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Tip of the Week: Do Your Research {Part 2 – Reviews}

Now that your venue is selected and date is set, you’re likely looking at what bridal boutiques to visit so that you can shop for your bridal gown, and there are many options out there! Last week we advised first narrowing down your selection to the stores that have the correct price range of gowns you’re looking for. Once you have done that, how can you pick the best stores to visit?

One thing that is important for you to know is that brides LOVE to leave feedback about their wedding vendors. That means for someone like you who is newly engaged, you have access to feedback from real brides about their experiences working with that vendor. Most review-based sites will offer an overall star or number rating but will also give brides an opportunity to share their experience, in words, for future brides.

Your goal in picking the best stores to shop at are the ones that are going to deliver an exceptional experience for you and the people you bring with you. You want to pick a place where brides say they felt part of the family, where they were valued, where they felt celebrated, where they felt supported in their decision making process, and where the store stepped up to help when something went wrong. Yes, that’s right…don’t be afraid of a store where a bride mentions that something went wrong and the store was there to fix it. That’s the exact place you WANT to buy your gown from! Pick a store that is going to have your back in any situation. You want the store that is going to go the extra mile for you at all times. The stores that have great reviews are typically stores who went above and beyond for their brides. Also important is to see how a store responds to a negative or difficult review. Is that store empathetic and understanding or combative and defensive? These responses speak volumes about the type of store you’re dealing with!

In our opinion, the best review sites out there are The Knot, Wedding Wire, and a store’s own Facebook page. Yelp also has reviews, but they randomly hide certain reviews and make them difficult to find, which we thing does a disservice to people who spend time to write a review! If our brides are going to take the time to review us, we feel like that should be front and center! At ALSW, we are incredibly proud that no matter what site you visit, you will see stellar reviews by former brides for you, our future bride, to read!

In addition to reviews, look for stores that have won local awards in their wedding communities. Awards are often earned by both a combination of brides voting and other wedding vendors voting. This means awards are often an endorsement by other wedding vendors, who have a trained eye for spotting the best of the best. Many local publications run “best of” contest for local businesses. If your area has one, see if your local bridal salon has come up as a winner in the weddings category!

Happy Shopping!!

Pre-Wedding Day Prep {Part 1 – Beauty}

Today we kick off part one of a three-part series focused on helping you to look and feel your best on your wedding day! There are three critical areas to focus on in the months before the wedding day – skincare, nutrition, and exercise – and we have discovered that most brides start thinking about these much later than they should.

Erin Infantino of Simply Gorgeous by Erin graciously agreed to meet me for drinks (coffee for me and celery juice for Erin!) to share what a bride’s skincare regimen should be in the months leading up to her wedding day and why this is so important! Erin has been a makeup artist for over two decades and has done the makeup of countless ALSW brides.

Every bride wants her skin to look flawless on her wedding day. What I have noticed among my thousands of brides over the years is that they all have questions about skincare. And the one important thing to know is that makeup will only look so good as the skin it sits upon. My personal philosophy is to make skin look flawless with as little foundation and concealer as possible. No one wants a caked on face! This is where a good skin care routine comes in. I recommend starting about six months before your wedding day, if possible. The sooner you start a good skincare routine, the more time you will have to reap the rewards of it. Below are some of my top tips. I could probably go on forever but I don’t want to overload you with information!

Drink Water
If you think you drink enough water, you most likely don’t! You should be drinking roughly half your weight in ounces of water. If you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink 75 ounces of water. Throw some lemon in it and just make it happen.

Always Wash Your Face Before Bed
Even if you didn’t wear makeup that day, you still touched dirty surfaces and surely touched your face. Wash all that bacteria away and prep your skin with products your skin can soak up and benefit from.

Schedule a Personal Consultation with a Skin Care Expert
Every woman has their own unique skin so a personal consultation with an aesthetician or skin care expert is smart. Oily skin has different needs than dry skin or sensitive skin, and you want your own personal skin care goals to be addressed. Don’t try to get advice from a sales rep behind a counter. Make sure the individual has been educated and trained on the skin’s anatomy and what ingredients you should use or stay away from.

Gut Health
Let’s talk “gut health”. Too much sugar or dairy in your diet will wreak havoc on your skin. Our gut is our second brain and tells our body what to do. Our skin is our largest organ so if something isn’t right internally it will manifest itself in your skin. Keep sugar, dairy and alcohol to a minimum. Take a probiotic that’s suitable for you – I recommend a high quality one that requires refrigeration. Health is always a worthwhile investment.

Add These Products to Your Regimen
One product all skin types can benefit from is a Hyaluronic acid serum. This is naturally found in our bodies and is nothing to be worried about just because it has the word “acid” in it. It’s a hydration booster and plumps up the skin to appear nice and healthy and vibrant. Even if you’re oily, you can be dehydrated and you can benefit from this. Its meant to be worn under your moisturizer or can be worn alone if you’re excessively oily. A second product most skin types can benefit from is Vitamin C serum. Make sure it’s an L-Ascorbic as this tends to cause less or no irritation. This brightens the skin, feeds the skin’s strength, and fights off free radicals and toxins in the air.

Your Daily Routine Matters
If you decide to do facials, please, PLEASE invest in good at-home skin care as well. It’s pointless to get your car detailed and washed if you’re never going to maintain basic cleaning in the days afterwards. The same goes for your skin…what you do day to day matters most!

Thank you, Erin, for taking the time to share these tips with us. Erin and her team can be reached at erin@simplygorgeousbyerin, on Facebook, and on Instagram!

Stay tuned for “Part 2” next week – Nutrition Tips!

Vendors we Love: Will Talamelli Films

We are thrilled to feature Will Talamelli Films! Not only are we blown away by his talent, we have such a connection with this talented guy and he has become a friend to ALSW. We sat down with Will to talk about how he approaches your wedding day, his adorable daughter Adylae, and how he got his start in the wedding industry! Thank you, Will for taking the time to talk to us!

ALSW: How did you get into the wedding industry?
Will: I was doing some video production around New Haven for small businesses and restaurants. During that time my friend Matt Branscombe was building a really great wedding photography business. His client asked if he was able to record a couple clips, instead of being distracted and possibly missing a shot he asked me if I could do it. I took that as an opportunity to break into the wedding industry by making a six minute film of the day. I still had a lot to learn but that gave me the platform to get more work.

ALSW: What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
Will: The father-daughter dance is my favorite part. I keep picturing the day I’ll get to do that with my daughter.

ALSW: What do you feel is most important when meeting with a couple?
Will: It’s so important to be comfortable with the people you hire, because I’m with a couple during their entire wedding day. To me it’s important that after a few minutes we’re laughing like old friends.

ALSW: When making a film where do you pull inspiration from?
Will: Oh that is such a loaded question {lol}. I’m very interested in utilizing the environments I’m in and incorporating those characteristics in the film. I could literally talk about this forever but one of my biggest inspirations is listening to other creatives. Hearing how musicians, artists, film makers, chefs etc. think is very inspiring and makes me want to work harder.

ALSW: What should a couple expect when working with you?
Will: That I’m really easy going. Anxious energy is contagious and there are usually a lot of nerves on a wedding day so I try to be as calm as possible. Also, expect to see me in weird places for cool shots, bushes, flowers, high grass, even in a tree on one occasion.

ALSW: What would you say is your “style”?
Will: I call my videos atmospheric. Any environment I’m in plays a big part in the visual structure of my videos. I try to highlight the personality of the environment as much as I can and in a way make a separate character of out it.

ALSW: What is something you can’t live without?
Will: Aside from the obvious of my little girl, ice cream. I swear I’m an adult but ice cream is just the best.

ALSW:What state or country would you like to go back to, or visit?
Will: I really want to go to Japan and just eat everything.

ALSW: What is something that makes your day better?
Will: If we are talking a wedding day – when I am not worried about time. If there is a first look and I get all the romantic stylized shots out of the way I feel so good about the rest of the day. It’s the best feeling when you know you have all your money maker shots in the bag and the rest of the day is just creative documentation. There is just this feeling of relief to the whole process, especially knowing I don’t have to bother the bride and groom and take them away from their cocktail hour or dinner. I know my job is to make the best video possible for the couple and if I have to grab them for a couple minutes it’s not a big deal but I do try to respect the fact that a wedding day can be overwhelming and everyone needs a minute to breathe. So not having to do that is such a good feeling – but if there is a beautiful sunset I’m pulling them away from whatever they’re doing!

ALSW: What’s the most interesting place you’ve ever been to?
Will: Barcelona. I want to go back and do more exploring, I saw all the must sees but I’d like to experience the lesser known parts.

ALSW: What is your claim to fame?
Will: Hahaha, I’m not famous but I’ll take this opportunity to say this. I wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for the help of my friends. Matt Branscombe of BSC Studio gave me the opportunity to film my first wedding which I am forever grateful for and Amy Jones of Amy Champagne Events helped my business develop. She liked my work and enjoyed working with me so she sold me to 8 couples in one season. It completely changed my portfolio for the better and I’ll never stop being grateful for the risk she took on an unknown wedding vendor that she saw something in. Also everyone in the industry that recommends me, I always say thank you but it’s extremely flattering that an a very crowded industry the people I respect recommend me to their clients.

ALSW: What are some of your talents?
Will: I love film making in all forms but it’s not my only medium of art. I went to art school for illustration and painting, I’ve been a musician for 22 years and I’m a retired chef. I’m was actually the youngest chef in Connecticut to get an “Excellent” rating from the New York Times. Sounds like a brag but I worked so hard for that I’m not afraid to tell everyone!

We worked with Will on a promotional video for ALSW a few years ago, and we love it!

Below are two beautiful ALSW brides whose hired Will to shoot their wedding. Enjoy these short clips from their wedding videos!

Real Wedding Wednesday: Jamie & Will

Congratulations to our bride, Jamie, who married her forever love on September 15, 2018 at the Belle Haven Club! Jamie was exquisite in her Suzanne Neville Botticelli gown and lace jacket and her girls rocked their Hayley Paige Occasions dresses. We love how amazing they look in the all white color scheme! Congratulations to Jamie and Will on their spectacular day and below are a few of our favorite photos from her big day!

Jamie and Will’s wedding was featured on Carat’s and Cake. Click on the photo below to view the feature!

Tip of the Week: Do Your Research {Part 1 – Budget}

Chances are, if you’re engaged, you have BIG feelings about gown shopping. You’re either ready and excited and can’t wait to get started or you put it off for a while because you were a little nervous about the process. Or you fall somewhere in between. The good news is that we’re here for you and promise to make the experience a wonderful one. We have a singular mission in working with you, and that’s to find you a gown you love at a price you feel comfortable with an experience that leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling. That sounds great, right??

One thing we advise prior to coming in is knowing what you are comfortable spending on your bridal gown as well as your tolerance for fluctuations around that budget. Both are important to communicate to your stylist and something that we will ask you when we speak to you.

Additionally, establishing your own budget is step one, but we also recommend making sure you are comfortable with the price range of gowns a store carries before you visit it. Bridal gown shopping is fun but can be time consuming, and we believe the time you are spending should be enjoyable and productive. Walking into a place where the gowns are priced more or less than your budget is no fun for you. So make sure to ask that question and know the answer.

At A Little Something White, we have two different types of collections – “special order” bridal gowns and “off the rack” bridal gowns. With a special order bridal gown, you will try on an example of the gown in the boutique, and then we place an order for that gown from the designer in the size and color of your choice. With this type of order, you may also be able to make certain changes to the gown, or customizations, since the gown is being made for you only after we place the order. With an “off the rack” bridal gown, the gown you try on in the store is the exact gown you will be purchasing, and you will take it with you on the day of purchase. Gowns from our special order bridal gown collection may be priced anywhere from $2,000-$11,000, with the bulk of our gowns falling in the $2,800-$6,500 range. Gowns from our off-the-rack bridal gown collection may be priced anywhere from $1000-$3,500.

Vendors we Love: Brooke Allison Photography

Today we are highlighting Brooke Allison Photography! With her use of soft pastels and natural light her work has an overall calming effect. Brooke’s eye for detail and loving approach towards her couples makes her a definite favorite of our brides!

~About Brooke~

i’m brooke, and one day i woke up and told my husband, “i’m going to be a wedding photographer.” No, really. i said it aloud + believed it deep in my bones (my husband smiled back at me but secretly thought it was just dream talk). At the time, i was working long hours at a corporate marketing job and had never owned a camera of my own.

That was nine years ago and shooting weddings continue to take my breath away. My approach to photographing weddings is like Type A-control freak mixed with a free spirit who loves natural light; basically, let’s plan the day ahead as best possible so we are left with nothing but a day of possibilities … where we can get lost shooting together outside somewhere.

My favorite photos are the stolen moments where you and your loved one just breathe each other in. i like to blend into the surroundings, capturing the organic + candid moments that unfold.

i shoot anywhere + everywhere but especially love intimate weddings, backyard weddings, classic style weddings, weddings under a tent covered in drapery and twinkling lights but most importantly, weddings filled with sentiment + family + meaning. A location is nothing without a genuine love story.

i’m a wife + momma to a strong-willed + energetic little boy and sweet + cuddly little girl (they are the loves of my life + we fought hard to get them here). i drink french press coffee every morning, love antiquing (especially thrift stores in cape cod with my mom + sister every summer) and wild flowers in my house (in cute jars I’ve scored at a tag sale or thrift store).

i spend my afternoons gardening + watering our plants with my sweet boy (he loves to help and has his own watering can), could eat endless donuts (especially old-fashioned) and have an abnormally large china + glassware collection (all cheap + meaningless to most people but they make me so happy). Classic new england architecture and preppiness is my jam. And, of course, everyday is better when it ends with a beer (an IPA + the hoppier the better).

The commonality with all my brides is that something about my work + who i am + what i love resonates with them; i feel lucky that this often leads to a friendship + cocktail dates where we share our love of the target dollar bin + other fun stuff.

i hope that this tiny look into me + my work inspires you to connect.

You can follow Brooke and her beautiful photography on Instagram at @brookeallisonphoto (weddings) and @storiesofsentiment (family sessions).

Below are just a few of the many ALSW brides that Brooke has photographed!

Real Wedding Wednesday: Amy

Congratulations to our bride, Amy Yobbi, who said “I Do” to her forever love on October 27, 2018! Amy wore the Pronovias Ofelia gown and Toni Federici veil! Below are a few of our favorite photos from her big day!

Tip of the Week: Know Your Timeline

The ring is on, the champagne is popped to celebrate, the venue and date are set…..and now it’s time to gown shop! When is the right time to gown shop? We advise buying your gown 8-11 months before your wedding day. In the era we live in today of “fast fashion”, you may not realize that bridal fashion follows a whole new set of rules when it comes to timing. Don’t fret, we are here to demystify it!

One of the things I love about bridal gown shopping is the fact that you get to pick out a gown which is then hand-made just for you. That means it’s not hanging on a rack in some stock room…when we place the order for your gown, the designer and her team hand cut the fabrics, hand sew them together to the size and specifications we tell them, and then put on the finishing touches to make it perfect just for you. This is a garment unlike anything you have worn before and will likely ever wear again!

However, all of that magic takes time to happen. Once you pick out your bridal gown, the designer requests 6-8 months for production to make sure they have enough time to source the fabric, which often comes from special mills overseas, cut and create the gown, and send it through a rigorous quality control process.

So what if you don’t have 6-8 months? Not to worry! We have an amazing relationship with our designers and are often able to get gowns more quickly than that time frame, for a fee. We once got a gown made in a week! We also have an amazing selection of gowns available for purchase off-the-rack, meaning you can buy the gown and take it with you that day.

Once the gown has arrived, you will likely need alterations in order to get the perfect fit. At ALSW, our seamstresses require 2 1/2 months to perform those alterations.

So as you can see, 8-11 months before your wedding is the ideal time frame in which to order your gown. But remember, for ALSW brides, nothing is impossible and we are here to help you find the perfect gown!

Sareh Nouri Trunk Show: January 24th- 27th

We are thrilled to welcome the Sareh Nouri bridal collection to the boutique! The Fall 2019 collection and best sellers from prior seasons will be at the store for one weekend only. All brides purchasing a Sareh Nouri gown will receive $300 off their purchase during the trunk show! Appointments typically fill up several weeks in advance, so contact us ASAP for an appointment!

Sareh Nouri’s Inspiration
The Fall 2019 line is inspired by “Old Hollywood’s” iconic starlets, each gown is named after an actress who is the symbol of style & timeless beauty. Keep an eye out for Sareh’s NEW signature scoop neckline and the return of her waist synching cummerbund sash.
Sareh’s advice to ALSW Brides is to stay true to your aesthetic, yet stay open to new styles, you may be surprised what you fall in love with!
Price Range: $3,300 – $8,000

What is a Trunk Show?
We curate our everyday gown selection to reflect our brides’ unique yet timeless styles. Naturally, there are gowns from our designers that we don’t carry in store on a daily basis, because we only purchase a subset of each designer’s collection. The beauty of a trunk show is that our designers send us their new collection along with best sellers from past seasons. During the event our brides have an even larger selection of gowns to purchase from. As an added bonus, sometimes the designer or a member of the design team are present for the trunk show to work one on one with you. Trunk Shows make the shopping experience even that much more special and memorable! Make an appointment today!

Sara Gabriel Trunk Show: March 15th-18th

Join us Thursday, March 15th through Sunday, March 18th as we welcome the Sara Gabriel Accessories collection to the boutique. Brides who purchase during the Trunk Show will receive 10% OFF their purchase. Appointment times are filling up quickly, so contact us today for an appointment!