Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Want a smaller wedding but City Hall doesn't quite cut it for you?  How about an after five soiree?
The cocktail wedding is another option to a briefer, more intimate event than the traditional all day bash planned months ahead. Cocktail hour weddings offer an elegant, affordable alternative. Think about it: fewer guests, a shorter hemline and less cake and champagne can sometimes be more.  Small weddings are on the rise, especially for the couple with limited time and/or money. Some couples feel more at ease celebrating their nuptials as evening approaches with a few close friends and family. The dresses featured here are cocktail length and beyond. With some imaginative head chic and accessorizing we (you with me helping) can put together a knock 'em dead cocktail look.
 The cocktail dress is perfect for this wedding of the same name. These images from The Art Meets Fashion editorial are perfect candidates for the cocktail wedding.  Defined, cocktail length is a formal dress that's street-length or longer and typically made out of exquisite fabric or has special detailing. Though cocktail hour dressing can go either semi-formal or informal, the later doesn’t imply casual. It simply means you can go with elegant street-length attire; a higher hemline is acceptable and your groom (again following your lead) can skip the de riguer white or black tie if he chooses, getting into a raw silk or linen suit instead. On the other hand, remember, while attire for the cocktail reception is elegant, its never max formal. Think of cocktail dressing as anything from a chic mini to a fitted floor-length sheath. The fabric can be luxe. The photo below is a good case in point.
If you love 1940s fashion you're already tuned into what it takes to get 'The Cocktail Look'.  If you haven't caught Joan Crawford on Netflix  zone in on all the accessories here like the opera length gloves so perfect for evening wear.  Check out our model above.  She's carrying a beaded vintage purse (maybe in lieu of a bouquet) and her head chic is  a pancake cocktail hat with a shot of tulle.
Vintage jewelry is another way of creating that elegance reminiscent of  1940s cocktail looks.  Some of the pieces here are original Miriam Haskell from the 30s-40s.   Model Lauren directly above is wearing The FLEUR Cocktail Hat and FLEUR evening gown.  Gown price on request///  Header Photo: The GWYNETH Fascinator//Photos 1 and 2: The MOCHA Fascinator and MADELYN Dress//Below The YOLANDA Dress

AN ART GALLERY  If you're an avid art lover you probably know what kind of gallery you'll end up in.  Passing interest?  Pick any kind of art you like from traditional to contemporary.  These spots have wonderful lighting and tons of space that's already decorated for you.  In addition they're used to throwing parties and openings so if you keep the list on the lighter side they'll love you for it.

This is probably the first option you'll consider because most eateries and bars have the catering right there for you.  They also have themes whether its nautical and nice by the seashore, a roof garden with city panoramas, fusion cooking and decor, etc.

If you're lucky enough to belong to some organization with a great venue go for it!  These clubs can be anything from plush and old moneyed to concrete and moderne.

This could be your best friend's apartment in the meat packing district or something you rent by the night or hour.  If you're looking to save time and money this might not be your best option.  Open spaces like this usually require staging and this takes a lot of planning through florists, event designers, etc.  If, on the other hand the space has some essentials, it's worth a shot . . . .

If it's the right house or apartment I'd say there can't be a better or more intimate place for a cocktail wedding.

All dresses and head chic by Amy-Jo Tatum
Make up by Prettyologie
Jewelry: Studiolo of San Anselmo

Tuesday, June 30, 2015


Yesterday we celebrated Here Come The Brides, a salute to Pride.  Today the focus is all on your groom!  In the past we've had some truly incredible photographers shooting not only the brides in all their glory but grooms as well.  These images by Jenifer Low and Chyna Darner from  A Wedding at The Nimitz House are a kind of visual storytelling about dressing your groom.  Okay, so not just dressing him--throw in accessorizing and bringing him out in the best light.  Because I spend so much time custom making gowns for brides scrutinizing every last detail, some grooms amaze me  how quickly they can put a wowzer look like this together. Dylan used his own wardrobe for this shoot so I'm impressed with how he came up with The Frank Sinatra/Rat Pack Elan not only in the clothes he's sporting but the jaunty demeanor as well.  

 Photography - Chyna Darner

Photography - Jennifer Low
Venue - Nimitz Mansion 
Boutonniere: Sassy Diva Designs  
 Models-  Dylan Milanos
Olivia Lucci
Makeup and hair - Moderne Beauty

Monday, June 29, 2015


In the light of Friday's Supreme Court decision here are a few pics to celebrate Pride!  June is not only the time-honored month most couples get married also it is Pride Month around the world.  A couple days back I was on Tumblr uploading some images when I ran across these Pride Brides and their weddings. Add in a few great posts Bride Chic has run in the past and I'm hoping these hand-picked images offer inspiration to any of you planning, celebrating and feeling over-the-top about tying the knot on your own special day, your own special way . . 

Friday, June 26, 2015


Today's post is all about a few things great things rolled into one: First off, some incredibl imagery by Aura O'brien.  Next great thing you could call a DIY project.   To get this waif-in-the-woods look once the makeup and hair folks did their magic on lovely Hana, I wove in real and silk foliage combinations allover the gown and head piece.   Hana is wearing a Magnolia head wreath of silk florals mixed in with sprigs of real ivy.  The neckline of her gown is framed in variegated ivy as smaller pieces are dappled all over the tulle skirt.  If you want to try adding real flowers, leaves or ivy to your gown you can do one of two things: Have a florist do it or get with someone who's handy with a needle.  Sewing live foliage onto a gown isn't rocket science.   If you (or someone else) can bead, you can sew real live leaves on to fabric.  Just be sure to dry out the leaves/flowers/ivy a couple days before so as not to soil the silk.  Also you'll want to add all the pieces a couple nights before the wedding . . . 

Photography by Aura O'Brien
Makeup by Zoe King
Model Hana Alyssa

Thursday, June 25, 2015


                                                                                    Winter Tree Studios
Only within the last twenty-five years has the evening gown silhouette become so trendy for brides. Once upon a time bridal gown meant traditional. Traditional as in Tricia Nixon/Lucy Baines Johnson’s Priscilla designed gowns. Though both gowns were top of the line even by today’s standards, there was little variation on the concept of formal from 1960-1982. If you married in anything different than some form of satin, wore a short dress  or sported a suit, it was considered informal and you belonged at city hall.
The popularity of the evening gown silhouette was clinched when Carolyn Besette wore that incredible clingy crepe-back satin for her wedding to JFK Jr. back in the 90s. Before that the evening gown was around the bridal scene but more as  alternative wear; something you donned if you were an outside the box bride getting married in a garden or restaurant. Churches still had issues with clergy starring down into cleavage and guests feasting on bare backs and shoulders during nuptials. After Carolyn’s photos hit the media, designers brought out their own versions of the evening gown from Jean Harlow classics in drapy lightweight fabrics to sheath designs in more structured fabrics like faille. You have to admit, the evening gown silhouette has been one of the most beautiful additions to bridal wear.  Below are a few of my own creations . . . .
 The ALEXANDRA Dress is actually one of my crossover pieces that can go from Hollywood chic right into Boho.  If you look closely at most Boho, with the right accessories and styling most gowns can be worn with all the glam of movie star chic.  This embossed silk chiffon confection is lined in silk crepe. The side waist and back shoulder have drapes of flowing silk gauze--a fabric even lighter than chiffon.  The piece de resistance is the cluster of hand-rolled florals on shoulders and waist .  .
Above:  The BIANCA Gown all started with this rare piece of Valencienes lace. A slip dress of 4 ply crepe with the added lace overlay gives a real 1930's vintage feel. Lightweight and drapy, the crinkled surface of this particular crepe has an incredible swathe and drape effect making it a natural for the bias cut evening gown look. Added to the sides and back are silk organza godets that give off a modified mermaid silhouette.//Photo by Sweet Light Studios

Above: The PRISCILLA gown is actually a light weight wool crepe cut on the bias with a cowl neck and brush train. A simple and draped silhouette for women who love the concept of less is more
Above: From The Gatsby's Bride Collection The GEMMA Gown and veil that goes with it look like something right off the silent screen.  Dress has silk chiffon over liquid satin linings and a tulle cascade of hand-sewn Chantilly lace bordering up the front of the dress. Covered button closure down the back.  Back falls in a sweep train.

The FLEUR Dress.  Hollywood designers popularized the halter dress and the whole sophistocate look that goes with it.  Think Joan Craford and Bette Davis.  The sandwashed silk crepe used for this dress is light and has an awesome feel to it.  Perfect for the bride planning a vintage 30s-40s wedding//Photo by Lirette Photography

All gowns and head chic by Amy-Jo Tatum

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


The above is definitely one of my favorite photos of all time by the very talented photographer, Diana Maire.  All these striking and sensitive images hail from The Country Chic editorial. Not only do I love the photo composition, the dress in it has to be one of the best I ever created.  BEATRIX is a sweet rarity I dreamed up somewhere between Diorsque and Boho. It has the hourglass silhouette reminiscent of Dior  while sporting an ultra-romantic feel of a bohemian waif via the fabrics.  The embroidered organza bodice is trimmed with scalloped edging and skirt is 5 layers of ivory tulle over a silk taffeta circle skirt.  Available with separate crinoline under slip (not shown here)--see the link above . . . .

Tuesday, June 23, 2015


 Still going through a dilemma about The Dress?  Try this:  Imagine the clothes you wear every day amped up in finer fabrics and more defined silhouettes.  Next zero in on your venue and overall formality of the wedding or lack thereof. Wedding dates have a lot to do with decisions too. Are you marrying in New York City mid-winter where the couture goes haute or having a country picnic in late Spring?
Since there are no rules here, only guidelines, go ahead and combine styles if you like. Fusion gives your look individuality. Maybe you're a little punk and vintage all at once . . . Or cutting edge and classic. Whatever combo you fancy, your options are many. My motto has always been, "Read the rules then teach yourself the fine art of breaking them . . ."


Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn are your icons. Everything you touch is timeless, refined, sophisticated. A Hermes scarf and cashmere turtleneck could be your everyday signature look.
Your Dress: An A-line or sheath either strapless or with bateau or V-neck. You love any fabric that has understated elegance like traditional duchesse satin and peau de soie.
Favorite Designers: Kenneth Pool, Carolina Herrera, Reem Acra, Amsale, Anne Barge, Peter Langner
Your Venue: A mansion, country club or sprawling estate defines your dream wedding site.
Veiled: A drop veil tacked to the back of a bun.
Unveiled: A tiara of course
Elle is wearing: The 'Giselle' Gown.  Empire cut silk dupioni with hand-beaded Chantilly lace bodice. Top photo: Tulle drop veil //Below:
Alencon lace and Ostrich feathered Tiara and rose adroned silk dupioni and tulle fascinator

So you look into the best parts of the past to get your look, do you? Who wouldn't with such great laces and gemmies still hanging around from yesteryear? Like those satin baby-doll shoes from the forties better than brand new Jimmy Choos? Does an allover antique lace tablecloth make you think of restyling it into a gown? Then call yourself a Vintageholic and read on.
Your Dress: Mostly evening gown and chemise styles in lace and satin. You may be a 1950s retro buff who likes Candy Anthony type dresses with miles of skirt and tiny cinched waists.
Favorite designers: Pat Kerr, Claire Pettibone, Martin McCrea, Candy Anthony.
Venue: Almost anywhere the the Jay Gatsby daytime social can be reinacted. Landmark homes with acres of sprawling lawn are ideal but certain boutique hotels and B & B's work for the smaller bash.
Veiled: A cage veil adorned by head florals
Unveiled: A picture hat
Ana Marie is Wearing: Embossed chiffon gown with silk gauze detachable train with Rose cage veil.  Below: the organza rose cage veil and sisal picture hat


Do you love peasant styles and the flower child  looks of the sixties?. Are you earthy and ethereal all at once? Consider yourself Boho if your eye is drawn to gowns sporting diaphanous fabrics topped off with head wreaths made out of fresh florals and greenery like ivy.

Your Dress: Something long and flowing, crocheted and/or full of lace and tulle. 
Favorite designers: Temperley of London, Lanvin, Claire Pettibone, Elizabeth Fillmore.
Venue: Any wooded or pastoral setting
Veiled: A floral head wreath with a drop veil
Unveiled: A Daisy or flower chain
Elle and Ana Marie are wearing: Above-Chantilly lace and point d'esprit chemise with silk gauze handkerchief hem and a dried floral head wreath.  Below-Silk chiffon gown with flared hem and Magnolia head wreath with foilage.


Photography by Sweetlight Studios
Gowns and head wear by Amy-Jo Tatum Bridal
Makeup and hair by Artistry by Christal
Models; Elle and Ana Marie