They were soooo helpful and nice to work with. My alterations were perfect and my dress came in way under budget. They let me try on as many dresses as I wanted (I think I was there for over 2 hours), didn't rush me, and really tried their hardest to find what I wanted. Def recommend
Phyllis, Mary and the rest of the team at Bridal Elegance are all amazing! So welcoming, professional and overall great people to be around and working with during such a special time like you wedding. They have a wonderful selection of dresses and accessories. Phyllis is an excellent seamstress and altered both my bridal gown, bridesmaids' gowns and mother's gown to perfection. They all fit beautifully. I also bought accessories and my veil from here which were all wonderful. Overall an excellent experience and I would highly recommend going.
Susie, Mary and Phyllis were amazing to work with. They were patient, nice, professional and very helpful. I'm so happy I went there for my bridal gown and bridesmaid dresses. It was a great experience and a memory to last a lifetime. I would recommend this store highly.
I had read and heard rave reviews on Phyllis for her dress alterations. SweetCin704 (Cindy) and SummerBride06 (Carol) were kind enough to give me her contact information and their first hand accounts of using Phyllis for their dresses. I first contacted her through e-mail and she said to come in for a free estimation on my dress alterations. I brought my Mother and MIL with me in June ’06 and she was every bit amazing as I heard. She agreed with my mother’s that the bra I had was horrible, so she brought one out in my actual size that had actual structural support. I worried it was too supportive and could be seen through the dress, but no one could see anything. Phyllis said she would sew in extra cups into the bra for additional support. I didn’t think at the time I would need it, but after wearing that dress all day – thank god they were there! Next came the slip. Phyllis asked if I wanted one and I said no because I hated crinoline. She told me she had a lined one to try on to see if I liked it with the dress. I thought my dress wouldn’t need it because it already had one layer of crinoline, but this slip was the most comfortable thing I ever wore. I didn’t even feel it on me. And the nice financial fact was, by wearing it, I didn’t need any alterations done to the bottom of my dress. Her next question was my bustle. I had no clue what I wanted, what they could look like, etc. My mother’s basically made this decision since I was standing in front the mirror and Phyllis was make about 20 different bustles on me. I turned once and saw the one my mother’s kept awing at and that was a single French bustle, which is the only thing done to my dress by Phyllis. She gave me her total cost of it all and before she could ask if I liked it all, I told her to ring it all up! Plus, she has a large assortment of tiaras, so I started looking around, but didn’t see any that I liked. I explained to her what I wanted and she came back with a catalog that had exactly what I wanted, so I also ordered that through her. Phyllis held my dress for me until the day before my wedding since I lived with DH. She had it there waiting for me when I came to pick it up and wrapped it nicely since it was pouring outside. While she gathered everything of mine together, I bumped into Smiles111 who was arriving for her own dress fitting. She recognized me right away and asked if I was ewickens and I looked stunned, and my bridal party looked at me as if we were insane when they realized it was all from LIW and we were talking to each other by screenname instead of by first name! My dress fit perfectly the entire day, but I did lose a little weight between the last fitting and the wedding, so my straps at times were loose on my shoulder’s, but otherwise the dress was perfect and no one had to see my shoes, my bustle stayed in place the entire night without moving, and the dress flowed brilliantly. I can’t thank Phyllis enough for helping me out!
Tell us about the tradition of brides getting glammed up for the wedding day?
Brides have always gotten decked out in their finest for the big day. In the past women would simply wear the best dress in their closet. The tradition of wearing a special white wedding gown began when Queen Victoria was married in 1840. Victoria wowed the world in a creamy white ball gown that women were eager to emulate. The veil is a remnant of ancient times when a woman was usually veiled, now we wear them to follow the traditions of being veiled and having the father or husband lift the veil off. In more superstitious times, bridesmaids wore the same dress as the bride in an attempt to fool evil demons.
What are some of the trends you are seeing in bridal gowns?
The trumpet and mermaid shapes are coming in to fashion. While they may seem severe in magazines, in reality not all of them are very tight at the knee, but instead, more gracefully tuck in and out. Before saying no, try one on! After nearly a decade of strapless dominance, straps and sleeves are coming back into fashion, though they are lighter and more delicate than in the past. In terms of fabrics, we are seeing more organza and lace styles gaining in popularity.
What colours and styles are hot this season?
Bridesmaid styles are more fashion-forward than ever before. Many brides are choosing a fabric and color and letting each bridesmaid choose her own style. This is a more modern look, and since the fabric and color is uniform, the bridal party still looks cohesive. Brides are also choosing tea lengths with increasing frequency. Colors usually depend on the season: spring is the time for light celadon, periwinkle or lavender; summer is about more saturated fuchsias, turquoise, or orchid; fall is all about leaf colors like burnt orange, gold, or bronze; winter is usually associated with holiday colors like claret for Christmas or pink for Valentine’s Day. When in doubt, champagne, taupe or sable is always popular regardless of the year.
What recommendations would you give brides-to-be when they are gown shopping?
Be open-minded and try on everything! Too often, a bride comes in with a predetermined idea of what she will wear. While it is important to express yourself and wear something you will love, it is hard to get an idea of what will look good on your figure from magazines. Models are usually taller and thinner than normal brides, and please remember the photos have been Photo-shopped extensively. Nobody is that perfect! I have lost count of how many girls bought a gown they hated on the hanger but loved once they tried it on. The more dresses you try on, the better idea you will have what is best for your taste, budget and figure. Be prepared before you go shopping. Take a shower, shave, and wear appropriate undergarments. Remember you will be in a small dressing room with a stranger, so leave the thongs at home. If it is at all possible, try and come during a weekday. Weekends and evenings are usually busy times for bridal stores and consultants may not have the time to give you the personal attention you deserve. Do not try and squeeze too much into one day, only one or two stores per shopping trip. Also, don’t try and accessorize the whole look the same day you pick your dress, though it may be helpful when making a decision to try on a veil. Try not to shop for mother’s gowns or bridesmaids' dresses the same day either. All of this can easily become overwhelming. Find a store you feel comfortable in and come back for other decisions.
How have the trends changed over the years?
Bridal trends tend to reflect what is going on in popular fashion, though trends move at a slower pace. In the fifties and early sixties, big ball gowns were the dominant trend, often with a higher waist. The late sixties saw flowy fabrics often in an empire shape. The seventies were characterized by high necklines with long sleeves. In the eighties, the emphasis was on the shoulder, the more voluminous the sleeve, the better. The early nineties still retained the long sleeve, but the neckline was increasingly lower and boat necks were popular. In the later nineties, simpler shapes and fabrics were all the rage. Since the turning of the new millennium A-lines and ball gowns have taken center stage and strapless has all but dominated. Lately we are seeing a renewed interest in lace and sleeves and more mermaid or trumpet shapes.
What types of gowns are you seeing for daytime events? How about evening events?
On Long Island, people tend to get more dressed up than elsewhere in the country. Unless her wedding will be in a very casual environment (like a beach in the Caribbean for example), our brides tend to wear the same type of dress for both day and evening. However, brides tend to wear more extravagant jewelry for an evening wedding.
Should mom have a say in what the bride is going to wear? Can grooms get involved if they want to?
A woman’s taste in bridal wear tends to get solidified when she gets married herself. As a result, moms tend to have more conservative taste. Remember that this is your day and it should be an expression of your taste. On the other hand, if mom is the one footing the bill, this will automatically entitle her to some say in the bride’s attire. If you find your mother giving you a hard time, you might want to gently remind her of her own dress and ask whether than conformed to your grandmother’s taste.
In some cultures, the groom may not only help choose the dress, but be the one to pay for it. Regardless of your heritage, if you want your groom to have a say in your wedding gown, then of course he should have a say! The rules of a wedding only apply if they mean something to you. Remember that this day should be all about you and your groom, so whatever you want should go!
What advice can you give moms and their girls who are looking for that perfect gown?
Remember that this is the bride’s day, so if she has a particular preference, you have to bow to her wishes. However, the bride’s mother is the second most important woman in the wedding, so she needs to look her best. Often mothers do not want to get dressed up and try and buy a dress that is not in line with the level of formality the affair calls for. The mother should not be mistaken for a guest! Unless the bride has expressed an opinion regarding color, we usually suggest the mothers choose a color that looks good against their skin tone and not try and conform to the theme of the wedding.
How many gowns should a bride-to-be try on before she makes her final decision?
We believe that a bride should try on a LOT of wedding gowns before making a decision. The first round of dresses she tries on should be all of the different shapes: empire, mermaid, trumpet, ball gown, A-line, and sheath. After she narrows down the particular silhouette she wants, then the bride needs to try on different fabrications of that shape in different fabrics and embellishments. Ideally a bride should try on at least 20 gowns, though many of our brides try on much more. Occasionally a bride will try on one or two and decide she has found the “one”. That’s great, try on another 15 and you can always go back to your favorite, knowing that you made the right choice.
Can moms from both sides accompany the bride when she picks out her gown? Have you seen much of this?
The bride can ask whomever she wants to accompany her when she picks out her gown. However, try to keep the shopping party small. We always say, “Too many cooks spoil the pot”. Going shopping with one or two people whose taste the bride trusts is important. If the bride wants to include her future mother-in-law in the experience but not in the initial excursions, she can always bring her to the store when she actually makes her purchase or show her the dress after it has been bought. This is a nice bonding moment and is a great way to start out life as a future daughter-in-law.
I know colour is making a splash in wedding gowns. What colours, if any are “no-nos” when it comes to daytime weddings, evening weddings and/or weddings in general.
We don’t believe in “no-nos”. If the bride wants to wear a black gown, it is her choice because it is her day!
How soon should the soon-to-be-Mrs. start looking for her gown? How far in advance should she have a gown picked out?
There is no rule regarding how long before the bride should start looking, but she should have her dress ordered at least 6 months in advance. Most brides begin looking soon after the engagement, and we always suggest that when you find the dress, you order it, even if the wedding is a year away. If you like it now, you will still like it when it comes time to wear it. We do not charge to store a gown and we already have some gowns stored that are for weddings two years away.
Tell us about alterations and how that works.
We cap our alterations depending on the type of dress you bought. Regardless of what you get done, including the bustle of your choice, the price you pay will never exceed this amount, which is on your contract. However, we strive to get the closest possible fit, so it is possible your dress will need minimal alterations. If you only need a hem or other minor alteration, you won’t even have to pay the cap!
Tell us about accessories and what she should look for and strive for?
You usually have more options with a veil than with any other component of your attire, even the dress! We try and pick an element from the dress to echo in the veil; this might be using the same lace as an edging, picking the same stone or color on your dress, etc. The idea with any of your accessories is to complement the dress; you don’t want to overpower your gown. Combs are becoming increasingly popular, particularly a single flower or feather which looks great on the side. Headbands are another popular option. Tiaras are a timeless way to finish your look.
We usually suggest either choosing a chandelier earring with a more understated necklace or a chunky necklace with stud earrings; either way you want to strike a balance. When it comes to shoes, we always suggest going for comfort over style. The only time people will see your shoes is if you do the garter toss, and then they are looking at your legs. On the other hand, you will be in your shoes for twelve hours or more. No matter how cute they are, nothing will ruin your look more than hobbling around in uncomfortable shoes.
People used to call bras and underwear “foundations” and with good reason. A good quality bra can transform a so-so fit into a spectacular one. Brides tend to buy strapless bras that only wrap around the chest. This will do nothing for you; there is no lift or support. Another mistake brides make is being a long-line bra that is too soft, one without bones. Again, they provide no support. We sell long line strapless bras that have good boning, and brides are always amazed at the difference. Another undergarment to consider is a body shaper. Even if you are thin, this will hide panty lines, bulges, and your belly button. While these undergarments may not be excessively comfortable, they are usually easier to wear than brides anticipate. Also, once the wedding starts it’s doubtful you will notice, adrenaline is a great painkiller. Most accessories are seasonless; however we do rent and sell faux-furs and velvet capes to keep warm in the winter in white or ivory for the bride and in black and brown for the bridesmaids and mothers. If you want a more couture look, we make custom coats, stoles, and shawls in a range of winter fabrics. Flower girls look particularly adorable wearing a “fur” muff.
Are many brides opting for two gowns; one for the ceremony and one for the reception and how should they approach making each decision?
In many cultures, it is common for a woman to change, sometimes several times, over the course of her wedding day. If it is not part of a cultural tradition, changing is still uncommon though it is sometimes done. We have some brides who buy one of our discontinued samples to change into after the cake cutting. However, most of our brides find they want to stay in their wedding gown as long as possible!
Tell us about some of your best sellers.
Enzoani gowns are probably our most popular, particularly a silk satin ruched ball gown with a dropped waist. Another popular gown is a Marisa silk organza trumpet dress with Alencon lace appliqué. Christina Wu makes a very sophisticated silk shantung column dress that is also popular. However, we always strive for a bride to find a dress that speaks to her as an individual, not to go with the “popular” option. If a dress is popular, that means we have sold it more than twice, popular in the wedding industry is not like trendy in regular retail.
Can dresses be ordered in custom designs and/or sizes?
It depends on the designer, but generally the designer will make changes to an existing design. Some ideas include: changing a dress from a corset back to a zipper back (or visa versa), extending a train, changing a neckline to a sweetheart or semi-sweetheart, adding or removing appliqués, adding buttons or ordering in a particular length (called the hollow to hem). If a designer cannot make changes we can also make changes in the store. Phyllis is particularly good at transforming a shawl into a host of different items.
How long do specialty items or orders take?
Again this depends on the designer. In general we do changes in the store quicker than customization from a designer.
Tell us about matching mom’s gown to the bride’s gown.
Unless this is something the bride specifically asks for, it is not something we strive for. We want the level of formality to be the same, if the bride is in a silk ball gown, the mother shouldn’t be in a simple tea length dress. However, if a bride wants to match her gown and her mother’s, we will do our best to accommodate her.
With so many beautiful gowns to choose from, how will mom know when she’s found “the one”?
Just like the bride, we suggest a mother try on a LOT of gowns. Mothers should try on the basic shapes to narrow down her choices. Usually mothers have a stronger sense of style and they are quicker to make a decision. If your mother does take a long time, try and analyze what is already in her closet. If you see a lot of a particular color or shape, chances are it’s a good indication of what she will like.
What advice would you give brides when helping mom or mother-in-law pick out her gown?
Just like the bride wants to wear something flattering that speaks to her individual style, your mom or mother-in-law wants something that expresses her personality. Many times brides want to push their mother or mother-in-law into something they would wear; it is important to know that tastes change as we mature. Brides should try and help their mothers look their best without forcing their opinions on them.
Should moms take into consideration what dads will be wearing when picking out their gown
Actually, we usually find the opposite to be true; if anything the father takes his cues regarding what to wear from his wife. Usually men wear a tuxedo with a vest, tie or bowtie that match the theme of the wedding. When anybody chooses their attire for the wedding, they should strive to look their best and not worry too much about the rest of the bridal party.
- Best of 2013
- Best of 2014
- Best of 2015