Last summer Bethenny Frankel, multi-millionaire entrepreneur, reality television star, author, show host, and creator of low-calorie cocktails, expanded her Skinnygirl empire to include shapewear—because, why not? This spring, just in time for wedding season, Skinnygirl Smoothers ’n’ Shapers, a line of sexy yet functional camis, slips, and babydolls, has added a three-piece collection made just for brides.
The line includes an all-white Lovely Lace bustier ($56), shaping slip ($44), and boy shorts ($36), all designed with delicate aqua bows for a touch of “something blue.” The soft lace conceals the inner shaping mesh while offering some serious tummy smoothing for even the tightest mermaid dresses. You can buy the bridal lingerie as well as the rest of the shapewear line through the Kohl’s and Skinnygirl Smoothers ’n’ Shapers websites.
“When Randy calls, you say yes,” says Carin Rosenberg Levine, co-owner of Hitched bridal salon in Georgetown, on working with Randy Fenoli, star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress and Randy to the Rescue. For the uninitiated, Randy to the Rescue is a reality television show that follows the over-the-top bridal gown guru and his hair and makeup team as they travel across ten cities in America, bringing couture wedding dresses to brides. The show is in its second season of filming, and this time it was DC’s turn to get rescued by Randy.
As part of the show, Fenoli partnered with Hitched to set up a bridal pop-up shop at the Capitol Hilton last Sunday. Featuring 200 of Fenoli’s favorite dresses, as well as 50 of Hitched’s hand-selected picks, the event hosted 40 area brides on the hunt for their dream gowns. Hitched consultants helped brides-to-be narrow their options, while Fenoli popped in and out of the fitting rooms to advise each bride on the dress, accessories, hair, and makeup—part of what he calls his “head to hem” approach.
When word came that Alexandria resident Charae Carter would be appearing in an episode of Say Yes to the Dress, we shot her an e-mail to find out what it’s like to be filmed for the show—which, for the uninitiated, features brides-to-be on the hunt for their ideal wedding ensemble inside Kleinfeld, the iconic Manhattan wedding dress emporium. While Carter’s dress choice must remain under wraps until the episode airs, she did hint that she went looking for something right out of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” video (she loves the ’80s). In our estimation, that would mean a short, fluffy, flouncy, ruffled number. Tune in to TLC tonight, March 1, at 9 PM for the full story and the reveal, and read on for our conversation with Carter.
How did you decide to apply for the show?
My best friend Alicia absolutely loves the show. I’m a fan of it, as well. As soon as I got engaged, Alicia said, “You’re applying for this show. I’ve read the questions already and you would have some great answers; I think you’d be a perfect fit.” So I applied! A couple of days later I received an e-mail, which led to a phone call, and voilà!
The historic charm of Old Town Alexandria provides fantastic inspiration for planning a vintage-themed wedding. The King Street neighborhood is home to more than a dozen antiques stores, all stocked with hundreds of one-of-a-kind pieces. Whether you’re shopping for yourself, your bridesmaids, or the reception, exploring the memorabilia-filled rooms is only half the fun. The other half comes when you realize that you’ve given a once-forgotten treasure new life and purpose.
We spent an afternoon rummaging through Alexandria’s delightful antiques shops. Here’s what we found.
The Jewelry Mecca
BW Art, Antiques & Jewelry features rows of cabinets containing hundreds of pieces of jewelry. You’ll want to allocate at least an hour to go through the drawers, which are categorized by material, style, or color. A search for “something blue” yielded these gorgeous crystal clips ($32) circled with a gold feather. Rhinestone brooches pinned to a satin ribbon create a sash for under $50. (For a more elaborate design, play around with different sizes.) A simpler pin can be fastened in a chignon for an eye-catching hair accessory.
BW Art, Antiques & Jewelry. 108 N. Fayette St., Alexandria; 703-518-8464.
Time to (Cocktail) Party
The Hour specializes in vintage glassware for all your cocktail party needs—such as these gilded Art Deco glasses ($400 for six). Unless you plan on starting married life with ramen dinners, we suggest adding these shiny beauties to the Hour’s Wedding Wish List, then passing along the store’s business card to your wealthy aunts and uncles. Couldn’t hurt!
The Hour. 1015 King St., Alexandria; 703-224-4687.
Dress the Part
Anyone who has shopped for wedding dresses knows the gowns aren’t cheap—unless you shop at Pretty People Vintage. The boutique carries a small collection of vintage wedding dresses, circa 1950s and ’60s, all under $300 on the day we visited. A beaded midi dress ($125) works for an older bride who is looking for some glamour. And a romantic jacquard sheath ($165) with a pinhole center is ideal for a garden soiree. Since sizes and cuts aren’t standard, it’s a good idea to work with a good tailor once you buy the dress. Owner Annie Lee suggests buying one or two sizes up.
Pretty People Vintage. 108 N. Patrick St., Alexandria; 703-739-2522.
Jessica Biel, Anne Hathaway, and Reese Witherspoon are just a few of the celebrities who’ve recently eschewed traditional ivory wedding attire in favor of gowns with a decidedly rosier hue. From Claire Pettibone to Oscar de la Renta to Watters, designers are turning out gowns infused with color, be it boldly verging on magenta or muted, barely there blush. Whatever your pleasure, the dresses have become approachable from a design standpoint, as well as an acceptable way to show off a variation on bridal style.
For Washington, we think the trend is spot on—can’t you just see a March Tidal Basin photo op with cherry blossoms in bloom to match your gown? Actually, we can’t imagine a time when saying “I do” to a pink gown isn’t a perfectly pretty option. Here, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites from recent bridal collections.
We’re not sure where it started, but when we saw one of our fave fashion bloggers, Leandra Medine of Man Repeller, accessorize her Marchesa wedding gown with an oversize floral crown, we knew a trend would likely be sticking around for a while.
Country brides and city brides alike are turning to roses, baby’s breath, peonies, and ranunculuses to bedeck their manes and add a dash of “nature girl” to wedding style. The garlands are whimsical and uber-romantic, but they can also be glamorous and, with the right blooms, actually quite luxurious.
Pinterest is blooming with inspiration for these headpieces—and we went ahead and aggregated a few of our favorites.
Green and white:
Regular viewers of the bevy of wedding-related reality shows on TV these days may be familiar with the varying shades of gowns available—a veritable sea of muted hues. You’ve got diamond, ivory, candlelight, cream, ecru, off-white, and white-white.
But now, thanks to top bridal designers, blue, crimson, and oatmeal have joined the fray. Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Ramona Keveza, and Watters are just a handful of the designers who opted to send color down the runway at the Spring 2013 bridal market fashion shows. Wang’s collection featured her signature frothy layers of tulle and organza in varying shades of scarlet (the previous season, she designed in black and nude hues), while de la Renta presented a girlier take with periwinkle tulle covered in white eyelet. Watters’s Palm Springs gown, a confection of blush tulle, has been making the editorial circuit since last year, as the soft pink turned out to be a hit with brides.
We talked with local gown buyers about decidedly non-white wedding dresses and whether the Washington bride will follow this trend.
Carine Krawiec, owner of Georgetown designer bridal shop, Carine’s Bridal Atelier, says she’s glad to see color infusing standard bridal style.
With a rumored late summer/early fall wedding on the horizon, Jessica Biel slipped away to Paris over Easter weekend, reportedly in search of a high-profile designer to craft her custom gown. Biel, who tabloids say got engaged to long-time beau, Justin Timberlake, over the Christmas holidays but who has yet to officially confirm or deny the rumors, was spotted at Elie Saab's upscale Parisian showroom.
If your idea of the perfect makeup look involves the same bottle of foundation you've had since high school and some cherry-flavored Chapstick, you're probably dreading the thought of wedding-day makeup. But if you play it right, you can still look like yourself (and not a Lady Gaga impersonator) as you walk down the aisle--you do want your groom to recognize you, after all.
We asked makeup artist and esthetician Adrian Avila of Nectar Skin Bar in Georgetown to share his tips on how to prep for your wedding-day look.
Adrian suggests creating a Pinterest board with your favorite hair and makeup ideas. That way, you'll be able to provide your hair stylist and makeup artist with lots of inspiration.
"You should have at least three different photos of looks you like to choose from," says Avila. "And make sure your makeup will fit your venue--don't pick out dramatic looks if you're getting married on the beach."
As soon as you have your wedding gown and venue chosen, schedule a makeup consultation--as early as nine months before your wedding. Print out your inspiration photos (showing your makeup artist tiny shots on your iPhone isn't helpful), and be clear with your makeup artist about what you're looking for--especially if you feel uncomfortable wearing a ton of product.
Hitched owners Carin Rosenberg Levine and Julia Lichtman Kepniss, with designer Jorge Manuel and the "Eternal Flame" gown. Photograph by Ralph Alswang
The words “free” and “wedding gown” usually do not appear in the same sentence. That’s why we were so excited to hear about a recently launched contest from rising-star designer Jorge Manuel in conjunction with Hitched bridal salon in Georgetown. The winner of the “Wish Upon a Star” contest will win, yes, a custom-made wedding gown by Manuel valued at $4,730, plus a stay at the Fairmont Hotel in DC on Friday, May 18, and a party in her honor at Hitched on that day. Manuel, known for his architectural, gorgeously detailed gowns, has created a brand new style for this contest (see gown above).
All you have to do to enter is fill out the application here, include a photo of yourself and your fiancé, and write an essay of 600 words or less about your love story, your wedding plans, and why the contest gown would be a perfect fit for you. The deadline for entries is March 17, 2012. Six finalists will be selected, and the public will vote for a winner.
Sound amazing to you? Head over to Jorge Manuel’s website and start working on your entry.