Bridal Myths Busted ….. the truth comes out!

For the almost thirty years I have been working in the wedding industry I have heard the same mistruths over and over. Most of the time I sit quietly and listen as people express their various opinions since I realize that I am probably never going to change their mind. Sometimes I try to convince them of the truth in a quiet voice knowing that an argument is inevitable when your become confrontational. Today, I would like to address a few “Bridal Urban Legends” and hopefully begin to dispel those rumors once and for all. 

Do you need to order your bridal/bridesmaid gowns early? TRUE!  Having worked in a bridal gown manufacturing facility I can explain to you the production process. The designer and manufacturer work from a schedule that is usually at least 6 months from the delivery date. The ‘cutter’ stacks up to 10 layers of the fabric, rolls the paper pattern over it and uses a sort of fabric  jigsaw to cut through all layers simultaneously then stacks the pieces for production. This is done for every size of that gown. The pieces are handled separately and sewn together in segments by different seamstresses to make each gown. So, depending upon the size of the company, there can be dozens of gowns  being produced at the same time. When a special order comes in, the production line is interrupted for that special order. Whether it is extra length, extra size or a rush order, the manufacturer has to cut, assemble and finish this one gown by itself which takes extra time, money and sets production back by a period of time. Ordering as early as 6 months before your wedding ensure you will fit into the production schedule and your gown will arrive in plenty of time.

The Bridal Salon makes tons of money on special orders. FALSE! The charges for rush orders and special sizes are imposed by the designers, not the salons. If this were true, salons would charge hundreds of dollars for these changes, not a standard percent. In reality it costs the salon extra to take these orders. Special orders require a lot more attention, phone calls, alterations, overnight shipping and TLC. If the salon is able to get a gown for you in 10 weeks even at an extra charge, they will be working twice as hard to make sure that gown arrives on time and in one piece.

You get better deals at a Trunk Show. TRUE! At a trunk show, the designer or an authorized representative will be on hand to help you. They know everything about the gown you are trying on and they are familiar with the production schedule  and the designer’s ability to make changes to that particular gown. In addition there are trunks how specials and incentives to buy. The best part is that they will have the opportunity to meet you and instead of an order number, you will become an actual person who they have a vested interest in pleasing.

Cats are hazardous to  your bridal veil. TRUE! I have seen this one first-hand.  When  I took my first bridal job ever I was trained to ask the brides as they were picking up their gowns “Do you have a cat?” If the answer was affirmative I then launched into my speech about how you must keep the gown and veil away from cats and better make sure you distract them with Blue Buffalo reviewed treats. I never questioned it, I just accepted it as the truth. Fast forward 10 years when I was helping a headpiece designer  pack his veils for a show. FYI – he had two cats. When we began to pack the veils, I was in total disbelief when I realized there were holes all over the veiling. Seriously? It seems that cat saliva dissolves veiling. Netting, illusion,tulle, whatever you call it… cat saliva will destroy it and cats love nothing more than to get their paws and jaws on a tantalizing veil. Keep your cats away from your gown and veil.

Salons order gowns big so they can make money on alterations. FALSE!  I saved the best for last. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this and I can’t believe this one is still around. With Designers measurement charts posted clearly on the internet, after seeing hundreds of too-tight disasters, brides and bridesmaids are still repeating this as if it were true. Here is the absolute 100% truth that you can bank on: Part 1) Salons are obligated to measure and order the gown in the size determined by the manufacturer’s measurement chart. The measurements are not flattering or easy to stomach since an average size 8 woman will more than likely measure into a 12  bridal or bridesmaid. If the gown is too tight, there is a problem. If you sign off on a smaller size due to vanity or mistrust of the person measuring you and your gown comes in too small – you are looking to spend up to double the price of the gown to have it made bigger. If the gown comes in too big, you can have it taken in. Have your measurements taken by the salon and order the gown that the salon recommends based on which will fit the largest of  your bust, wait or hip measurement.  Part 2)Alterations is a big expense for the salon and rarely a money-maker. Somehow people over the years have this impression that the alteratins department has a profit margin akin to  Wall Street. The alterations department is the place where miracles happen but, it takes time and talent. Seamstresses work their fingers to the bone (literally), hand sewing and beading complicated gowns that take not just hours but sometimes several days to complete. They do not want to rip open a $7,000 gown but they can and they will if they have to. Your job is to be as calm as possible  so they can get their work done to absolute perfection.

Order your dress as early as you can, order the recommended size, keep your cats away from the gown and veil and you will have a glorious day!
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– Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Big Beautiful Bridesmaids – Finding a Dress That Fits

Everyone who has ever been a bridesmaid knows two things about bridesmaid dresses; you hardly ever wear them again and they run small.

For the average size 10 woman, she will need to purchase a size 12 or maybe 14 bridesmaid gown. The rule is that you always fit the biggest body measurement since the gown can be taken in everywhere and rarely let out anywhere. But, when your best friend in the world  is a size 24, what do you do? As the size 24 bridesmaid do you  tell the bride you are uncomfortable wearing the dress she picked? Is it fair to ask the largest woman, who is probably the least secure about her physical appearance to wear the same dress as everyone else? Do you ask her to lose weight?  Do you find a similar gown for her to wear? Trust me, I have seen every angle of this debate and it never changes, and  it is near impossible to make everyone happy with your choice. So what do you do if you love your friend and you really want her to look  and feel  her best? The first step is to have an open conversation about the topic. She will be so relieved that you are sensitive about this topic that you may have to pick her up off the floor!

Different gowns –Offering the bridesmaids gown choices of the same color and different styles dates back over two decades. It works beautifully then and it is still by far the best option for bridesmaids of all sizes. Here is how it works: each bridesmaid has  a different style of gown but in  the exact same  color and length. If you can find the same fabric, that’s even better – but don’t let this tiny detail deter you when selecting the dress.

Custom gown– If the bridesmaid gown you have chosen does not come in larger sizes, many bridal salons  have the capability to make a custom gown of the exact same style and fabric for a larger bridesmaid. Same fabric, same style, same everything. The upside is that the gown will almost always be exactly the same as the others, the downside is that it will probably double the price. Other factors are that  (as the bridesmaid) you will not know how you look in the gown until it is in production and all sales are final. Sometimes this is the absolute best option and everyone is ecstatic with the outcome.

No matter which option you choose as a bride or bridesmaid, consider these tips:

Fit – Most women do not want to be squeezed into a dress like a tube of toothpaste regardless of their size but it is especially important if you have an ample figure. Leave a little wiggle room by ordering the larger size and you won’t regret it.

Style: Find a gown that has an empire waist, fuller skirt or other components that are not too restricting.  Plunging necklines can sometimes bring the eye away from trouble areas and enhance the face but, remember that a bigger bustline  has disadvantages, too. Make sure everyone is comfortable with how much cleavage is exposed as this could be a personal catastrophe if there is not enough coverage. Absolutely avoid strapless.

Fabric – Avoid super-shiny satin and stiff taffeta. Find fabrics that move like chiffon, crepe and charmeuse. After you sit down in a tight satin dress you will stand up to a wrinkled mess.

Undergarments– Girdles are a thing of the past!  However, Spanx and other similar undergarments can provide not only some help smoothing out trouble areas but also help the dress fit better. If your bustline is the bigger problem, make sure you get a suitable bra that offers comfort as well as support. Better yet – find a one piece bodysuit that has the bra built in! Comfort and support are the key elements. The right undergarments will vastly improve the way you look and feel in your bridesmaid gown.

 Designers finally figured out that beautiful bridesmaids come in all sizes and offer gorgeous gowns in every shape, size and price range. You don’t have to break the bank and you don’t have to settle for anything less than fabulous!

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

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