Friday, May 27, 2011

Stick Your Neck Out! ...

Necklines are another concern for a lot of brides. In watching, 'Say Yes to the Dress' last Friday night, one bride was terribly confused about which neckline was which...and I have to say, I too was a bit confused. So, with that in mind, I decided to expand my series on wedding dresses for one more week and see if I can take some of the guess work out of necklines.

We learned during our 'Mother's Day' dress trying experimental extravaganza that a neckline can make, or break, a dress...and that different necklines look better on some brides more so than others. We quickly discovered that while every gorgeous dress from 'Here Comes the Bride' that our Missy Meagan tried on looked fabulous on her, the neckline that by far took our breath away was the 'Sweetheart' neckline. Now, I'm not saying the others weren't pretty, they just didn't make the statement that the 'Sweetheart' neckline did on our Meagan.

So, armed with this information, I'm going to take each of the most popular necklines, one-by-one, and define them so you have an idea of what makes each different from another. And, oh my goodness, we have so many to get through...let's not waste any more time. So without further ado...

Let's start with Meagan's favorite...

The 'Sweetheart' neckline...

The 'Sweetheart' neckline gets it's name from the shape it makes as the dip in the front of the dress forms a 'V', then arcs over each breast to form the top of a heart. Most 'Sweetheart' necklines are found on strapless dresses, but many now have sleeves of varying lengths as well.

The 'Scoop' neckline...

The 'Scoop' neckline 'scoops' down from one shoulder to the other making a 'U' shape. Like a 'V' neck, the 'Scoop' neck can be high or low depending on the amount of skin a bride is comfortable showing on her big day. This neckline is often seen with sleeves and is a great shape for all brides.

The 'V' neckline...

The 'V' neck is exactly what it says it is...a neckline that forms a 'V'. The neckline starts at the shoulder and plunges down to either a deep 'V' or a shallow one, again depending upon the comfort level of the bride. This is a good neckline for most brides. And, FYI, even though I love the 'V' necked dress I used in my 'InnSpiration Board', I changed it out for this picture so you wouldn't get confused between it and an 'Halter' neckline which comes next. See how easy it is to get confused...!

The 'Halter' neckline...

Ok...see how similar these two are. The 'Halter' neckline differs from the 'V' neckline because the straps come from the back of the neck and not off the shoulders. Typically you'll see this style combined with a 'scoop' or 'round' neck, but if you're wanting a sexier look, go with the 'V' neck...definitely. And ladies, this style will never have sleeves...ever!

The 'Square' neckline...

The 'Square' neckline forms a straight line across the chest with the straps coming off the bodice at 90 degree angles. This style is very flattering with sleeves, so if you're wanting a bit more coverage on your arms, this would be a neckline to look at choosing.

The 'Strapless' neckline...

By and large, one of the most popular style of neckline on wedding dresses for 2011. This classic design wraps the brides upper body from right under the arms. If you do the 'dip' in the middle it becomes a 'Sweetheart' shape...but straight across like the one above is your 'classic' strapless. This style doesn't come with sleeves. Obviously!

The 'Sabrina' neckline...

Named after Audrey Hepburn's character in the 1954 movie of the same name, this neckline is quite similar to the 'Scoop' neck except it comes off the shoulders at a bit wider angle that begins 2 inches inside the shoulder. It is also sits higher on the neck than most 'Scoop' necklines. If you're the classic movie star bride, this neckline is definitely for you.

The Bateau/Boat/Jewel neckline...

Another classic style made famous by another classic woman. This style neckline is reported the one Jackie Kennedy, then Jacqueline Bouvier, wore when she married former President John F. Kennedy. This rounded neckline reaches just above the collar bone and is typically referred to as a 'jewel' neckline because it was designed to showcase a fine piece of jewelery on a woman's neck. If you've wearing a show-stopping, stunning necklace, this style might be your answer!

The 'Portrait' neckline...

The 'Portrait' neckline has a sweeping flow of fabric from the tip of one shoulder to the other, and usually hints at a bit of a 'cowl' neckline as well. This soft 'scoop' neckline is often confused with the 'Off-the-Shoulder' design but the 'Portrait' neckline has more fabric on the bodice.

The 'Off-the-Shoulder' neckline...

Just as it's described, this neckline sits off the brides shoulders showcasing her collarbone and shoulders. It also has small sleeves that cover the upper arms. This particular gown marries both the 'Off-the-Shoulder' design with a bit of a 'V' neckline for a fabulous look. Are you getting the idea of how these necklines can 'blur the edges?'

The 'Asymmetrical' or 'One-Shoulder' neckline...

Hugely popular with brides these days, in fact, two brides on a recent episode of 'Say Yes to the Dress' actually said 'Yes' to 'Asymmetrical' neckline dresses. It's easy to pick out this neckline so it needs little explanation. Experts say it's a great look for almost any bride.

The 'High' neckline...

I didn't include this style in my 'InnSpriation Board' because I found most dresses in this style resembled a 'High' neckline 'Halter' dress like the one above, and I'd already had a 'Halter' on my board. As you can see, this neckline comes up quite 'high' on the neck and usually completely encircles the neck as well. It's quite an InnCredible silhouette, don't you think?

For those of you who are wanting to be a bit more discreet on your wedding day, there are dresses that do have the very 'High' neckline and a completely covered bodice. These are not as popular as the style above, and are usually reserved for a more formal black-tie church weddings.

The 'Queen Anne' neckline...

This neckline is named after the infamous, Queen Anne, the woman who first popularized the style. This style has a diamond shaped opening across the chest area, a high back and usually some type of sleeve. It's a very elegant presentation and perfect for a more formal occasion.

And lastly...finally, I know. Who knew there were so many necklines to choose from. I certainly didn't. Yikes! I never thought we'd ever get through all these. LOL!

But we have come to the end...and I've saved the last dress in honor of our darling Kate Middleton, now HRH Duchess of Cambridge. I present to you...

The 'Illusion' neckline...

What more can we say? Stunningly beautiful! This fairytale princess took our breaths away when she stepped out of the car in her gorgeous Sarah Burton gown. The neckline on her dress is called an 'Illusion' neckline because of the sheer lace panel of fabric that extends from the bust line to the shoulder creating a fun, and sexy, little addition to the look of the dress. This panel can be made of lace, tulle or net and does an InnCredible job of 'illusion'. And, Princess Catherine carried it off beautifully!

So, there you have it ladies. The 'ins and outs' of wedding dress necklines. Now you can feel confident walking into your dress appointment knowing you're armed with the latest information on wedding dress styles and the different necklines. What more could you ask? No, I'm not getting into 'sleeves' or 'fabric' choices. Those I will leave to all of you.

Until next time...

Making your wedding InnCredible
Credible Events

(another shameless plug for my InnCredible daughter, Ailis...LOL!)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Now that we know that buying a wedding dress is not at all like what we see on 'Say Yes to the Dress', how do you know which styles are which, and which style to pick for your body type? Good question!

I know many of you have probably already spent hours and hours surfing the internet, perusing the latest wedding magazines, marking pages and/or tearing out pictures of dresses you love. But...and here's the big you really know what the different styles are and what to ask for when you go for your first shopping trip? I know I didn't!

I was so naive way back in the 1970's when I got married, I pretty much picked out what I was told to buy. Thank goodness, dresses and styles have changed dramatically since then. I shudder to think of what I wore...and, 'NO', I won't post a picture. Instead, I'll save you all the horror, and post a cute one of our imposter bride-to-be, Missy Meagan, in one of the gorgeous gowns from
'Here Comes the Bride', and we can all pretend it's me...LOL!

Since I don't want anyone to be as naive as I was, this week's '
InnSpiration Board' is designed to showcases the most popular 'silhouettes', as they are known in the industry, of wedding gowns found in every bridal store or salon. I'm going to walk you through each style, one-by-one, so you have a better idea of how one style differs from another, and can ask for them by name! Yippee!

Ok, let's get started!

The Ball Gown...

This is, by far, the most popular style of dress...and the one that most brides think of when they hear the words 'wedding gown'. You'll notice it has a tightly fitted bodice, a well defined waist and very full skirt. It's perfect gown for any bride wanting a fairy tale wedding to her Prince Charming.

The A-Line/Princess Dress...

The 'A-Line' or 'Princess' gown is another very popular choice with brides. Tight through the bodice, it flairs out just below your natural waist giving the allusion of a capital 'A" as it flows to the ground. This silhouette is considered by many to be the 'all forgiving' shape that will flatter any bride...and make her feel like a Princess!

The Fit-And-Flair/Trumpet Gown...

Very similar, and often confused with the 'Mermaid' gown, the 'Fit-and-Flair' or 'Trumpet' gown is fitted tightly from the bodice to just below the hip line where it flairs out to the floor. This is a very slimming silhouette which lengthens the body. Perfect for the bride wanting to 'show-off' her figure.

The Mermaid Dress...

You can really see the similarity to the 'Fit-and-Flair' dress. But the 'Mermaid' gown is tight through the bodice all the way down to just about the knees where it flairs out to give the illusion of a mermaids tail. It's a beautiful silhouette for a bride looking for a slimming and dramatic statement.

The Sheath/Column Dress...

The 'Sheath', or 'Column', dress is considered by many to be the most flattering style for any bride to choose. It has a narrow shape that hugs your curves without a defined waistline, and typically flows to the hem straight from the shoulders. It has a very stunning silhouette, don't you think?

The Empire Gown...

Align LeftSometimes mistaken for a 'Sheath' or 'Column' gown, the 'Empire' dress is defined by a raised waist line starting right under the tightly fitted bodice, and has a skirt that flows from the bust line to the floor. This is a classic design and a great dress of any bride.

And finally,

The Baby-Doll Dress...

These dresses tend to mimic the p.j's by the same name, and are shorter in length than your traditional wedding gown. They are cute and fun, and great for an outdoor casual wedding and a bride who wants to be comfy, yet beautiful at the same time.

So, when it comes to choosing your perfect dress, remember that certain dresses are going to look better on certain body types; that's just the way it is. So, don't get discouraged if your dream dress doesn't look as InnCredible when you put it on as you imagined. Take your time. Go with your gut! And remember, as Rebecca from 'Here Comes the Bride' said, 'keep an open mind' because you just never know what is going to rock your heart until you try it on.

Until next time...Happy Shopping!

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events

Sunday, May 15, 2011

'Say Yes to Your Dress?'

For as long as I can remember, our children, who are all adults now, have been our ‘guinea pigs’… and this past Mother's Day weekend was no exception. Even though we were in San Diego celebrating 'Our Day', Marjorie and I were doing what we do best...being InnCredible wedding planners on the look-out for fabulous wedding ideas, and interesting topics to share with you, our readers.

So, while we were out having a little 'retail therapy' time with our girls, we happened to pass a major chain bridal store, when one of our girls wondered aloud, 'if buying a wedding dress was really as crazy stressful and insane as it is on 'Say Yes to the Dress'?

Light bulb!

That's all the incentive Marjorie and I needed to get our creative juices flowing. We gals were on a mission to find out!

There are a lot of bridal salons in the San Diego area to choose from, so we decided to check with a few local wedding professionals and learned about a fabulous bridal boutique called ‘Here Comes the Bride’. Perfect! We had our location, now our only problem was...which one of our girls would be our ‘test mouse’ and volunteer for the arduous task of trying on one gorgeous dress after another while we 'wedding planners', aka Moms, gathered our valuable information.

Well, in keeping with her 'dare-devil, I'll try anything' character, Marjorie's daughter, Meagan, bravely volunteered to take on the daunting task of being our model. I know...I know, it was a tough job, but someone had to do it’… so a million thanks to our brave Missy Meagan for being our Rock Star!

From the outside, 'Here Comes the Bride' doesn't look like much...but, oh my goodness, when we walked inside, the place came alive with some of the most spectacularly beautiful wedding gowns I've ever seen. I couldn't keep my hands off them! And neither could any of the girls. We had a blast looking through the different styles displayed in all their glory while trying to select ones for Meagan to try on. Not an easy job by any stretch of the imagination!

And of course, I instantly found the MOST InnCredible pair of shoes in the store....oh yeah! I just these shoes! And they fit! LOL!

Marjorie, on the other hand, being the classier, more down-to-earth one of our dynamic duo, picked another pair of shoes...pretty, but not as fabulous as the purple ones! LOL...just joking! They too were gorgeous!

But, we're here to talk about dresses, not back to the dress trying/buying experience.

We were extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to work with, Rebecca Martinez, manager of this fabulous bridal boutique. Rebecca was amazing! She was a wealth of information and gave us some fabulous tips for making your wedding dress shopping trip a huge success. And, you'll be happy to know, according to Rebecca, buying a wedding dress is nothing at all like what you see on 'Say Yes to the Dress'. And we certainly found that to be the case. Even though we were there for research and not dress buying, the entire day was delightful!

So, what can you expect, and what do you need to do to prepare for an InnCredible experience?

First, you need to make an appointment at the salon. This is critical to get the kind of one-on-one attention you deserve, and many salons won't see you if you don't have an appointment. Remember, this isn't like going to a department store to try on dresses…this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience so you want to be prepared. Rebecca says, the typical appointment usually lasts about an one and a half hour, so plan accordingly.

When you arrive for your appointment, you’ll be asked to complete a questionnaire to give your consultant a bit of information about you and your dress choices.

Always go to your appointment with an idea, and pictures, if you have them, of dresses you like, or styles you’re interested in. However, Rebecca says 'it’s also important to keep an open mind, because you never really know what will look good on you until you put it on.'

At ‘Here Comes the Bride’, we were asked to shop the racks of dresses and choose the gowns we felt would be perfect for our impostor ‘bride-to-be’. Now, this is may not be the case at other salons. Just as each bride has her own personality, each salon has its own personality as well. So, choose your salon wisely for a great experience.

When it comes to who to bring, Rebecca suggests that you bring a few close friends and family members…and I emphasize the word, ‘few’. She suggests no more than 5-6 people.

So we brought, Meagan's crazy best friend, my fabulous daughter, Ailis, naturally!

Meagan's InnCredible Mom, and my 'bestie', Marjorie, of course!...It wouldn't be a party without her!

And my darling daughter-in-law, Tiffany...and that was it! Four in total, if you include me. Not too many, not too few. Remember, the more people you have, the more opinions you'll get and that, Rebecca says, can be confusing and distressing for any bride.

Rebecca also suggests that those in attendance keep quiet until the bride gives her opinion on the dress she's trying on. Great advice, but something we had a difficult time adhering too. Every dress that Meagan tried on looked so amazing on her, it was difficult for us to stay silent. No matter how hard we tried, the 'oohs', the 'awes' and 'gasps' flew uncontrollably as she walked out from behind the screen. But, even though we had a very difficult time keeping our opinions to ourselves, please, 'do as we say and not as we do', and 'keep quiet' until your bride gives her opinion so you don't influence her choice.

When trying on your dresses you'll be asked to do so without a bra. Yep, you heard me, no bra! That's because fabric on fabric causes the dresses to not fit properly because the fabric can slip or pull. So don't panic when you're asked to remove yours with that first dress. When all is said and done, your dress should fit you 'like a glove', so the only undergarment you'll need is a pair of panties. And this holds true for your wedding day as well.

We also learned that binder clips are a brides new best friend! Not every store is going to have the dresses you choose in your size, so consultants use binder clips to pull in all the excess fabric so the dresses fit properly. And, of course, being the creative, wild and crazy bunch that we are, we told Rebecca these handy little helpers would be a lot more fun if they were blinged out with Swarovski crystals! Great idea, right? Hee hee!

Once you 'Say Yes to Your Dress', your consultant will take your measurements and run them through a computer to determine the correct size to order. Very few brides fall into a perfect size, so expect to have some alterations done. The time it takes to actually get your dress depends upon the designer, but typically, the experts suggest allowing at least 6 months before your dress arrives.

Each salon has different pricing for the alternations necessary to make your dress fit you perfectly on your 'Big Day'. So be sure to ask your consultant if there is a 'flat fee' for all the alterations you'll need, or if each alteration will be priced separately. This is important because these alterations will add to the cost of your dress.

Alterations are typically done 2-3 weeks prior to your wedding, so if you're short on time, make sure you ask what the price is for a 'rush' job. It's also advisable to be the size you want to be at the time of your alterations appointment so you don't have to have any last minute alterations done. These too can be costly!

Lastly, remember it's your wedding and you should pick the wedding dress that YOU love, not the one that makes everyone else happy. Unlike on 'Say Yes to the Dress', with a little planning, your dress buying experience can be fun and exhilarating. At 'InnCredible Events', want you to walk down the aisle in THE dress you absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, know in your heart, is YOUR dress. Most brides KNOW the moment they put on that perfect dress, so Rebecca says, 'go with your gut...don't second guess yourself'. Choose the dress YOU love and have fun!

Until next time....

Making your wedding InnCredible
InnCredible Events

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