Thursday, March 26, 2009

Save The Dates

The Save The Dates are done!  We're only sending Save The Dates to out of town guests... hope that wasn't a mistake!  They're not exactly what I wanted but I'm happy with them, they were cheap, and they're (almost) all addressed and on their way!

I'm not sure these photos show the colors accurately so here are some swatches from Paper Source's website (where we got the "papaya" cards and red envelopes):

Wedding Venue Update

So we've been getting a lot of "you haven't picked a venue yet?!?!" (similar to the "you haven't chosen a dress yet?!?!" comments I'd get in slightly panicked tones from the ladies in the wedding dress shops!).  So I thought I'd explain where we're at with our wedding venue, now that we are almost exactly 5 months from the wedding.

We (okay me mostly but Andy is on board too) really want to have the wedding at a house where my family can also stay.  If my parents lived here, we'd probably just have the wedding at their house.  Since they don't, I'm looking for a large house to rent, and I've been actively looking since November.

I originally was looking in Malibu, and by early February I had a house selected that, while not perfect, Andy and I both liked, and the family seemed to like, was in line with our budget (particularly after they dropped their fee by 50%) and I was getting ready to sign the contract.  Then Andy had cold feet about Malibu.  His point was that it wasn't exactly a convenient location (it had taken us an hour to get from West Hollywood to the house one day), and there weren't a lot of good reasonable hotels around. Once my parents heard that Andy had doubts they quickly chimed in with theirs, and I had to admit that they all had a point (although I kind of wish they had made it sooner so I didn't spend all that time looking in the wrong area!).  So we decided to focus on the Hollywood Hills/ Beverly Hills and surrounds instead. Or at least not so deep in Malibu.

However, my realtor (Sotheby's International) and other agency's advice is that we need to wait until early May to lock in a venue.  This is because apparently a lot of tourists (for lack of a better word) come in from overseas during the summer months and pay BIG money for summer rentals, often renting houses for three months at time at hugely inflated rates.  Homeowners aren't willing to commit to our relatively short 10 day stay because it may prevent them from getting 6 times as much from someone else.  Instead they want to wait until much closer to the beginning of the summer rental period (i.e. May) to drop their prices and commit to people like us.  Also, a lot of these houses are for sale as well as for rent, so the closer to the wedding we book the safer we'll be in case the house sells prior to the wedding.

This is not how I would choose to do it, but it seems that if we want to have the wedding at a house, and we do, this is the only way to do it.  So I've made peace with it, LA is a big town, it will work out!  If we end up having to have the wedding in a park somewhere or a restaurant, as long as the people we love are there it will be great.

A lot of people have been wondering why I'm so adamant about having the wedding at a house.  There are multiple reasons, here are just a few:

We want a family style, very low key, very casual event, where we can really host the event ourselves.  If we're staying in the house, we can have the ceremony right there, and start the party right away/ seamlessly.  

With a house my Mom can make the cheese plate, my friends and family can decorate the space with me in the days before, and take it down slowly in the days after.  There will be no curfew, no getting kicked out of the venue, no need for an after party.  We can have people over the following day to eat left overs.  We can save money by buying alcohol from Costco.  We can bring in whatever caterer we want, cater ourselves, get an In N Out Truck (or all of the above)!  

We don't want a formal sit down dinner, just a big patch of grass/ outdoor area, hopefully by a pool or with a view, where everyone can just hang out and have fun.  It seems like with us renting a house we'll not only be able to save money, but it will be less stress and a real family feel, if that makes sense?!

Hosting at our home is something my family always did on a very regular basis, whether on a small scale (a casual bbq for a few friends), or a large scale (100+ wrap party at the house), it's just our way.  Andy and I are also people who love to entertain at home regularly, it's our style, so we want to do the same thing with the wedding.  It just feels more personal this way, and that is a big priority for us, having our wedding feel really personal.  We might end up having to give up on this idea, or we may end up regretting it, but for now this is how we want to do it.

Here are a few of the venues that are potentially available, but not necessarily definitely in our budget!

An infinity pool with a city view, Andy's dream...

This house has an amazing outdoor area that is EXACTLY what I'd want, however the house itself is a modern monstrosity.  If I do give up on the idea of having the wedding at a house we're staying at, this could actually be an option.  You may recognize it from last season's Apprentice?

This house in Malibu is amazing and has stunning views, last I heard it might have been rented out for July-August:

I think this house is in the flats of Beverly Hills and it looks lovely at night and during the day:

This house looks great, and I think it's within our budget, I'm just not clear if there is enough outdoor space:

I recently heard this house isn't available but I LOVE the outdoor area so I'm in denial:

I love this Spanish style house and the pool area is pretty:

This house is AMAZING, the rental price they list is WAY over our budget but you never know, maybe taking a little from us is better than nothing at all!

I don't love the interior of this house but the pool area is so pretty at night:

Monday, March 23, 2009

Something blue: a turquoise ring

I'm currently stuck on the idea of wearing a turquoise ring on the first finger of my right hand for the wedding as my "something blue".  I've been looking for a while, and haven't found exactly what I'm after, but here are a few that come close.

Turquoise and diamond ring, $4,750, from Lang Antiques, though I could do without the real diamonds!

Rebecca Collins sterling silver and turquoise ring, $550, is lovely and simple yet rustic:

Sterling silver cabochon-cut turquoise ring from Kohl's, $80, is close, but I don't love the detail on the band:  

I'm more of a silver girl but I do like the shape of this Irene Neuwirth rose cut turquoise ring, $2,350 from Ylang 23:

This Annette Ferdinandsen pale blue turquoise egg ring, $880, is lovely and is also from Ylang 23 (such a great site!):

Kenneth Jay Lane turquoise cab ring, $52, is cute, though is a little bigger than I want:

Though it's not quite what I imagined I do love this vintage estate turquoise and diamond ring, $995 from Beladora:

Another vintage turquoise ring from Beladora, this one turquoise and blue zircon that is close, but a little pricey at $2,500: 

I also love this vintage coral and turquoise ring from Beladora, $800:

It's a little similar to this seriously expensive and gorgeous organic coral Lucifir Vir Honestus ring from Barneys, $8,000, that I have been coveting for quite some time!

This ring is almost exactly what I want but I can't seem to find out who makes it.  It was featured on's blog Flypaper, so I might have to do a little more digging:

The dress has been purchased!

So the dress has been purchased and it is such a relief to have that out of the way!  

I ended up ordering it through Erin Cole in Costa Mesa and while they weren't the cheapest, and are quite a drive from my house, they have a lovely store, great service, and a stunning selection of accessories and dresses (there were actually quite a few that I liked which hasn't happened at any other store I've been to), so I felt comfortable ordering the dress through them.  

Another reason I was happy to purchase the dress from them:  I was commenting to the woman at the store that the dress had been difficult to track down, and how there was absolutely nothing else like it around, and she told me the story behind it. Apparently the owner of the store Erin Cole and the Rivini dress designer (Rita Vinieris) are good friends and that this dress was actually custom made for Erin Cole's own wedding, after which Rivini decided to add it to their collection!

Their sample was a size 10 (I had previously tried on an 8) and the 10 fit me perfectly/ was a little too lose, so thank goodness I didn't follow one stores advice and order the size 12!

I guess now I just have to figure out the veil, maybe some jewelry and I'm done!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Purchasing my wedding dress

So I've decided that it is THE dress, but actually purchasing it has gotten a little stressful and complicated!

What is clear is that I need to order the dress within the next few days in order for it to arrive by mid July.  The wedding is late August so that is just enough time for alterations to be done without a rush fee - I hope! 

Here is a blow by blow of my dealings with the wedding dress stores:

- The first store I went to, Store A, no longer had a sample of "the" dress but said they could a sample in for me to try on for $100, which would go towards the purchase of the dress should I purchase the dress from them, but would otherwise be lost.  That didn't seem right to me so I kept searching.

- On Saturday I found another store, Store B, that was a bit of a drive from my houses, but they had a sample which I tried it on and loved (a size 8, very small on me!).  They told me that it was $3,000 but if I ordered it by Monday morning (Sunday night I had to leave a voicemail in fact) I would get 10% off as part of the trunk show.  $2,700 was certainly better than $3,000, but was still considerably over my budget (recession wedding!!) so I needed to think carefully about that, and I didn't want to have to make the decision within 24 hours!

- I get home and find that it was actually in the magazine for $2,585!!!!

- I called store A, who were much closer to my house, asked if they could do better, and mentioned that I had actually seen the dress in a magazine for $2,585.  They tell me they can sell it to me for $2,590, and that in order to get my business they might give me a further discount of 10%.  

- I think about it all weekend, and when I speak to them both again Monday something feels a little off.  Store B has agreed to sell me the dress at $2,590 also to be competitive (this time I speak to a different less friendly lady), and it surprised me how readily they agreed to that, and the "deadline" of placing the order seems to no longer be an issue.

- So I'm now ready to go ahead but I'm getting cold feet about working with either vendor.  I do some research online and find that both stores have multiple bad reviews online.  Really bad reviews.  Including one about store B that mentions being pushed into a sale because of a 10% trunk show discount.  Sounds familiar!

- I call the designer and they will not let me purchase the dress from them directly, and tell me that I can only purchase the dress from a store that has a contract with them, of which there are only 4 within 60 miles of my house.

- My feeling at this point is that $100 here or there doesn't really matter, but purchasing the dress from a trustworthy retailer does, particularly when there are stories about Store A and Store B deliberately ordering a size up to ensure lots of expensive alterations are required, doing bad alterations, including staining the dresses with lipstick and refusing to take responsibility, and losing orders completely so that one bride ended up with no dress 4 weeks out from a wedding.  You can't always trust negative reviews, I know that, but if even half of it is true, it's not good!

- I call a store an hour from my house (Store C) and discover that they have a sample in my actual size (10), and I make an appointment to go there (tomorrow) to try it on.  I ask the price and am told $2,700.  When I mention the magazine price I'm told they will match that price, $2,585.  Store C has no bad reviews online, only glowing reviews but they are an hour from my house, which means I'd need to do alterations somewhere closer, not a big deal.

- I call Store D, speak to a lovely woman on the phone and she doesn't have the sample but can order it for me, and she will match Store A's price of $2,200.   No bad reviews, and they seem to be a family run business who've been around forever, which I love, and they're not too far from my house.

So I guess it's true, never pay retail for a wedding dress!  And it's worthwhile to do the research and not make such an expensive and important purchase from someone you don't trust.  It's crazy to think I will potentially be getting this dress for $800 less than the first price quoted to me!  

Also, here are some tips on purchasing a wedding dress on that I found very helpful!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Is this my wedding dress??

So I think I found it!  This might be "the" dress!  

I tried it on today at the trunk show and I love it!  The sample I tried on was a little beaten up.  It had a yellowish tinge (it started out ivory, I'd order it in white), had quite a few pulls (I'll have to be careful with my engagement ring, which gets caught on everything and can do serious damage), and was a size or two too small (so I was busting out of it), but I spent about an hour in it going over options with the lovely lady at the store (Jobyna's Bridal in Glendale of all places) and I love it!  

The plan is to order it sleeveless and add flutter sleeves, or remove the sleeves and make sleeves out of the train, which I don't want/ need.  I'd only step on it and rip it and that would save on ordering extra fabric as the existing sleeves probably aren't wide enough to do what I want with them.  I want to make some adjustments to the piece that runs under the bust line, perhaps adding some subtle sparkle, and also filling in the back just a tad with the chiffon (sans lining).  The hem will probably need to be adjusted to be floor length (no shoes for me, flat flip flops at the very most!), but I'm hoping those alterations won't be too expensive (fingers crossed!).  It will require me to wear spanx, which I was trying to avoid, but I probably won't need a bra - one less expense/ complication!

It is comfortable and super flattering, and basically (after some simple alterations) exactly what I've been looking for since day one!  It's not lace, but I give up on lace, I'm too picky and the good stuff (Oscar de la Renta's choices for example) is just too expensive.  Providing I don't have second thoughts over night I'll order it tomorrow!  

I'd post other photos but for some reason this dress has been extremely tricky to locate both in person and pictures.  It's not even on the designers website!  You can't tell from the photo but the material is a soft crinkle chiffon that drapes beautifully, I was originally thinking silk chiffon but this is actually more forgiving and flattering.  I did sneak a few photos in the change room since I was solo but I won't post those for a multitude of reasons!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Adventures in wedding dress shopping

After hitting Glamour Closet today (great concept but unfortunately had nothing for me) I went to The Way We Wore and gosh they have some beautiful items!  & such friendly, helpful staff, which for some reason is not the norm in the best vintage stores of LA!  I could have stayed for hours.. if I didn't have to hit two bridal store appointments in the valley.  

I did find the most amazing dress, a 3/4 sleeves, knee length dress, which was basically netting with a sort of lace pattern embroidered in wool (yes, wool) over the netting with the occasional rhinestone.  Truly magical.  I put it on backwards, as it opened in back, and it would actually make a fantastic bolero that way (I'd have to chop it off at the waist) BUT it is wool embroidered on netting, too hot for a wedding in LA in late August?  I think I need a second opinion!  Wish I got a photo, maybe they'll let me take one next time I visit it (it's on hold for me).  It's affordable, if I can find a cheap-ish plain chiffon dress to go underneath - but as I now know that is easier said than done!

I also visited David's Bridal, and that was an experience!  I guess it's kind of like House of Target for bridal, such a rigmarole to get an appointment (I had to Email requesting an appointment, then wait weeks for them to call me) and then I show up and they don't even have a record of my appointment!  But they were friendly and they do have a huge selection.  

I tried on the Galina dress that I went to see that I've previously blogged about (see below) and turned out to be too heavy, structured and just not right.  

I did also try on a few bridesmaid dresses and found one that would work (below) that looks very similar to the galina dress but is softer, less structured, with more of a sweetheart neckline and beading all over the bust, and is only $155!  But I don't LOVE the fabric (crinkle chiffon) and the beading apparently isn't optional (I wouldn't want it, and would be worried about damaging the dress removing it, chiffon is so delicate), not to mention the fact that the store told me I can only order it in white online, but the website tells me it's only available in-store.  Plus I suspect it comes in ivory, not white, and for me that's a big difference!

I have an appointment at a trunk show tomorrow where they apparently have the Rivini dress (below) that I haven't been able to get my mind off since I spotted it in a magazine last Friday.   For some reason it is not on Rivini's website, but is apparently called the "Oro" dress.  I went to one store today who I was hoping carried it but actually didn't, and they wanted $100 just to get a sample in for me to try on!  It would go towards the purchase of the dress if I were to buy it, but if not I'd loose my $100 and as sweet as the sales girl was I'm not a fan of that arrangement!  

This could be "the" dress (once the sleeves are chopped off at the elbow and the inside seam is opened up to make it a flutter sleeve).  Fingers crossed, we'll see!!  I am kind of running out of time, but apparently Rivini move fairly fast compared to most designers, and run more like 4-6 months on production, so apparently I should be safe if I order it by end of April absolute latest.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vintage stores in LA

I've now been to the following vintage stores in search of a wedding dress (or something like it): Paris 1900ResurrectionDecades Two, and Paperbag Princess.

I was also planning on visiting Lily Et Cie (where Penelope Cruz found the stunning Balmain vintage dress she wore to the Oscar's this year) however I was told by the owner over the phone not to bother (she's that kind of lady!) and she suggested I go to Les Habitudes instead.  

I had in fact already been to Les Habitudes, and while they did have a lovely bolero (new, not vintage), it would need to be ordered from Paris and then modified here to make the sleeves a little longer (since the designer will refuse to modify it for me!) and it costs $1,400, which is much more than I'd want to spend (recession wedding!!).

I plan on visiting The Way We Wore tomorrow, maybe I'll have better luck there but I'm thinking probably not!  I think after that I will have exhausted my vintage options.

Paris 1900 did have a few antique shawls that I could use as fabric for a bolero, but the owner was a little stressed out, so we didn't linger.  I might go back another day once I've decided that I definitely want to go down the lace bolero road, as I know L'ezu will make a bolero for me for around $400 if I find the fabric - she's given up on locating it for me!  But of course, I'd need to order it in the next month or so!

Paris 1900 also carry a few new dresses that are not vintage but "vintage-style" including this one below by Saja, however they've marked it up considerably (I saw it in a magazine for $638 and they're asking $950), so I might be best buying it from Saja direct, since I'd need some extra fabric to make sleeves anyway.  

I have an appointment for Saja's trunk show on the 23rd so we'll see how that goes, but I do think that adding flutter sleeves to this dress would be easy, no?  I have a better photo I ripped out of a mag that is supposed to be on but for some reason is not, so I will try to scan and post that soon!

Aside from vintage stores I've been to a bunch of other "regular" bridal stores this week and I'm finding that they generally don't have many if any dresses with sleeves, and they don't carry anything I like or can even come close to picturing myself in.  I even went through the entire bridesmaid selection at Renee Strauss today in the hopes that they would have a simple silk chiffon bridesmaid dress I could order in white but no luck.

The one exception in all of my non-vintage dress shopping was a dress at The Montclair Collection (also from Paris, of course!), which was halfway there.. except I didn't like the lace, the sleeves would need to be lengthened, and it was a couple of hundred dollars over my budget.  It did at least confirm that empire waist and V neck is the way to go for me, so there's that!

I have a three more stores to visit tomorrow so maybe I'll have more luck then!  It does make me wonder why there aren't more simple affordable options, and why they make this whole process so complicated, confusing and stressful!  You should hear the reactions I get when I tell them my wedding is August 29 and I haven't found a dress yet!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie recently wore this Issa London dress (one of my favorite designers!) to an event and it reminded me that I also own this dress.  I wore it to a few weddings last summer and hope to wear it to a few weddings this summer if I can still squeeze into it (I love that I can wear flats with it!), and it occurred to me that this would also make a great wedding dress in white silk chiffon...

I have to say that I do like Nicole's style, here she is in a vintage Missoni caftan that I know is a little OTT but I just adore it!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Gorgeous cape from Reva Designs

Just spotted this cape on from Reva Designs, love it!  Andy thinks it looks like a tablecloth or "a napkin from a cheap italian restaurant".  I disagree, but I do agree that it might be more flattering on me in a softer fabric that draped a little better.

Katie Holmes in Monique Lhuillier sequined bolero

I was recently reminded of this amazing outfit that Katie Holmes wore a few years back, which I was obsessed with at the time and still love.  I found this photo of it online, turns out it's by Monique Lhuillier, I should have known!  I'm a sucker for a good bolero and she always creates such gorgeous ones!  This is an amazing photo too, I love how she's reaching for Tom but you can only see his shadow, which is so recognizably him!

Dress options & musings from

I just spent a few hours (no joke!) looking on doing dress research in the hopes that I can find the right dress without getting to the expense/ risk of getting something custom made, and I spotted a few interesting things.

I love this dress, the beading is gorgeous!  If I was a fan of my arms/ legs, this would maybe be the dress for me!

This dress I LOVE!  It's by Y and Kei, I'm not sure how far back/ if it's still available but I want it, if not for the wedding then for my day to day life (& the mini-moon we're planning on doing in Europe in September - I just want to insert myself in this picture!!).  If it was longer I think it would make a gorgeous wedding dress and it looks so comfortable!

I love this shot, so stunning, and I like the crocheted material the dress is made out of too.

This gorgeous coat is by Claire Pettibone ($5,000).  It's an interesting idea to do a full length coat rather than a bolero, but perhaps not for a summer wedding...

Here is a similar coat, this one by Monique Lhuillier, which costs a mere $9, 240!!

I've blogged about this Oscar de la Renta dress before, but I hadn't seen any close up photos of it till now.  I didn't realize it's made of guipure, which is one of the fabrics I'm trying to track down, but it's a little pricey and hard to find.  The tailor I met with has a similar fabric that I like, that I could maybe afford to get a little bolero made of of, but she's not sure she can get any more of it.  Did I mention this dress costs $20,900?!

I love the material used for this dress by Cynthia Rose:

Loving this kaftan dress by Temperley London, not sure I would wear it as a wedding dress, but I would definitely wear it!

When I spotted this Rivini dress from the same photo shoot I thought I might have finally found a dress that I could make work with minimal modifications (basically chopping off the sleeves to make them elbow length), at about the right price point... except that Andy doesn't like it!  I even like how it's styled, maybe not the hat, but the necklaces are awesome, and I was thinking a few turquoise accents would be pretty!