Thursday, May 31, 2012

Designer Profile :: Alvina Valenta

Alvina Valenta bridesmaid and special occasion dresses are one of the newest additions to our salon!  We have fallen for these beautiful, sophisticated gowns, and we think they are worth a second look and a place at your wedding. 

Alvina Valenta is a brand of JLM Couture that makes other great lines like Jim Hjelm and Lazaro.  We currently only carry the bridesmaid collection of Alvina Valenta, but there is also a bridal collection of the same name. 

Alvina Valenta, 9168, shown in creme and ivory

The designer's website describes the line by saying, "Alvina Valenta gowns are known for their timeless elegance, sophistication and most especially their attention to detail."  The soft, romantic whimsy of the dresses is instantly noticed, and the more you study them, the more these details come to be appreciated.  

Alvina  Valenta, 9003 shown in ivory and navy

While these dresses are stunning choices for bridesmaids, they are also great options for mothers.  The lines are clean, there are some touches of lace and other embellishments that make them dressy enough for a mother.  For the mother who wants clean lines with a little touch of whimsy, these dresses are a must-see. 


Alvina Valenta, 9174, shown in navy with and without the detachable, movable cascading ruffle

Has Alvina piqued your interest?  We would love to show you more!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Bridal Appointment Q&A

He put the ring on your finger.  You picked a date and location.  Now for the best part...time to find the perfect dress.  Most brides, unless they have been really closely involved with someone else's wedding, don't have any idea of what's involved with ordering a dress, what a bridal appointment is like, and what the bride-to-be needs to know.  Dealing with brides everyday, we answer some of the same questions over and over so we thought we'd share with you.

Q: When do I need to start looking for a dress?
A: Our recommendation is generally to be ready to order about 8 to 10 months before the wedding. This time frame allows time for the dress to come, alterations to be completed, and bridal portraits to be taken without any worry about getting it all done in a timely manner.  Most bridal gowns are special ordered which means they take some time to be produced, shipped and arrive in the salon.  Most of our designers take about 4 to 6 months to produce a dress.  Some dresses can come in shorter time frames, but it depends on the designer and the dress. 

Q: Are appointments required?
A:  Yes.  Those who book appointments are guaranteed to have a consultant to help, answer questions and offer advice.  If you walk in, we may not be able to accomodate you depending on how busy our schedule is.  Our salon requires a consultant for all bridal appointments so an appointment is the best way to go.  During the week we can generally take appointments booked within a few hours of the appointment time, but during the weekend, it is best to book as far out as possible because that is our busiest time. 

Q: What do I need to bring to the appointment?  What do I wear?
A: We recommend wearing something you can slip on and off easily.  You'll probably have multiple appointments in one day, and a complicated outfit will get tiresome very quickly.  Be sure the undergarments you wear are something you are comfortable with someone else seeing you in.  At our salon we do not allow you to try dresses on without a consultant's help.  The consultant prefers to be in the dressing room with you because some of the dresses require a little help to get in.  We have seen just about every shape and size in just about every style of bra and panty so just make sure you are comfortable with what you're wearing.  We have strapless bras that you are welcome to wear, and we have a pedastal for you to stand on to give you a better idea of what the hem will look like.  Heels are generally not recommended to wear while you're trying on dresses because you can easily trip in a dress that's too long or rip a gown. 

Q: Can I take picutres?
A: We love pictures at our store!  A camera is always a good idea so you can remember your favorite dresses.  Honestly, after hours and dozens of dresses, they will all start to look the same.  However, be sure to ask on a salon-by-salon basis about taking photographs because some do not allow pictures. 

Q: How long will my appointment last?
A: Our appointments are typically about an hour and a half.  During that time you can try on a good number of dresses without getting overwhelemed or worn out.  Sometimes we can accomodate longer appointments, but other times we have to be very strict about our time limits because of the number of booked appointments.  Always show up on-time or just a few minutes early to make sure you have as much time as possible!

Q: Who should I bring with me?
A: The answer to this depends on you.  Here are our suggestions based on the experiences we've had with brides and their entourages.  First, bring people whose opinions you trust.  You don't want to bring your kiss-up cousin who says you look great in everything nor do you want to bring your jealous sister-in-law who thinks you look awful in everything.  Second, bring people who will let your voice be heard.  You want honest opinions, but you also want people who can appreciate that this is ultimately your day and your decision.  Sometimes a bride's likes, dislikes, wants and dreams get trampelled on by everyone else's likes, dislikes, wants and dreams.  Third, keep your guest list to a minimum.  The more people you bring, the more likely you are to get overwhelemed and stop focusing on what you really want.  Also remember that you may not be the only one trying on in the salon at that time.  Salons have limited area for trying on dresses, and if your guests take up all the space, another bride's family gets pushed out of the way.

Q: Are children allowed/welcomed during bridal appointments?
A: Stores like ours are not designed for children's safety and entertainment.  Most children get very bored (and usually michevious because of their boredom) during bridal appointments.  This is one of the most important decisions you will make during your wedding planning process, and we would like you, and any other people in the store, to be able to focus on that task. 

Q: Can I bring champagne?
A:  Yes!  This is a celebration, and we encourage you to celebrate.  We do ask that you bring your own glasses that cannot be toppled easily.  (Champage flutes can easily be knocked over, but cups with a wide base are a little more stable.)  We also ask that if you do spill or make a mess, that you make a member of our staff aware of it immediately. 

Q: Is my appointment limited to just looking at bridal gowns?
A: You are welcome to look at everything in our store during your appointent.  However, we have found that a seperate appointment for bridesmaid dresses, mother's dresses and flower girl dresses is a good idea.  By the time you are finished trying on dresses, you will probably be mentally and physically wiped.  Besides, picking out your dress is a special day!  You can always come back to look at what else we have to offer.

Q: What size are the gowns I'll be trying on?
A:  The designers' sizing is a little different that what you are used to seeing at your favorite stores, but when they are translated to what we call "street sizes," most of them are between a 6 and 10.  We do have samples that are both bigger and smaller than these sizes.  We are experts at making dresses that are a little too small or a little too big look more like they should.  If you have concerns about the sizes of our samples, please let the consultant know when you book your appointment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Sparkle is Our Favorite Color!

Every girl knows no outfit is complete without a few well-chosen accessories.  The same holds true for your wedding day!  The perfect earrings, necklace, shoes and veil can transform a dress into something even more amazing. 

Almost every bride will purchase jewelry especially for her wedding day.  Sometimes these are heirlooms from grandma or maybe even his mom.  Sometimes they are a gift from your parents.  (A beautiful pearl earring and necklace set is a treasured reminder of my wedding day every time I wear them.)  Sometimes your jewelry holds no other significance than that you simply loved it.   No matter the origin of your jewelry, it will undoubtedly be a way for you to complete your bridal look.

Kate Rose Jewelry photographed by Sterling Images

Have you figured out what your accessory style is?  Are you into big, flashy earrings and statement pieces?  Do you prefer more subdued, classic pieces?  Are pearls your thing?  Would you love to wear a tiara?

Before going to pick out your accessories, you should probably consider a few things:

First, think about what you envisioned for the day.  Did you imagine a cathedral-length veil, your grandmother's pearl earrings and a simple bracelet?  Did you imagine a birdcage veil, a pair of statement earrings, and a crystal-encrusted pair of shoes?  If you don't know what you want, it will be hard for the consultant (or whoever is helping you) to point you in the right direction.  If you are totally unsure of what you want, at least know a few things you would prefer not to have.

Tony Bowls earrings make a great statement piece

Second, consider how much you want to spend.  Do you want pieces to last a lifetime?  Or are you fine with costume jewelry that may not make it to your daughter's wedding?  Do you want a strand of real pearls?  Or are man-made pearls fine with you?  Jewelry costs add up fast so make sure you give yourself a budget and stay aware of the cost of what you're trying on.

Bird cage veil with pearls and crystals at the comb by Mariell

Lastly, know how far in advance to order.  Can you make your selections weeks before you need your accessories for your bridal portraits?  Or do you need to order months in advance?  Your ordering time frame will depend on a great number of things so take the time to ask.  (Just as a heads up, around our store you need to order about 12 weeks before you need your accessories.  Some of our pieces take less time, but it depends on the designer.)

Jewelry and veils aren't the only accessories!  Shoes are also a great way to show your style.  Bridal shoes range from simple ballet flats to flashy Swarovski-encrusted 5" heels.  Some shoes can be dyed to match your dress, your bridesmaid dresses, the color of your groom's eyes, or pretty much any color that strikes your fancy.  Here's a few examples of some of our favorite shoes!

Gaga by Benjamin Adams

Cinnamon by Pink Paradox London
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to your accessory style.  The only thing that matters is that you love it!

PS...check our website and Facebook page for our next Accessories Trunk Show!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Designer Focus :: Simone Carvalli

Our salon is home to more than a dozen bridal lines, about a dozen bridesmaid lines, a few mother's and flower girls lines, and much more.  Each designer is unique; each has a distinct style, influence and direction.  Over the next several months, we're going to take a moment to look at each designer.  We'll look at some of our consultants' favorite styles and delve into what that designer is all about.
Simone Carvalli, 90089

 Today we start with the incomparable Simone Carvalli.  Simone is one of our beautiful couture designers.  The designer's website heralds themselves as having a hallmark of "innovation and authenticity."  The site goes on to say the line offers a line that places an emphasis on "sophisticated silhouette[s], exquisite Swarovski crystal beading designs, luxurious silk fabrication, and contemporary applications of classic style."

Simone's dresses are luxurious with rich fabrics that make you want to stay in them forever.  The construction and design give a beautiful fit that rivals anything else we have in the store.  The boning and construction give a supportive fit that is enhanced by the sumptuous fabric that is against your skin. 

The designer is known for beautiful mermaid shapes with an eye for detail.  Rich fabrics and elegant detailing make this a one-of-a-kind line that offers the discerning bride a stunning look on her wedding day.  

Simone Carvalli, 90082

Are you wearing Simone Carvalli on your wedding day?  How would you describe your dress?  Would you recommend the designer to anyone else getting married?  We'd love to hear from you and know your opinions!


Friday, May 11, 2012

B2 & Belsoie Bridesmaids

We always strive to give our brides the best service, the best selection, and a first look into many of our upcoming collections! As a premier retailer for Jasmine Bridal, which includes the bridesmaid lines B2 and Belsoie, we are 1 of 4 bridal boutiques in the nation showcasing the 2012 Fall Collection for these lines!! These dresses are not even available online for viewing so here is a sneak peak of our  a couple of our favorites from the new B2 and Belsoie bridesmaid dresses.