The Total Bridal Look

Let’s look at the “Art” of the wedding. Buy that I mean all of the visual aspects that make up your wedding style. Your gown, flowers, reception location, style of photography, your shoes, hair and make-up as well as the bridesmaids dresses and the presentation of the food are all elements that make up the “Art” of your wedding.

These visual elements when put together become the total look; they elicit a certain mood and help define the image you and your fiancé would like to share with your guests. Let me address specifically your beauty needs and the elements involved in pulling together your personal style. All the elements of your dress, hair, make-up, nails, and headpiece need to work together to become the “art” of your “Total Bridal Look.”


Let’s look at a few important elements of design that are relative to style. Understanding each of these elements will make it easier for you to use them when creating your “total bridal look.” Whether you are working with your florist, caterer, or consultant you need to be able to translate your wishes to them that will pull together a great “stylish” wedding experience.

Line Size Shape Position Density Texture

Line: The line of a hairstyle, floral centerpiece, or the composition within a photograph has a direction either horizontally or vertically. Horizontal lines broaden and shorten with the eye following the width. Vertical lines slim and elongate. The line can be dramatic and sophisticated or soft and romantic.

*I remember a very slender and petite bride who was wearing a slim fitted narrow gown. Perfect for her because it made her look taller. But the gown shop suggested a wreath of flowers. Just as the eye was drawn up, the wreath cut off the illusion of height. The horizontal line of the wreath cancelled out any help the vertical gown accomplished in making her seem taller. It took some convincing and a visual demonstration but I got her to change her headpiece.

The line of the dress should match the hair. A long slim fitted wedding gown is complemented with a narrow bob tucked behind the ears or a bunch of curls piled high on the head. The line of a traditional full-skirt wedding gown is horizontal. This style is complemented by a softer romantic and wider hairstyle, perfect with a wreath headpiece.

Staying within these design parameters is a general guideline for most brides. However, a bride with flair for the dramatic and a strong personality can certainly carry off a total look that does not “match”. A slim fitted gown with sexy wild hair may be your flavor.

Size: The finished size of a hairstyle and veil depends on a few factors: How much hair you have, how tall, petite or full figured you are plus the overall line, size, detail, and fullness/length of dress. As an example, apply this size “element” to the flowers. The size and volume of a bouquet should not overpower a petite bride or table setting.

If you choose to wear a slim suit for a daytime wedding it would be important to keep your hairstyle compact and simple. If a full skirt or bustled wedding gown is your style, then go for a larger headpiece and hairstyle. Again, try to match the overall size of dress to you, and size and line of hairstyle to balance.

*I had a bride who was petite but wore a traditional full gown with a chapel length veil. (I lot of dress for a little woman) She also requested that her veil trail longer than the gown! I created a smaller Updo and made her a smaller headpiece to be worn toward the back of the head. I gave her the length she wanted for the veil but it was not gathered too full. It allowed the horizontal line to flow but worked with her proportions. Sometimes too much veiling on top of a petite bride can make her look top heavy.

Shape: The shape of the finished Updo or hairstyle needs to complement the shape of your face as well as the proportions of you in your dress. The shape is the outer line a hairstyle makes. Visualize a wide bob haircut making the outer shape of a triangle. A shag or layered cut has the outer shape of a rectangle. A wedge hairstyle has the shape of a diamond.

Some shapes are reminiscent of periods like the teased crown and flip of the sixties. The feathered back hair of the seventies complemented bell-bottom pants. The narrow shape and closeness to the head of the roaring twenties hair was a visual match to the bound breasts and slim body hugging clothes worn at that time. The next time you see a picture of a Victorian lady in her bustled gown notice that her hair is bustled up in the back as well.

*I had a bride request an Audrey Heparin “look” to her Updo, complete with the chic little bangs. I incorporated her mother’s headpiece from the early sixties into the style and she wore a slim sheath. This created the very slim, vertical “retro” look she wanted.

Position: A hairstyle may be positioned at the top of the head, the middle or at the nape of the neck. A small wedding hat, a comb of flowers, or a headpiece can be used to balance your hairstyle’s position.

*I had an older bride who wanted a fun sexy look for her second wedding. She had a profile style headpiece which is the kind that sits along the side of the face. I had to make sure the hairstyle balanced the position of her veil.

If you choose to wear a traditional one-piece veil make sure you tell the stylist if you’re going to remove it after the ceremony. Ask the stylist to stick some wedding hair jewelry or flowers in your hairstyle so when the veil comes off your hairdo is not bare!
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Making Your Veil

The Bad News:
As with many items related exclusively to weddings, store-bought veils can be extremely costly.

The Good News:
No matter what your skill level, you can easily save money by making your own.

Here’s how:

*Two left hands.

Your idea of drawing a person is a round circle with five strategically placed lines. Not a problem. Many craft stores sell ready-made headpieces and veils. If you can sew, hot glue or Velcro the two items together, you’ll save yourself a nice chunk of change, as compared to its store-bought twin.

*Creative, but not Van Gogh.

Try buying the veil ready-made, but make your own headpiece. For your base, use a headband or thick wire shaped in a circle. First, wrap your base completely with ribbon and hot glue each end of the ribbon to secure it in place. To decorate, hot glue silk flowers, pearls, lace or glittery shells onto the ribbon. Attach a comb so it stays on your head, and don’t forget to add the veil!

*The next Martha Stewart.

Find patterns for veils at the local craft store and purchase tulle by the yard. To add that special touch to your finished veil, consider purchasing appliqués and placing several of them on the edges of your veil. You could also stitch a string of pearls to the edge of your veil. For your headband, follow the directions above.

*Before making your own, it is important to try on veils at a bridal salon to get a feel for what styles you like and what looks good on you. Once you have a plan, go for it! This is an easy and fun way to add personality and subtract expense at the same time.

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Selecting a Coordinator For a Destination Wedding

Once you have decided on a destination wedding, you might want to consider a wedding coordinator, who knows the all the ins and outs of the romantic location you have selected. I think of the coordinator as the switchboard to the community in which you are getting married.

Check List to Determine If You Can Work Together:

1.You should feel comfortable with the coordinator. She should ask for your input and not impose her preferences on you.

2.The coordinator should have an upbeat, flexible, CAN DO attitude.

3.The coordinator should be familiar with the community and have a diversified selection of people and locations for you to consider.

4. Ask for references of other couples to contact.

5.Be clear with what you what, don’t assume they can read your mind.

6.They should ask you lots of detailed questions and be willing to take time with you.

7.You should be provided with a detailed budget of the estimated costs ahead of time.

8. Ask about the payment arrangements.

Remember this is your wedding. The feeling with the coordinator should be that you are a team. If the coordinator does her job, then you can show up, be relaxed, look beautiful and have a wonderful day.

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Keeping Kids Happy at the Reception

Most likely, you’ll have kids attending the reception. With a few special touches, you could make them the happiest age group around. Below are a few ideas to cater to the younger crowd.

Hopefully, most children in this age group will be home with a babysitter. However, if you suspect they’ll be there, here are a few things to consider:

* Check if your reception hall has booster seats, high chairs and diaper-changing stations. If they don’t, contact the parents to make sure they bring all necessary supplies.
* Seat the family with other families who are also bringing young children. If the little tyke starts crying, they tend to be more understanding then say, a group of single 20-somethings. No other young kids? Seat them with the most patient people you know.

Ages 5 – 10
If you have enough kids in this age group to fill a table, consider seating them together. Be sure to hire a babysitter for the table to ensure they don’t join you during the father/daughter dance or throw spaghetti at Aunt Metilda.

Below are a few more ideas for this age group:

* If you choose to have a kid’s table, cover it with a paper tablecloth so they can draw on it. For a centerpiece, provide a bucket of crayons, several cartons of play-dough or travel games.
* Check to see if your reception or catering company offers kid’s meals at a reduced cost.
* Before the traditional bouquet toss and garter throw for adults, have a candy toss for kids. This way, the kid’s can participate but you won’t be caught in the awkward situation of having a garter-toting, 6-year-old boy traveling up the leg of a 30-year-old.
* Maybe the chicken dance makes you cringe, but kids love it!
* For favors, send them home with candy or a small toy. Just make sure it isn’t anything they’ll choke on.

Ages 11-16
Adolescents. This is the age where a kid will walk 15 feet behind their parents for fear of being associated with the “most embarrassing human beings alive.” Do them a favor and seat this age group together. While you probably don’t need an adult at their table, place them at a table next to adults who won’t let them misbehave. Besides this word of warning, treat this group as you would any adult (minus the alcohol, of course).

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When Not to Have Kids in the Wedding Party

1. You really don’t want kids in attendance and that’s perfectly fine. Just because there are children the perfect age in your extended family that fit the role, don’t feel obligated to add them to the wedding party. Let the parents know up front that you have chosen not to add children to the wedding party. If you have someone pressuring you to add their children to the line up then leave this article in a conspicuous place for them to read.
2. You want your day to go perfectly as planned. This is fine also. You spent enough time and money planning every last detail and you would not appreciate uncalculated antics. One ring bearer’s pillow had a music box inside. It didn’t take long for him to find the wind up key in the back and then begin tossing it up in the air during the vows.
3. You are getting married in the evening. Not a good idea to add kids to this mixture. They may not get a proper nap and others in attendance may resent the kids being around drinking adults.
4. The kids have to travel into town. If the stay is at a familiar and welcome home then there is a better chance for a restful night. But a strange bed and changes to their routine is more than some children can handle. Check with the parents first.
5. When there is just too many to choose from and someone might get offended. I’m sure you have seen it. Two flower girls, two ring bearers, and the groom’s man stuck with the twelve-year-old junior bridesmaid. If you really don’t want them, skip the kids all together.
6. When you really don’t know the parents well. The kids should mean more to the bride and groom than just cute props. Don’t ask a friend of a friend’s child to be in the wedding or even a long distant relative just because he or she is cute and the right age. It takes a lot of preparation, patience, prodding, and expense on the parents part to make the day go relatively smoothly.

Kids are kids and they are unpredictable. If you can accept this and go with the flow then have them in your wedding, but remember not every kid is suited for the job.

* There is the flower girl that thinks she is too old for the job but she is still too young to be a junior bridesmaid. (Age 4-6 for flower girls, 10-13 for Junior bridesmaids)
* The hormonal junior bridesmaid who hates the dress and hair while scowling through every picture.
* The ring bearer who would rather drop kick the pillow than carry “that thing” covered with lace.
* The flower girl who is crying because she really thought she was getting married too!
* The “active” flower girl who thinks it is the two yard dash and the $200 dress is just a white blur!
* The ring bearer who thinks it is his job to clean up after the flower girl as she drops the petals and he picks them up after her.
* The ring bearer who tears down the aisle and rips through the LOUD paper of the new toy that bribed him down the aisle in the first place.

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Kids In The Wedding Party – Should They Be in Yours?

Aren’t they cute?! Wedding pictures aren’t complete without a flower girl and a ring bearer! Or maybe you don’t want kids and your getting a little flack?

Kids will be kids! This phrase wasn’t coined by accident. If you want kids in the wedding remember you are not getting married on Fantasy Island! Having attended to the beauty needs of hundreds of brides I have seen and heard my share of kids in the wedding party stories. Following are some tips and suggestions to help you get a better perspective on having children in attendance.

Some brides want it all; kids, dogs, butterflies, doves, you name it. So if your heart is set on having your little niece and your cousin’s son walk down the aisle then I say go for it! But do it with planning! Some brides think they want the kids in the wedding, but the bride may find she is better off having cardboard cutouts as stand- IN’s then to have to deal with the real thing. On the other hand some of you are leaning to the side of a “no kids” wedding. For those of you sitting on the fence, let me help you choose a side.

When to have kids in the wedding party:

1. You love children! You love their spontaneity and if they do something silly you think it will just add more charm and laughs to your day. (You’ll make a great Mom too!)
2. You are getting married early in the day. Kids are better when it is not too late in the day. This way Mom and Dad will not have to leave early to get their cranky angels off to bed. Or plan on hiring someone to whisk the kids away for the night.
3. The children are local and can sleep in their own bed the night before. I had a bride who was having a male friend’s daughter in the wedding. However, the child’s parents were divorced so the mother was not in attendance to the wedding. The little girl couldn’t hang out with Daddy and the grooms’ men, so the bride had her sleep at her house the night before. The bride arrived late and stress to the salon the next morning because SHE had to give the child a morning bath! Not Good!
4. They are your own children. By all means they should be a part of this special event. By being included and involved they will feel more secure about their significance and place in your new life.
5. You don’t care how her hair looks. Requesting a specific hairstyle for the flower girl can get tricky. Not every child’s hair will hold a curl, nor will they sit long enough to get it done.

I had three little sisters that were all in the wedding. Once the mother got everyone through the door and into the brides non-child proof small apartment everyone was stressed! The bride wanted them all to have French braids and the youngest child was three years old. She kept pushing my hand out of the way and as I would braid a section of hair she would rip it out. Oh well!
6. You know they are “good” children. Some kids are born to be in weddings. Lois Pearce, President of Beautiful Occasions in Hamden, Connecticut adds, ” One of the key things to think about when considering these children is their maturity level. Does the child behave well (within reason) around adults? Are they able to understand directions?

Just because they are cute is not the criteria for them to upstage the bride on her wedding day.” Whether they love the attention or they are easy going and compliant you and their parents need to feel confident they will do their job well. Hey, considered them for hire. ( Just kidding )

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List of Photos for Your Wedding Day

Here’s a big list of photographs that your photographer can take at your wedding. You can just print out the page, check off the pictures that you want and then give the list to your photographer. Also, be sure to highlight any particular pictures that you absolutely don’t want your photographer to miss!

Hint: Full length pictures capture all the beauty and magnificence of the wedding dress, wedding attire and beautiful scenery or backdrops. Close-up or half length (above the waist) photographs better capture facial expressions and reveal more emotion.

The Bride

* ____ Bride dressing for wedding
* ____ Mother helping bride put on veil
* ____ Bride looking in mirror
* ____ Bride putting on garter
* ____ Bride-Full Length
* ____ Bride-Half Length
* ____ Bride-Close Up
* ____ Bride with mother-Full Length
* ____ Bride with mother-Close Up
* ____ Bride with father-Full Length
* ____ Bride with father-Close Up
* ____ Bride pinning on father’s boutonniere
* ____ Bride with Both Parents-Full Length
* ____ Bride with Parents-Close Up
* ____ Bride with Grandparents-Full Length
* ____ Bride with Grandparents-Close Up
* ____ Bride with sisters-Full Length
* ____ Bride with sisters-Close Up
* ____ Bride with brothers-Full Length
* ____ Bride with brothers-Close Up
* ____ Bride with immediate family
* ____ Bride with Maid of Honor-Full Length
* ____ Bride with Maid of Honor-Close Up
* ____ Bride with her attendants-Full Length
* ____ Bride with her attendants-Close Up
* ____ Bride & flower girl/ring bearer
* ____ Father helping bride out of limo

The Groom

* ____ Groom-Full Length
* ____ Groom-Half Length
* ____ Groom-Close Up
* ____ Groom putting on bow tie
* ____ Groom with mother-Full Length
* ____ Groom with mother-Close Up
* ____ Groom with father-Full Length
* ____ Groom with father-Close Up
* ____ Groom with Parents-Full Length
* ____ Groom with Parents-Close Up
* ____ Groom with Grandparents-Full Length
* ____ Groom with Grandparents-Close Up
* ____ Groom with sisters-Full Length
* ____ Groom with sisters-Close Up
* ____ Groom with brothers-Full Length
* ____ Groom with brothers-Close Up
* ____ Groom with Immediate Family
* ____ Groom & Best Man-Full Length
* ____ Groom with Best Man-Close Up
* ____ Groom & Best Man shaking hands
* ____ Groom & Groomsmen-Full Length
* ____ Groom & groomsmen-Close Up


* ____ Grandparents being seated
* ____ Groom’s parents being seated
* ____ Bride’s parents being seated
* ____ Flower girl walking down aisle
* ____ Ring Bearer walking down aisle
* ____ Bridesmaids walking down aisle
* ____ Maid of Honor walking down aisle
* ____ Father walking Bride down aisle
* ____ Father giving bride away
* ____ Bride & Groom at altar
* ____ Bride & Groom exchanging vows
* ____ Bride & Groom exchanging rings
* ____ Bride & Groom lighting candle
* ____ Bride & Groom-the kiss
* ____ Bride & Groom walking down aisle
* ____ Pictures of receiving line
* ____ Bride & Groom exiting church
* ____ Bride & Groom getting into limo
* ____ Bride & Groom’s first toast in limo

Formal Pictures

* ____ Bride & Groom Kissing
* ____ Bride & Groom-Full Length
* ____ Bride & Groom-Half Length
* ____ Bride & Groom-Close Up
* ____ Bride & Groom “gazing” at each other
* ____ Bride & Groom looking out window
* ____ Bride & Groom holding hands
* ____ Close-up of rings
* ____ Bride & Groom with Bride’s parents
* ____ Bride & Groom with Groom’s parents
* ____ Bride & Groom w/Bride’s extended family
* ____ Bride & Groom w/Groom’s extended family


* ____ Parents being announced
* ____ Wedding Party being announced
* ____ Bride & Groom being announced
* ____ Bride & Groom’s first dance
* ____ Wedding party dancing
* ____ Bride’s dance with father
* ____ Groom’s dance with mother
* ____ Best Man toasting Bride & Groom
* ____ Bride & Groom with Champagne glasses
* ____ Bride & Groom’s kiss after the toast
* ____ Wedding Cake
* ____ Bride & Groom cutting cake
* ____ Bride feeding Groom
* ____ Groom feeding Bride
* ____ Kiss after cutting cake
* ____ Bride tossing bouquet
* ____ Groom taking off garter
* ____ Guests dancing
* ____ Bride & Groom’s last dance


* ____ Close up of invitation
* ____ Bride or Groom with special friends
* ____ Bride or Groom with special relatives
* ____ Picture of band or DJ

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After the Reception Checklist

Here’s the list of things to do and items you may need to bring home after the reception. Remember, this is still your day even after the reception is over, so ask someone ahead of time to take care of these items for you!

* ____ All vendors have been paid
* ____ Cake knife
* ____ Gifts and gift envelopes
* ____ Groom’s tux
* ____ Guest book and pen
* ____ Left over decorations
* ____ Left over favors
* ____ Left over flowers/table centerpieces
* ____ Left over food
* ____ Rented items (ex. Cake top, pillars, stand, etc.)
* ____ Toasting flutes
* ____ Top layer of the cake
* ____ Unopened bottles of alcohol
* ____ Wedding dress, if changing into going away outfit

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Ceremony & Reception Checklist

Here’s a list of things you may need to bring to your ceremony and reception location. Remember, this is your day, so ask someone ahead of time to take care of these items for you!
Bring to the Ceremony

* ____ Ceremony Program (Basket for Programs)
* ____ Ceremony Decorations (Pew Bows, Framed Pictures)
* ____ Unity Candle & Tapers
* ____ Marriage License
* ____ Fee for Officiant

Bring to the Reception

* ____ Basket or Container to Hold Money Envelopes
* ____ Scotch Tape for Gift Table
* ____ Guest Book and Pen
* ____ Place Cards, in Alphabetical Order
* ____ Cake Knife
* ____ Toasting Flutes
* ____ Favors
* ____ Emergency Kit

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Invitations and Stationery Checklist

Now, you certainly don’t have to order everything from the printer… some of the items you can make yourself and some you may not need at all… But here’s everything!

In the Invitation

* ____ Invitations

* ____ Outer envelope

* ____ Inner envelope

* ____ Reception card

* ____ Response cards w/envelope

* ____ Travel/hotel info card

* ____ Maps

* ____ Ceremony cards

* ____ Pew cards

* ____ Rain cards

Also Consider

* ____ Ceremony programs or scrolls

* ____ Seating/place cards

* ____ Wedding announcements

* ____ Thank you notes

* ____ At home cards

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