Friday, February 19, 2010

Q + A: Joan Gilbert of Joan Glbert Bride

Joan Gilbert has an unparalleled ability to find the most flattering gown for every bride. Yes, that is a bold statement, but trust me - it is one that has proven true through many years and many brides. When prompted for bridal gown recommendations, I always guide my clients to Joan. I have complete confidence in her timeless style and knowledge of her craft. She is a master of fit and of finding a dress that makes brides look and feel amazing. I love to visit her atelier in San Francisco's Nob Hill neighborhood. It's intimate and stylish and the ultimate way to select a gown.

What should a bride do to prepare for a dress appointment?
Many brides are apprehensive about looking for a dress, but if you get some courage and do some homework it need not be daunting at all. Actually it should be a fun experience. Just keep in mind that no one is born a bride and the process of looking for a gown is one that develops and evolves.

First, look at photos online to get a feel of what appeals to you. However, I think trying on gowns is the only way to know what you look great in. Just be flexible, Knowing your body and what you want to emphasize and minimize will help. It is hard to visualize what you will look like in a wedding gown from the hanger . You just never know. Also have a sense of the "look" of what you think you want. But, that too can change.

How many dresses should a bride try on?
I think 12-15 dresses in the look and feel you want should suffice. Sometimes you are lucky and the first one "hits" If so, that is okay too.! Be careful of making a career out of dress shopping. You need to have trust in whoever is helping you. You want to be helped by someone who knows what she is talking about, not just telling you every dress looks great.

How much should venue play into the choice of the dress?
You should at least know if you will do a country wedding or an urban hotel. The venue really does set the tone.

Do you need shoes before deciding on a gown or not?
No need to select shoes first. It is the other way around.

How much lead time should a bride allow when selecting a gown?
4-6 months is a comfortable amount of time. But, don't freak if you have less time than that. You can find a fabulous gown!

How does she know if she's found "the one"?
You must feel that you look "drop dead" gorgeous. If you do, so will HE (and everyone else!). There are no "Bride Police " out there so have faith in how you feel you look. You are the star of this production, whether big or small. Just look at your self in the mirror and if you think"WOW' well that is what you want. If not, then move on.

What dress has been your best seller?
Hard to say because I personalize each gown for a bride's figure. Everyone has different issues. There is nothing more rewarding for me than to make any bride with any kind of figure think she looks so special and is such a knockout.

Any advice for a bride on a budget?
Do your homework before you make an appointment. You will be happy that you are not wasting your time trying on gowns way above your budget and end up being disappointed. Just because you are on a budget does not mean you cannot look fantastic. You can!

In your years of experience, what do you think is a formula for success in dress shopping?
Be selective about where you go and have some idea of what you are looking for. Go to places where you will get an honest and direct opinion, not where you are being told every dress is just grand! Because they are not. From my point of view, classic, stunning, sensual and chic look best and last the longest when looking at photos. You do not want to think, "yikes what was I thinking?" when looking at photos. Quality fabrics and great fit show up enormously in person and in photos.

Who if anyone should come with to try on?
I really think going alone works best. Because too many opinions can really mix you up. Especially because most others do not have your taste level. But, if it makes you feel better, bring someone who does have your taste level. If you have scouted the gowns and have narrowed it down to a few, it can work to have another opinion, but again someone with your same taste. And someone respectful of your taste.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Coming Soon: Q + A with Joan Gilbert

I'm working on a great Q + A with the witty and talented Joan Gilbert of Joan Gilbert Bride. Check in later this week for her tips on finding "the one" and more! {Photo by Meg Smith. Dress by Joan Gilbert.}

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Star Struck: Lauren + Mark

College sweethearts, Lauren and Mark, wanted an intimate wedding that reflected their beginnings together. Lauren's parents' estate in Portola Valley was a natural fit for their fall wedding with it's lush gardens and stunning landscape. The couple exchanged "I do"s under a sprawling oak tree and setting sun. As an ode to their beginnings, the ceremony string group was comprised of college friends of the groom.

At Cornell, Mark majored in astronomy, so we created a spectacular clear dinner tent so guests could feel as if they were dining under the stars. Guests enjoyed an amazing evening of fine food and wine, while dancing the night away to the tunes of Pride & Joy.

My Favorite Detail? I'm a dog lover and a complete sucker for the color coordinated ribbon collar that Lauren's mom made for the dogs the day of the wedding. Aren't they the sweetest?

Ceremony and reception at bride's parents' estate in Portola Valley. Photography by Meg Smith. Catering by Paula LeDuc Fine Catering. Flowers by Kathleen Deery Design. Dinner and dance band Pride and Joy through Innovative Entertainment. Tent and lighting by Classic Party Rentals. Bride's hair and make-up by Wallett. Printed materials by Union Street Papery. Bride's gown by Joan Gilbert Bride. Bridesmaid's gowns from Bella Bridesmaid.

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