Finding your perfect dream dress is one of the greatest parts of planning your wedding!  Here are some "do's" and "dont's" to keep the experience enjoyable:
DO be aware of your budget.  Every wedding has a budget, and every bride should do their best to remember it, and stick to it.  Trying on an amazing dress that brings you to tears, and then finding out the dress is double your dress budget...will bring nothing but more tears.  The price-tag shock and buyers remorse are not necessary to find a dress that will look stunning.  So stay within your price range and enjoy your options within it!
DO bring pictures, magazine cut-outs, and descriptions of what you are interested in.  There are hundreds of shades of white in bridal, and endless dress combinations.  If there's something specific you're interested in, be sure to let your dress consultant know.  Maybe you envision a corset lace-back, or a princess ballgown.  These ideas will give you and your consultant a good place to start.
DO book an appointment for wedding dress shopping.  Some businesses require an appointment, some do not.  It is always better to be safe than sorry.  Booking an appointment will make sure you get the attention and help that you deserve and desire, and also make sure you have a changing room to try on dresses.
DON'T bring every member of your family.  I know there are important people in your life whose opinions you value.  There's nothing wrong with that.  It is absolutely okay to have a person or two there with you to give you an honest opinion, enjoy the dress shopping, and look at things from an outside perspective.  After one or two people, things just get complicated.  If there are too many people there to give their two-cents, you will be fighting your entourage to be heard.  After all, this is about what you want for your wedding.  This is your dress, and ultimately, it should be about what the bride thinks.  Even though they all mean well, it may be better to take pictures of the dress you choose, and show them later.
DON'T pick the first dress you see...without trying on other dresses.  It's rare for a bride to try on their very first dress, say, "This is the one!", and then be completely content with the decision for the rest of the time they're planning the wedding...and that's okay!  There are so many dresses, with so many options available.  It's okay to try on more than one dress!  Picking the first dress you see without trying on at least a couple more is just risky.  Even if you try on a couple more and absolutely hate them, they will help validate your response to the dress you're loving.
DON'T try on a hundred dresses in one fitting!  Not every bride finds their dress the first time they look for their wedding gown.  Trying on a few dresses is normal.  However, when you try on too many at once, and go through a variety of silhouettes, styles, and colors, it may just become more confusing.  Trying your options is great; exercising every single one of them in one sitting is not so great. 
DO have fun!  This whole process is meant to be a positive experience for those involved, so have fun.  Take this time to bond with those you bring with you (if you bring anyone with you), and practice soaking up the attention that comes with being the blushing bride.
Are there any brides who have gone through their wedding gown shopping experience with something to share?  Comment below!

Hope this helps. : )

~Laurie~
 
 
          My hubby's birthday was coming up, and because he is a man with a definite sweet tooth, I decided to order a special cake from Meghan at Cakes By Design.  Since my DH is a little on the particular side, I decided to let him choose his cake and filling.  Of course his first choice was chocolate cake, and of course he chose a filling that wasn't listed on her website: fresh strawberries.    
          I e-mailed Meghan about the filling and she wasn't worried one bit about it.  She said that would be just fine.  I was a little suprised considering I e-mailed her only a few days before his birthday (sometimes time flies way faster than you thought it would!) with this random cake request.  After the e-mails, and thinking about this awesome-sounding cake I just ordered, I was starting to get a little excited for the cake. : )
          We picked it up from her on his birthday, and it looked great!  My husband used to work at a bakery a few years back, and he was very impressed with the way it looked.  It was very neat and very symmetrical.  It smelled really good too, which made me a little more excited for the cake. : ) 
          After the huge dinner that we had, it was finally time for this cake I had been waiting for!  We lit the candles and sang very loudly, and out of tune...which is probably one of my favorite parts of celebrating birthdays.  Adam took the candles out of his cake and tasted the frosting.  He turned to me and said, "Mmmmmmm, mm-hmm.  This is gonna be good."  We cut the cake, he tried his first bite and said, "Mmmmmmmm, mm-hmm. Yep.  It's good." 
          I was pleasantly suprised by his reaction; not because I didn't think it was going to be good cake, but because even when he likes something his general response is, "It's alright."  But this cake was so good, even HE said it was good.  He said it was moist, flavorful, and the fresh strawberry and whipped-cream filling was awesome.  He said the icing was the way icing is supposed to be:  good-tasting, and not greasy-feeling in your mouth.  He was thoroughly impressed, and so was I with how happy he was with the cake.  It made all of the suspense worth it.  Great job Cakes By Design!  You've won over one the hardest food critics I know! : )
          I HIGHLY recommend checking out her website at: www.cakesbydesign.vpweb.com.  She is also listed here on our website under *Vendors*.  Her cakes truly are amazing, and her prices are too!  She is very easy to work with, and very open to customizing orders to fit the needs of her clients. 

Thank you Cakes By Design for an awesome cake!  

~Laurie~

         
 
 
For some brides this is a breeze to cross of off their wedding checklist, and for others...not so much.  No worries!  There's lots of options. 
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     How about blue shoes?  I found these cute (and comfy) shoes on sale at the Vancouver Mall for 10.00.  Not a bad deal at all.  They were stable, tall enough, comfortable, and just sassy enough to add some personality.  You can even paint your toes blue to match. 

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     If you're not big on flashing your "something blue", you can sew a small blue bow to the inside of your wedding dress.  It's okay to hide your something blue if you feel it doesn't fit with your vision.  It doesn't have to be 'big', or 'blingy'; it just has to be blue. 
     If you're looking for other options that aren't visible, a blue garter is a traditional way to go.  Not-so-much the traditional type of bride?  Blue undergarments may be more your style.


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We found this fantastic white and navy blue hair flower on www.etsy.com through Blue Sugar Bridal in Seattle, WA.  Completely hand-made, this accessory could be exactly what you're looking for.  Find more details about this product at the following link:  http://www.etsy.com/listing/22643817/white-and-navy-blue-silk-flower-hair

Good luck with your "something blue"!  If you have any suggestions for something blue, please add them in the comment box below!
 
 
We have taken the opportunity to be in the Portland Wedding Workbook, out for distribution this October...keep an eye out for us!  The book will be displayed at the Rose City Bridal Show October 2nd and 3rd.  We can't wait to see the book, and how much it helps the DIY brides plan their wedding day!

~Laurie
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This past Saturday I had the honor of assisting a couple with a bride who was by far the sweetest bride I have ever encountered.  She was so appreciative of everything we had done for her, and very thankful for everyone involved.  She was truly ecstatic about everything that happened, and everyone who was there to witness her and her husband's special day.You could see the sincere love for her husband in her beautiful blue eyes, and feel the positive energy of her presence throughout the entire ceremony and reception site.  I feel like because of that, everyone had a good time.  Everything ran smooth.  It really seemed like everything went the best it could have possibly went.  And I personally blame the bride.  She was well organized, very descriptive with her desires for every element of the wedding.  She was polite, bubbly, and kind.  With a sweet, caring, generous, thoughtful bride like her, how could anything go wrong? 

At the end of the night, as I'm helping to tear-down all the decor, I'm wondering to myself, what do you call a bride like her?  I definitely think they are few and far between...maybe that's why I can't find an already-made nickname.  SO, the opposite of bridezilla would be called...briderella?   If you have a good nickname, let me know!
 
 
Stumped on your wedding favors?  Here are a couple of guidelines and ideas to get your creative juices flowing. 

*Find a favor that can multi-task:

     Give bottles of bubbles to your guests as their wedding favor, but also to use as an alternative to throwing rice.  Who wouldn’t want to be whisked-away by their knight in shining armor while being surrounded by bubbles? 

     Find a favor you can also use as an escort card itself, or a holder.  If your wedding is a more casual affair, they can be used as place markers.  You can attach tags with your guests’ names to boxes of candies, or actual holders that match your theme for the guests to take with them.

     Use your favors as part of the centerpiece décor.  You can surround a vase with flowers with personalized candle holders, or use the dish of favors as the centerpiece itself.  Candies that match your color scheme can add a nice touch to your tables. 

*Find a favor that holds some significance:

     Make a donation on your guests’ behalf to a cause or charity that is of importance to your family or friends.  Lay out cards with your significant choices so each guest can choose where they would like to donate. 

     A favor that resembles something from your first date as a couple, how the proposal happened, or even just a favorite memory of the two of you is great.  Make a CD compiled with music from your ceremony and reception.  You can include the song from your first dance, as well as the father/daughter and mother/son dances.  Put a picture or your wedding date on them, or personalize the CD cases.

     Represent something you love with your wedding favors.  If you love gardening, give each guest a pack of seeds with your monogram on it, or an individual potted plant.  There are even papers that you can not only use as part of a note for your guests; they can be planted!   

* Find a favor that fits your theme:

     Who doesn’t love sandals?  Flip-flops are another way to not only make your guests more comfortable, but make them feel more in-tune with your beach wedding.  These favors can be useful at the ceremony, and on the dance floor.  Guests will appreciate the comfort of your favors if their tootsies are hurting from their dress shoes.

     Personalized bottle-stoppers for your wine-themed wedding at the vineyard are a wonderful way to add a little touch of your theme to the details of your day.  To be honest, there are a lot more styles of wine-stoppers than I originally imagined.  Chances are good you will find something that suites your taste.

     Regardless of what you end up choosing as your wedding favor, remember one important thing:  Your wedding is about you and your fiancé!  Anything you choose should reflect you two and your taste as a couple.  All of the
 elements of your wedding should follow the same rule.  Good luck, and happy favor hunting!

**For more ideas, I highly recommend checking out
www.theknot.com**

~Laurie~