Category: Bridal Gowns and Formal Wear

If you are planning on keeping your gown as a keepsake of your wedding there are a few things you should be aware of.

You can try hand washing a polyester gown if you are willing to go to the work involved and follow directions carefully. I would think twice about this as it seems like there are a lot of ways this could go wrong.

Before you decide that you can simply drop off your satin and lace gown at your local dry cleaners do some homework.

Do you know anyone who has used the cleaner before for an item that needed special care?

Will they inspect the gown for loose trim and beads and make repairs before the cleaning?

Do they have a written guarantee of their work?  If the gown is damaged during cleaning, what do they provide as compensation?

Are they prepared to let you inspect the gown after cleaning and before the boxing is finished?  More than one bride, after opening her stored gown has discovered that cleaning has been slip shod or incomplete and in one instance, the gown had obviously been worn by someone else and then simply packed away, un-cleaned, in a presentation box.

Most cleaners are reputable and eager to do their best to clean and preserve your gown. With a little effort on your part you will be able to turn over your gown to their care with the confidence that it will be in good hands.

If you haven’t already made plans to attend the 2012 Bridal Expo at the Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz, there is still time to get it onto your calendar.

This year the Expo is on Sunday, January 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The fashion show will take place in the spectacular glass ceilinged Sun Room overlooking the Monterey Bay.

This is a great opportunity to check out Santa Cruz area caterers, florists, and everything that you might need for your wedding.

So mark the date, grab a few friends and mom too, and head on down for a fun and informative day by the beach.


Although it is “common knowledge” that wedding gowns have been traditionally white, that tradition is more recent than most of us realize.

Until the Victorian era the wedding gowns of European nobility and the very wealthy were a way to display the wealth of the brides family and could include silks, furs, lace and heavy jewelry.

Less well off brides commonly wore a new dress that could be worn again, or their “Sunday Best”.

The tradition of the white wedding gown really got started when England’s Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840.  Her all-white gown was a departure from the usual in several ways. Not only was it all white, but it was also intended to be worn just once.  This quickly became the preferred option for high society brides on both sides of the Atlantic.

The middle class did not embrace this idea until after WWII when greater prosperity made such extravagances more acceptable.

We are now seeing a change away from the all-white wedding gown, although it continues to be the most popular choice.

Many white gowns now include colorful edging, bright sashes and embroidery.  Some gowns are offered in a range of colors from palest ivory to bright red and even black.

So if the all-white Victorian style ball gown just doesn’t appeal to you, there are lots of options for you to step outside of tradition.

Here is a link to a collection of more colorful wedding gowns:

We all know that a group of bridesmaids wearing matching dresses that compliment the bride’s colors can look very elegant.  But if you are aiming for a less formal approach, there are several options to look at.

If you would like all of your bridesmaids to wear the same color, but want each of them to be able to wear a style that is comfortable and flattering, you can select the fabric and color for the dresses and then let each bridesmaid select the style that suits her best. This is a nice option when your bridesmaids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and works well if any of your attendants are expecting.

Taking this concept a step further is letting your bridesmaids have full responsibility for their dresses, including the colors. If you go with this option you must remember to be firm about your guidelines.  If your wedding palette includes mostly spring pastel colors, you won’t want to see one of your bridesmaids dressed in black.  What about dress length?  Be sure to specify whether dresses should be short, full length, or somewhere in between.

Last summer I attended a wedding where the bridesmaids were dressed in a variety of solid jewel tone colors including bright blue, emerald green, dark red, and plum.   Each of the bridesmaids had selected a different style, but all of the dresses were the same length.  Grouped around the bride for the ceremony, they looked both festive and elegant.

Once you’ve settled on your colors, styles and lengths take one last look at your choices and then ask yourself, would I want to wear that?  If the answer is no, then your bridesmaids will probably feel the same way.  Make them happy, and they will add to the joy on your happiest day.

One of the newer trends in wedding dresses is the short dress.  So what does that mean? Short can be anything from a 1950’s style bell-skirted dress that falls at mid-calf to a mini sheath dress.

If you are looking at short wedding dresses there are a few things to keep in mind.

Is your wedding formal?  If so you might consider a mid-calf style as long as it retains a traditional feel.  If you want to go shorter, make sure the dress you pick fits in with the level of formality for the rest of your wedding party.

Where is the wedding? A church wedding may not be an appropriate place for a dress much shorter than knee length.  Know your audience.  Will older relatives feel that your dress is inappropriate for a religious setting?

If you are getting married in a less formal venue, especially if it is a beach wedding or other outdoor wedding, a shorter dress can be a more appropriate choice, especially for Spring and Summer weddings when your wedding guests are more likely to wear lighter, more casual clothing.

Take a long hard look at your legs. Will they look good in your wedding photos?  Accepting a little more length in your skirt could make the difference between comments about how lovely you looked to how knobby your knees were.

If short works for you there are several advantages to that choice.  Shorter means more ease in moving about. Dancing at your reception becomes a lot easier. Trip hazards pretty much disappear. You will be a lot cooler both at the ceremony and the reception. And that last minute trip to the ladies room right before you walk down the aisle becomes much less of a production.

So check out the shorter styles.  You might find that the gown you have been dreaming of is actually a kicky little dress that will knock his socks off.

Here are a couple sites to take a peek at:

If you are planning on having a flower girl at your wedding there are several things that you should keep in mind as you plan your selection.