What's New: The Shadows Wedding Blog

While it is in my interest to promote shopping at a reputable salon, I also feel an obligation to warn the public about the problems of ordering a dress you have never tried on. Increasingly I hear horror stories from brides, prom girls and bridesmaids who have come in looking for a dress at the last minute because the gown they ordered online was not what they had hoped for. Problems range from shoddy construction and cheap materials, to serious design and fit problems, such as being too short waisted. These problems can be very difficult or impossible to fix. How can this be? There is a photo online of a popular designer’s wedding dress style, with a price well below the real price of the gown. But the copied gown does not use the same materials or pattern. It will not fit or feel like the Real Thing. The factories overseas that make and sell these copied dresses do not offer follow up service to customers to be sure they are happy, and they do not seem to worry about their reputation.

For life’s special times, such as wedding and prom, everyone wants a perfect dress, so it is wisest to order that dress from a salon that carries dresses made by reputable manufacturers that offer good service and reliability.

bridal wedding dressesHeading to New York for the Couture Bridal Show to see the new styles for 2013 wedding dresses.   We hope to see more colors, lace, vintage styling, 1920's decco influences, high-low hemlines, slim skirts like fit-and-flare, sheath, mermaid or trumpet, cap sleeves and beads on the shoulders, wedding capes, and more.

I am frequently asked what is the very latest date that one can wait to order her bridal gown. so I have written the answer in a Q&A format:

Q. When do I need to order my wedding dress?

A. It depends on the style and manufacturer. Some gorgeous gown are available right “off the rack”, while others take 5-6 months for delivery, add transit time and at least 2-3 months safety cushion for any delays and for alterations. We recommend ordering a gown at least 8 months prior to the wedding date. Start shopping 9-10 months ahead to give you time to decide. This will give you the most choice of dresses.

Q. Why does it take so long?

A. The gowns don’t actually take 5 months to sew, but there are many other orders ahead of yours that need to be finished before the manufacturer can start your gown.

Q. Why have the gown delivered months ahead?

A. It is recommended to have a good 2-4 months safety margin to allow for delays, gowns that need to be sent back to manufacturer if not perfect, and to have a relaxing schedule for all fittings and accessorizing well before your wedding date.

Q. What about delays and flaws?

A. Wedding gowns may be sewn in factories, but they are sewn by people. There are sometimes labor shortages; difficulties procuring materials, shipping problems, even weather can delay gown manufacturing. Flaws are also possible, not by intent, but by mistake. They are sewing many gowns, and sometimes imperfections slip by unnoticed. When you order from a reputable manufacturer through an established store, any flaws will be repaired, so it is wise to allow time for a gown to be sent back for fixing.

Q. What if I don’t have that much time?

A. Some manufacturers have rush deliveries for an extra fee. And there are dresses available off the rack. They are usually more casual and cannot be customized, but they can also be more unique. We have helped many a bride find a dress just a week or two before her wedding.

Just arrived at Shadows, a new collection of informal lace dresses for casual weddings, rehearsal dinners, eloping, court house weddings, you name it, this is a great look for today's bride!  We have the Posey, the Hydrangea, and the Iris dresses, all sampled in both short and full length.

It depends on the style and manufacturer. Some gorgeous gown are available right “off the rack”, while others take 5 months for delivery, add transit time and at least 2-4 months safety cushion for any delays and for alterations. We recommend ordering a gown at least 8 months prior to the wedding date. Start shopping 9-10 months ahead to give yourself time to decide. This time frame will give you the most choice of dresses.  A few years ago 6 months was adequate, but wedding dress ordering times are longer these days.

Why does it take so long?

The gowns don’t actually take 5 months to sew, but there are many other orders ahead of yours that need to be finished before the manufacturer can start your gown.

Why have the gown delivered months ahead?

It is recommended to have a good 2-4 months safety margin to allow for delays, gowns that need to be sent back to manufacturer if not perfect, and to have a relaxing schedule for all fittings and accessorizing well before your wedding date.

What about delays and flaws?

Wedding gowns may be sewn in factories, but they are sewn by people. There are sometimes labor shortages, difficulties procuring materials, shipping problems, even weather can delay gown manufacturing. Flaws are also possible, not by intent, but by mistake. Remember, they are sewing many gowns, and sometimes imperfections slip by unnoticed. When you order from a reputable manufacturer through an established store, any flaws will be repaired, but it is wise to allow time for a gown to be sent back for fixing.

What if I don’t have that much time?

Some manufacturers have rush deliveries for an extra fee. And then there are always the dresses available off the rack. These are usually more casual and you cannot make custom changes, but they can also be more unique and one-of-a-kind. We have helped many a bride find a dress with just a week or two before her wedding.

Outdoor weddings are so popular here in Northern California, where there is a wealth of natural beauty!    This model is in the Sue Wong short feather wedding dress, so pretty and playful.  Sue Wong designed the original of this much copied style of short bridal dress.sue wong short wedding dress

Too Gorgeous not to share!   Kim sent me this photo of her and Jonathan's wedding day and it took my breath away.  How romantic!

 

 

4.Chiffon and Georgette #4 of a 4 part series about the most popular silk fabrics used in wedding gowns

These 2 fabrics are very similar and are usually what brides have in mind when they want a soft and flowy dress. Most often used in lightweight gowns with a bit of draping on the bodice or skirt, chiffon and georgette are the most popular fabrics for Empire style gowns. It is not a fabric that is often used in heavily constructed gowns with lots of boning and corsetry, which usually favor heavier weight fabrics. Both chiffon and georgette are somewhat sheer, meaning the lining layers of the dress will need to be more effective so that the dress is not too see-through. Both are matte, not shiny and the fabric is usually not as slippery as satin and charmeuse. So how do you tell them apart? Georgette fabric has a bit more texture, sometimes looking pebbly, crinkled or even having tiny pleats. This can add a nice detail to gowns with a simple pattern. Chiffon is lovely too and is more often used when the gown has draping, pleats and other sewn on details.

This lovely gown by Astoria is made of chiffon with lace appliques.

We have had many brides come in to Shadows looking for a dress for their wedding on a yacht. What a perfectly romantic and inspiring setting for ones marriage!  It is a treat for the Bride and Groom as well as guests to be on San Francisco Bay with the views of the City, Marin mountains and the Golden Gate Bridge!  There a few things to keep in mind when searching for a wedding dress for a nautical wedding.

 

1.  It will be much easier to navigate the narrow companionways and decks of a yacht if one’s dress has a slim skirt instead of a ballgown.

2.  It is recommended and sometimes required to wear non spiky heels, such as flats or wedges, with light colored soles, so that the decks are not damaged.

3.  It is often much cooler on the Bay than on land, so even mid summer, a lovely cover up is a good idea, as you might want to wear it all day!

 

Here’s a photo of a gorgeous Nicole Miller wedding dress.We have many of her styles, all slim and comfortable.

3.Tafetta and Organza. #3 of a 4 part series about the most popular silk fabrics used in wedding dresses. Taffeta is a crisp, smooth, not too shiny fabric made from silk or synthetic fibers. It is a "high end" fabric, suitable for use in wedding dresses, Mother of the bride and ball gowns.  Lighter in weight than satin, but still has enough body to hold shape.  The most deluxe taffetas are woven in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, but most silk taffeta is produced in India and Pakistan.  We have seen lovely 1950s vintage wedding dresses made from taffeta.   Shadows has many contemporary taffeta gowns by Casablanca and Sophia & Camilla in the ever popular ruched A-line and “Fit and Flare” styles.  Check out this one by Casablanca.

 

Organza is a thin, crisp, sheer fabric traditionally made from silk.  It is strong and durable with a firm hand and flat, smooth texture. Nowadays, though many organzas are woven with synthetic fibers such as polyester, the most luxurious organzas are still woven in silk. The open weave is naturally stiff without the addition of any "stiffeners", so it’s great for use in wedding dresses.  Silk organza is also lovely for Mother of the Bride.  It is suited to both the fanciest full ballgowns with appliquéd lace, or simple Tea length dresses with little or no embellishment.  Shadows has examples of both these styles:a Vintage 1956 Priscilla of Boston wedding gown, and Jasmine Couture style #T282.

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