May 2010

The First Dance

05/27/2010

Say-yes-first-dance [From the TLC Editors: Click here for webisodes and video clips featuring the good, the bad and the bridezilla.]

Do you and your fiancé have a song? As in, you're dining out on Saturday night, and the restaurant's pianist strikes the first notes of "It Had to Be You," and you turn to your love and say, "Darling, he's playing our song!"

If you've got one, consider yourselves lucky. Choosing a song for the first dance is a decision many couples agonize over. The song has to be meaningful. It's got to express your unique relationship, but it shouldn't be so obscure that none of your guests recognize it. Emily Post says selecting the first dance song is a "second-level decision;" it's not as important as picking the venue, but it's a big deal!

Your first dance marks the transition from ceremony to party time -- it should be tender and sweet, but maybe even a little cheeky so that when it's over, your guests know you're ready to have some fun.

Besides choosing the song, you should also consider when you want to have your dance. Most couples choose to dance after they're formally announced at the reception site. This makes for a pretty seamless timeline, after which you may want to have a father-daughter and mother-son dance, then open the buffet or begin serving dinner.

Some couples take dance lessons so they can execute a perfect waltz or perform some choreographed presentation dance. This is entirely optional (and more common in high-end weddings), but dance lessons can be a great way to bond and sweat off some steam while you're in the thick of wedding planning. Plus, they can go a long way toward loosening up a stiff-legged dance partner! The more intricate the dance, the likelier a nervous bride or groom is to forget a step, so keep things simple. Of course, there's nothing wrong with freestyle dancing or even hamming it up during the first dance. Search "wedding first dance" on YouTube, and you'll find no shortage of couples who stop swaying midway through "Fools Rush In" and break into a not-safe-for-grandma routine to "Baby Got Back."

Your wedding DJ plays an instrumental role in orchestrating your first dance. Kevin Cheek, wedding entertainment specialist and owner of Dawg-Town Entertainment in Athens, Ga., says that most brides go with an "older, more traditional, 1960s-era song" that their guests will recognize. Etta James' "At Last" is the most popularly requested song among his brides (the most unusual was UNK's "Walk It Out"). Kevin advises couples not to worry if they're shy on the dance floor. Most couples "let the emotion of the night overtake them," and they'll spin and shuffle like pros. Traditionally, couples end the night with a slow song for their last dance, but Kevin says that the modern bride may opt for a contemporary, up-tempo song and ask her guests to join the couple on the dance floor. Many brides request Chris Brown's "Forever" as their last song, and Kevin points out that the now-famous YouTube video of guests dancing to this song has brides taking pointers on how to cut loose and have fun with what can be a stiff and formal tradition.

The first dance is all about expressing your love and your personalities, but as with any public affair, remember your audience! Keep it subdued in a formal ballroom, and once the over-60 crowd has departed, you can really let loose!

Brides, what songs are you considering for your first dance? And bride veterans, what did you dance to?

Leave your comments below, and see what we're up to on Facebook and Twitter!

At last, her love has come along! (Credit: Klubovy/Getty Images)

When Moms Meddle

05/24/2010

Say-yes-508-natasha-blog Our moms curled our hair for school pictures, held our hands when we got our ears pierced and helped us pick out the perfect prom dress. So why wouldn't we want them to come wedding dress shopping with us? We saw three cautionary tales this week on "Say Yes to the Dress."

First, we met Carla, a sassy raven-haired beauty with a fondness for glitzy gowns. As consultant Sarah put it, "Carla is a true Pnina bride. She wants bling, sparkles -- she wants to be dramatic." Carla's mother, Bernadette, just wanted her to find a tasteful, unique dress. Mom and daughter did what many "Say Yes" fans have dreamed of: They cornered Randy and asked him what Carla should wear! He advised something grand, but not overpowering. The Pnina gown with the surprise skirt, plunging neckline and jeweled straps had a lot going on -- too much for Bernadette. While she wrinkled her nose, Carla protested, "I'm all about gaudy, Ma!" Carla tried on a more subdued ball gown to please her mother, but it lacked the sparkle she craved. So, it was back to the Pnina. While Carla shimmied and modeled a veil, her mother tried to get on board. Bernadette (who'd put on her glasses to scrutinize the gown) seemed a little concerned that her daughter's idea of good taste was so different from her own. At last, she couldn't dispute that Carla looked radiant in the gown, and she echoed her daughter's resounding "yes" with a slightly less enthusiastic one.

Next up was Natasha, whose mom Valerie, clad in turtleneck and jeans, wasn't thrilled to be at Kleinfeld. She explained that spending money on wedding dresses is frivolous and that Natasha could use that money for something more important. But since Natasha and her fiancé were footing the bill, the bride was going to invest in a dress. So, why did she invite her mother? Their relationship had hit a rough patch, and Natasha thought this experience would help bring them together. We have to hand it to Camille, who was a true class act in this episode. When mom couldn't muster any excitement or words of encouragement for the nervous bride, Camille stepped in to build her up. When Natasha modeled the strapless dress that appealed to her artsy sensibilities, she looked sophisticated and perfectly lovely -- and she felt fantastic in it. So fantastic, in fact, that when Valerie said, "It's not you," Natasha didn't flinch. She liked it, and she said yes! (For a peek at all the gowns Natasha tried on, flip through our gallery.)

In fittings, we saw Erin, a nervous bride whose dress was her second choice and her mother's No. 1 pick. When she deferred to her mother's opinion in a previous episode, she seemed to be at peace with her decision, but now, pulling on the big ball gown, she wasn't so sure. It didn't fit well, she said, and she felt as though it swallowed her petite frame. A few alterations later, and the dress fit like a dream. Vindicating pushy mothers everywhere, she said, "I'm so glad I listened to my mom."

Randy's advice in this episode rings as clearly as wedding bells: "If a woman is mature enough to get married, she really doesn't need her mother's approval." Go with your instincts, but part of being a lovely bride -- inside and out -- is giving polite consideration to those who love you (and who are paying for the dress).

Brides, have you and your mother butted heads about your wedding dress? Leave your comments below, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Natasha and Camille smile at the sweet success of finding the perfect dress. (Credit: DCL)

Q&A with Nicole

05/20/2010

Say-yes-nicole-sacco-blog [From the TLC Editors: Click here for webisodes and video clips featuring the good, the bad and the bridezilla.]

On "Say Yes to the Dress," Nicole brings energy, positivity and a can-do attitude to any scene. It's no wonder she has so many fans among viewers! We've got the inside scoop with her.

TLC: As Director of Sales, what are your primary responsibilities? Do you consult with individual brides, or are you generally overseeing all the activity at the store?

Nicole: As Director of Sales my primary responsibilities are to run the sales floor, help consultants close sales, make sure brides are getting excellent service, consultant scheduling, and to lend a helping hand to both the consultants and brides in order to help them find their dream dress.

TLC: What's a typical day like at Kleinfeld when you're working versus a typical day when you're working AND being filmed for "Say Yes to the Dress"?

Nicole: A typical day at Kleinfeld doesn't differ much from a day when we are being filmed, except that there is a camera crew following your every move. I guess it takes some time to get used to, but by now I am totally used to it. However the beginning wasn't so easy especially when you forget they are right behind you!

TLC: You've been in the bridal business for years -- what trends have you been glad to see go out of fashion, and which ones have the staying power to be timeless?

Nicole: The trend I am so glad is gone are poufy sleeves. That was such a thing of the '80s and I could never picture it coming back. A true classic silhouette would be A-line, and lace will forever remain timeless.

TLC: Are there any brides from "Say Yes to the Dress" who are especially memorable to you? Who and why?

Nicole: One bride that will forever remain in my heart is Angelina Zito. As needy as she was, I never felt so important in my career. She needed my opinion, approval and nurturing to guide her to her special day. We became friends and still keep in touch.

TLC: What's the No. 1 thing you wish fans of the show knew about you?

Nicole: The one thing I wish the fans of the show knew about me would be that I too had my dream wedding, and went through the planning just like all of our brides. However, I loved my dress so much that it was the only one I ever laid eyes on. The perfect dress is like the perfect man, you know it once you see it!

Thanks to Nicole for her insight -- and stay tuned for more Q&As with your favorite Kleinfeld consultants. In the meantime, keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook.

Kleinfeld Bridal's Director of Sales, Nicole Sacco (Credit: DCL)

Details, Details

05/17/2010

Say-yes-507-melissa-blog [From the TLC Editors: Click here for webisodes and video clips featuring the good, the bad and the bridezilla.]

Some brides get so wrapped up in the big picture that they lose sight of details. Like a budget -- or a timeline for ordering the gown. Others are too caught up in the details to look at the big picture. But we're getting ahead of ourselves.

Bride Rachel told us up front: "I'm a very extravagant person." Her extravagant taste was no match for her mother's dress budget, which was $3,000. Rachel's budget? Ten thousand dollars. She explained, "Everybody's pitching in [to pay for the dress]." When she found a crystal-studded Pnina Tornai ball gown she loved, Rachel feigned innocence when her mother asked the price. At last, she admitted it was $9,200, but rather than shake her head "no," her mother just shrugged and said she had "no control" over Rachel. Meanwhile, Rachel began second-guessing the fullness of the skirt and toyed with the idea of combining the gown's bodice with slimmer skirt. Randy pointed out that a custom Pnina gown would start at $10,000, so Rachel settled on making a few alterations to the ball gown (keep the box pleats, lose some of the crinoline). But tweaking the gown's design didn't solve the biggest dilemma: paying for it. Without consent from her fiancé, she couldn't buy the pricey dress with a clear conscience. So, she walked away.

Next, we met Theresa, a teacher from Long Island. She'd shed some serious pounds for her sister's wedding, and she continued her weight loss journey to look stunning on her own big day. She looked perfectly svelte to us, but her reflection told a different story. Working with new consultant J.B. (welcome, J.B.!), Theresa couldn't find a dress she liked. Some were too sheer, others too clingy, and one had a dropped waist that made her self-conscious about her midsection. Was she a challenging client? Well, yes. But we can't fault her for that, especially after she confessed, "I've compromised on every other thing I've worn in my life because things didn’t fit me. This is the time that I don't want to do that." At last, J.B. and Randy pulled a lacy dress with a sweetheart neckline -- something Theresa had envisioned herself in but couldn't quite describe. It was exactly the kind of soft, flattering fit that she was after. Congratulations, Theresa!

We're always amazed by brides who wait until the last minute to get their dresses. To be fair, unless you've done your research or have an industry insider's perspective, you may not know how far in advance to order your dress. But bride Melissa had just two months left before her wedding! Camille made a smart suggestion. She advised Melissa, who was working with a $1,500-2,000 budget, to pick a dress from the samples section. Instant savings, instant gratification! What we loved most about this bride was the special relationship she had with her mother. Melissa praised her mother's uncanny ability to find fabulous items of clothing off the rack, and she told Camille that she'd know she found the right dress if it made her mother cry. The strapless diamond white dress certainly did, and though it was unembellished, Melissa's mom thought it had plenty of sparkle. She said, "It made me realize the sparkle was in her eyes."

Two out of three isn't bad! What did you think of the dresses featured on this episode? If you were Rachel, would you have purchased the Pnina ball gown? Leave your comments below, and get the latest from us on Facebook and Twitter!

Why delay your honeymoon? Why not?

05/13/2010

Say-yes-belated-honeymoon [From the TLC editors: Click here for webisodes and video clips featuring the good, the bad and the bridezilla!]

When you're in the thick of wedding planning, it's hard to split focus between the logistics of the big event and the spa treatments available at that Caribbean resort. Sure, you'd rather think about the fun stuff, but who has time when you're revising the seating chart for the fifth time?

A lack of planning time is just one reason that some couples take belated honeymoons. While it may not require as much strategizing as the reception, you do have to give the honeymoon some thought. You've got to choose the resort, make travel reservations, research the area to plan your excursions -- and shop for new bikinis, of course!

Other reasons couples delay their honeymoon? Perhaps they didn't figure the cost of the honeymoon into the wedding budget, and funds are tight -- or, they can't take the time off work for the wedding and a long vacation. Some couples may have their hearts set on a tiny island that gets hammered during hurricane season (note: resort rates are typically less expensive then), while others getting married during peak season find that resort rates are significantly higher than in other seasons. And while a destination wedding may seem like the answer to any honeymoon woes, some couples are reluctant to stick around the resort and share a cabana with their aunts and uncles. Perfectly understandable.

You can still enjoy the newlywed luster by spending a long weekend somewhere a few hours' drive away, then taking a longer vacation later. Or, consider staying a few nights in a local luxury hotel after the wedding. Many hotels offer lower rates Sunday through Thursday (though you might not get the penthouse honeymoon suite).

Think about the perks of staying put after the wedding. You'll get to spend some extra time with friends and family who've come into town to celebrate. You can eat leftover cake and drop off your dress at the dry cleaner. Plus, you'll probably have a lot of presents to open. If you're thinking of delaying the honeymoon for a month or longer, you'll also have time to move into a new place and get settled.

On the other hand, putting off the honeymoon for too long isn't recommended. After three months, your enthusiasm for a getaway might be waning. Your practical side kicks in as you begin to think about other matters that need your financial attention.

Brides, would you consider taking a belated honeymoon? Or do you want to be on the first plane to French Polynesia hours after you toss the bouquet? Leave your comments below, and keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook!

That bungalow in French Polynesia will wait for you, but can you wait for it? (Credit: iStockphoto.com/olio)

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