Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beautiful Music

The vendor I want to highlight today is the Brioso String Quartet of West Michigan.

Music is very important in my life. I have played piano since the age of 8 and I now have two sons who are training on the violin. Each week, I get to play the piano and help lead our church's congregation in worship. I've played for weddings, funerals, and other events.

So, I really appreciate finding musicians who do what they do well AND are easy to work with, especially for weddings! Let me present the ladies of the Brioso String Quartet!

Brioso will be at our Open House next week (only a week from tonight!), February 7 from 6-8 pm. They will be serenading us with classical and popular music all evening, and will be available to answer your questions and book your date!

Visit their website here and then come and listen next week; I think you'll find them to be a perfect fit for your ceremony or reception!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Let Us Eat Cake!

I will be the first to admit that my favorite part of a wedding reception, or any party for that matter, is the CAKE! My very favorite is chocolate cake with raspberry filling and white buttercream frosting...ymmmmm!

As I continue to introduce you to the vendors who will be at our Open House & Wedding Reception Showcase on February 7, today I want to tell you about DeBoer Cafe & Bakery here in Holland.

I first was introduced to DeBoer Cafe & Bakery when it opened near my house a few years ago. Afternoon coffee with my Mom, and Saturday morning breakfasts with the whole family are yummy and cozy in their beautiful cafe. Then I met Katie Webster, the manager, at a Bridal Show and discovered that they had a wonderful wedding & party cake division, too.

Since then, I have ordered several cakes and desserts through DeBoer; we also held my dad's 60th Birthday party right on site, using their catering and another delicious cake, uniquely decorated to reflect Dad's interests.

Katie and her team will be at our Open House, with a cake designed just for the evening's theme. Of course, you'll be able to taste how yummy and moist the cakes are for yourself! She will also have plenty of photos, ideas, and information on how she and DeBoer Cafe & Bakery can make your wedding cake a delicious dream-come-true!

Please join us on February 7, from 6-8 pm; you will love it!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Introducing our Vendors

For the next few days, I want to tell you about the other vendors that you'll see at our Open House on February 7; 6-8 pm.

Barry Jeter from Procedo Events will be doing the flowers and decor for the evening. Barry is a creative genius when it comes to floral pieces and decorating!

When he and I spoke recently about his business, he told me that he has done weddings where he provided only a bridal bouquet and also events where he has done thousands in floral centerpieces alone. Whatever the size of wedding or budget you have, Barry will give you his best!

Barry spends alot of time with his clients, discussing what they like, and then seeing how that will fit into a venue. He is very honest, and will tell you if an idea won't work, but then he will always offer an alternative plan.

When I opened September's Bride, Barry brought me a huge bouquet of fresh flowers, with the sweetest-smelling roses. That bouquet lasted for over a week and never looked tired. I know he uses the best stems he can find!

You won't want to miss seeing what he is going to do at the Open House!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bridal Shrugs & Boleros


September's Bride is currently developing a line of bridal shrugs and boleros!

Here is a sneak-peek of a silk and mohair hand-knit shrug. We are able to accept orders on this design!

An embroidered organza bolero is currently being designed, and we hope to add a lace bolero shortly.

All items have been designed by "moi" and are being crafted by local women skilled in the arts of hand-sewing and knitting! We are using the finest silks and fibers available, many from local sources.

I will keep you, my dear blog readers, updated with photos and information!

Even MORE new arrivals today!

If you are planning on doing some bridal or prom shopping this week, be sure to stop in and see us!
New arrivals today include:

1. Casablanca Gown - from Spring 2008 Collection
2. Lila Couture Gown - One of my favorite dresses!
3. 4 New Styles from B2! Great for Prom OR Bridemaids

Of course, we have the early start of our Novissima Trunk Show, too.

And...only 13 days left before our Open House and Wedding Reception Showcase.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Early Surprise - just for my blog readers!

The Novissima gowns for the trunk show have arrived! Yes - TWO WEEKS EARLY! (Daisy - it's time to come shop!)

When they were delivered, I sent a text message to my husband sharing my excitement. He sent back, "How many have you tried on already?"

There are gowns that range from lacy elegance to just plain fun! There is even a white silk wedding pantsuit - with heart-shaped pockets! Perhaps one or two are a little too far "out-there" for West Michigan, but it is still fun to look, feel, and try on!

You don't need an appointment until the actual dates of the Trunk Show; we have devoted an entire rack in the store to these gowns and you are welcome to come in and shop. I will gladly give the 10% off right away, too.

Yes, the gown pictured above IS included in the collection at the store!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal

When to Order???

I get asked frequently, "when do I need to order my gown?" or "when do I need to decide on bridesmaid dresses?"

Here is the "ideal" timeline:

1. Order your wedding gown 6-12 months before your wedding.
1a. Order your veil once you decide on your dress and how you want to wear your hair.
1b. Be sure to purchase your undergarments and shoes before your first fitting.
2. Order your bridesmaid dresses 5-8 months before your wedding.
3. Decide on tuxes and have the guys get measured 2-3 months before your wedding.
4. Mother's gowns should be ordered 4-6 months before the wedding.

Of course, your timeline is as individual as your wedding. There are often circumstances that warrant differing from the "ideal" that I listed above. Almost all designers have "rush programs"; and finding your gown on the sample rack is a great option, too!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Quick note...

Due to today's SNOW DAY - September's Bride will open an hour or so later than usual this morning. If you need to contact the store before noon, please call 616-283-2995 and I will be happy to help you!

Remember that Downtown Holland has snow-free streets and sidewalks due to our snowmelt program! Come and enjoy the sights and shopping on this snowy day.

Photo by Steve Fox of Steven Fox Photography.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Our first Novissima gown is here!

I had such a wonderful treat waiting for me when I opened the store this morning - our first gown from Novissima arrived! If you read this blog regularly, you know that I am very excited about carrying this line! It is definitely one of THE emerging lines for wedding gowns! Designers Charo Peres and Camila Elbaz contribute to the line, along with other Spanish and European fashion designers.

The gown that arrived today is #2026 - a very popular Novissima style, and I can see why! The laser-cut lace is SO SOFT and the gown is very well-made, in gorgeous silk. The silk organza sash in "grape" is sheer and lustrous.

Please come and see this beauty for yourself. More Novissima styles will be arriving before Spring; and of course, there is our Novissima trunk show on February 8 & 9! All Novissima gowns ordered that weekend will be 10% off.

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"Couture" - what's it really mean?

This post was originally published back in October. But, I have so many more readers now and lots of newly-engaged brides are shopping. I thought it would be a good "repeat". -Tami

The word "couture" is quite the buzz word in today's bridal industry. Perhaps you've been told by a saleslady, "This one's special, it's 'couture'"; or you've come across the word while looking at gowns on-line. It must be good, even if we don't completely understand, right?

"Couture" is a French word which means " the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client's specific requirements and measurements"; up until the last few years, most of us Midwesterners would have said that something was "custom-made". If it had been custom-made of the finest fabrics, trims, and details available by your area's very best seamstress, it would have been, in fact, "couture".

Now, we are seeing almost every bridal line call their higher-end collections "couture". I'm sure you've noticed this, too. Instead of the original definition, "couture" means "high-end" or "more-expensive" in today's bridal market; at least to the end-consumer. I'm not sure manufacturers or bridal stores have done a great job explaining this to you, the bride.

All this to say, do we offer "couture" at September's Bride? You bet! See something you like in our sale room? Our talented seamstress and myself, with several years of re-making vintage gowns, will put our heads together and "couture" it for you! Did you know that Casablanca gowns can be customized for you, to your measurements and your preferences? And then, of course, we carry Lila Couture, which is truly couture in every since of the word, but still very affordable for us sensible Midwesterners!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What is a Trunk Show (and why should I care)?

If you take a quick look at September's Bride's calendar, you'll see that we have two Trunk Shows scheduled for this spring. Perhaps you're wondering what a Trunk Show is and what it means to you as a bride.

A Trunk Show is when a designer provides his/her new and favorite gowns to a bridal boutique for a (very) limited period of time. Typically, this group of gowns will travel from store to store. It is a big deal for a boutique to warrant a trunk show, as it means that that particular boutique is respected by the designer.

For the bride, this means that a bridal store will have approximately a dozen gowns in the store that they wouldn't have normally and that you can try them on, learn more about the designer, and order a gown out of a special collection. Sometimes, a discount is offered on gowns ordered during the Trunk Show, too!

For our first scheduled Trunk Show this spring, by Novissima, you will have a chance to preview the gowns at our Open House Event on February 7 (see previous post for more info). You may then make an appointment to try on the gowns on February 8 & 9. (We will reserve a fitting room for walk-ins, too!)

Lace, vintage, unique, classic, glamorous, European; if any of these words describe what you're looking for in a gown, you simply must plan on attending this Trunk Show! We will be offering a 10% discount on all Novissima gowns ordered during the Show. We will also be showing veils by designer Jennifer Leigh that will complement the gowns beautifully!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal

Monday, January 14, 2008

Little Black Dress

At September's Bride, we have been waiting and waiting for our new line of social occasion gowns to arrive from the LaBelle collection from House of Wu. We chose this collection at the Chicago Bridal Market back in October; because we like the options for Mother's Gowns, Recital Gowns, and Party Dresses!

Our first style arrived today, pictured here. We have it in two sizes, a 6 and a 16, so that no matter what size you are, you can try this fantastic little black dress. Totally appropriate for so many occasions!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Gown Shopping - When to Go

This post will help answer the big-picture and detail of "When to Shop for A Wedding Gown"!

Big Picture:

1. Start shopping when you get engaged (or even before if you know you will have a short engagement). The style of your gown will have a big effect on the style of your wedding. So, even if you don't choose a gown right away, just getting into stores and knowing what you like will help you make other wedding decisions easier.
2. Ideally, order your gown 6-12 months before your wedding.
3. Gowns are typically made at the factory and shipped to your salon based on your wedding date. This is why your Maggie may take 7 months to arrive while your friend's only took 2 months. Also, designers do keep a stock of popular styles, colors, and sizes. So, if you order one of those, it could come in much quicker. Your bridal salon will give you the best advice out there on when to expect your gown.
4. Feeling short on time? We can get custom bridesmaid's gowns in 4 weeks and have a fantastic selection of sample gowns for you to choose from, too!


1. Saturday afternoons are by far the busiest times at any bridal store. Of course, this is because most people are off of work and it's easiest to get moms and friends together. There is often a fun, positive energy in the fitting area at this time, but it can get hectic, and you may need to wait for a fitting room or share a mirror.
2. If you want plenty of time to linger in the gowns and have a gown consultant give you personal attention and lots of options, visit the store on a weekday. Right after opening on Saturday morning is usually less busy, too.
3. At September's Bride, we offer appointments before opening in the morning or after closing in the evening. This guarantees you and your party plenty of time, room, and attention. We often will provide refreshments for these appointments, too!

September's Bride... a fresh approach to formal

Friday, January 11, 2008

Aletha says...

Aletha from Pearl's Events says on her blog that "gray is the new brown"...what do you think?

Chocolate brown is definitely VERY popular with the bridal parties shopping at September's Bride, but since I love change, I'll be looking to bring in some steel gray, too.

I also wanted to post this photo that she shared from MSN, because the bride is wearing Casablanca #1831 - a gown that is currently on a dress form in our salon because I think it is FAB!

Gown Shopping - Fabrics

Wedding gowns are made of two main fibers - silk or polyester. Some gowns will blend other fibers into these fibers, and some gowns will use both silk AND polyester. Most moderately-priced gowns and almost all lower-priced gowns will be made of polyester, a durable synthetic fiber, usually in a satin or taffeta blend. Many higher-end and couture gowns will be made of natural silk, the "Queen of Fibers". Some couture lines will offer their gowns in a choice of silk or polyester.

I have been trained as a professional drycleaner and am a Certified Textile Specialist, so if you REALLY want to understand the difference in fabrics, call me... :) However, here are a few tips that will help you decide which fiber and fabric is right for you:

1. If you are having an outdoor wedding, outdoor reception, or lots of pictures outdoors, polyester is your best choice, because it is much easier to clean than silk, and it can get wet without damage.

2. Nothing looks like silk - it has a natural luster that can't be replicated. However, if you want a silk gown, buy a good silk gown, not a cheap one. Cheap silk will snag, pull, and mar very easily. Good silk has a natural strength and will be able to be cleaned and altered with much better results.

3. If you are on a limited budget, purchase a better-quality polyester gown rather than a poor-quality silk gown. Good designers will use a good-quality polyester fabric and you will be much happier!

4. Ask questions at the bridal salon about the gowns you love. The sales consultants should be able to let you know what fabric options you have and how to care for them.

5. No matter what your gown is made of, have it cleaned right away after your wedding. My company, Great Lakes Wedding Gown Specialists, cleans gowns of all fabrics. All fabrics will last longer when cared for properly!

Silk Charmeuse by Vera Wang - Fall 2007 Collection

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Gown Shopping - finding the best value

In my experience, there are two extremes reflecting how women feel about wedding gowns:

A. "There is NO WAY I am going to pay $600 (or $300 or $3000) for a dress that I will only wear for a few hours"
B. "I don't care WHAT it costs; I have to have THIS DRESS!"

Of course, most of us fall somewhere between those two extremes. Still, few of us have unlimited budgets, and there are so many things to spend our wedding dollars on. Here are some tips to help you as you shop:

1. Most wedding professionals will tell you to plan 10% of your budget for your wedding attire. So, if your complete wedding budget is $25,000, plan to spend around $2,500 on your ensemble. This includes the dress, alterations, veil, shoes, jewelry, and undergarments. If you shopped for gowns in the $1250 range (half of your clothing budget); you would be right on track!
2. A better quality gown will be able to be altered easier and with better results. Don't fall for cheap imitations of designer gowns.
3. If you are on a limited budget, let the gown consultant at the bridal salon know what range you are shopping in. This will allow her to help you better and keep both of you from being frustrated and disappointed if you fall in love with a gown that costs more than you want to spend.
4. Shop local. Many brides are ordering their gowns on-line. Sure, on-line vendors' quoted prices are often less than a local store; but most local bridal salons would be more than happy to compete! When you buy from a bridal salon, you are supporting the local economy. You are building a relationship with professionals who will be with you through each step of your planning process and who will be available up to, on, and after your wedding day to be sure you are delighted with your gown. In the long run, you will receive a much better value for your hard-earned money!
5. Lastly, decide what is important to you, and plan your budget accordingly. If you have always dreamed of wearing a silk gown on your wedding day, then wear a gorgeous silk gown and perhaps use less expensive flowers. If you really want a lavish reception, wear a simple, flattering gown that costs less so you can enjoy the party!

Have fun shopping!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Gown Shopping 102 - The Formal Wedding

If you're having a formal wedding, you are most likely looking for some version of the traditional wedding gown. White, ivory, or a shade of those colors; long skirt with a train; veil, headpiece, or both, etc...

You can have so much fun dress shopping! It's almost like playing princess dress-up. However, you don't want to look like every bride that has walked the same church aisle before you. Here are some tips to help you shop for your gown.

1. You CAN wear straps or sleeves! Especially in a church setting, a strap or sleeve can look so classic and elegant. I know that it is difficult to find beautiful, modern gowns with sleeves; but please ask at your bridal salon. So many designers have sleeve options, most salons do not show them for various reasons. Another option is to wear a bolero or shrug over your strapless gown. Then, you can remove the jacket for the reception.
2. Match your train to the setting. If you are getting married in a small chapel, a long cathedral-length train will look awkward. Likewise, an informal gown with no train will look out-of-place in a large sanctuary. This rule also applies to embellishments. The larger and more formal your ceremony venue is, the more gown you can wear!
3. Let the saleslady or gown consultant who is helping you know a little about your ceremony and wedding theme. This will keep her from showing gowns to you that won't work with your vision. On the other hand, she will probably be able to show you gowns that WILL work great! As I've mentioned before, humor her and try a few on. On the other hand, if she's just not "getting it"; it's OK to graciously let her know that you'd rather look on your own for a while.
4. Remember that veils and jewelry can make a more simple gown look very formal. If you like simple lines and less embellishment, have fun trying some different necklaces and veil styles to "dress up" the gown. On the other hand, if you choose a gown that is heavily embroidered or embellished, it is often better to keep your jewelry and veil simple.

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Gown pictured above is "Estella" by Maggie Sottero
Just arrived at September's Bride today!!

When in France...

Check out this blog post about the latest wedding gown trend in Paris. What do you think? will it take off here in Michigan? (Looks like pick-up skirts are still en vogue)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Gown Shopping 102 - The Informal Wedding

Yesterday, I shared with you some of my suggestions for your dress shopping experience. In today's post, I want to give you some tips on finding the perfect wedding outfit for your informal or destination wedding. This tips will also apply if you will be wearing two gowns - a ceremony gown and a reception gown. The ceremony gown tends to be formal and more elaborate; the reception attire is more casual, so you can greet your guests, eat, and celebrate with more comfort and ease.

1. Many wedding gown designers have "destination" lines in their collections. These range from pantsuits to knee- or tea-length gowns. Most are still in the traditional colors of white or ivory. Informal or "Destination Gowns", as they are commonly called, will still be one of the more expensive options you have, as you are still paying for the "label" or "designer". However, they are becoming very popular, and you should find several options at most bridal salons.
2. Another option is to choose a wedding gown that you love and order it with custom options; such as removal of beading and the train. You can make the gown slimmer, or add a halter top. Casablanca is a line that is very easy to work with in this way. Our signature line, Lila Couture, will also make custom changes for a bride to make a gown less formal.
3. One of my personal favorite options for an informal wedding gown, is to choose from a bridesmaid line, and order the gown in the color you want to wear. Last week, a bride at our store chose a beautiful gold taffeta sheath-style formal gown, and then added a short ivory veil with a gold silk ribbon-edge. Absolutely stunning, and so fun!

As I posted yesterday, the important thing is to relax, enjoy the process, and keep an open mind. When a bride comes into September's Bride looking for an informal wedding dress, the options are as varied as the brides. We are happy to suggest ideas and let your creativity go from there!

September's Bride... a fresh approach to formal.

Gown pictured above is from Destinations by Maggie Sottero

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Gown Shopping 101

Over the next week, I want to share some gown-shopping tips with you. Shopping for a wedding dress is a big deal -whether it's your first or second wedding; whether your ceremony is formal, in a church, or informal, on a beach. You want to enjoy the process, not get stressed out about it!

I've shopped for a gown myself, altered gowns, cleaned gowns, planned weddings, and helped many women find THE ONE. So, here are some of my best tips:

1. Plan to visit NO MORE than three shops in a day. You'll get tired and confused after that.
2. Take one or two people along with you. Again, more than this, and it can be difficult. Once you find one or two gowns that you really like, you can bring a few friends back for a second look. YOU need to choose your dress, one that YOU love and YOU feel great in. Too many opinions will leave you confused. (And everyone will have an opinion)
3. Eat a good breakfast, and take a coffee break between shops on "Dress-Shopping Day". This allows you to slow down and think about each dress that you like, rather than having a marathon day in which they can all start to look alike.
4. Keep an open mind. Humor your mother and the saleslady; try on a few gowns that they suggest, too. Gowns can look so much different on your body than on the hanger.
5. Don't be intimidated, but be gracious. At September's Bride, we want our brides to ask questions about the gowns, the designer, and more. We love to help you as much as we can. But, on a busy day, we are often helping several customers at a time. Be understanding if a saleslady steps away or seems a little hurried. Watch and listen to other brides. You may see someone else trying a gown that you want to try! You may overhear someone discussing their florist or bakery; perhaps you'll get a great contact.

Again, relax and enjoy the process. Most locally-owned shops, like September's Bride, want to provide you with excellent service and will help you find a beautiful gown that fits you beautifully. Have fun!

September's Bride...a fresh approach to formal.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Photo Shoot in the Snow

Yesterday, while I was still on my romantic mini-vacation with my husband (see previous post), I received a phone call from Steve Fox of Steven Fox Photography. Steve had this crazy idea about doing a photo shoot on the beach at Holland State Park - today - in the snow! Well, I've been at some bridal shows with Steve and knew that he knew what he was doing, crazy as it might sound.

Crazier still, I volunteered my lovely assistant, Rachel, to be his model. My conversation with her went something like this:

Me: Rach, would you like to be involved in a photo shoot tomorrow?
R: Sure, you mean help with the styling, or take the photos???
Me: No, I mean be the model.
R: Well, I guess so, sounds like fun.
Me: Great! The only catch is...
R: What? It can't be hard, can it?
Me: Well...Crazy Steve wants you to go out to the State Park in just a wedding gown and pose for pictures in the snow.
R: Yikes! Can I wear my boots?

Yes, Rachel did wear her boots, and she did get cold, but look at these amazing shots! For more, check out Steven's blog.

Gown: Casablanca; available at September's Bride
Model: Rachel K.
Photographer: Steven Fox
Stylist: Tami Parks

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Destination Recommendation

My husband and I just returned from a min-vacation to the Traverse City/Suttons Bay area of Michigan. We stayed at the fabulous Inn at Black Star Farms.

If you are looking for a place to have a destination wedding, spend a night or two of your honeymoon, or relax for an anniversary celebration, be sure to consider Black Star Farms.

Jill, the innkeeper on duty during our stay, welcomed us by name upon our arrival. After a surprise upgrade to a fantastic room (the Diadem) and a tour of the inn, she left us on our own to relax. Our room featured a king-size bed and a large fireplace. We read and relaxed for the evening, frequently looking out the large dormer windows at the gorgeous view. The Inn is located on a working farm, with vineyards, and a cheese house. (You get to sample the fruits of the farm, too!) Our room was across from the "Sauna & Spa", so last night we enjoyed that, too!

This morning, I woke up to the aroma of fresh-brewed coffee, made from locally-roasted beans. I didn't want to get out of bed, though; as the linens were so luxurious. However, as the smell of a gourmet breakfast cooking downstairs slowly wafted through the Inn, we were compelled to venture out of the cozy room into an equally cozy dining room, to a seat by the window, where we watched the horses graze and trot in the new snowfall.

I could write more and more, but I want instead to encourage you to visit for yourself. While there, I looked through several photobooks of weddings that were held at the Inn; what charm and elegance! Again, if you're looking for a wedding, honeymoon, or anniversary destination, be sure to consider The Inn at Black Star Farms. Oh, and tell Jill "Hello" from Tami at September's Bride!