The Ultimate Guide to Sample Sales

A sample sale is not the same as a trunk show so let’s get that out of way! Trunk shows are special events where a bridal boutique will invite a designer (usually not located in the area) to show off their collection. It could be anywhere from a weekend or several days long. It’s a fantastic opportunity for brides to try on gowns from a visiting designer and appointments usually book up fast!

Samples sales however are first come, first serve for anyone who wants to get a designer dress at a large discount. The boutique allows you to try them on in the store and typically you don’t have a stylist who’s there assisting you. Sizes will range, and the dresses are usually well taken care of but you may not get something perfect since many women might be trying on the same dress. If it’s your first time trying on gowns it might not be a good idea to make a sample sale your first stop since you must decide to buy on the spot.

Tips

  1. Wear nude underwear…preferably a thong and a good strapless bra. You want to have as realistic idea as you can when you try each dress on.
  2. Know what your budget is. Usually the gowns will be organized by price range and this will help you stay within price range. Prices might be reduced from 20-80% but if you choose a newer style it may cost more.
  3. Bring a friend but not your entire crew. Too many opinions and different tastes will become overwhelming and won’t help you.
  4. Have an idea as to what style of dress you want. Keep in mind your body shape, areas you may or may not want to hide or accentuate. Knowing this in advance will help you sift through the dress styles you don’t want and save you time.
  5. Be sure to research the designer to make sure the styles they may offer will suit what you are looking for.
  6. Keep in mind that sample sale dresses can always be altered. Frays and lace can be trimmed and fixed up.
  7. Bring a pair of shoes as close to the height you plan to wear on your wedding day. Hems can be shortened not lengthened.
  8. Be aware of your timeline, while sample sale dresses are there and available, anything you may decide to order can take up to 8 months to be made and shipped
  9. Have cash ready, unlike regular wedding gowns where a deposit is made and the rest settled later- sample sale dresses are expected to be paid for up front.
  10. Have fun and be open to assorted styles of gowns. You may have your heart set on a certain style, but another might suit you just as well. I always say, never judge how a dress looks on the hanger, sometimes once you put it on it surprises you!

Ask your planner to keep an eye out on any sample sales in the area and to let you know so you can get prepped, primed and ready!

Spring bride cleaning guide

Spring brides are eagerly anticipating their big day and since most of the important items in their wedding checklist are completed why not indulge in some Spring cleaning? Here is a list of 45 things that you can throw out now, so you can make room for the upcoming new with your soon to be spouse!

  1. Old holiday décor
  2. Stretched out hair ties
  3. Out of date makeup
  4. Old makeup brushes
  5. Out of date magazines
  6. Unmatched earrings
  7. Unmatched socks
  8. Socks with holes in them
  9. Scratch or busted sunglasses
  10. Old receipts you don’t need for tax season
  11. Skincare older than 6 months
  12. Expired hair products
  13. Scarves that you never wear
  14. Old phones
  15. Beat up books
  16. Old T-Shirts
  17. Dried up nail polishes
  18. Expired medications/vitamins
  19. Worn out bras
  20. Beatup running shoes
  21. Expired coupons and food flyers
  22. Old electronics
  23. DVD’s you don’t watch
  24. Belts you don’t wear
  25. Empty/almost empty products of any sort
  26. Tarnished/Jewelry with missing gems
  27. Old mail
  28. Expired gift cards
  29. Old paperwork
  30. Worn out/unused purses
  31. Ratty bedsheets
  32. Old pillows
  33. Old/broken electronics
  34. Delete and unsubscribe to ecommerce sites you never shop at
  35. Product samples that are ancient
  36. Delete junk mail
  37. Delete old music and playlists
  38. Clean out old pics and screenshots from your phone
  39. Delete old apps you don’t use
  40. Delete old texts and contacts- do it.
  41. Old school books
  42. Stained and frayed washcloths
  43. Store rewards you never use
  44. Boxes/shoe boxes
  45. Empty jars/storage containers

International bridal designers you may not know

In celebration of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month we wanted to take a few minutes to recognize some incredible women who design some of the most stunning gowns in the weddings industry. Women are accomplishing wonderful things around the world every day and these ladies contribute to one of happiest moments in someone’s life by creating masterpieces for them to wear on the day they get married.

Alessandra Rinaudo- Italy

In the workshop in Saluzzo, Alessandra Rinaudo, watched the work of her grandmother and mother. There, she learned to appreciate the quality of a French lace, to identify the best Italian silk, to capture the value of embroidery to exalt the beauty and originality of a dress. In expanding the company she has been able to satisfy a variegated target creating six lines with a defined character: Nicole, Alessandra Rinaudo, Colet, Jolie, Romance, Aurora.

Lesia Gown Lilith Labella

Anna Campbell- Australia

From humble beginnings in Melbourne, Australia Anna Campbell‘s natural love for design, romance and all things that sparkle inspired the dream that is Anna Campbell. Inspired by the romantic decadence of times gone by, yet influenced by the relaxed, carefree elegance of modern weddings. From the beautiful collection of dresses that Anna designs each year, every incredible silk gown is completely customizable and unique to each bride.

Alyssa Chloe Ruby

Celestina Agostino- Paris

At age 30, Celestina Agostina returned to her initial passion which was fashion, sewing and creating beautiful wedding dresses for women. Learning her skills from a costume designer, Celestina Agostino went onto open her own couture house in Paris in 1993. her intuitive approach to design, that starts with an interview so that Celestina can get to know her client inside-out and create a gown that matches her personality and her personal world. Grounded in design expertise, her instinctive methods have paid off with an international clientele whether they want to look like a Jane Austen heroine, a Hollywood icon or a natural, boho bride.

Celestina Agostino 1 Celestina Agostino CELESTINA-AGOSTINO-R011

Ersa Atlier- Romania

Two sisters, Gabriela and Cristina Antonescu graduate The National school of Fine Arts in Bucharest, Romania. They meet Doina Levința, the most famous Romanian designer and scenographer.  After spending more than 7 years in apprenticeship, they opened their own atelier in Bucharest, Romania. Soon after they start showcasing their craftsmanship and creativity internationally. In 2013, Ersa styles take America by storm, during the 4th Annual Bridal Show in Chicago.

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Celia Kritharioti- Greece

Designer Celia Kritharioti is a globally distinguished designer and owner of the oldest Greek fashion house, which was established in Athens in 1906. Her talent, vision and aesthetics reflect on all her creations. Her mission is to present the best image possible of every woman who chooses Celia Kritharioti creation.  Celia had the honor of designing the costumes for the Greek National Opera productions of “Romeo and Juliet” and “Swanlake” She presented her first ever show in Paris during Paris Fashion Week Haute Couture on January 25th 2017.

Celia Kritharioti Celia4

 

Black History: Wedding Traditions

In line with the celebration of culture, uniqueness and love, we decided to share some of the wedding traditions in the African American culture that are still celebrated today. Most of these are still practiced today but couples have the ability to put their own personal touch on some of them to make it more special on their big day!

Kola Nuts

Used for it’s medicinal and healing properties, this nut is important to West African weddings since it represents the families and couples willingness to heal. In some African countries this nut is shared amongst the couple and their family and that is what completes the ceremony.

Tying the Knot

A common phrase we use today when referring to a couple getting married but in African culture- it’s literally tying a knot! Some African tribes have a close friend, family member or officiant ties braided grass or piece of material around the wrists of the couple. This then symbolizes their unity and commitment to one another.

Jumping the Broom

A widely known African wedding tradition that originated in the days of slavery when slaves were forbidden to marry or live together. The broom represented all past problems that have been swept away and jumping over it symbolized publicly and formally their marital union. Today, these brooms are beautifully decorated and often displayed in the home!

Broom

 

Crossing Sticks

Not as well known as jumping the broom is the crossing of tall sticks between the couple. This wedding tradition also dates back as early as the slavery era. Representing the life force as well as power within the trees, when they are crossed the couple conveys their hopes for a formidable and grounded beginning.

Money Spray

Popular on the West coast of Africa but not limited to a few other cultures, the money spray is the tradition of tossing money at the bride while she dances. This is gift from the guests that help the new couple get their lives started….make it rain! (Couldn’t help it…)

Money spray

Tasting the 4 Elements

This is a ritual that originated in Yoruba that has the couple taste 4 flavors that symbolize 4 emotions in their marriage, typically bitter, hot, sour and sweet. These flavors emulate the good and the bad that may accompany marriage but ending in sweet if you endure the others.

Knock, knock

In Ghana, the groom comes bearing gifts and knocks at the door of his soon-to-be in laws since much emphasis is put on “permissions” or getting the “blessings” of the families that are being joined. If his knock is accepted, the celebration and planning for both family begins!

Adios 2017!

2017 is coming to a close and if I might say…good riddance! We want to share some of our biggest highlights from this year!

Cody and HindShe Said Yes!

So as with most of us girl squads, mine has a Whatsapp chat called “Le Crew”. This picture message in our chat pops up after midnight on NYE Dec 31st 2016 from our bestie in Ottawa and her giant sparkling ring…announcing her amazing beau of 5 years popped the question! These two gorgeous specimens had their engagement party in October of 2017- Next stop…Dubai 2019 wedding!

 

Updated Website

I was so thrilled that I was able to sit down with my graphic designer and make the changes I wanted. I needed a different way to showcase some of my work rather than a boring gallery.  I wanted to tell a story and make it distinctive to each couple. We added in an “as seen” section that notes all the publications we’ve been in as well as updated our available services.

Check it out!

Personal

So I moved…again. (Sigh…) Not one of the more enjoyable things I had to do this year but it had to be done. I was previously tucked away in between York Mills and Sheppard on the Yonge line and as of October this year, I am right back down in the mouth of the beast- Yonge and Bloor. The noise, smells and wind tunnels are more than enough for me to wish I was back where I was. Our place is cute and homey but the downtown insanity is exhausting to look at let alone live in. Oh well…here’s to Starbucks meetings and shopping in Yorkville?

Prince Charming proposes

Britain Royal EngagementBy Prince we mean Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (the amazing Rachel Zane from Suits) got engaged and are to marry on May 19th 2018 at Windsor Castle…I can’t WAIT to see who designs her dress! Nothing like a Royal wedding to get us excited for a new year right? For more details see my previous blog post!

Style Shoot

elegant-wedding-toronto-winter-spring-2018-cover-w800-h2000-w800-h2000Oh Elegant Wedding Magazine family, how I love you all! Some of the most hard working, talented and incredible vendors contributed to the styled shoot for the Winter/Spring 2018 issue that JUST hit the stands on December 18th 2017! Soooo go grab a copy and stay tuned for my next post that will give all the details of the shoot! Don’t forget to follow us on instagram: @avpevents

 

A Royal Engagement: Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to wed Spring 2018

Royals 2Another royal wedding will soon be upon us this coming Spring 2018 and we are SO excited! Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got engaged earlier this month and made their first debut today and they were both just gushing-adorbs!

Not sure what this will mean exactly for her acting career (since I’m obsessed with Suits and may suffer a breakdown if she leaves the show) but none the less we couldn’t be happier for the soon to be bride of His Royal Highness Prince Harry.

The ring
Photo: AFP or Licensors

The Ring:

As a beautiful tribute to his mother the late Princess Diana of Wales, Harry had the ring designed with the two outside stones from his mother’s personal collection.  The larger centerpiece is a beautiful (and rather large) diamond from Botswana, sentimental to the couple as they spent much time there together. All three stones are colorless and finally Cleave and Company created the lovely gold band.

 

We can expect the Royal wedding to take place at St. Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle in May 2018. Meghan will be baptized and confirmed into the Church of England and will likely become a British citizen.

Meghan’s on-screen father in Suits, Wendell Pierce, took to his Twitter, congratulating the newly engaged couple and gave his approval “Harry, you have her TV Father’s blessing. Robert Zane approves.” So do we!

Sourced from https://www.theguardian.com

Images: Getty Images; AFP or Licensors; US Magazine

Black Friday Deals…for Brides!

Black Friday is here and it’s not just about scoring a new tv or bed, this is the time of year to knock a few things of your wedding to do list…and maybe save while you’re at it? Yes!

Favors

This is one of the best times to buy in bulk if possible. Department stores like Target, Walmart will have non-perishable favors like sunglasses (beach), tea cups/mugs (winter), passport holders (destination). Once you have them all you can customize them with tags or pretty packaging.

Shoes

Inside weddings Badgley MischkaWho doesn’t love a good shoe deal? Have a style and height in mind, comfort will be key so don’t impulse purchase. Trying them on and doing a walk through of the store is important, make sure nothing pinches or is too tight. Be sure to ask about the store return policy if exchanges are permitted and keep your receipt and original packaging!

 

Le Dress

This might require a bit of digging but start off with your local bridal shop and see if they have any trunk shows to clear out older inventory. If you’ve been checking the price tag of one particular dress; you won’t get it at a lower price before it gets redistributed. This could be the opportunity to fine “the dress”.

Accessories/Jewelry

Another no brainer. As with shoes, there is always a hygiene issue with earrings so before you buy, get the return policy information. If you scored shoes then look for hair pieces, necklaces and earrings that will compliment them. If you ended up with a dress or already have one, be sure to consider the neckline and how you will wear your hair. Generally, if you have a higher neckline, a necklace might be too much but some longer earrings could work.

dressesBridal Party Attire

Welp! Black Friday bridesmaid dresses won’t get better than this! What more could you want? Girls day, shopping, saving money and ticking this off your to do list! Be sure to have everyone’s measurements and be ready to buy if the right opportunity comes along that fits the criteria you are looking for! One last time…check the return/exchange policy and make sure you keep those receipts!

With a bit of advance research, this year’s Black Friday can be unbelievably productive for any soon to be bride!

2018 Bridal gown trends: Atelier Pronovias

New York Bridal Fashion week yet again brings us not only the best designers but the most striking and glamours bridal gown designs. 2018 Atelier Pronovias did not disappoint…here are just a few.

Risuena Dress
The Risuena Gown

Dress pronovias

The Rachel Gown

Pronovias2
The Roine Gown

The Runis Gown

The Runis Gown

Pronovias5

The Ronda Gown

Romeo gown

The Romeo Gown

Pronovias4
The Roxana Gown

Resal

The Resal Gown

Reinado gown
The Reinado Gown

Pronovias

Bridal nirvana comes to mind when looking at all the lace, mesh, sparkling embellishments, whimsical capes and sleek fabrics.

Photos via Love My Dress

 

Designer Spotlight: Galia Lahav

“My favorite part about designing for a bride is bringing her childhood fantasy of her wedding to life. Every girl I work with shares how she has dreamed about this day her entire life, and it’s my absolute pleasure to make that dream come true.”- Galia Lahav

If there is any wedding dress designer who’s work I drool over and dream of and essentially need in my life, it’s Galia Lahav.

Her attention to intricate details and who custom designs her gowns to fit every inch of the body, every gown is one of a kind and created with the bride’s individual preferences in mind. (We were not trying to rhyme but hey…).

Born into a Russian family of seamstresses, she began not in designing but making custom lace appliques. It eventually evolved as brides started to reach out with requests for dresses with her custom laces and 2 years later, here she is.

Now creating her exceptional designs in Israel, here are a few of my absolute favorite gowns from each of her collections. I suggest you sit down, this is going to get intense!

La Dolce Vita Collection (Veneto & Florentina gowns)

La Dolce Vita 1   Florentina.PNG

Les Reves Bohemians (Blossum & Belle gowns; Tiger Lily gown; Crystal gown)

Blossom and Belle.PNG  Tiger Lily.PNG  Crystal

Le Secret Royal (Lily rose gown; Guerlain gown; The New Suzanne gown; Gia gown)

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My final and absolute favorite collection…Victorian Affinity

(Charlie gown; Lia gown; Lizzy gown; Rayne gown; Sterling Cape; & my love Thelma)

Charlie.PNG

Lia  Lizzy

Rayne  Sterling Cape

Thelma

Images via www.galialahav.com

AVP Real Wedding: Miguel & Michelle

Miguel and I go back to high school so when he contacted me and asked me to help plan his wedding naturally I was over the moon happy! His fiancée Michelle was lovely and we got to meet at Kleinfeld Hudson’s Bay downtown Toronto as she tried on a slew of gorgeous gowns.

There were many obstacles these two had to overcome amid all the planning, their daughter Mia was under a year old and that took much time and attention. They had also bought a new house, were renovating and had several setbacks.

Everything came together at the Trent Port Marina, tucked away in a town in the southern part of Ontario on the Bay of Quinte. Very quiet, quaint town where everyone knows everyone (I grew up close to there so it was nice to be “home”). It was an intimate setting of close friends and family for the ceremony and dinner. Michelle and Miguel exchanged vows in the late afternoon and then the party started.

The one thing I won’t forget about this wedding is the way they both looked at each other the entire day. It was with such love and certainty, I was so honored to be a part of their happy day. See more on my website

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Planner: Ashley Victoria Productions//Venue: Trent Port Marina//Catering: Tomassos//Linens, Napkins & Chair Covers: Chair Cover King//Photography: Images by Montserrat