Wedding Bliss

Getting married? Better start studying. Planning a wedding takes work, no matter how simple the ceremony and reception. Procrastinating is not an option. Cramming is. Think of the following as a study guide.

Focus On Weddings


Study, study, study

Brush up on what to wear, send, serve and hear at Prima, an afternoon of wedding seminars, displays and demonstrations by some of the area's top wedding professionals. Highlights include a preview showing of bridal and bridesmaid's gowns by Priscilla of Boston and Vera Wang, buffet luncheon by Linwood's/Due and seminars on everything from attire and invitations to gifts and entertainment by wedding consultant Elizabeth S. Bailey.

The event runs from noon to 4 p.m. Jan. 30 at the Cloisters in Brooklandville. It costs $35 for a bride and her guest to attend. To make reservations, which are required, call 410-557-4494.

The look

Now for a pop quiz. Pick an actress whose style best describes the look of today's wedding dresses:

a) Ally McBeal -- short, short

b) Jennifer Aniston -- (right) sophisticated and bare

c) Ellie May -- frills, frills and frills

d) none of the above

The answer, in case you didn't know, is b.

Dresses for the Big Day have not only gotten simpler over the last few seasons, they've gotten skimpier up top, too.

First there were classic sheaths, then spaghetti straps atop tulle ballerina skirts. Now gowns are going strapless.

It's shocking at first, but then the look sort of grows on you. Consider the satin strapless sheath from Lady Eleanor (above, $350). Sure, your grandmother would have a fit at the very thought of her baby baring her shoulders on her wedding day. However, the dress is spare, elegant and sophisticated. And if you ever embark on a new career as a lounge singer, you've already got something to wear.

Available at David's Bridal, which has stores in Rockville and Glen Burnie. For a store near you, call 800-399-BRIDE.

Bright ideas

What's hot for weddings, according to the newly launched In Style Weddings:

Bridal hair: A flurry of jeweled or pearl scatter pins instead of a veil

Bridal shoes: Yves Saint Laurent silver stilettos

Bouquet: Sunset-colored roses bound with yellow tulle and golden ribbon

Rings: Anything platinum

Invitations: Your new monogram

Music: Two bands, a polka band and a wedding band, or an R&B band and a swing band

Color: Silver, as in silver-rimmed dishes, flower containers, tablecloths

Must-have accessory: Man's best friend, appropriately attired, of course. (Yes, we mean a dog.)

Drinks: Vodka, coffee

Wedding cake: Tiny individual tiered mini-cakes

Favors: Personalized conversation hearts

Little something extra: a $100,000 fireworks display

Lasting memories

The new kids on the block in wedding accessories have something unique for you.

The wedding accessories for sale at the Hannah Elizabeth Collection in Stevenson are just the thing for traditional brides and grooms who want the items they select for their wedding to be not only of good quality, but also something they will treasure in years to come.

The store, which opened several months ago, is the result of a partnership between Hannah Keys Rodewald of the Pleasure of Your Company and wedding consultant Elizabeth S. Bailey. The women have scoured artist studios and showrooms around the country searching for items which "are not typical card-store items," Bailey says.

Some finds:

* Satin, silk and crocheted lace garter, Brocare, $19.95

* Personalized brocade ring-bearer's pillow, Jill Krasner, $44.95

* Handmade, linen-bound guest book detailed with dried flowers and satin ribbon and filled with unlined pages so guests can write more than just their names, Rag & Bone Bindery, $69.95

* Bride-and-groom bubble gum, Kencraft, $2.50 each

By the numbers

1,270: Number of pages in the February/March issue of Bride's magazine

4.8: Weight of magazine in pounds. The Guinness record for "World's Largest Consumer Magazine" was broken (according to Bride's).

$25,000-$27,000: Average cost of a wedding in 2000, according to In Style Weddings

$200,000: Cost of fashion designer Erisa Katsura's one-of-a-kind Millennium gown, with hand-applied platinum leaf

$249: Cost of a designer wedding dress at Filene's Basement's legendary sale

A perfect fit

Now for some math.

Mom's wedding dress is a size 6. You're a 12. Short of calling in a magician, is there any hope of wearing her dress down the aisle?

Yes, according to Robyn Flipse and Jacqueline Shannon, authors of "The Wedding Dress Diet" (Doubleday, 229 pages, $14). The book is no magic bullet -- the weight loss plans inside advocate a balanced diet and exercise. But the book also includes helpful tips on managing wedding-related stress, handling potentially disastrous pre-wedding eating events and finding the right wedding dress for your figure.

Groom's new duties

The old definition:

groom / n.

Person bride will marry whose only wedding planning duties are to show up at the church on time.

The new definition, according to "For the Groom" by Colin Cowie (Delacorte Press, 133 pages, $24.95):

groom / n.

Person the bride will marry, whose wedding planning duties may include choosing the menu and wine for the reception, selecting a band, arranging transportation for wedding guests, buying cigars, writing thank-you notes, making honeymoon travel arrangements, and getting a facial, haircut and teeth cleaning two weeks before the wedding.

What, no bouquet toss?

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