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As Platinum’s Price Drops, Brides’ Joy Soars

When it comes to wedding bands, Houston brides love the look and feel of platinum. Who wouldn’t? That cool white luster, that substantial heft, that incredible durability (it’s the strongest of jewelry metals)—platinum just seems so perfectly suited to weddings.

We even like platinum’s relative softness: Platinum “scuffs” easily compared to gold, which means that platinum wedding bands tend to fossilize the many little moments of daily married life (running your hands through Hawaiian sands on your blissful honeymoon, moving furniture around in your newlywed love nest, preparing dinner parties as husband and wife, etc.). Of course, if you crave precious platinum but still prefer an unblemished look, you can always take your band to your jeweler for periodic polishing.

Here’s the thing: While we are crazy for wedding platinum, we aren’t quite as nuts about platinum’s traditionally sky-high cost—as much as five, six or many more times that of an equivalent gold band. Ouch!

Good news: In the last year, platinum prices, always volatile compared to many other jewelry metals, have plunged about 50% from early 2008. Since forecasts are predicting a rebound in platinum’s price in 2010, right now looks like a very good time to get a very good price on a pair of platinum bands.

To find the right platinum pieces for you and your betrothed, better start with the best. Click here for a directory of Houston’s top wedding jewelers, and start testing your metal, Houston bride!

Men's Platinum Band Cortesy of Whiteflash.com
Men's Platinum Wedding Band: Whiteflash.com
Women's Band with Diamonds Courtesy of Whiteflash.com
Patinum and Diamond Wedding Band: Whiteflash.com
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Designer Spotlight: Pronovias 2010 Bridal Collection

There is a regal elegance to Pronovias bridal gowns that makes us think “princess,” but not the girly, twirly, glittery, Disney-fied kind of princess—the stately, majestic, gorgeously groomed, destined-to-inherit-her-kingdom kind.

A bit about the design group: Barcelona-based Pronovias opened its first bridal salon in Spain in 1968, then 80 more in Spain and elsewhere in Europe in the decade that followed. In the 1990s, the esteemed bridal design house finally (blissfully) made its way to the U.S.A., where it’s been outfitting high-profile (and lower-profile but equally style-savvy) brides ever since. Under the leadership of creative director Manuel Mota, the 70-person-strong Pronovias creative team turns out some of the most alluring gowns and accessories in the bridal universe.

We are head-over-heels for the 2010 collection, which includes several non-strapless and one-shoulder styles, as well as a couple of drop-dead gorgeous ballgowns.

Behold a sampling:

Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
Photo Courtesy of Pronovias
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A Bouquet of Inspiration

When wedding planning gets overwhelming (Should we include kids? Salmon or seabass? Did we remember to register for hand towels? How are we going to keep the guest list down to 200??), nothing transports you to your happy place like a little floral fantasizing.

So remember, when the going gets rough, breathe deep and think BOUQUET. And, just for now, don’t fret about whither pomander or posy, tussy-mussy or teardrop—just let yourself sink into pure petal heaven. Get a feel for colors and blossoms. Imagine the lovely weight of your bouquet in your hands. Picture yourself gliding down the aisle, your magnificent bouquet held in front of your gorgeous gown, guests sighing with emotion, cameras clicking away, groom awaiting with baited breath.

You’ll likely handle thousands of flowers in your lifetime, but your bridal bouquet is one bunch you’ll only hold on your wedding day. Stretch out the joy of the occasion with a little pre-wedding bouquet daydreaming.

To put you in the proper frame of mind, behold this handful of beautiful bouquet ideas, courtesy Houston floral designers. Sweet dreams, Houston bride:

Photo Courtesy of Lavisly Luxe
Photo Courtesy of Lavisly Luxe

Photo Courtesy of LC Floral Designs
Photo Courtesy of LC Floral Designs

Photo Courtesy of Wedding flowers by Lisa
Photo Courtesy of Blooming Gallery

Photo Courtesy of The Petal Bucket
Photo Courtesy of The Petal Bucket

Photo Courtesy of The Petal Bucket
Photo Courtesy of River Oaks Flower House

Photo Courtesy of Wedding Flowers by Lisa
Photo Courtesy of Blooming Gallery
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Light Fantastic: The ABCs of LEDs

Photo by D. Jones
Photo by D. Jones

Let’s take a little break from flowers and frills and finery to get technical for a moment, shall we? Along with all that lovely stuff, good lighting will go a long way toward transforming your reception space and creating ambiance at your wedding, Houston bride.

One of the most exciting technologies in wedding lighting is the LED, or light-emitting diode. LED lighting can wash a room in color, highlight key reception spots (like cake tables and lounge areas), and create fabulous effects. But, says Frank Tritico of Houston’s Bright Star Productions, “Unless a client knows there is a difference in LED lights, they could get duped and ultimately be disappointed by either a well-intentioned decorator or florist, or a less reputable lighting company.”

So what do Houston brides need to know about LEDs? “Remember your color wheel in 5th grade art? It showed that we could make a whole range of new colors by mixing red, green and blue. This is what an LED does to make many hundreds of colors,” Tritico explains. But he adds that while LED lights are incredibly versatile, “They’re still a new technology and evolving.”

Tritico points out that older LEDs and less professional equipment aren’t able to produce amber or white light. That means they can’t create many of our most coveted wedding colors, like lavender, peach, Tiffany blue and cranberry.

Also, if a wall is being lit by an LED and a halo of red, green and blue light is visible, “This is an indication that the LED doesn’t have the ability to be lensed correctly and therefore can’t disburse the light evenly,” the lighting pro warns. “It might look great on the ceiling, but be an embarrassment on the walls where it counts.” Yikes!

Tritico advises brides who are interested in LED lighting to ask their lighting and sound company—along with Bright Star, Pro Sound and Tech Ave are among Houston’s best—for a demonstration. “A client will see the difference instantly,” he says.
Thanks, Frank, for lighting the way!

Photo: D. Jones
Photo: D. Jones
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Great Cover Ups: Bridal Shrugs and Boleros

Planning to walk down the aisle in a strapless, spaghetti-strap or other skin-baring gown design? You’re in good company. The vast majority of modern wedding wear is designed to show off a bride’s neck, shoulders and arms, creating a perfect picture of femininity and grace.

But what about comfort? Specifically, temperature. During Houston’s hottest months, indoor temps, aided by powerful AC, can dip down to downright frosty levels. Outdoor weddings during Houston’s milder seasons, meanwhile, can be subject to the occasional big chill. So what’s a bare-shouldered bride to do? Shrug it off!

The classic bridal shrug or bolero is a very short (think no longer than ribcage length), usually open-fronted sweater or jacket that complements but doesn’t overwhelm a bride’s wedding gown. In general, a shrug or bolero is a better choice than a shawl or wrap because it won’t slip off, and leaves a bride’s hands free for dancing, toasting and showing off her ring!

Bridal shrugs/boleros run the gamut of fabrics and complexity of design, from a simple chiffon number, like this sweet one from David’s Bridal, which would work with almost any gown material or style:

Photo courtesy of David's Bridal
Photo courtesy of David's Bridal

…to this lacey lovely by Forever Yours, which would coordinate nicely with a simple, luxe fabric and relatively unadorned bodice style:

Photo courtesy of House of Brides
Photo courtesy of House of Brides

Another of our favorite spots for beautiful bridal shrugs and boleros is haven-of-all-things-handmade, Etsy, which features a variety of unique designs, including cashmere, crocheted and dupioni silk styles.

If you have not yet purchased your wedding gown and are thinking about a cover-up, ask about matching shrugs and boleros when browsing dresses. Many styles come with coordinating or detachable shrugs. And even when they don’t, a savvy Houston bridal boutique associate can suggest a perfect pairing.

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