Friday, February 27, 2009

Watch Your Spending

An updated analysis of changes in wedding spending from 2007 to 2008 was released by The Wedding Report (an organization that analyzes/publishes statistics and market research for the wedding industry).  The average cost of a wedding actually fell 24% in 2008; this along with other areas of spending that saw declines were very interesting:
  • Wedding dress: -31%
  • Rehearsal dinner: -34%
  • Spending for a DJ: -6%
  • Bridesmaid bouquets: -36%
  • Gifts for attendants: -38%
  • Wedding invitations: -34%
  • Engagement ring: -30%
  • Photographer: -26%
  • Videographer: -24%
  • Wedding cake: -33%
  • Wedding favors: -9%
  • Reception food service: -53%
  • Limo rental: -24%
On the flip side, there were areas identified to have experienced increases.  It seems that brides and grooms chose to spend more on things that really count like their wedding bands, the ceremony and the reception.  Plus, many couples are opting to have both the ceremony and reception at the same location, which can save a lot of $$$.
  • Tuxedo/suit: +47%
  • Ceremony location: +108%
  • Bride bouquet: +1%
  • Brides wedding band: +21%
  • Grooms wedding band: +38%
  • Reception bar service: +12%
  • Reception location: +15%
  • Reception rentals: +84%
The struggles of our current economy are influencing wedding spending across the board.  It'll be interesting to see what 2009 turns out.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Our Philosophy? GIVEAWAY

I was strolling through Sephora over the weekend and stumbled upon a great find!  The first thing I always do is head to the back of the store to check out philosophy (one of my favorite brands) and this time I was stopped in my tracks by this wonderful little collection:
YES, it's called the bridal party!  "How perfect," I thought.  And anyone who knows me knows I LOVE philosophy so seeing that one of their collections dons the name of my company (The Bridal Party) immediately put a huge smile on my face.

philosophy's the bridal party collection is for the bride-to-be and includes a trio of shower gels inspired by wedding traditions that are sure to pamper the beautiful bride before the big day.  It's an ideal bridal shower gift, but could also be a wonderful gift for bridesmaids.
* * * * * * *
So…I've decided to offer one lucky person their own the bridal party collection by philosophy!

If you're interested, all you need to do is post a comment to this post!

To increase your chances:
Giveaway rules:
  • Contest is open to U.S. residents only. 
  • Everyone is welcome to participate: brides-to-be, past brides, bloggers, etc.
  • All submissions must be provided by 11:59 P.M. EST, March 12.
  • Winner will be announced on March 19.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Weekly Wedding Eye-Candy: 2/25/09

We're starting off our newest blog series, Weekly Wedding Eye-Candy, with a recent wedding photographed by Onada Photography. I had the pleasure of meeting their principle photographer, Bola, a few months back and her work never ceases to amaze me.

Feast your eyes ...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What a "TWEET"

During the Fall, I registered for a twitter account, but loss interest pretty quickly since I thought it was just another social networking site. Well, while it IS that, I've come to find it's also so much more.

Start following The Bridal Party on twitter today!  And be on the lookout for our twitter series in the coming months.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Cues From The Red Carpet: 2009 Oscars

The 81st Annual Academy Awards aired last night, and this was THE red carpet event I've been waiting for.  Last year we saw lots of red and black.  This year, lots of bling and lace of all colors.

Here are a few cues from the red carpet for brides:
(click on bridal fashions to enlarge)

Kate Winslet
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: two by Maggie Sottero, one by Melissa Sweet)

Taraji P. Henson
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Michelle Roth, Claire-Pettibone, Lazaro, Mia Solano)

Alicia Keyes
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Sottero & Midgley, Demetrios)

Miley Cyrus
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Aire by Rosa Clara, Vera Wang, Carolina Herrera, Watters Bride)

 Marisa Tomei
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Priscilla of Boston, Lara Hélène Bridal Atelier, Jim Hjelm)

Sarah Jessica Parker
(Inspired options for brides from the following collections: Paula Varsalona, Oscar de la Renta)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

We're a NetworkedBlog

After launching The Bridal Party's fan pages on Facebook in October 2008, our blog After "Yes," Before "I Do" & Everything In Between has just been added to NetworkedBlogs! 
We wouldn't want you to miss anything, now would we?  (wink)

So if you have a Facebook profile, be sure to become a follower of After "Yes," Before "I Do" & Everything In Between today.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Répondez s'il vous plaît

You'll find there is a wealth of helpful tips on blogs and in wedding magazines about preparing, organizing and sorting wedding invitation response cards.  But I assure you this is one of the best R.s.v.p. tips to heed:
AWESOME TIP:  As you prepare to address and mail your wedding invitations, give each address a number.  Write each guest household's assigned number lightly, in pencil, on a back corner of their response card before mailing.  It's highly probably that 30-40% of your invitees will not write their name on their response card.  You're guaranteed to receive several cards with "will attend" checked, but no name written in.  Nevertheless, by following this numbering system you'll know exactly who is responding.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nine for '09

It's always so much fun to know what's in and what's out with every new year, so is always there to help.  I love their article, 9 New Wedding Trends for 2009 and thought I'd share. 

9 New Wedding Trends for 2009

Trend 1: Rustic homespun details
Outdoor weddings -- on a farm, in a vineyard, or even in the backyard -- are huge right now, and we'll continue to see a lot of them in 2009. It's really no wonder: An outdoor setting makes for a fun, laid-back vibe and the decor options are limitless. So what kinds of details are in store? Vintage vases filled with fresh-from-the-garden flowers, mismatched china in bright colors, and homemade wooden signs to direct guests. Even catering is in on the action with in-season ingredients paired with local wine.

Trend 2: Jewel tones
Say good-bye to pale pastels and bright poppies. Rich gem colors like navy, plum, and amber are going to be hot. And instead of chocolate brown, look to a soft creme brulee hue, bronzes, coppers, and black. Yes, that's right -- black is back too.

Trend 3: Patterns that pop
Gingham, checkered, polka-dotted, paisley, toile, damask -- you name it, colorful patterns are in and in a big way. Add patterned overlays to your tables to instantly perk up the room, find an off-the-rack patterned dress for your bridesmaids, and have your invitations and envelopes lined with colorful designs. The best part about this trend is that it lets you throw around a lot of different hues and still keep a cohesive look and feel.

Trend 4: Ball gowns are back
From a full A-line gown to a very over-the-top design, this silhouette will make a huge resurgence down ceremony aisles this year. And you don't have to have a ballroom wedding to pull it off either -- the key is in the fabric. Find one with layers of airy tulle or even cotton for an outdoor spring or summer wedding; get a silk satin ball gown for a more formal wedding; or go for ultra-soft suede for a wintertime wedding.

Trend 5: Two-tiered wedding cakes
While cupcakes and dessert bars have been popular for the past few years, wedding cakes are making a comeback -- but not in tall towers anymore. Now it's all about having just two tiers. Order several small cakes and put them on each table as a centerpiece, or set up a table of tiny wedding cakes mixed with desserts, cookies, pies, and more. And vintage cake toppers are in too. Find one online at a site like, commission one from a local artist, or borrow your parents' or grandparents' to make your cake extra-memorable.

Trend 6: New centerpiece vessels
The classic floral vase has given way to mix-and-matched clusters of vintage pitchers, vases, jars, and galvanized buckets. Other ideas: apothecary jars with colorful rocks, sand, or even candy; uniquely shaped glass vases featuring fresh fruits like raspberries and blueberries; and mason jars loaded with fresh flowers like daisies and dahlias. To throw extra color or texture into the mix, line your flower-filled vases with patterned paper or even fabric. For a wintertime fete, get knit and sweater-like coverings to line your vases and complement a cozy decor.

Trend 7: Chandeliers and creative lighting
Lighting designers are turning out impressive designs, projecting chandeliers, large trees, flowers, and even city skylines right onto the walls. When it comes to your space, hang chandeliers in different sizes, add colorful lamps and shades to the tables, line the room with strands of twinkling lights, and don't skimp on the candles.

Trend 8: The updated photo booth
Renting a photo booth has been growing in popularity over the past few years. The updated version? Entire photo sets with fabric backdrops and props. Set up a photo area at the reception that's big enough for a group shot. Drape the background with fabric and add couches, chairs, and plenty of props (think easy-to-throw-on hats and scarves). You may be able to have your photographer or an assistant man the station, or ask a trusty friend to be on hand with a digital camera.

Trend 9: US honeymoons
This year, newlyweds will prove that you don't have to travel halfway around the world to find an amazing honeymoon spot. Many will be looking to book a honeymoon right here in the US. And there's no shortage of domestic honeymoon-worthy options -- from a romantic winery in Sonoma County, California, to a hot hotel in Miami, Florida, to a cozy lodge with a stunning view in Juneau, Alaska.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

M&M's® That Shimmer

Personalized M&M's® are still big hits at weddings.  Not only are brides and grooms able to tell their love story with words, faces and colors, but now a NEW Shimmer Collection is available.  Hues of gold, platinum and pearl are now up for grabs.

Check'M out!

Part(y)ing Gifts

Before you make plans to buy each of your bridesmaids just the costume jewelry you'd like them each to wear for the wedding or buy each of your groomsmen silver-plated money clips with each of their names engraved on them - STOP!  Consider going against the grain on this and check out all that Navy and Lavender has to offer.  Several of their offerings are actual experiences.

Here are a few of my favorites among their giftables:

For The 'Maids
This luxurious silk short robe is the ultimate in femininity. Create the perfect atmosphere for lounging about with this beautifully packaged lavender home fragrance set, including a personal-size diffuser and a soothing soy wax candle. A pair of lavender sachets adds an elegant final touch of fragrance to closets and drawers. 
Every experienced traveler knows the best way to look fresh on arrival is with a short catnap on the flight over, and this satin eye mask will do just the trick! Clear customs in style with this fabulous Caribbean blue leather passport holder and matching luggage tag. At the end of your day’s journey, store your stilettos in the stylish embroidered travel shoe bag. Then light the Mint Mojito travel candle and invoke the feeling of vacation while curling up in bed, recording all your travel stories in our fashionable flower journal.
The candy stripe “tea for one” set includes a large teacup, saucer, and teapot all nestled neatly together. Charm guests with the delightful cupcake embroidered napkins and sweet teapot-shaped teabag rests. And make sure the event is a hit with our Little Pink Book of Etiquette and the Girlfriends Box of Questions, the perfect way to get the party talking!

For The 'Men

Our set of sandalwood preshave oil, lather shave cream and aftershave balm combines moisturizing natural oils to prepare and sooth sensitive skin. The badger bristle brush takes the experience to another level as only a perfect lather can do. Hair and body are not forgotten, with Dr. Hunter's natural hair wash, proven beneficial for healthy, manageable hair. Then arouse the senses with a luxurious sandalwood soap and anoint oneself with superfine Tricorn talcum powder. Our regimen provides a lasting impression of the well-groomed gentleman.
Even the most veteran mixologist will be impressed by this modern stainless steel martini shaker, handsomely paired with a white-stitched black leather cover and matching coaster set. Equally indispensable for any barkeep are our incredibly handy heavyweight bar mops. Last but not least, a multi-use stainless steel bar tool to keep on hand for whenever the occasion strikes.
The Golfer's Handbook is a classic companion for the game of golf. From information on the grip and the swing to advice on playing a round with your boss, this guide offers the perfect tips for your game. Now grab the golf towel, handy pouch of tees, and sleeve of Titleist golf balls, and hit the links. Lastly, don’t forget the handy silver divot replacer/ball marker/shoe horn – the perfect all-in-one tool to keep in your pocket while you keep on top of your game.

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