Antonio Riva’s 2016 collection has all the ingredients for bridal gown perfection — gorgeous silhouettes evocative of flowers in bloom, flounces dipped in colors like soft petals, and a cool, modern aesthetic that is every contemporary bride’s dream.
From the clean lines of the super chic black and white striped “Alba” to “Luna”, a feminine ball gown with delicate lace bodice, the 2016 Antonio Riva bridal collection is stunning through and through.
Hiring a wedding planner is a big investment, but it's also a total sanity-saver. You might start off the wedding planning process excited about buying a dress or going to your cake tasting, but the nitty-gritty details that make up the less-fun parts of planning a wedding can really bog you down. Having an amazing planner by your side to help with mundane tasks such as checking if your caterer is available or making sure you rent the correct number of wine glasses will transform a good wedding into a great one (and make the months leading up to the big day a little more enjoyable). While the basics of a planner's job are pretty well-known, how do you make sure you're getting a good return on your investment? We talked to Anne Book, founder of D.C.-based Anne Book Event Design, about how brides can really get the most out of their wedding planners.
Know their strengths. Before you even hire a planner, find out a little more about them and their background. Were they the events manager at a major venue, the head of catering at a hotel, or are they a long-time planner with 15 years of experience and vendor contacts? "They might be a wiz at styling tables after years with a rental company, or know everything there is to know about menus because they used to work for a caterer," says Book. "Once you figure out their strengths and passions, you'll have a better sense of ways they'll be able to help with your wedding that might not be evident on paper." Also, think about how these strengths play with your own. If you're an organizational genius without an artistic bone in your body, a planner with a serious creative streak will be perfect for you, whereas if you've got all the design details under control but need help keeping it all straight, a planner with a background in management could be your best bet.
Go beyond the basics. Everyone has their own version of a wedding timeline and budget, but that doesn't mean it will fit your wedding from the get-go. "Ask your planner to customize the timeline to fit how much time you have and to create a monthly macro to-do list that's specific to your wedding," Book explains. The same goes for budget. Ask your planner to help you customize the budget to fit your priorities, whether that means cutting back on flowers to put more toward your dream band — or squeezing in the rentals you've had your eye on.
Trust their insight — and their network. Wedding planners are more than happy to offer vendor recommendations, but did you know they can also do a little digging if you've got your eye on someone they've never worked with before? "Let us use our phone full of contacts to do some due diligence," says Book. There's no better way to find out if an up-and-coming photographer is an amazing find or difficult and disorganized than directly from someone who has worked with them before. When it comes to the vendors that made the cut (and are on your planner's recommendation list), give them some serious consideration. It's a combination of amazing work, easy personalities, great value, and overall positive experiences that give a vendor a wedding planner's gold star.
Let them be creative. Most planners are in the wedding business because they love it — and because planning events gets their juices flowing. Sure, their job is to help execute your vision, but you might be pleasantly surprised (or totally blown away!) by the new ideas they'll come up with if you give them some flexibility. "It makes me so happy when a bride wants to brainstorm new ideas to take her wedding to the next level," says Book. "More than just pulling inspiration images together in a design meeting, it gives us a chance to really elevate the event."
Make the extra investment. You might be tempted to go with a slightly less expensive option so that you can keep some extra money in your budget, but the planner whose rate is $2,000 more may actually save you money in the long run. "Planners with higher fees usually have fewer clients (which means more time to devote to your wedding) and more experience (which means they know what's worth it and what can be nixed from your budget). They'll help you spend smarter, and you'll get so much more out of the process," Book explains. "It's like the 10% - 90% rule. Ten percent of your efforts will impact 90 percent of your gain."
How do you know when "making the most of your planner" becomes "taking advantage"? Here are a few things Book advises clients not to do.
Don't ask for a consultation before you've signed a contract. While a planner will give you a peek into their services during your initial conversation (like letting you know if they're familiar with your dream venue or providing insight into budgets they can work with), don't ask a planner to start giving you recommendations before you've officially hired them. "That first interview isn't the time to ask if they can recommend a photographer or share their catering contacts," Book says. You wouldn't want to give away your expertise for free, either!
Don't ask for a discount. The market is competitive, so most vendors are already giving you their best pricing in the hopes of securing you as a client. "Trust them and look for the value of the vendors you're hiring, instead of the savings," says Book. "And don't ask your planner to ask your vendors for a discount, either. We work with these vendors because we know their value, work ethic, and consistency, and it's frustrating when it seems that the value is lost on the client."
Don't forget that they're business professionals. Aside from peak wedding season, planners usually keep normal business hours, so don't expect them to answer your texts at 10pm on a Tuesday. Better yet, swap the texts for emails instead. "Texts get lost or missed, are easy to misconstrue, and are too casual for the planning process," says Book. "We want to keep organized files and communication records, and there's more space to explain a question or idea in an email." If you're going to call your planner, schedule a time instead of just picking up the phone. "If we have you on our schedule, we can make sure to be in the office with access to any files we might need — which means the call will be much more productive," Book adds.
Finally, know when wedding season is! If it's the end of June and your planner is totally booked for the next 6 weeks, avoid calling or texting over the weekends. Chances are he or she is helping another bride down the aisle and will be giving that bride her full attention — the same full attention you'll want on your own wedding day.
And though you may know them best as the pastel varieties blooming in your garden or available at your local grocery store, there are hundreds of unique varieties of tulips. From standard tulips like the Big Smile and Menton varieties, which can be found in shades of white through deep reds and purples, to exciting Parrot Tulips, which are known for the ruffled tips of their petals, you can find them in just about any color and style that best suits your wedding style.
Some other varieties we love? Double Bloom Tulips look remarkably like a peony while Fringed Tulips can add serious texture to your mixed arrangement. And the Angelique variety features double, soft-pink petals and drape gracefully out of a bouquet. Plus, there are the variegated varieties of each, with bi-color petals that look fresh in any bundle of blooms.
Classic brides will love all-white bouquets with peonies, clematis, and tulips, while a more bohemian bride will lean towards an arrangement with these seasonal blossoms in shades of purple and red, paired with other flowers.
Are you ready to add a serious dose of spring to your big day? Then click through to see 20 bouquets with tulips we love!
If your dream wedding has you channeling the ultimate princess-at-the-ball moment followed by an all-night dance party, may we suggest embracing the twofer trend.
Dresses with removable skirts seduced the Fall 2016 runways while providing the best of both worlds for your big day. These voluminous, frothy gowns easily transition to reception-ready wonders, ensuring that you'llmake the wardrobe switch without missing out on a second of the action. And, don't fret about the two-in-one functionality. Not a shred of elegance is sacrificed for the sake of convenience in the latest bridal designs that are nothing short of magical.
Be a quick-change artist with these examples of convertible confections that all show their transformative quality— and get ready for takeoff!
Indulge in flights of fancy with the Azalea gown (Above) and white ostrich feather overskirt by Monique Lhuillier that exudes elaborate opulence. The jaw-dropping creation explores the allure of a nude and white color palette manifested in Chantilly lace and re-embroidered applique while the racer illusion neckline provides a sensual, decorative edge.
Photo: Courtesy of Amsale
You've never seen this side of taffeta before. Amsale's Linden gown features a slim, strapless silhouette manifested in romantic, corded lace all topped off with that wow-worthy taffeta overskirt. Once the silk ribbon sash is untied and the majestic skirt removed, the streamlined gown remains a study in sophisticated charm.
Amsale also offers another variation on the trend in the Darcy crystal-white dress that is positively pristine. The silken fit-to-flare gown's simple V-neckline and spaghetti straps is both delicate and feminine while the extra dose of enchantment arrives in the detachable tulle skirt with a ribbon sash.
Photo: Courtesy of Monique Lhuillier
Both dreamy and demure, Monique Lhuillier's Fall 2016 Langham gown will have you floating down the aisle in a flurry of tulle and shine. A perfect way to sidestep the traditional white color palette, the soft rose-gold sheath gown shimmers with all-over embellishment. Once the overskirt is removed, the sculpted bodice and illusion sleeves duly impress with an aura of vintage-inspired glamour.
Photo: Courtesy of Jim Hjelm
Jim Hjelm's rose-sequined and embroidered design gives us another interpretation of the trend. What lies beneath the ethereal, removable tulle skirt and its sweeping train is a charismatic little cocktail number that will have you dancing the night away in glittering style.