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Web Find: European Wedding Ideas at Classic Bride

Photo Courtesy of Classic Bride
Photo Courtesy of Classic Bride

Something about the long, warm, lazy days of summer always gets us thinking about vacation. And when we think about vacation, naturally we think about EUROPE. And when we think about Europe, we tend to get more than a little inspired about weddings with effortlessly chic continental flair (you see where this is going, right?). And when we get inspired—we just have to share our inspiration with you, dear Houston bride.

Our transatlantic daydreaming recently led us to a fabulous blogosphere find. Classic Bride, according to its own self-description, “strives to celebrate a balance between the traditions of yesterday and the modern trends of today.” Amen to that.

In striking this balance, Classic Bride has put together some simply delightful ideas for weddings with a sophisticated, yet completely down-to-Earth, European (mostly French) “je ne sais quoi.” From Paris to Provence (to England, a little bit), from fashion to favors, it’s all here. Peruse, muse, fantasize—then share your thoughts (and a link to this lovely blog) with your Houston coordinator, floral designer, stationer, caterer and/or bridal boutique. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have the European wedding of your dreams right here at home.

Bridal Makeup Shines

Photo: Larry Fagala
Photo: Larry Fagala

A little shimmer, a little sparkle, a little shine. It’s the most alluring look in bridal makeup, fresh off the runway and making its way down the aisle.

O.K., so when we say shine, we’re not talking greasy foreheads or oily noses, dear Houston bride. Heaven forbid! We’re talking subtle metallics and shimmering pastels that create the illusion of ethereal loveliness.

Our top picks in this hot trend?

Shimmering Eyes: Whether you go for subtly smoky or youthful and sweet, metallic eye shadow is all the rage. We especially love the current crop of purples, from lilac to amethyst, although we’re also fans of pewter and gold. Add drama to soft shimmer with long, dark, luscious lashes (a few, well-placed artificial ones work wonders) and strong, beautifully shaped brows.

Sweet Cheeks: Sheer shades of peach or pink are the perfect complement to shimmering lids. Cheeks should look flushed and fresh, not sculpted or severe. Depending on your overall makeup design, you might try a mineral bronzer for a subtly sun-kissed look.

Notice-me Nails: Sure, the classic French manicure never goes out of wedding style. But for something a little more of-the-moment, we love short, sweet nails in soft, sheer metallics. Our favorites? Lilac, snowflake and understated silver.

Pretty Lips: While sparkle dominates the eyes and nails, for the lips the look is understated with just a hint of shine. Pinks are popping up in just about every lip collection, and are beautiful on brides, but make sure to avoid too-bright hues, which can overwhelm your face and look dated in wedding photos.

Style Alert: Birdcage Veils

Photo: Larry Fagala
Photo: Larry Fagala

Soft, sensual, romantic. Today’s most coveted bridal hairstyles are leaning toward a more natural look, with accents of pearl, crystal, flowers or feathers for added elegance. Some of the most flattering styles include half-up-half-down, the loose French braid, the over-the-shoulder side ponytail and flowing waves lifted gently from the face with jeweled barrettes. Of course natural doesn’t mean unkempt. You’ll want your bridal hairstylist to assure your soft ‘do stays done through the day and night by applying the right flexible-hold product and securing hair accessories well.

For those of you with shorter locks, or a passion for vintage glamour, you’ll be pleased to know that ANOTHER hot trend taking hold of brides’ heads across the country is the retro-chic birdcage veil.

The birdcage veil is a short, circular veil that is typically attached to the hair with a comb or with pins. Most commonly, a birdcage veil is worn with a blusher—a section of veil that usually covers the bride’s face almost to her chin during the processional, and is pulled back to reveal the bride’s face for the ceremony.

Birdcage veils are typically made from Russian or French netting, which has an open pattern that covers but does not really conceal the bride’s face. Often adorned with feathers or silk flowers, birdcage veils also can be accented with vintage brooches or other heirloom jewelry (something old, something borrowed, etc.).

These sweet, subtle veils evoke Old Hollywood glamour, but are perfectly suited to modern hairstyles from textured bobs to gamine cuts to low, blunt ponytails. They look lovely over nape-bound updos, too.

“Grey’s Anatomy” star Katherine Heigl wore one over beautifully back-swept bangs for her wedding to musician Josh Kelley. Drew Barrymore sported a snazzy one over darling finger-waves at the “Grey Gardens” premiere (O.K., technically not an actual wedding, but brides aplenty took notice!). Reese Witherspoon’s character beamed from behind one during the wedding scene in “Sweet Home Alabama.” And you can get ’caged, too, Houston bride. For ideas, check out birdcage veil specialist  Emma’s Bridal Boutique or click on our bridal gown & accessory vendor listings and start the search for your perfect veil.

Photo courtesy Emma’s Bridal Boutique
Photo courtesy Emma’s Bridal Boutique

Five Essential Tips for Including Kids in Your Wedding

Editorial.Fall-06.0058.Nhan
Photo: Nhan Nguyen Photography

If you’ve always envisioned your wedding as a strictly adult affair, this probably isn’t a blog post you need to bother with. BUT, if like many brides, you are considering including one, two or a bunch of children at your wedding, you’ll want to read on.

Whether or not to have children at your wedding is almost always a difficult decision fraught with potential offenses and possible (but certainly avoidable) catastrophes. If you happen to either have children in your family with whom you are very close, or have children of your own, then there’s a good chance you’ll want to include these little ones on your guest list.

Of course, it helps hugely if your wedding is scheduled to take place fairly early in the day (tantrums are much more likely to occur late, when children are kept up past regular bedtimes).

And, naturally, you’re more likely to be comfortable with kids at your wedding if you welcome the whimsical spontaneity that children often bring, and are OK with some things not going exactly as you had planned (perhaps your little nephew simply refuses to wear anything but his beloved green dinosaur T-shirt, or your best friend’s young daughter decides to belt out the ABC song during your ceremony!).

If you do decide to have wee ones at your wedding, here are five top tips for maximizing their (and your) enjoyment, and minimizing meltdowns.

1. Keep Them Occupied: Nothing breeds crankiness and chaos more than boredom. If you plan to have children at your wedding, make sure you have plenty for them to do. This may mean hiring a professional children’s entertainer to tell stories, paint faces, etc., or a childcare provider (or two) to take the kids on a “discovery stroll” or lead a scavenger hunt. If your venue has space, you may want to set up a separate “screening room” where you can play kids’ TV programs or movies on DVD.

2. Feed Them: Kids tend to be finicky eaters, and they tend to behave better when well fed. Keep their bellies full and their attention occupied by providing kid-friendly meal items served at low, easy-to-reach tables. Good choices include finger foods like chicken strips, mini burgers, cheese pizza, veggies and dip, and fresh fruit, along with juice boxes or milk boxes to drink. Try to avoid serving them sweet treats, which inevitably lead to sugar-fueled hyperactivity and the inevitable post-mania crash.

3. Give Them a Role: If possible, include invited children in your ceremony by giving them tasks. Sure, there’s usually only one ring-bearer or flower girl, but who says you can’t have three darling little girls holding tiny nosegays beside your bridesmaids, or two handsome boys handing out programs to entering guests?

4. Let Parents Prep in Peace: Try to provide childcare during the hours prior to your wedding to allow guests, especially members of your wedding party, to get themselves ready. This is especially feasible if you are getting married at a hotel or club where a room can be set aside for kids to eat, nap or play while parents get gussied up elsewhere on site.

5. Don’t Force the Issue: A wedding can be an intimidating environment for a small child. Don’t try to force a resistant child to leave his parents’ side, or to participate in activities if he doesn’t seem inclined. Most children need a little time to warm up to the situation and will naturally gravitate toward other kids who are having fun when he is comfortable and feels safe and ready.

What Lies Beneath: Best Bets in Bridal Shapewear

No matter what shape or size you are, Houston bride, chances are you could probably use a little extra help fitting perfectly into your perfect wedding gown. That’s where wedding shapewear comes in. A good foundation garment is a bride’s best friend—essential for firming, flattening and enhancing your figure and showing off your dress at its very best.

Choosing bridal shapewear can be a tricky task. You want a piece that works body-contouring magic, but you also want to wear an undergarment that’s worthy of your wedding day. Here’s a bit of advice: When it comes to bridal shapewear, go for invisibility and comfort. You can always slip into something slinky, lacy and wedding-night sexy after the guests go home. What’s most important on your wedding day is that you feel confident, comfortable and gorgeous in your gown. After all, there’s nothing worse than having to hoist a bodice or suck in a belly bulge as you pledge your eternal love to your betrothed.

Of course, prioritizing function over femme-fatale fashion doesn’t mean resigning yourself to a grandma-style girdle. Here, instead, are two of our top bridal shapewear picks:

A Little Assistance, Please

Ah, Spanx, what did we ever do before you? No, these are not the most glamorous undergarments you’ll ever encounter, but for sleek, simple, effective body contouring that completely disappears under even the most form-fitting gown, nothing beats Spanx.

The Hide & Sleek Hi-Rise Body Smoother, with terrific tummy- and bottom-smoothing power, is a seamless, no-legband garment that ends just below the braline—perfect for almost any dress style.

Major Support

For fuller figures and ample bustlines, Va Bien is a lifesaver. Our top choice is the Ultra-Lift Seamless Bustier (Va Bien style 1503), which features incredibly strong support, super-soft microfiber material and silicone-treated elastic for an extra-secure bustier grip. All this, and removable straps and garters, too!

There are, of course, many more shapewear styles to choose from. Your selection will depend upon factors like your dress silhouette and material, bodice style and tightness, and whether you plan to wear stockings or not. No matter what undergarment you ultimately choose, remember: Always bring your bridal shapewear with you to your gown fittings to ensure a flawless fit.