Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Essense of Australia!

Our first 2010 Essense of Australia gown has arrived at September's Bride.  These gowns are so exquisite; we are very blessed to be able to add them to our collection.  The gown pictured above is Style D1006 and is the gown that arrived yesterday.  We expect more to arrive over the next few weeks!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fun Math :: Financial Guidelines for Weddings

On another blog, Business By The Blog, I talk about our journey in business and the challenge to run a small business debt-free and without credit.  Before opening our business, we made a committment to live this way in our personal life with our personal finances, too.  A main influence in this decision was author and radio host, Dave Ramsey.  We listened to Dave Ramsey before it was cool to listen to Dave Ramsey!

What does this have to do with weddings and wedding gowns?

I have heard so many people ask Dave how much money is appropriate to budget for a wedding and he never gave a specific guideline until recently.  (Wonder if that's because his daughter just got married?)  Of course, many families have their own system for coming up with a wedding budget; I think this is a personal issue: as long as there is open communication and a definite budget; each couple and family needs to do what works for them.

But, if you are just starting your planning and want a starting point, here is a guideline worth discussing:

Take the yearly income of the person(s) responsible for the wedding finances, and use 50% of that for the wedding budget.  So, if your parents are paying for the wedding, and they make $70K per year, your wedding budget should not exceed $35K.  If you and your fiance are paying for your own wedding and together you make $30K a year, use $15K as your guideline.

Does this mean that if you are blessed with a $300K income, you should spend $150K on a wedding?  Dave would say "no", but I say that if you make $300K a year, you can spend anything you want on a wedding :)

Since this is September's Bride's blog, let me give you a further guideline for your wedding gown.  A good rule of thumb is to allocate 10% of your total wedding budget for your wedding apparel.  If your wedding budget is $35K, plan to spend $3,500 on your gown, veil, jewelry, shoes, undergarments, AND the alterations and pressing for these items.  The cost of your gown typically is half of this total, so you could be shopping in the $1500 - $2000 range for a gown if this is your scenario. 

See, Math can be fun!

Monday, January 25, 2010

SB Bride :: Kara

We all have people that we "run into" in our daily lives and leave that encounter feeling happier and blessed for having seen that person, just because of their spirit and personality.

Kara has always been one of those people for me.  Several years ago, we met when she helped manage a local Downtown Holland restaurant.  Since then, Kara began working for the marketing arm of Downtown Holland itself.  Like I mentioned, I have always enjoyed my brief conversations with Kara.

So when Kara walked into September's Bride about a year ago to look for her wedding gown, I was delighted to see her.  Kara and her handsome groom were married last October; here is a photo of the two of them, surrounded by their wedding party, also wearing ensembles from September's Bride.

Kara chose a Maggie Sottero wedding gown with a beautiful lace bolero.  A full, jewel-trimmed veil, custom made by Jennifer Leigh, really brought the attention to Kara's pretty face.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bridesmaids :: B2 by Jasmine

This week, we've been talking mostly about bridesmaids and focusing on the bridemaid lines that we carry at September's Bride.

Today, let's look at B2 by Jasmine.  The designer calls this collection "modern & trendy".  Lots of flowy, chiffon, baby-doll styles for Spring & Summer. 

All the gowns in this line are available in knee- tea- and full-length.  The sizing is "bridal sizing", so we order by measurements rather than regular sizes.  Some changes can be made to this line with changing fabrics, adding straps, etc. 

We have carried this line at September's Bride since we opened and we have always been delighted with the quality and design of this fun line.  Check it out!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

NEW! Great selection of plus-size gowns!

We are pleased to announce that after spending some time searching for the best value and designs for plus-size gowns that meet our criteria for quality and fashion, the gowns we have chosen began arriving this week!
In our plus-size collection, we have two wonderful designers.  We have a selection of Casablanca gowns in sizes 14-18 that flatter the plus-size bride and provide many options for custom ordering as well as purchasing off-the rack.  We are also bringing in a selection of gowns from Sincerity Bridal in sizes 20-28 that are available for immediate purchase. 

We are so pleased to offer these beautiful gowns and our excellent service to all brides, including those looking for a great value on a plus-size gown.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Jasmine Bridesmaids

Jasmine Bridesmaids is our newest line bridesmaid line at September's Bride.

This line is unique in in it's sizing, which is "off-the-rack" sizing rather than traditional "bridal" sizing.  Sizes from 00-18 and plus sizes 22-30 are available!  The gowns are priced at a great value, too.

We are so excited about this line; it has become very popular very quickly!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Happy Bridesmaids :: Happy Bride!

It's a classic  the movie 27 Dresses, as the "fashion show" of all the bridesmaid dresses from friends' weddings are paraded out. Unfortunately, it may have hit too close to home for some of you.

Fifty or sixty years ago, in most of America, the bride's attendants wore their "Sunday Best" to stand up with their friends. Over the years, the styles have changed, but now the brides attendants almost always wear dresses and colors chosen by them by the bride. In 1992, my own bridesmaids wore gloves, puffy sleeves, bustles, and matching hairpieces in light blue.

Here is one of SB's 2009 brides with her bridesmaids, all wearing a popular style from Belsoie by Jasmine

At September's Bride, we have a few tips for the smart bride who wants her bridesmaids to feel beautiful and comfortable while complementing the look and style she has chosen for her wedding.

1. Above all, talk to your maids about budget and financial expectations right up front. Once you've agreed on a budget, share that with us as you come shopping. We will help you find the perfect look in YOUR budget! Be sure your attendants know about any additional costs for fabric changes, alterations, shoes, etc., too.

2. The happiest attendants choose their own gowns. Really consider allowing your friends to choose their own style of dress and then matching the fabric and color to what you want. All of our bridesmaid lines can do this, and we love to help.

3. If you want your attendants to be able to "wear it again", choose :: black, brown, red, or pink. These colors are the most likely to be reused and continually enjoyed.

4. If you are going to choose the style and color, take your maid of honor or one other friend and choose for the whole group. Otherwise, you'll get lots of opinions and lots of frustration.

We do love to help you and your attendants! Why not schedule an appointment at September's Bride just to choose bridesmaid gowns; it can be lots of fun!!

Over the next few days on this blog, I will highlight each of our bridesmaid lines, with links and pics for you.  Please keep reading this week...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Newest Arrivals from Justin Alexander

Justin Alexander Bridal is quickly becoming one of "THE" designers in US Bridal and we are so blessed to have been carrying JA gowns for over two years AND to be the only bridal store in West Michigan where brides can find these beautiful gowns.

Here are photos of two Justin Alexander gowns that arrived earlier this week at September's Bride.  Style 8474 is a silk dupioni gown with an assymetrical ruched bodice and a beaded one-shoulder strap.  The beading detail is just wonderful. 

Style 8480 is a lace sheath with a bib neckline and high neck; the lace is so intricate and the shape is very flattering to many figures!

Both of these gowns are perfect for a modern, trendy and sophisticated bride. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Groom's Cake for your Music Lover

Look at this awesome violin-shaped cake by the phenomenal Second Floor Bakery, right here in Holland.  This cake was made by the bakery for my son's birthday.  However, I could not stop thinking about how it would make a great Groom's Cake for a guy who loves his music or is a musician.  Katie, the owner of Second Floor Bakery, told me that this basic design can also be used to make a cake shaped like a guitar, cello, or double bass. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Highlights from "Pretty Premiere 2010"

This past Saturday, January 9, we had such an enjoyable event at September's Bride.  In all my excitement and in the busyness of making sure that everything went smoothly for our guests, I neglected to take any photos of the set-up or fashion show.  However, here are some of the highlights described for you ::

What Type of Bride Are You??  Upon arriving, each guest was given a quiz to help determine the "type" of bride that she is...Modern, Vintage, Natural, or Classic.  Our fashion show was arranged in four sections, each one showing gowns and accessories for a particular "type".

Aletha's Advice  Our emcee for the morning was Aletha VanderMaas of Pearls Events.  Aletha also highlighted our 4 types of brides and shared modern color choices, flowers, and venue ideas for each. 

Katie Speaks  Katie Webster, publisher of the Lakeshore's Miss to Mrs. Magazine and owner of Second Floor Bakery shared her insight on bridal trends for 2010.  Green weddings, personalized weddings, and more emphasis on the relationship are three positive trends that Katie identified.

One theme that was woven through all talk of Trends, Types of Brides, and 2010 Looks, was the emphasis that all brides are unique individiuals.  So, take the trends that appeal to you, mix the Types, learn who YOU and your groom are and be true to yourself.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Only 3 more days!

Just a reminder...

There are only 3 days left in our Angelina Couture Trunk Show.  These fabulous gowns will be leaving September's Bride after closing on Saturday, January 9. 

You really do not want to miss seeing and trying on these gowns! 
Call today for an appointment :: 616-355-1433

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Looking for a "Modest" Wedding Gown?

Both Rachel  (SB's manager) and I were very popular with our dorm-mates in college.  We both attended conservative Bible Colleges with fairly strict dress codes.  When a formal event came up, creativity had to come into play to be sure shoulders were covered, necklines weren't too low, and slits in our skirts were tacked appropriately.  Girls like Rachel and I, who were not afraid to use a needle and thread and who knew how to artfully drape a scarf or shawl became everybody's best friend!

That was nearly 20 years ago for me and I do not have a strict dress code that I have to follow on a daily basis any longer.  I also know that a sleeveless or strapless wedding or bridesmaid gown is usually not "immodest" by any means.  Modesty is more about a woman's spirit and they way she carries herself than certain guidelines.

However, some brides are looking for what is usually termed a "modest" wedding gown.  Whether for personal, religious, or cultural reasons, she wants to wear a gown with a higher neckline and straps or sleeves.  Unfortunately, when doing a search for modest gowns, much of what is found is poor quality and is not trendy or fashionable.

At September's Bride, several of our designers will customize a wedding gown in any way the bride desires.  We often raise necklines, add cap sleeves, fill in sheer areas, and match beautiful jackets to our gowns for a customer who wants to show less skin.  Because of our experiences, Rachel and I are both very comfortable working with this process and thoroughly enjoy helping brides see all the options that are available. 

If you are a bride who wants a "modest" option, here are a few tips for you:

1.  Don't feel ashamed or awkward asking for what you want or describing for what you are looking.  You need to feel beautiful and comfortable in your wedding gown.  When you walk into a bridal store and see only strapless gowns, just ask if there are options.  Please don't walk out without speaking to a consultant.  A good consultant will listen to what you want and will help you find YOUR gown!

2.  Do not sacrifice quality.  Many wedding gowns, whether labeled as "modest" or not, that are sold over the internet are not quality gowns and the manufacturers do not stand behind the product.  90% of the popular wedding gown designers in North America have options for "modest" gowns.  These can be purchased at your local bridal salon where the consultant and seamstress can be sure the gown fits you and is exactly what you need and want.

3.  Have fun!  Yes, it may be a little more difficult or stressful to find exactly what you want or to find a gown that fits your church's guidelines.  But, this is your time to shop for your gown.  So, be willing to laugh, be willing to try something on that you might not otherwise, and enjoy yourself.

4.  Call us.  Even if you are not in the West Michigan area; we would be happy to help you in your search.  Perhaps we can answer questions about a particular bridal line or perhaps our experience will make the drive to September's Bride worth the time.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Pretty Premiere Gift Bag Update

If you have not yet registered for "A Pretty Premiere", you will want to do so this weekend!

Any 2010 bride who calls or e-mails to RSVP this weekend will receive reserved seats for our Fashion Show, hosted by Aletha of Pearls Events AND a fabulous gift bag.

Each gift bag will contain, among other surprises...

A $50 Gift Certificate to Second Floor Bakery
A Gift Certificate from Sondra's Ink
A Gift Certificate towards a Boudoir Photo Session with Amy Boeve Photography
A FREE ($185 value) gown preservation from Great Lakes Wedding Gown Specialists

This is The Event where you can see the top bridal fashions & trends of 2010 in a small, intimate setting.  September's Bride is bringing some of the best vendors of both the Grand Rapids & Lakeshore areas together into our beautiful store.

I look forward to hearing from you this weekend  and seeing you at "A Pretty Premiere" on
January 9!... Tami