Photo: Courtesy The New York Times
What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Over the next few months, guest blogger and Weddington Way founder and CEO Ilana Stern will share the ins and outs of planning a California wedding, running a business, picking the perfect wedding planner, and customizing your dream dress.
I believe that shopping for bridesmaid dresses shouldn't be a chore, but a fun experience for everyone involved. In fact, I believe in this philosophy so much that I created a business, Weddington Way, around it! Your 'maids are the most important women in your life, so shouldn't they feel beautiful and comfortable when they stand by your side on your big day? The best way to do this is to get your girls involved in the process of selecting a bridal party look.
After I asked my girls to be my bridesmaids with a bottle of bubbly, I immediately turned my attention to bridesmaid fashion. Since this is what my company is all about, I was excited to experience it from the bride's point of view. I started by playing with our color tools to discover which shades I loved. I knew I wanted something in the orange family and from there I used Weddington Way's tools to narrow the shade down specific tones such as coral and mandarin. Like any bride, I wondered how these colors would translate from the internet to real life, so I ordered fabric swatches from Weddington Way to find exactly which ones I wanted (we offer complimentary swatches to new brides, which was really helpful!).
To find the silhouettes I liked best, I spent way too much time (seriously, hours!) browsing dresses on our site. Once I knew what I liked, I met with Xay, the lead designer at Watters, one of my absolute favorite collections on Weddington Way. I shared my vision of a boho chic bridal party look, telling Xay that I imagined saturated hues of coral, color blocking (a fashion trend that I love!), and long flowy dresses in different silhouettes to suit various body types. Having my bridesmaid dresses personally designed by Xay was definitely a huge perk of heading a wedding business. Xay worked her magic and put together an inspiration board that matched exactly what I pictured! She also made sketches of several dresses (see it, below!), so I could share them with my girls.
Photos: Courtesy of Ilana Stern
Next, I set up a virtual showroom and invited my bridesmaids to join. Everyone was able to check out the ten dress options they could choose from and "like" and "comment" on the styles they loved. I chose various neckline styles (one halter, two strapless options, and a style with straps), so my 'maids could pick a dress that would make them feel the most comfortable. Same went for the colors: I offered two variations (one bright and saturated and the other a softer pastel) and let my girls select a hue that best matched their skin tone. My bridesmaids loved having a voice in the selection process and the ability to share and chat with each other in our virtual showroom. It was awesome because I was able to accomplish the consistent vision I wanted for my bridesmaids to fit with the overall wedding aesthetic, and they were able to choose dresses that worked best for their bodies!
I can't wait to see how gorgeous each bridesmaid looks in her personalized gown. I was thrilled because our ultimate goal at Weddington Way was achieved: a happy bride and a happy group of bridesmaids!