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First comes love, then comes marriage. And in between? Hours upon hours of wedding dress shopping — and all the stress, fights and over-consumption of Champagne that comes along with it.

But here, Nara Ragimov, manager of the ultra-luxe bridal salon at Bergdorf Goodman, and Joan Joffe, one of Bergdorf’s top bridal consultants, reveal how to shop for your special day like a pro. Take a look:

Leave the entourage at home

“Brides love to share this moment with their closest friends and family,” says Joffe. “But please remember this day is all about you.” Ragimov and Joffe recommend bringing no more than two or three guests.

“Too many people distract the bride from what she really likes,” explains Ragimov. “The sister or friend, maybe they’re imagining themselves in a wedding gown. [The bride] often walks away a little bit disappointed because in some cases, they maybe have already decided on something, and then they have this huge crew and all the opinions that come along with it.”

Ditch the hot pink thong for the day

“Always make sure to bring along nude or skin tone undergarments,” advises Joffe, who says turquoise and fuschia underwear will show through the white dress.

Although it’s difficult for brides to imagine walking down the aisle when they look straight out of a Britney Spears video, bright underwear is better than no underwear.

“Sometimes they come in without underwear, and the bridal consultants here, they don’t like that,” says Ragimov. “So we make them buy a pair of underwear. It’s not sanitary!”

Take it easy with the champers — and make sure to eat

With engagements comes loads of celebrations (and drinks) — and often, bridal salons offer the lady-of-the-moment and her gang some complimentary Champagne. Ragimov, however, advises not to have more than a couple glasses.

“We’ve had girls who come in and want to play with a lot of their friends, and they’ll keep asking for more and more Champagne, because they want to make this a whole experience,” she says.

And be sure to have a bite to eat beforehand.

“Every few months we get a bride who turns pale white and feels faint,” says Ragimov.

“Maybe they didn’t eat, or they’re dieting or nervous, or they’ve been standing for a long time in their dress,” she adds. “But it’s important to stay hydrated and nourished.”

Honesty is the best policy

Joffe says to be upfront with your bridal consultant when it comes to your tastes, size and budget.

“On occasion, we do get that bride who will say, ‘Don’t order it in a size 8. Order it in a 6, because I am going to lose weight,’ ” says Ragimov. “We discourage them from doing that, because there is no guarantee that they will lose weight.”

Instead, buy the size you are right now. “Better the dress comes in bigger than smaller,” adds Ragimov. “We can always take it in.”

And while Bergdorf Goodman is known for its array of high-end designer bridal gowns, including one $90,000 Oscar de la Renta gown a bride purchased a few years ago, not everyone has an unlimited budget.

“We don’t ask our brides when they come in what their budget is. We leave it up to them to tell us because we don’t want to offend anyone, you know?” says Ragimov. “Everyone has a budget, whether it’s $5,000 or $15,000. So if the bride is upfront with us in the beginning and tells us, ‘This is what we’re looking for,’ we’re able to work with her on the price.”

Be nice — or else

“We always kind of laugh because the customers that give us the hardest time, the bridezillas, the high-maintenance brides, oftentimes we hear that they got divorced really quickly after the wedding,” says Ragimov.

“I personally have worked with several brides like that, where they were just so difficult, I had to take over from their original bridal consultant. In several cases, I have bumped into them at the store, and they tell me, ‘Oh, it didn’t work out.’ It happens quite often. It just goes to show if they’re tough, they’re not only tough on you — they’re tough on everyone.”

Original article and imaces from the NY Post

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Nicole and Mark are one of the sweetest couples we have the fortune of calling our friends so when Mark called and wanted us to document their Santa Barbara Proposal we were ecstatic.    Nicole used to live in Santa Barbara and one of her favorite places to spend a quiet afternoon was at Franceschi park up in the hills of Montecito.  With the stunning panoramic view of Down town Santa Barbara and its peaceful secluded location we can completely understand why it’s one of Nicole’s favorite nooks.  So Mark had the spot all picked out for the proposal but he just needed a good reason to venture up to Santa Barbara without raising Nicole’s suspicions.  As it happened, Nicole purchased tickets for a Sunday concert in Santa Barbara opening up the perfect opportunity for Mark.

We made sure to get to Franceschi park early so that we could pick out the perfect hiding spots.  Mark had sent us some pictures of exactly where he was going to get down on one knee and we just had to hope Nicole didn’t choose her own route and stumble upon us camped out with our camera gear.  Brett found a large cluster of succulents to conceal himself behind with a view of both the parking lot and down to the overlook Mark planned to propose at.  I was able to hide in the doorway of the old Franceschi house that stands in the middle of the park.  As the minutes ticked closer to go time our hearts began beating faster and we were aware of every noise.  Finally Brett spotted Mark’s car pulling up and it was time for our A game.

We could hear Nicole’s heels clicking along the path and their casual laughing banter before we could see them coming.  They almost took the wrong path and stumbled across Brett behind his bush but finally veered onto the correct course.   Mark must have been so nervous, as I imagine most everyone is before they propose because he managed to say most of his speech before remembering to get down on one knee, which was the cue for us to jump out and start photographing.  Well he certainly surprised Nicole because when he first went down on one knee she thought he was tying his shoe, until he pulled the ring out of his back pocket.  She was so excited and it was so much fun capturing their proposal.

After Nicole called all her family members to announce the big news and had a few minutes to enjoy the view we took them around the park for some fun portraits.  I  mean they were all dressed up and in a beautiful location so why not.

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This is a look at Kevin and Elyssa’s unique and beautiful Scripps La Jolla Wedding at the Martin Johnson House.  On every wedding day things occur that are out of everyones hands.  We see these moments as a test of the Bride and Grooms resolve and determination as well as a reminder to us all that nothing ever truly goes according to our plans no matter how well we may have planned.  That being said choose your wedding vendors wisely because they will be your greatest allies when tests come knocking your wedding day.

When one thinks of having a La Jolla wedding overlooking the ocean having a rain plan isn’t usually the first thing that springs to mind.  The Martin Johnson House is a cute little bungalow of a place tucked up in the Scripps Oceanography campus. The view is spectacular and the little historic house is surrounded by big trees.  It lends itself to smaller outdoor wedding ceremonies and receptions.

When the rain forecast came in on Kevin and Elyssa’s wedding day their incredible planner was able to move their entire outdoor reception inside the little house, which is really just one small open room.  There was nothing to be done about the outdoor ceremony so umbrellas were found, dug up and purchased through out the day.  When it came time Kevin and Elyssa had a beautiful wedding ceremony overlooking the stormy ocean with their guests snuggled under colorful umbrellas while large rain drops created a natural soundtrack to their union.  Rain was of course not what this couple had in mind for their outdoor ceremony but we were happy to see, as I’m sure Kevin and Elyssa also were, that it in no way deterred any of their friends or family from joining in their day.  With a little luck the rain cleared up during their reception and granted Kevin and Elyssa a beautiful sunset.  We have fallen in love with this rainy day wedding as well as all of the wonderful people that banded together, shared umbrellas with strangers and then let it all loose to dance the night away.  Kevin and Elyssa are two truly special people and we have to say that their wedding was one of our favorites to photograph and be a part of.

 

Bride and groom holding hands around a corner before their wedding ceremony but not seeing one anotherPin Imagegold sandal wedding flatsPin ImagePin ImageWe loved Elyssa’s classic purl drop earrings.  So simple and elegant.
rainy day la jolla weddingPin ImageElyssa and her family rented a cute little beach cottage for the weekend where they all relaxed and got ready on the wedding day. This afforded everyone more space but still allowed them to all hang out together.custom wedding ringsPin ImageKevin and Elyssa had their wedding bands custom designed and made for them.  It’s neat how Kevin’s band has and inlay that mimmics the design of Elyssa’s ring.vintage and natural spring wedding bouquet with burlapPin ImageElyssa’s bouquet was just gorgeous.  It had a very natural fell like someone went frolicking through a field picking flowers and then just wrapped them up with some burlap.  We loved it!
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getting into her wedding dress before her scripps la jolla wedding in californiaPin Imagegorgeous bride getting into her wedding dress before her scripps la jolla wedding in californiaPin Imagebridal party helping the bride into her wedding dress la jolla weddingPin Imagemom helping her daughter into her wedding dressPin Imagela jolla bride getting into her wedding dressPin Imagebridesmaids expressions as the bride gets readyPin Imagebride looking at her wedding dress in the mirrorPin ImagePin Imagemother of the bride tearing up at seeing her daughter in her wedding dress for the first timePin Imagebeautiful moment of the bride and her grandmother before the wedding ceremonyPin Imagemother daughter and grandmother holding hands before the weddingPin Imagebride crying at seeing her dad on her wedding dayPin Imagecute shot of all the bridesmaids wearing navy blue dressesPin Imageromantic moment of the bride standing in the door way before her wedding in la jolla CaliforniaPin Imagegorgeous la jolla bridePin Imagegroom in the morning before his weddingPin ImagePin Imagegroom wearing super hero cufflinksPin ImageKevin rocked his super hero cufflinks!natural moments of the groom and his groomsmen getting ready before the wedding ceremony in san diegoPin Imagefun groomsmen photos at the bar before the wedding ceremony san diegoPin Imagefun groomsmen photos at the bar before the wedding ceremony san diegoPin Imagegrooms white rose boutonniere with twinePin ImagePin Imagegroom wearing gray suite and vest and super hero cuff links for la jolla weddingPin ImageOh yeah thats right all his groomsmen were rocking superhero cufflinks too!best man wearing gray suite and vest and super hero cuff links for la jolla weddingPin Imagebest man wearing gray suite and vest and super hero cuff links for la jolla weddingPin Imagebest man wearing gray suite and vest and super hero cuff links for la jolla weddingPin Imagebest man wearing gray suite and vest and super hero cuff links for la jolla weddingPin Imagebest man wearing gray suite and vest and super hero cuff links for la jolla weddingPin ImageAnd if super hero cufflinks weren’t enough these guys each had the socks to match.  Seriously these guys were such a fun group to  be around.groomsmen all showing off their super hero socks at the barPin ImageBride and groom holding hands around a corner before their wedding ceremony but not seeing one anotherPin ImageSo Kevin and Elyssa didn’t want to see one another before their wedding ceremony but they really wanted to have a little personal moment to talk to one another.  So we were able to sneak Kevin in through the back yard and found a quiet spot they could hold hands and whisper without ever laying eyes on one another.Bride and groom holding hands around a corner before their wedding ceremony but not seeing one anotherPin ImageBride and groom holding hands around a corner before their wedding ceremony but not seeing one anotherPin ImageBride and groom holding hands around a corner before their wedding ceremony but not seeing one anotherPin ImageBride and groom holding hands around a corner before their wedding ceremony but not seeing one anotherPin ImagePin Imagebride showing up to her wedding in vintage station wagonPin Imageromantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imageoutdoor wedding ceremony at the martin johnson house in la jolla californiaPin Imageoutdoor wedding ceremony at the martin johnson house in la jolla californiaPin Imageoutdoor wedding ceremony burlap alter at the Martin Johnson house in la jolla californiaPin ImageLoved that they covered their wedding archway in burlap.  It felt very natural for the setting.romantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imagemartin johnson house wedding la jolla californiaPin ImageThe ball of yarn was wound up and down each row and even along were the bridesmaids and groomsmen stood.   At one point during the ceremony everyone was asked to pick up the yarn including Kevin and Elyssa and it symbolized how everyone who was there that day was connected and supporting them.  rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imageromantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imagerainy umbrella wedding ceremony san diego californiaPin Imageromantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imageromantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imagerainy umbrella wedding ceremony san diego californiaPin Imageromantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin Imageromantic rainy san diego wedding with umbrellasPin ImageIt was not how Kevin and Elyssa has always pictured their wedding but we thought all of the umbrellas made it even more beautiful.
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 See we weren’t kidding you about that sunset.

Some Vendor Love

Venue  | Martin Johnson House

Planner | Kristen from White Wedding Day Events

Photographer | Siegel Thurston Photography

 Catering | Buck Board SD

Make up | Thorne Artistry

Pies | Wicked Spoon 

Grooms Getting Ready | Hotel La Jolla

DJ | Mobile Music Plus – Spencer

Rentals & Linens | White Wedding Day Events

Florals | White Wedding Day Events

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We have known Aniket for many years and we were so excited when he told us he was ready to propose to long time girlfriend Melissa.  He wanted it to be a total surprise and enlisted our help in forming a plan.  Many elaborate proposal plans were though up and it finally came down to something simple a beautiful.  They came out for a long weekend over Brett’s Birthday, this way there would be no suspicions about all of our friends gathering together and a perfectly good reason to dress up and go out to a nice dinner.  And I mean photographers always bring their cameras for birthday dinners right?  Well we timed it just perfect on the way to dinner so that Aniket and Melissa were walking under the Gilbert Water Tower right as the sun was setting.  One minute we were all strolling down the street and the next  Aniket was down on one knee proposing.  It was simple yet beautiful and Melissa had no idea it was coming.  Success!  Well you guessed it she said yes and we couldn’t be happier for them!

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