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How to be a bold bride Latest dress trends are all about color

WEDDINGS SUMMER 2010

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WEDDINGS SUMMER 2010

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Not your mother’s wedding dress

Vietnamese designer bucks tradition with a splash of color By Jacy Meyer

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alking into Mimi Lan’s Prague 1 shop, La Femme Mimi, you wouldn’t guess she’s a wedding dress designer. Full of color and whimsical features, the shop is bursting with creative blouses, skirts and dresses, along with handbags and a great selection of jewelry. Meeting the energetic and diminutive Lan is like getting an infusion of enthusiasm. “Every bride wants to be in white, but I think it’s time to change that and make it more modern,” she said. “We try to show them different materials [like] brocade — it’s good for them to see different options.” Her shop carries her personal line, but she also has a blue brocade wedding dress prototype that she often uses to introduce potential clients to something new.

La Femme Mimi Štěpánská 51 Prague 1 224 214 106 lafemmemimi@yahoo.com www.lafemmemimi.cz 2

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The short, simple dress is vaguely Asian in look and definitely not something you often see worn down the aisle. Lan is currently designing a similar dress for a lawyer in pink brocade. Lan says it’s a different type of bride that she usually sees, one who’s a bit older and professional. She also finds she’s been designing more dresses for pregnant brides. She doesn’t make any white wedding dresses, believing the color is too steeped in tradition. Champagne or ivory are often used, and always silk, because as she says, “It’s sad to wear polyester on your wedding day.” Floral dresses have been gaining popularity as well; Lan said she made about three last year. Kateřina Pojerová is getting married July 31, and her La Femme Mimi dress is nearing completion. It’s a short ivory piece with a 1940s neckline that gathers behind her head in a bow. The bow’s ties drop below the dress’ hem, and the tips are a multihued pattern of different materials, adding a fun splash to the simple strapless dress. “That’s our signature,” Lan says. It’s a great idea, since people normally spend the wedding ceremony staring at the happy couple’s backs, anyway. Pojerová had begun shopping for a dress in typical wedding salons but was horrified by the styles and prices. “I knew Mimi’s shop, and on her Web site I saw that she designed wedding dresses,” she said. “I wanted Mimi. I already had an idea, knew what fit me and what I wanted. I wanted something original, not a princess white dress.” She adds that her dress can actually be worn after the wedding, as a cocktail dress or for other functions. You won’t find “off the rack” customer service at La Femme Mimi, either. Lan spends time with her clients, asking lots of questions at the beginning to get to know them and, as the process goes along, advising on hair, makeup, shoes and jewelry. She and Pojerová discussed the possibility of different hair pieces, as well as what type of necklace would look best with the dress’s neckline. Lan says there are definite differences between designing wedding dresses and designing clothes for her standard collection. “When we design a collection, it takes four to five months, and we don’t know if people will like the shirt or not. It’s a gamble and not so 4

personal,” she said. “It’s my personality, but wedding dresses are more intimate, the feeling is like every dress is our child — I completely remember every one.” Originally from Vietnam, Lan came to visit her mother a few years after the Velvet Revolution. She’d only planned to stay six months or at the most one year, but 16 years later, she’s still here. “It’s my hometown now, for sure. My job is here, I met my husband here, had kids, built a life,” she said. She also has a shop in Amsterdam. Lan has some advice for brides thinking about having a tailor-made dress. First, the process takes about two months, and you should take your time. “Decide what you like and how you naturally feel,” she said. “Many brides are confused, [thinking] ‘I should be different,’ but be yourself in your own special way. Keep it natural and harmonized.” Lan applies the philosophy of “Be yourself in your own special way,” to her work as well, saying the unique challenge of designing each wedding dress is what she likes best about her craft. “It’s not my design; it’s her design,” she said. “It’s not a dress for me, but her. I want to make her imagination a reality.” Jacy Meyer can be reached at specialsection@praguepost.com

Modern brides view white as too traditional, opting instead for ivory.

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Designer Mimi Lan shows a brocade dress.

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Lan’s signiture is a draping ’40s-style bow tied at the back of the bride-to-be’s neck. WEDDINGS SUMMER 2010

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WEDDINGS SUMMER 2010

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How to pick the

best blooms Prague florists’ advice on how to match your flower arrangement to your personality

By Laura Garcia Martinez

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n the hands of the bride, in the lapel of the groom, all around the wedding reception … it’s undeniable that flowers are one of the main elements of a wedding. The wrong combination of colors or a poor arrangement can ruin the ambience of a ceremony, but with a good florist, an old, dark church can be transformed into a scene from a fairy tale. We spoke with two expert Prague florists to find out what brides-to-be should do to ensure they have the most beautiful blossoms for their big day. The first step a couple should take before making any decision about flowers is to have a talk with the florist. “The first meeting is very important. This is the moment when everything is decided and when we get the main idea so we can start working,” said Markéta Motlová, owner of Inspirito Flowers, a florist studio in Prague. “This is the moment to let us know every detail of the wedding: what the bride is going to wear, how her hair will look, and then we can speak about flowers,” she said. Mario Wild, professional florist with 10 years of experience and owner of Mario Wild Flowers in Prague, goes one step further. “I usually have a friendly talk with the couple, not only about the flowers, but also asking them for spontaneous things, such as what they like to do and where they work, and try to get as much information as possible,” he said. Defining the style of the wedding is also one of the first things to do. For Wild, the most essential step is to connect the flowers with the couple’s personality, so the style of each arrangement will be unique. “My own style with the flower arrangements is more modern than classic. I always try to be different in every wedding, always looking forward to improving on what I have done before,” he said. Motlová, on the other hand, has more experience with traditional weddings. “The brides who usually come to me don’t really want to innovate too much because the wedding is just one day, and they don’t want this day to experiment. Everything should be nice and perfect,” she said. Both Motlová and Wild advise their clients that the surrounding elements of the wedding are the key to choosing the flowers 6

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Florist Markéta Motlová displays roses and hydrangeas, both popular in summer.

correctly. Motlová is emphatic that the dress is one of the most important things to look at when choosing floral arrangements, adding, “Also the place, the wedding style, what the bride is like — combining all those elements together, you should be able to make the right choice of flowers.” Wild agrees, saying, “They have to pick flowers connected to their personality, and try to pick the ones that also match their hair, eyes and dress. Then we continue with the idea and try to brighten it.” The florists also agree that while trends may influence other aspects of the wedding, there is no need to follow the herd when it comes to flowers. “There is always some kind of trend, especially depending on the season in which the ceremony takes place, but I don’t think they are so important. It’s less about trends than personal choice,” Motlová said. Wild is equally against the grain in his arrangements. “We are really open to everything, so we don’t necessarily use ‘trendy’ flowers according to a popular color or type. Everything is possible, and everything is fashion,” he said. “The main thing is how you come out with each detail, because it depends on the personality of each person.” So the consensus is that the personality of the couple is the most important factor in a floral selection, but choices should always WEDDINGS SUMMER 2010

Mario Wild Flowers Vinohradska 23, Prague 2 Tel.: 222 250 310 Web: www.wildflowers.cz E-mail: shop@wildflowers.cz Inspirito Flowers Kostelní 4, Prague 7 Tel.: 602 165 384 Web: www.inspirito.cz E-mail: info@inspirito.cz

be made in line with the aesthetics of other elements in the wedding. “It’s their day, so it’s up them to decide how they want it to look,” Wild said. “But they know that I am a professional, so I give my opinion, and they take it into account.” Motlová says communication between client and florist is key. “When a bride comes with a weird idea, usually we have a meeting with someone from the wedding agency, the bride and one of us, so there are three opinions. Like this, we can persuade the bride if we see that it’s not a good idea.” Laura Garcia Martinez can be reached at specialsection@praguepost.com

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A wedding on a farm can bring friends and family together in the beauty of the countryside for a weekend-long event.

Inventive ceremony ideas Trends add new customs to the canon of wedding traditions

By Emily Thompson o one can know when the first wedding took place, but rituals recognizable to us probably date back at least to the Pharos. Those planning a less Paleolithic ceremony sometimes find it difficult to make their big day unique, while still keeping it firmly grounded in the kind of tradition that everyone expects. Luckily, there are some modern wedding trends that allow couples to do just that. “People want to be original, and everyone

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Left: Lanterns sent off with well wishes for the happy couple is a tradition from Asia. Right: "Love locks" snapped to a bridge in Prague. 8

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especially wants their wedding to be unique,” said Alexandra Zubčevská, general director of Cosmopolites’ Wedding. “But not everybody is imaginative enough to do this, and so they take something from another culture and make it domestic.” Snapping engraved padlocks or “lovelocks” as they are known by lovers, to the posts of bridges is a trend that started in Italy in 2006 after the release of Federico Moccia’s novel about young Romans in love, which was aptly titled I Want You. Real-life Romans in the grip of romance started putting love locks on the famous Ponte Milvio, and the fad has spread all over Europe, with many couples fastening their locks as a symbolic part of their wedding festivities. In Prague, you can find lovelocks with engraved endearments in dozens of languages adorning the bridge by Velkopřevorský Mill near Charles Bridge. Eva Keilworth from the White Agency says another popular imported ritual is the lighting of sky lanterns, a tradition common in Asia, where the ascendance of the sky lanterns symbolizes troubles floating away, to be replaced by good fortune in the future. “It’s usually done at midnight, and the guests write a message or wish for the bride and groom to attach to the lantern,” she said. In addition to appropriating customs from other cultures to give an exotic twist to your ceremony, Keilworth says couples are also getting more creative with the venue where they say “I do,” and the more personalized locations, though sometimes a bit quirky, actually tend to bring family and friends together better. What’s more traditional than that? Kateřina Houpert and her husband Michel from France wanted a more secluded location close to nature, and no cathedral or park, however beautiful, would do. They opted to have their ceremony and reception at a farm 60 kilometers from Prague, and Keilworth, who helped plan the Houpert wedding, says farms are growing in popularity as a wedding venue. “I would definitely recommend a farm wedding to couples who like to be in nature but also want to be comfortable for the wedding day at

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A couple toasts their nuptials after a river wedding aboard a boat floating down the Vltava.

the same time,” Houpert said. “The atmosphere is extraordinary — it’s only you and your friends and family in the middle of the woods and fields.” Got sturdy sea legs? If so, you can surprise your guests by exchanging your vows on a boat as you float down the Vltava. The company Prážské Benatky can make it happen, and will even serve refreshments to your guests. More aeronautically than nautically inclined? Zubčevská recommends a ceremony or reception hosted by the company Wedding in the Sky, which hoists the couple and up to 18 guests up 50 meters in the air on a platform suspended from a crane at the location of your choice. Zubčevská says she has even arranged bungee jumping ceremonies for adrenaline junkies who want to literally “take a big leap“ when they get married. If you go back far enough in time in the history of wedding traditions, you can bring elements you like back into style in the 21st century for an original ceremony concept. “Castles are popular with foreigners and Czechs

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alike, and to underline the beauty of the venue, they frequently dress up in medieval dress and encourage their guests to do the same,” Zubčevská said. “They can feel like a prince and a princess having their ceremony at one of the many beautiful castles in the Czech Republic.” Whichever venue you choose, and however you decide to incorporate traditions, be they old or new, domestic or foreign, Keilworth says making the wedding a whole weekend event has become popular with couples who want a unique experience for their guests that lasts longer than an afternoon. Houpert’s farm wedding was a weekend affair, and she says the added time with friends and family made the whole wedding. “We had a lot of guests from abroad, and we didn’t want to make them come for just one day,” Houpert said. “And of course, we wanted to make the ‘day’ last as long as possible.” Emily Thompson can be reached at ethompson@praguepost.com

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Štěpán Halada and daughter Miriam Halada of Halada Jewellery say some preparation before you hit the shops will make the process easier.

If the ring fits, wear it Engagement ring shopping tips for the befuddled boyfriend By Natalia O’Hara o you’ve found a woman who can tolerate you, and you don’t mind her either. In fact, she’s the first woman you’ve ever met who has “endearing idiosyncrasies” instead of “annoying habits.” The idea of parading in front of your assembled friends and family in a tuxedo seems less loathsome

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than it once did. If the above applies to you, you’ll probably want to join the 70 percent of bridegrooms who give their fiancé an engagement ring. Choosing something your girlfriend will wear every day for the rest of her life is no easy task, so we’ve gathered a panel of experts from jewelers Cartier, Halada and Allure to help navigate this nuptial minefield. WEDDINGS SUMMER 2010

Štěpán Halada of Halada Jewellery says an engagement ring will probably be the biggest jewelry purchase you’ll ever make, but there’s no cause for alarm. “You’ve already chosen the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with. Compared to that decision, this one will be easy.” Preparing before you begin shopping for Photo White Agency rings could save youcourtesy a lot ofoftime and money. www.praguepost.com


The history It seems the first diamond engagement ring was given by Archduke Maximilian to Mary of Burgundy to celebrate their engagement in 1477. He put the ring on the third finger of Mary’s left hand, which was believed to contain a “vein of love,” which ran all the way to the heart. But it wasn’t until the 19th century, when the discovery of mines in Africa drove down the price of diamonds, that diamond rings became affordable for most people. Before then, a typical engagement gift was a birthstone ring or a silver sewing thimble. The science

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The quality of a diamond is measured with the "four Cs": carat, clarity, color and cut.

The first step is to find out your girlfriend’s ring size. “If you want the proposal to be a surprise, it’s best to secretly borrow a ring she wears on the ring finger and take it to a jewelry shop to find out the size,” said Radovan Grmusa, manager of Allure. “If that’s not possible, you’ll need to measure her finger while she’s asleep. Use a thin strip of paper, wrap it around her left ring finger, mark the place where the two sides meet with a pen, and measure the circumference with a ruler.” Figuring out the style is just as important. “The ring you choose should fit her personality and taste,” said Patricia Gandji, managing director of Cartier Northern Europe. “Try to find out her preferences and especially the stone cut she prefers.” Asking yourself a few simple questions can help narrow down the options. Does your girlfriend wear jewelry that’s big and showy or small and elegant? Are her clothes casual or dressy? Does she wear yellow or white gold? “Her watch is a very good guide, because she wears it every day. If she has a big sporty watch, it’s not a good idea to buy a small, elegant ring,” said Zdenka Zanewczykova, sales manager at Allure. “Think about her job, too. If she uses her hands, it might not be practical to have a raised setting, which is more likely to catch.” If you’re still unsure, the safest option is the classic option, says Štěpán Halada, the founder and managing director of Halada. “The best choice when you’re not certain is something very classic and traditional,” he said. “A solitaire, six-prong setting round brilliant diamond in a Tiffany-style band will not disappoint many young ladies.” “Beware of the one-carat price hike,” said Grmusa. “Something most jewelers won’t tell you is that because so many buyers want a diamond that is one carat or more, there is a big jump in price as soon as the stone hits the one carat mark. A diamond that is 0.97 is so close in size that it looks the same, but it should cost between 10 percent and 20 www.praguepost.com

percent less.” Štěpán Halada says you can assure your ring’s value by insisting on a certificate of authenticity. “If you buy a diamond bigger than three-fourths of a carat, you should automatically get an international certificate with information about the stone,” he said. The certificate will give you information on the type and quality of your stone, and should be issued by one of the major gemological institutes. “Don’t forget the box,” says Miriam Halada, the daughter of Halada founder Štěpán Halada and manager of Halada City. “First impressions are important. In the past, our boxes always had two layers and ribbon — they’re for the woman to open like a present. But now we also stock boxes that the man can snap open by pressing a button — there was a lot of demand for them from men because they’ve seen it in the movies. So consider where you want to propose and how.” Natalia O’Hara can be reached at specialsection@praguepost.com

Cartier Boutique Prague Pařižská 2, Prague 1 Tel.: 221 709 000 Web: www.cartier.com Halada Pařižská 7, Prague 1 Tel.: 224 227 957 Web: www.halada.de E-mail: halada@halada.cz Allure Železna 4, Prague 4 Tel.: 224 221 991 Web: www.allure.cz E-mail: info@allure.cz

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Gold is so soft in its pure form that it has to be mixed with other metals, like silver, copper and palladium, to make a more durable alloy. Gold is always yellow — the color of white gold is created by mixing gold with white metals like silver or nickel. Little scratches will reveal the base-color, so white gold rings need refinishing every few years. Platinum looks similar to white gold but is heavier, stronger and more valuable. In the United Kingdom and Germany, it’s the most popular material for engagement rings because it does not tarnish or wear down. Diamonds The value of a diamond is determined by the “four Cs:” Carat: The size of the stone. One carat is 0.2 grams. Engagement ring stones are usually between half a carat and one carat. Clarity: How many “inclusions” (imperfections) the diamond has, and their size, number, location and visibility. The very best and rarest diamonds are graded LC (“loupe clean”); after that the gradings are (in descending order): VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, S11, S12, P1, P2 and P3. Color: Most diamonds are colorless to pale yellow. The clearer the stone, the more valuable it is. A completely clear diamond is graded D, followed by E, F, G and all the way down to an S-Z grading. Color is more important than clarity because it is easier for a nonexpert to distinguish. Cut: The most popular cut is round brilliant, the classical circle-shaped cut. About 99 percent of engagement rings contain a round brilliant. Other cuts are the oval, heart, princess (squareshaped), pear (shaped like an almond), emerald and radiant (both eightsided). Newer diamonds tend to be better-cut, because of improvements in cutting technology.

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Weddings - Summer 2010 by PraguePost.com