SAN DIEGO WEDDINGS     INSPIRATION     DISCUSSION BOARD     CONCIERGE     VENDORS     EXPERT ADVICE     AWARDS



  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Blossom’s Bewildered Bridal Blog
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Register Register  Login Login

Blossom’s Bewildered Bridal Blog

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1234 26>
Author
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/08/2005 at 10:58pm

Photographer wrap-up: A few musings
To continue on from my last post about photographers, I want to just add a couple of general thoughts about looking for a photographer:

  • Find a photographer you’re personally comfortable with
    As we spoke to various photographers, we realized that we might not feel comfortable having some of them around on our wedding day. Not that they weren’t great people, but, for example, one had a lot of nervous energy that we thought might stress us out a bit; another seemed a bit eccentric, and while he probably wouldn’t have done anything strange on our wedding day, we thought it best not to chance it.
  • If you're interested in an album, pay attention to the photographer’s Web site design
    When we first started looking at photographers’ work, I was focused only on the photos themselves. But we wanted an album, and we quickly realized that not all good photographers are good graphic designers. To get an idea of a photographer’s graphic design style, I found it useful to look at his or her Web site. The photographer might not have personally created the Web site but most likely had a lot of input into what the site looks like, and I found the site design was pretty indicative of the photographer’s album designs.


A diversionary anecdote: How we found our officiant

Now I want to digress a little and relate how we found our officiant—we can’t believe how this one turned out!

Although there are a number of non-denominational officiants who are very popular on this board, FI and I really wanted to find an officiant with some personal connection to us who shares our religious beliefs. Earlier in the year, we had started attending a church that we like a lot and have come to regard as our spiritual home, so we were hoping to have a pastor from the church marry us. However, there were a couple of obstacles in the way: (1) The church is very large, so we hadn’t gotten to know anyone well, and certainly none of the pastors; and (2) We had started attending at a time when the church was going through a staffing change—the senior pastor had left recently, and services were being conducted in rotation by an assortment of people (retired ministers, guest ministers from other churches, etc.)—so it wasn’t clear who we could ask.

Well, sometimes things have a strange way of resolving themselves—you could call it divine providence, fate, or something else entirely, depending on your beliefs. One Sunday morning, when I was feeling particularly grouchy about not being able to find a site, we went to church and listened to a sermon given by Darwin Mann, a retired minister who’s now an active member of the congregation. He talked about the structure of one of the Bible stories in the book of Matthew, and told us that the story contained three mountains and two molehills. The mountains were miraculous events that occurred when people had faith and maintained the right perspective on what’s important in life. The molehills were the result of people narrowing their focus and fretting over minor details that really don’t matter in the long run. Then, to illustrate his points, he mentioned that he had been helping the church out lately by officiating at weddings held there. He had enjoyed getting to know the couples he was marrying, but he noticed that they all had one thing in common: They were focused on the wedding and not the marriage; in other words, they were stressing over the molehills of all the planning details, and forgetting that the wedding was just the start of one of the grandest adventures of their lives. Wow! I don’t think I have ever needed to hear a message more than I needed to hear that one. It was as if the sermon had been custom-tailored for us. It helped me so much to keep a better perspective on wedding planning; I’m not perfect and have still gotten discouraged at times, but I always go back to that sermon to help me get back on track.

So we started thinking that maybe Reverend Mann would be a good person to officiate at our wedding. But one problem remained: How to ask him? He didn’t know us, and we felt awkward about approaching him. The church does have several wedding coordinators who oversee the weddings that take place at the church, but since we weren’t getting married there, we didn’t think contacting one of them was necessarily the appropriate route to take. We contemplated getting in touch with him through the church office, but since he’s not officially on staff there, that didn’t seem quite right, either. We kept looking for him at the services but didn’t see him for several weeks, so I was really starting to worry about what we were going to do. Then, one Sunday after the service, as we stepped out of the sanctuary, he came up to us and introduced himself! And somehow, the conversation naturally led to marriage, and before we knew it, we had told him we were getting married next year and asked him to be our officiant! He seemed a little taken aback at first—after all, he thought he was just saying a casual hello to some newcomers to the church whom he had never met before—but once we told him what an impact his sermon had on us, and he had a chance to ask us some more details about the wedding, he very graciously agreed to marry us! We’re so excited that he’s going to be our officiant, and we’re still amazed that it all worked out so neatly. I like to think that God gave us a little helping hand on that one.



Edited by Blossom
Back to Top
kateditzler View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 11/08/2004
Location: Cuvier Park
Status: Offline
Points: 154
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kateditzler Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/09/2005 at 11:44am

Welcome to the boards Blossom. I love your journal name "Blossom’s Bewildered Bridal Blog " because don't we all feel that way. Wedding planning is pretty chaotic but from all the reviews it sounds like a the chaos leads to an amazing day we won't forget. Congratulations on booking Melissa. She has been a godsend for me because I can be such a control freak and she just knows how to make me feel like everything is going to be ok.
Ventana Photography does AMAZING work...you won't be disappointed at all. Especially with the Ponte Winery as you backdrop your photo will be great. Those pictures you uploaded of the winery are so pretty. Sounds like you have a huge load off your back after picking the beautiful site. I think it's important for all us brides to be "picky" about what we want...if we are spending a lot of $$ we should be getting what we want so continue being "picky" but open to suggestions with all your vendors.
One thing I found that helped get things moving for me was deciding on what colors our wedding was going to incorporate...this took almost 6 month for me to decide but once it did everything fell into place. Another thing I didn't think of was finding a hair and make-up person because 8 months out people were starting to book up so if you don't have anyone I would start looking now. Just a few 2cents from a soon to be "Mrs"

 

Cuvier Park
Grande Colonial La Jolla
Back to Top
roric View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 2/22/2005
Location: Mary, Star of the Sea
Status: Offline
Points: 161
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote roric Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/10/2005 at 1:59pm

Hi Blossom!!  Just wanted to stop by and welcome you to BI!!  Looks like you're already addicted to BI.  But in my opinion, I think it's a good addiction.  I consider BI therapy for me.  We get so consumed by our daily tasks and worries, that time goes by so quickly.  That's why when I go on BI, read different journals, share what I have planned, & read what others have to say, I feel so much better.  I hope that you get the same feeling.

50-plus sites!!!  Yikes!!  I think that my FI and I would have just died if we went through that.  I commend you and your FI for all the hard work.  I believe that was me when I was trying to compare prices on the MOH/BM dresses I chose.  But you know what...it all pays off at the end and you're happen with what you have accomplished.  Congrats on finding the perfect site.

I have to say that your journal entries already looks like a vendor report.  Although I already have a lot of planning done, I believe that BI newbies will find your journal entries very helpful and informative.

Other than that, have fun on BI and keep posting pictures!!  BI brides LOVE pictures.  Happy planning, Blossom!!

Future Mrs. Correa
January 14, 2006
www.rodelynanderic.com
Back to Top
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/12/2005 at 12:26am
Kate—Thanks for dropping by! I see you're having your ceremony at Cuvier Park; that's such a beautiful location. It would have been one of our top choices if we weren't such lunatics for privacy. The Grande Colonial's a great place for a reception, too—I love the architecture and decor. And I'm really glad to hear that Melissa's been such a big help to you!

Originally posted by kateditzler kateditzler wrote:

One thing I found that helped get things moving for me was deciding on what colors our wedding was going to incorporate...this took almost 6 month for me to decide but once it did everything fell into place. Another thing I didn't think of was finding a hair and make-up person because 8 months out people were starting to book up so if you don't have anyone I would start looking now.

Funny that you wrote this, because I've been pondering both colors and hair/makeup lately. I've been having a hard time with colors, too; it's comforting to hear that I'm not the only one and that things fell into place once you decided on yours. I saw in your journal that you picked light blue and brown; those are perfect for a beach wedding because the blue reflects the colors of the sea, and the brown reflects the colors of the sand and earth. So I want to do something similar to what you did and choose colors that complement my site. The problem is that the colors I think look best in the barrel room aren't colors I'm typically attracted to. The room has wooden wine barrels all along the walls, and the walls and floor have an amber tint to them; it just screams earth tones. I've seen photos of the room decorated in various colors, and golds, chocolates, and russets make it look so rich and regal. Personally, though, I've always loved cooler-toned colors—pinks, purples, greens—and I think those colors, especially if they're lighter shades, can make the room look washed out. So I've been pondering using a warmer color as a base, then adding a cool color or two in deeper shades for the centerpieces; maybe some shade of purple to pull in the color of the grapes, with some greenery to suggest the color of the grape leaves and vines. I keep waffling, though, and I'm afraid the colors I'm thinking of will be too dark. I had read somewhere that you have to be careful using purple flowers in a dark room, because they're such a deep color that they'll get sort of lost. Oh, well—it's a good thing I still have a while to decide. I'll post some pics of the inside of the barrel room later and see what people think; I tried to post them earlier, but the image upload function wasn't working, so it will have to wait until another time.

Regarding hair/makeup: Since I don't like being the center of attention, there's a part of me that would rather be a fly on the wall—or at least a comfortably anonymous guest—at my own wedding; so my priorities have been on the things I'll be able to see and hear and appreciate myself, and not on my own appearance. My original thought was that I would just do my own hair/makeup, with the help of my MOH, who's generally pretty good with that type of thing. But now I'm starting to get this queasy feeling in my stomach; it's true that I don't want to be the center of attention, but neither do I want our guests thinking, "That is such a plain, ordinary-looking bride." So maybe the best way to not draw attention to myself would be to have my hair/makeup done professionally, which would make me look more like any other normal bride, and not like some hideous impersonation of one. I didn't budget for this, so I'll have to give it some more thought. Sigh...


Edited by Blossom
Back to Top
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/12/2005 at 12:36am
roric—Thanks for the welcome! You're right that BI is addicting and that it's therapeutic to be able to read other brides' thoughts and post your own. I really think I would have completely despaired of planning a wedding if it weren't for this board.

Originally posted by roric roric wrote:

I have to say that your journal entries already looks like a vendor report.  Although I already have a lot of planning done, I believe that BI newbies will find your journal entries very helpful and informative.

Thanks, it's my hope that my experiences will help someone else down the road. And I wanted to record my impressions while they were still fresh in my mind!
Back to Top
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/14/2005 at 1:10am

Yikes, it’s taking me much longer than I realized it would to finish detailing the planning we’ve done so far! I need to get cracking on this so I can start posting actual real time information on where we are in the process. So, without further ado…


Whose day is it, anyway? The search for a DJ
We spent the last couple of weeks in August meeting with five DJs. All of them struck us as professional, knowledgeable, and—most importantly—non-cheesy; but two stood out to us, and we had a terrible time deciding between them. After several days of wavering back and forth, we ultimately booked Mick Scrivener of Elite British DJ. (The heading of this section comes from Mick’s frequent response to our questions regarding what we could and couldn’t do musically: “Whose day is it?” He kept reassuring us that it was our day, so we should do whatever we want—within reason, of course. ) Mick’s name is already all over this board, so I’m sure he doesn’t need me to promote his services, but I do want to jot down the reasons why we chose Mick:

 

  • Experience, especially with smaller groups
    Mick has been a DJ for a long time, and his knowledge of what works and what doesn’t work with various types of groups is impressive. Since we’re having a small wedding, Mick’s experience with smaller groups was particularly important to us. He told us he had worked at weddings with as few as 14 people, so we felt comfortable that he would be familiar with the dynamics of a small party, which I’m sure are very different than for a large crowd. We know it will be a challenge keeping up the energy level of such a small group, especially since we want dancing. (I know it may not make much sense to try and get such a miniscule crowd to dance, but I’ve always loved dancing at weddings, and I can’t imagine not dancing at my own.) To address our concerns, he shared some of the tricks he uses to get people up and moving; and since we met at his house, he was able to actually play us examples of songs that are generally successful at drawing people onto the dance floor. He also gave us a good demonstration of his people-reading skills, because he read us pretty well—I loved almost everything he played! And we appreciated his honesty in acknowledging that getting a small group to dance would be tough; he didn’t just tell us what he thought we wanted to hear to get the job.

  • Enthusiasm
    When we met with Mick, he had just finished meeting for an hour with another couple (we literally passed them on their way out). He met with us for another hour-and-a-half, and he was still totally energetic. He obviously loves his work, and his enthusiasm was infectious to us; we’re hoping our guests will catch his enthusiasm, too!
  • Customer service focus
    We love that Mick is willing to meet with us as many times as necessary to help us plan our music. Even during our initial meeting, he gave us a lot of great advice about what type of music to pick and how to structure the reception. He even recommended a first dance song: L-O-V-E, by Nat King Cole. He told us this is a good one because: (a) it’s short (so no struggling through a five-minute marathon of a dance, thus avoiding the whole deer-in-the-headlights look); and (b) it has a very definite rhythm that’s easy to move to (critical for people with two left feet). Some of what he told us is on his Web site, so even if you’re not using Mick, check out these pages:

http://www.elitebritishdj.net/tips.html
http://www.elitebritishdj.net/events.html

http://www.elitebritishdj.net/itinerary.html


He also includes a few small extras that we think are a nice touch: A monthly newsletter, sample CDs of popular cocktail/dinner and dance music to help you pick out songs, voice recording of important moments during the reception, such as toasts (a great perk for us, since we won’t have a videographer), a CD of the music played at your wedding. Of course, all of these things wouldn’t have mattered to us if we had any reservations about Mick; but they’re just further evidence of his customer service orientation.

 
I also want to record our impressions of the other DJ we seriously considered, as well as make mention of the other DJs we met with:

 

Justin Kanoya, DJ Kanoya Productions
http://www.djkanoya.com
We really liked Justin and clicked with him personally, probably a little better than with Mick. Justin is younger than Mick and has a few years less experience, but he’s very professional, organized, and knowledgeable, and similar to Mick in his approach to DJing. It’s obvious that he takes his job seriously and will do whatever he can to ensure you have the best day possible. He’s also on the less expensive side. Our main concern with Justin was that he had never worked with a group as small as ours, and we were worried that he might have some trouble adjusting to a different group dynamic than what he’s used to. Would this really have been a problem? We don’t know, but we decided not to take the risk. If we had been planning a bit larger wedding, though, we wouldn’t have hesitated to book Justin. 

 

Daniel Peterson, Disco Friend
http://www.discofriend.com
Scores of people have already posted glowing reviews about Daniel, so I won’t write too much about him, except to say that he struck us as a decent human being who truly cares about making your day special and uniquely yours. It’s clear that he takes great pride in his work.

 

Bill Calhoun, Calhoun Mobile Music
http://www.djforwedding.com
Bill has a lot of experience, and we got the impression he would do a good job, but we just didn’t connect with him very well. He’s on the less expensive side, and we felt this was reflected in his appearing to be a little less customer service oriented than the other DJs we met. For instance, he didn’t think it was necessary to meet in person to go over music selections (he told us we could just circle the songs we liked on his song list); every other DJ offered to meet with us at least once before the wedding. We were also slightly put off by the fact that he seemed a little over-anxious for us to sign his contract right away. Please don’t think I’m bashing Bill, because I’m not. I know many brides on this board have used him and been very happy with him. We really did feel he was a professional who knew what he was doing; we just wanted someone who would provide us with a little more personalized service.

 

Jamie Harper, The Kelley Company
http://www.thekelleyco.com
The Kelley Company is owned by Gary Kelley, and Jamie is one of
Gary’s employees. In their e-mail communications with us, Gary and Jamie were both pleasant and accommodating; Gary really prides himself on his company’s level of professionalism. However, Jamie was the DJ who was available for our wedding, and when we met with him, we couldn’t get a good feel for what he’s really like; he just seemed to be parroting what Gary normally says in presentations. We think the Kelley Company is great, but we just felt more comfortable working with a DJ who works for his own company and has pride of ownership.

That's it for DJs; next time, I'll write about our ceremony musicians, and then I'm all caught up. Phew!



Edited by Blossom
Back to Top
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/15/2005 at 1:27pm

A very big sound: Our ceremony musicians

Unlike many women, I’ve never had much of a vision for what my wedding would be like. Until we got engaged, I hadn’t put any thought whatsoever into the location, dress, or décor; I still don’t have a clue about a lot of the elements that will make up our wedding. There are, however, a couple of things that I’ve wanted for as long as I can remember, and one of those things is a string quartet for the ceremony. I have always loved string ensembles and the richness of the harmonies they produce, and I can’t conceive of a more fitting sound for a wedding. So around the same time we were meeting with DJs, we set out to find our live musicians.

 

I was able to get a good idea of various string groups’ styles and abilities by listening to the sound clips on their Web sites, and, after doing that, there was very little question in my mind which group had the best musical quality: Joyful Spirits Music. These are professional orchestra musicians, and there isn’t a group in San Diego that can match the caliber of their playing; their musical interpretation and phrasing are impeccable. In contrast, many of the other groups I listened to have a slightly flat, plodding quality that I don’t care for. (I should note that this is a very subtle difference that an untrained ear probably couldn’t detect, and if you like the sound of a group, someone else’s judgment shouldn’t deter you from hiring that group; what matters is that you like the way they play. It’s just that I’m a tough critic because I have a fairly extensive classical music background—from my early childhood on, I’ve listened to countless recordings and live performances, plus I studied classical piano for many years, have sung in several choirs, and took music history classes in college.)

 

Still, we hesitated to book Joyful Spirits because they charge a $35/person travel fee to go to Temecula (this is required since the musicians are union members), and for a trio or quartet, we knew this would get expensive for us. In search of an alternative, we tried contacting Jean Clower, who coordinates musicians who play in the Temecula area. When I spoke to Jean, she said the musicians are mainly music teachers who perform at weddings on the side. That sounded promising, but she didn’t have a demo tape, and we weren’t comfortable hiring a group without hearing them first. Jean told us that a trio would be playing at a wedding at Ponte at the end of August, so we drove up there to listen; when we got there, though, there was only a harpist—no sign of a trio. I don’t know if the bride changed her mind at the last minute, or if Jean and I got our wires crossed; but, in any case, we were a little unhappy about having driven an hour for no reason. Jean’s musicians weren’t playing again anywhere in the area for a few months, so we decided against booking them.

 

After that experience, we didn’t bother speaking to anyone else; we decided to just bite the bullet and pay the travel fee for Joyful Spirits. I spoke to the coordinator, Janet Parkerson, and she has been a joy to work with—so efficient, informative, and helpful. We were wavering between a trio and a quartet, partly because of the cost and partly because I wasn’t sure if a quartet would be overkill for such a small wedding. Janet reassured us that the size of the ensemble was just a matter of personal preference—some people like the richer harmonies afforded by more instruments, and they had even played at a 30-person wedding as a quintet—but advised us that the number of instruments wouldn’t make as much of a difference to the sound as putting microphones on the instruments would. She explained that when you’re outdoors, the sound doesn’t have any walls or ceilings to bounce off, so it just goes straight up. It’s not that you can’t hear the music, but you lose some of the effect of having live music—it’s harder to hear the bowing of the strings, etc. Based on Janet’s recommendation, we decided to book a trio and spend the extra money on the microphones.

 

Then, a complication arose: It turned out that the musicians who were available to play in the trio weren’t trained in how to use the microphone equipment. Our options became: (a) book a trio without microphones, or (b) add a dulcimer to make up a quartet—Janet herself is the dulcimist and would be in charge of the microphone equipment. So again we waffled; the trio would mean compromising on the sound quality, but the quartet would mean more money all around (the extra cost to add the musician, plus the cost of an extra mic and an additional $35 travel fee). In the end, we chose the quartet; we spent a lot more than we anticipated, but we feel the music is so crucial to setting the right tone for the ceremony that we want the best sound possible. And, as Janet said when we told her our decision, we’re “going to have a very big sound!” We’re also glad that Janet will be there in person, since we really trust her. And now that we’ve committed, I’m actually glad we’re getting the dulcimer—it adds an interesting dimension to the sound. It reminds me of a harpsichord playing the basso continuo, which is perfect, since it will contribute to the Baroque character of the music (we’re going to have the quartet play a lot of Bach, who’s my favorite composer!).

 

Hmmm, I see I’ve gone on and on about the process we went through to book our musicians. Sorry about that—I get a little carried away about music, it’s really important to me! I hope anyone reading this has managed to slog through this post. The bottom line is, if you’re looking for top quality musicians for your ceremony and/or cocktail hour, I wholeheartedly recommend Joyful Spirits! I know a lot of people on this board have used them and been very happy, and we’re just another addition to their long list of satisfied customers.



Edited by Blossom
Back to Top
Katie View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 3/25/2005
Location: Grace Lutheran/Oceanview
Status: Offline
Points: 769
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Katie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/15/2005 at 1:37pm

Hey, Blossom!

Welcome to journalling!  I think I'm going to love checking up on your journal, it looks like you are as anally organized as I am!

**July 29, 2006**
Ceremony: Grace Lutheran San Diego
Reception: Oceanview Club Pt. Loma
www.mikeandkatie.com | My Journal
Back to Top
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/15/2005 at 6:25pm

Katie—Thanks for the welcome! It's funny, I think we were posting in each other's journals at the same time...speaking of which, I read through your journal and am amazed at how much you've already done! I feel behind now; my problem is that it takes me too long to decide on anything because I have to explore every possible option first. It's that "anal" side of me you mentioned; I'm glad there are other people like me on this board, because I think I drive everyone else in my life crazy with my obsessive attention to detail. Fortunately, FI seems to think it's an attractive quality; I almost think he finds it a turn-on when I start making lists.

Confessions of a fashion dunce
Yes, I freely admit it—I have not a drop of fashion sense. None. Zip. Zilch. (Although, come to think of it, my MOH recently said to me, "You have good taste; you just don't apply it to yourself." Nice, huh?) The thought of setting foot in a bridal shop makes me recoil in horror, and I've been putting it off for as long as possible. But I've decided that I can procrastinate no longer, and I'm dragging my MOH out to help me next week. I dread, dread, dread having to dress shop; an image keeps popping into my head of myself, with saucer-round eyes and a frightened expression, wandering lost through a forest of ball gowns and other assorted bridal paraphernalia. I might even break out into a monotonous chant: "Dresses and shoes and accessories, oh my!" à la Dorothy and friends in The Wizard of Oz. Bridal attire is my personal equivalent of those scary lions, tigers, and bears.

Last month, our coordinator told me to spend a few weeks looking at dress photos in magazines and on Web sites so I would have some idea of what appeals to me before actually hitting the stores. I dutifully followed her advice, but I have not seen one dress I like that I think would actually look good on me. Two problems:

  • I'm 4'10" tall, so I can't wear anything with a lot of skirt. I want to look like I'm wearing the dress, not the other way around, and people might be alarmed at the sight of a large, billowy tent floating about with a disembodied head sticking out of it.

  • I'm by no means overweight, but I have this extra flab around my posterior deltoids (the back of where my arms attach to my body) that looks horrible. It's just the way I'm built; even when I was lifting a lot of weights a few years ago and my arms were really toned, I still had that bit of fat. So there is no way that I would be caught dead in anything sleeveless or—heaven forbid—strapless! And does such a thing as a dress with sleeves exist? When I mention to friends that I need a dress like that, they act as if I'm going in search of the Loch Ness Monster or some such mythical creature.

I am so tempted to go to a seamstress and tell her, "Just make me something—anything—that won't make me look totally unflattering!" But I know I need to at least go out and try a few dresses on to figure out what styles might work on me. I'm just so not looking forward to it!



Edited by Blossom
Back to Top
Blossom View Drop Down
Senior Member
Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: 7/14/2005
Location: Ponte Winery
Status: Offline
Points: 331
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blossom Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 9/19/2005 at 12:24am

Note to FI: Don’t read this post if you don’t want to know what my dress might look like!

I survived my first dress shopping excursion!
I went dress shopping with my MOH yesterday so thought I’d jot down my experiences. First stop: Bridals by Susanti in
Escondido. Really nice store, clean and orderly, but I was so not into it—I was flitting all over the place, taking cursory glances at one or two dresses on each rack, all of which seemed like they would look ridiculous on my 4’10”, 98-pound frame. After a few minutes, my MOH said, “What are you doing? You need to calm down!!! You have to look through the racks systematically!” Well, somehow that seemed beyond my capabilities at the time, so MOH had to take charge. She wasn’t feeling well (I felt really bad—I wouldn’t have dragged her out with me if I had known), so she asked one of the sales clerks, a very nice young woman named Adeline, to help us. We told her what we were looking for—simple, empire waist, not too much skirt or train, sleeves (!), and priced to fit within my smallish dress budget—and she pulled some dresses for me. Most of what she gave me to try on were actually bridesmaid’s dresses that come in white, since there weren’t many bridal gowns that fit my criteria.

All the samples were much too big for me—I felt like I was swimming in a sea of fabric—so it was really hard to envision what they would look like in the right size. Since I couldn’t always tell if they would be flattering, I was apathetic and indecisive about most of them. I think I drove poor Adeline crazy; she tried so hard to help me and got very little reward for her efforts. Still, we identified two possibilities and had Adeline write them down for us for future reference (more on those later).

Next, we went to 2000 Dreams Bridal in Clairemont, where I had made an appointment. The woman who worked with me (I didn’t catch her name, but I got the impression she was the owner) was quite attentive and tried very hard to help me; unfortunately, I don’t think she at all understood what I was looking for. “Simple” to her meant not much beading or other embellishment, and she kept trying to put me in dresses with full skirts and huge trains (well, I guess not huge relatively speaking, but huge on me). If I was swimming in fabric at Bridals by Susanti, I was literally drowning in it here. MOH and I kept saying, “Less skirt, less skirt,” and she finally brought out a Casablanca catalog and talked at length about having Casablanca customize a dress for me. Apparently, Casablanca is the only line that 2000 Dreams carries that will modify a dress to your specifications. This designer will take your hollow-to-hem (neck-to-floor) measurements and customize the length; if the dress you want normally has a scoop neck and you want a V-neck, they’ll change the neckline; if you want sleeves, they’ll add sleeves; and so on. You tell them what you want, and they’ll alter it to order. I’m a little leery of this idea, though—it sounds sort of like ordering a dress without trying it on first.

One other thing the woman at 2000 Dreams suggested was getting a strapless dress with a full skirt and train, then having it altered to add cap sleeves, narrow the skirt, and shorten the train. This didn’t make much sense to me, though—I would be paying $700-$800 for the dress, then several hundred dollars on top of that for extensive alterations. I could get it custom made for less than that, and it would probably fit better, too.

So even though I didn’t find much that worked for me, it was a fairly productive day, since I learned several things:

  • As I had suspected, there are very few dresses out there with sleeves. Bridals by Susanti has a selection of bridal gowns with sleeves, but they’re all very traditional looking, and I’d like something more contemporary, with cleaner lines. And there were only two or three bridesmaid’s dresses with sleeves. Both sales clerks repeatedly told me, “What you’re looking for will be very, very difficult to find.” Well, at least now I know.

  • Depending on the style of dress, it’s not difficult to add sleeves; I was happy to learn that it's not that big a deal. Cap sleeves can be added to a strapless dress pretty easily. That’s probably not for me—it leaves the neckline too open, which isn’t flattering on me. But sleeves can also be added to a sleeveless dress with a scoop, V-, or sweetheart neckline.

  • As far as what styles generally work on me, a sweetheart or narrow V is the most flattering neckline, and I should avoid scoop necks and any kind of neckline that’s fairly wide open. Also, both MOH and the Bridals by Susanti sales clerk thought the dresses with solid sleeves that I tried on made me look too boxy. We discussed it and decided probably the best solution would be to add sheer sleeves to a tank-style top; that way, I don’t lose the nice, slender line the sleeveless style provides, but I still get my sleeves!

Next on the agenda for dress hunting is an appointment at David’s Bridal on Thursday; and I’ll probably go to Tour of Elegance next Saturday, and maybe Prevue. I expect my experiences at those shops will be similar to yesterday’s, and I won’t find much, but I just want to check out enough stores to ensure I’m not overlooking anything. Who knows, there’s a remote chance that I might stumble across a dress I love.

However, that’s probably wishful thinking, and it’s more realistic to assume I’m not going to have much luck at the shops. Given that, I’m really leaning towards a custom-made dress. Here’s what I have in mind:

Of the two possibilities we identified at Bridals by Susanti, I love the general look of the bridal gown below; it’s Venus Bridal/Pallas Athena #A0150.

Full view of front:

Bodice detail:

It’s so simple, and yet the silver embroidery on the bodice is so striking and gives the dress a little pizazz (the photo doesn't do it justice, it's absolutely beautiful). Sadly, the neckline is a little too open to be flattering on me.

The other dress is a sleeveless bridesmaid’s dress with an empire waist and sweetheart neckline. The embroidery on the bodice is similar to that on the dress above, except it's a vine pattern instead of flowers. I thought the vine motif was particularly fitting because of all the grapevines in our vineyard location; we’re also planning to include a lot of vines in our floral arrangements. The cut of the dress is pretty flattering on me, and it could easily have sheer sleeves added. What I don't like about this dress is that it's cheaply constructed—the material is poor quality, the lines of the embroidery are thinner, there are plastic sequins sewn on instead of crystals, etc.—typical bridesmaid’s dress, I guess. (I’d post a picture of the dress, but I don’t know who the designer is, and I’ve scoured the Web sites of all the designers that Bridals by Susanti carries and can’t find it. If anyone’s come across anything that sounds like what I’m describing, please let me know!)

So I’m pondering having a seamstress make a dress with the basic style of the bridesmaid’s dress but add embroidery in the style of the Venus gown, using the vine pattern instead of the flowers. I don’t know if this is possible; it would really help if I could find a picture of the second dress, and I’m kind of bummed that I can’t locate one. Oh, well—I’ll have to give it some more thought. I won’t decide anything until after I’ve visited a few more shops, at any rate.



Edited by Blossom
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  <1234 26>
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Forum Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 12.01
Copyright ©2001-2018 Web Wiz Ltd.