Archive | October, 2010

“I’d Like to Make a Toast…”: The Basic How-To’s of Giving a Maid of Honor Speech

26 Oct

Cling cling cling. The glass is tapped, the room goes silent, and this is the one part of the night when everyone’s eyes are on the Maid of Honor, rather than on the bride. It’s time for the traditional Maid of Honor speech—no pressure, right?

Well fear not, because we’ve broken down the do’s and don’ts of putting together the perfect speech for toasting your number one girl and her new partner. From personal experience, from collecting the best suggestions from Love To Know Weddings and Bridesmaid 101, here are the basics to giving a Maid of Honor speech:

  • Keep Your Audience in Mind The Maid of Honor speech is traditionally given during the first portion of the wedding reception, so you’ll be speaking to grandparents, children, best friends, siblings, and everyone in between. Avoid controversial topics like politics or religion, and keep in mind that the bride’s new family-in-law is present. Cracking jokes is great, but avoid any that have to do with past relationships or instances that would make the bride feel uncomfortable. It’s not uncommon for the Maid of Honor or other bridesmaids to give speeches during the bachelorette party as well, so maybe save your story about that one crazy night in college for that audience!
  • Aim for Short and Sweet We know it can be hard to squeeze all the wonderful things you have to say about the new couple into a brief toast, but try to keep it under 5 minutes. You don’t want to lose the attention of the room, and—especially if there’s a plate of food in front of everyone—more than five minutes will seem too long.
  • Practice Makes Perfect Even if you’re a confident public speaker and plan on adlibbing and just speaking from the heart when the moment comes, you should still have a general idea of a few points you want to touch upon. Whether it’s a childhood story with the bride you want to share, or a remark about the couple’s chemistry, run it by another person before the big day. Getting an outside opinion is the best way to gauge what the wedding party’s feedback will be when you actually give the speech.
  • Be True to You Don’t feel pressured to give a knee-slapping, sidesplitting, hilarious speech if comedy isn’t your thing. Likewise, if you’re a goofy jokester, don’t feel pressured to go up there and recite a line of Shakespeare and speak in depth of the seriousness of love and marriage. It will seem forced if you’re not true to you, and the most important part of the Maid of Honor speech is that it comes from the heart. Be real—chances are you were chosen as the bride’s leading lady because she likes you and your style just the way it is.
  • Easy on the Alcohol The last thing you want is to get a little too tipsy! Slurred speech, giggles, unnecessary tears–all could spell disaster. A glass of wine to calm the nerves can be great, but save any additional drinks until after you deliver your speech.
  • Don’t Skim Over the Essentials As the pros over at The Knot will tell you, while originality and personalization is great, there are still a few points that should be covered in every toasting of the bride and groom. First off, introduce yourself for those in the room who don’t know your relationship to the bride, and thank the bride and groom for inviting you (and everyone else) to be part of such a special day in their lives. You might also want to mention how honored you are to have been chosen as Maid of Honor. Next, make sure to include well wishes for the couple’s future life together. This might include some words of advice, but if you’re not qualified to go there, don’t force it. When you conclude your speech, have some form of the traditional raising of the glass and say “to [insert the couple’s names here]!”

For a great example, check out this YouTube Video. Short, from the heart, hits the essentials, and even provokes some laughs—we think you’ll agree that this Matron of Honor nails it!

Any tips of your own? Share with us your wedding toast stories—the good and the cringe-worthy!

Bachelorette Party Spotlight: Forget Hiring Dancers, Learn to Pole Dance Yourself!

23 Oct

What better way to guarantee a bachelorette party full of gut-busting laughs than to get the girls together for a group pole-dancing lesson? Once reserved for gentlemen’s clubs and Las Vegas, pole-dancing has become an increasingly mainstreamed fitness activity. Many dance studios now offer not only exercise classes centered around the pole, but pole-dancing parties for bachelorette groups, birthdays, and girls’ nights out. In fact, the growing popularity of spinnin’, twirlin’, and workin’ around the pole has led to the start of a petition to get pole-dancing made into an official Olympic event—yes, you read that correctly! And with the first annual American Pole Fitness Championships being held October 23,2010 (that’s today!), what better way to celebrate than with a group pole-dancing lesson bachelorette party!

Gyms and dance studios hosting such private party lessons can be found in major cities throughout the country, and there are two perfect options right here in Beantown! For $40/person, Gypsy Rose Dancing, located in Boston’s Back Bay, accommodates parties up to 24 participants and allows you to pick an hour and a half time slot anywhere from noon to midnight in order to accommodate both the tame bride-to-be, and the bachelorette who’s looking to take her newfound skill with her for a night on the town afterwards. Your party will learn “the supermodel strut,” along with a floor routine, three pole swings, and other exotic skills. Although the dance studio will provide you with the “proper” attire (short shorts and platform shoes are a must, ladies!), you can also opt to bring your own gear, which could be a fun opportunity for you and the girls to coordinate your most outlandish outfits for the occasion. At the end of the night, the bride-to-be will receive an official certificate stating that she is now an “Official Exotic Dancer”—a title that we’re sure her fiancé will support!

Depending on your location, SuperShag Dance Studios in Charlestown is another Boston outlet for a group pole dancing party. If you’re on a budget and have a large number of ladies attending the bachelorette party, this is a great option. They offer a flat rate of $250 or $300 (depending on the day), so the more ladies, the lower the cost per person! And it will be well worth it to see your favorite girls try their hand at working the pole—we’re willing to bet there are some hidden talents in the group waiting to be revealed! (And if not, you’re in for double the laughs—it’s a win-win for all.)

As if further convincing were even needed, it was recently reported by M&C News that former super model and icon Cindy Crawford says that one of her secrets to keeping her marriage “red hot” is by taking pole-dancing classes. So what better way to send off your favorite girl into the married life than with some new exotic dance skills?

“Color Runs”: Thinking Outside of the Crayon Box

19 Oct

When deciding on a color theme for bridesmaid dresses, a bride-to-be has more to consider than simply hmm, what’s my favorite color? Not only should the wedding party’s attire traditionally be coherent with the overall ceremony and reception color palette, but the body shape, skin tone, and hair coloring of the bridesmaids should be kept in mind as well. And that gorgeous shade of pale pink, which may look stunning on your maid of honor, could be an unflattering choice for your fair-skinned, blonde bridesmaid. A possible solution can be found in the growing trend of a bridesmaid dress “color run.” As mentioned by Bridesmaid 101, with a color run, each bridesmaid wears the same dress (or same style of dress), but in a different color.

While there should still be some theme or coherence to the colors—you certainly don’t want clashing shades next to each other on the big day—a color run allows for some flexibility in matching each bridesmaid with a flattering dress. So how do you pair the perfect color with a bridesmaid’s skin tone? A seasonal color analysis is a fun, simple way to sort the flattering from unflattering. TheChicFashionista provides a detailed description of the logic behind such an analysis, as well as provides the following chart for easily determining if you’re a “Winter,” “Spring,” “Summer,” or “Autumn.”

Once you’ve figured out your season, it’s time to explore your best colors! The concept behind the seasonal analysis is that a “Winter” will look best in cool, clear, dark “winter” colors, whereas a “Summer” will look best in “summer” colors (think pastels or muted shades). Style Makeover HQ provides these great color swatches for easily spotting your season’s best hues:

Winter Colors:                                                     Spring Colors:

Summer Colors:                                                  Autumn Colors:

 

If you’re considering a color run, Bridesmaid Trade makes finding dresses easy with search options by color, as well as by style. We know that on the big day, it all comes down to the lady in white, but that doesn’t mean the bridesmaids shouldn’t be looking their best! And, as put by Creators.Com writer Amy Winter, in an article for Leader Post, “Bridesmaids can monitor cost better if they are given the opportunity to pick their own dresses.” A win-win for all, color runs are a fun idea for flattering each bridesmaid and breaking away from the traditional monochromatic bridal party attire.

Bachelorette Party Spotlight: Living it Up Like the Ladies of Sex and the City

15 Oct

Whether you’re a “Carrie” or a “Samantha,” you’ll be sure to be thanks by your bride-to-be with this bachelorette party idea! It can be a lot of pressure as a maid of honor to come up with the perfect bachelorette party for your leading lady’s last hoorah before tying the knot, but if she’s a Sex and the City fan, look no further—an excursion to NYC could be just the thing.

On Location Tours offers Sex and the City tours where you can shop where the fabulous four shopped, eat where they ate, grab a Cosmo where they drank, and see several of the actual locations from the series and movie. But just because you’ll be living large like Carrie and the girls, doesn’t mean you’ll have to be spending like them. The best part about this bachelorette party idea is that there are a variety of tour options to fit every budget and every soon-to-be-bride.

You can opt for a walking tour for $44/person or chose from one of four private limo tours. The private packages range from the $140/person “Charlotte” package to the always-extravagant “Samantha” for $210/person, which includes the Sex and the City Hotspots limo tour with private tour guide, a three-course dinner at a location used on the show, a “Pleasure Chest Kit” for the group (would you expect anything less from Samantha?), and admission to a lounge used on the show with complimentary glass of celebratory champagne. For full details and bookings, visit On Location Tours.

Feeling creative? Skip the tour guide and make your own Sex and the City tour! Put together a list of some of the places from the show you’d like to visit, plan ahead by consulting a map and marking out a route, and—voila!—you and your girls have a customized day in the life of Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha. Here are some helpful lists of Sex and the City hotspots:

  • Restaurants & Bars in this guide, iVillage provides you with a list of restaurants as well as some menu suggestions.  They have everything from hotdog stands to fine dining on the list, so there’s something for everyone!
  • OpenTable’s Restaurant Blog many of the restaurants listed here are rather pricey, but check out Centrico for reasonably priced Mexican/Southwestern cuisine.
  • Shopping & Attractions as well as listing bars and restaurants, get a feel for some of the attractions featured in Sex and the City—from Bryant Park to the art gallery Charlotte used to work in.

Big said it best when talking to Carrie’s best friends: “you’re the loves of her life and a guy’s just lucky to come in fourth.” So make your girl’s bachelorette party an event to remember!

DIY: Gorgeous Wedding Hair without the Hair-Raising Prices

12 Oct

While entrusting your tresses to a professional can seem the safest way to avoid a bad hair day on the big day, don’t underestimate your hairstyling skills, ladies! We’ve been teasing, braiding, curling, straightening, and twirling our hair since the days of our first slumber party, so why not save some money and claim some bragging rights on the wedding day? The resources listed at the end of this post are great online tools for creating wedding day dos! And unless you’re a member of Lady Gaga’s bridal party, sometimes a simple, elegant hairstyle is the best option, and one that can easily be achieved without professional aid.

But just because you’re doing-it-yourself, doesn’t mean you should go without advice! With some help from the pros over at Do It Yourself Weddings, we’re providing you with the DIY hairstyling tips needed to achieve the perfect look.

  • Practice, practice, practice! Athletes practice before big games, singers practice before big performances, and do-it-yourself hairstylists should most definitely practice before the big day! Have at least one trial run before the wedding so that you can master the technique of the style you want to achieve and work out any kinks so that it’s smooth sailing at the wedding.
  • The early bird gets the worm—and has flat hair by the reception. Don’t do your hair more than a few hours before the wedding. Ever notice how after a night of dancing your hair never looks quite as good as when you first styled it? The same law applies here, and no amount of hairspray will change that. To ensure your hair hasn’t drooped or fallen flat before the “I do”s are even exchanged, plan ahead to do your hair within a few hours of go-time.
  • Before the dress, think zip-up, button-down, or robe. Have you ever tried to take off a t-shirt without messing up a freshly styled hairdo? It’s hard. Don’t attempt it on the big day. While doing your hair, make sure you wear an article of clothing that can be removed without pulling it over your head so that you don’t risk messing up your hair.
  • Keep accessories in mind. When deciding on wearing your hair up or down, consider your earrings. If you want to show them off, you mightoptfor an up-do. Also consider any hair accessories you might be wearing. If you want to take your empowered role as a do-it-yourselfer to the next level, you may want to make your own hair accessories. The Broke Ass Bride has some easy-to-make ideas that can really take your hairdo to thenext level!
  • It all comes back to the dress! (Doesn’t it always?) When deciding on a hairstyle, the dress must be a huge consideration. So before you even think about how to wear your hair, find the perfect dress at Bridesmaid Trade! Does it have an elaborate neckline or stunning back? Consider an up-do so that your hair doesn’t cover the dress or take away from its key details. Maybe it’s a strapless dress that beautifully shows off your shoulders and collarbone. If so, accentuate your good features and also opt for a chic bun or other such stylish up-do. A dress with a simple neckline could be the perfect opportunity to showcase your lovely locks and wear your hair down.

Step-by-step tutorials can be found to help you achieve almost any hairstyle. The following are great resources:

  • Johnny Lavoy, hairstylist for Ford Models, has a series of instructionalvideos for gorgeous ‘dos. Here are a few of his most wedding-worthy styles: Half-Up Half-DownBraided Ribbon Up-DoSupermodel Curls
  • Modern Salon.com features a Step-by-Step section with a wide variety of hairstyles to choose from—simple up-dos, loose curls, and even some wackier trends incase you are, in fact, attending Lady Gaga’s wedding.
  • Hairstyles Teacher.com features step-by-step instructions with pictures, perfect for bridesmaids.
  • Michael Angelo’s Chignon Bun –stylist Michael Angelo showsyou how to make a simple, elegant bun in this video tutorial.
  • Pin-up Hair Tutorials includes instructional videos for wearing your hair down or half-down.
  • Cosmo has a section of their website for how-to hair styles. The instructions aren’t as visual as other sites, but if you’re looking to emulate the hairdos of your favorite celebrities, this is a great start.

Lavender, lapis, plum: Oh My!

11 Oct

Back in 2008, there were rumblings of a new love affair with this most royal of hues.  Of models and humans alike strutting proudly in garments dipped in this most dashing of dyestuffs. Whether you like lapis, are partial to plum, go gaga for eggplant, what’s not to love about a color that walks in to a room and announces, “Why yes – in fact, I am here today!”

Can it work in a wedding?  Do bridesmaids carry bouquets?  Does everyone envy the flower girl who remains the cutest person in the room even if she sprints down the aisle, cries when she gets there or goes to sit with her mom?  You get my drift.

Today in the Bridesmaid Trade Test Kitchen, we’re cooking up a Great Idea.   We’re taking an fab suggestion from those Top Chefs over at The Knot about how to have a beautiful wedding with happy bridesmaids.  Here goes!

1. Choose one great color. Say, purple.  Need inspiration? More inspiration?

2. Add a generous helping of your favorite leading ladies.

3. Make them the happiest bridesmaids on the block by saying “Ladies: Find a dazzling dress in a shade of purple that makes you feel like dancing.  Wear it in my wedding.”

4. Mix well.

5. Seal those wedding invitations with their tears of joy.

Let’s get you started on step 3 with some lovely frocks from Bridesmaid Trade!

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Let us know what you think!

Watters and Watters dresses not to be missed!

5 Oct

By March here in Boston, we are in the depths of despair. It is still dark and cold. There are no tulips yet. I think this dress would give me good cause to celebrate. Got a March, April, May wedding coming up? Want some pizazz, some flourish, some flair? These 3 lovely dresses just got posted on Bridesmaid Trade! I love the bright “Camelia” color, and the whimsical design of this style (8152).

Check it out:

We all know Watters and Watters design beautiful, high quality dresses.  They won’t unravel on you, fit funny, or jab you for the entire extent of the wedding.  You won’t find these dresses for less than $200 anywhere else!   But because we rock, they are just $100, $100, and $115 respectively.  Don’t miss these! Pink is gonna be big in 2011, too…