Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Just engaged? You got the ring. Got excited. Changed your Facebook status. Grabbed your first bridal magazine. Hopped on Pinterest. Started pinning. Then reality set in as did the STRESS! What to do now? Of course AshleysBrideGuide.com is here to help you find your way. But, Nashville wedding planning company, Regalo Design, has recently shared two blogs that will also help:
12 months from your wedding day
11 months from your wedding day
Read their advice and restore your excitement and sanity!
Left: their studio; Right: Damon and Sarah
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Rhonda of Oakwood Cleaners shared the following story with me that I hope serves as a warning for all of you buying/considering pre-owned wedding dresses:
"I just heard about a bride that bought a pre-owned dress that was 4” too big. She went to a seamstress that agreed to take it in, but after it was finished, it did not fit to her satisfaction. First of all, it was really dirty, and had been altered. There's no telling how many times it had been worn (or altered). The needle marks from the last alteration were still showing when the seamstress got it. It appeared to have been washed in a washing machine (vs dry cleaned) the lining was a wrinkled mess.
Brides need to understand that not only is it quite difficult to take a dress down 4” and have it fit correctly, but if it has been washed or worn several times and altered more than once, the fabric will not react the same as if it were new. It is up to the seamstress to tell the bride of the problems that can occur up front and have the bride sign an agreement stating they understand this."
Most of you who are considering a pre-owned dress, are probably going the online route - from Craigslist and eBay to sites like preowneddresses.com. These can be great ways to save or can turn into a huge nightmare, as Rhonda described above.
So, what's a girl to do? Here's what our pros at Oakwood Cleaners suggest, whether you are buying or selling your gown online.
Tips for Buying a Pre-owned Wedding Dress Online
~ Start with an online retailer that offers a grace period. This will give you time to receive the dress, see the actual size, assess the condition of the dress and decide if you want to keep it. You must see it, try it on, and touch the fabric.
- Shop for dresses as close to your size as possible. It's not a good idea to jump sizes. Determine your "wedding gown size" which is not the same as your street clothes size. Once you know your bridal size, stay close to it as you shop for pre-owned gowns. The bigger the difference between your size and the pre-owned size, the more costly the alterations and sometimes the changes could impact the actual dress' shape.
~ Ask the seller whether the dress has been cleaned. Opt for a dress that has been cleaned already. It will need to be cleaned to determine what stains remain. You dont want to buy a gown online thats dirty, then have to pay for the dress JUST to find out which stains will or wont come out.. If not clean, ask how dirty. See if pictures of the stains can be provided.
~ Ask about alterations. Has it been altered? If fabric has been cut away, there may not be enough remaining to let back out.
~ Ask if is it damaged and extent of damage after purchase.
Corset gown by designer Monique Lhuillier. Source
Keep or return the dress?
Once the gown is in your hands (during the grace period)...
~ Take the dress and the seller's documentations to a true pro that specializes in bridal gowns, like Oakwood Cleaners.
~ Have them inspect the dress and tell you what it might cost to clean, fix, alter the dress. They wont be able to fully predict the actual cost of alterations but will give you direction. If it needs cleaning, they will let you know. They can't guarantee spots will come out but will tell you their expert opinion, give ball park quote. They can tell what custom changes will be needed.
~ Be realistic. Some of the really popular styles have a corset and can't be taken in or let out, due to the boning. (See Vera Wang gown below.) The 2-piece Monique Lhuillier corset style tops aren't easy to alter. Repeat wearing of the top can stretch them so by the time the seller is ready to sell, it may not fit purchaser with similar size/body as a brand new dress would. Stretching will cause the dress to fit differently, even if it hasnt been altered.
Based on your Oakwood gown inspection, determine if you will love it or leave it. It may seem like a good deal but repairs, alterations and cleaning might be expensive. You need to be smart. In long run, a used dress could cost you more on the back-end than a new gown.
Oakwood says, "This type of dress would be exceptionally difficult to have altered due to the boning in the bodice. Buyers should exercise caution with this type of gown."
Tips for Selling Your Wedding Dress Online
~ Be honest. You will have better success and fewer returns from buyers. This will save you money (from shipping costs), time and stress.
~ Clean the dress before you list it. This will give the purchaser a realistic idea of how wonderful the dress could be.
~ Highlight the positives and negatives. Document what's been done to the dress. Take and share and photos of damage and stains to give an overlal state of dress. Point out tears, pulled bustles and areas of heavy stains.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Donald of Donald Yeager Photography is not only an incredible photographer but he's always willing to educate Nashville brides. I've had a burning question about photography and wedding venues and I reached out to him to get his thoughts. The advice that follows is must-read whether you have selected your wedding venue or not.
Ashley of AshleysBrideGuide.com: I'll be honest, some of venues around town that I know and love, that are also really popular with brides, don't seem to photograph well. When I visit them they are stunning but when I see photos from their weddings, they are usually very dark. How can brides get better photos? What type of venues help photographers get better images?
Donald Yeager Photography: Personally, I love to shoot in natural light, so I tend to gravitate toward outdoor venues with daytime receptions. But, that is not always possible! I do not know that there is a specific type of venue that is better than another. One very important thing any couple should consider is lighting. Since most receptions occur at night, you should consider additional lighting through event lighting to help bring the space to life. Look for a venue that provides the opportunity for creativity through event lighting.
Examples of great natural lighting at Front Porch Farms
What traits do these venues usually possess that make them so photo-friendly?
Venues with areas of natural light (like windows) are great if the wedding or reception is hosted during daylight hours. Venues with focal points or features in decor-- such as exposed brick, different levels, or interesting textures in wall treatments or furnishings, are a great added bonus to providing depth and dimension to your wedding photos. If your venue lacks those characteristics, consider bringing in items to enhance them-- such as event lighting or specialty rentals.
Ashley: What are clear obstacles of some venues?
Donald Yeager Photography: Size - a venue that is too small or too large for your party pose equal obstacles. Too tight a space means that there’s no availability to find fun places to shoot within the venue because there’s literally nowhere to go! Too large and a “cavernous” effect can happen in photos where you have lots of empty, unused and un-utilized space. Also pay attention to ceiling heights-- low ceilings can make a space feel smaller. Read venue contacts about restrictions to decor elements like candles-- several venues limit them and they can bring a lot of ambiance and additional lighting to your event.
Ashley: A lot of the outdoor venues – like Front Porch Farms, Cedarwood, Southall – are obviously beautiful so we see wonderful photos. But, how can a bride make an indoor venue more interesting so that her photos are too?
Donald Yeager Photography: Number one thing - event Lighting! In particular, uplighting, pinspotting, string lights, and gobos. Placing uplights around the room helps to add a pop of color to the walls to make the space more interesting while providing more light. PInspotting allows you to provide focal points to key items-- like your cake. String lighting is a great investment to provide ambient light and adds an interesting background element in room detail and dancing shots. Gobos or go-betweens are usually used to display the couples names and wedding date on a large blank wall, but can also add texture to the walls or ground. This again adds an interesting element to the space. Other considerations: Decor elements, like flowers, custom rentals, and personal touches from the couple make your venue appear more personalized and unique. Don’t discredit the value of well-placed decor.
Ashley: Wow! I had no clue why some wedding photos (at venues that I love) were unremarkable whereas the photos you have shot above are incredible. It's amazing how important lighting is. When you are selecting your Nashville wedding venue, be sure to budget for lighting or you won't get great photos. I've seen countless weddings in venues without great natural lighting and I struggle to see any of the details that you worked so hard to include. If photos matter and your venue matters, lighting is imperative. These venues are obviously dark but with great lighting, a professional photographer like Donald has turned these dark receptions into artistic masterpieces.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Editor's Note: Today's expert wedding advice was generously provided by Jaleesa of the Nashville City Club. Nashville City Club was voted "Best Place to Get Married by The Tennessean's readers.
As you begin planning your wedding, there are five important things to know when booking your wedding event space:
1. Wedding Date: When you call the Nashville City Club, the first question we ask you is what date you are looking for. If we have your date available, great! If not, the second question is then, “How flexible are you?” We might have the following weekend open or other dates within the surrounding weeks. If you are set on your date, also be ready to consider the space as a possible rehearsal dinner location the day before.
2. Number of Guests: We understand that in this stage of the game, you’re not sure on the final number, but a ballpark estimate can help us to narrow down which space is best for your event. For instance, we have two main spaces available at the Club and, depending on your number of guests, this information will drive the conversation in terms of pricing, style of event and room setup. 3. Budget: As you are looking for event spaces, it is good to have a general idea of your total budget. This can help us to determine how much can be allotted per guest, which is how most venues structure their menu selections. At the City Club, we provide each client with custom proposals for their event, based on their menu selections and other event needs. With this information, you can see, line by line, what you are paying for! From this point, we can adjust our selections to fit your budget and vision and create a truly unique event!
Ceremony at Nashville City Club; Photo: Dove Wedding Photography
Receptions at Nashville City Club
Above photo: Krista Lee Photography
Central downtown location of Nashville City Club; Photo: The Collection
4. Reception Style: Are you looking for a ceremony and reception? Are you envisioning a formal, seated dinner, a buffet or a cocktail style reception with food stations and passed appetizers? Connecting back to your number of guests, this is another important question that can help us narrow down the space we need for the event. Along with custom proposals, we will also prepare a custom layout for your event based on your individual setup needs and ideas.
Nashville City Club staff
5. Special Needs: Before you start looking into venues, it is a good idea to have a grasp on any special needs or requests specific to your event and guests. For instance, do you have a lot of out of town family who will need hotels and travel accommodations? The City Club is conveniently located downtown, within walking distance of several hotels and Nashville hotspots. Also, voted the 2011 and 2012 Best View of the City, the City Club is the perfect place to show off the city skyline! Other special need considerations include holiday, theme or green weddings, dietary needs or destination weddings.
The Nashville City Club was voted Best Place to Get Married in both the 2011 and 2012 Music City Awards. We believe in making each client feel comfortable and confident in the process of booking, planning and enjoying your event. From the initial contact until the time you are making your grand exit at the end of your wedding reception, we are here to bring to life your big day.
Call us today to start the conversation!
events at nashvillecity dot com