2013 Trends: Bridesmaid Dresses with Bridget Brown of Bella Bridesmaid

We can’t believe that it’s already mid-July, where is the summer going?!? In this month’s Trends feature, we reached out to Bridget Brown, founder of Bella Bridesmaid, to provide us with the latest and greatest in Bridesmaid dresses.  According to Bridget, 2013 is all about having some fun while styling your bridal party.  In this interview, Bridget shares her fashion expertise and advice for helping your Bridesmaids look and feel their best on the big day.

Bridget Brown

Bridget Brown

Q: Tell us a little bit about Bella Bridesmaid and your role within the company.

A: I founded Bella Bridesmaid in the spring of 2000, after seeing a need in the bridal industry for a boutique dedicated to chic, modern and wearable bridesmaid dresses. My first store was a tiny one room Victorian walk-up in Cow Hollow. We are still in Cow Hollow on Union Street, but in a bigger space with many more fabulous dresses! I franchised the company in 2006, after many emails from brides across the US asking where they too could buy a chic bridesmaid dress for their maids. Thirteen years and 43 stores later, our SF flagship location is still running strong at 2250 Union Street!

Bella Bridesmaid

Inside Bella Bridesmaid

Q: Choosing the bridesmaid dresses is one of the most important decisions a bride has to make.  When do you suggest a bride come into the shop to start the process? How long does it typically take for a dress to come in?

A: All of our dresses are made to order, and not stocked, so we highly recommend coming in at least 6-8 months before the wedding to help you choose your dresses. Your dresses will typically arrive 4-6 weeks before your wedding, giving your maids ample time for alterations.

Sample Dresses at Bella Bridesmaid

Sample Dresses at Bella Bridesmaid

Q: How much time should the bridesmaids set aside to get their dresses altered?

A: Depending on what you need altered, a few weeks is usually enough time.

Bella Bridesmaid

The Salon at Bella Bridesmaid

Q: Should the dress that a bride chooses match her overall wedding color scheme?

A: We’re seeing so many amazing and unique ideas these days. The days of matchy-matchy are long gone! I always think it’s a good idea to come in with an idea… albeit a far reaching one.  While it’s important to keep in mind your chosen venue, season, favorite color etc., there are a lot of ways we can start the process of talking about what the maids should wear. We’re seeing a lot of mix and match bridal parties, where the bride gives the gals a palette or designer, and then lets them choose a dress within that range.  Brides have also been choosing a combination of patterns and solids and then allowing the maids choose their style within that range. We’re seeing mixing of patterns, colors, and hemlines.

Right now I’m mad about STRIPES! Striped dresses are super popular and perfect for a preppy wedding. Unique, pattered dresses a refreshing departure from 6 maids in identical dresses! After all, they don’t all have identical personalities and body shapes, right?!

Sassy Stripes from LulaKate

Sassy Stripes from LulaKate

Q: What are some of your favorite dress designers?  Are there any new designers we should keep our eye out for?

A: We are loving the new dresses from Ivy & Aster and their subsidiary company which is exclusive to Bella Bridesmaid stores, Love Lane. Think flowy frocks in muted tones, florals, and polka dots. You’ll see these dresses in most of the Bella owners’ closets for everyday wear!

Phoebe by Ivy & Aster

Phoebe by Ivy & Aster

Gemma by Ivy & Aster

Gemma by Ivy & Aster

Q: Which styles of dresses do you suggest for various body types (busty, tall, short, pregnant, etc.)?

A: This question is a perfect example of why we embrace the idea of the bridesmaid choosing her own style! Mini lengths have made a big comeback and work great for the petite gal. Cap sleeves, wrap necklines and v-necklines work beautifully for a fuller bust because you can wear a normal bra for support. Pregnant gals look great in an empire waist that will allow for a growing tummy!

Margurite by Ivy & Aster

Margurite by Ivy & Aster

Q: Which colors are we seeing less of in 2013?

A: For 2013, it’s less of the bright, punchy colors and more of the softer muted tones.

Q: Are there any dresses out of your 2013 collections that you think are particularly exceptional?

A: We love the new Mamie and James pieces with mix and match tops and skirts.  Mixing and matching allows the bridesmaids to have a cohesive look and feel but choose a top and skirt style that is not only flattering to their body, but also something that fits their personality and that they will wear again! There’s even a darling little pant included in this collection. Tres Chic!

Mix & Match Options from Mamie + James

Mix & Match Options from Mamie + James

Thank you, Bridget, for all this fabulous advice!

Makes us want to run out and go dress shopping.

In case you missed it, click here to read out last TRENDS entry, featuring Florals with Atelier Joya!

Fashion Fix: Interview with Kelly Edmonson of ban.do!

This week, the team at Stacy McCain Event Planning decided to have some fun and indulge our fashion forward, party loving,  girlish selves a bit.  We reached out to Kelly Edmonson, Director of Marketing at ban.do, to update us on all the fabulous ban.do pieces that brides and socialites alike are enjoying this year.  We have to admit we’re a little jealous that Kelly’s day-to-day involves playing with  feathers, sequins, confetti and glitter!

Photo by Max Wanger

Photo by Max Wanger

Q: First, tell us a little bit about ban.do and how it all started.

A: ban.do is an LA based design house specializing in accessories that really pack a punch! It all started in 2008 by two stylists, who’d both created similar headpieces for different occasions.  They then thought, “Hey, these are awesome!  Other people would love these… we should sell them!”  In the beginning, ban.do was purely one-of-a kind couture pieces made out of vintage flowers, lace, ribbons, and other pretty things.  The problem with this philosophy was that once these beautiful one-of-a kind pieces were sold, they were gone forever.  As  demand for the product began to grow, we started to make pieces that we could duplicate multiple times, and now we design pieces that we are able to produce on a grander scale.  ban.dos for everyone!

The ban.do girls!

The ban.do girls!  Photo by Collin Hughes

Q: How would you describe the typical ban.do girl?

A: The ban.do gal is fun and definitely loves a good party.  She loves all things that shimmer, sparkle & shine.  She is strong & silly and also cool & quirky.  She stands out in a crowd, and she always keeps you on your toes. The ban.do gal likes to sip champagne cocktails, dance under disco balls, and toss handfuls of confetti.

Photo by Max Wanger

Photo by Max Wanger

Q: Tell us about ban.do’s range of products.

A: We do it all these days!  ban.do products range from our signature ban.do mini heart, mini pom pom flower, or flash bobbi sets (which start at $10) all the way up to black label pieces (priced at $350) and everything in between.  Our new motto is “all day every day”; we firmly believe that there is an appropriate ban.do piece to wear to any occasion ~ big or small ~ at any time of the day or night.  ban.do = all day every day!

ban.do Heart

ban.do Heart

Mini Poms

Mini Poms

Flash Bobbi Set

Flash Bobbi Set

Q: We absolutely love your bridal and black label collections and think they’d be perfect for the bride who wants something different and unique for her wedding.  How did you go about designing these collections, and where do you find inspiration?

A: It’s all about vintage party dresses and starry Hollywood nights.   As far as where we go to gather inspiration, there are lots of trips to the flea markets and nowadays, hours and hours spent on pinterest (we are totally obsessed!).  After we gather our inspiration, we create a mood board and start to piece together a collection.  In all honesty, it usually never turns out like we planned, but the end product is so much better than we could have ever dreamed.

Empress Tiara

Empress Tiara from the bridal collection

Love Struck

Love Struck from the black label collection

Bridal Rose Halo

Bridal Rose Halo from the bridal collection

Good Time Blast Riot Comb

Good Time Blast Riot Comb from the black label collection

Q: Which colors, styles and products in your collection have been the most popular in 2013?

A: This year, pink and red are staple colors in our world… and gold, we are big on gold!  Women absolutely love the flash bobbi sets and buy them in every color.  The sparkle and shine sets are fabulous, the twist scarfs are a dream, and the ladies go crazy for our headbands!  Of course the signature ban.do heart, and pom pom flowers are always hot sellers too.  We are launching our new line very soon, so there will be lots more (and other awesome stuff) where that came from!

Sparkle & Shine Bobbi Set

Sparkle & Shine Bobbi Set

Sequin Scarf

Sequin Scarf

Metallic Scarf

Metallic Scarf

The Big Shot Sparkle Headband

The Big Shot Sparkle Headband

Sparkle Headband

Sparkle Headband

Q: What’s the most unique or over the top use of a ban.do product in a wedding that you’ve ever seen?

A: The brides who wear black label are always a little more over the top, but generally our brides tend to find the piece that truly fits their personality and helps them shine on their wedding day.  We love to see brides wearing ban.dos! It’s like adding sprinkles to your very favorite ice cream.

Photo by Our Labor of Love & Max Wanger

Photo by Max Wanger

Q: What is your all time favorite piece for bridal attire?

A: Hands down, the crystal swirl bobbi.  This is such a stunner!

Crystal Swirl Bobbi

Crystal Swirl Bobbi

Q: Which ban.do products do you think would make for good bridesmaids gifts?

A: We have so many options for bridesmaids gifts… there are way too many fabulous choices!  I would say it is a toss up between the ban.do iphone case or our mini hearts.

ban.do iPhone Case

ban.do iPhone Case

Mini Hearts

Mini Hearts

Q: Do you ever work with brides to create custom pieces?  How does that process work?

A: In the past we’ve created custom pieces for brides and absolutely loved collaborating with them, but we’ve taken a break from this for the time being… there are not enough hours in the day! We hope to bring back custom pieces in the future.

Photo by Max Wanger

Photo by Max Wanger

Q: Finally, which ban.do piece would you wear in your own wedding?

A:  Ha! Well if that ever happens, I think I would wear one of our super fab black label combs.

Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder from the black label collection

Flora Bunda

Flora Bunda from the black label collection

Cake Eater

Cake Eater from the bridal collection

A big thank you from all of us at SMEP goes out to Kelly for providing us with our weekly fashion fix!

Be sure to check out the following adorable ‘how to’ video that the girls at ban.do put together featuring their fabulous pom poms.  After all, a girl can never have too many poms!