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nicolemiller.com)

I love the shape and look of this Nicole Miller gown! I wish I could find something similar in black! (Source: nicolemiller.com)

What’s with bridesmaid dresses and how come some of them are so stinking ugly?!  Come on, not everyone is looking for a frilly little number that makes you look like a cupcake?  Oh, and furthermore, what’s with the anorexic girls modeling these dresses?  (I’d like to feed the Jim Hjelm model a burger!) 

My girls are real women with curves!  My one girlfriend said it best, “a size zero is the closest to a nobody as you’ll ever get and she’s definitely a somebody!”  (No offense to you size zero’s out there!) 

Can you tell I’m frustrated? Seriously, I wish you could just google “matte taffeta dress with ruched bodice” and an infinite number of gorgeous dresses would suddenly appear.  But, apparently, it doesn’t work that way.  So, I say GRRR.  I’ve looked at literally hundreds of dresses online and countless l’il numbers at the store.  I know what I want, I’m just not finding it.  So, I’m screaming for some help! 

What I’m looking for is something that looks like a full length Nicole Miller for a Davids Bridal price.  I want stretch taffetta – matte or irridescent – with a ruched bodice.

Here’s the numbers that I’m looking at…

all-dresses1

So far, I have one BM who love #4 and another who loves the #7.  I need to find some middle ground!

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It’s the day after Thanksgiving and FI and I have been lounging around my parents house for almost two days now!  (Funny thing is, we only live 20 minutes away!) 

Anyway, my mom has a motto plastered on her fridge that I’m now determined to live by.  Looking back, it’s something she’s alway’s lived by!  I’m not sure who wrote it, I actually think it’s unknown.   Here it is:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in another, body thoroughly used up, totally worn-out and screaming ‘DAMN, what a ride!'”

I’m definitely living up to the motto this weekend…  I don’t feel guilty about pouring myself another glass of wine or eating yet another piece of pie!

I’ve been perusing the sales via web and I’m about to emerge into the land of the living.  Yes.  I’m going to venture out to the stores this Black Friday – and most likely – the entire weekend!

While I have about 295 days till my wedding, I can get great and discounted jewelry for the bridesmaids and other things for my September wedding.  I also may hold off till after Christmas to get some steals too.  I have a sneaking suspicion, there will be some incredible deals after Dec. 25!

Anyway, for the do-it-yourselfer’s (DIY) out there, you may want to check out these websites and print-up the coupons before you venture out this weekend…

Michaels – They have tons of votives, candles, invitations and other wedding favors.  If you don’t get the local paper, you can always print out the coupons online.  You do have to register, but it takes about three minutes.   You can get 25 percent off your entire purchase, including sales items.  Also, you can print one coupon off for 50 percent off one regular priced item. 

Jo-Ann Fabric – Ok, I didn’t find any online coupons, but they still have a ton of online sales.  If you happen to get the local paper, be sure to snag the coupons for various itesm – including 40 percent off on regular priced items.

Target – There are a ton of sales at Target and I’ve gotta tell you, they have some great DIY invitations, as well as baskets.  Check them out! 

Kohls – Now this place has some steals.  If you know what kind of jewelry you’re looking for your BM’s you may want to check out Kohls.  The great thing about these corporate stores is if you can always return the murchandise if you: A) Find better jewelry later B) Find a better deal after Christmas or C) Change your mind.  But, I’m telling you, this would be a great place to check out some things for BM gifts or favors.  They also have a great variety of frames and homegoods.

Macy’s – Macy’s has all kinds of coupons and sales going on.  You can go online and print up coupons if you didn’t get their mailers of if you didn’t get the local paper.  You may be able to find your brides and grooms toasting glasses or you could possibly find discounted BM jewelry.  It’s worth perusing the store. 

Any other great deals or steals out there?  Let me know!

jfmweddings.com)

This is an original work of John F. Martin. (Source: jfmweddings.com)

Are you looking for a jaw-dropping deal on a wedding photographer?  Well, I might just have one for you.  A fellow bride-to-be (and one I couldn’t be happier for!) passed along this great deal on a local wedding photographer.  Of course I stalked-out his site and I’m really impressed with his work.  I love his use of lighting, nature, the angles he captures his shots and, yes, he captures emotion.  (Though, I didn’t see any shoe shots… but that can be addressed!) 

The Details:
Who: John F. Martin Photography

What: Keep in mind, his packages begin at $1500 for half a day and go to $2850 for a full day.   The deal she’s getting is:  For $3,000, he’s providing up to 10 hours of shooting (minimum of eight hours), two photographers, the proof book, CDs with all images (high res and no logos), a photo booth for guests at the reception, a slideshow of the ceremony pics during the reception (this includes equipment) and online availability of all photos within 2-4 days after the wedding. 

The Kicker: He’s tossing in the Trash the Dress photo session for free.  So, they’ll be wading through streams, fly fishing and pheasant hunting with hunt dogs all decked-out in their wedding formals.  How cool!  (Nice work JM!)

Why: He lowered his 2009 pricing in response to the downturn in the economy. (And, I’m pretty sure the  B2B is a talented negotiator.)

Contact:
(586) 362-5717

rooster-tail2While I’ve decided not to shake my tail feather at the Roostertail in Detroit, I thought I’d give them another glance-over.  It is one of the coolest landing-spots for a Detroit wedding.  So, I called them up this afternoon and asked them if they were reducing their 2009 pricing.  The answer is no, but they’re willing to be more flexible with their off season pricing.  Apparently, the sour economy isn’t leaving a bad taste in their mouth since they’re booked with proms and weddings throughout 2009 and 2010.

Here’s the skinny on their peak and off-season pricing:

Peak season April 1 – Dec. 31
During peak seasons, the minimum amount you must spend on a Saturday night is $17,800.  How does that break down?  Basically, the minimum number of guests you must have on a Saturday is 200.  At $89 per plate, (includes standard meal, standard bar, cake cutting, champagne toast, linens, tax and gratuity) at 200 people it adds up to almost $18K.  Once you start customizing the package, your reception can easily exceed $20K.   Now, if you choose a Thursday, Friday or Sunday to throw your wedding soire, the price will drop, but not so significantly.

Off season Jan. 1 – March 31
During off seasons, there’s a little more flexibility.  The standard price per head is $69 and the Saturday night minimum can drop down to about 150.  This amounts to $10,350.  I’m sure there’s a little more wiggle room for negotiating a price drop… 

Pros: Located on the Detroit River, it’s a beautiful Detroit wedding spot that will surely impress your guests.  If you choose, and the space is available, you can opt to have an outdoor ceremony overlooking the river or on their back patio.  They have plenty of parking and security on site patrolling the lot.  Linens are included in the package and they offer a variety of colors.  Special events are all they do, so they have this wedding business down to a science.     

Cons: Price, price, price.  And the owner is a bit insensitive regarding the harsh Detroit econonic environment.  Click here to read about my personal experience. 

Contact:
313-212-1234

helloCheck out this deal.  A fellow bride-to-be alerted me of this fabulous sale in Sterling Heights, Mich.    She just bought a tiara and a veil for $40.  What a steal!

Hello Beautiful, a special occasion accessory store at 15 mile and VanDyke, is going out of business.  They have hundreds of headpieces and veils and more than 200 shoe styles to choose from.  Everything is 75 percent off. 

The also have an add posted on Craigslist saying the sale is going on this weekend, so I’m not sure if the store is open during the week… I tried calling, but I believe their number is disconnected…

Hello Beautiful (Formerlly known as Bridal Veils and Shoes) 
5830 Van Dyke
Sterling Heights, Mich.
Maps/Directions
(877) 795-4705 (I think their number is out of order)

I love this intimate look.

I love this intimate look.

Much to my mom’s dismay, I think we’re ditching traditional flower centerpieces for candles and rose petals. (Sorry mom, but thanks for being supportive. You’re awesome!) Don’t get me wrong, I love flowers but we don’t love the price.  Not to mention, I just don’t envision my reception to be one adorned with flowers.   Sure, we’ll have floral BM bouquets and a couple of arrangements at the ceremony site, but the fiance and I agree, we want our reception to be aglow!

To be honest, of all the weddings I’ve been to in the past, I don’t even remember what the flower centerpieces looked like.  Oh, at the time I probably ohhed and ahhed at them but apparently they didn’t leave a lasting impression.  So I say, let there be candle light! 

Since Kenny and I are having our reception at the Greektown Casino and Hotel, we’ve been tossing the idea around of having a 1940s glam wedding theme.  (As a matter of fact, the 1940s marks the period when Las Vegas’ lavishly decorated casinos and top-name entertainment came into existence.)  We’re thinking romantic candles, martini glasses and rose petals… Simple elegance.

Check out some of these candle center pieces. What do you think?  Does anyone have any other suggestions?

I like this larger martini glass with floating candles

I like this larger martini glass with floating candles but it definitely needs a creative touch...

 

I like the candles, rose petals and blooms. Not sure about all the yellow...

This is pretty with the candles, rose petals and blooms. Not sure about all the yellow...

 

Another look I like, but maybe varying sizes of the votives?

Another look I like, but maybe varying sizes of the votives?

This is NOT the look I'm going for!

This is NOT the look I'm going for!

The Park Shelton Condominum complex in Midtown Detroit.

The Park Shelton Condominum complex in Midtown Detroit.

I love the Model D – it’s an awesome, all-about Metro Detroit weekly online magazine and Website devoted to showcasing the positive and sustained transformation of Detroit.  So, if you live in Metro Detroit and want to know cool things to do in the area, you should subsribe to their free weekly newsletter.  (I love it, love it love it!) 

Last month they featured a story about a Detroit couple who had their wedding ceremony and reception on the Park Shelton rooftop in Detroit.  Located in the cultural midtown district on the corner of Kirby and Woodward, the Park Shelton is a perfect venue for an outdoor wedding location. 

Built in 1926, the historic 12-story structure was originally known as the Wardell Apartment Hotel.  More than a half decade ago, the Wardell was a prestigious landingspot for the likes of Diego Rivera, Bob Hope, George Burns and Raymond Burr.  As the city evolved, so did the Wardell, and in the early 1970s, the apartment-hotel  was converted into an apartment complex.  In 2004, McIntosh Poris Associates transformed the Wardell into the swanky Park Shelton, a luxury condominium complex.  If you’re looking to be a tentant, one perk happens to be its rooftop community area, among other things.

The Park Shelton Rooftop in Midtown Detroit.

The Park Shelton Rooftop in Midtown Detroit. (Source: Model D)

Park Shelton Rooftop Rental Details
So my next question is: If you’re not a Park Shelton tenant, can you rent the rooftop space?  The answer is maybe.  

Being the vendor stalker I am I called them up to get the skinny.   I spoke to the event coordinator Ms. Davis who was amazingly helpful in answering my questions.   Basically, the rooftop is reserved for the building’s residents.  If you’re a resident, you can have the space free-of-charge.  But, for non-residents potential rentals must be evaluated and approved by the property management.  

As it works now, management hasn’t yet transferred all rights over to the condo association yet, which is scheduled for some time next year, and they need to ensure the association approves the external event so it’s binding even after the tranfer.  Am I confusing you? I hope not…  Anyway, once the association has power, they’ll probably create a formal external rental process or they could nix external rentals all together.  (Hopefully, the latter is not the case!)    

Because of this unique situation its hard to quote a rental price for a ceremony or reception.  But, she did say $3,000 is a good ballpark figure when thinking about having both a reception and ceremony.  I’d assume there’d be a price drop if you wanted the area just for a detroit ceremony site. 

I think the rooftop would make for a fabulous outdoor ceremony site with the Detroit skyline in the distance.  And, they could always flip the space for an evening rooftop reception too.  Very cool.  The site can accomodate from 100-150 guests.

Pro’s:  Unique outdoor-only Detroit ceremony and reception location.  Overlooks Detroit.  Complimentary to Park Shelton residents! Ample parking.  Located in the heart of Detroit cultural center and down the street from great Detroit bars and hotels.

Con’s:  Could be quite pricey if you’re not a resident.  I don’t believe they allow tents due to the height of the building, so there isn’t much of an alternative in case of rain.    

Contact:
Davina Davis at (313) 872-7275

(Check out Girl in the D’s blog post for more history on the Wardell/Park Shelton)

Starwoodhotels.com)

The "Remix" lobby in Chicago O'Hare's Aloft Hotel. (Source: Starwoodhotelsandresorts.com)

I just read in Crain’s Detroit Business that Starwood Hotels and Resorts is building a new “urban format” hotel, called Aloft in Birmingham, Mich., due to open in Spring 2010.

Apparently, there are several Aloft hotels around the world, including several here in the U.S.  It’s no surprise that the swanky, loft-inspired Aloft hotel is making its Michigan debut in Birmingham. 

According to the Crain’s article, the 151-room Birmingham Aloft Hotel will be located on 210 South Old Woodward, south of East Merrill Street.  And, the hotel will have 650 sq. feet of meeting place, which could mean a great new place to have a quaint wedding reception. 

Who woulda thought… an urban-like wedding in Birmingham.

Check out the entire Crain’s Detroit Business article.

Sadly, the economic crunch is taking its toll in Metro Detroit.  Unfinished construction projects seem to be the latest sign of the times.  Whether you live in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne County or elsewhere, you can find abandoned cranes, steel frames and piles of concrete littering the landscape, and serving as a constant reminder that the Michigan economy is in a severe financial rut.

 

The Bloomfield Park Retail Project – a new upscale retail and office complex in Bloomfield Twp. over near Telegraph and Square Lake Road has been “suspended idefinitely.”  And, yesterday, Beaumont Hospitals announced a reorganization plan that entails 500 layoffs, reductions in pay and the slow of construction projects at their Royal Oak and Troy locations.  Beaumont also is postponing plans for a medical center in Commerce Twp. and is scrapping plans for a medical center in Novi.

 

According to Crain’s Detroit Business, Novi-based Trinity Health System has halted plans to expand St. Joseph Mercy Saline Hospital in Saline, and also are suspending plans to build another hospital in Livingston County because of the poor economic conditions in Michigan.

 

And, the latest news is that Greektown Casino and Hotel – the locale of my 2009 wedding reception – may not get the cash to finish construction on its 400-room hotel and conference space.  Local news outlets report Greektown needs a mere $22.3 million to open in February 2009.  Greektown has about 12 weddings slated for 2009 – mine being one of them.  But, I’m not worried and I’ll tell you why in a later post.

 

Michigan is not alone    

While I was perusing the net to see how Michigan is being impacted by the credit crunch, I came across an article in the Wall Street Journal stating the MGM Mirage is suspending construction on their $11 billion CityCenter project on the Las Vegas Strip.  And, an upscale residential high rise in Dallas has been abandoned due to the lack of funds.  It doesn’t stop there – from California to Florida construction projects have been halted, suspended or abandoned leaving an eye sore for the passerby’s and a daily reminder that this economy is hurting.

Talk about a bad dress. While it's not a BM dress, this was my first homecoming dress.  I do NOT want my girls to look like this!

Talk about a bad dress. This was me at my first homecoming. Can you tell it's the early 90s? I don't want to do THIS to my girls!

Can you imagine being a bridesmaid in the 80s? The ruffles, the colors, the hair! Need I say more?  Just in the last 10 years, bridesmaid dresses have come a long way. But, even in 2008, there’s still some ugly dresses out there!  And I won’t have anything to do with them!   

 

I’ve been honored to be a bridesmaid three times in the last 10 years.  Whatever the bride wanted me to wear, I wore it.  No complaints.  No questions.  So maybe there was one time in particular I felt rather bashful in the dress.  (Peach cobbler comes to mind.  But we were just victims of the 90s.) 

 

There is this belief out there that brides choose ridiculous dresses for her bridesmaids because she doesn’t want them to look better than her on the Big Day.  While I don’t think any of my friends are that crazy (thank god!), I do believe it’s been done.  Aside from a manipulative bride, there are a lot of reasons why some BM’s hate the dress.  One obvious issue is that not all women look great in the same style dress. That’s a fact!  It just doesn’t happen!  One can look like a knockout and the other like a frump!  (Oh, the painful memories!) 

 

I want the women who are standing next to me on my wedding day, to look and feel beautiful.  I want them to be happy with the dress – from the cost of it to the cut of it.  And, I’d really like them to be able to wear it again!  In all honesty, I haven’t worn any of my BM dresses since their debut, and not because they’re not beautiful dresses, but because there hasn’t been an opportunity since.  (Perhaps you’d like to purchase one…)   

 

Billlevkoff.com

I love this dress by Bill Levkoff! Source: Billlevkoff.com

So, I’m going with black dresses.  It’s fitting, because I love black.  Black is perfect.  It’s simple, elegant and you can wear it to any kind of event.  No frills, no bows no pickups and no ball gown skirts.  No tulle, no crinoline, no velvet and no beaded fabric.  Something like this black taffeta dress by Bill Levkoff but a tad bit shorter with the hem right below the knees. (Originally, I nixed taffeta, but I’ve since come to my senses) It comes in various styles too.  (I’d really like to give BM’s options on a style and cut)  While it’s a little pricier that I’d like, I did find it for half-off online.  And, I know I could find a fabulous deal at a sample sale.    

 

Bridal Party Democracy

But, ultimately, it’s about consensus. I think it’s time to round up the troops and hit the bridal salons. Who knows, this dress might not make the cut!  But, then again, I’d rather have bridal party democracy than a dictatorship! 

 

But first thing is first, I still have a couple of BM’s to ask to be part of the big day!  I want it to be a face-to-face invite, preferably over a cocktail! 

 

Interesting BM sites:

With the advent of the internet and blogging, there’s a ton of sites dedicated to bridesmaids, from roles and responsibilities to tell-all’s and horror stories.  It’s really interesting.  Some former BM’s are very, very angry women.  Check out some of these tell-all websites:  

As always, I’ve been scrounging around for the latest deals!  Here’s the latest on wedding dresses!

Maria’s Bridal – Rochester, Mich.
Located in downtown Rochester, Maria’s Bridal is a small family-owned bridal salon with a large collection of gowns.  They pride themselves on customer service – I had a fantastic experience – they’re honest and open!  They feature several designer collections and are the exclusive distributor (in Michigan) of Couture Bridal by Elma Reis and Yolanda Couture.  Be sure to make an appointment!

SALE:
From now November 1, until December 31, 2008, they are having a huge holiday bridal gown sale:

  • 10 percent off new bridal gowns under $2500.
  • 15 percent off bridal gowns over $2500.
  • 95 percent of their more than 400 sample gowns are on sale.  They start at $250.
  • 75 percent off select veils and tiaras.
  • Sale on off-the-rack more than 300 bridesmaid dresses, starting at $25.

Contact: (248) 637-0620

Roma Sposa – Birmingham, Mich.
Roma Sposa is a small upscale boutique located in downtown Birmingham.  They carriy premiere American, Canadian, French, Italian and Puerto Rican deisgners, most of which can’t be found in other bridal salons.  Be sure to make an appointment.  They also have many designer trunk shows

SALE:

  • Evening Wear Sale Thanksgiving weekend – Nov. 28-29
  • Bridal gown sale: Either the first or second weekend in December. 

TIP: They said you can always get a sample gown for a discounted price.  There doesnt need to be a sale to get a deal on these!

Contact: (248) 723-4300

Demetrios Bride – Troy Mich.
Demetrios is located in Troy, right on the border of Birmingham.  I absolutely loved the customer service here and how honest and helpful they were.  They have the widest and most versatile collections I’ve seen. 

SALE:
On Nov. 7-9, they are having their biggest trunk show of the year, where they will showcase 2009 dresses.  You can get 15 – 20 percent bridal gowns, bridesmaid dresses and all bridal accessories.   Be sure to make an appointment!

TIP:  Basically, every weekend they offer some sort of sale.  Don’t hesitate to ask what they are!  Also, they give out 20 percent off coupons (on your entire purchase) at bridal shows in which they participate.

Contact: (248) 637-0620

A cupcake (As seen on Fancyflours.wordpress.com)

Exhibit A: A cupcake (As seen on Fancyflours.wordpress.com)

I refuse to look like an iced cupcake on my wedding day.  And, for me, a lot of wedding gowns out there made me feel more like a frosted baked good than a bride.  No joke, after trying on several dresses, I started craving cake!

A couple of weeks ago, my mom and I ventured out around Metro Detroit shopping for a wedding dress.  I really didn’t know what to expect with my first dress shopping experience… All I knew was to wear neutral-colored skivvies.  My mom had us on a tight schedule.  We were to visit three bridal salons and eat lunch in about eight hours.  How hard can that be?  Well, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be quite the challenge!

What I wish I knew:
I’m not one of those brides who stalked out bridal gown websites and I didn’t peruse bridal magazines either.  I wanted to be there to see it, touch it, feel it and try it on.  The only problem with that approach is that I had no idea what style of dress I wanted.  What silhouette did I want – trumpet, mermaid, A-line or ballgown?  Did I want couture or traditional?  I’m not fashionista, but I wish I knew what they were talking about.  How did I not know this info is an important factor when finding a dress? 

The pickups on this dress makes the bride model look like a cupcake. (Demetrios, Spring 2008)

Exhibit B: The pickups on this dress makes the bride model look like a cupcake. (Demetrios, Spring 2008)

This is what I knew:
This is what I knew when I walked into the first store: I wanted something white, something strapless, something that wasn’t too poofy, too ordain or too detailed.  Oh, and I wanted to be able to walk in it.  What I told them is that I didn’t want to look like a cupcake.  (But you see, they really didn’t get this because some women want the cupcake look.  That’s the great thing about style – it’s a matter of personal taste.  And I prefer to eat cupcakes rather than look like them.)

What I found out:
Pickups and ruching can make a dress look like frosting.  Pickups are actually lifted gatherings of fabric that give the dress that textured look.  Some are subtle, while others are not.  Ruching is what gives the dress that bunched or scrunched look.  I think this look can be stunning!  I think a ruched trumpet or mermaid dress is 40s glam!  But, if ruching is overdone it looks like meringue pie.  In my opinion, pickups and ruching needs to be perfectly balanced or you could be mistaken for dessert.

There’s definitely a wedding dress for everyone.  It’s unbelievable how much is out there.  One thing is certainly true – you do know when you try on “the one.”

Click here to learn about bridal gown terminology.

Did you know:

  • 90 percent of wedding dressed are strapless?
  • You can de-poof a dress by having the seamstress remove layers of crinolin?
  • You can alter a sabrina neckline (straight neckline) into a sweetheart or scooped neckline?
  • You can have some pickups removed – either you can custom order the gown or have the seamstress do it in house.  This may be tricky though because it depends on where the pickups are in the dress and what kind of material it is
  • You should wear slip skirts with A-line and ballgown dress to keep the skirt from going between your legs.  But you don’t need them for trumpet or mermaid dresses?
  • You should order your dress 9-10 months in advance and allow two months for alterations?
  • That wedding dress manufacturers are closed from Christmas to February 1?   

Email Me

MyDetroitWedding(at)gmail.com

Email me if you have a question or if you'd like to submit your real Metro Detroit wedding or other inspiration ideas.

Married September 19, 2009

About Me

I love my guy. I love my town. I could have a torrid affair with every cake, cookie and cupcake I come across. I love sharing a good bottle wine with good people! And, I truly enjoy blogging about wedding finds. Which is why...

Change is Coming!
When planning my wedding I loved researching and stalking out Metro Detroit venues, vendors and other finds. Now that I'm married, I'd like to turn this blog into a Metro Detroit Wedding resource for all of you. So, change is coming soon!

Please share great venue, vendor and other finds with my by emailing me!

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