Ask the Experts


Celeste Thomas, Something New Bridal Boutique

On Picking the Bridal Gown Perfect Fit

• If you’re straight up and down, try peplum cuts or something with more volume around the hips to give you more shape.
• If you’re curvy, drop waist, A-line and empire styles will all flatter your figure.
• If you’re busty, a dress with straps offers the most support, and a V-neck (not too low, ladies!) accentuates in a tasteful way.
• If you’re petite, keep it simple. Too much detail will overwhelm you. Remember that detailed bottoms and slits are more difficult to alter for shorter frames.
• When in doubt, remember that A-line is the most universally flattering shape.

On Choosing Bridesmaid Dresses

• Realize that if you have nine maids and you pick only one style, not everyone is going to look good in it.
• Only bring one or two people with you to shop — not the whole wedding party. The more opinions means more chance for arguments, which are sure to upset you.
• Bridesmaid dresses don’t usually run true to size. Most run small, so keep that in mind when ordering.
• Dress sizing goes by your biggest measurement so where it fits in one area it may not fit in another.
• Classic colors, such as black, navy and chocolate brown, work well on all skin tones, as does pastel blue.

Wedding Planner

Charles Harris,  The Grand Hotel

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Harris recommends bridesmaids stockpile a wedding day emergency kit with the following:

SNACKS Harris’ most important advice is to tell the bride to eat. Filling up on the day of the wedding won’t ruin all the hard work she put into fitting in that dress. It will, however, keep her from getting lightheaded.
A STAIN BLEACH PEN This magic wand of sorts is great for any minor spills.
BOBBY PINS These tiny tools are a must for stray hairs and last-minute fixes.
SAFETY PINS Harris keeps at least two on his tie at all times. “It’s amazing what such a small object can mend.”
STRAWS They are ideal for avoiding tragic spills on a white dress. 
BUG SPRAY In south Alabama, it’s an essential no matter the time of year. Harris even keeps wasp killer within reach now — just in case.
LIP GLOSS Here’s one item brides always wish they had after they’re done getting ready. Be sure the wedding planner or someone in the bridal party keeps her lipstick or gloss at hand for touch-ups throughout the day and night. 

Wedding Photographer

Chad Riley,  Chad Riley Photography

Chad Riley Photography


Q: Why do brides request a “first look” rather than seeing each other for the first time on the walk down the aisle? 
A: The bottom line is that it fixes a logistical issue with having to have your guests wait as you take family formals. If you wait and your wedding is at night, the only time you get to take bride and groom portraits is in the dark. 

Q: Are people ever unhappy with how they
turn out?

A: I’ve never had anyone be unhappy with how the first look images come out. If they’re just themselves and respond in their natural way, then they will be great photographs.The bride should never expect the groom to react in a way that he normally doesn’t act. 

Q: Do the pictures ever look staged? Do you
ever have to reshoot them?

A: I never redo anything. Just the whole idea of redoing it makes it seem staged, and that’s what we’re trying to avoid. But if the family is watching, that’s normally the big issue – that everyone wants to see it. When people are all around them, it’s just awkward. The times that I’ve really seen the groom react in the most natural way is when no one was looking. 

Q: Are couples ever apprehensive that it’s bad luck to see each other before the ceremony?
A: I don’t think there are too many superstitious brides out there who are fearful that their marriage won’t succeed just because they saw each other before.

Fun Fact The bad-luck superstition originates from arranged marriages, when families thought that if the bride and groom saw each other before the wedding, they would have time to change their minds.

Text by Mary Shannon Wells

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