Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Wedding Curveballs: Discontinued Styles

Over the last few months, we've had lots of brides coming in to shop for a dress for the first time. A lot of these ladies have wedding dates scheduled for late 2013 or even 2014. Obviously, we LOVE how on-the-ball they are, but shopping so far in advance can create its own set of issues. The most common curveball when shopping so far out is the dreaded discontinued dress.

Here's how it plays out: The bride finds her dream dress almost immediately, but since the wedding is so far away, she figures, "I'll keep looking around to see what else is out there and then order my dress closer to the wedding." Smart, right? Well, yes and no. As long as that dress is still available a year or so later, then yes. Unfortunately, designers discontinue dresses all the time. We never know when we'll get an announcement from a designer that they are discontinuing a dress, but it can happen at any time and for just about any reason. Sometimes, we're lucky enough to have 2 or 3 weeks notice, but not always. Fortunately, if we have notice and we know you love that dress, we'll call you to let you know it's being discontinued. You may still be able to order it if you act fast.

So what do you do if the dress of your dreams has been discontinued and you can no longer order it? There are a few options for you:

First, consider purchasing the sample dress from our store. You may even be able to ask for a bit of a discount if you're purchasing a discontinued floor sample.

A selection of our discontinued dresses

Second, consider making some minor changes to another similar dress, even another dress by the same designer.

If you don't have the option of purchasing the sample, then take some time and figure out exactly what it is that you loved about the dress. Was is the fabric? Or the embellishments? Or maybe the silhouette and the fit? If you find yourself in this predicament, book an appointment immediately with your bridal consultant. She will know exactly what dresses to show you that will make you feel as beautiful as the original dress.

No matter what, just remember that everything happens for a reason. We've seen brides who were devastated to find out they could no longer get their dream dress, only to be completely elated when they found another dress that they loved even more than the first one. Keep an open mind and a positive attitude and you'll end up with a dress that is your dream come true!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Meet Our Bride: Ashley

One of the comments we often hear in the store centers around surprise at hearing how much we have to offer in addition to bridal gowns. We have over 400 sample bridesmaid dresses and over 300 mother's dresses available. It's no surprise to us how much selection there is, but it turns out that it's a surprise to many of you! Our bride Ashley was pleasantly surprised by how much we had and ended up with her bridal gown, bridesmaid dresses and mother's dress all from Madeleine's!

Here's Ashley's story: “I had a very particular look in mind for my wedding dress because my wedding was outside and it was a "bohemian theme.” I looked everywhere in Maine and nowhere had that style dress; they had big, poofy dresses, which was the opposite of what I was looking for. Not only did Madeleine's Daughter have the style dress I wanted, they also had an environment that makes you feel incredibly special. You get to go into your own room and have a consultant bring the dresses to you. It was the only shop in the area that provided this luxury and by the time I went there I was so sick of digging through dresses! All of the consultants we worked with were great and full of ideas. My dress originally had 3D flowers all over the bottom and under the bust with tiny feathers sticking out all over them. I loved the dress, but couldn't sell myself on having the feathers all over. My consultant knew the dress would be the one if I could have it without the feathers, so she called the designer and asked if it could be done. Next thing I knew I had the dress I wanted, the way I wanted it and I couldn't have been happier. Not only did Madeleine's have the unique style dress that I wanted, but they also had bridesmaid dresses that were unlike any other dresses I had found in Maine. They went perfectly with my theme and really tied everything together! My mom also found her dress there after looking and looking for months. The one on the rack was the right color and fit her like a glove, so the consultant let her buy it right off the rack! Overall our experience was great and easy, which is what I needed at that stressful time in my life! Since my wedding last year, I have suggested Madeline's Daughter to many friends and family. Thanks!”

We love hearing success stories like this one. Surprisingly, a lot of our designers are willing to make minor changes to their dresses. Sometimes a small change is what it takes for the dress to be "the one" and we can easily find out whether that small change is possible. Sometimes, even if the designer isn't willing to make the change, it can often be done when you come in for alterations. We have lots of custom change requests in the alterations department- things like making a neckline into a sweetheart shape, or removing layers of crinolin under the skirt or even removing an embellishment like Ashley did. If you're wondering whether something can be done to your dress, just ask!

Are you a Madeleine's bride who made a small (or big) change to her dress? Let us know what you did to make your dress perfect on your wedding day. And send us a picture, too!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bridal Photography: the Dress Shot

Here at Madeleine's we love checking our email and finding a note from one of our brides with the much anticipated phrase, "I've included some photos." We make scrapbooks filled with photos from brides. We hang them up around the store and we post them on our blog and facebook page. Bottom line: we love photos. We see some amazing photography as well. One of our favorite shots is obviously the "dress shot." Here are a few from this past wedding season:

Do you have a photo that you'd like to share with us? Whether it's the "dress shot" or any other, we'd love to see it, so why not email us today? Tell us a little about your experience here or your wedding day or both!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meet the Staff: Cheryl

We hope you've enjoyed meeting all of our consultants over the last couple of months. We've really enjoyed sharing so much about them with you and we've loved hearing from those of you who worked with our consultants. Today we're continuing this series with Cheryl:

How long have you been a bridal consultant at Madeleine's Daughter? I've been here for 3 years.

Who is your favorite designer/dress? I love Marisa.

How would you describe your approach in helping a bride find her dress? My approach is laid-back. A very soft approach.

What is your most memorable experience at Madeleine's Daughter? I remember the very first dress I helped a bride with. The moment she said it was "the dress" and feeling the emotions of being part of that experience. I'll never forget it.

In ONE word, describe what it's like to have an appointment with you. Friendly

What is your favorite type of bridal accessory? Headpieces with flowers and feathers

What advice do you have for a bride coming to Madeleine's Daughter to find her dress? Bring pictures of styles you like. Be open-minded.

What is your favorite thing about working in the bridal industry? It's different every day!

Coffee or tea? Coffee
White, milk or dark chocolate? Milk
Cats or dogs? Cats

Of course, bridal consultants aren't the only staff you'll meet here, so check back soon to get to know some more staff- our store manager Juhree, our alterations staff and others!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Meet Our Bride: Heidi

A lot of people assume that since we're up on the seacoast of New Hampshire, that we mostly get brides from nearby- Maine, central New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. The truth is that our brides come from far and wide. Every single day, we hear from someone from Boston or even further south. We even once had a bride from Presque Isle, ME (about 5 hours away by car)! One of our brides recently flew in from Mexico to have her fittings! We love hearing from our brides who don't live nearby, especially when they tell us it was worth the trip. This was the case for Heidi:

Here's how Heidi tells it, "It is every girl’s fairytale to find 'the perfect dress' for her wedding day. I heard wonderful things about Madeleine's Daughter and even though I drove an hour and 45 minutes to look for my dress, it was well worth the drive. My mother, best friend, and mother-in-law came with me to try on dresses and we all immediately fell in love with my consultant who helped me find my dress. We had such an amazing experience...we laughed and truly enjoyed ourselves but when the highly anticipated words, "this is the one," came out of my mouth...along came the tears. The customer service exceeded our expectations, they offered a variety of dresses and they worked with my budget. I highly recommend going…you may just find 'the one!'"

We love when a trip to our shop ends with the words, "this is the one!" And we love it even more when our bride sends us such amazing photos! It really is a treat that makes our whole day even better.

If you're a Madeleine's Daughter bride and you'd like to share your photos and a little about your experience here, please email us! We love nothing more than hearing from our brides!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Bling Trunk Show March 17!

There were quite a few of our brides who attended our Bling Trunk Show last December and they were able to see some truly stunning bridal accessories. If you have a dazzling, sparkly dress and you want accessories to match it, or if you have a simple dress that is the perfect canvas for some beautifully detailed jewelry and veil, Bling is the trunk show for you.

Shopping for bridal accessories is always easier when you can wear you actual wedding gown, so why not schedule an appointment to come in, try on your wedding gown and shop for some beautiful accessories? We're sure you're going to love the pieces you'll see at this trunk show.

In addition to having this amazing designer in our store for the weekend, we'll also be hosting yet another of our Bubbles events complete with champagne for you and your guests and hair and make-up consultations. Joanne from Joya Beauty will be here to give you a personal make-up consultation and Lena from Hair that Moves will be showing you the latest in wedding hairstyles.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

This particular holiday tends to be a quiet one for us here in the store- all of our brides are usually out to a nice, romantic dinner this evening. We hope you are having a Happy Valentine's Day with your partner today! And if you happen to get engaged on this year's Valentine's Day, be sure to call us tomorrow to schedule your appointment to look for your dream dress- after the ring, it's the first step to happily ever after!

In honor of this holiday, we'd like to show you some of our gowns that are in the popular "blush" color. This is a color we are seeing more and more on the runway and brides are loving it! Before you freak out thinking, "OMG!!! I would never want to wear a PINK dress!!!" just take a minute and be open to the idea. A blush gown doesn't necessarily mean Barbie pink, in fact, it's often just a warmer version of champagne and is actually really flattering on lots of different skin tones.

Of course, it's the most flattering on girls with red or strawberry blonde hair, like our beautiful front desk receptionist Lindsay. She was kind enough to be our model while we photographed a sampling of our blush wedding gowns:

In this look, we've paired the stunning "Candy" by Monique Lhuillier with a blush-toned cathedral veil by Toni Federici. This particular dress also works beautifully with  butterscotch colored veil called "Snowdrop" also by Toni Federici, as seen in this photo:

Because of the tone of the beading and embellishments on the bodice, the butterscotch veil works just as well as the matching blush veil. It's all a matter of preference, really. And if you're not convinced that a pink veil is going to work, it's a nice alternative to ivory that still looks more traditional.

We also have another blush-toned Monique Lhuillier gown in the store right now, called "Peony." It's made with a stunning blush jacquard fabric, which is essentially a monochromatic print. It's a slightly paler blush than "Candy," but still distinct:

The design and detail of this dress is absolutely flawless, so we chose to keep the acessories simple. We topped off the dress with an amazing statement necklace by Elizabeth Cole.

Of course, it's not just Monique Lhuillier who's designing with blush tones this season. In fact, our private collection, exclusive to our store also has a stunning blush gown available this season:

Again, the cathedral blush-toned veil by Toni Federici is the perfect complement to the dress, as well as a stunning headband by Maria Elena

Some brides might love the idea of a blush-colored gown, but aren't quite ready to divert from the traditional white or ivory. In that case, consider wearing a different dress for the reception that ties in the blush tones. It doesn't even have to be a gown- you may want to wear one of our short styles like this one by Jovani:

The bodice has a blush lining that peeks through the beaded top layer. We think it looks great with a Swarovski-encrusted mini-clutch and our new shoes, "Charlize," by Benjamin Adams. This look could work perfectly for either a rehearsal dinner outfit or a second dress reception look.
What do you think of the blush-toned wedding gown trend? It seems like it all started on the red carpet a few years ago when nearly every starlet walked the red carpet at the Academy Awards in varying shades of nude and blush. We're so glad to see this color becoming more popular for bridal. Call today to set up an appointment to try on any of these beautiful blush gowns. All of them are also available in ivory, as are the veils, so don't stress if you love the design but not the color.

Leave a comment to tell us what you think! Or if you are a bride planning to wear blush, leave a comment to tell us what draws you to that color. Happy Valentine's Day- we hope you get to blush on this day, too!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Meet Our Bride: Molly

There are lots of brides who have the "a-ha" moment when shopping for a wedding gown- there is a moment when they put on "the dress" and instantly know that it's the one. Other times, it takes an accessory or two and then the "a-ha" moment comes. This was the case with our bride Molly, who had her moment once the belt was added to her dress:

I'll let her tell it: “When shopping for my wedding dress, I had some very specific ideas in mind:  mermaid fit, some sparkle, and lots of rouching.  I had shopped all over Massachusetts, tried on over 50 dresses, with no luck.  My mother-in-law suggested Madeleine’s Daughter, so my Mom and I took a trip there to check out the selection.  We talked with our consultant about what kind of dress I wanted and what we wanted to spend.  She only brought out dresses within our budget, and had a keen eye for exactly what I liked.  She had the creative idea of mixing a Lazaro sash with an Allure gown – and it was perfect!  My mom and I both loved it instantly, and I loved wearing my dress on my wedding day.  It was just what I had imagined!  Thanks so much!”

It seems this dress was everything she imagined, except for one thing. It had the mermaid fit and the rouching, but no sparkle. But with the simple addition of a belt (from another designer, no less!), this dress was transformed into the dress of her dreams! We love seeing how a simple accessory can really change the look of a dress. In Molly's case, it looks as if the belt belongs with the dress.

Doesn't she look beautiful? We're so happy to have been a part of your day, Molly! Thank you for sharing your photos and your story. We love nothing more than hearing from our brides. If you are a Madeleine's bride and you want to send your photo and story, please email us today! You never know when you might see yourself on our blog!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Juhree's Journal

Welcome to our second "Juhree's Journal" post where our fearless leader and Store Manager, Juhree Ross shares her experience and expertise about the bridal gown industry.

Last month, we used this post as an opportunity for you to get to know her a little bit more. This month, we'd like to share a little bit about Juhree's job as Store Manager and what makes her so important to selecting the dresses we have in our shop.

Here's what Juhree has to say about attending Bridal Market:

Every year, Elizabeth- the store owner- and I attend Bridal Market in Chicago and New York. It's basically bridal fashion week and it's insane! From the moment we step off the plane, we're off and running! We spend our time hard at work, checking out the newest collections from all the designers we carry in our store- Monique Lhuillier, Paloma Blanca, Jenny Packham, Maggie Sottero, Allure- to name a few! But we don't stop there- we also try to see the collections of other designers we don't yet carry. Madeleine's Daughter has dresses from about 30 different designers, but we're always looking for something new that we don't already have. This year, we found it: Ysa Makino and Steven Yearick. These designs are for the bride who wants over-the-top exquisite detail and drama. These pictures couldn't possibly do these dresses justice:

As you can see, Ysa Makino's line is similar to Eve of Milady which we also carry. Steven Yearick's gowns are also amazingly detailed:

It was so exciting to see these dresses in person and to decide we wanted to have these designers represented in our store. The bridal industry is just like any other part of the fashion industry in that it is constantly changing and designers are always thinking of something new. I love being able to bring such exciting gowns to our brides year after year. If there's anything I've learned from all these years doing this, it's to keep an open mind- I never know what I'm going to see and that's what makes these trips so exciting!

Of course, Bridal Market isn't just about work- we have a lot of fun, too! In Chicago, we attended the DEBI Awards- a black tie event attended by the bridal industry's leading designers and retailers:

Juhree and Elizabeth at the DEBI Awards

In New York, we attended the Knot cocktail party, another fancy gathering of bridal industry professionals:

Juhree and McKenzie (bridal consultant) at the Knot Cocktail Party

If you're interested in seeing more photos from our buying trips to New York and Chicago, visit our facebook page!

Check back next month for the next installment of Juhree's Journal- she has a lot of great experience and expertise to share, but is also happy to answer any questions you have about wedding gowns and the bridal industry. Leave a comment below or email us if you have a question for her! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meet the Staff: Gigi

While you may think primarily of bridal gowns when you think of our store, we actually have consultants who specialize in mother of the bride/groom and bridesmaid dresses. These consultants are wizards when it comes to creating a cohesive bridal party look that compliments your dress as well as your venue. Gigi is one such consultant, so please take a few minutes to get to know her!

How long have you been a consultant at Madeleine's Daughter? I started in January 2005 as a bridal consultant, but then switched to bridesmaids and mothers.

Who is your favorite designer/dress? Bill Levkoff is my favorite for bridesmaids- he fits so many body types. Jade and Jovani are my favorites for mothers- Jovani for their edge and Jade for the great price.

How would you describe your approach in helping a bride or mother or bridesmaid find her dress? I listen to their needs and find a dress that fulfills those needs.

What is your most memorable experience at Madeleine's Daughter? I had a bride who chose a dress from a catalog. She was a plus size and she cried when she found a dress that we could get for her. She sent us pictures and expressed how happy she was.

In one word, descirbe what it's like to have an appointment with you.  Enjoyable.

What is your favorite type of bridal accessory? Earrings!

What advice do you have for a bride or mother coming to Madeleine's Daughter to find her dress? Come in with an open mind. Try different styles on- trust in us to find the perfect dress.

What is your favorite thing about working in the bridal industry? Making people happy and helping women feel BEAUTIFUL!

Coffee or tea? Coffee
White, milk or dark chocolate? DARK.
Cats or dogs? I love both!

I hope you've enjoyed getting to know Gigi- we constantly hear from people about how much fun it is to work with her. If you've had a great experience working with Gigi, leave a comment below and tell us about it! And don't forget to check back soon to meet more of our staff!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Meet Our Bride: Antea

Peak Wedding Season falls between April and October for one obvious reason: the weather. Of course the majority of brides prefer lush greenery and the possibility of an outdoor ceremony, but there is a smaller group of brides who choose a winter wonderland for their bridal setting. It's a brave choice given how unpredictable New England winters can be, but the payoff can be truly spectacular. Our bride Antea chose to tie the knot in the middle of winter and I think we can all agree it was a perfect choice:

Warm boots and fur- they're necessities for a New England winter wedding! It may have been cold outside, but with a bride this radiant, we're sure no one could feel the chill:

Whether your wedding featured a blizzard, a hurricane or a cloudless, sunny sky, we want to hear about it and we definitely want to see the pictures. Please email us today and tell us all about your experience finding and wearing your dream dress!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Bridesmaid Gift Ideas

Brides are always coming into the store and asking our advice on any number of wedding-related things. One question that pops up almost constantly is, "What do you think I should get for my bridesmaid gifts?" The answer is simple: an accessory. Whether it's a fabulous clutch purse or an amazing pair of earrings, choose something that not only complements the bridesmaid dress you've chosen, but is also something she can use again and again!

Pictured above is just a small sampling of items in our store that would make an excellent bridesmaid gift. A clutch bag is not only useful and stylish for the wedding day, it's also a great accessory for any girl to have. A night out on the town is so much easier when you can ditch the cumbersome shoulder bag and carry something small and chic instead.

A pair of earrings or a necklace are also an excellent choice. After all, what girl doesn't love jewelry? Choose a neutral pair or earrings for all of your girls- something that can also be worn to next year's New Year's Eve party or a fancy dinner out on the town. Rather than purchase the same pair for all of your girls, consider getting them each a pair that reflects their own unique style, while still being similar enough that they can all wear them for the wedding.

Bags and earrings are definitely the easiest and most common choices, but a fascinator or brooch is another great idea. You may have to have bridesmaids who are a little funkier in their personal style to be able to pull off a fascinator at another event, but if they've got the personality, then go for it!

If the weather forecast predicts it will be a bit chilly on the wedding night, consider a warm pashmina to coordinate with the bridesmaid dress as your gift of choice. Practical, pretty and definitely re-usable, it's the kind of gift that just about anyone can use, especially if they live in chilly New England!

What other ideas do you have for a great bridesmaid gift? Leave a comment to let us know! And stop by the store to check out the different clutches, earrings, necklaces, fascinators, brooches and pashminas that we have available! We'll be happy to help you find the perfect gift that coordinates with your bridesmaids dresses and is also versatile enough to be worn again and again by the women in your life.


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