October 28, 2010

Bridal Market and Martha Stewart Weddings Giveaway Winners!

And the winners are...

Kristin, who left the comment,
"I think it can look gorgeous, but I decided that I wanted a plain sash to match the color of my dress instead of the beaded sash that came with it."


ericngrace who said,
"I love the belts! I just purchased a dress with one and am excited to hear that it's a detail that's becoming popular as of late!"

We'll email you!

Thanks to everyone who participated! Don't forget to follow us on facebook and twitter, and check back for future giveaways!

October 20, 2010

Trend Spotting at Market (Plus a Giveaway!)

It was a busy weekend for wedding industry insiders as MMPI brought its International Bridal Market to New York City for the first time. If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere! The open floor plan of Pier 94 was flooded with amazing gowns and accessories.

In the next few months, we will be expanding our site with some eye-popping jewelry, dramatic hair accessories, and of course the Spring 2011 dresses from our designers. Alfred Sung will be adding a softer color palette to supplement their current bright and bold selection. Lela Rose Bridesmaid has created new styles at an even more attractive price point which we hope will bring the designer's refined frocks within reach for all our brides to consider. And Landa Designs is heating things up in their mother of the bride line with trendy drop waist mermaid dresses, full-length tulip skirts, and an elegant one-shoulder gown.

Although we don't sell bridal gowns, we still love looking at the gorgeous dresses on display and couldn't help noticing that belts are making quite the statement. Chelsea Clinton's Vera Wang belt is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of styles that can add unique sparkle, color, or floral elements to your wedding dress.

Belts can also be a separate after-thought purchase closer to the wedding day. Some brides who start out wanting a minimalist modern dress may later regret that there isn't enough wow factor as the belle of the ball. Or they still want a plain dress overall, but are looking for that one special detail to pop. Instead of being a "two-dress bride" (which happens more often than you think!), adding a belt is the perfect solution with minimal damage to your budget.

Do you like the trend of belts on wedding dresses? Yay or Nay? Leave your answer in a comment on our blog or facebook page, or re-tweet this post from @shopjoielle, and you'll be entered into our drawing for some free goodies we snagged at Market (including a Dessy pantone umbrella), as well as a year's magazine subscription to Martha Stewart Weddings. This contest will run through October 27th (next Wednesday). Two winners will be chosen through a random number generator.

October 15, 2010

Aloha from Hawaii

This week I had the pleasure of attending a friend's destination wedding in Lanai, Hawaii. It was my first time truly exploring Lanai, Maui and Big Island, and I now understand why the state takes the top spot for most popular honeymoon destination. There's a little of everything: mountains, waterfalls, rainforests, beaches, snorkeling, and most importantly, a relaxing atmosphere with friendly locals minus the stresses of currency exchange and language barriers. As I reflect back on a beautiful ceremony and reception, the industry person in me can't help but share a few personal observations about destination weddings that I think are important to keep in mind if you're thinking about jetting off somewhere magical to say your I dos.

1. Save the date way in advance. People are incredibly busy these days, and they have limited vacation days and finances. So let your close friends and family know as far ahead as possible if you're thinking about having a destination wedding, even if it's just planting the seed in their heads that you're considering it. People will really appreciate the heads up as they factor in where they will be traveling that year and how much money they might need to set aside. I was really grateful that our friend had given us more than a year's notice that even though the exact date was not yet booked, her heart was set on a Hawaii wedding sometime in 2010. We then kept a mental note of Hawaii as our big vacation splurge for the year and were prepared to move forward once she sent us the save the date.

2. Pick a fabric for your wedding dress and your bridesmaid dresses that are less wrinkle-prone. Softer materials such as tulle, chiffon, jersey or nu-georgette are good fabrics because they are easier to steam out after being squished into your luggage, but some textured fabrics also travel well. If you're in a tropical location, make sure to also keep in mind strong sunlight and ocean-side winds. Our friend chose an adorable tulle bridesmaid dress with a bubble hem that gathered slightly below the knee so the girls didn't have to worry about their skirts billowing out of control.

3. Keep the centerpieces simple and green-friendly. Sadly, unlike local weddings, your centerpieces can't be taken home by your guests with the vases re-purposed for future use. The bride and groom encouraged us to carry out the beautiful centerpieces after the reception, but I was sad that I had to leave it in the hotel room when I checked out the next morning. Luckily I was able to keep the round paper lantern draped along the ceremony aisle that could be collapsed and tucked into my luggage pocket. If your florist can come pick up the centerpieces after the wedding, that would be ideal, but in this case, the location was too out of the way and not worth the trip for them to come back.

4. The more information the better. Whether it's directions, travel tips, restaurant recommendations, or dress code, you can never give your guests enough information for a destination wedding. Keep in mind that most people may have never traveled to that area before, and not everyone is a research savvy trip planner. Your wedding website is a quick and easy way to post any and everything and continue to add new things as you think of them.

Now having attended my first destination wedding outside of the "mainland", as the Hawaiians call the lower 48 states, I am a big fan of scooping a group of your family and closest friends to get away from it all. Now to convince the rest of my unmarried friends!

The picture-perfect beach where the ceremony took place at the Four Seasons Manele Bay.

October 1, 2010

Shopping Tips

Even though online shopping has made our lives easier in many ways, it can also create stress of not knowing exactly what something looks like or how it fits. Thanks to customers who have provided valuable feedback after they have received their dresses, we can continue working on ways to improve our customer satisfaction. Since our designers' dresses are made to order, exchanges or returns are not possible, so we thought it might be helpful to share some tips that we hope will give you the best possible shopping experience at Joielle.

1. Order a swatch of the colors you are considering if you have not seen them in person. A few customers were surprised when their dress arrived brighter or darker than expected. We do our best to ensure that colors on our site are portrayed accurately, but they can appear very differently depending on your monitor settings. (Imaging Resource provides some tests to check your monitor calibration). We offer free swatch shipping within the U.S. with the discount code SWATCH, and orders ship in 1-3 business days. If you would like to see a fabric or color that is not available on our site, contact us and we can special order one directly from the manufacturer.

2. Get your measurements done by a professional tailor or seamstress. Even though it seems simple enough to measure your body, unless you're experienced, it's hard to tell if you're measuring correctly or holding the measuring tape straight. If you're unsure of what size you should order, ask your tailor or us for advice. You can read more tips on our Sizing page.

3. Order your dress to be shipped at least 3-4 weeks before your wear date. Our delivery dates are the estimated week that the dress will ship out. It is not necessarily the week you will have the dress in hand. FedEx Ground takes 1-5 business days depending on your location. Please refer to our Shipping & Delivery page for an explanation of rush options, production schedules and transit times.

4. Book a tailor in advance so they have adequate lead time in their work load. Usually tailors require about 2 weeks time to alter a dress, but some can take longer. If you notify them first, they can plan ahead for your alterations. If your turnaround time is very tight because you simply were not able to order your dress earlier, explain that to the tailor and discuss pricing ahead of time so you will not be slapped with unexpected rush fees. Most women find that they need some type of alterations to fit the dress perfectly to their body, but even if it turns out that you don't need any, it's better that you played it safe.

5. Ask questions! Even though Joielle is an online boutique without actual face to face meeting, Julie and I are always more than happy to help anytime. Don't be afraid to ask even a question that seems insignificant. A well-informed customer is a happy customer. We try to respond to email inquiries as quickly as possible if you contact us at info@shopjoielle.com, and we return phone messages within 48 hours.

We feel very lucky to have great customers, and since many of our dresses can be worn for occasions other than being a bridesmaid, we hope you will continue to shop with us well after your event is over!
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