Soft, elegant, timeless - just some of the reasons velvet bridesmaid dresses are a fabulous choice

velvet bridesmaid dresses

Velvet has a wonderful sheen, depth of color and drapes beautifully. 

And if you're planning a winter wedding or a wedding during the cooler months, it's the perfect fabric. 

All velvet

Dessy has created a number of bridesmaid dresses in velvet, in different styles, to suit different girls and different wedding moods. 

velvet bridesmaid dressesFor a formal wedding and top notch glamor, choose Style 2998 which has a diamante belt feature. Add some chandelier earrings and diamante detail on the shoes and you're dressed to perfection. 

Of if you want to mix it up a bit, try Dessy's velvet skirt matched with a silk, strapless fitted camisole. 

 

The Studio Design Collection Style 4506 featured above has a black velvet bodice with a flattering sweetheart neckline, which is matched with a floaty tulle skirt available in a variety of different colors from blush to burgundy. 

Or what about separates? Choose the velvet top shown above, style Dessy T3032 and match with one of Dessy's other skirts. Choose a matte finish for the skirt in a heavier fabric or a lighter tulle for a summer wedding. 

Or maybe T3031, which has a different cut. 

Choose a velvet dress for your girls and they'll certainly want to wear it over and over again. A velvet dress is a timeless classic that every girl should have in her closet. 

Seven ideas for a fabulous fall bachelorette party

Fall bachelorette party ideasIf you're holding your bachelorette party in Fall, then you need to make the most of the season. It may be a little cooler than in summer - so no beach parties - and it may not be cold enough for skiing - but in fact it's a perfect season for being out and about and going places. 

The weather is crisp and clear, probably not too wet so it's ideal for hiking or exploring a city. Here's some ideas for a bachelorette party in Fall to enjoy with your squad.

1. Apple Picking: It's a Fall tradition so why not spend the day in the orchards? This is also a great idea if the bride and groom are doing a combined bachelor and bachelorette party. You can follow the apple picking extravaganza with with a late lunch or early dinner at a nice restaurant nearby.facial treatment

How wonderfully relaxing does this look? The bride and her bridesmaids will have a fabulous day spent in bliss. Photo by LipstickandLuxury.com

2. Spa Day Pampering: While this can be done in any season, this is always a fun bachelorette party idea. Especially if your bride isn't into going to a club or bar hopping for her bachelorette party. This makes for great bridesmaid bonding and always needed relaxation. My friends and I did this for a close friend of ours for her bachelorette party and it was a total hit. We topped the day with dinner and drinks which made for a wonderful bachelorette party day.

3. A Spot of Tea: This is also a great idea for the bride who isn't into going to clubs or bars for her bachelorette party. Enjoy delicious pastries, scones, sandwiches and variety of teas. You can find various tea themed restaurants in most major cities or you can host one at home with the bride and her maids.

4. An Old Fashioned Sleepover: I don't care what anyone says, girls are never too old for a sleepover. Take everyone back to your middle school and high school days and do each other's nails, watch a scary or chick-flick movie (chick-flicks are my favorite, personally), make delicious but so bad for you food and let the bride enjoy one of the last nights as a single girl.

5. A Night Out with the Girls: If the bride is the type who wants to party, take her to a major city like New York City and rent a hotel room, go to dinner and club or clubs. You can also do a pub crawl and enjoy the night with some great music. You can also take your bride to a Broadway show or comedy show, that will be both entertaining and promise a lot of laughs.

New York city skyline

Enjoy a night in a major city like New York City! Eat, drink and be merry with bridesmaids and friends. Photo by Vivienne Gucwa.

6. Toast the Bride at a Winery: Every fall I tell myself I will do more visits to wineries, but I never do. But what a fabulous idea for the bride and her maids! Travel to one winery and have a private party with assorted cheeses, wonderful wines. Or go to multiple wineries and have a variety of tastings and pick your favorite one! (I would recommend getting a party bus or limo with this as well.)

7. A Night at the Casino: Take your bride to the casino where the evening can begin with a delicious dinner and drinks and slot machines. This is always a bachelorette party favorite, many casinos also have clubs and bars in them that will surely complete the evening.

 

Want evening elegance for your bridesmaids but don't want to dress them in black? Here's how...

So here's the thing. You're having an evening 'do' and you want your bridesmaids to look chic and elegant. 

But you don't want them to wear black. (The bride above chose midnight blue for her girls and don't they look classy)

 

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Magic in midnight. Dessy style 6767

 

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

 

You want them to look classy, sophisticated and stylish during evening dinner and for the dancing.

But black bridesmaid dresses? Not really. Maybe you're a little superstitious about the color. Maybe you find it a little draining on some skin tones. Maybe ... you just don't want to. 

Well, there are other colors than black which offer evening elegance and style. 

 

A post shared by The Dessy Group (@dessygroup) on

Dessy style 8183

Think about some different shades of drama

If you want to go for the drama of dark shades then are plenty of hues to consider. Midnight blue - the new black. A deep aubergine. Burgundy. The darkest of dark green. Perhaps an eyecatching dark ruby red. 

You could also opt for sequins, which would work dazzlingly from day through to night. Your maids would just love wearing one of these bridesmaids dresses to channel their inner diva! 

  Left After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6786, right   After Six Bridesmaids Style 6784

A dress your maids will want to wear again and again.

One of the advantages of choosing a long bridesmaid dress in a dark color that's suitable for an evening wedding is that your maids will probably want to wear it again to another smart event because it doesn't scream 'bridesmaid'. Like a school prom if they're teenagers.

These dresses aren't going to linger in the closet unworn. They're much too glamorous. 

Left After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6794, right Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Dress JP1011

Left Studio Design Collection Style 4538, Jenny Packham Bridesmaid Style JP1005 



Neutrals and earth tones ... naturally beautiful wedding colors

neutrals and earth tones wedding themes

Think about the shades and colors that are found in the natural world and you'll realise that Nature doesn't get it wrong when it comes to blending hues.

To illustrate the point, we picked out two weddings featuring deep earth tones combined with neutrals - and we think you'll agree the color combo is perfection. 

Because there are so many shades of both, you can create a fabulous palette that will suit everyone's style and complexion.

Beach wedding

At this gorgeous beach wedding shown above, the groom and groomsmen are in cream and the bridesmaids in a rich brown - and set against that beautiful blue sky with the greenery waving in the summer breeze, the photograph taken by the talented Gia Canali makes you almost taste the salt in the air and feel the sand between your toes. Even the celebrants are working the colors.

The groom and the groomsmen are perfectly dressed for the beach in their neutral suits, color merging the two sides. (Check Dessy's similar men's classic summer suits in neutral here.)

The bride at the wedding below, photographed by the wonderful Tucker Images, chose a variety of earth tones and neutrals for her bridesmaids and just see how great they all look. She's chosen strapless gowns for all her girls - but you could mix and match the necklines as you wish. However, it's usually best to keep to one skirt length, whether you go for cocktail style or ground sweeping. 

Coffee and cream wedding colours

If you're having a beach wedding, remember to choose dresses for your girls that won't float up too much (because you don't really want any of your girls having a Marilyn Monroe moment at your wedding ceremony, do you). 

All the ones we've picked out here by Dessy are suitably airy - but won't fly up in the breeze!  You're looking for a breezy, fluttery effect but with some structure. 

Left Alfred Sung Style D538, right After Six Bridesmaid style 1505

Left After Six Bridesmaid Dress 6786, right After Six Bridesmaid Dress 1515

 

 

 

 






20 wedding songs that are surefire dance floor fillers

(Image credit David Pascolla)

Want to make sure only crowd favorites are played at your wedding reception? Of course you do. Who wants songs playing that no one wants to hear?!

Who wants songs that make people leave the dance floor en masse? Thought not. 

We've picked out 20 tried and tested pieces of music that will get the party started ... and going on until the small hours. 

Music plays a huge role in any party - it's a real atmosphere and mood builder. 

This list below by no means includes all of the best wedding reception songs, but it certainly will help to get you started. It includes hits for all generations too. (We've ideas for great music to walk down the aisle to here.)

1. Macarena - Los Del Rio. Who can resist? 

2. Vogue - Madonna

3. Blurred Lines - Robin Thicke & Pharrell Williams 

4. Senorita - Justin Timberlake

5. Word Up - Cameo 

6. Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars

7. Shake It Off - Taylor Swift

8. Crazy in Love - Beyonce

9. Push it - Salt 'n' Pepa

10. I Feel Love - Donna Summer 

11. Hey Ya! - OutKast

12. Funkytown - Lipps Inc.

13. Stayin' Alive - The Bee Gees

14. September - Earth, Wind & Fire 

15. Blame it on the Boogie - Jacksons 

16. Brown Sugar - Rolling Stones

17. Think - Arethra Franklin

18. Happy - Pharrell Williams 

19. Estelle - American Boy 

20. My Sharona - The Knack 

Four ways to get your bridal party better acquainted BEFORE the big day

(All bridesmaid dresses by Dessy)

 

Remember in the film 'Bridesmaids' when a group of girls meet together for the first time? All they have in common is knowing the bride - and the fact that they are all going to be her bridesmaids. Which makes for a little awkwardness. 

Unless your wedding day party is drawn entirely from friends you and your other half knew at kindergarten school (and have kept up with regularly ever since), it's likely that you're going to be bringing new faces together. And of course you want them to have fun on your big day. You want to break the ice beforehand. 

To help you along we've thought of a few ways to make those all-important introductions

1. A field day

Host a field day (you know like the ones you used to have in elementary school). Have your bridal party take part in tug-of-war, a game of cornhole, three-legged races and pie eating contests. This is a great way to get creative and really allow your important friends a chance to get to know one another.

2. A meal

Breakfast, lunch, brunch or dinner – if a simple meal is all you really have time for, that's fine. Co-ordinate a few hours with your entire bridal party at your favorite restaurant or in your own home that will give them an opportunity to get acquainted.

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Pictures like this (with the girls in Dessy's Twist Wrap Dress) are the more memorable when the bridal party has gotten better acquainted! Everybody will be more relaxed (which makes for better images).

3. A sporting event

A great idea for both the men of your bridal party and the women. Co-ordinate a day to see a sporting event like baseball or football or basketball. Sporting events in general bring the unlikeliest of people together in the spirit of the game, so this could be a great way for your bridal party to get to know each other.

 

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4. A cookery class

If there are no games on nearby, or the weather is unseasonal or you just want to do something different, then how about asking a professional chef to put on a cookery class for you all. This could be to make a signature dish - maybe homemade pasta - and a dessert. Don't be too ambitious with what is cooked - it's not competitive! You could host the event in your own home if you have room or ask a nearby friendly restaurant if they could help. Then finish off by eating what you've cooked (or have a restaurant meal.)

 

A post shared by Nicola Winfield (@nicola_winfield) on

Other ideas are booking a bar and having a cocktail making class. Don't forget to ask along the groom's party too, if appropriate. 

Whatever you decide, having an event to break the ice before the wedding day is almost always a good idea. People can swap numbers, work out their skill sets and get well acquainted before the wedding day itself. Who knows what new friendships will blossom as a result? 

When you should (and shouldn't) have an outdoor wedding



Having an outdoor wedding is beautiful, I've been to plenty where they are just breathtaking. 

  • You get wonderful outdoor light
  • You can make the most of the scenery
  • You can create different atmospheres - in the woods, by the beach, in an orchard

But I've gone to these weddings typically in the summer months when the weather is warm and being outside just makes more sense.

When it comes to having a wedding outdoors, I think it is still acceptable in September. You can even stretch it to October, (well, early October, depending on where you are marrying). Get married later on and you may have to consider a completely indoor wedding, if you live in an area where the seasons change drastically between the months.

Have a fall wedding in October and be aware that you may get the perfect day for an outdoor wedding or you may have to consider some practical alternatives.

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Plan an outdoor wedding where guests will just fall in love with the memories you share on your wedding day. Photo by Studio Eleven Photography

Same goes for early spring. April and early May could still be iffy when it comes to an outdoor wedding. The winter season may still be rearing its head and the last thing you want your guests to remember about the wedding is how cold they were.

I don't recommend a beach wedding in April, because in some areas of the country, it is still very cold.  But, if you have your heart set on a certain month and certain kind of wedding there are ways to get what you want.

Making an outdoor wedding possible (when it's a little chilly)



You can rent outdoor heaters where you know your guests will congregate for most of the wedding.

You can also offer the women pashminas and wraps they can take home with them.  These are stylish and perfect for the cooler earlier months of spring and fall. This even works for weddings where the climates don't see a drastic change.

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Guests are enjoying this lovely wedding outdoors. Photo by Pasha Belman Photography

I also recommend having the wedding ceremony outdoors and have the reception indoors. That way you get what you want and your guests are happy too.

If your heart is set on an outdoor wedding, take the time of the year into serious consideration. 

Heated tents outdoors will make it easier to have an outdoor wedding as well. Just to flip the thought for a bit, you may also want to consider an indoor wedding when it is just too hot as well. The last thing you want is to have your guests suffer heat stroke.

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What a beautiful fall (not cold hopefully) wedding looks like. Photo by Jessica Fike Photography




Ideas For An Apple Green Wedding Theme

apple green wedding theme

Nowadays many brides choose to 'theme' their wedding days in a different ways. They might go for a rustic theme, a bohemian mood or even a Marvel-themed day. 

But really one of the simplest ways of styling your wedding day is by color. 

Easy

It certainly makes your choices easier. Choose a color you love and the rest will practically fall into place. 

Here we've picked out some ideas for an apple green wedding theme. It's fresh, simple, classic and perfect for a spring or summer wedding day. There's also plenty of potential out there (you're not going to have trouble finding foliage for a start!)

Love this green apple-themed table centerpiece featured on Martha Stewart weddings. 

Serve color co-ordinated cocktails to your guests on arrival. (Image via Martha Stewart weddings). Find some cocktail recipes for Garden Daiquiris and Rosemary Fizz here.

Use the same shade as much or as subtly as you want.  For your invitations, bridesmaid dresses, wedding shoes, wedding cake... Buy ribbons to pretty up chairbacks, make DIY wedding invitations and decorate your reception tables with bowls of green apples and pears yourself.

apple green bridesmaid dresses

Bridesmaids' dresses in Apple Slice by Dessy. Shown on the left Style Social Bridesmaids Style 8159, on the right After Six Bridesmaid Dress 1512

Wedding cake via Pinterest

Your wedding cake is going to be an attention grabber at the reception - so make sure the color blends in beautifully with your scheme. You don't have to go for a cake in a block color - just some subtle detailing or maybe ombre will get the idea across. 


bridesmaid dress with long sleeves

Bridesmaids dresses by Dessy. On the left style Dessy Collection Bridesmaid Dress 3027, Flower Girl Dress FL4058

Dessy offers beautiful bridesmaid dresses in apple green in a variety of styles, so your bridesmaids can choose a neckline, length and design that really suits them. 

When you're talking to caterers and suppliers about your chosen color, you'll find the Dessy Pantone tool really useful (basically it gives you a color swatch to show everybody). You can also ask for a free fabric swatch of a color and fabric you're interested in. 

 

 




 

How to have the bachelorette party YOU have always dreamed of

bachelorette party tips

(Photo via @mauimakaphotography)

 

Bachelorette party.

Do those two words fill you with anticipation and excitement. Or dread?

Excited and happy because you're going to get together with your squad and have a fabulous time you'll remember forever for all the right reasons?

Or dread because you really can't face spending a load of money on something you don't want to do anyway, being holed up on a spa break when they're not your thing ....

It's your party and YOUR call

Think back to that classic film Bridesmaids where the maid of honor organizes everything just how she thinks it should be ... without really consulting the bride.

And that's the whole point really. It's all about communication.

Whilst surprises are fabulous, you really need to get over to your maid of honor exactly how you want your party to go. And that brings me onto another point. If your maid of honor has a tendency to be a bit controlling, then should she really be your chief bridesmaid anyway? (Read here on why your best friend doesn't necessarily make your best bridesmaid.)

Anyway ... moving on. You need to bring up the subject of your bachelorette event early on before anything has been planned and booked. Here's a few things to think about and discuss.

 

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  • Finances. Some girls will be on good salaries. Others not so much. (Again think back to the film bridesmaids where one of the girls has to fly off on a weekend she really cannot afford.) So may a luxury spa weekend or a flight off to St Barts won't work for some girls. Remember that what you really want is to have all your besties around you. So chat with your maid of honor about making your events affordable. Maybe adapt a sort of 'pick and mix' approach so that girls can join in all, some or one of the events. You could host a fun dinner at your place on a Friday and have beauticians into visit. Then maybe some of you could go off for the rest of the weekend to a spa break or trip further afield. If you're going to have a spa break, organize something that doesn't necessarily require an overnight stay so that the price is kept down.
  • Look at some bachelorette packages to get ideas of prices for different options. Maybe before you decide on anything run a poll with your girls, asking what they'd like to do and what they feel they could spend. Ring each girl up and chat it through.
  • Maybe get an AirBnB for a few days?
  • Taking time off work or away from children could also be an issue for some of your girls, particularly if they're freelance, work on the weekends or have young children and childcare issues.
  • Talk to your maid of honor about how you see your bachelorette party going. If you're a creative, designer-ish type then you could all attend a group cookery class and learn to make something a little unusual like sushi.
  • Check that your girls have passports that are up to date if you're planning on going abroad.




10 Stunningly Creative Ways to Use Mason Jars at Your Wedding

herbs in mason jars

Herb wedding favors? Image via DIY Inspired on Pinterest

Mason jars have become a staple at creative weddings in the past few years.

It's not really surprising when you think about it. These simple glass pots are really versatile and lend themselves perfectly to a bit of DIY creative wedding crafting. 

kids table mason jars

Organise the children's table. Image via housetohome.co.uk on Pinterest

10 Mason Jar ideas you'll love to try

    1. Fill with tealights, tie string around the neck and suspend from the branches of trees for instant lanterns (image via Architecture Art Designs on Pinterest.)tea light mason jars 
    2. Use for informal arrangements of flowers. Gerberas, dahlias and peonies look amazing in Mason jars
    3. Make mini homemade cookies, and fill small Mason jars with them for wedding favors. Tie each guest's name on the jar with a label (which doubles up as a place setting of course)
    4. Place Mason jars in rows on a bar and fill with cocktails or lemonade. Add stripy straws (all facing in the same direction) to complete the effect
    5. Make up some bubble blowing solution with detergent, pour into Mason jars and attach a bubble blowing hoop alongside. Place by the children's table for instant entertainment (actually this is best done outside). Label each jar with the child's name so everybody gets their own bubble kit.
    6. If you're having an informal barn wedding with a buffet, put a set of cutlery and napkin in a Mason jar, labelled with each guest's name. (Image via Indulgy.com on Pinterest.)cutlery mason jars
    7. Make up separate jars with S'Mores kits as favors or put on the candy table.
    8. Create a kids' crafting table at the wedding and put beads, safety scissors, coloring pencils and crayons in different jars
    9. Add some sparkle and light by creating illuminated Mason jars. Put a small string of battery powered fairy lights in each jar, switch on and shut the lid. Put on your guest tables just before they enter the reception. (Image via Ever After Guide via Pinterest.)smores kit mason jars
    10. Fill a Mason jar with potting compost and then plant a small fragrant herb (we're thinking mint, rosemary, thyme). Then put on tables and ask guests to help themselves.

   

 

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Images by Things in Mason Jars