This question is a great follow up to last week’s Ask Julie post about the shipping vs. carrying your dress to your destination wedding. So, if you have taken the precautions we discussed last week (bringing your dress on the plane with you and hanging it up, etc.), here is what you can do if you still get some wrinkles.
When you arrive at your destination take your dress out of the garment bag, lift the plastic layer up to the bodice (which you keep covered) and hang it up as high as possible. This will hopefully release any wrinkles that may have occurred in transit, and works particularly well in humid climates.
I can’t stress enough that you shouldn’t do anything to your dress unless youabsolutely have to.
On the occasions that it is necessary, and you don’t have a dresser with you, call the salon for detailed instructions on how to treat it. Fabrics are different, and therefore handling them is different. You need to know what’s right for yours.
They will tell you to either steam or iron the dress. If it’s steam, borrow a steamer from the hotel, and put a sweat sock around the nozzle to catch the drips and sputters of water that come out. If it’s ironing, then make sure you use a cool, dry iron filled with water but with the steam turned off, and a protective layer (like a pillow case) between the dress and the iron.
With either method, always go slowly and test it in a place that you can’t see too much.
I hope that you have no need for these tips at your wedding, but if you do, Good Luck!
While we in the northeast are still battling the cold, it is nice to dream of warm weather and golden sand. This week we highlight the amazing property of Jumby Bay. Jumby Bay is a 300-acre private enclave north of Antigua in the West Indies. It is the perfect place for relaxation, privacy and serenity, and an ideal location for a bride who only wants those closest to her in attendance.
We imagine this bride to be wearing a stunning Giambattista Valli twisted crepe gown. The high neckline with keyhole cut out is stunning and simple for a beach-side wedding. Accessorizing in gold tones and simple Manolo Blahnik Chaos sandals is a great way to accentuate the crepe gown. Which spectacular Irene Neuwirth piece is your favorite?
I’m getting married in Mexico and I am trying to decide if I should bring my dress with me or have it shipped. If I bring it on the plane, how do you suggest I handle it?
This is a great question and applies every bride getting married in a foreign country.
For domestic weddings I would say that shipping your dress is a perfectly safe thing to do. The salons do an amazing job of packing them, and they send them overnight on an arranged date so there is someone there to sign for it.
But, when shipping to a different country it gets a bit more complicated because of customs. I once did a photo shoot for a magazine in the Caribbean where a box of dresses arrived three days late because they were held up in customs. I would hate to see this happen to a bride on her wedding day.
So, when going abroad, I suggest bringing it on the plane with you. Now, the ideal situation is that your dress has it’s own seat, but this is not always a realistic option. If you can’t do that, the stewardesses are usually pretty nice about putting it in the coat closet in First Class so it can hang. As a last resort, lay it flat in an empty overhead compartment.
When you arrive, make sure you hang the dress so that it is not touching the floor if possible, and take the train out of the garment bag.
We couldn’t resist starting off the week talking about fashion’s biggest night of the year: The Oscars!!! But instead of just reviewing the dresses (which you can go to any large fashion blog/magazine/TV for), we thought it would be great to talk about how to actually apply these amazing looks to your wedding. Buried amongst all of the glamour and glitz, there is a lot to be learned from the Oscars!!!
1) Jennifer Lawrence: I will make no secret of the fact that I LOVED Jennifer Lawrence’s Dior Haute Couture dress. I have loved it since the minute it went down the runway in Paris. To me, it is perfection in all it’s frothy pink glory! But, I think what is important for brides to see is the shape of the dress. This a-line, princess cut (no waist seam) gown is a silhouette that looks great on the body, and flatters many different figures. In fact, I have had several clients lately looking for this shape wedding dress, and it’s practically non-existant in today’s bridal collations. I hope it makes a come back!!!
2. Charlize Theron: If I was a female Oscar guest last night and knew Charlize was attending – I probably would have passed on the festivities. It is another Dior Haute Couture gown that is the epitome of chic and sophistication on her. But I’m willing to wager a bet that the same dress on another person would not be as stunning. Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but what I kept starting at was how it was practically moulded to her body. The lesson to be learned is that the fit of a dress is the most important thing. The result was taking a dress that may look plain on some, to an ultra-chic oscar moment!
3. Octavia Spencer: Sadly, we were not all born with bodies like Charlize. In fact, most of us weren’t! And I thought Octavia Spencer looked amazing in a custom-designed Tadashi Shoji dress. There are so many things right about this dress for her body type, but my favorite is the asymmetrical tulle over her arms. It’s a great way to get some coverage and still look chic. Also, the shape of this dress: a long bodice and full (but not too full) skirt look fantastic on her. It draws the eye to her smallest part: her waist. Brava!
4. Zoe Saldana: I loved Alexis Mabille dress, with the ombre tiers at the bottom. This is a fresh look, that I think would be amazing on a wedding dress in lighter tones. I also loved her subtle use of lace and beaded flowers on the bodice. The only thing I will say is that I’m not a huge fan of this belt. I actually love a good belt, and hope to see them incorporated more into wedding dresses (instead of the beaded sash!!!) but the hardware on this one is a bit too sever for my taste. I would have rather see it blend more seamlessly into the gown.
5. Amy Adams: The reason that I decided to include Amy in her Oscar de la Renta gown in this post isn’t because I love the dress (which I don’t). It is because I think it’s important to take note that ball gowns are making a come back. It’s actually great to see after so many years of only trumpet styles!!! The pluses of this dress are the dropped waist which accentuates her shape, and the fluffy organza skirt. And brides, consider this: unless you will be attending the Oscar’s some day, there are few places other than your wedding that you will have the opportunity to wear a full gown. It is certainly not for everyone, but don’t discount it simply out of fear of looking like a cupcake, which clearly isn’t always the case.
So everyone, we hope you have enjoyed taking a look at these amazing gowns and actresses with us. And hopefully it has given you some food for thought for your wedding!