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Full fashion on the sidelines.

Short or long, tea or multi-length, bridesmaid gowns confirm the look a bride wishes her lovely ladies convey. They wait for a cue to take their coordinated place in the wedding of a friend or relative.

Variety spices up individual gowns, plus an entire look. Some brides choose a color and charge attendants with interpreting it by style and shade. Others hold out for a consistent look, letting flowers and accessories blend or contrast the composite.

Katie Surkamp of Clarice’s Bridal sees touches of lace added, as well as flirtatious high-low skirts from back to front personalizing silhouettes. A wise bride aspires to select gowns that flatter all her attendants. If she has a male in a feature role, she may consider ways to coordinate an element of his attire, too.

Color scheme is integral when choosing gowns.

Even if the combination seems typecast straight from the rainbow, the bride undoubtedly has selected it to coordinate her vision. Because not every color favors every woman’s features, a little experimentation should help find hues or shades that flatter all attendands. Overall intent is to have bridesmaids feel beautiful and comfortable, so inviting them to help decide on style or details may foster future relationships.

This quartet of bridesmaid dresses spans looks and lengths, but each one showcases color, style and fun. All the short dresses, left to right, are from Bridal Manor, the full-length gown is from David’s Bridal.

Like cotton candy, pink in lux chiffon pleasantly appeals without overtaking the spotlight. Lisa Liefer’s stylish wear-it-again dress has a strapless neckline and draping eases the bodice and flirty cocktail-length skirt.

A full-length gown in navy satin looks elegant and sophisticated, yet flows with flattering ease and drama for Emily Bahn. A sweetheart neckline edges the top of the draped empire bodice. A removable brooch points out where a wide pleat eases into the comfortable skirt’s slimming silhouette.

A glacier-colored cocktail dress of tissue taffeta reflects the day’s joy and skims Taylor Scheibe’s outline. Crisscross pleats shape the bodice, soft gathers and pleats accent the artfully draped tube dress.

Attention on a sangria cocktail dress worn by Grace Thouveno starts at the top. Flounced flowers accent the strapless neckline, while vertical gathers form the bodice and pleating emphasizes the waist.



A Few Thoughts on Her Shoes.
It’s not only about the dress. For some brides these days, the shoes are commanding as much attention as the gown. Brides are kicking aside the classic white or ivory pumps in favor of bright pops of color, floral patterns, those bedazzled with bling, accentuated with feathers and lace, and even their own customized pair.
“A designer wedding gown may be out of budget, but this is a once-in-lifetime chance to splurge on a pair of high-fashion heels,” said Cathy Schroeckenstein, the editor in chief of Weddingbee, a bridal blog.

Rather than flout custom completely, some women stick with the traditional gown but “go all out with their shoes to add an element of whimsy and reflect their personality,” she said. “If towering neon heels are a little too wild for grandma, it’s not like you’re going to see them all night long or in all the photos.” All brides, she added, “want people to remember specific details of their day, like ‘Did you see her hot-pink shoes?’ ”


Brides are coordinating their shoes to their invitations, flowers or event décor, Ms. Schroeckenstein said. In a survey by Weddingbee last month of 595 women, 41 percent favored “bold/bright colored” shoes for an upcoming wedding; 17 percent chose white or ivory.

An investment in a pair of statement shoes, not the staid white pair, allows them to be worn long after the wedding day, said Andrea Wasserman, the national bridal director of Nordstrom. Some of the store’s brides have paid as much as $500 to $1,000-plus for shoes from designers including Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Kate Spade and Badgley Mischka. And for that amount of couture cachet, the shoes are hitting the pavement even when the honeymoon is over.

In addition, Monique Lhuillier and the wedding planner David Tutera have both introduced their first bridal shoe collections for this year, which include features like lace overlays, feathers and jewels.

According to Ms. Wasserman, the 2008 “Sex and the City” movie popularized royal blue wedding shoes when Carrie Bradshaw wore a pair of Blahniks to marry Mr. Big. “The trend is stronger than ever,” she said, as designers add various shades of blue, from Tiffany to royal, to their wedding lines for brides who want to turn the something-blue tradition “into a killer pair of heels.”


In March, Ms. Wasserman added, Nordstrom introduced the shoe collection of the fashion designer Betsey Johnson in black, blue, white, ivory and silver. All have a new signature: a baby blue sole.

Another trend: shoes in all shades of green, from mint to emerald, Ms. Schroeckenstein said, including the Lady Dragon plastic jelly pumps by Vivienne Westwood.

And if finding the dream shoe is harder than finding a mate, allows brides to choose the style, color, material, toe shape and heel height and add an array of embellishments. At, a bride can customize each pair with hand-painted designs by Deborah Thomson, a graphic artist, including names, dates and sentimental details of a couple’s love story. Or, a bride can do it herself by decorating her footwear with paint, glitter, shoe clips and “I DO” stickers on the soles, said Jen Campbell of the Green Wedding Shoes blog that offers creative tutorials. “Our site is all about showing women how their weddings don’t have to be cookie-cutter and that it’s O.K. to break tradition.”

Jeni Elizabeth Paolella, 33, can’t decide which shoes to wear for her wedding on June 15. She has three pairs of $1,000-plus red-soled Louboutins in waiting. The royal blue crystal slingbacks, powder blue peep-toe pumps and yellow crystal platforms with a six-inch heel are displayed under spotlights on her living room shelves.

Ms. Paolella, a stylist in Los Angeles who admits to a “serious addiction to amazing shoes,” said, “By the time I get to the wedding day, I am certain I will have six pairs.”And she doesn’t have a dress yet.


14 Wedding Planning Nightmares Brides Never Saw Coming.
When you first get engaged, people start telling you that this is “the happiest, most special and exciting” time of your life. They tell you they envy your wedding planning or say, “You must be having so much fun!” Sometimes, all of the above is true. Sometimes, you can’t believe how lucky you are that you’re about to marry the love of your life and planning the ultimate party to celebrate with the people you both love …

But other times, you find yourself thinking the purported joy associated with wedding planning must be a total joke. Because as much as friends who are recent former brides, sisters-in-law-to-be, and even your mother might warn you about what to expect around corner, there are certain wedding planning nightmares no one can prepare you for. Here, 14 horror stories real brides (including yours truly) were completely blindsided by …

1. Your groom may be a total grouch through the planning process. It’s easy to read into this and start to freak out that it means more than meets the eye. That it means he’s “just not into” you — not just the wedding. This is not necessarily true. It could very well only mean he’s just being a guy who couldn’t care less about place cards and boutonnieres.

2. Lots of vendors and items end up costing about 1/3 more than you budgeted for. Our rabbi joked that no matter what you’re adding, it’s “Poof! A thousand dollars!” And while that may be an exaggeration and generalization in some cases, it is unfortunately the case for many things from invitations to having a menu with enough food to satisfy a hungry, thirsty Saturday night crowd. The good news: This can work in reverse, too, as in you end up with some freebies, discounts, or savings you didn’t expect (and I don’t just mean when the third cousins and “family friends” your parents haven’t seen in 20 years respond with regrets).


3. People who have never spoken up or demanded anything before come out of the woodwork with an opinion, attitude, problem with something completely minute, etc. It’s one thing if it’s your father requesting his favorite food be served at cocktail hour. It’s another if it’s someone outside your immediate family complaining about a big component (date, time, place, etc.) You’ve gotta learn how to put on your blinders and shut that stress-inducing nonsense out.

4. The maid of honor (or another member of the bridal party) does a 180 from enthusiastic and “so honored!” to total diva or Debbie Downer. Just like #3, wedding planning has a way of making the horns come out of the most unexpected people!

5. Several brides report booking a videographer through a popular wedding website, paying a deposit and then finding out the vendor they booked was a scam. Ugh! Goes to show it never hurts to try to meet the vendor you’re hiring in person (or even via Skype, as my fiancé and I did with our out-of-town videographers) or at least get a recommendation from a reputable source you know personally (like your cousin or wedding planner) before cutting a check.

6. Parents end up forgetting or making a game-time decision about what they’ll pay for. Good reason to get all imperative financial info in writing from the get-go.

7. Perhaps because anything involving money is always a sticky situation or because they don’t know each other very well, in-laws often end up clashing over the rehearsal dinner and/or wedding and/or brunch plans, then throw their kids in the middle or under the bus.

Wedding detail

8. Whodathunk So and So would expect to be in on dress shopping, cake tastings, fittings, meetings with the DJ/band, etc.? The lesson here isn’t to include them in everything just to avoid conflict. No one needs so many cooks in the kitchen! But spreading the love a bit to include everyone in a little something can soften the (completely out of the blue!) blow.

9. MoB-ZILLA! The extreme, on-steroids version of #3, in which the Mother of the Bride suddenly knows everything there is to know about every single wedding detail and will be hyper-critical of any direction other than the one she’s advocating.

10. MoG-ZILLA! Defined as the morphing of your fiancé’s mom into an overprotective, overly sentimental, overbearing mommy who suddenly needs to “guard” her little boy adult son against the woman who she believes is “stealing” him from her. Paging Dr. Freud …

11. Let’s not forget that the fathers (FoG and FoB) may have their not-so-shining moments, as well.

12. Shoe shopping! Who knew it could be so hard to find a pair of heels that aren’t sky-high stilettos or to find a pair of archetypal “wedding” shoes in an actual brick and mortar store? They’re frustratingly fewer and further between these days, so prepare to whip out your credit card for a rousing round of online shopping trial and error.

13. No matter how many deals you’re able to scout out or set up for your guests, hotel rates (yep, even if they’re discounted for a room block…) and unpredictable airfare will probably annoy or dissuade some guests. Oh well!

14. You may end up having consultations with uncooperative, unhelpful, acerbic vendors who all but laugh at your budget or requests and you come away from the meeting feeling like you were on a really bad date. (You’d think they would be excited and happy about the prospect of working with any client, but that’s unfortunately not always the case.) To be fair, like when it comes to falling in love in the first place, sometimes it’s just not a good match!

Parents cut deals

Brides for sale: Make your best offer.
Gypsies flock to bridal fair where parents cut deals.

Donka Hristova lets her mother pull her skintight mini-dress a half-inch down her leg. Checking her makeup one last time, she joins her two younger sisters in a provocative dance.

The Gypsy girl knows she has to look her best. She is, after all, on an important life mission: catching the eye of one of the hundreds of young Gypsy guys prowling around what locals have dubbed the “bridal market” to initiate a complex ritual of haggling that could lead to marriage.

Love’s not exactly for sale here. But in the litter-strewn parking lot that hosts the fair, amid blaring Gypsy pop and saucy flirtation, negotiations are churning quietly behind the scenes as families weigh their financial compatibility along with the merits of the prospective bride.

Often, the future of entire families is in the balance as these Roma, among the most poverty-stricken people in a deeply impoverished region, seek to forge mutually beneficial unions that will help them weather Bulgaria’s brutal economic downturn.

Globalization adds to the economic pressures. The families gathered here are part of a community of about 18,000 Roma known as Kalaidzhi, who traditionally make a living as coppersmiths. That trade is dying out, in part because traditional copper pots and pans are being replaced by less expensive goods from China.

Still, a festive atmosphere reigns at the bridal fair.
Most of the girls, even those too young to be considered for marriage, wear gobs of mascara, flashy jewelry and towering high-heels. The colors of the mini-dresses are flashy: electric pinks, blood reds, canary yellows. The boys wear tight black jeans and muscle shirts, often topped with black leather jackets. The bleak surroundings don’t dampen spirits: Some 2,000 people have shown up, many in cars rigged with speakers on the hoods to pump out Gypsy pop at full blast. Boys and girls dance side-by-side on the cars, shaking their hips in frenzy.

Meet new people

The exuberance stems largely from the fact that, due to the community’s conservative values, the youths are so rarely allowed to mingle with the opposite sex. Kalaidzhi, who are almost all devout Orthodox Christians, are known to remove girls from school at 15 or even earlier to keep them from mixing with boys.

“I hope to meet new people and to see the parents of the boys, so our parents can meet him,” says Hristova, who, at 19, is prime marrying age. “It’s a good tradition. It’s easier for us if our parents approve.”

It starts, like a high school dance, with groups of boys and girls in separate clumps, occasionally shaking hands and checking each other out — while mom and dad stay discreetly in the background.

Apart from these twice-a-year bridal fairs, boys and girls only have contact in Internet chats. So Hristova is happy to leave the realm of Facebook and meet real young men. And at the fair, there is no shortage of youths held in thrall by the way she dances with her sisters, who also wear their showiest clothes.

“I want to find someone who is easy to get along with,” she says, taking a pause from dancing in high-heeled sandals — “someone whose parents won’t interfere after we are together, and someone who’s not too rich and not too poor and has a job.”

The event’s reputation as a “bridal market” goes back generations. It used to take place in a muddy open field next to a horse-trading market in a small village, until police moved it into the city this year to avoid tension between the two pursuits. A generation ago, brides-to-be stood on stage with suitors competing for their hands. Those days are over.

Still, the flirtations can lead to negotiations and a possible union a few months down the road. If the youths warm to each other, the fair can trigger complex financial negotiations about the price a young man’s family must pay to a woman’s parents if they are to wed.

Young woman

The cost of a bride — between 5,000 and 10,000 lev ($3,000 to $6,600) — has dropped in recent years as jobs have dried up. And wedding festivities are much more modest with cash so tight. But prices still rise for a “very beautiful” young woman with many suitors, said Velcho Krastev, who has written extensively about the Kalaidzhi.

Some contend this is an innocent payment for the cost of a wedding dress and the elaborate wedding feasts Roma favor. Others call it is the price families are willing to pay for their sons to win a woman believed to be a virgin.

“We are maintaining the morals of the children by marrying them off at a young age,” said Kosta Kostov, a spectator at the fair. “If she’s not a virgin, the bride’s family has to give the money back.”

He said Bulgaria’s crushing financial slowdown, and the near total collapse of the coppersmith industry, has made it virtually impossible for his family to raise the money needed to find wives for his three grandsons, aged 18, 20 and 22.

“They have no jobs and their parents can’t pay money to the bride’s family,” he said. “It’s a crisis now.”

The idea that a young woman must be a virgin when she marries has generally faded in many segments of Bulgarian society during the last 50 years. But it remains strong among the tradition-minded Roma, particularly those who follow Orthodox teachings.


The Kalaidzhi, unlike other Roma communities, do not allow girls to marry at an extremely young age — most are 18 or older. And they have started to modernize: It is widely recognized that the young people need to have feelings for each other.

“That is the first and most important step now,” said Krastev, a member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. “In the past, parents didn’t ask the young people whether they liked each other. But the second step is that when they have decided they like each other and the parents agree, they start negotiating what the price will be for the bride.”

Talk of brides being sold causes bristling among the Kalaidzhi, who represent a small proportion of Bulgaria’s 700,000 Roma. They say the marriage fair is a tradition that actually works, keeping communities and extended families intact for generations.

Indeed, it is easy to find men and women in their late 30s and early 40s who met at a bridal fair two decades ago and today are hoping now to make matches for their children. Many who found a mate here five or six years ago come back to help their younger siblings or cousins get hitched.

Pepa Georgieva married her husband, Kolyo, in 2008 after a courtship sparked at the bridal fair. She came to this year’s event to help her 20-year-old cousin navigate the sea of suitors.

“She is nervous and there are several grooms possible,” Georgieva said. “She has not decided, and she can’t decide by herself. We are asking her opinion but she also has to recognize our opinion.”

That opinion doesn’t hinge on the groom alone.
“I am here to meet the families,” she said, “to see if they have the wealth to support the bride.”Valentina Petrova and Veselin Toshkov contributed to this report.

Especially with brides

Especially with brides

The latest wedding fashions are inspired by a couple who didn’t work out so well and by a television series that has been a resounding success.
Brides-to-be have been looking to “The Great Gatsby,” the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel of the millionaire Jay Gatsby and his disastrous affair with the shallow Daisy Buchanan, for shimmy-ready wedding styles. The slim Roaring ’20s look has been quietly gaining momentum the last few seasons, especially with brides. But this spring, it seems to have reached a tipping point.

Jenny Packham, an evening wear and bridal gown designer in London, especially likens the Gatsby era (“It was a wonderfully liberating time for women,” she said) to modern no-fuss clothing. There’s a “strong contemporary relevance,” she added.

The exposure to the style is more prominent than ever, said Dwyer Paulsen, senior style editor of All You magazine, referring to the film remake by Baz Luhrmann, which is to open in May. “It’s all those movie promos of the new Gatsby,” she said, “and I’ve been watching ‘Downton Abbey.’ There were two wedding dresses on the show this season, so it’s definitely a thing right now.”

Nice compromise

Nice compromise

Because Ms. Paulsen, 32, has an October wedding date approaching at the Orienta Beach Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. (she thinks this location is “very Gatsby”), she has been spending her free time tasting cake and looking on Pinterest for languid column gowns, particularly beaded styles that she likes for the texture.

“I knew I didn’t want a poufy dress,” she said of her starting point. “I still want to look like myself.”

Ms. Paulsen bought a strapless dress in late December from RK Bridal in Manhattan. The dress, with English lace overlay, was from Wtoo. Despite the purchase, she remained open to other options. A couple of weeks ago on a mild evening, Ms. Paulsen headed to the SoHo showroom of Johanna Johnson, a New Zealand-born bridal designer.

Ms. Johnson, a former graphic designer who started her Australia-based company in 2006, has built a following for her glamorous old Hollywood styles, part bohemian flapper, part Jean Harlow, that are often cut in silk satin and sprinkled with beading patterns that she creates. Ms. Paulsen slipped on several gowns, finally preferring the Muse, a sweeping, fully embellished style (it also weighed about five pounds) with a high neckline but plunging low back, which the saleswoman styled with a sparkling crystal-encrusted ribbon belt and silk tulle veil.

As she admired the gown’s low-cut back in the mirror, Ms. Paulsen said: “I want to look sexy, but I don’t want to offend any grandparents. This could be a nice compromise.”


The balance of seduction and tradition is what persuaded Mark Ingram, the founder of his bridal atelier in Midtown, to stock Ms. Johnson’s designs for the first time this spring. “I would say her look is more late ’20s to early ’30s, and a sexier fit, more Hollywood siren,” Mr. Ingram said, pointing out that both designers and brides have actually been mishmashing the ’10s, ’20s and ’30s. He first found success with these vintage-type gowns through Ms. Packham’s line, which he started carrying six years ago and which has since become a best seller at the store.

It also doesn’t hurt that Ms. Packham occasionally dresses the Duchess of Cambridge.

“Bridal is very influenced by celebrities and the red carpet,” Mr. Ingram said. “Look at the Oscars this year, with all those beaded gowns.” Culturally speaking, he suspects designers have been referencing Gatsby, whereas his clients are more inspired by “Downton Abbey” and famous brides. “You had two major weddings recently in Kate Moss and Lauren Bush Lauren, and they both chose very much these retro, vintage looks, and especially the way they styled it, down to the veils,” he said.

Ms. Johnson agreed: “It’s not so much ‘Downton,’ because it’s set in a colder climate.” Meanwhile, Ms. Packham said via e-mail that she doesn’t watch the show, although she has been inspired by “the hedonistic parties of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels,” her favorite being “The Beautiful and Damned.”


Even traditional wedding designers like Reem Acra, whose gowns are carried at Kleinfeld, are looking back this season. “There’s a combination of what’s going on in the movies et cetera, but I feel like today’s girl also wants to be free,” said Ms. Acra, whose spring collection is her first to be inspired by the Jazz Age. “She wants the glamour, but she wants the flowy dress — so she can move — the sexiness and the embellishment,” she said. “All these elements, in my mind, are saying ’20s.”

On wedding blogs like and the popular British-based,and online shops, Gatsby brides are as popular as ever.

Karina Sokolovsky, senior director of public relations at eBay, said searches over the last two years for “Gatsby wedding dress” have increased considerably. And BHLDN, a bridal e-commerce site owned by Urban Outfitters that was started in 2011 with a focus on vintage looks, has expanded with two stores, one in Chicago and one in Houston.

“The 1920s was definitely part of our plan at launch,” said Nicole Sewall, managing director at BHLDN. Two of the retailer’s consistent best sellers, the tulle and sequin Aiguille ($1,200) and the romantic silk charmeuse and lace Lita ($2,400) gowns, could sub for wardrobe extras on a “Gatsby” set.

“We saw that ladies were looking for something more unusual and the look seems to work with a lot of venues,” Ms. Sewall said, adding that she senses a shift away from strapless mermaid gowns, the default silhouette for several years running. “A lot of our brides are looking for a different definition of sexy,” she said.

And if the skinny ’20s column isn’t forgiving enough on the figure (it’s no accident that Ms. Moss and Ms. Lauren are whippet-thin), Ms. Sewall pointed out that much of the look, at least in its present incarnation, is built on accessories. Brides who prefer strapless gowns can add a feathered capelet for the reception, she suggested, or, like Anne Hathaway, who wore a more traditional tulle Valentino gown for her September wedding, don a vintage-style veil.

Wedding look more playful

Ms. Sewall cautions against overdoing it — “If you go too flapper, it can get costume-y,” she said — and to focus instead on Art Deco embellishments or dress cuts. Mr. Ingram suggested the current interpretations reveal more skin, like sheer tulle flutter sleeves rather than full arm coverage.

The easiest add is a single vintage-inspired crystal headpiece. (On eBay, searches for “1920 headpiece” have increased markedly, Ms. Sokolovsky said.)

“We’re seeing a surge for long pendant necklaces, too,” Ms. Sewall said. “The accessories make the wedding look more playful.”

More play and less pomp is exactly what Leanne Elias, a talent executive in Los Angeles for “The Soup” and “Fashion Police” on the E channel, has in mind. When dress-hunting for her May 5 wedding in Montreal, she was looking for something she “could party in.”

“My fiancé and I are such music lovers,” Ms. Elias, 36, said. “I want to be able to bend down in it and rage.”

On Black Friday last November, while on a trip to visit her future in-laws, she picked up a Chandler gown by Monique Lhuillier at Roma Sposa in Birmingham, Mich. “It was so out of the box from what you’d think a Monique gown is,” Ms. Elias said, pointing to the heavy embellishment, plunging neckline and body-skimming shape.

She said that most of her friends were married in more conventional wedding dresses, most strapless. “I’m not that strapless kind of girl, and a poufy ball gown is just not timeless,” she said. “With this dress, I’m definitely taking more of a risk, but I like to be ahead of the curve. Besides, I’m going to cut it off after the wedding. Then it’ll be just a perfect little party dress.”

Wedding invitation

On-screen to in-hand: Savvy brides can now hold their invitations before purchase.

MagnetStreet has launched a new program allowing brides to personalize Just One wedding invitation online and have it mailed to them within three business days. This unique program is designed to give the modern bride confidence in her stationery without having to pay for a full order up front.
Millennial brides are comfortable using the internet to help plan their wedding. But while 80% of couples use search engines to find their wedding vendors, data from The Wedding Report states that wedding invitations are still largely purchased offline. Brides report that paper quality and color are key considerations when choosing an invitation; things that are difficult to grasp through a computer screen. The Just One™ program is designed to satisfy tech-savvy brides who need more than an onscreen preview.
“It’s all about personalization for the bride, and as a web-based stationer, we’re aware that ordering online something as important as invitations can cause anxiety. Even though we’ve had online proofing for years, brides kept asking to get just one personalized, physical sample,” said David Baird, Vice President of Marketing at MagnetStreet. “Now, it’s a reality. Brides are getting what they want—their invitation in hand to see their design choices on paper and experience the quality.”
The ability to order Just One™ personalized invitation is an affordable solution to an expensive problem. According to The Knot, modern brides spend an average of $331 on wedding invitations alone. They commonly are asked to pay the full amount up front based solely on a virtual proof. By ordering Just One™, brides can now design their entire invitation suite online and have it in hand days later, for around $15. When brides place their order, the cost of the Just One™ sample is credited back to their account, offsetting the cost completely.
While many vendors have been able to provide consumers with generic wedding invitation samples, brides and grooms have had to imagine how their colors and imprints would look in print. MagnetStreet is taking quality and personalized service further by offering a fully-embellished suite that includes the design and custom colors of her choice. The Just One™ program is the first to offer a complete solution to modern brides on such an important, complex and personal stationery item.


A trip down memory aisle beckons brides.

Brides can take a trip down memory aisle through a new exhibition at a Morpeth church.
The Church of St Mary the Virgin has been open to visitors every Saturday this month to enable more people to see its medieval features and find out about refurbishment plans.
The last of the sessions will coincide with the national Heritage Open Days scheme next week — and to add even more to the attraction, there will be a free exhibition of wedding photographs.
Leaflets were handed out at Morpeth Fair Day calling for couples who married at the church to submit their pictures, and dozens of snaps have been sent in, stretching back to 1901 and featuring many weddings from the 1950’s onwards.
Some brides have loaned their dresses for the event, while others have provided mementos, such as invitations or orders of service.
Church Warden Frances Major said: “St Mary’s is a well known place to get married, and for brides it has a certain special relationship with women.
“It is dedicated to a female saint, some of the stained glass windows are of female saints, sometimes quite unusual ones, and of course the Suffragette Emily Davison is buried in the churchyard.
“A wedding for many people is a very special day in their life and this exhibition will be a nice way to celebrate those days in the church before it is closed for refurbishment.
“It will be quite pretty for anyone even thinking of having a wedding at St Mary’s.”
The Herald reported earlier this month that a fundraising appeal is under way to secure the final £20,000 needed for a major refurbishment of the 12th Century church.
Parishioners plan to create a new entrance in the north aisle to provide disabled access, add toilet and kitchen facilities and make room for a lobby, meeting and education space.
Longer-term plans have been made for new heating and lighting systems.
A total of £97,000 has already been raised for the work, but a series of theft and vandalism attacks on the building meant that thousands of pounds had to be spent on repairs.
To help the final push for funds a silent auction will be held in the Parish Hall.
Businesses and individuals have donated numerous items for the sale, ranging from a coffee table to a bottle of whisky. There are vouchers for meals at The Sun Inn, Marabinis and Tandoor Mahal, as well as services such as car washing.
Mrs Major said: “People can bid for these items, but instead of standing out and calling out numbers, they write down their bid on a sheet of paper for that particular lot. People can add more bids underneath and the one that bids the most is the winner.
“The meal vouchers are always popular and people have contributed promises, like making a Christmas cake, which are quite nice things to have.
“We have got quite a number of items, but we could do with some more people to come along on the day.
“It should be a lovely evening and it is all in aid of the restoration.”

Different Bridal

The 5 Different Bridal Makeup Looks that will Fit Every Bride.

Each year, two million women get married in the US. According to a survey by David’s Bridal in April of this year, 60% of those brides do their own hair and bridal makeup for the big day.
Leading professional color cosmetics brand, Mirabella Beauty, known for their contemporary mineral based formulas with clean, quality formulas and beautiful, sophisticated packaging, is proud to announce the launch of their bridal collection—Mirabella Bride. Five chic personalized makeup sets contain everything needed to create and compliment the looks most often requested by brides: Daydreamer, Sentimental, The Sophisticate, City Chic, and Brazen. With the help of Mirabella Bride, woman can now feel confident applying their own makeup, eliminating the guesswork from the equation. Simply identify your Mirabella Bride personality and follow the easy to use instructions to create a timeless look, or visit a certified Mirabella Bride Consultation Salon and let the educated pros take care of the rest!
City Chic—Seeking a clean, polished look? This minimalist bride is careful in what she chooses to accentuate, opting instead for a cool elegance. She likes clean lines and trends to prefer sophisticated dresses. Her makeup is neutral, balanced and compliments her style without detracting from it. She is fresh, effortless and elegant.
The Sophisticate—It’s all about the glitz and glamour of the big day. This bride wants all eyes on her and wants to appear alluring and sexy. Her hair is perfectly coiffed and there must be an element of bling! Smoky eyes and glowing skin will turn heads as she glides down the aisle dressed to kill.
Daydreamer—For the bride that envisions a feminine, romantic wedding look, warm, golden colors in soft rose gold and bronze enhance a natural beauty. The dress may be flowing organza or lace, but the look is unmistakably romantic.

Sentimental—As a “modern vintage” bride, she may desire a wedding that is reminiscent of the past, yet done in an update way. Perhaps she has been inspired by Art Deco, Old Hollywood or retro styles that recall another era. Classic red lips, liquid eyeliner and a well-structured face help to perfect the look!
Brazen—For the bride who wants to truly stand out and make a statement. She is non-traditional and chooses a look that is current and on trend. Her dress may be avant-garde and her color palette is rich with pops of color. She seeks a look with high impact and a unique flair—something that will show off her individuality.


Clayton, Dubilier & Rice to Acquire David’s Bridal.

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice today announced a definitive agreement to acquire David’s Bridal, Inc., the leading specialty retailer of bridal gown and wedding-related apparel and accessories in North America. Leonard Green & Partners will continue as a minority partner. The transaction values the company at approximately $1.05 billion. Additional terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
David’s Bridal stores provide an unparalleled assortment of designer wedding gowns, special occasion dresses and accessories at affordable prices. Known for outstanding value, fashionable designs and the ease of one-stop shopping, David’s Bridal designs, produces and sells a wide selection of styles and sizes through a network of over 300 US and 5 Canadian stores. In addition, is the industry’s leading wedding website. David’s Bridal’s exclusive partnership with Vera Wang, under the brand White by Vera Wang, has successfully increased the company’s designer offerings, which include Oleg Cassini, Galina Signature, Galina, David’s Bridal Collection and DB Studio. The company also has exclusive vendor partnerships through which it offers additional wedding-related services.
“David’s Bridal is a unique and well-positioned specialty retailer competing in a large and stable industry,” said Richard J. Schnall, a Partner at CD&R. “We look forward to working closely with the company to build on its market leadership and scale advantages to grow in new market segments, channels, and geographies.”
“The CD&R team has a reputation for operational excellence and we welcome their ownership as we accelerate our growth strategies for the company and continue our commitment to providing the highest levels of style, quality and value to our customers,” said Robert D. Huth, President and CEO of David’s Bridal. “We are also pleased that Leonard Green will continue to be an investor.”
“The company’s strong brand awareness, exceptional service quality, deep product knowledge, and high performance levels are unmatched in the bridal customer segment and that is why we are so excited about the transaction,” said CD&R Partner Kenneth A. Giuriceo.
CD&R Operating Partner Paul Pressler, former CEO of the GAP and former senior Disney executive, will assume the role of Chairman at the close of the transaction, expected in the fourth quarter.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Goldman Sachs Bank USA, and Morgan Stanley have committed to providing debt financing for the transaction. Debevoise & Plimpton LLP acted as legal advisor to CD&R. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays acted as financial advisors and Latham & Watkins LLP acted as legal advisor to David’s Bridal.


Quebec bride’s tragic river death highlights ‘Trash the Dress’ photo craze.

A growing trend that sees young women photographed while splashing in the water or getting dirty in their wedding gowns made international headlines when a Quebec bride drowned last week.
Maria Pantazopoulos was taking part in a “trash the dress” photo shoot on Friday and was wading into the Ouareau River near Rawdon, Que. when she fell and became weighed down by her sodden gown.
Her friend Leeza Pousoulidis told Postmedia News that the 30-year-old real estate agent, who was married in June, just wanted to have fun: “I want to have great pictures and memories of me in my wedding dress,” Pantazopoulos told her friend.
News of Pantazopoulos’ death has rocked the wedding photography community, with many saying this was a tragic, freak accident.The “trash the dress” or “rock the frock” phenomenon is still relatively rare in Canada.
It started about seven years ago at Caribbean destination weddings, with brides wanting photos of themselves walking into the water in their nuptial finery or getting sandy and dishevelled walking on the beach or a pier.
The genre has evolved, becoming riskier and more fantastical seemingly with each wedding. Brides plunge into the surf wearing swaths of tulle and shantung silk worth thousands of dollars.
They descend into bat caves, leap into Dumpsters and track around muddy fields in rubber boots. They are photographed underwater among the fish, kibitzing with cows in pastures and with street folk in gritty neighbourhoods.
They want an image worthy of Vogue.
The genre has expanded so much that the Wedding Photojournalist Association gives out awards in four trash the dress categories: water (from oceans to puddles) urban (busy downtown streets, in front of graffiti-covered walls) rural (on a dirt road or with livestock) and details (sand on the skin, a muddy wedding dress).
Matt Adcock of del Sol Photography, who works in Mexico, has won multiple awards for his trash the dress photography.
The agency charges between $2,750 to $4,000 for a photo shoot.
Its popularity is propelled by social media such as Facebook and Pinterest.
And, yes, sometimes it’s dangerous, Adcock says.
Among his shoots: couples who want to be shot underwater, in the nude (underwater shots are practically old hat to him now) and one couple who was photographed soaking wet and windblown as Hurricane Rina swept in.
Some brides want to be photographed actually chucking the dress in a trash can at the end of the shoot.


Adcock says his clients “simply are compelled to do something different with their lives. They want to live free from rules. The old cliché ‘live a little’ is pretty close and dear to many of their hearts.”
Adcock, who is a trained firefighter, says precautions are taken. He always has a life vest and a few pairs of hands at a shoot.
For many clients, these photo shoots are a chance of a lifetime.
“North of the border can get way, way too stressful and many are coming to unwind. They are relaxing and getting away from things in life, they see this as a chance to live as a character in their life, they get this one moment with the lead role,” Adcock says.
“They are acting, they are in love, they are playing with their life partner, they are experiencing true joy. There are no rules, just love.” Sasha Taylor-Mouchet was photographed last summer on Bate Island on the Ottawa River near the Champlain Bridge, and again in an autobody shop.
She paid $1,300 for her dress, a form-fitting gown with an open back, and was married in 2009 at Carnivale Lune Bleu, a 1920s-style theatrical carnival.
“When you get married, it’s all about the dress,” she says. “Then trying all through the day to be perfect. I found I didn’t have time to enjoy the dress.”
The shoot, by Ottawa photographer Valerie Keeler of Valberg Imaging, was more relaxed and a lot of fun, she says. And the dress wasn’t ruined.
“You feel so beautiful and sexy,” Taylor-Mouchet says. “I’m not the type to put it in a box and put it away. I let my daughter play dress up in it. I think times have changed.”
Keeler calls the genre “the bridal gown goes where it should not go,” but adds that brides who ask for these photos are rare in Ottawa.
Keeler asked Taylor-Mouchet to model in the shoot last year. There was no danger for Taylor-Mouchet, who didn’t get into water above her knees.
Ottawa photojournalist Blair Gable, whose bread and butter is news photography, also does “documentary style” wedding photography. He has done about six trash the dress shoots, including one held at a rifle range for a bride who is a major in the Canadian Forces.
Gable says the genre makes more sense at destination weddings, where temperatures are above 30 C, the ocean is a vibrant blue and the dress probably doesn’t weigh 20 pounds.
He wouldn’t ask a bride to pose in the Ottawa River.
“It doesn’t appeal to me because the water is brown. You can’t see through it. Blue complements skin tones. Brown doesn’t.”
He is, however, proposing a photo shoot on paddle boards for a couple of avid paddlers who recently married – the groom in formal wear and the bride in a white cocktail dress cut above the knee.
Gable says he wants his photos to reflect the personalities of the clients and their relationship to each other, as well as juxtapose the formality of the clothing with the background.
“There is an opportunity to create amazing photos. But when you try to replicate something that’s done in the Caribbean, it just doesn’t work,” says Gable, who also declines to take photos of couples in front of graffitisplashed walls, industrial sites or on train tracks.
Weddings are becoming less traditional and more intensely personal, he says. “The traditions of old are losing their power.”
At the same time, first-time brides and grooms are more likely to be around 30 years old with the money to do what they want. And young people are accustomed to being photographed in multiple personae.
Gable says wedding photographers can’t just be creative people. “You have to think about these critical details. There are incidents where people can get hurt.”

Perfect Venue

Bride-to-be Blogger Stephanie: The Quest for the Perfect Venue.

When I started this mission, my final destination is not at all where I expected to end up, and I definitely didn’t foresee the roadblocks I’d hit along the way.

I didn’t grow up dreaming of getting married at the Bellevue or Valley Forge Park. Don’t get me wrong—I had dreamed of the day many, many times. But the venue never really came into focus, just the groom. If anything, I had a better idea of what I didn’t want: a stuffy, dark hotel ballroom with no windows and no outdoor space. I was hoping to achieve something that was unique, intimate, and a reflection of me and Pat.

I began my search with some heavy-duty research: wedding websites, blogs, bridal magazines, former brides, experienced bridesmaids. I compiled a lengthy list and began inquiring. I wasn’t exactly sure what I was inquiring about! Of course, I knew the basics—how many people can the space accommodate, price per person—but it was questions like “How many bathrooms do you have?” and “Is the facility air-conditioned?” that I later learned were essential.

Our guest count, 250, quickly eliminated many venues right off the bat—such as the ARTS Ballroom and the Kimmel Center’s atrium rooftop, which I was disappointed to learn could only accommodate 200. And while I was certainly attracted to the beauty of a venue like the Lake House Inn, I also quickly began eliminating venues based on location and their proximity to hotels. So many of the gorgeous venues in our area happen to be in the middle of nowhere. And knowing that I’ll have many guests from out of town, as well as a heavy-drinking crowd, it became a priority to look at venues with nearby hotels.

My very first visit was to the Manor House at Prophecy Creek, a lovely venue quite close to where I live. The property features a gazebo, pond, and outdoor ceremony space that are stunning. But once we got inside, I noticed that there was not enough room for a band to set up, and the small dance floor was on a different level than the dining area with only a tiny, steep staircase to adjoin them. That was a quick cross off the list, as my family likes to dance just as much as they like to drink.


My next visit was to Fairmount Park Horticultural Center, which I happened to fall in love with. While definitely rough around the edges, I was totally charmed by the natural beauty of the place—the fountains out back reminiscent of a park in Europe, the tropical cocktail space with an adorable fountain lined with candles. I had been really intrigued at first by a tent wedding, but I was definitely wary just thinking about bad weather. But at the Horticultural Center, it was as if the outdoors had been brought inside—a weather-resistant tent.

So why was that not the blissful end of my quest? Well, I excitedly showed my mom pictures from the venue later that evening. Unlike the Manor House, my mom couldn’t make the appointment at the Horticultural Center. As I scrolled through the photos on my phone, it was clear she was not impressed—or even remotely interested, for that matter. Rough around the edges and natural beauty was certainly not something that appealed to her. I was deflated. But I held out hope that when she visited it herself, she would come around to the charm.

In the meantime, we set up visits at Cescaphe’s Curtis Center and Vie—other promising prospects. But after touring each, I just didn’t have the feeling I did when I walked out of the Horticultural Center. The food looked delectable, and for how much is offered within the package, it’s an amazing deal. It was clear that things would be run extremely efficiently, and the Atrium in particular was quite exquisite—the fountain, the marble floor, the towering ceilings, the mosaic in the cocktail area. It was absolutely beautiful. But it didn’t feel warm or intimate to me, it had no outdoor component, and most of all, it didn’t feel like me and Pat.


My mom, however, adored it. As soon as we walked out, I knew I we were going to be at odds. This is what she wanted, and the Horticultural Center is what I wanted. When my mom eventually visited the Horticultural Center herself, she surprisingly acknowledged that she understood what appealed to me, but then went on to explain how it felt like it was a 100 degrees inside and proceeded to tell me how many fans were in each room and how poorly they were working.

She brought up a very important point, of course. I hadn’t even thought to ask if the facility was air-conditioned. When I visited in early May, the temperature was still crisp. A greenhouse by nature, I should have thought of it, but I couldn’t fathom that so many events—300+ person events—had already taken place there without any air conditioning. And sure enough when I visited again a month later with Pat and my mom, it was scalding hot inside, and my mom pretty much said there on the spot that there was no way we were having the wedding there.

Very disappointed, I continued on with the search. The Rittenhouse Hotel felt too stuffy and was expensive. The WaterWorks—astronomical and weather-threatening, as only a tent could accommodate our numbers. The Moshulu—four different floors for ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and dancing. Trust—a tiny floor for food and a floor for dancing with only a narrow staircase to connect the two. PAFA—Pat and I aren’t particularly artsy, and there was no red wine allowed (a major no-no for my Dad). Sherman Mills—funky and cool but didn’t give me that feeling.

Frustrated and confused, it wasn’t until the Loews Philadelphia Hotel came along that I started believing it was possible to find the wedding venue we wanted. I was immediately enticed when I met the hotel’s wedding coordinator, who was so down-to-earth and actually listened to what I had to say, rather than spouting off the usual spiel with no regard for who is actually there in front of them.


Originally put off by hotel ballrooms, the Loews’ was unique—very modern, especially compared to the paisley prints and obnoxious colors of most. And what wowed me was the 33rd floor—a room on the very top of the building available for cocktails with a breathtaking panoramic view of the entire city. I really liked it, and when I brought my mom and Pat back to see it, they liked it too. Just didn’t love.

A popular wedding destination, the Loews told me I had a week to decide before they had to release the reserved date. So we did one final set of visits. The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia was first on the agenda. It was exactly what I didn’t want: a stuffy, dark hotel ballroom. But I was running out of options, and I surprisingly liked it. The ballroom was beautiful—arched ceiling, marble pillars, very intimate. The staff couldn’t have been any nicer, answering all of our questions even though we didn’t have an appointment. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was so, so far away from my vision/what I was hoping for.

Right after the Ritz, we visited the Loews once more for comparison. And my mom and Pat decided they no longer liked the Loews – and here I was all over again. Confused and disheartened, I decided it was enough for that day, and we went to meet Pat’s parents for dinner. They suggested the Four Seasons Philadelphia.

When we arrived, a wedding was about to begin in the outdoor courtyard. The set-up was like something out of a dream—magical. The candlelight, the flowers, the breeze, the waterfalls lining the perimeter, the elegant bridesmaid gowns, the smartly dressed guests. As I walked toward the bathroom, I took the opportunity to peak into the ballroom. Dark, textured linens adorned square tables with magnificent candle centerpieces lit in a deep pink. Stunning.

I returned to the bar, and as I was looking out on the beautiful scene before me, I thought to myself, “Why the heck didn’t I look here? It’s exactly what I want.” I made an appointment later that week, and as I stood in the courtyard beneath the canopy of trees admiring the would-be-aisle, it was the first time I actually envisioned myself getting married in the space I was visiting. And I couldn’t stop smiling. Neither could my mom.


‘Filipino Bridal Heritage’ exhibit kicks off Face-Off 2012.

The veterans have paved the way for today’s crop of designers to have a market

If the Philippine bridal design industry remains dynamic, vibrant and viable today, even amid the onslaught of imported fashion brands, give credit to the veteran designers. Themselves institutions in Philippine fashion, they paved the way for the current crop of fashion designers to have a thriving market.
Bridal design is a niche that today’s Filipino fashion designer continues to explore and exploit. It is his/her bread and butter.
As a craft and as an industry, the bridal design bridges generations of Filipino fashion designers—from those who thrived in the ’60s to those who are starting up their careers today.
It is this connection between the past and present generations, this Filipino heritage of bridal fashion that will be highlighted in the “Filipino Bridal Heritage Exhibit of Champion Infinity” on Sept. 5 at Dusit Thani Manila.BEN Farrales designed a wedding gown made of sampaguita for his
retrospective show years ago.
In the hotel ballroom foyer, the exhibit will greet guests to Face-Off, the fashion show of Filipino Bridal Collection 2012 which Inquirer Lifestyle is mounting with Samsung and Look Magazine.

This is the 2012 edition of Samsung/Inquirer’s Face-Off which, for the past three years, has been known for the comparative showcase of the design caliber of the Filipino designers.
The veteran designers who will exhibit their famous wedding gowns—one for each designer—are Pitoy Moreno, Ben Farrales, Nolie Hans, Auggie Cordero, Philip Rodriguez, Mike de la Rosa, Rhett Eala and Randy Ortiz.
Moreno and Farrales started their rise in the ’50s, when they began to do the wedding gowns of the daughters of high-society families.
Close-knit circle.CHING Cruz’s gown designed by Nolie Hans
It was a glamorous and genteel era and high society was a close-knit circle, so that Moreno and Farrales were good friends of the brides and their families.
There was a tight social bond between the designers or couturiers and their clientele. This strong relationship was key in the design of the wedding gown.

Moreno, Farrales and other couturiers in that era even made it a point to attend the weddings of their bride-customers. No matter the time of day or night, their generation of designers went to the bride’s home to dress up the bride. They also fixed the gown in the church before the bride walked the aisle.
Today, when you can order your wedding gown online, the designer-bride association may not be that personal.
Yet the business has become dynamic, more democratic.
LUCY Torres-Gomez was a lovely bride in a Randy Ortiz gown.
Showing their bridal designs on the runway are Jerome Salaya Ang, Ronaldo Arnaldo, Ivar Aseron, Vic Barba, Martin Bautista, JC Buendia, Pablo Cabahug, Gregg Centeno, Auggie Cordero, Noel Crisostomo, Mike dela Rosa, Eric delos Santos, Chris Diaz, Patrice Ramos-Diaz, Rhett Eala, Jun Escario, Joel Escober, Veejay Floresca, Arcy Gayatin, Nolie Hans, Oj Hofer, Sassa Jimenez, Rajo Laurel, Jerome Lorico, Dennis Lustico, Tonichi Nocom, Efren Ocampo, Randy Ortiz, Loretto Popioco, Yvonne Quisumbing, James Reyes, Philip Rodriguez, Vania Romoff, Joey Samson, Cary Santiago, Lulu Tan-Gan, Hindy Weber-Tantoco and Kristel Yulo.
Jackie Aquino directs the show.
Other participating sponsors are Ayala Land Premier, Stella Luna, Rustan’s, with MAC, Schwarzkopf, OSIS+, Frostings.


Bride and Groom, in Tux and Gown, Marry on Mountaintop.

Most couples begin their marriage hoping their relationship will never be on the rocks.
For Bob Ewing and Antonie Hodge Ewing, a rocky future is alright with them.
The Arlington, Va.-based newlyweds are avid rock climbers who took their passion for the sport to new heights this month when they scaled their favorite mountain dressed in full wedding regalia to say, “I do.”Bob Ewing, 32, was introduced to both his loves, Antonie and rock climbing, through his job as a director of communications for a public interest law firm in Washington, D.C. He was introduced to the sport by a co-worker and introduced to his future wife three years ago by summer law clerks who were rooming with his now-bride, 30, a network relations marketing coordinator for the Institute for Humane Studies.
In March, the athletic pair – Antonie Hodge Ewing attended college on a partial athletic scholarship as a cross-country runner – traveled to Seneca Rocks, W.Va., to climb their favorite route, Ecstasy, which Bob Ewing called, “aptly named.”
It was there that he popped the question. She said, “yes,” and then added, “I want to get married at the top of the mountain.”The couple’s dream came true when they returned to Seneca Rocks and made the 900-foot climb to the South Peak summit, where they said their marriage vows, he in his tux and she in her dress
“It was substantially harder for her to climb with a wedding dress than for me with a tuxedo,” he said, adding that he has a history of doing unconventional things in a tuxedo, such as running several marathons barefoot in a tux for charities.
“She had a big, poofy wedding dress that was not ideal,” he said. “It’s just so poofy and goofy, but she did fine.”
The couple did, indeed, do fine, making it up and down the mountain safely and thereby making history as the first couple believed to have climbed and gotten married on the South Peak summit all while dressed in wedding attire.

Wedding weekend

Joining the Ewings in their extreme destination wedding climb was a small group that included Antonie Hodge Ewing’s mother, Evangeline Hodge, whose wedding dress Antonie wore; a professional climbing guide; the co-worker who introduced Bob Ewing to rock climbing, who served as the videographer; a friend who served as a groomsman/photographer and one of Bob Ewing’s brothers, Scott Ewing, who became an ordained minister and performed the ceremony.
While most brides and grooms spend their pre-wedding hours getting mainucures and playing golf, the Ewings and their bridal party gathered at 6:15 a.m. to assemble their gear and hike to the mountain.
Across the way, atop another peak, was Bob Ewing’s other brother, John Ewing, an amateur photographer who captured the breathtaking shots of their vows. By 3 p.m., the Ewings were back at home base as husband and wife.
“My parents have always known that I’m a little bit weird and Antonie is a little bit weird, so my mom kind of presumed that we’d get married in a non-traditional way,” Bob Ewing said. “So they weren’t surprised, but probably a little bit nervous. My mom’s three sons were all up in the mountain all at one time.”
Bob Ewing’s parents and the rest of the couple’s family and friends who didn’t make it up the mountain celebrated the newlyweds the next day in a second, more-traditional ceremony and reception at Harman’s North Fork Cottages on the banks of a branch of the Potomac River, just down from Seneca Rocks.
The wedding weekend of swimming, hiking and games followed the couple’s adventurous spirit and is something they plan to do every year.
“We plan to go back and to always climb to the summit of Seneca for our anniversary,” Bob Ewing said. “It was just a perfect wedding weekend and our plan is to celebrate every year going up to the summit again.”
In future years, however, the couple will have a third wheel hiking with them, the Weimaraner puppy they adopted the day after their wedding, named Seneca.


Courtney Stodden Faces Divorce Drama, Parents Announce Split After Teen Brides 18th Birthday.

Teen bride Courtney Stodden is getting a lot more than just porn offers after turning 18-years-old this week. The wife of 52-year-old “Lost” actor Doug Hutchison is facing some divorce drama after her mom, Krista Keller, revealed her impending divorce to husband Alex Stodden.
Keller, who also doubles as the 18-year-olds manager, broke down her own marriage to E! News.
“After being separated for a year, Alex and I are in the process of a divorce,” she explained. “In truth we’ve been living separate lives for many years.”
“It is time we both pursue our own happiness,” Keller continued. “Courtney is the most important thing to the both of us and she knows how much both her parents and her husband love her, and that’s what matters most.”
In 2011, Keller and her husband signed papers giving their 16-year-old daughter Courtney permission to marry Hutchison, who had initially started off as her manager.
After her daughters marriage, Keller moved o Los Angeles to be her manager, while her husband remained in Washington state, reports Radar Online.
“Every father can only pray to have such a man behind their daughter,” Alex Stodden had told Radar Online at the time. “Courtney is one of the most levelheaded girls out there, and I’m not just saying that because she’s my daughter…Doug is the nicest man I’ve ever met in my life.”
While Courtney Stodden’s parents relationship may be struggling, her own with Doug Hutchison is only getting stronger.
“It’s been an adventurous ride so far, that’s for sure,” Stodden told E! News about their year and a half marriage. “It has been the most beautiful time of my life and there’s more to come.”
Doug Hutchison celebrated his wife’s milestone birthday this week by gifting her with an Italian Greyhound that they named “Dourtney.”
“One of the many reasons why I love and admire my wife is that she didn’t ask for bling on her landmark 18th birthday,” Hutchison said of Stodden. “She didn’t ask for expensive clothes or shoes, a flashy party, an extravagant vacation, a luxurious car or to be taken out on the town.”
Stodden also celebrated her birthday by receiving numerous offers from porn producers. According to, Keller said that a dozen sites have contacted Stodden for her first venture into the adult film industry.
While Stodden has currently put the offers on the back burner, her mother revealed that an adventure into the adult industry might take place for the right publication.
“Playboy, we have a lot of respect for,” Keller explained to “There have been a lot of wonderful women who posed for Playboy that have gone on to do really great things. [Courtney's] not ruling that one out at all.”


Winter of discontent for brides? No way, say designers.

The chilly winter and bridal wear might seem an oddity. But not any more, thanks to the modern-western fusion by designers who have created layered outfits, embellished jackets, heavy saris teamed up with corsets and much more in velvet and brocade for brides to enjoy a perfect winter trousseau exuding style, glamour and attitude.

In long anarkali kurtas teamed up with lehengas, saris with band-gala kurta with overlapping sides in fabrics like velvet, brocade or even in organaza with thick linning, brides can not only flaunt a trendy look but simultaneously keep themselves warm.

“Yes, it is difficult for brides to choose the perfect attire which not only makes them look elegant and beautiful but also helps in braving the freezing cold. But nowadays such trendy designs are available in fabrics that can keep brides warm. So, selecting a wedding trousseau should not be termed a problem for brides any more,” designer Naina Jain, who participated in the just-concluded Celebrating Vivaha exhibition, told IANS.

Designer Mamta Rawal said that “layering of clothes is one of the trends to be watched out for in the winter, especially when it comes to the wedding trousseau”.

“This year is about transformation from contemporary to modern in bridal wear. Asymmetrical hemlines with sheer layers can be teamed up with nice and elegant lehengas. Also, a bride can experiment by getting designed a nice embellished jacket that totally goes well with the lehenga. If that is not enough, one can go for leggings with nice Swarovski or pearl work and worn under the lehenga to keep warm,” she said.

“Not for the marriage ceremony but for other related functions, a nice heavy sari with a matching corset can give layers to the outfit. The corset can be experimented with by converting it to a deep collar-neck corset,” she added.

To beat the cold, one can also pick up a cashmere coat and heavily embroidered kurta to ease down the temperature a bit and at the same time look trendy.

“One can add dark-coloured cashmere coats for the glamorous look. Also, the best way to avoid the cold is to team up your anarkali lehanga with knee-length embroidered kurtas in bold colours,” designer Monika Arora told IANS.

In fact, winter allows fashion connoisseurs to experiment with a lot of things, which is not possible in summer when people prefer lighter materials in not so loud colours. The chill gives a chance to amalgamate traditional and contemporary, says designer duo Bharat and Reshma Grover.

“The winter season is the best time for a wedding trousseau as we (Indian designers) are mixing traditional and contemporary. One can layer the wedding trousseau with floral jackets or long churi-sleeved blouses in fabrics like brocade and velvet. This will not only bring warmth but also give a slim effect to the personality,” said Reshma.

After choosing the right clothes for winter, brides need to learn how to wear it right. Stylist Archana Kochhar says that in today’s times, when “girls go for the sexy look during normal days, their wedding calls for special attention as they want to add a little bit of traditionalism and culture. To get that, one can incorporate Indian elements in the outfit, whether in the form of textiles, colours, textures and patterns.”

“In winter, one can try a flared lehenga teamed up with a custom- stitched blouse. Velvet blouses can help keep off the chill to an extent. Also, one can go for anarkali suits in full sleeves over a simple churidar,” she adds.

Though some opt for a mix of contemporary and traditional, there are others who want the accessories to do the talking. One of the most essentials is sophisticated stoles in attractive colours. Designer Amit Talwar added: “Most brides are forced to keep shawls on their shoulders while performing rituals but for me it’s strict no no as there are many designer stole available. One can try double stoles like a net stole or a heavy one with very minute embroidery on it. As far as colours are concerned, one can try purple, ruby and magenta.”


Four Weddings: Winner.

In this week’s episode of Four Weddings UK, we met Suzie Yentob.Winner Suzie Yentob and her husband

Suzie’s Jewish wedding was the winning ceremony. But did she enjoy her experience at the other non-Jewish weddings? Let’s find out…

We caught up with the winning bride after the show to get all the gossip.

What made you apply to be on Four Weddings?
We wanted to be the first Jewish wedding to be featured on the show. We figured that we’re spending this much time and money planning it, we would love to share our big day with as many people as possible, and what better way than on TV.

Did you have any idea you’d win?
We had no idea. As wonderful as our wedding was, we were concerned that the other brides might find it too grand, big, over-the-top and not at all intimate, which is what we thought we’d lose on.

Who was your main competition out of the other brides and why?
I think Angela was our biggest competitor because her wedding was so much fun, and there was a great atmosphere throughout the whole evening. I think that’s what makes or breaks a wedding.

Will you keep in contact with any of the other brides?
Yes, definitely. I really got on with them, we had a great time together at all the other weddings and I got to know them all very quickly, so I think it would be a shame never to see them again.

What was your favourite part of the competition and why?
Experiencing the different weddings. I’ve been to very few non-Jewish weddings in my life, and to experience first-hand three completely different weddings was without a doubt my highlight. Also, meeting the three other brides was worth entering the competition for as they were great fun.

What are you looking forward to most about your honeymoon?
Going to India in style! it’s a country we have always wanted to go to, so we can’t wait to see the sights.

For any viewers considering applying to be on Four Weddings, what would you say to them?
Go for it! You have nothing to lose, your wedding day itself is not compromised at all by the other brides, or the filming. Plus, the crew really leaves you alone on your day. If you win, fantastic. If not, you still get to air your wedding on TV and experience three other weddings – what’s wrong with that?Find out how you can apply to be on the next series of Four Weddings.


Dennis Rodman to Coach Topless Women’s Basketball Team.

We’re not sure if this is awesome, gross or just plain weird, but Dennis Rodman is going to be holding tryouts for a topless women’s basketball team in New York City.

The Basketball Hall of Famer will be trying out and coaching a team fielding exotic dancers from Headquarters Gentleman Club, in hopes of playing a HOT charity game against what appears to be another topless women’s basketball club.

The NBA bad boy dreamed up the team after hearing that rival strip joint Rick’s Cabaret launched a league with former Atlanta Hawks standout Spud Webb, who runs the Texas Legends, an NBA Development League team.
Rodman is challenging Rick’s Cabaret’s topless team to a charity game.
“I don’t know too many men that don’t like a good-looking women’s running up and down around the basketball court,” Rodman said.
Really? Are men SO desperate to see boobs that they’ll pay to watch (presumably bad) basketball game to do so? Just peep these Lindsay Lohan pictures instead. Geez.
And what is Rodman doing? Didn’t he talk about being a better husband and father in his Hall of Fame speech? So many questions, so few answers regarding the Worm.


A 56-year-old woman who walked almost 30 hours after her van broke down in remote Victorian wilderness has checked herself out of hospital so she can fix her vehicle.

The woman, who travels around Australia in her Ford Transit van, had headed off into Murray-Sunset National Park, about an hour from Mildura in Victoria’s far north-west.

About 10am (AEDT) on Monday, in scorching 41-degree heat, her van broke down when it hit a severe bump on a track in the 633,000-hectare park.

Victoria Police acting sergeant Jason Bruhn said the adventurous retiree had been caught in one of the remotest parts of the state.

“There’d be just sand dunes and old deserted tracks – it’s the middle of nowhere,” Sgt Bruhn told AAP on Wednesday.

“If Victoria’s got a place that’s the middle of nowhere, that would be it.”

The woman spent eight hours trying to fix her van without success.

“She’s obviously a pretty versatile, handy sort of woman,” Sgt Bruhn said.

“When she couldn’t get it fixed ,she started walking for help about 8pm on Monday.

“She had no mobile phone reception, so she took with her four litres of water, what limited food she had, an umbrella for shade and a sleeping bag.”

It was 27 hours later, about 11.20pm on Tuesday, that she reached the main gate on Last Hope Track and discovered reception on her phone.

She had walked about 20 kilometres, through the night and the 41 degree heat of day.

She was on the last of her water and her feet were red and severely blistered when police got to her on Last Hope Track about 1am on Wednesday.

Sgt Bruhn said finding phone reception there may have indeed been her last hope.

“Well by the way her feet were, she couldn’t have got too much further, they weren’t great and they’re not great now.”

Sgt Bruhn said the woman was “a very experienced 56-year-old”, who was a bit of a bushwoman and “lives out of her car and knows how to rough it”.

She was relieved, but calm, when police reached her.

If she had stayed with her van, she was unlikely to have been found.

Sgt Bruhn said she was well equipped for the conditions but her mistake was to not have let anyone know where she was going.

“If you’re going into a park, especially as sparse as that park is there, you’re probably best off letting a friend or family or even the local shopkeeper know that you’re going in and if you’re not heard from in a day or so, that maybe people should start searching for you,” he said.

Sgt Bruhn said the woman discharged herself shortly after arriving at hospital so she could check on her van, The Herald Sun reports.

“She sold her home recently and her van has all her possessions, she lives out of it and she is worried about it,” he was quoted as saying.


Police launch murder hunt after woman’s body found on Royal Estate at Sandringham

A murder investigation was under way today after the remains of a young woman were found on the Royal Estate at Sandringham. Detectives have not ruled out the possibility that they could be those of missing teenager Alisa Dmitrijeva.

A post mortem was carried on the woman’s body this afternoon, at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

In a statement tonight, police said: “The body is that of a young adult  woman’s which has been at that site for a period estimated at between a month and up to four months.

“The forensic pathologist believes it is highly unlikely the death was through natural causes. There is no evidence of accidental injury, damage due to firearms or bladed weapon.”

Earlier Det Chief Insp Jes Fry, head of the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Incident Team (MIT), said officers were examining cold cases nationwide for potential links.

Speaking near the wood where the grim discovery was made by a dog walker on New Year’s Day, DCI Fry said: “We are at the very early stages of the investigation and it could be a complex inquiry. The body had been there for some time.

“The circumstances suggest this is a murder case and we are looking at missing persons reports and cold cases both locally and nationwide.”

DCI Fry said he could not rule out that the body was that of missing teenager Alisa Dmitrijeva, who was last seen in King’s Lynn in August.

“We will be looking at all missing persons and she will be in the list of people to be eliminated,” he said.

“We will be focusing on all local missing persons and then spread our catchment area depending on how our investigation goes.

“Part of the post-mortem will try to establish the identification through fingerprints or DNA which may help us identify who the victim is more quickly.”

Asked why police were treating the death as murder, DCI Fry said: “I can’t go into that.”

He also refused to be drawn on the nature of the injury or injuries the woman’s had suffered.

“That’s what will be established by the post-mortem so unable to comment on that,” he said.

“Currently we have CSI officers deployed at the scene working with forensic pathologists and forensic anthropologists.

“They are recovering evidence from the scene to make sure we can catch as much as we can from what we have left whether that be fibres, body tissue, anything discarded. They are working on that at this time.”

Asked to describe what the victim was wearing, DCI Fry said: “I don’t want to make any comment about how the victim was clothed because the only people that know are my staff at the scene, the person who found her and those responsible for putting her there. Therefore that is something I would like to retain.

“We are currently focusing on missing people. We will be prioritising on those closer to here and work our way out.

“At the same time there will be things established during the post-mortem which will help lead to the identification of the victim anyway.

“Hopefully in the next day or so we will have a good idea who we are dealing with and that may open fresh lines of inquiry.”

DCI Fry leads the crack MIT, which calls on top detectives from both the Norfolk and Suffolk forces to spearhead inquiries into murders and other serious crimes across the region.

Police removed the woman’s body from the scene this afternoon. Forensic officers were seen coming out of the wooded area carrying evidence bags.

Officers sealed off a narrow strip of woodland between Sandringham and Anmer after the body was found at dusk on Sunday.

The scene is just over a mile from Sandringham House, where the Royal Family spent Christmas, close to the Royal Stud Farm.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are currently still in residence at Sandringham, along with the Count and Countess of Wessex.

The Queen has reportedly been told about the discovery. Today Buckingham Palace said: “It’s a matter for the police. We have no comment to make.”


PIP breast implant worries for Norfolk women.

“We have no evidence of a link to cancer or an increased risk of rupture. If women are concerned they should speak to their surgeon.
“I will be writing to GPs so that they are aware of the concerns women may have and can talk them through with their patients.
“While we respect the French government’s decision, no other country is taking similar steps because we currently have no evidence to support it.
“Because of this, and because removing these implants carries risk in itself, we are not advising routine removal of these implants.
“The secretary of state has been liaising with his French counterpart, and the MHRA is in contact with the French regulatory agency. Our experts will continue to examine any further evidence from France and across the world on this issue, and will keep this situation under close review.”
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has launched a review of the risks from faulty breast implants after receiving evidence from major cosmetic surgery firm Transform, which holds cosmetic surgery consultations in Norwich at the Roundwell Medical Centre in Costessey.
A statement from Transform said it had seen a 7pc rupture rate, based on 108 patients.
The statement said: “Transform has not used PIP implants since 2005 with the exception of 108 patients out of the tens of thousands of procedures it has undertaken.
“The figure of 7pc was based on seven cases out of the 108 patients.”
It said it shared the figures with the MHRA and its advice to the regulator was that more information was required.
NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh is in charge of the review, but there are fears that even this will not clear up the conflicting views on whether women should have the implants removed.
Consultant plastic surgeon Fazel Fatah, who is sitting on the Government-commissioned panel investigating the PIP implant scandal, said there were simply no firm figures in the UK on what proportion of devices have ruptured.
He believes women should plan for having implants removed.
This is a view shared by another member of the review panel, Tim Goodacre, president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (Bapras).
He said: “Even with a very low rupture rate, we would want to see most implants removed on a staged basis.
“If you believe a device is faulty, I think this would be true in your car or any other object that you buy, you would want to have that replaced on a staged basis.”
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital consultant plastic and reconstructive surgeon Elaine Sassoon, a council member of Bapras, said no plastic surgeon in Norfolk’s NHS hospitals had used the defective implants, as they strived to avoid what they saw as “cheap implants”.
She said: “We try to put the best implants we can in our patients, but some clinics’ aims are purely financial.
“The difference between the cheap ones and the more expensive ones will be about £500 for a cosmetic clinic buying them in bulk.”
Miss Sassoon said she had seen patients with the PIP implants who reported feeling exhausted all the time.
She said: “The ones I have seen have never got very far with the clinics, but I think now things are going to change.
“Some of them felt unwell for ages, others had leakage and pain, or a hardening of the scar capsule around the implant.
“The ones I have seen have had to go back to clinics and had to pay more money, but now with this scandal I think something is going to happen.
“If it was me I would like to have them removed. It doesn’t have to be as soon as possible, but I would start thinking about having them removed.
“Get the information now; get a copy of your operation notes.”
The latest news comes amid warnings from other experts that anti-ageing injections will be the next scandal in the cosmetic surgery industry.

There are concerns that the practice of administering injectable fillers, including Botox, is unregulated.
Leading surgeons have been calling for years for tighter regulation of the industry, saying anyone can “set up shop” to administer injectables.

Older women

Older women more sexually satisfied.

A woman’s sexual satisfaction increases with age despite low sexual desire, a new study has revealed. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System evaluated sexual activity and satisfaction as reported by
806 older women who are part of the Rancho Bernardo Study (RBS) cohort, a group of women who live in a planned community near San Diego and whose health has been tracked for medical research for 40 years.

The study measured the prevalence of current sexual activity; the characteristics associated with sexual activity including demographics, health, and hormone use; frequency of arousal, lubrication, orgasm, and pain during sexual intercourse; and sexual desire and satisfaction in older women.

The median age in the study was 67 years and 63 percent were postmenopausal. Half the respondents who reported having a partner had been sexually active in the last 4 weeks.
The likelihood of sexual activity declined with increasing age. The majority of the sexually active women, 67.1 percent, achieved orgasm most of the time or always. The youngest and oldest women in the study reported the highest frequency of orgasm satisfaction.
40 percent of all women stated that they never or almost never felt sexual desire, and one third of the sexually active older women reported low sexual desire.
“Despite a correlation between sexual desire and other sexual function domains, only 1 in 5 sexually active women reported high sexual desire,” said lead investigator Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, MD, Professor and Chief, Division of Epidemiology, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.
“Approximately half of the older women aged 80 years or more reported arousal, lubrication, and orgasm most of the time, but rarely reported sexual desire”, she said adding, “In contrast with traditional linear model in which desire precedes sex, these results suggest that women engage in sexual activity for multiple reasons, which may include affirmation or sustenance of a relationship.”

Regardless of partner status or sexual activity, 61 percent of all women in this cohort were satisfied with their overall sex life. Although older age has been described as a significant predictor of low sexual satisfaction, the percentage of RBS sexually satisfied women actually increased with age, with approximately half of the women over 80 years old reporting sexual satisfaction almost always or always.
Not only were the oldest women in this study the most satisfied overall, those who were recently sexually active experienced orgasm satisfaction rates similar to the youngest participants.
“In this study, sexual activity was not always necessary for sexual satisfaction. Those who were not sexually active may have achieved sexual satisfaction through touching, caressing, or other intimacies developed over the course of a long relationship,” said first author Susan Trompeter.
“Emotional and physical closeness to the partner may be more important than experiencing orgasm. A more positive approach to female sexual health focusing on sexual satisfaction may be more beneficial to women than a focus limited to female sexual activity or dysfunction,” Trompeter added.The study has been published in the American Journal of Medicine.

October 2014
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