Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fabulous Nina Shoes & Accessories

Looking to accessorize you and your maids from head to toe? Need to find that perfect color shoe for your maid’s dresses… or add some extra sparkle with some fabulous earrings? Well, look no further. Nina Shoes and Accessories has everything you need put the final touches on your gorgeous dresses from Bella Bridesmaid. Dying to see just what we’re talking about? Here are some of our absolute favorites…

1. Cerise Veil
2. Maize Veil
3. Evelixa Peep-Toe-Pump in Grape Luster Satin
4. Forbes Peep-Toe-Pump in Steel Luster Satin
5. Gwenyth Bridal headpiece
6. Briella Bridal headpiece
7. Norway Ballet Flat (available April 15, 2012)
8. Sophia bracelet
9. Monique necklace
10. Gale earrings
11. Flores earrings
12. Kiera bracelet
13. Eiffel earrings
14. Eden necklace
15. Tessi earrings
16. Quinn bracelet

Friday, January 20, 2012

Hello Tangerine Tango!

Have you heard? Pantone's color for 2012 is tangerine tango. Ok, we get For a bridesmaid dress? "Won't my gals look like a pumpkin patch?" you may ask.

We happen to love a orange toned wedding here at Bella Bridesmaid. Think out side the box...mix it with shade of soft pink or peach, or a metallic neutral like gold or bronze. Corals and oranges are typically chosen for a Fall wedding, but we love it for a late Spring garden wedding, a beach wedding with the sand serving as a gorgeous neutral backdrop, or a cheery Summer backyard wedding.

Here's how we would style "tangerine tango" using neutrals and soft peach tones. We'd love to hear how you would use this punchy color for your wedding!

1. Amsale, G625C shown in Coral

2. Nina Accessories, Gold Mirror Glitter Finola Handbag

3. J. Crew, Featherweight cashmere cardigan shown in "Light Nectar"

4. Nina Shoes, Freja Open-Toe Pumps shown in Gold Royal Satin

5. Kendra Scott Jewelry, Danielle Earrings in Pink Rose Quartz

6. Kendra Scott Jewelry, Paley Cuff Bracelet in Petal

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Meet & Greet: Haley, owner of Houston

From bridesmaid to bride, and now an official Bella Bridesmaid owner, Haley Grayless has become Houston’s go to lady for the best bridesmaid dresses in the area! Originally from Georgia, Haley was a customer of Mandi Jackson, owner of the Atlanta boutique. After working with Mandi and seeing what a great opportunity Bella offered, Haley decided this was simply something she could not pass up. We wanted to get to know a little more about Haley, and what her experiences have been over the past four year owning Bella Bridesmaid Houston…

BB: What did you do before owning Bella?

H: I worked for a boutique investment bank specializing in the oil and gas industry.

BB: Why did you want to become part of the Bella franchise?

Haley pictured with her husband, Ryan and son, Nate.
H: I am originally from Atlanta, Georgia and I worked with Mandi, the Atlanta Owner, twice as a bridesmaid. I had so much fun working with her that when I got engaged it was an easy decision to want to work with her again. I remember thinking at the time I was choosing my bridesmaid dresses how much I would enjoy having her job. After I got married, I was sick of working crazy hours and had always wanted to own my own business.  I saw the Houston territory was for sale, and the rest is history. I think my husband thought I was nuts when I told him I wanted to quit my job and sell bridesmaid dresses for a living. Four years later and we haven’t looked back!

BB: What is the most memorable moment so far in your boutique?

H: Wow! That’s a tough one. I’ve had a lot of good laughs, and have made a lot of sweet memories. But if I had to choose…probably the day I added the key to the store onto my keychain. I know it sounds cheesy, but as a little girl I would come up with logos and business ideas for the store I wanted to open one day. The day I added the store key to my keychain was surreal. I was terrified, excited, overwhelmed but there was no question in my mind this was what I was suppose to do.

Haley's mother and her maids wearing their yellow veils!

BB: What is your favorite bridesmaid dress that is hanging in your personal closet?

H: Ha! It’s actually pretty funny. Some of my favorites aren’t even the ones I’ve worn in weddings! I have some of my mom’s old bridesmaids dresses that she wore from the late 60’s and early 70’s that I use to play dress up in when I was little. One has a lace bodice with long, cuffed sleeves and a crushed purple velvet skirt. It’s fabulous! My mom’s bridesmaids dress from her wedding is actually my favorite. Her maids wore long yellow dresses with, wait for it...yellow chapel length veils... unbelievable, we’ve come a long way!

Haley with Amsale (middle)

BB: We were told you had a star struck moment at the NYC Bridal Market… can you share some of the details?

H: One of the most exciting things that happened to me this past year was when I met Amsale Aberra! I have always admired her designs and even selected one of her gowns for my wedding. When we found out her company was hosting a dinner for all of the Bella owners while we were in New York for Bridal Market, I never thought she would attend. I’m not usually one to get star struck, but when Amsale walked through the door my mouth nearly hit the floor. The girls were teasing me because they had never seen me move as fast as I did to go introduce myself. What amazed me is how humble and appreciative she was!

Angie Harmon via Celebrity Bride Guide

BB: What would you say is your fave celebrity wedding dress?

H: I have always loved Jackie Kennedy’s dress when she married JFK. I just love the detailing and the long lace veil. There’s something so regal and timeless about lace veils. I also love Angie Harmon’s wedding gown. Simple. Elegant. Timeless. I’m a sucker for “twirly” dresses, you know, ones you can get a good spin on out on the dance floor. I chose an Amsale wedding gown very similar to Harmon’s for my own wedding.

BB: What are a few of your most versatile styles at the moment?

H: There are about four that I’ll pull for a bridal party which will tell me what my clients’ style is for her wedding: LulaKate “Zoe”, Amsale G425C, Swoon “Barbados”, and the TwoBirds Ballgown. Those four are so different which helps me figure out the brides likes and dislikes, and then we can go from there based on her bridesmaid’s body types. And of course the new trend, whether any of the girls are pregnant… there’s something in the water in Houston!

LulaKate "Bridget"

BB: What is the best wedding trend you've seen recently?

H: I LOVE RUFFLES! I know it’s not a new trend, but I can’t get enough of them. LulaKate does a great job of offering different styles of ruffles that you can add to any of their necklines. I’m also really excited about the silk organza dresses Ivy & Aster is offering in their new Bella Bridesmaid exclusive collection, Love Lane. I’m all about different fabrics and textures and silk organza offers great body while still giving the movement girls are looking for in silk chiffon.

                                                           Thank you Haley!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Our Interview with Coren Moore

Talented designer, mother of three, historian and environmental enthusiast… Coren Moore is a lady that does it all! Coren’s unique, chic styles excite brides all over to dress their bridal parties in only the best. The seemingly endless array of fabrics and colors, from shantung and seersucker to tiffany blue and emerald, accommodates any bride’s vision for their big day. Taking a brief pause, Coren shared a little more about how she got her start and even her own high school fashion faux pas…

BB: What do you think has been the most important factor in the success of your business?

CM: Customer service and a high quality product. We make everything in NYC so we can ensure timely deliveries. We put our brides and stores first and do everything possible to help make the day go off without a hitch.

BB: When designing for women, specifically bridesmaids, what are your inspirations?

Coren and her team at the Martha Stewart Weddings party
CM: Classic, timeless American icons of style…CZ Guest, Grace Kelly, Jackie O, Audrey Hepburn, Lauren Hutton, Ralph Lauren, Slim Aarons photographs…you get the idea! I majored in History at Bowdoin College and have always revered American style and spirit. My bookshelf is also full of interior design books for inspiration - Sister Parish, Albert Hadley, Kelly Wearstler, Charlotte Moss, anything published by Rizzoli. I recently heard Carleton Varney speak and love his use of color. Planning a wedding incorporates many elements of interior design - choosing a color palette and overall style that carries through to the many details of the wedding – from the font used in the stationery, to flowers, dresses, linens, reception site, photography style. For brides, planning their wedding and choosing these elements allows them to express their personal style. When I design a dress, my first criteria is to make sure it’s something I would wear! Then I make sure it will flatter different figures, and keep it from being too “bridesmaid-y”. But I always envision the dress in a wedding and how it will fit with a bride’s vision and style.

BB: Was there a specific event or person in your life that led you to begin designing bridesmaid dresses?

CM: I would say planning my own wedding in 2003, as well as being a bridesmaid. Too often, I had experiences in stores where I felt pressured, encountered unhappy or intimidating salespeople, had to order dresses in sizes we had never worn, that came in and weren’t close to fitting. I thought - weddings are about love, friendship, happiness – this should all be more fun and pleasant. Since then, the wedding industry has changed and it’s refreshing to see there are many options for dresses that feature off the rack sizing, made by smaller boutique dress labels.

Jennifer Garner, Image via Gloss

BB: If you could give any famous woman a makeover, who would she be and how would you style them?

CM: Jennifer Garner. She always looks amazing on the red carpet, but for every day I would bring in better fitting, more colorful items.

BB: What high school trends are you embarrassed to admit you followed?

CM: I graduated from high school in 1993, in Connecticut. Laura Ashley dresses were the trend back then, when I look at our group pictures, it looks like we are all wearing floral curtains! Girls today look a lot cuter.

Bella Bridesmaid bridal party in Coren Moore dresses

BB: If you weren't a designer, what career path would you have chosen?

CM: There are so many! On the creative side - Interior Design, Landscape Design, working at Christies, Sotheby,The National Trust for Historic Preservation. On the personal fulfillment side, I would want to do something cause related – a company focused on solving environmental or healthcare problems.

BB: What is your favorite dress in your collection?

Coren Moore's Lauren dress
CM: The Lauren is my new favorite. It is very simple, but with the structured fit, softer boning, and straight skirt… it’s a little bit sexy and a little bit sophisticated.

BB: Any advice for certain styles on different body shapes?

CM: Our signature is our fitted bodice. It is structured and supportive, with boning and interfacing, designed to hold you in and camouflage problem areas. The thicker fabrics that we use, such as faille and shantung, enhance the structure and fit. The bodice cinches in and sits higher up on the waist, flattering the waistline and creating an hourglass figure. This top flatters most body types. From here, you can choose a full skirt for larger hips, or straighter skirt such as the Lauren. What it comes down to is a question of personal style.

BB: What are you carrying in your purse?

CM: Clinique Black Honey lipstick, Essie polish (“Island Hopping”), car keys, wallet, iphone, peppermint gum, jelly beans, scissors, crayons, paper…and many other random things! I have 3 girls, ages 5, 3, and 1 so you can imagine the collection!

                                                                                                 Thank you Coren!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Meet & Greet: Erin and Kathleen, owners of Chicago and Milwaukee

Kathleen & Erin

Mother-daughter duo, Erin Casey Wolf & Kathleen Casey opened the Chicago store in September 2007, and not long after the Milwaukee store in April of 2008. These two marvelous ladies have fallen in love with everything weddings but certainly have a great passion for dressing brides and maids alike! Working and managing two stores keeps these gals busy, but we wanted to hear a little more of how they came to be Bella owners…

BB: What did you both do before owning Bella?

K: I was a financial consultant and commodities broker at the Board of Trade in Chicago before I paused my career to raise my three girls - Erin, Colleen and Mary Kate. Erin worked in media at Starcom MediaVest Group in Chicago and New York.

Erin, Kathleen and Maureen, Chicago store manager

BB: Why did you want to become part of the Bella franchise?

E: My mom gets TOTAL credit! She was stranded in an airport, traveling for my sister's lacrosse tournament. While on her fifth wedding magazine, I got a call - "Have you heard of Bella Bridesmaid?" We were in bridesmaid dress selection mode and I wanted each bridesmaid to wear their own style in varying shades of the same color. Great in theory, but tough in execution without a boutique like Bella Bridesmaid in Chicago.

I, of course, thought she was CRAZY when she mentioned that franchise opportunities were available and that we should consider it, but after visiting San Francisco and meeting Bridget and Nick Brown - we knew that it was the right opportunity at the right time for us. It really was a perfect fit.

BB: What inspired you to open up your sister location in Milwaukee?

Friends & Family Sample Sale "Dress Up"
K&E: We knew there was a tremendous need for this kind of shopping experience in both Chicago and Milwaukee - the Midwest. Milwaukee is only 90 minutes away and we were so excited to bring Bella Bridesmaid inland (at the time, stores were only on the East & West Coasts and in Houston). We've loved building our relationships with Milwaukee wedding vendors and enjoy working with Wisconsin brides planning for different venues and reception sites. It keeps things exciting and interesting.

BB: What are the most memorable moments so far in your boutique?

K&E: We had a friends and family sale to raise money for our favorite charities this past summer. Despite having tons of friends and family local, attendance was lower than expected leaving LOTS of champagne for those who did visit. Four words and a photo to summarize the event -


Ivy & Aster "Gemma"

BB: What are your favorite bridesmaid dresses that are hanging in your personal closets?

K&E: We try to wear Bella dresses every day in the shop and for special occasions, so we have LOTS! New ones on order that we know we will wear to death...

E: Ivy & Aster Gemma in the Monet print and Coren Moore's Alex

K: There is one style in particular that Amsale wore herself on The View. Look out for style G692C in January.

BB: Tell us about a favorite recent bride that has an interesting story/wedding.

Maura's wedding. Image by Robyn Rachel Photography
K&E: We are very lucky to have so many friends and family here in Chicago and there is nothing more special than getting to be at the wedding after seeing the months of hard work and decision-making. Erin's friend, Maura had a wedding that looked so stylish because she varied the Lela Rose colors throughout the bridal party. We also loved working with our cousin Kathleen who looked stunning in her Saja bridal gown. She is an incredibly talented florist too and everything, including the bridesmaids Charcoal Amsale dresses, came together beautifully!

BB: What are your fave celebrity wedding dresses?

Image via She Knows
Image via Simple PrettyWedding
E: Grace Kelly, specifically the cinched waist and shape of the skirt. Obviously the lace is divine too.

K: Jacqueline Kennedy. I love her veil - such a classic piece for that time period.

BB: What's your go to dress for a busy Saturday in the shop?

Ladies with Coren Moore at NYC Bridal Market '11

E: Whatever we have in for a trunk show. I LOVE getting new styles in. My latest fave is the Mamie + James collection.

K: Coren Moore is a great line, because of the fabulous styles and color options.

BB: What would you say is the best wedding trend you've seen recently?

K&E: We love the idea of varying the colors through the bridal party - even patterns. We are currently OBSESSED with Molly Sims wedding and dressed our mannequins today in Joanna August's super stylish new CEREMONY line to replicate.

                                                                                                             Thank you Erin & Kathleen!