Friday, August 13, 2010

History of the Wedding Dress

This is not going to be as boring as it seems because this brief wedding history is going to be presented in pictures!

To start things off, here's replica of a 1799 wedding dress.

Back in the day, i.e. the late 1700s, it was common for brides to wear gowns in practically any color. This was true especially for brides in the middle and lower classes, mainly because of the cost of a formal dress. So the young maiden lucky enough to wear a dress like the one above probably came from some serious moo-lah.

It was actually Queen Victoria who changed the game, wearing a white satin dress in 1840. Check her out:

Not my style but apparently it was all the rage at the time.

Meanwhile in America, the 1860s brought the Civil War (known by Southerners like my former history teacher as "The War of Northern Aggression") and dresses like this. Imagine wearing one of those for a June wedding... I do declare!

Luckily, the turn of the 20th century brought the beginning of today's silhouettes. From the various websites I've read, it seems like a full-length white gown became the norm around the 1930s.

Here's an adorable vintage wedding photo from the 1940s:

How romantic! And I love the woman in the background in her striped suit and hat.

The 1950s saw a lot of ballerina length and tea length dresses:

Then the 1980s brought the wedding of Prince Charles to Princess Di...

And that brings us (roughly) to today's wedding dresses.

Modern dresses have a lot of embellishments and asymmetrical necklines, so it will be interesting to see if that trend continues in decades to come.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

To Choreograph… Or Not To Choreograph?

The words "traditional wedding" are used together less and less often these days. Extra steps (pun intended) are taken by the bride, groom, and wedding planner to ensure that the ceremony and reception reflect the couple's journey to marriage, not to mention their unique personalities.

One tradition that is rarely - if ever - overlooked is the bride and groom's first dance as a married couple. Many newlyweds are taking their killer moves to the next level, opting for an all-out choreographed affair rather than a romantic slow dance. Check out this "Evolution of Dance" spin-off:

How fun is that?! I think it's so cool that the bride and groom are totally letting loose and having a blast. More and more couples are taking dancing lessons prior to their wedding, even if it's just to make sure they can do something other than sway side to side. What do you think? Would you (or did you) choreograph a dance with your groom, or even your wedding party? Did you do it yourselves, or take lessons? Give us all the details in the comments!

Friday, August 6, 2010

How To Handle A Diva Bride (And How Not To Be One!) - Part II

It's time for Part II of our spotlight on Diva brides!

Dealing with a Diva bride - commonly known as "Bridezilla" - can be a sticky situation, made all the more uncomfortable if the bride is a close friend or family member. So how do you put up with the bride's Diva ways, and is it possible to put her in her place without destroying your friendship? Glad you asked.

What do do if you're the friend/bridesmaid/co-worker:
- If you aren't a part of the wedding party, sometimes it's good to simply provide a listening ear and nod empathetically. Any normal girl can seem like a Diva bride if all she needs is a lunchtime venting session. However, if these lunchtime venting sessions turn into a daily ritual, maybe it's best to avoid her until she returns from her honeymoon, tan and in newlywedded bliss.

- If you are a part of the wedding party and the Diva bride's Diva-ness is directly affecting you, perhaps it's time to take some subtle action. Here's one idea. Take the Diva bride out for a cup of coffee. Bring your laptop or a notebook. As you enjoy your lattes, you and the bride can make a checklist of what needs to be done and by when. Let her vent, then subtly suggest some ways she might navigate through a few of her challenges.

- Another helpful hint: if you make a suggestion to a stressed-out Diva bride, try disguising your advice as a question. For example- No: "Just pick out a caterer already!" Yes: "You need to select a caterer? What are your options? Do you want to make a pro/con list?" Questions instead of instructions or suggestions will make the bride less defensive. Often, a Diva bride simply needs to know that someone's in her corner.

- If all else fails, forget subtlety and buy her an early wedding gift.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How To Handle A Diva Bride (And How Not To Be One!) - Part I

We've all experienced it... whether as a bridesmaid, a co-worker, or just a quiet observer - the Diva bride. Commonly referred to as "Bridezilla," the Diva bride is said to roam city streets, yelling at cake decorators and photographers, leaving a trail of trampled bridesmaids in her wake.

What do you do if you stumble upon a Diva bride - and happen to be a member of her wedding party? What if you hear someone yelling into her cell phone about how all her friends MUST attend her bachelorette party in Las Vegas NO MATTER WHAT, YES EVEN THE PREGNANT ONE, and when you glance over at her, it's your reflection staring back at you?

Perhaps some stress-relieving tips are in order to keep the upcoming wedding day, be it yours or your best friend's, in perspective.

Part I: If you're the bride...
- Consider hiring a wedding planner. Coming from an event-planning blog, I realize this is biased advice. But a wedding planner or at least a "day of" consultant can handle the details of your wedding day without breaking a sweat. This can really take some weight off of your shoulders. If a wedding planner isn't in your budget, ask a reliable friend (who isn't part of your wedding party) to follow up on the most important day-of details, like the caterer and deejay.

- Be as organized as possible. Whether this means making a checklist using a wedding website or downloading a wedding planning app to your phone, knowing what lies ahead will make for a smoother ride.

- While we're talking organization, here's a good way to make sure you stay on schedule: mark your wedding date in your calendar then move backwards, marking all the important milestones as you go. By important milestones I mean your bachelorette party and bridal shower, along with booking your reception venue, hotel rooms, travel arrangements, and more. I use this strategy for deadlines at work, too.

- This is easier said than done, but try to put yourself in the other person's shoes if something isn't going your way. If a friend can't afford to attend your bachelorette party, if your kooky aunt insists on bringing her equally kooky "friend" Richard, if you hear a rumor about your bridesmaids wanting to throw you off a cliff - take 30 seconds to consider the situation from the other person's perspective before blowing up.

More to come on this topic in Part II of our spotlight on Diva brides. Stay tuned!