Posted by: Viviana M. Rueda Image | January 15, 2009

Bridal Recessionista

So I’m getting married in November and true to form, I’m doing things the Viviana way rather than the standard issue, everyone else does it this-way. I mean, I bought my wedding gown before setting the tone of our wedding and now I’m setting the tone of our wedding to my gown – what would one expect of a Fashionista?  I mean, really?  Given the business that I’m in naturally there is a certain element of glamour when dressing women or men for formal affairs, but honestly we tend to focus primarily on personal branding and the reality of daily life, i.e. training them on how to use their image for a positive impact, and effectively using their budget to have a functional wardrobe that fully supports their personal goals and ambitions…sometimes this means a little glamour but not the all out, glamazon fashionista you look like you walked onto a red carpet or into a society ballroom type of glamour, which has become my wedding state of mind.

lady-diana-weddingOkay, so like 99.9% of women have some sort of a  fairytale love affair with weddings.  It’s our time to indulge in creating an atmosphere that is solely the vision of you and your groom (okay, family plays a part in it of course, but you know what I mean).  Every woman has had a wedding in their mind that was spectacular whether it’s their dreamy contemporary-chic vineyard wedding or a glorious cathedral wedding a la Princess Diana.  And mine has always had illusions of glamour, well, because when you spend your summers helping your Wedding Dress Designer Godmother finish socialites’ wedding gowns you get it in your head that everyone has these sumptuous and glamorous weddings.  How’s that for preconceived notions?

Princess Diana Wedding

Princess Diana Wedding

Take the fact that I’m fascinated by glamour, couture, bling and everything having to do with luxury (I’m a luxury-loving Taurus what can I say) and add that to a tanked economy and what do you get?  A Recessionary Fashionista (sounds like a political group) or a Recessionista.  What does that mean?  It means I’m having my cake and eating it too Ms. Antoinette!  How?  Creativity darling, creativity.

Romona Keveza - Encore Bridal

Romona Keveza - Encore Bridal

Darlings if you love couture, why pay full price unless your are Lauren Davis?  Check out couture bridal consignment extraordinaire Julie Jones of Encore Bridal, I found my dream, 1930’s Hollywood Glamour-inspired Ristarose gown there for (ahem, less than a bride should be able to get away with legally).  Truly, if couture is what you are after, get ye to the exquisite taste of this Bridal Fashionista.  Not only does she have style in spades but Julie provides the level of service that one expects at a salon where the prices start at $5,000.

And ps you can make your own veil…buy a pattern from Vogue, some tulle, some crystals, pearls, etc from Michael‘s, a glue gun and you are on your way to a beautiful veil, or you can pay up to $400 for one.  Recessionista says, get crafty…Martha Stewart is and she’s a stylish billionaire

Here’s a really wonderfully convenient thing about wedding attire as it relates to the shoes.  Guess what?  Unless your groom plans on twirling you over his head on the dance floor or you are doing the traditional wedding garter thing, odds are that your shoes will be visible to..oh, NOBODY, and if they do see them, they’ll be too drunk to see if they are designer or not. So, what I recommend is that you hop onto your online resource for bargain shoes and shop away!  Better yet, go to Macy’s or Bloomies, or (egads!) Sears and see what they have to offer in the “fancy” shoe section.  Are they going to be Manolos, uhm no!  But you wouldn’t do to your Manolos what will probably happen to your wedding shoes after hours of tramping through the ceremony, the reception and then the dance floor until the wee hours of the morning.  My point is this – Go Recessionista budget by shopping the less expensive stores because you’ll trash your shoes.  Also, look for COMFORT!  This is key, you may even discover that your typical three+ inch heel will not do for your wedding day because it’s quite a feat going 8-10 hours in high heels.  Eschew the traditional wedding boutiques and online sites for shoes…they will charge you an arm and a leg ladies!  Buy shoes that you can reuse after the wedding thereby truly getting your highest bang for your buck.  If you really must buy specific wedding shoes, customize them at Artyce Designs.  They’ll not be recession-friendly prices but at least you’ll have customized and unique shoes to show for it!  Think Value Ms. Recessionista.

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Diamonds are a girl's best friend

Diamonds baby.  Oh yes.  I’ve always adored diamonds.  In fact I believe I used to chew on my mother’s wedding band when I was a baby –  Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.  That said, the reality of shopping for diamonds after you’ve watched your IRA leap down an abyss, is…ahh, no bueno.  So for the Recessionistas of the world I suggest two options, well-designed, white gold or sterling silver Cubic Zirconia (CZ).  Who will know?  You and only you unless you plan on showing your diamonds to a jeweler at  your wedding who’ll be conveniently equipped with a loupe.  Seriously, anyone getting that close of a look at your wedding finger better be your husband or your jeweler or you’ve other complications to contend with.  Suffice it to say that a very worldly and chic friend of mine went eight years with a beautiful CZ as her solitaire with no one knowing the difference, except her jewelery designer.  If that’s not your thing, then consider synthetic diamonds. For some people it’s not even the recession but they’ve political issues with buying African diamonds, well then grow your diamond.  They are exactly the same thing people!  And they can be lower grade or even higher grade than natural diamonds.  For some spectacularly well designed and tasteful wedding jewelry I recommend Emitation.  These people really have their act together for the right price. It’s a Vivendi Fashionista must.

Tejani Wedding Necklace

Tejani Wedding Necklace

Or check out Tejani. Gorgeous designs, at a slightly higher price point but uhm still decidedly less expensive than diamonds and for those of you who still want the real thing, you’ll have to skip the diamonds but opt for elegant and dainty at May Yeung Designs.  This designer specializes in quality designs using gold, silver, pearls, and Swarovski crystals all at prices for the Recessionista.  She’ll also do custom designs for some bridal parties.

Planning, planning, planning.  Wedding vendors are hoping that you don’t do your research because my dear ones there is indeed a dirty little conspiracy called the “let’s mark it up because it’s a wedding”.  Knowledge is power and once you’re armed with an understanding about the costs related to reception sites, photography, flowers, etc, etc, etc…then you’ll be able to a. find the type of deals that you need and want and b. negotiate from a position of knowledge.  You should also consider talking to 2-3 wedding coordinators.  Although some do prefer to throw lavish affairs others will save you on costly mistakes and will negotiate for you so that you stay within your budget.  I recommend The Haber Event Group and Cassandra Santor..  Lastly, bear in mind that the economic slow down is hitting EVERYONE, even the wealthy have slowed down in throwing lavish events, ergo party locations, restaurants, caterers etc all need the business right now.

Suggest Recessionary Wedding Planning Books:

How to Have a Big Wedding on a Small Budget

Bridal Bargains, 9th Edition: Secrets to Throwing a Fantastic Wedding on a Realistic Budget

That’s my recessionista bridal planning insight for now.  I’m off to shop online vendors for party favors – Recessionista + Internet =’s True love.



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