Unveiling the Veil

I’m sitting at my desk, in the midst of a chaos of order forms, tape measures, fabric swatches, and thinking that if I’m having this much trouble figuring out which veil is which, then maybe it’s time to shine a little light on the subject!

For what’s more or less a flimsy piece of flyaway tulle, it’s sure not anywhere near that simple!

But let’s start there – with the tulle. I’m looking at snippets of ‘Mystic Tulle”, “China Tulle”, “Bridal Illusion” as well as the old familiars, organza, chiffon, and plain old ordinary tulle.  Side by side, there’s a lot of difference, which is one good reason not to buy your veil online. It’s impossible to guess at texture from pictures, plus, if possible, you really want to match your veil to your gown [see below for tips on this]

Most veils are made from 100% nylon tulle. The texture can vary from one manufacturing run to the next, but what you can usually expect is a fine netting which is soft to the touch.  Bridal tulle [mystic, china, bridal illusion] drapes, flows, and moves beautifully. It is much less ‘crunchy’ than the tulle you’d find at Spotlight under the same name. The stiffer tulle is fantastic for a fuller, pouffy veil, or more dramatic effect. Bridal Illusion tulle is the go-to for quality veiling.

Different edging effects how the veil behaves, too. A raw edge veil will be very light, prone to movement, where a beaded or satin bound edge will sit more steadily and hang with a more formal drape.

Lace veils are usually be made on a soft tulle base, spreading the motifs across the tulle for economy, mostly because lace by the metre is expensive, but also because heavy lace is, well, heavy.

Chiffon veils are less common, probably because chiffon is far less translucent compared with tulle. Chiffon falls with incredible fluidity, and if your gown has chiffon detailing, it’s worth considering complementing your gown with a chiffon veil. You really won’t see any detail of your gown through a chiffon veil, and single tier bridal veil is best for a chiffon veil. The exception to the rule would be silk chiffon, which is very soft, fine, and close to translucent. I think of it like a very very VERY fine muslin in texture.

It’s easy to get chiffon and organza muddled up – here’s my rule of thumb: Chiffon tends to be matte, where organza is often a little bit sparkly or shimmering. It’s also a stiffer fabric, standing out where chiffon would flow, so it’s great for layering, and fluted edges.

The ideal length and edging for your veil will be determined by the style of your gown. For example, if there is a lot of beading or other detail through the bodice, you should choose a veil edge which will sit either above or below the detailing, so as not to visually block your gown.

As a general guideline, the slimmer the gown silhouette, the longer your veil should be.

For longer veil lengths, either choose a cut/raw edge for your veil [so that the edge just invisibly blends into your train], or have your veil cut slightly longer than the length of your train. This helps draw out the veil as you’re walking up the aisle, creating a beautiful silhouette. Ideally, the longer the veil, the softer the fabric.

A-Line gowns generally look great with a fingertip length circle cut veil, complementing the lines and proportions nicely. If you’ve dreamed of a longer veil, you can still have it, just add plenty of gentle tiers.

If your gown has a full, pouffy, “Disney princess” skirt and fitted bodice, try a shorter, fuller veil.

If you’re shopping for your veil by length, remember to consider where on your head you’ll be attatching the comb. A veil which comes out from underneath your hair will have as much as 4 more inches than a veil which sits right at the top of your head. The position of the comb will greatly effect the look of your veil from the front, too. It’s best to experiment a bit and see whetehr you prefer to have the veil framing your face, or just falling behind you.

If at all possible, you should match your veil not only to your gown colour, but also to shape – at The Corner Store, we encourage brides to bring in their gown, no matter where they purchased it from, to try on veils with. It’s kind of fun, playing dress-ups with a serious reason, and it’s another chance to get into the gown, win/win!  If you don’t have a friendly bridal store nearby, or don’t have the time to take your gown in, here’s an easy way to figure out your ideal veil length at home. It’s easier [and more fun] if you have someone to help you.

You’ll need: a hairclip/comb, or your hairpiece, if you’re using one
A couple of metres of string or wool
Scissors
Tape measure or ruler

Tie one end of the string to your headpiece or a hairclip, and pin it into your hair around where you plan to anchor your veil. Run the string down your back until it’s at the length you like best. Get a friend to cut the string [if you try to do this yourself, I’d suggest you cut the string, then stand up again, to check the height before you take the pins out. It took me three goes to get it right when I tried it on my own!] Take the pin from your hair and measure it. Most veils are measured in inches. I don’t know why.  Or, you can use this handy picture to figure out what the name of your preferred veil lenght is called.
[ courtesy of Veil Trends]
Fly Away or Short Shoulder (20″ or less) or Shoulder Length (25″) These veils can be casual and/or very cute. They look best with a gown that has no train.

Elbow Length (30″) –  This length enhances detailing around the waist of the gown. It also balances nicely on a full skirted gown, as it ends just before the skirt begins to pouff out.

Fingertip or Waist Length (36″) –  If this length has an oval cut, it can make your waist appear smaller because the fullest part of the veil is at your elbows.

Waltz or Ballet Length ( 54-60″) This veil length hits your body somewhere between your knees and calves.

Floor Length (72″) – A floor length veil is very elegant and can be quite formal. Unless you have a raw edge veil, I don’t recommend this length for a gown with a train.

Chapel Length (90″) – Perfect if you are looking for a long veil to compliment a gown with a short train.

Cathedral Length ( 120″)  For maximum effect, make sure your veil extends at least six inches past the end of your train.

Sometimes, STUFF just HAPPENS

Bleargh. The weather has been a fiend lately!
Plan A and Plan B have rain and sun covered, but there’s only going to be discontent when you’re facing gale force winds on an otherwise sunny blue day.

I want to give full credit to all the couples I’ve worked with this past weekend. The weather was beautiful but lousy, and they rolled with it, incredibly well. In particular, one bride who solved her own problem, instead of battling the wind and her [stunningly beautiful, fine lace] extremely long veil, she just pulled the comb out, and tucked the rolled up veil under the edge of her train, mid-ceremony. In that one action, she removed a distraction, not only for her guests, who were watching and wincing as it wound and flicked itself about, but also for herself and her groom. By removing the distraction, she brought the focus back to where it belonged, quickly, calmly, and without any fuss.

Stuff happens. The groom ends up with his Mother-in-Law’s lipstick on his collar before the formal photos. The dog runs off with the rings tied to his collar. The flower-girl shows off her Dora The Explorer knickers mid ceremony.
It rains. It blows a gale. It rains AND blows a gale.
Babies cry, candles refuse to light, pens don’t write… Stuff. It happens.

If you plan carefully, and you’re lucky, stuff happens to other people. But occasionally, all the stars align, and it happens to you, at your ceremony. Here’s the one thing you can do to control that random stuff that happens:

Stay focused. Keep your eyes on your bride or groom, smile, laugh if you can, and carry on as if you’d planned for things to go that way. Your family, and your guests will take their cue from you. How you react will give them a script for their own reaction. And, more importantly, how you react will determine whether that random stuff that just happened becomes the defining moment in your guests’ memories, or just another cute anecdote among many warm memories of a beautiful day.

I’m a great fan of the idea that you should ‘solve your own problem’. So if there’s a simple solution, like taking off your wind-whipped veil, do that. But if it’s not actually YOUR problem, or not one you can solve for yourselves, have faith in your Celebrant and ushers, or during your reception, your Emcee and parents, to take care of the problem for you.

A good Celebrant or Emcee will guide you safely through a potential disaster during the ceremony or speeches, your ushers will help with your guests. Everyone there is on your side, wanting the best possible outcome.Stay calm, and let them help. Don’t waste time or energy on getting cross, pulling faces, or doing the angry stabby gestures dance – all that does is keep everyone’s attention on the other stuff, and you will keep the focus where it should be -on  the committment you and your partner are celebrating.

Stuff happens? Ah, let it. It’s not even important. Unless you allow it to be.
So, yeah, don’t do that!

Guest Book Alternatives

This month’s ‘rush item’ has been guest books. We stock a lovely variety of styles at The Corner Store, but even so, I’m not really surprised to hear that couples struggle to find the right one for their wedding.

I suspect the issue is less about the range of guest books available, [does a quick count – we have more than 20 different styles in store!] and more about the limitations of the traditional guest book – when it comes to creating a wedding keepsake, you’re hoping for so much more than just a list of names. So, here’s a few alternatives I’ve seen recently, and fallen in deep love with:

DOODLE JOURNAL:

One of the simplest, yet most effective guest-book ideas ever. Rather than a formal guest book with measured spaces, use a blank page notebook, and encourage your guests to share their favourite quotes or advice for the newlyweds.

SIGNING PLATTER:
[inspired by Nelson based pottery artisans Pottering About]
Personalise the centre of a blank bisque platter with your names, date, colours or theme, and set it on a table for your guests to decorate with comments, pictures, etc, using a simple ink pen or pencil.  After the wedding, the writing is permanently inked, and the platter is then fired and sealed, creating a permanent, washable, celebration plate for use in years to come.
One of the things I love about this idea is that if anyone writes something stupid or mean [because sometimes people just don’t think], you can choose not to make it permanent. You can also select your favourite comments [or specific people’s comments, eg your parents] to be inked in another colour to highlight them – lots of ways to make it a really special memento.

PHOTO ALBUM GUEST BOOK:
[inspired by Sandra Johnson Boutique Photography] You’ve probably picked up, by now, that I’m a huge fan of the ‘engagement photo shoot’, as the perfect opportunity to test drive your photographer, and get the best value out of your practice hair and makeup. And now, there’s even more reason to make the time to get those photos: Using the photos from your engagement photo shoot, plus an assortment of your own photos [from your childhoods, when you first met, hen/stag nights etc] you can create a beautiful, conversation-inspiring photo-journal to use as a guest book.

DIRECTED JOURNAL:
DIY or order through The Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store]

For the greatest ‘anti-guestbook’ – a directed journal to inspire your guests to write more than just ‘good luck’ or ‘congratulations’. Each journal is hand written with questions and comment prompts to inspire your guests to share from their wit and wisdom. Books can be customised on request, with a photo and page for each guest or couple, or with specific prompts relating to the couple’s specific situation.

SIGNATURE FRAME:
[order through The Wedding Whisperer’s Corner Store]

A signature frame is ideal if you’re looking for something more than your standard guest book list of names, but don’t want the guest book to be a significant focus of the reception – guests can quickly and easily add their names, and a comment if they wish. After the wedding, you pop in your favourite photo/s, creating a visual reminder of your celebrations. Made in NZ, there are lots of options for framing, mattboard style, etc.

CHRISTMAS TREE SKIRT:

In New Zealand, we tend to let our Christmas trees go bare-legged, but I’m told that Christmas tree ‘skirts’ are a stylish way to catch dropped tinsel/pine needles and disguise the plastic bucket or three prong spike the tree stands in. If you’re planning a summer wedding, using a Christmas tree skirt as your guest book will create an heirloom which will bring fresh memories each year as you pull out the box of Christmas decorations and re-discover the signed skirt, just in time for your wedding anniversary. I’ve seen some simple white and red tree skirts with words such as ‘peace, hope, believe, joy’ etc., which are Christmas themed, but can still fit with a  wedding theme!

TIP JAR:

Put your table name cards to double use by encouraging guests to write their comments [tips?] on the back, and drop them into a jar. Of course, any cute cards will do. I like re-using the name cards because it’s elegant but un-fussy, encourages every guest to contribute, and their small size gives guests just enough room to write something meaningful without pressuring those less eloquent guests.

The Corner Store has lots of new [and very cute] designs of woodcut name cards in all kinds of shapes, which are perfect for doubling as guest book inserts:

fee.. fi… fo… FAQ … [A giant post about Wedding Planning, Fees and Stuff]

Q: Do we need to hire a Wedding Planner? Like, isn’t that just for brides in the movies!?
Oooh! Here’s my first piece of advice:
It’s YOUR wedding, you can do, or not do, whatever is right for you. It doesn’t matter whether Wills and Kate did it first, or whether no-one else is doing it that way – when you find the thing that works for you, do it, regardless!
New Zealand brides have a tradition of DIY, and if that suits you, and fits into your lifestyle, fantastic.
But.
If you’re finding the process of planning your wedding overwhelming, or you’re just too busy keeping your everyday life going, a Wedding Director can be the secret to your success.
A consultation with The Wedding Whisperer is a really good way to figure out whether you need to,  or even want to, hire a Wedding Director, or if you just need an occasional check in to make sure you’re on the right track.
On the wedding day, someone has to be the first one there, making sure everything arrives and is in place.
And someone has to be the last to leave, with everything packed down, tidied away, and safely locked.
In between there are thousands of little details that need to be choreographed. That’s a huge responsibility! It makes sense to have someone experienced keeping an eye on your plans as they unfold.

So what does a Wedding Planner actually DO?
I can’t speak for other wedding planning services, but here’s how it works at The Wedding Whisperer: What we DON’T do, is sweep in and take over the process, according to some set formula.
The first thing we do is listen. We want to hear your dreams, no matter how crazy. We want to know what you already have planned, what your preferences are, how much wriggle room is in your budget.
We take careful note of the details that are vitally important to you, as well as the things you’re feeling worried about. Then we work WITH you, letting you do all the fun stuff, and making sure the boring, frustrating, and time-consuming [but oh, so essential] stuff gets done as well. You get the benefit of the knowledge and know-how that  we’ve gathered through years of coordination, and the perks that come from our relationships with vendors we’ve worked alongside in that time.
The Wedding Whisperer is simply working  to help your entire day go as smoothly  as possible – having a Wedding Planner gives you both peace of mind and sound, professional advice. Your Wedding Planner is a professional who knows the wedding industry, and has  resources to plan your wedding with you.
[In my opinion, there’s no such thing as  “just a few hours of wedding co-ordination”. Not if  you’re doing it well. If you really, truly think you only need someone to ride herd for an hour or two,  then you don’t need a wedding planner, you need a temp PA.]

What kinds of people use a Wedding Planner?
People just like you.

Every wedding is different. Some clients want a professional wedding planner to plan their wedding from start to finish for them. Some are traveling into the area, and struggling to pull the details together from a distance. Others are  working professionals, of full time parents, [or both at once] who simply don’t have the time to get all of the planning done themselves. Most commonly, the couples I work with have started the planning process themselves, and somewhere along the way have found it’s all a bit too much, and call us in to help. The key is that your  wedding is perfectly planned and carried out, so that you can relax and enjoy every part of the planning, as well as the wedding day itself.

 How can we choose the right Wedding Planner for our style of wedding?
Just like everything else about your wedding, there are choices to be made, and you need to take your time and consider your options before committing to one or the other. Choosing the person who will choreograph and direct your wedding is HUGE, but the most important thing is really simple:
Do you feel confident in this person to carry out the task? There’s absolutely no point in entrusting your wedding plans to someone else unless you feel comfortable leaving it all to their direction.
Price is way, way down the list. Many wedding planners offer a “free” service, and the old adage is true – there really is no such thing as a free wedding breakfast! No matter how much we love weddings, they’re hard work!
You should know that even if you’re not being directly billed by the person who is doing all that hard work, you can be sure you’re paying for it, one way or another, whether that’s in kickbacks from the vendors, or a percentage added to the quotes and accounts.
When you hire The Wedding Whisperer, we agree on the price before we begin, rather than a percentage of the total spend, [otherwise where would be the incentive for us to find you the sharpest price?!].  That means that there are no nasty surprises and no hidden costs. We  hire the wedding professionals best suited to your requirements, not the ones who have the biggest kickbacks.

Whenever there is a decision or question, we ask, ”What is in the best interest of our bride and groom?” and go on from there. In a nutshell, we work for you.

How much does it cost to hire a wedding planner?
There are a few variables, but generally: The Wedding Whisperer’s wedding planning will be  in the ballpark of $1500,   additional “on the day” services around $35/person/hour,  with variations for significant travel, or extraordinary circumstances. There’s not a simple formula for [x  number of guests + y number in the bridal party, divide by the square  root of the cost of the wedding gown…].  In the interests of clarity and simplicity, we’ve opted for a flat fee rate.
What you see is only a tiny fraction of what you get. There are many hours  behind the scenes, hours of phone calls, coordinating, meeting,  selecting, arranging, overseeing. Even at minimum wage [and let’s just  agree right here that my time is worth more than that], that time-sheet  is going to fill up pretty fast. There’s always going to be something extra that needs  doing, some cog in the machine that doesn’t mesh.  As your wedding  planner, it’s my job to make sure that’s counterbalanced, no matter how  long it takes to get done.
So, I’ve sat up past midnight hand-tying  favors, helped stitch a bride into her un-finished gown, loaned my own socks for a groom’s blistered feet, waded bellybutton deep into the  ocean to stop a boat drifting…
I don’t want to be second-guessing “is  this going to be paid for?” Sure, I’d make more money if I charged by the hour, but wouldn’t you be dreading that bill at the end of the process?!
If I sign on to co-ordinate your wedding, then I’m signing on to make sure all those disparate parts get pulled  together. I’m not the person that will say “Oh, sorry, out of time – see ya”.
A flat fee gives me the freedom to spend time comparison shopping on  your behalf, checking out details in person, and not just going with whatever is the quickest solution – it’s often the difference between ‘let me check with my couple and get back to you’ and ‘sure, that’ll do’.
And honestly, how do you charge for that? The answer is, I don’t. It’s part of the flat  rate fee, that guarantees you’ll get as close as humanly possible to the event we’re brainstormed and planned together.

Why can’t we just pay you a percentage of our total wedding budget? Well, for starters, would that be your proposed wedding budget, or the amount you will actually spend? Because those are two totally different figures, right there.
The percentage of costs is a totally backwards way of thinking. In the first place, there’s no incentive for your wedding planner to drill down the prices for the services she’ll be booking on  your behalf. The more money they save you, the less they’ll be paid. No thanks.
And it’s a crazy scale – for example, the difference  between a $4,000 photographer, and Aunty Jo with her  instamatic: The price in no way reflects the amount of work required to get good results from each – in fact the effort is inverse to the income!

So, what next?
Come and chat with us at The Corner Store during regular business hours, at no cost. You’ll be able to gather some good general advice, as well as getting an idea of how you feel about The Wedding Whisperer as a potential partner in your wedding plans.
Because every wedding  is so different, we would want to make time where we can talk, uninterrupted, about the type of wedding you would  like, the style, guest numbers, venue, budget, etc. The best way to do this is by making an appointment to meet at a time and place that suits you.
There is a $50 charge for the initial consultation, which normally takes one to two hours. A quote can then be drawn up specifically for your wedding  planning needs, based on our discussions.
Even if you decide The Wedding Whisperer is not the right choice for you, I’m sure you’ll still come away more knowledgeable about wedding planning,  and with a clearer idea of what you’re looking for.
If you would like to have a no-obligation consultation with Angel, please email her, pop a text to 021 027 04638 or phone 03 545 7531 call to set up a convenient time to chat.

What are the benefits of having a wedding planner?
This list could be endless, but I think some of the key benefits are:
Peace of mind and reduction of stress;
Saving Money: while there is a cost to employing a wedding planner, a good  wedding planner will help keep you within your budget and they can often get good deals with suppliers for you;
Saving Time:  for many couples, they simply do not have the time to plan  their wedding and hold down a career and carry on their normal  day-to-day lives like family, friends and other commitments.

I love weddings, and wedding planning is what I do every day, but even so, I have to say, planning a wedding is HARD, HARD work! Having a Wedding Planner is one way to get all that hard work done without spending great chunks of your own time and energy making it happen.
Many people find planning a wedding to be  incredibly stressful task.
Stress can put a huge strain on relationships, and turn those romantic dreams into a living nightmare. Shifting some of that stress outside of your immediate circle of family and friends gives you the room to work as a team, rather than fighting all the way to the altar.

Have you noticed that everyone has an opinion about your wedding? And that they’re not shy about telling you about it?!
A Wedding Planner can be your deflector – giving you the perfect excuse not to discuss any of the details with anyone!
One of the biggest benefits is having someone, who, in the weeks leading up to the wedding, will do all the double checking of details, coordinating the different parts coming together, and making sure that everything gets done.
On the day, a Wedding Coordinator will bustle about, quietly and calmly making sure that all that planning comes to perfect fruition,  allowing you to relax and totally enjoy  every moment of your wedding day with your friends and family.

TL/DR: I always sit down with my prospective clients to discuss their  wedding in general and then work out a quote specifically for them and their wedding needs. So, why not make that call, and we can start working together on the day you’re dreaming about!

Sounds Like… Time I Updated My Opinion…

As much as I joke that,” if it wasn’t for my humility, I’d be perfect”, I don’t mind admitting that, now and then I am completely and utterly wrongheaded about something. Today’s wrongheaded woolly thinking blog post on the topic of mics and sound at weddings is brought to you by the letters O and K and by the number 1, and it goes like this:

As a Celebrant, I am prejudiced beyond debate about how important it is that the words of the ceremony be clearly heard by the guests – after all, the ceremony is the reason for the celebration!  To that end, I work hard to make sure that every word I speak is clearly broadcast, either by using ‘my big voice’ [ TM], and having the couple speak out their own parts of the ceremony ‘repeat after me’ style – so that every one present is able to be an active participant in the ceremony and the vows they have gathered to witness.

I take a great deal of pride in the fact that some well-respected DJs and sound crews who have worked ceremonies with me in the past are confident enough in my speaking volume and clarity to back off the amplification.  I’ve had sound techs unclip the mic and put it away when they’ve realised that I’m the Celebrant who will be speaking.

I’m not afraid to use a microphone, and in certain settings, it’s a necessity. Applied skillfully and discreetly, amplification is an incredibly wonderful thing, subtly supporting those who are speaking.  After working alongside skilled and intuitive operators, with quality gear, I know that it’s not that difficult to place microphones so that the couple can be heard without looking like they are speaking their beautiful wedding vows to a microphone, and not to their own true love, or to quickly adjust for changes in wind direction, or the speaking volume of different participants.It’s my considered opinion that the skill of the tech AND the quality of the gear are equally important – leave one out and it would be like making cheese on toast, without the cheese. Or without the toast…

I hate-hate-hate it, [with the fierce and fiery passion of a thousand dying suns], when PAs and sound gear are used badly, either because the DJ has good gear but no real art, or when the gear is whatever battered old bits can be hired for cheap. To be blunt, poor quality sound is at best, a waste of time, money and effort to set up. At its worst, bad sound is a horrible distraction, overshadowing the words with the way they are broadcast.

So, for that reason, whenever a couple has come to me asking where they can hire a PA system, they’ve usually been the recipients of my somewhat scathing opinions about the quality of the gear an average person can affordably hire, and the lack of skilled operating that tends to come bundled with it.

I’m becoming aware that the times they are a-changing, so I’m drawing my line in the sand, and saying, there are some fantastic options for excellent sound available now, and I’m recommending them without reservation!

First shout must go to Ali Holmes, Avago Entertainment, who is one of the best DJ’s working in Nelson. I’ve had the good fortune to have worked alongside Ali at a number of weddings now, and it’s SUCH a luxury to be in such skilled hands – her gear is top quality, carefully maintained and set up, with attention to detail that is second-to-none. I’ve seen her transition smoothly through subtle pre-wedding background music, through the bride’s entrance, mic-ing the ceremony, and then segueing smoothly into pre-dinner music, mics for speeches etc, and finally cranking up into full party mode for the rest of the evening, reading and responding to the requirements of the guests throughout.

And, since sometimes, the reception venue, or the musos you’ve hired for the party, will have 90% of the sound under control, when you just need a little bit of sound for the ceremony, I’m excited to be able to say that Andrew and Kath at Event Audio have the perfect solution with a totally portable system, totally wireless, and able to be set up in the middle of the remotest paddock, deserted island, or backyard. The main unit is about the size of your commuter’s wheelie suitcase – and with an 8 hour capacity battery, there’s no worries about running extension cables for miles! With a really simple interface, it takes just moments to grasp the basic knob twiddling skills required.  Add in extra mics, CD or mp3/4 players, additional speakers – the sky’s the limit!

And that’s just the start of it – Event Audio were responsible for the sound at the recent Crusader’s game at Trafalgar Park, so I’m pretty confident that they can handle whatever size event you’re planning!

In case you missed it, in among all that, this is me, saying, hand to heart, YES! I do know where you can get really good audio services, and heartily recommending that you go talk with Ali, or Andrew, about your specific requirements. [I’ve never been so glad to be wrong! ]

I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how inexpensive the options are. Plus, you’ll enjoy the confidence that comes with crossing something off your planning list, knowing you’re actually able to get what you’re looking for! YAY!

 

 

 

 

Caring for your gown between now and The Day

This week, I’ve had bride after bride popping in, asking about ways to store their gown until the wedding – how to keep it clean and out of sight until it debuts. As much as I’d love to sell everyone a whiz-bang gadget at 60% markup, my advice is actually: Just hang it, wrapped loosely in a clean old cotton sheet, right at the back of your everyday wardrobe.

Hang It: If possible, hang your gown up by the ribbon loops inside the gown. These loops connect  to the strongest part of the garment, [usually the side seams] taking the pressure off the delicate seams at the shoulder, which may stretch out of shape if left with the whole weight of the gown on them.

Wrap It: Dry Cleaners do it, gown shops do it, but really, storing your gown in any kind of plastic bag is a Bad Idea. You’ll hear people say that plastic doesn’t breathe, what that means is that any moisture in the fabric will stay there, causing a musty smell, and perhaps even allowing mildew staining. Not only that, but many types of plastic can leach chemical residues which can cause discolouration of the fabrics. An old, [really old] well washed cotton sheet shouldn’t leach any colours or chemicals, will keep surface dust and grime away, and keep your gown hidden from prying eyes.

For longer term storage, you’re better not to hang it at all – fold it gently, wrap loosely in that old cotton sheet, and store it inside an acid free box with plenty of room for the gown to just sit loosely. As long as it’s not squashed in or under pressure, you shouldn’t get too many creases, and allowing it to hang again will see most of those drop out again.

Just a quick aside about acid free storage. Paper and card contain a naturally occurring acid, Lignin, which comes from wood pulp. This, and other acids added in the paper making process, can leach out and discolour your fabric.

Luckily, it’s easy to tell if a box is acid free – basically, if any parts of the box are brown, it is not acid-free. Generally, all parts of the box wrapping tissue should be white, including the corrugates between the inner and outer walls of the cardboard. If the corrugates are brown, they contain acids which can still migrate through the white and into fabric.

In Your Ordinary Wardrobe: It may seem sensible to tuck your gown away in a wardrobe in a spare room, but they are often colder and can be damper than one in a room in regular use. Being in your everyday wardrobe also means that if it slips off the hanger, or a leak in the roof develops, or something – you’re much more likely to notice quickly and set it right.

If the worst happens, and for some reason your gown needs cleaning before you wear it, seek professional advice before doing ANYthing! Something that will clean off one type of dirt or mark may set another type – so it’s really important to have as much information about what caused the problem, and get good advice about what to try first.

For spills and staining on the day – Know the fabric of your wedding gown.If possible, go back to the person who made/sold you your gown for advice. Different fabrics need different treatment, too – silk, for example, should never be wetted. Some cleaning solutions will dissolve some polyesters, and so on. When you spill something on artificial fibre, it tends to stay on the surface of the fabric, so it is much easier to get rid of the stain than if you spill something on a natural fibre such as silk, which are hollow, and tend to absorb the spill. In either case, unless the mess is major and makes you uncomfortable, better leave it alone until you can get professional treatment for your bridal gown.

If you must do something and the stain is coffee, wine, mud, blood, tea or some other water-soluble stain, dab the spot gently with cool water and air dry. But remember, silks and rayons are water-sensitive, and you may create permanent water spots.

Try camouflaging [dry] marks on your gown with something white and relatively harmless such as baking soda, cornstarch, or baby powder [NOT twink or white nail polish]—especially if the stain is not water-soluble. Grease, lipstick, and other cosmetics can only cleaned with solvents which can also dissolve any dye that may have been used to color your wedding gown. Again, you are better to leave the spot alone until you can get professional treatment for it, and remember that your wedding is about much more than just your dress – your friends, family, and new husband will be looking at you – not checking for spots or tears on your bridal gown!

Getting It Ready To Wear: Several days before the wedding, look over your wedding gown and wedding accessories and make sure everything is ready to wear. Hang your veil near the shower to smooth any wrinkles. If you are staying away from home, and will be dressing there, double-check that you have everything you may need before you leave the house. Allow plenty of time to get dressed in your wedding gown, and if possible, have someone to help you get it exactly right.

After Care: It’s worth planning ahead for what will happen with your gown after the wedding.  In the longer term, you might plan to pass the dress on to another generation, or simply keep it because of the memories and emotions attachment to it. If so, it’s essential that you take steps to preserve your gown properly, or it may become discolored and, over time, the fabric can even begin to disintegrate. Even if all you plan to do is to pass it on or sell it, you’ll still want to make sure it’s in good condition, and the sooner you have it cleaned, the easier it is to remove all the cake and lipstick and floor dirt you may have picked up the day of the wedding. Perspiration, unnoticed food spills, grass stains, etc, will only get worse with time. The sooner you start, the less damage there is likely to be.

BUT are you really ready to give up your gown? You might want to enjoy it some more and just look at it hanging over the wardrobe door or laying on the bed in your spare room, or even wear it for a second photo shoot – and just remember how much fun it was to wear it on your wedding day. Unless your gown is silk and/or and splattered with red wine or covered with mud, it’s okay to delay the trip to the cleaners for a couple of weeks.

The first step in either storing or selling your gown is in cleaning it. There’s a difference in the level of cleaning required for sale than for preservation. Wedding gown preservation cleaning is something that you should absolutely do if you plan to keep the dress. If you are going to sell it, then a simple cleaning is sufficient. Be realistic – if you know of serious stains – spilt wine or large grass stains – there’s little that will be able to done to remove them. You may need to reconsider your plans, and adjust the cleaning regime accordingly.

As wonderful as that gown is, the most precious part of it is the hopes and dreams, the tears and memories it’s gathered along the way. So, remember to take as much care over preserving them, as the gown itself.

Enjoy your day!

Close your eyes and make a wish…

Today, the seventh day of the seventh month,  is the Star Festival [Tanabata] which, according to legend is when the two stars Altair and Vega  get to meet, once each year. [These two stars are usually separated by the milky way. ]

There are a variety of legends around this lunar phenomenon, but the most popular one goes something like this:

The daughter of the Sky King  would sit weaving by the river in the sky we know as the Milky Way. She worked so hard at her weaving, she didn’t get any opportunity to meet someone to fall in love with. Her father arranged for her to meet a stellar young man, The Herder of Stars, who lived on the other side of the river. He chose well, and the two young people quickly fell in love, and married.  So far so good.

The problem was that the couple were so in love that the princess no longer sat for hours weaving, and the young man forgot to keep track of the stars, which strayed all over the sky, causing havoc.

Frustrated, the Sky King separated the lovers to different sides of the river, promising that, if they worked hard, he would allow them to meet up on the 7th day of the 7th month.

Legend further adds that the first time the couple tried to meet, they could not cross the river because there was no bridge. The princess wished with all her heart to cross the river, and a flock of magpies came and made a bridge with their wings so that the couple could cross to meet each other.

It is said that if it rains on Tanabata, the magpies cannot come and the two lovers must wait until another year to meet.

And I told you that story because… one of the traditions of Tanabata is to write a wish onto a piece of paper, and hang it in a tree, hoping that whatever the equivalent of “a bridge of magpie wings” is for you will come to pass.

And I wondered, what would you write? One of the most powerful parts of the wedding planning process is simply KNOWING what you want. Once you have that, you’re so much closer to actually achieving the wedding of your dreams.

I regularly speak with couples who have no idea of what they want or don’t want for their ceremony and celebrations, and most often it’s because they honestly haven’t thought that there were options open to them. Fair enough, since every wedding they’ve ever attended or watched on TV has been pretty much the same as the next one.

There are a myriad of different ways to celebrate, and depending on what’s important to you, you’ll want to spend more of your money and time and energy making those parts work. So tonight, if the sky clears enough to see the milky way, take some time out to dream, and wish, and plan in broad brushstrokes, for the celebration you really want to create.

 


Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: