Not So Haute:The Haute Bride Alternative=Dana Saylor Designs

Ok, so since the time I came across Haute Bride jewelry I have coveted the bracelets and wanted to have one, bad, for my wedding day. (HB bracelet at right)  But realistically–wasn’t happening.  I can remember very clearly the look fiance gave me when I told him I wanted a Haute Bride bracelet and told him the price–upwards of $300…
So when a girl is in a bind—gotta get creative!
Enter Dana Saylorwho also has an Etsy store.  And enter my bracelet—plus three bracelets for our flower girls, for a quarter of the ‘Haute’ price!
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Photobucket

April 23, 2008. fashion, reviews, vendors. Leave a comment.

Dana Saylor Designs!


Ok, so since the time I came across Haute Bride jewelry I have coveted the bracelets and wanted to have one, bad, for my wedding day. But realistically–wasn’t happening.  I can remember very clearly the look fiance gave me when I told him I wanted a Haute Bride bracelet and told him the price–upwards of $300…
So when a girl is in a bind—gotta get creative!
Enter Dana Saylorwho also has an Etsy store.  And enter my bracelet—plus three bracelets for our flower girls, for a quarter of the ‘Haute’ price!
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Photobucket

April 23, 2008. fashion, reviews, vendors. Leave a comment.

Lasting Impressions Event Rental, Cleveland

So I visited Lasting Impressions while at home and was very pleased with their customer service and very shocked with their selection. I was helped by Kristen (I think) but also worked with Patty over the phone and both are great.
We’re using them for some of our rentals–highboy tables and pipe and drape.
Although we found a better deal for our dinner table linens, you can imagine my delight when this was the first thing I saw when walking into the store:

click pic to make big and clear!

You have to love that satin damask-print linen in their showroom!
So cute! And pops so well against the red so will surely pop well against hot PINK!

Well, trust me, the company knows this print is hot…because they are renting those things for literally an arm and a leg.
So I was thinking to use a few to break up my main linen color.
But then, as I was putting in my main linen order with BBJ Linen I happened to come across these photos on their web site (the bottom two images):


Not QUITE damask…but still really close….and equally pretty!

Well, the BBJ Linenversion is considerably cheaper….so…you know being the budget bride I am….!

April 23, 2008. decorations, details, reviews, vendors. 1 comment.

27 Dresses: The Lesson!


So, I dragged fiance with me to see the movie 27 Dresses this past weekend. Fiance loves going to the movies so much that he didn’t even give me push-back when I suggested that we use a Friday night out to see the movie.
Now, this movie has to be in a category of its own concerning people who would actually WANT to go see it. I mean, it’s like beyond a chick-flick–and to me seems like it would only appeal to either engaged chicks or really-ready-to-be-engaged chicks!
Judging by opening night and the twenty chicks in the movie theatre–I was right. Well 21–including my fiance.

I’m not going to “review” the movie except to say it was actually entertaining. I’d rather like to say that it brought up a really good point for all brides-to-be to consider: choosing your bridesmaid’s dresses.

Brides-to-be need to remember that a bridesmaid dress is just that–a DRESS. It doesn’t have to say ‘Alfred Angelo’ or ‘Watters’ on the tag for it to work as a bridesmaid’s dress. In fact, most ‘certified’ bridesmaids dresses–mostly appearing in unflattering silhouettes…and tafetta–kind of suck and indeed cannot (or at least should not) be worn again.

Moral of the story: When considering your girls’ attire, look in places you’d normally look when shopping for party dresses for yourself! Pure common sense. Many have recently been touting JCrew and Ann Taylor celebrations collections as being good choices. But I don’t even like these, as still, the dresses were made expressly to be a part of a ‘celebrations,’ i.e. bridesmaids dress line.
I say look places that are COMPLETELY disconnected to the wedding machine like Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Dillards, Macy’s, Arden B, Spiegel….you get the point. These places have more interesting choices and this way you’re more likely to choose frocks your gals will love, and many times, that will be cheaper than the cookie-cutter ‘bridesmaids gowns.’

Here are some examples:
Max &Cleo Brocade Dress-Dillards-$138

Lydia beaded halter dress-Dillards-$110

Jessica Howard lace dress: Dillards-$80

Shirred Tube Dress: To the Max: $108

Ruby Rox Bubble Tube Dress-Dillards: $69

As U Wish Rosette Party Dress: Nordstrom-$78

January 23, 2008. fashion, gowns, reviews. Leave a comment.

Mini Moon:Miami!


So–the ‘mini-moon‘ was fabulous!
Perfect weather, relaxation, good conversation and great eating!
When my fiance proposed that we take some time to get away, of course he never thought of it being a break from wedding planning. But his thoughtfulness= a perfect mini vacation.
Here’s what we did and some ‘mini’ reviews fit for a mini-moon/recommendations:
1. Lay on Beach and Do… Nothing: We stayed at the Ocean Surf, a no-frills art deco boutique hotel on North Beach so that’s where we did our ‘beaching.’ Recommend it because it’s quiet and not as crowded as SOBE–but also not too far from SOBE action when you feel like heading down to party! We were about a 10 minute drive from the action.
2. Eat at the small, local diners for breakfast and lunch: My fiance and I enjoyed two cuban restaurants and another small Columbian one for midday snacks while in Miami. Not only is the food at these places normally ‘home-style,’ large portions and extra yummy–it’s MUCH cheaper to eat at these places.
My favorite: Puerto Sagua on Collins in SOBE. It’s authentic Cuban–humongous portions–and oh-so cheap and yummy. Two huge spreads for $25. I had a huge steak that was so big it was served on its own plate; french fries; rice and black beans!
3. For Dinner, please eat at Texas de Brazil!!
OK–so Texas de Brazil, a churrascaria/brazilian steak house is not unique to Miami. You can find them in about a dozen locations. But I’ve been to SEVERAL of these steakhouses and Texas de Brazil takes the cake–or rather takes the meat!
Yum. Yum. Yum. And impeccable service! Don’t fill up too much on the 50 item salad bar or sushi bar…but do try the garlic shrimp and lobster bisque if they have it that day. There’s one near SOBE. Pricey but well worth it. If you sign up on their web site they’ll send you a 25% off coupon, too.
4. Have Dinner on Ocean Drive on Sunday between 4 and 8 p.m.
Several of the restaurants were offering HALF-OFF–yes HALF off their menus during this time! We ate at an excellent place called Prime Time at the Waldorf Towers Hotel on the beach front. Superb. Two awesome steaks, great calamari, paella and drinks for like $60!! In the center of SOBE!
5. Have a Wet Willies Daquiri
I know this place is ‘throwback’–BUT these icy drinks are GOOD! I love the Mudslide. If it’s midday though, please avoid the liquor-loaded drink properly named “Call a Cab.” My fiance was very tipsy off of one of these….
6. Go drinking and dancing at Mango’s
Awesome Mojitos…several dancing rooms…hot people dancing everywhere=good times!

7. Bar-hop on Collins at the hotel bars

All of the hotels are so uniquely decorated and the bars and people in them interesting. We enjoyed Hotel Shelley!
8. Do something Non-Touristy
We ventured into ‘Little Haiti’ to TRY to do this…but we couldn’t quite find where we going and were warned by several locals that we should beware of the area…so we left. But at least we tried!
9. Fly into Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm
We came into West Palm Beach and enjoyed the laid back and clean airport and the drive into Miami. It was relaxing and beautiful.
10. Bring some (Serious) Shopping Money
True Religion Store and tons of really hot boutiques! What more can a girl ask for!

January 15, 2008. Honeymoon, reviews. 3 comments.

Review: Henris Cloud 9

What: Bridal shop, Henris Cloud 9
Where: Minerva, Ohio
My Visit: Wednesday, December 26

Review: RK Bridal, NY, NY
Review: Country Miss Bridal, Upper Marlboro, MD
As you may know, I had previously come in contact with the staff at Henris at a bridal show in Cleveland a few months ago when I put a deposit down with them to hold my gown. Henris had a ‘showroom’ of gowns at the show where I unexpectedly found my dream dress.
I then was able to get them to lower the price they wanted to sell to me for by a few hundred dollars and to lock in that price.
Well, Wednesday my mom, sister and I drove a hour and a half south of Cleveland into very rural Minerva, Ohio to visit Henris’ shop.
Its located in the ‘downtown’ area of Minerva–a quaint road lined with shops that reminds me of my college town–and from the outside looked cute, but disappointingly small for the long drive we’d made.

But upon entering Henris, we were very pleased. There are two levels of the store, which inside looks like a large, old mansion. The first level is prom dresses and the second floor is all bridal.

I was impressed with the number of gowns they had by Spanish atelier Pronovias, and the sales staff were very helpful but no pressure!
Me in a Pronovias gown. I liked the top a lot. It’s NOT my gown!


(Double click on photos to see the amazing detail)
The selection of gowns was good. Of course it couldn’t compare to a large warehouse like RK, but the quality of the gowns at Henris was awesome. They were all beautiful selections. Some at higher price points like Eve of Milady and some really gorgeous, more affordable gowns like the Essence of Australia collection. I was left to try on gowns and received help when I needed it. The store is well lit and my mom and sister also tried on a few things.

We were also allowed to take photographs of the gowns I tried on, which is increasingly becoming a no-no in many salons. But that may have been because it was the day after Christmas, laid-back and seemingly slow.

That day, I ordered my gown. I’d say a drive to Henris from the Northeast Ohio area is worth it, especially if you’re considering a Pronovias gown. They also have some gorgeous, albeit pricey, Tacori jewelry.

December 28, 2007. fashion, gowns, reviews. 1 comment.

Review: Wedshare.com

This is not a review.
This is a rave!
Fiance and I now have our own personal dot-com wedding web site! It is powered through a content management system hosted by Wedshare. Now, let me say, I was at first skeptical whether I was going to get my $79 dollar’s worth from buying a website.
But after setting up our site and exploring all of the features, I must say it is WELL worth the money and everyone should have one! Here’s why:
1)Novelty Factor:
I mean…it’s your OWN web site! You decide how long it stays up (and pay accordingly). You can add photos, music, your love story. It’s very personal and your guests can log on and sign your online guestbook!
2) Ease of Use Factor
Sure…if you’re a computer programmer or if you’re just extra programming savvy, them make your own site from scratch. But like most people, web content management programs, like Wedshare, basically walk you through how to set up and maintain your site.
3)Online RSVP Factor
Wedshare and some other sites allow a very thorough online RSVP process so guests can reply online instead of through mail. This is not only convenient, it’s fast! I was impressed with how thorough Wedshare’s system is. It let’s me import our guest list from an Excel sheet. So when guests register online all they have to do is enter their first and last names. The system then recognizes them and specifies how many seats have been reserved in their name, tells them details like “this event is adult-only,” and even lets them choose what they want to eat (if you’re having a meal with several options). The system then logs their response and sends me an e-mail letting me know someone has responded.
4)Organization Factor
In addition to tracking your guests and multiple events at a time (e.g. wedding/reception/rehearsal) Wedshare has a built-in budget-tracking system which is very useful.
5)Communication Factor
You can password-protect pages on your Wedshare site that are targeted at certain people…say, your bridal party. On ours, we have “bridesmaids” and “groomsmen” pages that will have all the info the bridal party needs and even has a forum.
6) Not-Cheesy Factor
Many templated web sites simply look cheesy and cookie-cutter, but most of Wedshare’s templates look pretty good, especially after customized. Our web page also has multi-media hosting capacity, so we can add slideshows, video etc…

My main attraction to Wedshare was the online RSVP. Competitively priced and easy to use, unless my Wedshare screws up when it actually comes time for guests to use it…this site gets an A+.

October 17, 2007. reviews, vendors. Leave a comment.

Review: TheAmericanWedding.com


Customer Service: A
Selection:A
Quality: C
So, I have ordered some invitation samples, just to see what’s out there in terms of printing and quality.
As I said before, I am in the process of getting invites designed so I will likely not go with a ‘wedding invitation company,’ but I still was curious.
TheAmericanWedding, a web-based store that sells invitations and other wedding related things, had great deals on invites–like 100 invitations + envelopes with raised printing for $130.
So, I ordered these samples of the “Bold Curves” and “Parisian” invitations:


The web site has hundreds of invites to choose some, and though most don’t appeal to me, they do have a good selection.
The samples looked exactly as pictured when they arrived, and they arrived quickly.
But when I showed the samples to fiance he said: “Umm…I like the style, but don’t they feel kinda homemade? Like construction paper?”
He was right. The samples don’t look cheap, but they are not constructed on very heavy card stock. I think the paper is heavier than construction paper, but not as sturdy as I would imagine a formal invitation should be.
So overall, I think this web site has a good selection and is great for customer service because of the fast ship. But, unless you are on a super tight budget I would suggest looking elsewhere due to the quality of the paper used.
It is worth noting, however, that they do offer raised printing, and I thought the printing looked fine.
Lesson of the day: Order SAMPLES!!

October 7, 2007. reviews, vendors. 1 comment.

Review: Country Miss Bridal: Upper Marlboro, MD

Also see: Review: RK Bridal, NY, NY

Saturday morning I visited another local bridal called Country Miss. I know. I said I had found a gown. But hey, no harm in looking around, right?

First impression:
The shop is cute…located in a mini strip mall on a narrow street in the very “country-looking” neighborhood of Upper Marlboro. It was not far from where we live, but I had never ventured into the area.
Just from the way the store looked on the outside (small) I assumed their collection of gowns would also be disappointingly small.
I was wrong.

The store was larger inside than it appeared. There was a staff of about six women, who were for the most hands-off and not at all pushy. The girl who helped me asked what I was looking for and grabbed some gowns while allowing me to also look through their racks.
Compared to the other bridals in this area I’ve been to–maybe 4–they had the largest selection of gowns.

Experience:
The girl helping me was laid back and helpful. There was a stage to view yourself on. I thought it was weird they had a sign that read: “No cameras on Saturdays.” Not sure what that was about.

Details:
Like most other bridals, deposit for gowns and BM dresses is 50%. If you get al BMs dresses from them they offer 15% off each dress (mothers’ too) plus 10% off yours. I think that was the most generous I’d seen. It looked like they did alterations on site. They said the longest any gown would take to arrive was 3 months. I’ve heard longer delivery times quoted other places.

I think the best thing about Country Miss is that they double as a tuxedo rental place. Compared to some of the staple tux rental spots (i.e. Men’s Wearhouse,Tuxedo Junction)they had way nicer tux options and
many designers.

A downfall of this bridal is that they don’t carry any couture gown lines.

I may take fiance back there with me to look for a tux though.

Overall score: C+

September 30, 2007. fashion, gowns, reviews, vendors. 1 comment.

Review: RK Bridal: New York, NY


Where: RK Bridal, 319 W.39th Street NY, NY 10018
My Visit: Friday & Saturday Aug.31, Sep.1

Over Labor Day weekend I visited RK Bridal Boutique, located in an unassuming building on a side street near Times Square in New York City. It by FAR had the largest selection of wedding gowns I’ve seen under one roof in my search so far. In fact, it had more gowns than all of the places I’d visited in the DC/MD area, where I wasn’t having have much luck.

First, I made the mistake of going on a Friday afternoon when it was super busy. So after choosing some gowns to try on and realizing I’d have to wait for an hour or so to get a fitting room, the fiance and baby and I decided to return the following morning exactly when the store opened.

Fast forward to Saturday. RK opened at 9:30 a.m., but due to typical NYC traffic/congestion/hell fiance didn’t get me there until about 9:45. But even as about a half-dozen brides-to-be and bridesmaids had beaten me there, I was immediately assigned an assistant and given a dressing room.

My assistant was very helpful and laid back–not at all pushy. I told her the look I was going for and she immediately suggested some gowns for me to try. Meanwhile, I stormed the rack of mermaid/straight gowns– (it’s in the back on the left)a secret I’d learned the day before.

Then she asked the magic question: “Are there any gowns you’ve been wanting to try specifically?”

Me: “Yes!” (Then blurting out the four-digit number of the Allure gown I love but that I couldn’t find anywhere to try on. “Pleasssse tell me you have it…”

And they did!! They had THE gown!!

So I got to try on about six or seven gowns in the styles I’m interested in. And now I really do have a better idea of what I do and don’t want.

By the end of my “try-on” only two gowns had made my heart skip a beat: The one I’d been pining over (the sample fit me almost perfectly…and it was stunning) and one other gown that was never one that “jumped out at me” but that on looked really fabulous.

SO–at this point, I don’t imagine trying on too many more gowns, mainly because of the selection at area shops…
I may visit a bridal when I am home in Cleveland in October.
One popular one, Catan’s, promises to have a pretty good selection. In the meantime,I have to first decide on a gown, then figure out through which bridal shop or vendor I’m going to order!!

Overall Score, RK Bridal: A- for the sheer volume of gowns they have in store. I think they may very well be one of the largest bridals, period.

September 4, 2007. gowns, reviews, vendors. 1 comment.