A Picture Makes for a Priceless Bridesmaid Gift

For those who don't savor the idea of being photographed in the post-ceremony flurry, there's a new trend in town: pre-wedding photography.

Though this trend does override the "bad luck to see the bride before the wedding" idea, pre-wedding photography offers some definite perks. A chance to photograph non-beer spattered bridesmaid dresses. A less fidgety flower girl. And most importantly...a personal moment with your groom.

Many brides have complained that one of the biggest drawbacks of their wedding was barely getting a chance to talk to the groom. A pre-wedding photo shoot allows for a romantic personal moment in a chapel, a garden, or by the seaside. A chance to kiss, pray and pose together may be just the thing you need to brace yourself for the big ceremony.

Whether you choose to have your photo shoot before or after, be sure to splurge on a nice photo album to keep your pictures pristine. Individual framed photos of your attendants also make great bridesmaid gifts.

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Bridesmaid Dress Tips from Vivian Diamond

In the Fall/Winter edition of Wedding Dresses, Dessy Group designer Vivian Diamond offers some tips on shopping for bridesmaids' dresses.
1) Start by thinking of bridesmaids' dresses in terms of style and what would look good on your friends.
2) Pre-shop for bridesmaids' dresses before you present styles to your attendants. A website like Dessy.com makes this step a cinch!
3) Select five styles and colors of bridesmaid dresses and test them on one of your attendants.
4) Narrow it down to one style and two color options of bridesmaids' dresses.
Why trust Diamond's advice? The Dessy Group just celebrated their 70th year in the wedding industry, creating some of the most fabulous bridesmaid dresses you'll find anywhere. Happy Anniversary!

Bridesmaids Gifts: Something Old, Something New

You're a bride who wants the best of the best. If you need a latte, you go to Starbucks. For car insurance, no one else but that cuddly green gecko will do. And for wedding advice, there's only one name: Emily Post.

Though this venerable etiquette expert has passed away, her work lives on through her oh-so-proper offspring. In fact, the updated fifth edition of Emily Post's Wedding Etiquette is written by none other than Emily's granddaughter, the undoubtedly decorous Peggy.

Within these hallowed pages you'll find wedding advice that transcends decades (Emily's original was written in 1922) along with Peggy's thoroughly modern updates. Only a Post could create a flow chart of wedding party member' responsibilities, sidebars of sticky questions, and priceless advice on same sex weddings, "encore" brides, bridesmaids' dresses, and online wedding planning.

All information is dispersed with signature Post style and insight, making this book the perfect combo of something old and something new. Sneaky tip: give these books as bridesmaids' gifts for definitive resolution to bridesmaids' dress debates. Who could argue with a Post?

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The Good, Bad and Ugly of Destination Weddings

Destination weddings are all hot, hot, hot, but amore abroad isn't all dewy destination wedding dresses and balmy blue waters.

There are a few practical considerations to take into account. Here's our top three.

Season: Found a great deal on your dream hotel with an all-inclusive package in Barbados at an amazing reduced price? Awesome! Just make sure it's not hurricane season first.

License: Before you go booking plane tickets and dreaming of tropical bridesmaids' gifts, find out the laws on how long it takes to get a marriage license in your chosen country. The sultry French Islands require a few weeks' residency, whereas Anguilla only requires you to be there a day.

The Wedding Planner: At home these White Divas are optional, but for a destination wedding they are an essential. In the case of a destination wedding, the wedding planner is the person who is basically planning your wedding for you, from the reception to the ceremony centerpieces, so don't be shy about checking references, asking tons of questions, and making sure your personalities click.

That said, Bon Voyage Brides and Bridesmaids!

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Who Incurs the Most Expenses out of the Bridal Party?

Here's a riddle for you: What's more expensive than being a bridesmaid? Naomi Cambell's legal bills, the war in Iraq, hybrid cars and....being a best man!

According to a recent Morgan Stanley Credit Card survey, the unlikely suspect who accrues the most debt in a wedding party is none other than the best man. Despite the absence of expenses like bridesmaids' dresses and wedding showers, the best man is still tagged with the greatest wedding expenditures, which are estimated to be a "staggering" 530 pounds. From the bachelor party, groomsmen attire and wedding gift, the best man spends significantly more to the bridesmaids' paltry-by-comparison 324 pounds. Plus, bridesmaids' gifts are always better than groomsmen gifts.

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Save Yourself from the Summer Wedding Blues

While getting married in summer connotes many beautiful images: sunset kisses, sailboat backdrops, and outdoor champagne toasts, there are a few sticky situations that can mar the bliss of summer nuptials. Not to worry, here are ways to avoid the most common fierce weather foibles:

Allergies. I have been to outdoor weddings where my allergies were so bad I was crying harder than the bride throughout the entire ceremony. Lest your attendants sneeze like that notorious seventh dwarf, provide your girls with gorgeous embroidered handkerchiefs as bridesmaids gifts. Easily tucked into bridesmaids' dresses or stored among bouquets, elegant little hankies help keep the sniffles away.

Buzzing insects. Outdoor wedding can attract unwanted guests in the form of insects. But the rules of summer weddings are firm: no bees or any other pests, even ones wearing formal apparel, can be allowed to linger. Lest some flies show up who like, totally did not RSVP, arm an usher with a trusty flyswatter. Hey, if they're not on the guest list, they're not on the guest list.

Melting wedding cake. Outdoor weddings are often low on culinary supplies and cool storage places. To keep your wedding cake from melting like cheap makeup, consider serving adorable custom cookies instead. Perfect for a beach wedding or destination wedding, these durable desserts will withstand any weather.

Summer Wedding Surplus

If you are a bride getting married in June, you may be upset to find that your summer wedding is one in a million - literally. With June as the most popular wedding month, it's easy to feel like just another number.

But don't be down, brides! There is a bright side to a summer wedding.

For example, beautiful natural settings help brides save big on reception and ceremony costs. A plethora of in-season flowers make it possible for you to have a distinctive wedding despite the popular time.

Best of all, if you are a having a beach wedding, now is the perfect time to invest in gorgeous tea-length bridesmaids' dresses and a trendy beach wedding gown for yourself!

Wedding Stress Survey Released by David's Bridal

Interestingly, in a survey of 501 brides, finding a wedding dress wasn't the number one stress in the wedding planning process. That prize went to finding a wedding location. Who would have thought?

After these priorities, picking out bridesmaids' dresses wasn't far behind.

Top reasons for bridesmaids' dress stress included deciding on a color and the general lack of cute bridesmaids' dresses in an array of sizes. In fact, two-thirds of brides say their biggest problem is finding a style that will fit and flatter each of their bridesmaids' body types.

Rest assured, we have the answer to these problems! Trouble finding a color? Order fabric swatches to see the color as it really is. Lack of cute bridesmaids dresses? Check out the thoroughly modern gowns at Dessy.com (Dessy also has great bridesmaid accessories and gifts!)

As for the problem of bridesmaids' dresses for different body shapes, don't worry. Choose your colors then let your girls pick their own best dress styles to suit their own unique figures.

Free Ways to Personalize Your Wedding

Personalization is a sweet idea, but let's face it: all those personalized cake toppers and hand-crafted wedding invitations can get a little over the top.

Here's a couple of cool ways to personalize your wedding that don't cost a thing:

    • write your own vows

    • let your pet walk you down the aisle or be ringbearer, or

    • let your bridesmaids choose their own bridesmaids' dresses.

These lovable ideas will create a fun-filled wedding that's heavy on memories but lighter on the wallet.

Destination Wedding Dress Care

With destination weddings catching on like tulle on rhinestones, there is one question on every bride's mind: How do I safely transport my destination wedding dress?

Well, here are a few suggestions from a recent Washington Post Article: use tissue and dry cleaner bags to stuff the dress so that it maintains its shape, put it in a garment bag, or if you don't have a bag, make one from fitted sheets and safety pins. You could also FedEx your destination wedding dress in advance, but do not under any circumstances check it, the article warns. Remember, Cinderella ball gowns riding in coach only works in fairytales.

In real life, the plane is no place for a poofy dress, so why not snatch up one of these sleek and gorgeous gowns from Dessy for easy storage?

These care instructions can of course be used on bridesmaids' dresses and flower girls' dresses as well.

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