expert advice

While your wedding is one of the happiest and most exciting days of your life, the truth is that it also comes with quite a bit of pressure! You want everything to be as you planned, but we’re here to tell you—sometimes things will go a little off course, and that’s okay. Whether it’s your schedule, your family dynamics or your emotions, you have to just roll with the punches.

We took an informal poll around the married ladies on our team to come up with a few of those things that they experienced on the big day. And they all say, it’s okay…

1. If your wedding dress gets a little dirty. That photo in the grass will be one of your faves!

via Kim Hayes Photography (ft. our marketing manager Brette!)

2. If Uncle Buck’s impromptu speech is going sideways. (“What he’s trying to say is love is blind…”) You’ve asked your mom to keep him in check, so leave it to her.

3. If all you want to do is spend some time alone before the big day. You’ve spent a ton of time with family and friends and definitely earned some “you time”. (Read: yoga, running, or yes, spa!)

via White Wave Dance

4. If you and your betrothed sneak away and hide for a bit. You might just need a break, and it’s nice to have a few private moments together amidst the craziness.

5. That you might feel awkward taking hundreds of photos in various poses with your spouse and friends. Unless you’re a full-time model, you’re not used to it!

6. If you cry the entire way down the aisle and through the ceremony. That’s what waterproof mascara is for.

via SnapKnot

7. If you didn’t take dancing lessons. You can trot the funky chicken and still look amazing.

Herovia Jeff Newsom

8. If you don’t save the top of the wedding cake and freeze it to eat on your 1-year anniversary. Chances are it won’t be very tasty, so just eat it now!

9. To be slightly more excited about the honeymoon than the wedding, because honestly, who doesn’t want to spend some time off to celebrate?

via Four Seasons

10. To eat, drink and be merry during the rehearsal dinner and reception. This is the start to a new chapter and you should enjoy it however you please!

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Sisters, friends, bridesmaids, maids of honor: this post is for you. If you have a friend who has recently gotten engaged, chances are you’ll soon find yourself on a shopping trip, looking for “the one.”

Being asked to go wedding dress shopping with a bride-to-be is truly an honor, but it can also be a day filled with pressure. Our friend Faye at OneWed recently had this experience and is here to share. What could be better than a wedding industry expert—OneWed is a must-read for brides!—giving us her experience firsthand?! Read on for her helpful list of dos and dont’s for the big day… of shopping, that is.

1. Do Know the Budget

Before you set foot in a store, gently ask the bride what the budget for her wedding dress is. Remember that number and don’t suggest a dress that costs significantly more. Talking about money is hard to begin with, and even more so when dealing with weddings. This conversation is best handled honestly, overtly and with a bit of levity.

2. Don’t Cross the Mom/Daughter Line

A bride’s relationship with her mother is sacred ground. Respect the fact that mom’s approval of the wedding dress is probably needed, even if you know the bride hates her mom’s taste in clothing. (Luckily, my bride and her mom get along fantastically and both have great taste.) The mother might have more influence if she is paying for the dress or she may have been planning her little girl’s wedding in her head her whole life. The point is: you don’t really know, and therefore, it’s best to bite your tongue and not openly contradict the mom.

3. Don’t Confuse Dress Shopping with the Bachelorette Party

One celebratory glass of champagne to calm the nerves and bring a smile to the bride’s face is perfectly OK, but what you don’t want is a tipsy bride. Drunk shopping is like drunk driving—don’t do it!

4. Do Let the Pros Lead the Way

You may read OneWed and the Nordstrom Wedding Suite blog daily, know the difference between a mantilla and blusher veil and have worn a bridesmaid dress more times than you care to count, but you are still not a wedding dress expert. Let the pros do their job and explain the details of each dress to the bride, walk her through the store, showcase the lines they carry and make appropriate suggestions.

5. Do Try Out New Silhouettes

I had a single wedding dress silhouette in mind for my friend and couldn’t imagine her in anything else. Boy, was I wrong! Fortunately, I followed my own advice and let the stylists pick out a variety of dresses, and after trying on a few styles, the bride picked the exact opposite of what I thought would work. She even tried on and loved a beyond gorgeous birdcage veil and Jenny Yoo chantilly lace shrug, two things I never would have chosen for her.



6. Do Think Before You Speak

When the bride walks out of the dressing room, your first instinct will be to either blurt out a comment or make a face. Instead, take a deep breath, give her a few seconds to look in the mirror, twirl around and face you. Then take a look at her expression and decide how to react. You may not love the dress, but if she has an ear-to-ear grin on her face, make sure to react positively. That’s your job!

7. Don’t Share the News On Social Media

This one is important! Put down the phone, stop Tweeting, don’t update your Facebook status and do not Instagram the bride in her dress. Some moments are meant to be special and a bit secret. When, how and with whom the bride chooses to share the dress she picks is up to the bride. Respect her desire to keep it all under wraps until the wedding guests and the groom see her walking down the aisle. That’s when you get to take all the pictures you want!

There you go! Seven simple steps to ensure that wedding dress shopping goes well. Not that hard, right? I’d also suggest a good night’s sleep, a sassy pair of shoes, your favorite shade of lipstick and being ever so thankful that someone you love has invited you to be a part of this huge moment. Happy shopping!

Thanks to Faye for these honest and thoughtful tips!

To connect with a Wedding Stylist for your big shopping day, check out our Wedding Suite locations. You can now pick your own appointment time and book online—even more convenient!

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Hers is a name you should definitely know, because her gorgeous wedding dresses will sweep you off your feet! We are so excited to officially introduce Kelly Faetanini as a new designer in our Wedding Suites across the country. This month, we have four of her gowns debuting: Georgina, Reid, Becky and Felicity. (How cute are those names?!) Browse them all online in our new lookbook, and get a closer look (and try them on) in store.

Because we adore Kelly herself as much as her designs, we thought you should have a chance to get to know her too. Here’s our Q&A with the New York-based designer—and newlywed—on all things bridal!

The Wedding Suite: You were married in May last year. Tell us how you stayed cool under all the pressures of your big day.

Kelly: We were married on May 5th, 2012, and the launch of my collection was two weeks prior—needless to say, there was lots of pressure from both ends! The first thing I did to stay calm and collected on the big day was to delegate as many tasks as possible to my wedding coordinator and my bridesmaids. It was wonderful, because not once did I have anyone running to me with emergencies on my wedding day!

My second-best piece of advice is to let go of everything and savor the moments. When you allow yourself to melt into the moment, you can focus on the wonderful things surrounding your day, rather than focusing on how hectic it is. Of course, there were little things that went awry throughout the day, but I made sure to let go of anxiety so I could enjoy all the amazing memories!

How much time did you spend designing your wedding gown? What did you discover about yourself and your design signature during this process?

Kelly: Creating my wedding gown was the hardest design I’ve ever had to do. I typically design collections about a year ahead of their launch dates, so my mind is always swarming with new ideas. It took me about two weeks to design my gown, and once I did, I decided it had to be final. I didn’t want to drive myself crazy by changing the design over and over, so I stuck to my instinct, and the gown came out beautifully.

During this process, I discovered the true mentality of a bride. I wanted a style that would be unique yet classic, sophisticated but romantic. I’ve always heard brides use these terms, but I learned their true meaning when I was designing my gown. This really shaped the way I design now. I try to ensure that every gown has a timeless feel with a modern touch.

You’ve said that your mission is to create a magnificent luxury experience for each bride. How do you go about doing this?

Kelly: Finding your dream gown is an emotional experience. I’ve witnessed brides struggling to find the perfect dress, and I believe that every bride should have exactly what she wants in her wedding gown. My brides can customize their gowns to make them uniquely their own, which I believe embodies the luxury couture experience. Brides can choose different fabrics, opt for beading or no beading, and experiment with removable necklines and embellishments. All of these little details make the experience of finding the perfect dress a luxurious one.


When it comes to gown selection, which one thing do you see brides struggling with the most? How can they overcome it?

Kelly: One thing that I see so often is brides struggling to choose a gown that their friends and family like. Everyone has their own taste—and sometimes what friends and family want to see is different from what the bride envisions for herself. Ultimately, brides should remember that they need to follow their hearts and choose gowns that they truly love themselves. At the end of the day, a bride’s family and friends will think she looks beautiful no matter which gown she chooses.



Which unique elements set your spring/summer 2013 collection apart from others?

Kelly: We strive to have a fresh perspective on designs each season. There are many beautiful gowns available by other designers, but we always offer something that’s unique. One element that’s become my signature is detachable components: each season, we offer gowns with detachable necklines and skirts. This is such a fun feature, and it allows a bride to have two or more looks for her wedding day.

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When it comes to creating a romantic aesthetic, no one brings the ooh-and-ah-factor quite like Hayley Paige, who enchanted us with her whimsical gowns for spring/summer 2013. A designer who’s new to Nordstrom, Hayley chatted with us about the process of finding her design persona, not being afraid to push the envelope on your wedding day, and which gown styles you’ll want to gravitate toward in the coming season.

The Wedding Suite: In terms of design, what makes a wedding gown a successful creation?
Hayley Paige: Confidence! As with most creative processes, staying true to your vision and executing that vision to the best of your ability is the most important factor. The language of accountability is a beautiful way of communicating to the bride.

Before venturing into bridal, you did a stint in ready-to-wear working for Jill Stuart. Which ready-to-wear techniques do you incorporate into your designs?
Hayley: It’s so important to present a balanced assortment. You want to deliver gowns that brides are asking for, but there also have to be some directional risks, wow factors and what I like to call “freshies” for an effective brand representation. As in ready-to-wear fashion, the bridal industry has a great deal of saturation. This makes it all the more important to keep evolving and interpreting a demographic while staying true to your aesthetic delivery. Getting my start in ready-to-wear was also important in figuring out my design persona. Biggest lesson learned: It’s nice to be important. But it’s more important to be nice!

Which fabrics, necklines and gown lengths will be trending for 2013?
Hayley: I’ve seen a lot of versatility with regard to interchangeable looks: adding a bolero, removing a skirt, detaching a train. In 2013, I definitely think we will see more gowns offering two looks in one. I’ve also had a ton of fun with sheer peekaboo details, illusion necklines and baroque-style beading. These are elements I will be integrating into next season as well. Although I don’t foresee too much novelty with regard to fabrics, you can always count on oodles of chunky embellishments, ombre accents of color and sheer elements of temptation!

Are there any Hollywood weddings that have inspired you? If so, what about the wedding caught your attention in particular?
Hayley: Gwen Stefani wins by a landslide! I was so utterly love-struck by her gown choice. It was the first time I saw a hot pink ombre wedding gown, which is why this was one of the first trends I was eager to incorporate into my debut collection. I’ve always been drawn to gowns that offer a playful juxtaposition in style. Whether it is twinkle versus matte, structured versus organic or modern versus shabby-chic, creating a lovely balance of sophistication and sass is my ultimate creative desire.

What three rules of style should every bride keep in the back of her mind when selecting her wedding gown?
Hayley: 1. Your wedding day is a chance to push the envelope, but that doesn’t have to involve changing who you are. I love brides who draw directly from their personal style but also up the ante! Your gown is an opportunity for a fantastical escape, but that doesn’t mean you need to do something wildly outside your personal style or character. You want your hubby-to-be to recognize you!
2. Avoid feeling confined by tradition. There is sparkle and splendor in being an “of the moment” bride. I think few things are better than looking back at wedding photos from previous generations and valuing the homage to that time period. Fashion is beautifully cyclical, so you don’t have to feel obligated to choose a dress that you foresee being “on trend” in 40 years.
3. I see so many brides getting too caught up in the details of the gown and overwhelmed by the process of picking “the one,” when in reality, it’s going to happen in the same way you found your groom: You’ll just know!

Describe your dream wedding.
Hayley: This is always one of my favorite questions, because my answer is playfully capricious. I don’t think I would be able to know what kind of wedding I would want until I knew who my groom was! Three things are for sure, though: There will be a ton of wardrobe changes, 50 shades of pink and lots of dancing.

Discover our selection of Hayley Paige wedding gowns at a Nordstrom Wedding Suite near you.

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Have a wedding in the works? Don’t get bogged down by the details! The Nordstrom Wedding Stylists are here to help you tackle the infamous wedding to-do list. Think of your Nordstrom stylist as your wedding coordinator—they’ll do everything short of walking you down the aisle…unless you really want them to do that too!

We’ve put together 12 countdown-to-the-aisle fashion checkpoints you should plan for, to ensure your big day goes off without a hitch.

  • Bridesmaid Dresses: The dresses of your BFF’s should complement and accent your own gown, so think about customizing their looks and ordering them in our Wedding Suite.
  • Mother of the Bride: She’ll probably be the one crying the most, so spoil her with a pretty frock.
  • Flower Girl/Ring Bearer: It’s the little ones who play the biggest part in maintaining the youthful joy of your wedding party. Outfit your flower girl and ring bearer in something playful and smart.
  • Rehearsal Dinner Outfit: Give your wedding party a sneak peek into your big-day style by donning a little white dress – a LWD, if you will.
  • Bridesmaids’ Gifts: Think jewelry, a pashmina or even a new Clarisonic: all thoughtful gifts to show your appreciation of their friendship and support.
  • Wedding Day Make-up: If you need a glam squad, our Laura Mercier artists can be there on the big day itself, to help you get glowing and photo-fab.

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Most brides want to feel and look like a goddess on their special day, which is probably why the brand THEIA, a collection inspired by the Greek goddess of light, has found a niche in the wedding gown market. We ask THEIA’s Creative Director, Don O’Neill, to enlighten us on how to find the dream dress.

Finding the Perfect Fit
“Know your body shape and what dresses look best on you,” says O’Neill. “It’s easy to figure that out, as it’s most likely the dresses that get you the most compliments! Your gown should be a similar silhouette, strapless, V-neck, slim fitted or a full ball skirt.”

Fashion Police Steer Clear
When it comes to opinions about your dress, O’Neill advises to go with a less-is-more approach. “Do take a trusted friend, or your mother, so that you can avoid too many opinions, don’t go shopping with a gaggle of girlfriends. A friend whose taste you trust will help you narrow down the overwhelming selection of gowns.”

Buyer Beware
“Buy your dress from a reputable bridal salon, such as Nordstrom, where they have a staff of expert seamstresses that will alter your dress to fit you to perfection,” shares O’Neill. If you’re planning on customizing your gown, be sure to properly plan out the time needed for all your alterations and adjustments.

Say Yes to the Dress
“When you try on the dress, THE dress, you will feel it in your heart! Go with that feeling,” says O’Neill, whose gowns keep stars such as Taylor Swift, Oprah Winfrey and Carrie Underwood looking camera ready.

The ideal dress for the modern bride: the THEIA Strapless Embroidered Lace Trumpet Gown with a floor-sweeping train for a fairytale finish.

Check out more of our favorite gowns and bridesmaid dresses in our fall bridal lookbook.

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