The Tuxedo Debate

The Tuxedo Debate

In recent years, weddings have become less traditional and more about couples’ personal tastes and styles.  Brides are wearing more color, venues are becoming more casual, and dance floors are turning into dance parties.  So it’s only fitting that guys’ go-to wedding uniform, the tuxedo, is now being called into question.  Are tuxedos a thing of the past?  Here’s our take on the issue.

A tuxedo is a classic, a gentleman’s uniform.  Grooms have been wearing them for decades, and looking quite handsome while doing so.  There is something about a man in a tuxedo that just says, “wedding.”  So for the traditional man who wants to wear a tux, we say, “go for it.”  You’ll look handsome and timeless, a combination that is sure to leave any bride speechless.  But for those of you who are considering something a little more “outside of the tux,” pardon the pun, we have three great options for you.

A tuxedo with a few personal twists. One of the biggest complaints we hear from grooms is that it is hard to rent a tux that truly fits.  For the most part, rentals won’t fit like a custom tuxedo, and some guys crave a more personalized fit for the big day.  What guys don’t always love is the price tag that comes with a custom tux.  So for these guys, we recommend renting the basic tux pieces (jacket and pants), and buying the rest.  For example, buy your own tuxedo shirt for a fit that is closer to your own.  An hour into the reception, you’re likely to have your jacket off anyway, so a nice fitting shirt is important.  Find a pair of black dress shoes you love and feel comfortable in.  You can re-wear the shoes with almost any suit or office look for years to come.  Also, consider purchasing your own tie for the exact color, style, and pattern that you want.  Look at some of your favorite upscale retailers for a special something that is perfect for your big day.  Also think about incorporating your own cuff links.  Maybe you already own a pair that you love; maybe you have a pair that has been in the family for years.  Or maybe, your bride surprises you with a pair to celebrate your special day together.  Whatever the case, consider having these pieces be your pieces.  You won’t be buying an entire tuxedo, but you’ll be buying enough pieces to make it your own without breaking the bank.

A custom made suit. Many guys think about having a custom tux made for their wedding day, but then think, how many times in the next ten years will I need a tux?  For most guys, we can answer that question for you…a few.  But how about this question: how many times in the next ten years will you wear a classic black suit?  If that number is higher than ten, a custom made suit may be a good choice for you.  After all, you can wear a classic black suit in a million different settings.  And you know what they say?  Nothing beats a man in a well tailored suit.  For proof, just look at James Bond.

A high end suit. Ok, so maybe a custom suit sounds a little bit more appropriate for you.  You think you’ll get your wear out of it, and you’re ok forgoing the traditional tuxedo for your wedding.  What you’re not ok with, however, is the price tag that comes with a custom made suit.  We completely understand, and offer up a different solution.  Look at purchasing a suit that is a little higher end than you’d typically see at the office or as a guest at a wedding.  Consider a suit from a retailer that makes you “ooh and ahh.”  The cut, fit, and details will still be impeccable, but not quite as pricey as having a suit specially made for you.  To keep the cost down, we recommend looking for these beauties at places like Nordstrom Rack, Neiman Marcus Last Call or Filene’s Basement.  It’s common to find Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein and Michael Kors hanging from the racks at these stores with a drastically reduced price tag attached.  A custom look without the custom price tag.

Wedding Veil Alternatives

Years and years ago, brides wore veils, long veils.  It’s just what they did.  They wore a white wedding dress and veil.  And if you were an early trendsetter who decided to forgo the veil, you probably got a stern look of disapproval from your grandmother.  Now days, things are changing.  Don’t get us wrong, brides still loves veils, veils are still in, and veils are still very gorgeous.  But brides are beginning to expand their bridal headwear options to include baubles, headbands, flowers, vintage hair pieces, and much, much more.  Check out a few of our favorites!

Birdcage veils. For the bride who loves vintage or dramatic glamour, this is a fabulous option for you.  These stunning beauties have a classic elegance to them, while maintaining a sense of no fuss fashion.  There are tons of great options throughout Etsy.  Just search “birdcage veils” and you’ll be met with hundreds of options, each with great pictures and descriptions.  Still not sure you’re sold on the birdcage veil for the wedding day?  Think about using one in your bridal portraits for a dramatic and different look.

Brooches. These sparkly baubles give you the freedom to incorporate as much or as little bling as you want, as brooches come in every possible shape and size.  You can also incorporate hints of your wedding colors into these accessories, without overwhelming your entire look.  Lots of brides also take advantage of brooches as their something old or something borrowed, incorporating brooches from family members or dear friends.  Don’t have any brooches in the family?  Look at antique stores, vintage shops, and estate sales for older finds or scour jewelry shows for newer bling.  Brooches can be incorporated into almost any hair style…up, down, long, short, you name it!

Floral. The idea of flowers in the bride’s hair used to be reserved for destination weddings, but not anymore.  Brides everywhere are looking to nature to add a festive flair to their look.  Simple blooms look best, and white blooms create a look that is both polished and pretty.  Talk with your florist about what blooms might look best as well as what will be in season.  It is important to make sure the stem is long enough to slip a few bobby pins through, and if you would prefer to have your florist wrap a barrette or hair clip with the bloom, most are happy to do that for you.  And for the whimsical bride planning a garden party, why not do a wreath of baby’s breath?  A look fit for a princess, without being draped in diamonds.

Headbands. Once a thing for schoolgirls, headbands have come back onto the fashion scene in a big way the past few years.  Headbands are a fun way, yet hassle free way to add some fun to your bridal look.  And since headbands are so popular, look beyond the typical bridal stores.  Some of your favorite retailers such as Ann Taylor, J.Crew, Nordstrom, and Forever 21, make great headbands.

Custom hairpieces. Can’t decide what you want?  Thinking you want a little bit of everything, or maybe something with feathers, or maybe something you haven’t even actually seen yet?  Having a hair piece specifically designed for you is a special way to make a personal stamp on your bridal look.  Lo Boheme is one of our favorite places for custom hairpieces, as well as other wedding day accessories.  If the price tag is a bit high for you, invest some time looking around Etsy.  There are some incredibly talented people out there, just waiting to make the perfect hairpiece, just for you!

And if you’re not quite ready to give up on the veil, no worries!  Have the best of both worlds by wearing a veil for your ceremony and switching into one of the options above for your reception.  That way you can dance the night away hands and worry free! Wedding Veil Alternatives

Party Favors – why not donate instead?

Why not Donate instead?

Practically 100 percent of the time, when I attend a wedding and at the end of the night I’m given a wedding favor, I end up doing one of two things with it:: eating it or trashing it. Plain and simple. We all know that’s what happens. Sure, the display of candy looks fabulous and tasted fabulous in my mouth. And yes, I may have used that book of matches with the couple’s name on it for a few weeks. Or I may even have listened to the cheesy cd of favorite love songs for about a week. But in the end, I most definitely threw out that wedding favor or ate it all in a matter of minutes.

Personally, I have come to believe that wedding favors can be a wasteful. That thought entered my mind after attending the wedding of a close friend. This was a few years before I was married or even engaged. So planning a wedding and wedding favors were definitely not on my mind. However, I will always remember this particular wedding. At the end of the night, instead of handing out useless party favors, I received a little note from the bride and groom. On this note, it stated that the bride and groom had decided that instead of giving everyone a party favor, they had made a donation to a charity with the money they would have used for the wedding favors. The charity’s cause was something that was very meaningful to them and their relationship. Instead of spending their money on something trivial, they decided to invest it in furthering a great cause.

If you’ve been racking your brain about what kind of wedding favor to give out at your reception, why not donate instead? Donate $1 or more per guest that attends your wedding to further a cause that means a lot to you and your future spouse. Tell your guests what that money will be used for and that it was donated in their name. Of course, there is a tricky part. You want to try not to offend people if at all possible. It might be a good idea to pick a cause that won’t start any negative political or religious discussions. Steer clear from donating money to a candidate’s political campaign, especially if you are telling your guests that the donation has been made in their name. Although, at the end of the day, it is your wedding, and it is your money!

Best Man’s Responsibilities

So you were chosen to be the best man at an upcoming wedding. Congratulations! You may be asking yourself what this means. What exactly does the best man do, besides deliver a totally awesome/moving/hilarious/embarrassing/riot-inducing speech at the reception? Here are twelve responsibilities of a faithful best man:

  • Your # 1 priority as the best man is to be there for the groom. It’s your job to be his right-hand man during the planning and wedding day. Make yourself available to help the groom out any way you can.
  • Assist the groom in selecting the tuxedos/suits for the wedding. Once a decision has been made, oversee and coordinate the purchase or rental of the other groomsmen’s attire to make sure everyone matches.
  • Two words: Bachelor. Party. You’re the man in charge of organizing the groom’s final celebration as a single man. This is a task that is typically organized by several of the groomsmen so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The cost for the night should be divided by everyone in attendance (except the groom).
  • Attend the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.
  • Stand by your man (literally) up at the altar during the wedding ceremony. You’re also responsible for holding onto the bride’s wedding ring until the exchange. Make sure you keep the ring safe before the wedding and that you know where it is during the ceremony!
  • Oversee the other groomsmen to make sure they’re doing what they need to do on the day of the wedding.
  • Serve as an official witness of the wedding ceremony and sign the marriage license, along with the maid of honor.
  • Make sure the priest/pastor/lawyer/judge receives payment for officiating the ceremony.
  • Enter the reception, typically alongside the maid of honor, and participate in any dances specified for the wedding party.
  • Deliver the first toast of the reception. This is the biggest and most important duty of the best man so make it good!
  • Collect gifts and cards at the reception and transfer them to a predetermined location for the bride and groom to retrieve after the honeymoon.
  • Drive the bride and groom to their hotel/house/airport after the reception. You may also be called on to drive them to the airport the next morning, as well as return the groom’s rented tuxedo.

    Something Blue

    The wedding tradition “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” has been a part of weddings for ages.  However, in recent years, brides have embraced the tradition in new and more creative ways, adding a touch of fun and whimsy to their big day.  “Something blue” is a particular favorite of brides, so we’ve given you three creative ideas to add a touch of fun, tradition, and of course, color, to your big day.

    It’s all about the bling. Many brides use their wedding day as a chance to wear jewelry that they may not normally don.  Shine and sparkle are seen in tiaras, drop earrings, bracelets, brooches, and necklaces.  Consider branching out from the traditional pearl or diamond jewelry to incorporate some blue bling.  Sapphires and blue topazes are to popular choices, with the former jewel a popular option among fall and winter brides and the latter jewel finding love from spring and summer brides.  David Yurman makes some incredible pieces with blue stones if you want an extra something special for the big day.

    Remember, just a touch of blue is all you need, so don’t think you have to give up traditional diamonds and pearls all together.  Look for jewelry that has a single blue stone with clear or white jewels around it.  The blue bling doesn’t need to be a focal point, just a little touch to represent your “something blue.”  And if you can’t afford the real stone, no sweat, faux is a great way to go!  Still not sure?  Incorporate blue jewels in your bouquet in the form of a brooch.  Carefully pin it on the ribbon wrapping around your bouquet, and you’ve got your something blue, without making too drastic of a statement.

    Embroider it. Consider combining your something blue with something else special in your life using thread.  Think of a special date, person, or saying that has meaning to you and represent it by embroidering something to wear or carry on your big day.  Perhaps it’s the initials of a loved one that passed, the letters of your college sorority, or your new initials.  Whatever it is, make it meaningful.  Inside one of the layers of your wedding dress is a great option if you don’t want the embroidery to be visible.  Also consider embroidering a handkerchief with something special to wrap around your bouquet.  The embroidery doesn’t need to be big or even visible to anyone else, it is for you to know about and cherish.

    Two Blue Shoes. Elvis may have been onto something when he sang about blue suede shoes.  Ok, maybe not the suede part, but certainly the blue part!  Brides are beginning to get creative and venture outside of traditional bridal footwear, and what better way to do it than with blue!  This is another detail that may not be initially be visible to wedding guests, but when you step up stairs at the altar or bust a move on the dance floor, they will certainly notice the fun surprise.  This also opens up endless possibilities for footwear as you can look outside of the tradition bridal footwear.  Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo, and Manolo Blanik all offer beautiful options.  (Think Carrie Bradshaw!)  If the price tag doesn’t appeal, consider browsing discount stores such as Nordstrom Rack and Filene’s Basement which often carry these designers for a fraction of the price.

    Wedding Trends 2010

    Homemade Wedding Favors

    Though favors are an expense that’s easy to eliminate, right now couples are especially grateful to guests who have incurred considerable expense to be a part of the celebration. The 2010 wedding trend is using homemade favors to express that thanks, and to send guests home with your love.

    Birdcage Veils

    These vintage-look veils combine a jeweled clip or feathered headpiece with netting that only covers the face. In the picture above, Drew Barrymore is wearing a birdcage veil to a recent movie premiere. Wearing one allows you to have some dramatic glamor and feel like a bride, but is a more fun look and less hassling than a long traditional veil.

    Mismatched Bridesmaid Dresses

    For several years, brides have been selecting a bridesmaid dress designer and a fabric, then letting their bridesmaids choose the style that works best for their bodies. But the 2010 wedding trend takes idea further. Choose only a color, then let your bridesmaids find an off-the-rack dress of any designer that they like. Not only does this take some pressure off of you, but it also ensures that women are choosing a dress they like and they’ll be likely to actually wear again. If you follow this trend, be sure to tell your bridesmaids how formal the dress should be – you don’t want one bridesmaid wearing a casual sundress while another has on a beaded evening gown.

    The End of the Standard Year-Long Engagement

    Though a year is a good amount of time for an engagement (and thus that’s what I use for my wedding planning checklist) it certainly isn’t obligatory. Some couples will be planning quick elopements, while others will opt for longer engagements. There are advantages to both – a quick engagement means that you don’t overwhelm yourself with trying to plan the perfect wedding, and often means that you spend less money on unnecessary things. A long engagement can help relieve the stress, spreading out the tasks and the expenses. You’ll have time to save money, and hopefully be able to feel more secure about your jobs before you sign unbreakable contracts.

    Strapless Wedding Dresses

    If you’re saying to yourself, “This isn’t a new 2010 wedding trend!” you’re right. Strapless dresses have been extremely popular for several years now. And though more brides are opting for sleeves, straps, and other ways of covering the shoulders, strapless is going to continue to be the dominant style for the near future.

    trash the dress

    Trash The Dress

    trash the dress
    Trash The Dress…Looking for a way to put your wedding stress and anxiety behind you now that the big day is over? Photographer John Michael Cooper has an unlikely remedy: trash your wedding dress. The modern photographer created a concept that’s become a nationwide trend and is stirring up a bit of controversy.

    John Michael Cooper’s ” trash the dress ” idea is exactly what it sounds like. Sometime after the wedding day is over, brides meet up with their photographer or videographer for an edgy, symbolic, or disturbing film session where they literally destroy their wedding gown. Many brides who participate in the new tradition say that the destruction of their dress signifies their freedom from the stress and anxiety of planning a wedding.

    Each woman’s “trash the dress” day is unique and different. Some women choose water as their source of destruction, having their photographer snap pictures as they climb into a city fountain, roll on a sandy beach, or even wade into a dirty swamp. Others choose to have their new husbands help in the destruction, opting to be cut out of the dress with scissors or a knife or, in some extreme cases, set the garment on fire. Still others have chosen to rely on nature to ruin the gown by rolling in mud, sitting in dirt, or even hiking a dusty trail.

    While it’s an unconventional method to overcome wedding-related stress, many brides find the “trash the dress” festivity to be cathartic and therapeutic. They also enjoy having a unique photo or video to remember their dress rather than preserving it in a box in their attics or closets. Not surprisingly, critics find the act offensive and irresponsible arguing that if brides no longer want their dress, they should donate them to charities or less-fortunate individuals. Here is a great place to donate your dress – White Chicago.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Style Me Pretty – Little Black Book

    January  10, 2011

    Music By Design was selected to be a member of Style Me Pretty’s exclusive 2011  Little Black Book.

    What is the Little Black Book?

    Our Little Black Book is a thoughtfully edited listing of only top quality vendors. Because our style-savvy, sophisticated readers deserve a chic resource they can trust, our book is created with them in mind. Our Little Black Book offers our readers a worry-free browsing experience while our Very Important Vendors enjoy a showcase in keeping with our firm commitment to quality vs. quantity. More than simply enjoying elite advertising space, our members are a handpicked community of artistic experts. In an industry saturated with long lists of anybody & everybody, our book is the most thoughtfully edited resource on the planet: a refreshingly couture idea.

    How do you choose the vendors for your Little Black Book?

    The process to become a Little Black Book member is actually quite extensive.

    First, they need to have been recommended by an SMP reader, a recent bride or an industry professional. We don’t simply look for a referral but rather for a passionate reason as to why a particular vendor deserves to be in the book. Perhaps the designer worked with a reader’s best friend when she was getting married, perhaps they have already designed the world’s most beautiful invitations for a particular bride and groom, perhaps an event planner that we know shares with us the one photographer that she will work with. Whatever the connection, it must be strong and based on a real knowledge of the vendor’s work.

    Second, we dive head first into the vendor’s business. Their portfolio, their experience, their time in the industry. We look at press that they’ve received, we chat with their industry neighbors, we get to know who they are and why they are good at what they do. We spend hours on the phone with each vendor, getting to know them, figuring out if they are honest, have a high level of integrity and are truly devoted to their craft. For highly competitive industries, like photography, we also have vetting teams. An unbiased group of style savvy vendors who can fairly, objectively, and accurately evaluate other’s work.

    And finally, after feeling completely confident that a particular vendor is fabulous, we invite them to be a part of our book! It’s an invitation only book that truly prides itself on it’s commitment to quality above all else.