BRIDE’S GUIDE The Oshkosh Northwestern | FEBRUARY 10, 2011
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The Oshkosh Northwestern | February 10, 20111
ON THE COVER Jamie and Anthony Schwister taken in front of the Oshkosh Museum.
Photo by Ron Sonntag of Sonntag Photography.
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Something Old, Something New
Bridal Couples Add Personal Twists on Traditions By Amelia Compton Wolff, for the Northwestern
Betrothed couples today have more options than ever before to express their creativity and individual taste through their weddings. Custom-made gowns, signature cocktails and personalized iPod playlists put couples in the driver’s seat when planning their celebration. The following guide provides a run down of the most in demand preferences of bridal couples. Jewelry When it comes to bridal ‘bling,’ diamonds still reign supreme. However, Paul Wagner at Reimer Jewelers has been seeing an interesting twist on rocks in engagement and wedding bands. “Halo settings are very popular right
now,” Wagner said. “We’ve done many here, some with a colored diamond in it. That makes it very unique.” Colored diamonds, particularly blue and yellow, are popular among brides looking for something out of the ordinary. Princess and round are the preferred center stone cuts with white gold bands continuing to outsell yellow. For men’s rings, Wagner is seeing the increasing use of alternative metals such as tungsten, titanium and stainless steel. “In men’s bands we see more intermixing of metals,” Wagner said. “A little gold with another metal offers a two-toned appearance and brings the ring value higher.”
Dress Brides today are looking for a dress that complements not only their figure, but the venue and climate as well. With destination weddings on the rise, David Alban at Alban Ltd. is having brides request flowing, beach-appropriate gowns. “These aren’t the big, strapless ball gowns,” Alban said. “I’m doing more natural silk dresses without a full skirt. Shades of off-white are more popular than pure white.” In addition to silk, lace seems to be making a comeback in a big way. Traditional bridal laces popular in the 1950s and ’60s gave way to the beaded glitz and glam
of the ’90s and early 2000s. Lately, Alban has seen a resurgence of traditional lace ornamentation. Brides are considering their venue when choosing a gown. An unexpected venue may call for an unexpected dress. “A lot of brides are having a nontraditional venue,” Alban said. “Instead of the church wedding, they are going to a resort city, Las Vegas or another city where they can have a vacation at the same time.” Photography When it comes to wedding photography, couples are looking for the best of both worlds. Melody Wollangk at Limelite Photography Studios sees couples requesting a candid, photojournalistic continued on page 4
LEFT and RIGHT Photos at The Waters in Oshkosh. (Submitted). MIDDLE Photo by Limelite Studios. (Submitted).
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shooting style united with set-up formals of the bridal couple. “We are seeing a big trend with the ‘first look’ shot, where the bride and groom meet before the ceremony at a planned location,” Wollangk said. “That way, we can get up closer and really capture that moment.” Wollangk is doing more work in postproduction, adding overlays and enhancement to the pictures. With huge advancements in technology, people are craving an artsy edge that is obtainable through post-production work. “A big trend is couples wanting the photo files so they can manipulate the images themselves,” Wollangk said. “It’s all about the story of the pictures; it’s not just one shot anymore. It needs to be a whole line up.” Catering The sky’s the limit when it comes to wedding day fare. Traditional plated dinners are still a popular option, but lots of couples are opting for a more casual approach. “Some couples are choosing heavy hors d’oeuvres buffets instead of a formal sit down meal,” said Kim Price, general manager at The Waters. “It allows guests to mingle and talk to everybody at different locations. It’s more like a cocktail hour.”
beef and chicken rather than giving guests a choice,” said Stephanie Brooks, catering manager at The Vintage. “It keeps the RSVP simple and everyone gets what they like.” For receptions lasting into the wee hours, bridal couples are feeding their guests late-night cravings. “Offering a late-night snack is definitely a newer thing, but it’s thoughtful of your guests,” Brooks said. Cake Epic, eight-tier wedding cakes may be a thing of the past. What used to be one of the focal points of reception décor is making way for a new tradition: the dessert buffet. “Lots of couples are opting against a full cake and doing more cupcakes with a dessert table featuring assorted desserts or a chocolate fountain,” said Laurie Hughes, catering sales manager at La Sure’s Hall & Banquets. Hughes sees couples taking family heritage and their wedding’s formality into consideration when making dessert decisions. An Italian spread calls for tiramisu and cannoli while a couple celebrating a destination wedding might choose tropical fruits dipped in chocolate.
For couples who choose a plated meal, variety and simplicity is key.
“We see a lot more diverse things,” Hughes said. “You might still have the traditional wedding cake, but people are adding more personal flair to it.”
“Couples are doing a combo plate with
These days, couples want the biggest
LEFT photo by Limelite Photography Studios. (Submitted). RIGHT photo at The Waters in Oshkosh. (Submitted).
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bang for their buck. Incorporating individual cakes into the centerpieces is one way couples can have their cake and eat it too. “People are finding creative ways to showcase their special food,” Hughes said.
Honeymoon Mexico, Punta Cana and Jamaica have long been honeymooners’ destinations of choice. Lately though, Lynn Paulus, manager at Travel Leaders, has seen a different trend. “We’re seeing couples more interested in Europe and Central America,” Paulus said. “Italy is number one in Europe, with
Venice and Florence the most popular city destinations.” Adventurous couples pack their bags for Costa Rica to visit the Arenal Volcano and surf off the coast of Guanacaste Province. Most couples are choosing to honeymoon immediately after the wedding celebration, departing the following Sunday or Monday. An average honeymoon stay is
seven to 10 days. Accommodations on the honeymoon are almost as important as the location itself. “Honeymooners are looking for luxury boutique hotels, not gigantic chain lodges,” Paulus said. “They want something out of the ordinary.”
LEFT photo at LaSure’s Hall. (Submitted). MIDDLE photo cake done by LaSure’s Cakes and Cafe. (Submitted). RIGHT photo at The Waters in Oshkosh. (Submitted).
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By ALICIA CHANG, Associated Press
Last-minute change of place? Don’t panic
Jennifer Cassista expected that her 18-month journey to the altar would include a few stumbles.
Those who can’t need to rethink their budget when searching for a plan B venue, Grove said.
A mixed-up order, perhaps. An incorrect size. A meltdown or two.
“Hopefully the losses wouldn’t be too severe, and they would be able to reschedule and have their dream wedding day,” she said.
She didn’t count on having to book a new venue less than three months before her May nuptials because her first choice closed down. Of all the troubles that can arise during wedding planning, having the location fall through at the last minute is perhaps the most trying. Couples tend to decide early where to tie the knot, and every other detail is linked to that. When a seemingly perfect spot unexpectedly evaporates before the big day, it sets off a domino effect. Real-life stories of desperate brides abound on Internet message boards and vendor blogs. With many world economies weakened in the last few years, it’s not uncommon for restaurants or event spaces to go out of business, leaving couples in the lurch. Pre-wedding hurdles usually can be fixed in time, said Tampa, Fla., wedding planner Lauren Grove, who keeps the “Every Last Detail” blog. For couples who find themselves venue-less before the big day, the priority should be fighting to get the deposit back.
Luck and resourcefulness saved the day for Cassista and her fiance, Tom Bryan. They had thought they had found their dream ceremony site when they booked a resort lodge not far from where they lived in Ontario, Canada, in March 2009. During a walk-through, the wedding coordinator gushed about an upcoming renovation to erect a new vowexchange site down by some rapids, complete with a lush garden and pew-style seating. Though the couple had to use their imagination, they trusted the resort to deliver. Things became suspicious when no one returned Bryan’s calls or e-mails when he asked for updates on the project. This past spring, he received a call from a resort front desk receptionist saying the place had gone bankrupt. Cassista and Bryan started dialing other venues on their short list. All were booked on their wedding date, May 29. “We were in desperation mode. It was like, ‘Oh my God, we have to do this all over again,“’ Bryan said. Bryan’s father, who sells computer touchscreens to
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“You just need to relax and roll with the punches. Things will happen in every bride’s planning.” - Cassista
restaurants, suggested Golden Beach Resort on the south shore of Rice Lake, east of Toronto. Cassista and Bryan weren’t impressed by the space’s website, but in desperation decided to check it out in person. Not only were the grounds better than the first place, but the dance floor was larger. An added bonus was that it was available the day they wanted, and was cheaper than the previous resort too. With the new venue locked in, the couple spent the next several weeks redoing invitations and notifying other vendors. Looking back, Cassista said, she was willing to change the wedding date if they didn’t find a backup in time. “You just need to relax and roll with the punches. Things will happen in every bride’s planning,” she said. “Be levelheaded and try to figure it out.” Self-described foodies Sarina Chhay and Brian Harnett worked their connections to turn a pre-wedding neardisaster in their favor. The couple were set on holding their reception at Great
Bay restaurant, a seafood restaurant close to Fenway Park in Boston. But the economy had other plans. After six years in business, the restaurant was shuttered at the end of May 2009, three months before their wedding.
managed to get their money returned.
They scurried to find a replacement, calling more than 20 places and visiting half a dozen, with zero luck.
Many couples worry about the weather not cooperating, but for the Schumachers Mother Nature unleashed a flood a week before their wedding in a small Indiana town, triggering a state of emergency. The state park where they planned to have their wedding was shut down because of lack of water, and it was unclear whether it would reopen in time.
“There was a feeling of helplessness,” Chhay said. “I was losing sleep.” Harnett had an idea. As a last resort, he reached out to the restaurant’s events manager, who promised to check with the other sister restaurants to see if they could host their wedding. Fortunately, Radius, known for modern French cuisine, was available. The couple went with it since it was where they shared their first fine dining experience. In September, they celebrated their one-year anniversary there too, the chaos all but a memory. “It goes to show that you can plan a wedding in two months,” Harnett said. Both Cassista and Bryan, and Chhay and Harnett
Christina and Christoph Schumacher had a laundry list of things go wrong before they said their “I dos” in June 2008.
With no backup plan, the couple contacted several politicians and explained the situation. In the end, they were able to use a log cabin at the park for their ceremony, but the guest lodgings were off-limits. After saving the venue, they scrambled to find motel rooms for out-of-town guests. It rained on and off the day of the wedding, but the Schumachers managed to have their first dance and cake-cutting outside.
TOP LEFT: Shows table settings at the wedding of Sarina Chhay and Brian Harnett at Radius in Boston. BOTTOM LEFT: Shows Sarina Chhay, center right, and Brian Harnett, center left, as they dance at their wedding reception at Radius in Boston. Of all the troubles that can arise during wedding planning, having the location fall through at the last minute is perhaps the most trying. Couples tend to decide early where to tie the knot, and every other detail is linked to that. (AP Photo/DiasPhoto.com, Edson Dias) TOP RIGHT: This May 29, 2010 photo courtesy of Stacey Wight shows Jennifer Cassista and Tom Bryan, center, as they celebrate with members of their wedding party during their wedding at the Golden Beach Resort on the south shore of Rice Lake, east of Toronto. Of all the troubles that can arise during wedding planning, having the location fall through at the last minute is perhaps the most trying. Couples tend to decide early where to tie the knot, and every other detail is linked to that. (AP Photo/Stacey Wight)
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You’d be hard pressed to find a bride who doesn’t make flowers, centerpieces and tablecloths a priority when it comes to creating a certain mood for the wedding.
Beach, Fla., said lighting effects enhanced the “Miami chic” atmosphere they were looking for. With floor lights and strategically placed LED lights, he said, the room, right off the beach, “looked almost like an aquarium.”
But talk to wedding lighting designer Bentley Meeker — whose clients have included Chelsea Clinton and Catherine Zeta Jones — and he’ll tell you that simple tricks, such as changing the color of light bulbs, can create the desired ambiance more effectively then roses and fancy tablecloths ever could.
Central Florida wedding planner Karry Castillo, who helped design the Flors’ wedding, said effects can range from simple spotlights on particular room features or decorations, to lighting motifs and patterns on walls, floors and ceilings.
“Wedding lighting is really about what people are always trying to do with their weddings, which is to create a certain vibe and atmosphere,” the New York City lighting pro said. “Say you’re going to do a wedding in your office, and you bring in flowers and the tables and you still have fluorescent lighting,” he said. “It will look like your office decorated for a wedding.
Lighting Lighting can transform a wedding space
“But if I came in and lit the office and didn’t do any other decorations, we would have transformed that space.” Diann Valentine, a Los Angeles wedding designer and expert on the cable station Wedding Central, agreed that lighting should top brides’ decorating priority lists because it “allows us to program the mood of an event.” That might mean changing the intensity of light throughout a wedding — dimmer for cocktails, brighter for dinner, for example — or using it to completely change the feel of a room. Rainer Flor, who married wife Candice last month at singer Gloria Estefan’s Costa d’Este in Vero
By DIANA MARSZALEK For The Associated Press
In addition, lighting effects can be relatively inexpensive, anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on complexity. “In many ways, lighting not only enhances the elements you have in place, but it can also give you a lot more bang for the dollar too,” Castillo said. Meeker is particularly fond of using pink and amber light bulbs, though he warns that those colors must be used cautiously (”There is ugly amber”). Dimmed incandescent light is another of his favorites. Particularly in closed rooms, he said, use lighting that’s appropriate for the setting — fixtures that can be absorbed into, rather than take over, the larger setting. “It has to look beautiful so when the guests walk in they lose their breath,” Meeker said. Make sure light isn’t so glaring — or dark — that it distorts or distracts from the wedding party. And choose soft, flattering colors to create a serene atmosphere, particularly by quelling
This undated photo courtesy of wedding lighting designer Bentley Meeker shows lighting designed by Meeker at the wedding of Melissa Rivers at New York’s Plaza Hotel. “Wedding lighting is really about what people are always trying to do with their weddings, which is to create a certain vibe and atmosphere,” the New York City lighting pro said. (AP Photo/Bentley Meeker)
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strong lights. “Lighting can change so much that people really feel good about themselves,” Meeker said. Meeker sometimes works with crews 120 strong, and charges anywhere from $4,000 to $500,000 to custom light a wedding. But there is plenty that brides and wedding planners with more limited resources can do quite simply, he said. One cost-free suggestion: Dim the lights. “If you want to transform a space, you put everything on dimmers,” he said. Meeker says he dims lights somewhat darker than you’d expect (”Your eye adjusts”); whether you can see your shoes and laces clearly is a good barometer or whether you’ve hit it right. Other wise advice: “Ask your mother or mother-inlaw-to-be, and if it’s not too dark for her, there’s your atmosphere.” Meeker also suggests this fairly inexpensive trick: Use small spotlights (about $30 each, he said) to highlight architectural or decorative features around the wedding space.
This undated photo courtesy of wedding lighting designer Bentley Meeker shows lighting designed by Meeker at Billy Joel’s wedding in Centre Island, N.Y. “Wedding lighting is really about what people are always trying to do with their weddings, which is to create a certain vibe and atmosphere,” the New York City lighting pro said. (AP Photo/Bentley Meeker)
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Friend, will you marry us? Online ordinations rise
By MONICA RHOR For The Associated Press
Jessica Alexander’s wedding was everything she had envisioned: a private gathering by her summer house on an Iowa lake. There was a pink and purple color scheme, a butterfly motif, and a dessert bar rather than a full meal. And, wearing a short periwinkle dress designed “to show off her legs,” was Alexander’s minister and bridesmaid, Anna-Megan Raley, a close friend who was ordained online specifically to perform the ceremony. Raley, a blogger for the Houston Chronicle, didn’t even know she had been ordained until Alexander and her mother sprang the news at the bridal shower. They had already paid a $25 fee and filled out a form with her name and address, making her the Rev. Raley. “I thought it was a joke. I’m sure that I
put it on Facebook and Twitter,” said Raley. “But I had heard about people getting ordained to perform weddings. So, I said: ‘Sure, I’d love to.“’ Nontraditional? Perhaps. A growing trend? Definitely. More and more engaged couples are turning to friends or family members to perform their wedding ceremony. They say it is more personal, relatively stressfree and cheaper. It is also surprisingly fast and simple. Getting ordained requires little more than finding an online ministry that performs ordinations, and filling out a short form with your name and address. Some websites require a nominal fee for paperwork; others don’t charge anything. Prospective brides and grooms should look into the website and local marriage laws, however, to make sure the ceremony would be valid. Although online
ordinations are generally recognized, laws vary widely from state to state, sometimes from county to county. Some states require ministers to register after they are ordained. In Louisiana, parishes ask for a letter of good standing from the church, while Las Vegas requires a fourpage application and background check. Last year, about one in seven weddings were performed by a friend of the couple, according to The Wedding Report, a research firm. Andre Hensley, president of the nondenominational Universal Life Church, which has been issuing ordination credentials since 1962, believes more couples are turning to friends because of the Internet, which makes the process easier, and because of many people’s lack of affiliation with a church. “I’ve gone to weddings where the ministers didn’t know the couple or anything about them. It didn’t have a special feeling,” said Hensley, who estimates that his church has ordained 18 million people. About 3,000 to 5,000 are ordained every month, a number that has steadily increased over the last 10 years, Hensley said. It takes about 24 hours for the church to process an ordination request, all of which are reviewed by a live person, he said. Janis Jones, a 27-year-old Chicago nurse, asked her older sister to perform her wedding this June. “Neither of us belong to a church, and we liked the idea of incorporating prayers and the religious aspect into the ceremony, but we didn’t
want to be married by someone we don’t know at all and who didn’t know us,” said Jones, who has been dating her fiance, Eric Strand, for six years. The couple turned to Jones’ sister, Vicky Rappatta, who has been happily married for 10 years, has a background in writing and had always been a motherly figure to her younger sibling. “I was so honored and so moved that they wanted me to be such a huge part of their wedding. Now, I’m getting terrified,” joked Rappatta, who plans to write an original wedding prayer for the couple. Rappatta said she researched the legality of the ordination process, including checking with the county where her sister will be getting her marriage license. “The last thing I wanted to do was get a fake ordination,” said Rappatta, who got her credentials from American Marriage Ministries, whose website boasts “over 10,000 marriages performed!” Kirsten Nichols, whose October wedding was performed by her husband’s cousin, asked a co-worker who is an ordained minister to be on hand at the service — just in case. “If you find out after the fact that you are not legally married, it can definitely put a damper on things,” said Nichols, who lives in Montgomery County, Md. Nichols, who is Christian, and her husband, who was raised Muslim, wanted a spiritual ceremony that would “focus on us coming together under God, not on the fact that we are of two different faiths.” At Alexander’s lakeside wedding in Iowa, her minister-bridesmaid Raley also served as personal attendant, and helped decorate for the reception — all of which lent an air of comfort and familiarity to the ceremony. “It helped that she was the one standing up there for us,” said Alexander, a fourthgrade teacher who lives in Rockwell, Texas, outside Dallas. “I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.”
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With friends and family headed to her California wedding from all over, brideto-be Carrie Shields decided online organization was key.
“Really the wedding website was one of the first things we did,” the 32-yearold public relations director from San Diego said. Shields is marrying fiance R.J. Jones, 36, who was born and raised in Wales. Their April wedding in Napa Valley comes four years after they met through friends. “I knew people were going to have a lot of questions about what to do and how to get there,” Shields said. “I wanted to make it fun and personal. I kind of jumped right on things because people were traveling so far.” Wedding experts at TheKnot.com and its partner WeddingChannel.com say this year’s annual survey found 64 percent of brides now have a website to share details with guests about
More brides informing guests with wedding websites
ceremony and reception logistics, registry information and travel accommodations. Web companies exist that allow couples to host wedding sites for free while others charge a fee for access to fancier templates and tools. The page Shields created has a personal and creative flair. It features a blue and orange frame with a brown background. The happy couple smile from behind sunglasses on a beach. A counter below them lets visitors know it’s “151 until our wedding!”
“A lot of the people coming over, they’ve never been to America,” Shields said. “I’m going to add a little bit about things to do in San Francisco, trying to take the guess work out of it.” Experts at WeddingWire.com recommend that couples launch their website at least six months before the wedding date to give guests as much
By CARYN ROUSSEAU Associated Press
information as early as possible. That allows enough time to make travel arrangements. WeddingWire also offers other online tools, including a program that lets guests RSVP directly from the website. Carley Roney, editor and founder of TheKnot.com, said her site and WeddingChannel.com together host more than 500,000 wedding websites for couples. “It’s a simple, easy way of communication,” Roney said. “It’s really like going to the website for a restaurant or a concert event. Everything is in one place.” That’s why more wedding website addresses are appearing in fancy fonts on the bottom of printed invitations. “You’re going to want to give the same information you always needed to have on an invitation: the name, location,
time of event,” Roney said. But things like dress code or babysitting services can be saved for the website. Some sites let couples upload music or an audio track of their voices, video, animated graphics, or polls asking guests what songs to play or which appetizers to serve. To personalize her website, Shields added a “glossary” of Welsh and American words, and photos of the 20-member wedding party. Couples who choose WeddingChannel. com to host their websites can choose from templates by high-fashion designers like Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Vera Wang. “You still want to make the investment in it to make it uniquely you,” Roney said. “Just like you do on the wedding day.”
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Roney offers three tips for setting up a wedding website: 1. Don’t assume your audience is only younger friends, and remember your etiquette. “You want to keep things ’wedding and older people friendly,’” Roney said. “You don’t want to go on and on forever. You don’t want to put things like, ’please ship our gifts to.’ Some of the etiquette that is wrong for wedding invitations is wrong for this too. To be making specific demands of your guests isn’t appropriate.” 2. Include your registry information. According to TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel. com survey, about 61 percent of guests find out where a couple is registered from their wedding website — a figure that has grown from 47 percent in 2008. “It really is becoming the absolute de facto way that guests are going to find out where you’re registered,” Roney said. “It used to be that brides were worried it was tacky, but it’s simply not tacky. It’s how it’s done now.” 3. Get the word out. Don’t just create and publish the website and assume everyone knows it exists. “Send the information directly to your guests,” sometimes more than once, Roney said. “You can’t assume that something you put on your website was acknowledged by all.” Online: http://www.theknot.com
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By SAMANTHA CRITCHELL AP Fashion Writer
Do vintage because you love it, not to cut corners
There’s something romantic about the idea of a vintage wedding dress, with the wonderful stories it could tell. Maybe there’d be some delicate lace, too, or exquisite siren-worthy satin. Reality, though, isn’t always so pretty. Some vintage dresses are those perfect gowns you dream of, says Mark Ingram, CEO and creative director of Manhattan’s Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier, but others are too costume-y, too dated or, more likely, simply ill-fitting. “You can reach back to some vintage eras and look as contemporary as buying a new dress. But,” he says, “you have to consider your figure first and foremost. If the dress isn’t flattering to your figure type, just don’t go down the road.” Cameron Silver, owner of the Los Angeles couture vintage shop Decades, suggests these questions to ask — frankly — of yourself: Do you need to wear a bra? Do you have a boyish figure? An hourglass shape? What about your hips? All of these, he says, are factors in buying any wedding gown, but particularly those meant to fit women of previous generations. Silver, a resource for Hollywood redcarpet looks, also warns that finding a pristine white vintage dress can be hard, and that a good vintage dress, if it’s not
an heirloom, can be more expensive than you’d think. Even with your grandmother’s dress, there could be pricey alterations. “Don’t do this because you think it’s the easy way out, or that it’ll be cheaper,” adds Ingram. “You have to want it — you have to want to have this look.” But if you do find that ideal gown from yesteryear, Silver says, it’s a magical moment. He once sold a full Chantilly lace wedding gown by Chanel. “It was such a thrill,” he says. There was a more recent Olivier Theyskens for Rochas gown that practically brought tears to his eyes. (If you find a keeper, be ready to buy it right away — no wavering — because there’s not another one stuck in some inventory closet.) If you’re partial to embroidery, look at gowns from the 1920s-’30s, while sultry, satin gowns come out of the ‘40s. Women with a full bust might look to the curvier ‘50s silhouette, says Ingram, WE TV’s “gown guru,” while mini-dresses of the ‘60s are cool, yet hard to pull off unless the event is casual or the bride prides herself an individualist. Silver says that’s usually the case with those who wear vintage. “This bride doesn’t want to look like everyone else.”
Still, you can hit contemporary fashion trends. Something from the ‘70s, a little bohemian but sexy, too, is probably the hippest look going. The period to stay away from is, no surprise, the ‘80s, with its oversize pouffy shoulders and tapered sleeves. “Right now, the ‘80s looks so dated. Yes, 20-30 years back is ‘vintage,’ but if you’re going back, that’s a bad period to dip into. No ‘Dynasty,’ not even Princess Diana,” Ingram says. “There could be a big trend back to the ‘80s if Kate (Middleton) wore it, but I can’t imagine that. It’s too big. The proportion was too big, and it wouldn’t look modern now.” A bride’s goal often is a timeless look, since the photos will hopefully last a lifetime, but each era still has its signature, says Michael Shettel, designer of bridal brand Alfred Angelo. You might be best off with a classic silhouette, while adjusting embellishments and details to current tastes, he suggests. Wedding-gown trends don’t swing as quickly as ready-to-wear fashion, he explains: Of course, white always dominates the market and the overall vibe is fancy, but when you line them up, you’ll see differences in the size and types of pearls and beads, changes in popular lace patterns, hemlines going up and down.
“You want to make it your own, while still honoring whoever wore a vintage dress before. ... Maybe you’d like to make it a little more low-cut, a little more fitted, maybe give it a fuller skirt,” Shettel says. He also borrows from the past for new gowns. The tight-bodice, tea-length ballgown, which “Mad Men” helped bring back in style, seems very fresh, Shettel says, and the asymmetrical neckline remains popular. Ingram says the best of both worlds might be vintage or vintage-inspired accessories on a new dress. “Add a fur piece — a shrug or a stole — and it looks vintage, even if it’s new, which probably means a better fit. The look could be 1910 or 2010,” he says. He also likes to add a beaded belt or sash, which also can give the illusion of a small waist, and carries that retro feel. There’s no reason, though, to go back in time for your beauty routine. “If you do a vintage wedding dress, your accessories, hair and makeup have to be incredibly modern,” says Decades’ Silver. “You don’t want to be the bride of Frankenstein. If the dress looks ‘period,’ you have to play against it in your styling — unless you have a Renaissance theme, and who does that?”
LEFT photo shows a fur stole can give a more modern dress a vintage look as demonstrated at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier in New York. Some brides like the idea of a vintage or vintage-inspired wedding gown. MIDDLE photo shows beading and material contribute to the vintage look of this Jenny Packham wedding dress at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier in New York. Some brides like the idea of a vintage or vintage-inspired wedding gown. RIGHT photo shows chunky beading and silk charmeuse fabric contribute to the vintage look of this Jenny Packham wedding dress at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier in New York. Some brides like the idea of a vintage or vintage-inspired wedding gown. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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