Saying Yes to the Dress and more


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Before the “to have and to hold,” there is usually the “to plan and to chart.” Planning a wedding is no easy task, and what’s popular can change as quickly as your Pinterest board.

Thankfully, there are a few current trends to provide some wedding guidance. The one overarching theme: vintage. Traditional, classic looks and ideas are back in style. So, moms, dust off that old wedding dress for your daughters — it might be exactly what she’s looking for.

Everyone already knows that it can be a lengthy process in finding the perfect wedding dress (unless it’s Mother’s Vintage), but there’s another type of dress that requires time and effort — the mothers’ dresses. The mothers of both bride and groom (or bride and bride or groom and groom) are important parts of any wedding, and they don’t have it quite as easy the fathers, who are putting on their best suit or renting a tux.

Jan’s Boutique in Cherry Hill, N.J., specializes in exactly this type  of dress. It has an inventory of more than 10,000 dresses in sizes 000 to 34, making it a hub for people in the surrounding areas, including  Baltimore.

When it comes to mothers’ dresses, classic and sophisticated is the name of the game in recent years, said Paul Virilli, one of Jan’s owners. “We’re seeing a lot more [dresses] that are clean — no rhinestones, no embellishments,” he said.

People frequently underestimate the amount of time it takes to get a dress. It’s likely the store will have the exact style with the exact color with the exact size, so there needs to be plenty of time to order and have any alterations made.

Virilli’s best advice? “It’s never too early to start shopping.”

The throwback to the classics is true not only with dresses, but also with catering.

“People are going back to traditional, which is so interesting,” said Nancy Sachs, the director of catering for Simply Elegant in Pikesville. “If you stay in the business long enough, you see things come back around.”

More couples are renting vintage furniture, such as old farm tables or purposefully worn-looking chairs, and serving from them.

In terms of food, food stations are very popular, Sachs said. This could include anything from a raw bar or mac-and-cheese bar to a mini-station (with mini-sirloin and Portobello burgers) to a coffee station.

Candy stations, often collected in a brightly colored piece of vintage furniture, make for a live uniqueness to a lot of spaces, Sachs said. Couples are looking to put their own signature on a venue and the wedding itself, she added.

“Most of the time these days, it’s really the bride and groom driving the train,” she said, as opposed to previous years when it was often parents who had a lot of say.

When it comes to choosing the venue, there are many  options. Outdoor weddings, or those hosted in large barns, are very popular among couples. Bars, hotels and country clubs offer other popular choices.

A growing trend, however, is choosing places for those events leading up to the wedding such as engagement parties, bridal showers, the pre-wedding hair and makeup for the bride and bridesmaids and “first-look” photography.

Lisa Gardner, director of sales and marketing at the  recently opened Ivy Hotel in Baltimore, said she’s seen a number of brides use the Ivy for the pre-wedding getting ready, since it includes a  spacious spa.

Additionally, “first-look” photography — when the groom sees the bride for the first time — is definitely on the increase, Gardner said, with numerous couples using the Ivy’s location for that moment.

Planning a wedding is stressful, but keeping in mind some of the recent trends can take some of the burden off in idea-generating, making it easier to get from the “to plan and to chart” stage to the final desired “to have and to hold.”

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