Tuesday, April 29, 2014

I Found the Gown! Now What?

You've said "Yes to the Dress," you've "Found the Gown," however you phrase it, you've just knocked a HUGE item off of your wedding to-do list. Congratulations! It's very exciting to have found your dream dress, but what's the next step? Your gown sets the tone for everything else in the wedding, and it's important not to hesitate too long in taking the next steps!

If you ordered a dress from a designer, as many brides do, it will likely be several months before the gown arrives. Depending on when the gown arrives in relation to your wedding date, you might not wait until the gown arrives to do some of these things. For everything on this list, the sooner you get it done, the less stress you'll experience.

1.) Choose your bridesmaid dresses. Assemble your ladies and make an appointment at a shop. As the bride, you should have a clear idea of what you're looking for. We've written several posts here on the blog about bridesmaid dress selection, so start there if you don't already have a plan!
Our bride Emily wearing Lorie by Maggie Sottero and her bridesmaids in Jim Hjelm
Photography Credit: Pat Piasecki Photography

2.) Pick out the groom's attire as well as his party's attire. Suits? Tuxes? Something casual- again, your gown has set the tone for the wedding and you should be the most formal, but he should compliment you. If you're in a casual sheath, he probably shouldn't be in tails. Conversely, if you're in a ballgown, he most definitely SHOULD be in a tux, or at the very least a nice suit.

Our groom Chris is here with his groomsmen all in a suit by After Six that they got from our sister store Soiree!

3.) Help the moms select their dresses. This is another topic we've covered here on the blog and one that definitely requires some etiquette, so be sure to get the mother of the bride on top of picking her dress right away, since the mother of the groom should wait to choose her dress second.

Our bride Liz in a Lazaro gown with her mom Holly in Jade Couture
Photography credit: A Thousand Moments Photography

4.) Choose your accessories. At our shop, we refer to this appointment as "Finishing Touches" and it covers everything from selecting the best undergarments for your gown to finding the perfect veil, jewelry, headpiece and shoes. You should try to complete your head- to- toe look at this time, so if you have an heirloom of some kind you're thinking of incorporating, bring it. You want to make sure everything works well together.

Our bride Katelyn in a Kenneth Pool gown and accessories by Bling!

5.) Pick out your "somethings." We've all heard the poem describing the things every bride should have on her wedding day:

"Something old,
Something new,
Something borrowed
Something blue
And a sixpence in her shoe!"

Our "Something Blue" that we make for our brides. It's a simple task to have your seamstress stitch it into your gown.
6.) Schedule your alterations appointments with a qualified bridal seamstress. Don't take your dress to just anyone- you want to make sure that the person altering your gown understands the unique nature of bridal construction and how it differs from tailoring everything else. Trust us- it's different!
Once you've completed these next steps, you and your entire bridal party will be well on your way to looking perfect for your wedding day! How far along are you in the planning process? Have you completed some of these steps already? Leave us a comment and tell us how you're doing!

Monday, April 28, 2014

MOB Mystery: Coordinating MOB and MOG

For the past few weeks, as we approach Mother's day and our huge Mother's sale in our shop, we've been posting some blog articles all about choosing the right mother of the bride or groom dress. In addition to being the hostess of the wedding, the mother of the bride is supposed to be the 2nd most formally dressed person at the wedding, second only to her daughter. The mother of the groom is considered the most-honored guest and should be third in formality.

One common misconception is that the mothers should coordinate or match their looks with the colors of the wedding and the bridal party. This couldn't be further from the truth. In reality, as such distinguished attendees, they should instead concern themselves with choosing the most flattering style and color of dress that will make them look and feel the best. As far as color coordinating with the wedding party, the only thing they need to be sure of is that they are not wearing the same color, or one that is too similar. Standing out from the bridesmaids is actually a good thing! Once the bride has chosen the color for her bridesmaids, the mothers can choose any other color they like. Etiquette dictates that the mother of the bride choose the style and color of her dress first, before the mother of the groom. They should not wear the same color.

I can explain until the cows come home, but it might just be easier to show some fabulous coordinating mothers gowns!

For a formal, fancy wedding, these moms would look spectacular in these dresses! Each dress is a unique style, but they are on the same level in terms of beadwork and formality. Both are jewel tones, so they compliment each other without being too matchy-matchy.
This is another great formal look, but the fabrics and colors are more appropriate for late fall or early spring. Even though one is a jewel tone and the other more neutral, they work well together because the neutral is deep and rich.
This is another complimentary pair of mother's dresses that work beautifully together, but don't match. That's really the key- complimenting without matching. If the dresses are either too similar or too different, it will just look odd. These bright colors look great together and the fabrics are similar in how they drape and flow, but they are different. Each has just a touch of beadwork that really functions as more of an accent.
This is another great example of complimentary colors, fabrics and embellishments. Each dress is similar in the weight of the fabric, although the navy dress is a crepe and the purple dress is a jersey. They each have a touch of embelishment, but it's small. And the two colors are deep and rich, so again they compliment.
This final pairing would be ideal for a summer wedding as both dresses are made of the lightest fabrics available. Silk shantung and irridescent chiffon are both great choices for a summer event. Again, equivalent jewel tones work well together.
It's hardest for the mother of the groom, because she's taking her cue from the mother of the bride and doing her best to compliment and create a pair that will look good in photos for years to come. It's a little easier for the mother of the bride because she gets to choose first and set the tone. Of course, we don't expect mothers of brides or grooms to be able to navigate all these complicated rules by themselves- that's what we're here for! Most people think that our focus is just on the bride, but the truth is that the best person to help shop for the mothers is the person who helped the bride find her gown. Call us today if the bride in your wedding found her gown here. We'll pair you with the same stylist and they'll help YOU find the perfect mother's gown.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Meet Our Bride: Megan

Madeleine's Daughter was my first and only stop! Although I never intended to shop on a sample sale day (what pressure!), it ended up working out wonderfully as my consultant brought dresses in my budget regardless of them being on sale or not and I shopped without fear of not finding the one. My consultant was a magician, as I tried on a few dresses she learned my style and the next round she brought me were all winners! She nailed it! And I left with my perfect gown and even better, were the suggestions she offered to help make it my own. Since my experience, I have sent several friends and they too all left with THE dress in just one visit. Madeleine's Daughter is a must stop for all New England brides, I am very thankful for their expertise, and the time and stress they saved me.

Whether a sample sale or not, we strive to give our brides the best advice and expertise in the industry and we're thrilled that Megan had such a great time shopping for her gown with us. What's your bridal gown shopping story? Email us and tell us all about it!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Guest Post: The Wedding Belle

Do you ever wonder how colors become so popular? How do the stars (or rather, their stylists) know the best color to have them wear on the red carpet? How do brides know what color will be the best trend for her bridesmaids? The Wedding Belle recently posted a blog all about color and it pretty much explains that mystery while showing the best colors for 2014. Read on!

It’s finally here! Pantone has just released its color report for spring 2014, and needless to say it has The Belles swooning. Drawing heavily on colors found in nature, this Spring’s selections would work beautifully into any wedding or event. To get the wheels turning for your own nuptials, each of the Belles have created an inspiration board based on their favorite Pantone color. Check it out!

 This spicy coral hue is perfect for the adventurous couple. Punchy and warm, Cayenne adds the perfect amount of zest to any wedding day color scheme. We love that it can be toned down with creams and beiges, or played up against bold turquoise and tangerine. The possibilities are endless!

We truly think the name says it all: this color is Dazzling. This cool and elegant blue is striking, yet amazingly versatile. The Belles are so excited to see this color crop up this spring. After all, every bride needs her something blue!

Sand is the ultimate neutral, but is the furthest thing from boring. This timeless shade will have you loving your wedding look both today and years down the line. We’re especially loving sand paired with gold. Talk about luxe!

Read the rest of this fabulous post here and discover three more amazing Pantone colors for 2014! Leave a comment and tell us your favorite of these colors. Which one do you envision using on your big day?

Thanks for stopping by and reading our blog- we hope you'll be back soon to see more inspirational and informative posts and also for everyone's favorite series on Saturdays, "Meet Our Bride!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

For Mom: A HUGE SALE!!!

In honor of Mother's Day, we're hosting a sale specifically for mothers of the bride and groom. All of our in-stock mother's dresses are 50% off May 1st through May 15th! And since we know you may need to place a special order rather than purchase from our stock selection, we're offering 10% off all special orders, too! Whatever you're looking for- long or short, glamorous or casual, long or short sleeve- we have it! Here's a handful of our favorites!

We really do have something for everyone, so call us today! Appointments are required on Saturdays, but we welcome walk-ins Monday through Friday!


Monday, April 21, 2014

MOB Etiquette: Why You Should Wear a Long Dress

We recently mentioned here on the blog that many couples are foregoing many of the traditional etiquette rules in favor of  representing themselves- their style and personality. While this is fine for many things like the wording on your invitations or the attire chosen, there are still some rules everyone should follow. Many of the remaining rules have to do with the mothers. For example, it's still expected that the MOB (mother of the bride) be more formally dressed than anyone else at the wedding besides her daughter. As the most honored guest, the MOG (mother of the groom) should be third in terms of formality.

That brings us to today's blog post because formality is very easily distinguished by the length of the dress. As long as the bride is wearing a full-length gown, the mothers should also be in full-length. Their attire distinquishes them from the rest of the guests at the wedding and the worst faux pas would be for a guest to be more formally dressed than the mothers.

In addition to looking the most appropriate for the wedding, long dresses are the most flattering almost 100% of the time. And who doesn't want to look her best for her son or daughter's wedding?  Long does not have to mean cumbersome or full or hot- the most common objections to long dresses. You can be comfortable any time of year in a long gown if you choose the right fabric and silhouette.  The longer the dress, the more tall and slender you will appear- even if you aren't wearing tall heels!

With short dresses, you have to be certain to find the perfect length to flatter your legs. At the knee? Above the knee? Below the knee? Tea length? With a floor length dress there's no guess work- just take it straight down to the floor and it will look amazing no matter your body type!

Of course, if wearing a long dress is going to make you feel uncomfortable, then throw these rules right out the window because there is one rule that trumps all others and that is: Choose the dress that makes you feel the best- the silhouette, length, style and color should all come together to make you feel beautiful and if you break the rules in the process, so be it!

Check back again soon for more about how to choose the perfect mother's gown!  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Meet Our Bride: Meghan

My wedding day was the best day of my life and my wedding dress was the best thing I have ever worn-I wanted to wear it to bed!  When I came to you, I was a self conscious bride who figured she would just settle on a dress that would fit but wouldn't ever really feel beautiful. However, when I came in you gave me the experience that I saw "on T.V." And that was something I just never thought I'd get.  Other salons just seemed to throw a dress at me or threw me into a dressing room for me to try to get a dress on, and they almost never fit. The dresses you brought out for me fit great or were too big, and you never even asked me my size!  From day 1 until my final fitting, each visit was fun and stress free.  Thank you again for giving yet another bride countless memories she won't ever forget.

 We have a confession to make: we try to get every bride to wear a long veil like Meghan's because this is our favorite kind of photo!!! Just look at our gorgeous bride and that amazing veil! LOVE!

All photos by Dan Gillan Photography
Veil preferences aside, we can say without bias that Meghan (and her MD stylist, of course) put together a truly classic, elegant bridal look from head to toe. Did you wear a long veil like her? A short one? Maybe no veil at all? Regardless, we want to see your pictures- it's literally our favorite thing here at the shop. So what are you waiting for? Email us today!


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Costume Change!

The increasingly popular trend that we're seeing in the bridal industry is the desire to have a "costume change" from one part of the wedding day to the next. Brides want one distinct look for the ceremony, with a separate "party" look for the reception and sometimes even a completely different "exit" dress for exactly that- the exit of the couple from the reception!

Designers and bridal shops alike are finding unique and interesting ways to help brides achieve their desired "costume changes." The most obvious choice is to purchase multiple dresses, but once you add on the expense of alterations, this can get extremely pricey. The next most obvious choice and one that several designers are offering is the convertible dress. These dresses come all sorts of different ways- sometimes there's a short dress hidden beneath a long skirt. Other times, the bodice and skirt are completely separate, allowing the bride to wear one piece independent of the other, perhaps the next day at a brunch, or out to dinner on the honeymoon. And since many designers offer these "separates" to be sold separately, there's also the option to mix and match between designer, depending on your preference.

The possibilites are endless, but we thought we'd show just a few options we have available here in the shop. Of course, there's no telling how much longer they'll be here, so if any of these looks are something you may want to try, call us ASAP to see if they're still here!

This stunning 2-piece gown designed by Watters is a perfect example of  how a dress can be worn mutliple ways and for different events. The above look is perfect for the ceremony and dinner portion of the reception. It's elegant and sophisticated and oh-so bridal. But what if you love it so much you don't even want to take it off the next day? Then why not pair it with a simple skirt and wear it to brunch the following morning?
You could dress it down for brunch and then pack it in your suitcase for the honeymoon and dress it up for a nice dinner out. The finished look will depend entirely on the accessories you choose! (Also, if you're not into the blush look, this dress is available in ivory as well.)
Here's another, much slimmer option, perfect for the bride looking for a sleeker look for both:
We were pretty crafty putting this look together- we took a short dress by Nicole Miller and topped it with a ruched skirt by WToo. You'd never know if we hadn't told you, though! Here's the dress by itself:
Isn't it perfect for a reception look? The jazzy feathers and beadwork are perfect for dancing the night away! We loved this short dress so much, we decided to pair it with a different skirt, too, just to see another option. This is a very fashion-forward look ideal for showing off your legs:
This tulle overskirt is designed by Monique Lhuillier and is intended to go over a long lace sheath, but we thought it would be fun to try it with something short! What do you think of our creation? It's kind of reminiscent of the wedding dress in the Guns n' Roses November Rain music video! It's a lot more elegant, and a lot less 80's, don't you think?
If the high-low look isn't for you, and you want something a little sweeter, why not try this two-for-one combination:
We've taken yet another Nicole Miller "Little White Dress" and layered a tulle skirt by WToo on top of it. It makes for a very sweet, romantic look that with the right accessories might even work in a very formal setting. But the LWD all on its own is perfect for dancing the night away at the reception, or to wear for an exit dress:

Are you a bride who may want to wear a convertible dress or have multiple "costume changes?" Leave us a comment and tell us all about it!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Love Affair: What's it's all about

As you know, the owner of Madeleine's Daughter, Elizabeth, recently partnered with Leslie Barbini the owner of the Wedding Belle, the seacoast's premier wedding planning industry. They've had a long-standing professional relationship between their two businesses, but recently they've gone into business together to create Love Affair, a bridal planning suite that we have no doubt will revolutionize the way couples plan their weddings. I sat down with Leslie a few days ago to find out a little bit more about Love Affair, specifically why couples should head there ASAP.

MD: How did the idea for Love Affair come to be?

Leslie: The idea started about a year ago. Elizabeth and I spent an entire year working on a business plan, developing the concept and building the space.

MD: Tell me more about the concept. What exactly IS a bridal planning suite and why should couples want to use one?

Leslie: Well, we've essentially narrowed down the field of vendors to the most qualified ones, the ones we feel are the best to work with. Between Elizabeth and I, we have decades of experience in the bridal industry, not just working directly with brides, but with vendors as well. We know first hand which vendors to recommend and we've been extremely selective in who we chose to be a part of Love Affair.

MD: So how does that help couples planning a wedding?

Leslie: They can choose to be a member here at Love Affair and then we become their "matchmaker." We pair our couples with the perfect vendor for them based on budget and style. It's sometimes hard to narrow down the field, so we've done the research for them and can much more easily and efficiently find the best vendor for their wedding. We represent ALL price points as well as all styles and aesthetics.

MD: How does the pricing work?

Leslie: Couples can sign up for as little as an hour of our time to the maximum they need. Just like our vendors are represented at all price points, so are our services. And if you upgrade, the previous payment you made gets applied to the new package you choose! It's actually very affordable.

MD: So, what it sounds like is that instead of going to a bridal show and meeting tons of vendors who are all trying to make a sales pitch, or searching endlessly online, reading hundreds of reviews and websites, you help couples choose their vendors in a fraction of the time and effort.

Leslie: Exactly! Gone are the days of spending your whole weekend at bridal shows and sorting through hundreds of photographers, caterers, florists, etc. And what's better is that when you're here, we hope other couples will be here, too. You can bounce ideas off each other, not only about vendors, but about DIY projects and anything else wedding-related! Love Affair is about creating a community of couples who can support each other. Wedding planning is stressful and anything that can help ease that stress is a good thing!

MD: You mentioned DIY- what about couples who plan to DIY a lot of their wedding? How will Love Affair be beneficial to them?

Leslie: Starting this month, we'll be hosting events to help those couples learn how to do the DIY projects they intend to do! For example, we'll be having a DIY Brooch Bouquet class very soon! We'll be doing all sorts of events that are educational for all couples, whether DIY or not! We're even going to have events like trivia nights and speed-dating-with-vendors!

MD: Seriously? Speed dating with vendors? If that doesn't streamline the process, I don't know what will! Thanks for taking the time to meet with me and let our readers know more about what makes Love Affair so fabulous!

Love Affair really is an innovative idea and we just know that couples are going to love it! The Grand Opening is Friday April 25th from 5-8pm! Stop by and check it out- you won't be disappointed! Here are some photos to entice you! Isn't it a gorgeous space?

The front reception area is gorgeous and welcoming!

There are lots of nooks to meet with vendors and other couples to talk about your wedding.

This cozy meeting spot is just one of several available to members to meet with vendors and discuss the details of their wedding.

Yet another meeting space...

We're obsessed with this chandelier!!!!

Photos of happy couples are scattered around. It's nice to know happy former customers of Leslie and Elizabeth are on the walls of Love Affair!

Love Affair is located at 51 Islington Street in Portsmouth. For more information, call them at 603-319-8280 or visit their website here!

Our Best Mother of the Bride/Groom Dresses

Choosing the right mother of the bride or groom dress can be a daunting task. In honor of Mother's Day- which is FAST approaching- we're going to be featuring a series of blog posts to help all the mothers out there navigate the confusing and sometimes difficult process of choosing the perfect dress.

So many bridal etiquette rules are out the window as couples are worrying less about adhering to tradition and choosing to tailor their weddings to represent themselves. That being said, there are a few cardinal rules that are still followed, most of them involving the Mother of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom.

It has been said that the Mother of the Bride (MOB) is the hostess of the wedding and the Mother of the Groom (MOG) is the most honored guest. The MOB should be the second most formally dressed person at the wedding second only to the bride. Because of this, the MOB picks her dress after the bride but before the MOG. Unless the bride is in a tea-length bridal gown, the MOB should be in full length so that she stands out from the other guests. If the MOB is in full length, the MOG may wear either long or short. If the MOB chooses to wear a short dress, the MOG must wear a short dress as she should never be more formal than the MOB. The MOB and MOG should not be in the same color.

A bride may wish that the colors chosen by the moms compliment the bridal party, but there is no need to match. Remember, both the MOB and MOG have very important rolls and should stand out from the rest of the bridal party. Both should feel beautiful and comfortable so that they may enjoy the special day!

To help you navigate all these rules of wedding party etiquette, we're going to be writing a series of posts expounding on these rules. Today, we're keeping things simple by showing you what we consider to be the best Mother's gowns available. The following dresses represent what we feel the be the best styles- the most flattering cuts, the highest quality dresses. They are all available in colors other than what is pictured, so if you are looking for a specific color, call us and ask about availability!

Not only is this an amazing va-va-voom kind of form-fitting dress, it's also remarkably comfortable! Designed in two pieces- a slip lining and a lace overlay, this mother's dress mimics the style of lots of similar bridal gowns. With the slightest embellishment all over, you'll sparkle ever so subtly.

Ideal for a late spring or early fall wedding, this style is slender without being too form-fitting. The strapless bodice doesn't feel too exposed because of the sheer bolero jacket that comes with it. The slim, but flowing chiffon skirt is elegant, but also comfortable. The small amount of beading at the waist is a sophisticated touch as well.

Another slim, but not too form-fitting gown, this style offers the added coverage of straps that create a stylish V-neck. Again, the small amount of detail at the waist not only accentuates and flatters your silhouette, it also adds an extra touch of elegance.

This style is very reminiscent of Jackie O- with the beautiful bateau neckline, slim silhouette and silk fabrication. Despite completely lacking in sparkle, it is still the epitome of elegance and sophistication and looks stunning with a fabulous pair of sparkly earrings and a bracelet.

For the fashion-forward mother, this dress is ideal. The asymmetrical neckline is cutting edge without being too over-the-top. The diagonal ruching of the bodice and layered draping of the skirt are both extremely flattering.

Check our blog again soon for more advice on choosing the perfect Mother's gown for your son or daughter's wedding. Thanks for reading!


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