Thursday, January 30, 2014

Guest Post from The Wedding Belle

Leslie Barbini and her team of wedding "Belles" know how to put together an amazing wedding. From invitations to linens, centerpieces to first dance songs, they make magic. The Wedding Belle is hands down your best choice for wedding planners on the seacoast. We love their blog, too, which is why today's post is actually from their blog. Enjoy!

Belle Turned Bride: The Proposal by Spencer

I stood in line at the security gate in a cold sweat as a million thoughts raced through my mind. “What if they ask me to open my camera case and take the ring out? What if Emily sees what is in there? Oh my God, what if I end up proposing to her right here, in the security line at Logan Airport?!” To me, at this moment in time, these all seemed like very likely possibilities. I needed to act fast. Time was running out....
 
I turned to Emily who was standing behind me in line and said as I gestured over to the right “I am going to hop over to that line over there, it looks a lot shorter.” Emily looked towards the line I was referring to and gave me a weird look. The other line was just as long as the one we were in. “Ok…” she replied.
 
Phew, what a stroke of genius. I was saved… for now.
Emily and I were travelling to Italy together for a ten day tour of the country. This was the first time either of us had been to Italy, and we had been planning the trip for over five months. As we boarded the plane, both of us knew that this was the culmination of the many hours spent planning and the many sacrifices made in order to save up for the trip, and we were both brimming with excitement.
I, on the other hand, had been working on another plan for quite some time. I was going to propose to Emily on our vacation and was carrying with me the proper piece of hardware required to make such an effort...

Continue reading the full story here and check back for more guest posts by our favorite vendors, great instructional and informative posts and of course, everyone's favorite series, "Meet Our Bride." And if there's something specific you'd like to read about here on our blog, please comment below and let us know!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Featured Bridal Vendor: Main Event DJ's

As busy brides with a million details to oversee with your wedding planning, it can certainly get a little overwhelming. That's why we like to help you out as much as we can by offering our advice in any way possible. Obviously, if you have come to our shop to find your dress, veil, etc. then you know about our expertise in that regard. But we also have an amazing list of the wedding industry's best vendors that we are happy to share with you. Whether you are looking for a florist, a wedding planner, a make-up artist or even a venue, we know the best person to call. Over the last year, we've featured a handful of these vendors here on the blog. You might remember some of those posts- Wentworth by the Sea, MAC Photography, Joya Beauty and Hair That Moves, The Rivermill, Jardiniere, and the Wedding Belle.

Today, we'd like to tell you all about our favorite DJ service: Main Event Entertainment. Obviously, the DJ service is the largest aspect of their business, but Main Event also offers musicians for hire for both ceremonies and cocktail hours. Want a classy jazz pianist while your guests mingle before dinner? Call Main Event! In addition to DJ's and musicians, they can help you with up-lighting to enhance the decor of your venue as well as photo booth rentals for your reception. If you need an officiant, they can even do that! The bottom line is that whatever your needs for your wedding, Main Event can help.


Main Event Entertainment, LLC. Entertains in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine and other New England locations. Wedding receptions, corporate events, anniversary parties, birthday parties, school events, theme parties, fundraisers and more. Their goal is to make your event so memorable you and your guests will always look back and smile. They do this by tailoring each event to the client’s wishes and tastes. They can be interactive, using props, games, icebreakers, and line dances. Or they can just let their creative music sets energize your event. Main Event Entertainment, wants your event to be as successful as YOU do. What more could you ask for?




Check back here on the blog for more featured bridal vendors! And if you have a question about any particular vendor, email us or leave a comment below! We're happy to help you find the perfect vendor for your wedding!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Meet Our Bride: Jaimie

My experience at Madeleine's Daughter was so special. The whole experience of looking for a wedding dress is something every little girl looks forward to for all of her life. Madeleine's Daughter does such a great job of making you feel like a princess looking for your dream dress. I loved the little touches like the robe we got to wear and even the MD water bottles. We originally ordered my dress in ivory, and the more we thought about it, the more we really wanted white instead. We called back the next day and Juhree put a hold on the order. We went back in, tried on another dress in white (as well as MY dress again!), and we decided on the white. I'm so glad we did! The staff was so supportive. They really want you to find the perfect dress for you! Thank you Madeleine's Daughter! I tried to make my wedding day as long as I could so I could wear that dress as long as possible! I LOVED it!!





 
Jaimie looked perfect! We're so glad her experience was a pleasant one- we want nothing more than for all of our brides to love every minute- from picking out the perfect dress, to wearing it on her big day. Email us today and tell us about your bridal gown shopping experience.
 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Good Things Come in Small Packages...

Everyone has heard the expression "Good things come in small packages," and that's often true of businesses as well. Small businesses are the backbone of our country's economy, helping to provide a livelihood for millions of people, while providing great service to local patrons. Although we've serviced thousands of brides over the last several decades, Madeleine's Daughter is still quite a small operation. With less than 20 full-time, year-round employees, and an owner who has lived in New England most of her life, we are the epitome of what it means to be a successful small, local business.

Because we recognize the importance of supporting small, particularly local businesses, we try to pay it forward whenever possible. If we need something new for our store, the first thing we consider is how to source it locally. For example, our favorite shoe designer that we carry in the store is Liz Rene by Benjamin Walk. These are some of the most beautiful bridal shoes on the market, made with fine silk and crystals.

Liz Rene "Maggie"
 
Liz Rene "Cheri"
 
When our brides see these shoes in our shop, they fall in love and when they find out that Liz Rene and Benjamin Walk are a New Hampshire-based company, they love them even more.
 
But it's not just about the products we carry when it comes to supporting local businesses. Our owner, Elizabeth, believes that it is important to source as many of our needs as possible through small, local companies. For example, if you are our bride, you know that on the day you come in to purchase your dress, you receive a small gift. It's one way that we say "Thank you" for choosing us to purchase your bridal gown. Our current gift is an elegant hand-made soap, and of course we had it sourced locally.
 
 
If only a blog could convey how amazing these soaps SMELL!!! They come from a small business located in Sandown, NH called Rocky Corner Soapworks. Our soaps are custom made for our brides, but you can order similar soaps for yourself through their website.
 
Another great example of how we try to support small, local businesses is in our decor. All of our draperies are custom made by the Exeter Handkerchief Company. They help select fabrics to match our decor and then they custom-make the curtains for our dressing rooms.
 
 
 
It's not just large decor projects that come from small local businesses, but the small projects, too! This gorgeous jewelry display was custom made for us by Madeline Jean Antiques. We spoke to the owner/designer Bethany about our vision and she sourced the frame and shutters, then painted everything, added the shelf and changed the window into a mirror. We're thrilled with the end result, not only because it looks beautiful in our shop, but because we were able to purchase it from a local artist, rather than a large chain decor store.
 
 
How do you feel about the importance of supporting small, local businesses? What are your favorite local businesses and why? Leave a comment and tell us your thoughts!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Foundation of Your Bridal Look Part 3: Petticoats

Hopefully you've already read parts 1 and 2 of this series all about finding the right foundation for your bridal gown. We firmly believe every bride should wear the proper undergarments with her bridal gown or she risks having her dress appear to be ill-fitting. Our first two posts focused on the bra- the different styles offered and how to ensure the proper fit. Our final post focuses on the last important undergarment- the petticoat.

As we've mentioned before, bridal gowns can be very heavy. They are often made using layers and layers of fabric. Sometimes that fabric has embellishments such as lace or beadwork. Even without embellishment, the skirt can be quite heavy. That heavy fabric can often fall between your legs as you're walking on your wedding day- walking down the aisle or walking around the reception afterwards. Trust us, this is not a good look. A basic A-line petticoat helps to prevent this unsightly issue!

The great thing about an A-Line petticoat is that it doesn't really add any extra fullness. It simply holds the dress in place as you're walking around.
 
Of course, some brides prefer a little extra fullness. in that case, you can wear a fuller petticoat such as our double-ruffle pictured here:
 
The double-ruffle petticoat is perfect for under full-skirted gowns like ballgowns. They add just a touch of extra fullness for a slightly more dramatic look.
 
For the bride who wants a super dramatic look, there is only one choice:
 
If you want an over-the-top full skirt, this petticoat is the best way to achieve that look.
 
Finally, if you have a mermaid style dress, you should choose a mermaid style petticoat- something that only adds fullness at the very bottom:
 
Choosing the right petticoat is actually pretty simple- whatever the silhouette of your dress, choose a petticoat that matches! When paired with the right bra, you'll have the perfect foundation to ensure your gown looks absolutely flawless on your wedding day! Call us today to make an appointment to be fitted for all the right undergarments and as always- thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Meet Our Bride: Elise


Madeleine's was the third shop I visited, and I was immediately impressed with the bridal suite - the nicest I had been in, by far.  Kerry, my consultant, was extremely professional and pleasant to work with, and really helped to make the experience as comfortable and productive as possible.  I left that night having purchased a gown that I felt fabulous in, and knew that I would be back to find the perfect bridesmaid dresses - and I was; and we did!

Thank you for having everything we needed to make everyone look amazing!



 
Elise and her bridesmaids looked perfect! If you'd like to share your story here on our blog, email us today- tell us about your Madeleine's Daughter experience and don't forget to include photos!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tour the Store!

Madeleine's Daughter Bridal Shop hasn't always existed in the same location. Our current location is the third in our history and each time we moved, it was to expand and grow, and hopefully accommodate more brides! While we're still far from being an enormous corporation, we're proud of the growth we've had in the last 40 years and we hope to continue to make steady improvements for the benefit of all our future brides!

In the meantime, we thought we would share a little tour of the store with you because one of the comments we receive on nearly a daily basis is, "Wow! It's so nice in here!" Our location is humble and unassuming, so it is often surprising to people when they walk through our doors and see the inside of our shop for the first time.

If you have an appointment coming up, here's what you can expect to see:

 
When you walk through our doors, you'll be greeted by our receptionist at the front desk.
 
 
 
 
We have plenty of seating for you and your guests while you wait for your appointment to begin. In the background of each of the two photos above, you can see mother of the bride/groom dresses and bridesmaid dresses. These are typically the only dresses that are always kept out for customers to browse through.
 
 
Beyond the front reception area is a small cluster of fitting rooms, mainly used for bridesmaid appointments. This area leads into the main salon area.
 
 
Adjacent to the main salon area is our main check-out desk where we have our "Gallery of Brides."
 
 
The "Gallery of Brides" is one of our favorite features of the store with over a dozen photos of recent brides and our namesake- Madeleine- in the center.  
 
 
 
After you pass the "Gallery, you'll walk down a hall where our bridal suites are located. There are 7 in total, each with their own unique decor.
 
 
And then there's the "back" area of the store- this is where we keep our bridal gowns. As our store is a closed-concept, we don't keep the dresses out on display for customers to browse through. Instead, you are paired with a personal stylist who will choose gowns for you to try on based on your budget and style reqests. It's an experience our brides love- they tell us that the process makes them feel very pampered.
 
With over 500 bridal gowns in our inventory, it can be overwhelming to most brides. Our stylists know the inventory inside and out and they can easily find the best gown for you.
 
 
So there you have it- a tour of the store. We hope you like it as much as we do! If you'd like to make an appointment to shop here, please call us today!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Foundation of Your Bridal Look Part 2: Fitting the Bra

Hopefully you read Part 1 of this series last week and are convinced of the importance of wearing the proper fitting and style of bra with your bridal gown. While we discussed the different style options, we didn't really discuss fit, which is just as important. It does you absolutely no good to have an ill-fitting long-line bra, but understanding what good fit means can be daunting.

First, make sure that the length of the bra suits your torso length. Some bra shops will cut the length down if a bra is too long for you, but adding additional length is impossible. As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, we offer three different lengths, so it's extremely rare to find a bride who can't fit into at least one of the styles we offer.

Second, the band of your bra (the part that wraps around your body) should be snug against you without being too tight. If the bra is too tight, you'll get the dreaded "back butt" or "side boob," neither of which is attractive. If it's too loose, it will slide down and not hold you up properly. How to tell if it's too loose? If you have to fasten it on the tightest hook when it's brand new, then it's too big for you. A good rule of thumb when purchasing just about any bra is that you should fasten it on the loosest hook when it's brand new. As you wear the bra over and over, the fabric stretches out, and you'll need to fasten it on a tighter hook over time.

Finally, the cup of the bra should be just the right size, which means that it should be flat against your bust when it is the proper size. If it's too big, it will  gap away from your body and if it's too small, it will create over-spill either on the side or in the front of the cup. Whether too big or too small, the wrong size cup is always a disaster.

Take a look at these photos to see what's wrong with the fit of each:

This bra is too tight- it's squeezing all around the band, creating extra lumps and bumps.
 
This bra is also too tight- it's pushing into the bust creating overspill in the front and on the sides.
 
This bra is clearly too big- the cups are gapping away from the bust.
 
This bra is too big as well- it's on the tightest hook ans still not supporting properly.
 
And now for a bra that fits correctly!
 
This bra fits perfectly! It is wrinkle-free from top to bottom and the cups are lying flat against the bust without causing any squishing or over-spill.
 
I hope this little tutorial has helped you understand how to properly fit a long-line strapless bra. If you plan to wear a strapless bridal gown, make sure you invest the time and money into a properly fitting long-line strapless bra- it will make all the difference in the world for your bridal gown. The best advice we can offer is to go to a shop to be fitted- a bridal shop or a shop that specializes in undergarments. Also, don't let the size on the tag deter you. Most women wear a completely different size in a long-line bra than they do in their everyday bra. It's not uncommon to go up a size or even two, for example, a woman who typically wears a 36C every day bra, may end up in a 38B or C instead. But let the experts help you figure it out when the time comes. You won't regret it!
 
Check back soon for our final installment in this undergarment series- we'll be talking about the final foundation needed to make your bridal gown look perfect!
 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Meet Our Bride: Melissa

I bought and had my wedding dress altered at Madeleine's Daughter. The consultation was wonderful. I had no particular vision for my wedding dress other than I wanted it to be sophisticated and work well with my body. To my surprise, every dress the consultant brought in looked great on my body and I had to choose between many dresses. This one was just so classic and elegant.

I have very severe scoliosis. I wanted my deformities to be masked on my wedding day and didn't think it was possible until the Madeleine's Daughter alterations team took over. I've never had a piece of clothing make me look so perfect! I felt completely confident and beautiful on my wedding day.



All photos courtesy of  Melissa Robin Photography
 
Are you a Madeleine's Daughter bride who would like to share her photos and story? Please email us today and tell us all about it! Click here to see more "Meet our Bride" posts and here to see a gallery of our brides on Pinterest!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Introducing: Paris by Debra Moreland

In October, we went to market with a mission- to find a new, unique accessories designer. We wanted something different for our brides, a designer whose collection brought a different look into the store that wasn't represented by our current collections. We're happy to report that we were very successful. When we walked into Debra Moreland's showroom, we knew we'd struck gold!

 
 

Her collection, Paris by Debra Moreland epitomizes the unique look we were searching for and with good reason. Her accessories have been recognized throughout the bridal industry, and featured in many of the top wedding magazines. Within one year of being on the market, her unique designs had captured the attention of the entire bridal industry and her designs were beginning to redefine the world of bridal accessories.


Part of what makes Moreland's pieces so special is the process in which they are made. Beginning with inspiration from sources such as Faberge's elaborate works, Coco Chanel's intricate millinery, and her own training as a painter and sculptor, she begins by sketching out the designs and then creating a prototype. Once a design is selected for production, it is hand-made by local artisans in the United States. Each link is carefully soldered, each delicate pearl is strung by hand and each crystal embellishment is lovingly placed until the piece is complete and ready to ship to the waiting bride.



Moreland's design philsophy centers around the bride and her unique fashion sense. The intent of each piece is not only to be its own unique work of art, but also to suit each bride's distinct personality and style. Her talent and training have allowed her to partner with gown designers to help create spectacular one-of-a-kind accessories that perfectly compliment different gowns.

Call us today to make a Finishing Touches Appointment where you'll be able to see all of these amazing pieces in person!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Foundation of Your Bridal Look Part 1: The BRA

You may have guessed from the title, but this post is a very important one all about the undergarments that you need to wear on your wedding day. It may not be full of pretty things like lace and pearls, but trust me when I say that you do NOT want to make the wrong undergarment choice for your bridal gown.

Most brides spend an average of $1,500- $2,500 on a bridal gown and that's before accessories and alterations. While we can appreciate the desire to keep additional spending low on the rest of your look, the logic there is actually a little backward. Imagine spending that much on a bridal gown, only to have a less-than-perfect fit on the big day because you didn't want to invest a little more on the proper undergarments that will allow the dress (and YOU!) to look the absolute best it can!

One of the biggest issues we see with brides wearing- or rather, NOT wearing the proper undergarments is the bra. For anystrapless gown, we recommend wearing a long-line, or corseted strapless bra. We currently offer what we feel are the three best long-line bras because they not only offer the best support and fit, but they are also the most comfortable ones on the market.

The first, we refer to as the "Best Fit" Bra because it is just that- the BEST fit. This bra is our favorite because it works with nearly any bridal gown you will wear. The neckline is a demi-cup, so it is low enough to accommodate nearly any strapless gown. The back is high enough to offer good support without feeling too restricted. In addition, this bra features a seamless design in front which helps keep lines and bumps to a minimum:


 
The second long-line bra we offer is a lot prettier, but still offers the same great support and fit as the "Best Fit." The main difference is that the cup is fuller which is good for a bride with a bigger bust. In addition, the torso is designed to be a little bit longer, so if you are a bride with a long torso and want that smooth shape to continue right down to the top of your hip, this is a great bra for you:


 
Finally, for a short-waisted bride, or for a strapless gown with a more plunging back, we offer the "Low-Back" bra. This bra comes down to the natural waist, and our customers report that it's quite comfortable to wear:
 
 
 
 
You may be wondering why I'm breaking down all the bra styles for you, but I really want to make sure you know that regardless of the neckline or back of your dress, there is a long-line strapless bra that will suit your body and your gown. These bras typically retail for under $100 just about anywhere you might shop for one. We sell ours for around $70 each and trust me when I say that it is a worthwhile investment to ensure your gown will look great and stay in place all day and into the night.
 
We've all been there- you're at a wedding and the bride looks great in her strapless gown, but as the night goes on, you notice her tugging at the neckline over and over again. The dress keeps sliding down and no amount of pulling and tugging can get it to stay up. I can pretty much guarantee to you that the bride with the dress sliding down is missing one very crucial undergarment: a long-line bra. Often, brides don't want to be uncomfortable on their wedding day, so they decide, "I just want to have cups sewn in," or "I'm going to skip the bra- it's too restrictive. I need to be able to dance and eat!" They choose not to wear a bra and the consequence is a dress that won't stay in place.
 
Here's the thing: wedding gowns are HEAVY! All that fabric- the many layers and layers of fabric- add up to one very heavy dress. You can have the best seamstress in the world altering your bridal gown, but there's one thing she'll never overcome: GRAVITY. A long-line bra allows your seamstress to anchor the dress to something solid and immoveable. Because a long-line bra features boning all the way through the waist, it not only shapes your body beautifully, it can actually hold the weight of your bridal gown up all day and night and defy gravity, if only for a few hours.
 
The seamstresses at our shop often sew the bra directly into the dress to help hold it up, or they attach pieces of velcro to the side of the bra and the inside of the dress. It's amazing how strong velcro is, but it does the trick of keeping that gown in place all day.
 
Of course, not every single bridal gown is a heavy strapless gown that needs to be held up. There are lots of simple sheath gowns with straps or sleeves. This gown from the Bliss Collection by Monique Lhuillier features a simple, bias cut fabric that hugs curves and shows off every inch of your body.
 
 
That's what's so great and also what's so terrible about a gown like this- it shows everything. Obviously, if you've purchased a dress like this you're likely very confident with your body, but you still need to wear something underneath the dress and you really don't want your guests to be able to see what you're wearing. In that case, we don't recommend the long-line strapless bra. We actually recommend undergarments that are as minimal as possible. Undergarments like these:


 What you see pictured above are the two idea products for any bias-cut sheath like the gown above. The bra is called the "NuBra" and is actually a stick-on style. It's patented center clasp allows you to manipulate the cleavage you have- more or less depending on your preference. It's essentially a backless, strapless bra. It's designed to be worn at least 100 times, so you'll get use out of it long after the wedding day. In addition to the NuBra, the other undergarment you'll need for a sexy, slinky sheath is a pair of laser-cut, seamless, nude panties. Whether you prefer a full coverage, thong or boy-short, the "Commando" brand gives you a barely-there option that, just like it's advertised is "Better than nothing."

So there you have it- the absolute most essential item you have to have when wearing a bridal gown- a BRA! While this might not have been the most exciting post we've ever had here on our blog, we do believe it's one with the most important information. So important, that we'll be writing a couple more posts on the proper undergarments for your wedding day. Check back soon to read them! And in the meantime, if you have any undergarment questions, feel free to leave a comment below and we'll do our best to help answer your questions!

Have a great day and thanks for reading!

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