Wedding Gown of the Day

Fall '09
Jenny Lee Bridal

Wordless Wednesday: Kiss Me, Honey!

courtesy of Morningstar Photography

What Exactly Does A "Day Of" Coordinator Do?

- by Lisa
Great question! It’s the job of a day-of coordinator, to keep everything organized and running smoothly on the day of your wedding. Your coordinator is the point of contact for your vendors, hotel concierge and guests if questions/problems arrive on the day of the wedding. While your coordinator is responsible for the rehearsal and wedding day, he/she must do a lot of pre-work (prior to your big day) to be successful at her/his job.

I encourage couples considering a professional coordinator, to contact 2 or 3 as early as possible. The advantage - you can take advantage of all of services, knowledge and expertise early in the planning process. After all, the better the coordinator knows your wedding, the better they can advocate for you on your wedding day. Your coordinator will be your point of contact for logistical, procedural, and etiquette questions. Some might offer you vendor referrals within their “day of package”, allowing you access to the best vendors in the area. Your coordinator will keep you on target with what needs to be done as your big day approaches. They might give you customized timelines, or track your progress so that all tasks are being completed on time and in the correct order. Of course, if you hit any bumps along your journey, whether large or small, your coordinator can be your partner in helping you to smooth things out – making the process a lot less stressful for you.

About a month prior to your big day, your coordinator will begin working with you and your vendors to create a detailed and customized timeline. When done, this timeline will become the “bible” for your day – telling your vendors, your coordinator, and your wedding party “what happens when”. It’s very important to keep all of your vendors on the same page. Typically, this document is distributed 1-2 weeks prior to your wedding to wedding party members and vendors. The week prior to your wedding, your coordinator will complete all last minute confirmations with your vendors. It is his/her job not only to ensure that all of your vendors have maps, transportation itineraries, and directions; but also to make sure all details are attended to, and everyone knows what is to happen on your wedding day.

Most “day of “packages include rehearsal coordination – in which the coordinator will work with your officiant to make your rehearsal run smoothly and quickly – so that you can enjoy your guests/family members and rehearsal dinner with little stress worry. On your wedding day, he/she will be there to help set up and make sure everything is per your requests. Your coordinator is there to answer questions, field emergencies and make sure everything runs as you want it to run. Your coordinator will line-up your wedding party, cue musicians, make sure pictures run smoothly, manage the change-over (or cocktail hour) make sure your reception runs smoothly (and all vendors are present for the big moments), and will help clean up and make sure your important wedding materials and memories (gifts, guest book, pictures) get back to you safely.

Just like anything else, every coordinator is different. Some will not meet with you more than 6 months (or less) prior to your wedding day (all the time or during specific “peak” months) and some limit hours on the rehearsal/wedding day. Other coordinators will allow you to contact them anytime, and some will give you unlimited hours on your rehearsal and wedding day. Generally, coordinators range from $500.00-$2,500.00 – which is based on level of service, experience, training, and demographics. It’s important that you find someone who will fit your needs, personality, and budget.

Helping Out Your Girls - And Yourself!

The bridal party is often made up of the bride's relatives and closest friends. If you're like most brides-to-be, you want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to be part of your wedding. Many women buy jewelry for their attendants, which is a GREAT idea since they have to have jewelry to go with their dresses. Now we're hearing about one more way you can show that you're the hostess with the mostess.
It turns out David's Bridal is having a monthly drawing to win a wedding dress OR 5 dresses for members of the bridal party. How awesome is that?

When I think back to the weddings I've been in, it seems nailing down bridesmaid dresses can be a difficult task. I'm sure those brides would have loved to have been able to get it all done at one time. This would also be a great time to win this promotion since David's has just rolled out a series of posh bridesmaid dresses in gorgeous colors.

Fall Wedding Table

Fall wedding table inspiration from Minoo Hersini at Au Ciel Design Studio

Why Water is Your Friend

There is only one thing I can say I do correctly 99% of the time, even when I'm going through an "off" period: I start each day off with at least one tall glass of water. It's an extremely easy way to get things started on the right foot. As you've probably heard a million times, water makes up roughly 60 percent of your body weight. It carries nutrients to your cells and flushes toxins out of your organs. That means that when you allow yourself to get dehydrated your body slows down because it doesn't have what it needs to perform its normal functions. Think back to the times when you felt tired in the last week? How much water did you drink on those days? As any doctor will tell you, it's totally possible that you were dehydrated.

Now what does any of this have to do with weight loss? Well, the Mayo Clinic suggests drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. But what kinds of fluid are you drinking? If you can replace the alcohol, soda, and other high-calorie drinks you drink with water, you can make a HUGE difference in the number of calories you consume. High-calorie drinks are partly to blame for packing pounds onto our frame in the first place and Americans regularly drink beverages that rival their meals in calorie-count. Raise your fluid intake, make most of that "fluid" water and you'll find yourself with a nice "calorie deficit". Not only that but you run run out of energy prematurely, which means you'll have enough pluck left for that almost-daily workout. If you don't like the taste of plain water, feel free to add a twist of lemon, lime, cucumber or fruit juice. This is one of those simple things that can easily because part of a lifestyle change, which is what we're really aiming for!

This is just one of the topics several of the African-American Brides are delving into as part of State Farm's 50 Million Pound Challenge. For more information, click below.

Wedding Shoe Inspiration

Our bridal shoe inspiration of the day comes from designer Badgley Mischka.

Couture Pump with Tulle
$215 at
Notice we said, "inspiration." *wink*

Personalized Wedding Items on SALE

Whoops! We almost let the weekend catch us slipping. We promised to keep you up-to-date on the truly nice sales going on this season, so here's a tidbit from the brides-to-be who love personalized accessories. Our old friends at The Knot are having a fab sale on monogrammed goodies for your reception like napkins, matchbooks, favors and lots of other things. When you get a chance, it might be worth your while to see what's On Sale at The Knot Wedding Shop.

Solo Dieting in a Full House

Making a strong lifestyle change can always pose a challenge. But I've found that it's ten times more difficult when you're living with other people who aren't on the same page. Nothing is harder than staying on a healthy plan when there are cookies and chips floating around the house. Beyond that, making separate meals for dinnertime is a hassle that has bombed even the best intentions- especially when you're the one who normally does the cooking. But there IS a way to at least manage mealtimes so that every dinner isn't an assault on your diet. What has been working fairly well for me recently is making 3 or 4 dishes. For example, our pizza night normally falls on a Friday.

We either order a pizza or cook our own, but I prepare a salad and a fruit cocktail to go with it. So, instead of getting caught up and eating way too much pizza, I have my salad and maybe one slice of veggie pizza, then finish it off with a serving of fruit. It's just one example, but this is what I do when the main meal (for everyone else) isn't the most diet-friendly. It's super easy because I'm only making the easiest dishes that require only a little chopping or tossing. Hope this helps those of you who are following our progress in State Farm's 50 Million Pound challenge.

Jennifer Hudson is a Mommy

Award-winning singer Jennifer Hudson is a now new mother. This week she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and named the child David Otunga, Jr. The baby's father is J-Hud's fiance, actor David Otunga (of MTV's "I Love New York"). The baby boy and the happy couple are doing well.

Jennifer Hudson and Usher last month at Michael Jackson's Memorial Service

Beauty Tips For Brides-To-Be

by guest blogger,
Rosaline Lowe of Rosaline’s Spa and SkinCare

Most women dream of the day they’ll walk down the aisle with the love of their life. The engagement period tends to be a process of planning for the wedding logistics, but it’s also a ramping-up of the bride’s health and beauty regimen. Here are some important steps to follow to get you to the finishing line looking clear and radiant from the outside in.

1. Look at yourself from the inside out.
It’s a good idea to look at your body type. Most brides tend to diet before their wedding day. If you’re planning to lose a few pounds to fit comfortably into your dream dress, and start a regular exercise routine at a health club, you’ll be on your way to better circulation which will thus help your skin from the inside out. In terms of your body physiology, when you work out, you sweat – thereby eliminating lymphatic fluid and toxins which are your body’s way of naturally cleansing your skin. Not only will you look better, you will feel better from your body’s natural boost of endorphins, the “feel good” hormone!

2. Look at the condition of your skin from head to toe.
Grooming of the hair is very important to African American women, so taking care of the hair is a must. Some African American hair can have a tendency to be dry, so the scalp and hair need moisture on a daily basis. If you are wearing braids or a weave, make sure that the scalp is thoroughly conditioned and visit your hairdresser on a regular basis to keep the hair healthy.

3. What are you putting into your body?
As they say, you are what you eat! The skin reflects what you are eating and drinking. Studies have shown that eating essential fatty acid found in foods such as salmon, tuna, nuts and seeds creates a huge benefit, improving the condition of hair and skin. General good health can be maximized by eating fresh fruits, vegetables and legumes, and drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. Some people do have normal, problem-free skin, but others are plagued with skin problems. A large percentage of African-American individuals experience uneven pigmentation or dark spots caused when the skin encounters an abrasion with a pimple, pustule, burn or cut in which during the subsequent healing process in which the skin hyper-pigments due to an abundance of melanin in the skin.
Do not indulge in junk food, but don’t deprive yourself either. A small treat, keeping in mind portion control, is the key.

4. Caffeine and you
Drink caffeine only in moderation, and stick to one cup per morning. Even half decaf and half regular is a bonus! Some studies show caffeine dilates the blood vessels, which can make for a rosy glow – but limit your intake because in some, it can cause redness as well.

5. Limit alcohol consumption.
Wedding planning is full of special events along the way often involving alcohol and revelry. Keep in mind that alcohol can can cause dehydration on the skin and cause a wrinkled, crepey appearance. Eat, drink and be merry but in moderation!

6. Get Your Groove On
Aim to exercise three times a week in order to maintain your desired weight and tone the muscles. Exercise can include weights, treadmill, yoga or Pilates – even walking – anything you can do to keep the blood flowing and your lymphatic system moving.

7. Everything Zen
Though it is challenging dealing with different personalities that go into planning your nuptials, try to practice mindfulness. Practice taking long, cleansing breaths which help to release toxins and relax the body in mind, creating an important synergy which will help you enjoy the moment and deal with stresses that may come your way.

8. Cleanse and hydrate
Clean the skin morning and night using a cleanser formulated for your skin type; your skin care provider can help you determine what’s best. Always remove the day’s makeup so your pores can breathe at night – this will help as you lead up to your important wedding celebrations: engagement pictures, showers, bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner and wedding day! Use a non-alcohol toner for day or sensitive skin or switch to an astringent for normal/combination skin.
When using cleanser, NEVER use the palm of your hands to remove residue when rinsing. Always use lukewarm soft face cloth or soft sea sponges to remove cleanser along with plenty of cool water to remove debris. Exfoliate once or twice on entire face and body by using a Japanese loofah or a synthetic hand mitt. Use a facial scrub for the face and another for the body. DO NOT USE THE SAME EXFOLIANT ON THE FACE AND THE BODY as the one for the skin should be softer with smaller exfoliants.

9. Go professional
It’s ideal to seek the help of a professional esthetician every 4-6 weeks for regular facials to get your skin in top condition for your day. Skin treatment can vary depending on the condition of your skin and can be chosen in concert with your skin care provider. If the skin is problematic with uneven skin tone, lactic/glycolic or microdermabrasion peels are valuable treatments for the skin because they help to smooth the texture of the skin while improving the appearance of wrinkles and uneven skin tone while removing excess dead cells on the skin. Skins that are problem-free can have regular facials that include enzymes. *Facial masks are a MUST once a week. If the skin is oily, choose a mask that is clay base. If the skin is dry or normal a cream or gel mask should be use. This downtime is not only good for your skin, it’s helpful for your mind. Light a candle and relax, or flip through your wedding planner to cross off your to-do’s!
If your wallet prohibits the ability to seek professional treatments, do not despair; even a good drug store provider can counsel you on the best products for skin. Places like CVS are key for people watching their pennies.

10. Shun the Sun
While it’s tempting to want to grab some rays, always use a sunscreen! Seek one with preferably an SPF of 15 or higher. If you’re of darker skin tone, then 15-20 is fine. If you are of lighter skin tone try to use a SPF 30 or higher.

11. Moisturizer is your friend
Apply moisturizer nightly for extra moisture; your skin literally repairs itself as you sleep and this helps with the process. Be sure to use lightening creams or acids only once per day – the sun is not a good match for these, so use them at night only. Moisturize in the morning also with a non-greasy one that won’t clog your pores and helps set your make-up.

12. Your Perfect Face
If you are planning to hire a make-up artist, always have a complete make-up test-run to make sure the color looks right on you skin tone. It’s difficult to find foundations and powder that blend on dark skins, so make sure that the make-up artist uses the right shade. Remember to speak up if you don’t feel comfortable-- it’s your big day!

Remember: Your wedding lasts for one day, but good skin can last you a lifetime if you follow these easy tips. It’s certainly not easy to plan a wedding with all the stress and nirvana that goes with the planning to maintain a healthy lifestyle as well. It’s hard but worth it when you see your pictures that showcase your hard work paid off! Stick these on a bulletin board or tack onto your fridge to help you stick with these suggestions. Follow the above guidelines, and your day will be a happy and relaxed one. You’ll start your new lives together glowing and healthy!

Rosaline Lowe has been in the business for 23 years and is somewhat of an institution in the Boston area, providing skincare advice to celebs and loyal clientele from near and far who have heard about her special touch. A native of Grenada, she has clients ranging in age and ethnicity, and has developed a cult following by those who swear by her products and treatments. Find her on Facebook and on Twitter

Bridal Gown of the Day: Jorge Corella

2010 Jorge Corella Bridal Collection
Photo by Wander Aguiar

Are You Gaining Weight & Stressed Out?

We're continuing to follow healthy eating habits as part of State Farm's 50 Million Pound Challenge. But a pitfall I went through just a few days ago served as a really good reminder about something I'd forgotten. So today's let's talk about the hidden-enemy that often affects busy women, including brides-to-be: stress induced weight gain. This is a biggie for me. While we usually concentrate on numbers and calculations when focusing on weight loss, I'm also learning that mental health has a direct affect on physical health. Earlier this week, I'd made a decision to buckle down and get some outstanding tasks done. But I ended up getting stressed and before long, I had strayed away from the program. So what happened here?

Yes, stress can sabotage your health program. Stress often triggers women to overeat- and to eat the wrong things. Think about the times you've gobbled up some greasy or crunchy snacks after a trying day. In fact, USA Today recently published a study of more than 1,000 Americans showing that both men and women pack on pounds because of the work-related stress, financial difficulties and family-related issues.

So what's the solution? Take care of yourself, get your rest, and as much as possible avoid situations that you know will stress you out. If you can't escape the stress, be prepared by stashing healthy foods and snacks nearby. When time is short, it's always easier to grab whatever is closest. Hang in there. Also, if you're motivated to join the challenge with us, click below.

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