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Bride and Bridesmaid Handbags from Freddy & Ma

Freddy & Ma handbag
Freddy & Ma handbag

Oh boy, are we excited to turn you on to Freddy & Ma. This brother and sister team makes finding the perfect handbag to go with your gown or bridesmaid dresses a breeze. What do we love the most? Why, being able to shop by color, of course!

Looking for green? Freddy & Ma have got limes, olives, forests, shamrocks, springs and emeralds. Got your girls done up in pink? Freddy & Ma offer fuchsias, roses, salmons, cerises and the palest blushes. Looking to contrast your maids’ orange or pink gowns with a hip yellow handbag? Look to Freddy & Ma for ambers, golds, mustards, lemons, goldenrods and chartreuses.

And what about patterns? Glad you asked! This uber-talented design duo has everything from florals large and small to paisleys to geometrics to mod motifs, fleurs de lis, peacock feathers, and on and on and on.

For the bride who can’t decide, Freddy & Ma has custom style options with features including chain wristlets, hot-pink grosgrain lining, leather trim and ID pockets.

You really can’t go wrong with these retro-chic, totally contemporary, perfect little clutches—for your wedding day, or any day.

Brickhouse Bridal’s Sweet Salute to Military Brides

Brides Across America at Brickhouse Bridal
Brides Across America at Brickhouse Bridal

We love our servicemen and women as much as the next American. So we were super excited to discover how Brickhouse Bridal in Spring saluted brides-to-be in the armed forces, as well as the fiancées of men in the military.

The shop knows that a gorgeous gown is the ticket to a perfect wedding day. They also know that the price tag on those gorgeous gowns can be a bit hefty for military brides, who are already giving so much to our country.

Military Brides at Brickhouse Bridal
Military Brides at Brickhouse Bridal

So last week, Brickhouse Bridal celebrated Veteran’s Day by joining 17 other bridal shops across the country to participate in Brides Across America. To show their appreciation for our military personnel, this fabulous Spring bridal salon gave away—yes, gave away!—designer wedding gowns to military brides who visited the store on Wednesday, November 11. Brides came to Brickhouse Bridal from all over Texas and even as far away as Minnesota, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

“It’s so wonderful to see these brides,” says Brickhouse Bridal’s Jill Ivers. “They give so much by serving themselves or supporting their fiancées who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.”

Military Bride at Brickhouse Bridal
Military Bride at Brickhouse Bridal

Before the big day, Brickhouse Bridal selected 100 gowns for military brides to choose from. The most in-demand ones were designed by Pronovias, Rosa Clara, and Henry Roth. The ten dresses that the shop ended up giving away that day ranged from $1,000 to $2,000.

This was the third time that Brickhouse Bridal participated in Brides Across America. They also participated on July 4 and last Veteran’s Day. Between the three events, they’ve given away more than 50 wedding gowns. Talk about giving back!

“The brides are so excited, happy and appreciative to be wedding gown shopping and nearly every single one cries!” says Ivers. With that kind of generosity, we don’t blame them!

Military Bride at Brickhouse Bridal
Military Bride at Brickhouse Bridal

Wedding Jewelry For Rent

Nobody loves her bling more than a Texas bride. But today’s tough economy has put a damper on many a gal’s diamond dreams. So it is with great excitement that we direct you to Adorn Brides. If you think you can’t afford red-carpet diamonds for your white-wedding day, Houston bride, Adorn is here to tell you, “Yes you can!”

Adorn’s selection of jewelry for rent includes pendant necklaces, chandelier and drop earrings, and bangle and cuff bracelets. These are extraordinary pieces with retail values that range from $5,000 to more than $100,000—and you can “borrow” them for a tiny fraction of the price. How’d you like to sport the spectacular Spencer Necklace—a brilliant lace-pattern drop necklace featuring clusters of round bezel diamonds that sells for almost $10,000? Well you can, for a few days at least, for a mere $360 (including insurance!).

Spencer Necklace at AdornBrides.com
Spencer Necklace at AdornBrides.com

Looking for a serious statement piece? You can’t do much better than the gorgeous Adkins Pendant—an Art-Deco-inspired diamond beauty. To buy the $7,300 Adkins necklace, you might have to give up a little something—like, say, your gown. But if you’ve got $190, you can rent it from Adorn, and wear it with, rather than instead of, your dream dress. Another $190 gets you the matching earrings.

Adkins Necklace at Adornbridal.com
Adkins Necklace at Adornbridal.com

Adorn items are shipped to arrive two days prior to your wedding, leaving lots of time to admire your borrowed bling. Can’t find what you like on the Adorn site? “If a customer doesn’t find exactly what they are looking for, we encourage them to call us. Often times we are able to access more jewelry styles and options then are listed on the Web site,” says Adorn vice president of marketing Laura Carrington. What a gem!

Mother-of-the-Bride Fashion

I Want My Mother's Dress To Match The Napkins
I Want My Mother's Dress To Match The Napkins

If you’ve got an impulse to outfit your mom for your wedding, Houston bride, Barbara Coolidge Tibbetts advises you to fight it. Hard. “Brides dress their bridesmaids. Mothers dress themselves,” Tibbetts says—and, as co-owner of Houston’s T. Carolyn Fashions and author of “I Want My Mother’s Dress to Match the Napkins: Funny Stories and Serious Advice for Looking Your Best at Your Child’s Wedding,” she ought to know.

T. Carolyn
T. Carolyn

If your mother, or your groom’s, has already started searching for the perfect MOB/MOG dress, she’s probably aware of T. Carolyn, which is among the nation’s tiny handful of boutiques dedicated to dressing wedding moms. In fact, proud mamas travel to T. Carolyn from all over Texas, the United States, even other parts of the globe, to get that picture-perfect dress. If your mom doesn’t know about the shop, she’ll thank you for pointing her in the right direction. And if you really, really want to help, instead of insisting on that seafoam pantsuit or mauve-ish mumu, just buy her the book (available at the store, too). She’ll love it (unlike the mumu).

T. Carolyn
T. Carolyn

In the meanwhile, here are some words of wedding-dressing wisdom from Tibbetts herself:
“The three most important things in a dress are color, color and color. Color can transform a woman from being ordinary to being beautiful. This is your second most photographed day after your own wedding. If you don’t wear your color, you’re not going to be happy with the pictures.”

“One thing I have a real beef with is women executives who come in here and turn into bowls of jelly in the presence of the bride. When shopping for a dress, mothers of the bride should first go into the store themselves and see what the options are. After you’ve done that and narrowed your choices, take your husband or the bride. It’s important not to get confused by too many opinions.”

“Dresses run anywhere from $200 to $2,000, and we sell lots in the high range and lots in the low range. To find the right dress, and something within your budget, start shopping early—six months in advance. That gives us time to order without a rush charge, and with plenty of time for alterations.”

“The mother-of-the-bride and mother-of-the-groom should coordinate with each other—if one goes long, the other should go long. But they should each wear their own color, although it’s not a sin to wear the same color if they both look best in that color.”

Bridesmaid Gift Idea: Mar Y Sol Clutch

Mar Y Sol Heart Clutch
Mar Y Sol Heart Clutch

We love our bridesmaids. We love doing good for the world. We LOVE Mar Y Sol’s simply, sustainably gorgeous little clutches (and so do the likes of Daily Candy, Glamour and Lucky, by the by).

We came across Mar Y Sol while dropping in on brides’ chats about which bridesmaids’ gifts were the biggest hits with their girls. Sure, we heard about all the usual stuff—pashminas, spa mani-pedis, earrings, etc. But these raved-about clutches really stood out, and here’s why: Not only are they beautifully designed and incredibly chic, but they are fair-trade bought and handmade in Kenya and Madagascar by local women artists using a combination of traditional weaving and contemporary techniques. Whenever a bride-to-be (or anyone for that matter) buys a Mar Y Sol bag, that purchase contributes to the artist’s economic independence and generates funding for community projects—what a beautiful way to celebrate the spirit of sisterhood with your ’maids, Houston bride.

We’re especially fond of the fresh, elegant Gigi collection, which includes one design with a butterfly closure, another with a contemporary take on the sunflower and still another accented with a carved wood heart to show your bridesmaids how much you love ’em.

Mar Y Sol Garden Clutch
Mar Y Sol Garden Clutch

If you’re still a stickler for the traditional mani/pedi gift, go ahead and pop a gift certificate for a local spa inside one of these beautiful, eco-friendly bags. We guarantee your ’maid will instantly be among the most fashionable girls in town!

Mar Y Sol Sunflower Clutch
Mar Y Sol Sunflower Clutch