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Photo by Diane Cox
Crystal and Craig Wilson learned there are many factors to consider when deciding the location of an outdoor wedding.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Bride-to-be Tammy Scates and her daughter Erica McCord of Bethalto are helped by Erin Frew and a sales associate of Frew’s Bridal in Alton with a gown in preparation for Scates’ July wedding.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Suzanne Helfrich (left) brought her friend Carly Alsbach to Frew’s Bridal to find a dress for her July wedding. Frew’s associate Lauren Puccini of Alton is helping with suggestions for Helfrich’s big day.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Frew’s owner Erin Frew suggests brides order their wedding dress at least six months in advance of the big day.
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Photo by Diane Cox
Alla Maxeiner of Alton sorts through dresses at Frew’s Bridal for her soon-to-be daughter-in-law. Maxeiner said her son’s wedding is set for May 6.
You’ve dreamed about the day he got on one knee and popped the question. You looked forward to the time you stand up in front of family and friends and say vows to love, honor and cherish until death do you part. For some brides, the true adventure lies between those two occasions, but they’re left wondering where they begin.
As with any product, style and idea, there are trends. Should I wear lace? What can we afford? Where will we get married? In most cases, brides and grooms will set a date of six months to a year to plan their nuptials.
Choosing a venue for the wedding and reception is just as important as setting the date itself. East Alton-Wood River graduate Crystal Wilson learned there were so many factors to consider when deciding the location of her May 2014 outdoor wedding with her husband, Craig. The Wilsons planned for their wedding to take place at the Gardens at SIUE. Wilson didn’t expect rain that lasted until less than 20 minutes before the ceremony was to start.
“One advantage to having an outdoor wedding was the beauty that already existed in the site itself,” Wilson said. “There really were not a lot of decorations needed, which saves time and money. When it rained, I worried about my dress and hair being ruined. I didn’t want my guests miserable and having to trample through mud. Each day is new and the next one could be perfect. Our wedding did go off as planned, after the rain ended.”
How to prepare for weather if your heart is set on your outdoor venue? Wilson came up with some options to be prepared for the elements.
“Have umbrellas available for guests,” Wilson said. “There are some adorable ones out there specifically for weddings. These can be solid in color or have initials on them. This might even be cute for a very warm, sunny day to help with direct sunlight. These will all help prevent a last-minute frenzy. There is no guarantee that the weather will cooperate that day. Even when the weather channel says it will, chances are it won’t. Have a second location ready, like the reception hall just in case.”
After setting the date and deciding on where to tie the knot, the dress is the next item on the list for blushing brides. Now that you know your time and place, it’s a lot easier to decide the look the bride and groom want for the ceremony and reception. What are the current trends and are they within their wedding budget? Time is an important detail in finding that perfect dress.
“Brides shouldn’t wait until the last minute to find their dress,” Frew’s Bridal owner Erin Frew said. “Some dresses take three to six months to make after they are ordered and then time for fittings needs to be allowed. Almost everything in our bridal shop can be sold right off the show floor, but that causes a bride a lot of stress and raises concern that she’s making a decision due to lack of time and it’s not the dress she really wants. We want brides to have no doubt and feel beautiful on their special day.”
Adding a dash or even a bucketload of color seems to be one of this year’s biggest trends — a trend Frew’s is embracing along with their out-of-the-box brides.
“Brides are bold and are really going for fun colors,” Frew said. “Different shades of blues, champagnes, white tones and golds are really popular. Another color trend we are seeing is bright colors. A lot of brides have been adding colored tulle layers in the skirts. With brides these days, anything goes. They’re really not afraid to step out of the norm and be different. I think it’s fantastic. One of the longest trends have been the Cinderella blue, and we have those gowns, too.”
Frew said illusion necklines and sleeves are making a strong statement in 2016. Illusion material is a thin netting material embellished with lace, beading and bling along a high neckline, shoulders and down sleeves.
“Brides are loving the look of illusion necklines more and more,” Frew said. “While strapless is still highly popular, higher illusion necklines and dresses with sleeves are being requested far more often. It’s a beautiful look on a bride and it can bridge the look of today with a more traditional style. A bride really feels like a bride and they look amazing.”
The saying may be it takes a village to raise a child, but it doesn’t take an army to choose a dress. Frew said a small, intimate entourage is all that is needed during the dress selection process.
“So often brides will come in with a large party to choose their dress,” Frew said. “A small group of maybe three to four people is actually perfect. With a large party, a bride may feel overwhelmed with so many opinions and the attention may quickly be taken from her. The experience of picking a dress is about the bride and what she wants. The entourage is there for support and love, not to overwhelm the bride and stress her out.”
Weddings are one of the most expensive events in a couple’s lives. Planning ahead and determining what the priorities are for the bride and groom can help keep the process of wedding planning easier when the purse is pinched.
“Most of our brides come in with a budget averaging around $1,000 for their dress,” Frew said. “We can accommodate a bride with a budget of just a few hundred dollars to spend up to our most expensive dress, which runs around $7,000 to $8,000. Sticking to a budget is very important for a bride and groom. This is a special day, but it doesn’t mean they have to go bankrupt to have an amazing wedding. Going over budget will cause concerns and maybe even regret for a young couple.”
Embracing the unplugged ceremony
In a time with amazing technology, brides and grooms have begun to embrace the concept of going “unplugged” during their wedding ceremony. Before cellphones and tablets became the norm, a bride and groom would take a moment to peek into the audience to see the faces of their supportive loved ones. While the sentiment may be sweet and genuine, the guests miss out on the moment while they are busy uploading their photos on Facebook and Twitter before the bride and groom are officially introduced as Mr. and Mrs.
“Brides and grooms can find pictures from their wedding on Facebook before they make it to the reception,” Ruthi Dooley of Ruthi Dooley’s Photography said. “There have been occasions that we’ve been hired and paid to photograph a wedding but had to ask guests to please move from the aisle because they were in the shot. Those are moments we’re paid to capture and guests with cellphones and tablets can make it difficult.”
Requesting that guests put the mobile devices away will not only made a photographer’s job easier, but the photos will be more appealing for the bride and groom.
“I’ve had several brides and grooms wish they asked their guests to unplug after they saw their photos,” Dooley said. “We always have two photographers cover a wedding so we can get different angles. It never fails; we always capture photos of guests and their mobile devices no matter how much we plan or try to avoid it. The bride and groom have to live with those photos. I’ve seen one case when a groom couldn’t even see his bride come down the aisle because people got in his way so they could record her on their cellphone.”
As spring approaches, bridal vendors are buzzing with quotes, calendars and placing orders for approaching weddings. Contact potential venues to check their availability while considering the date of the wedding. Remember to schedule photographers, florists, DJs, caterers and the wedding cake baker at least three to six months in advance to avoid scheduling conflicts to book the vendor you have your heart set on. Last but not least, always consider your budget while planning your wedding to avoid stress if last-minute issues pop up.