Guest Blogger: Beyond The Dress – Thinking Through the Financials


You have likely traveled throughout the state of Michigan to attend bridal shows and/or to find the right dress. But have you considered what to do with your assets now that you are planning to wed? Most people spend more time and money planning their wedding than protecting their valuable assets from dissolution. Do you need a prenuptial agreement? Some people do not need a prenuptial agreement; however, some people may have assets of a significant value that should be protected, if possible. Since you spent so much time and effort on planning the wedding, why not take a few moments to protect valuable assets from division should the marriage end?

Separate vs Joint Assets

The minute the vows are complete and the marriage is legal, every dollar earned or lost during that marriage is shared evenly, or 50 cents on the dollar per spouse. There are, however, assets/debts that may qualify as separate property and may also qualify as a separate asset, if the marriage should end. To qualify as separate assets/debts, the property must have existed before the marriage and not have been comingled with other martial assets.

For example, if, before the marriage, there were stock investments or bank accounts, those assets should remain separate assets, as long as those accounts existed separately throughout the marriage and there were no contributions of money earned during the marriage into those accounts. If it can be shown that those accounts remained separate from the marital assets, those assets may remain separate and most likely not be divided by the courts between the parties. Martial money contributed to invest into a house owned before the marriage without any debt, for example, may take the property out of the separate property category.

Another example, especially for second, third, fourth…. marriages and/or minor children from past relationships, would you want to protect your pensions, 401ks, and/or other retirement accounts from division? You may want to keep those assets separate, if they existed before the current marriage, to ensure that marital monies are not commingled to make that asset a marital asset to be divided if the current marriage should end. The interest and passive growth on those investments during the marriage will most likely be split with your spouse, if the asset was commingled with marital assets. Your children may be disinherited as well from receiving those assets.

Don’t Dread a Pre-Nup

Your preexisting financial assets can be protected with a prenuptial agreement. To accurately evaluate whether you should protect your assets with a prenuptial agreement, you will need to consult with an attorney. An attorney can review the evidence and advise you, based on the information provided, whether the asset is likely or not likely to be a martial asset or debt or whether a prenuptial agreement will benefit your estate.

Torree J. Breen is the chair of the Family Law Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Litigation Group.  She also serves as Secretary on the firm’s Board of Directors.  Ms. Breen specializes in family law, divorce, child custody disputes, no-fault litigation, insurance coverage, and handicapped accessible housing coverage.  In 2016, Ms. Breen was awarded a Regional Leadership Award by the Women’s Lawyers Association of Michigan for her outstanding legal, leadership and mentoring skills in the community.  Ms. Breen was selected as one of the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys in Michigan in 2014 and 2015 by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA).   She was recognized as being among the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys as selected by The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (AIFLA) for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Ms. Breen has received a Certificate of Completion in the area of Family Law issued by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

Before—Here Comes the Bride: Here Comes the Contracts

Many of us have signed numerous contracts during our daily lives; but who really reads them?  With increased online technology—it is even easier to choose: “agree to our terms,” “Opt-in,” Opt-out,” and other prompts so that we can just click and get on with our lives!  But reading and understanding contracts you may be signing for one of the biggest events in your life—your wedding—is important.
Marta Brown, owner of The Northfork Estate wedding venue says that, “Brides and grooms need to know what they are signing and that they should ask questions—so that things can be clear.”

Consider for a moment the types of contracts you may encounter for your wedding:

• The wedding venue
• DJ (or other wedding music)
• Photography/Videography
• Reception venue (if different from wedding venue)
• Catering
• Wedding coordinator/Event planning services
• Limousine, horse-drawn carriage, or other transportation services
• Flowers, decorations, etc
• Your wedding gown/veil order, customization, bridal party, and/or fittings
• Your hair stylist (yes—they have one too!)
• Tuxedo rental
• Honeymoon services
• Live animal guests (such as doves)
• Personal legal matters (pertaining to you as a couple)
• Anything else (including a sign trailing behind an airplane above the couple!)

This can be a “mind boggling” trying to sifting through services, terms, and conditions.   Here are a few things to look for so that you can navigate through contracts that protect both the wedding couple and the vendor:

   Know if you are dealing with reputable wedding vendors. The Lansing Bridal Association (LBA) is a group of wedding professionals who abide by a code of ethics. This important distinction—along with the website which groups vendors by specific category can save you time and effort. They also refer each other so that you don’t feel overwhelmed in finding what you need.

√   Bring the contract home to study it, or go online to view it (if you can) before you sign.

√   Most wedding contracts require a deposit. Check to see what happens to it if you have a life-changing event or postpone your wedding.

√   Know the rules about: fireworks, designated parking, smoking, and other things that may or may not be allowed.

√   Above all, contracts are legally binding. Read the fine print!

Chris and Mary Holmes, owners of the Bridge Street Wedding Chapel say, “We want our couples to know exactly what they are signing—and we ask for an initial after each section of our contract for clarity.”

Want more information about contracts and your legal rights?  Visit  This group of legal experts with over 50 years of experience—has recently partnered with the Lansing Bridal Association.  Look for more articles from them in our future blog posts!

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Choose Excellence – Choose the Lansing Bridal Association
Written by: Cheryl Jiminez

Featured Vendor: The Northfork Estate

The Northfork Estate is a beautiful venue located in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. With their private ponds, majestic landscaping, winding road and natural meadows, it is a gorgeous and tranquil location for your wedding. The Northfork Estate is a full service venue, complete with a fire pit, pavilion and patio.

Marta Brown, owner of The Northfork Estate, took a few minutes to answer some questions about her venue.

Please tell us about your business. What services are you able to provide for brides and weddings?

The Northfork Estate is your Elegant~Distinctive Wedding Venue. Located in the only Eaton Rapids on Earth, The Northfork Estate is as unique as the town itself. We host only one event per day. This ensures private use of the entire 50-acre Estate for each couple and their guests. Tables, chairs and white linens are included for up to 300 guests. We also include golf cart shuttle service, set up and tear down services. At The Northfork Estate, we specialize in making your wedding day Elegant~Distinctive and Yours! Therefore, you can hire your own caterers and additional vendors or we can help assist you in selecting some of the most reputable companies in Mid-Michigan . We have wonderful vendor recommendations and are glad to assist in any or all of your planning.


Why does your business like working with brides, or at weddings?

At The Northfork Estate, our number one goal is for the couple to have the wedding of their dreams. Our philosophy is that we have had our wedding and we feel all our couples should get the wedding of their dreams not our dreams! It is wonderful to be involved throughout the process of planning and especially on the day of the big event! It thrills us every time to see the new couple announced and take the dance floor for the first time!

What can your business provide to brides or weddings that is unique from competitors?

Our entire venue is Elegant~Distinctive. From the life sized commissioned bronze horse and the wrought iron gates, which was commissioned exclusively for the Estate in Virginia, to the winding road that leads to the Grand Reception Hall, each and every section of the Estate was created with Love. The seven natural ponds perfectly positioned throughout the property, a pavilion and several Flagstone patios are just some of the beautiful additions to the 50 acres of sculpted landscaping.

Do you have any bridal, group, or special wedding discounts?

We offer Sunday to Friday pricing along with Saturday pricing. We offer two incentives per year following each of the bridal shows we attend in September and January.

What else do you want to share or want brides to know about your business? What kind of message are you looking for brides to understand about your business?

The Northfork Estate is a family run business. At the Northfork Estate we love seeing the light in the eyes of the newly married couple and knowing that we are a part of that very special day.

Are there any special offers you’d like to make brides aware of?

If you book between now and July 14th, 2017 we will honor our 2017 pricing for 2018 or 2019. This is a $1000.00 Savings!

A Real Bride Talks about Her Upcoming Wedding

We spoke to a real bride, and asked her to share her wedding planning experience with us!


Interviewed by: Haley Abbas

(We are concealing the bride’s identity to protect the not-so-innocent)


What is your main wedding stress?

The guest list. Worrying about who to invite, and if the people you don’t invite— worrying about offending them. My wedding feels more about trying to accommodate everyone else instead of myself and my future husband.

What is displeasing you about your wedding party?

Their lack of involvement in my wedding planning. I feel like they don’t know how much they are supposed to help me, and what things they are supposed to do.

If you could change certain plans, what would you change and why?

I would probably make it a smaller wedding. When you first get engaged you are excited and you tell everyone about it, and make a lot of promises to invite them. Then when you sit down and see how much everything is going to cost per person, you really start to rethink things. I think it’s okay to be excited about your wedding and to tell people, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to invite them just because you shared with them your excitement about getting married.

What would make you most happy about your wedding day?

If everyone got along (especially my wedding party) and there was no drama. Also, if everything went as scheduled and planned.

What is your biggest fear for your wedding day?

That an uninvited guest will show up. Or, that the florist or caterer will mess something up that cannot be fixed. My wedding has a ton of floral arrangements in it. I must have met with my florist a hundred times now detailing exactly how I want everything. You only get to live this day once, and you invest a lot of time and money into it. So, is it wrong that I want everything to go perfectly?

How are you managing stress the month before your wedding?

By constantly finalizing everything with my vendors. This is crunch time now and even though all the big details are finalized, there is still a hundred minor details that I need to finish. Right now, I am currently trying to figure out what to put under my centerpieces at my wedding; something extremely minor, but still important to complete the overall look. I feel like a wedding is just about a thousand different little details—all coming together to make one big event.

We would like to thank our bride for taking the time to be so candid with us. We wish her all the best with her wedding!

Like us on Facebook and send us your comments!

When Bridezilla is Born; Some Tips on Coping

Bride-to-Be “Jane,” was a model of organization and calmness during her wedding planning. She was so excited about her much-anticipated dream wedding. But when certain wedding issues began to bubble up, she unraveled emotionally and morphed into “something.”

There is a phenomenon that may affect ceremonies both big and small. Some brides think it will never happen to them. But some may find themselves at odds with nearly everyone—while planning the most wonderful day of their lives. Dieting, money woes, soon-to-be in-laws, and a thousand other things—can make this bride flip out.

I have come up with a few categories (which is by no means totally inclusive) to examine this world-wide occurrence:

1. The Well-Meaning Bridezilla: This bride is nice and semi-palatable for the most part. “Quietly overwhelmed” is her motto, and no one seems to understand what she’s going through. Her behavioral characteristics may include: being teary-eyed over wedding scenarios that no one thought of, and exhausting her wedding planner about things that won’t matter. This bride may just need a shoulder, neck, or chest to cry on. It’s a matter of being reassuring, and having a box of tissue (or those cool-looking travel sizes) handy. You may want to put this bride on speaker phone and multitask.


2. The Off and On Bridezilla: This bride could be compared to a bowl of spicy salsa—too much for some; but not for others. This bride is okay at times—but has triggers. The key is finding and avoiding them while promoting peacefulness. A group relaxation event may help. This bride may text phones or post on social media until she gets her point across. Assigning a special ringer and alerts to her (phone number) may help you avoid her periodic “wedding turbulence.”


3. The United State of Disorganization Bridezilla: She is doing her wedding herself, but things aren’t getting done. No one in the wedding party knows what they are supposed to be doing (or when). Balancing a wedding and everything else in her life—has turned her into a “stress ball.” The groom may try to help, but it just isn’t the help she needs. She may enlist help from professionals (sometimes at the last minute) who will kindly pull her out of a “Do It Yourself” (DIY) nightmare.



4. Bridezilla Unchained and Uncensored: There is no reason—why you should try to reason—with this “princess-minded” bride. She may be commonly identified by using the word “perfect” repeatedly. However, failure may be an option; but not concerning this bride’s wedding. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel. It could be this bride coming towards everyone—with more demands for perfection. This bride may not be remembered for what she wore—but rather—how she swore. During the wedding planning (and especially at the rehearsal)—show up where you need to be—and do what you’re told—because YOUR best interest may depend on it.



Are you having a “Bridezilla” moment? Do you know someone who is? Tell us your story. Email us at: If we choose it, we will post it on our Facebook page!

Written by Cheryl Jiminez

Choose Excellence – Choose the Lansing Bridal Association for all your wedding needs!


Wedding Shoe Tip Sheet

Your shoes can affect you at your wedding. Here are some things you may want to consider concerning comfort and style:



  • Height: Probably the top reason that brides choose high heels for their wedding day is because they want to look taller in pictures (especially if their groom is tall). Platforms and stilettoes are frequently the choice here. If you fall in this category and are used to wearing high heels, you should be fine. Chunky heels may be better if you are not accustomed to extra shoe height. Scuff the soles with sandpaper if needed for traction. 

  • Hemlines: Sometimes hemming a wedding gown may be too difficult or not within your budget. Rather than to have the dress dragging everywhere, a higher heel may be chosen. However, consideration MUST be given to shoes that have beads (or other ornamentation) that could catch at the hemline.


  • Shoe Love: There are so many beautiful choices for wedding shoes. You may simply fall in love with a particular shoe. Vivid colors to complement the wedding theme and specialty footwear such as cowboy boots are sometimes chosen.

wedding heels
cute weddig shoes


  • From Under Your Dress: Your feet are on display at your wedding whether during the garter toss, or at other times during your ceremony. You may want a certain look in your pictures or you may not be concerned as much with this. (Bare feet are quite customary at a beach wedding; even for the bridal party and guests!). Sneakers are fun and full of comfort.

Whatever you choose, keep in mind the location of your wedding and COMFORT. Don’t forget to wear your shoes before your wedding to stretch them out if needed. Insoles can help. Also, bring an extra pair of shoes (ex: flip flops or slippers) to your wedding if you need to—just in case.


If your feet need a break at your wedding, TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AND WIGGLE YOUR TOES; IT’S YOUR WEDDING!

Take our shoe survey on our Facebook page about what you are planning to wear at your wedding!



Written by Cheryl Jiminez

Choose Excellence – Choose the Lansing Bridal Association for all your wedding needs!

The Scene Stealers; Children and Pets

Adobe Stock

Many lives are affected nearly every day by the presence of children and pets—some of which cannot be described.  Television shows depict and focus on how marriage is sometimes a blending of families and pets.  But how will they behave—or shall we say misbehave—at a momentous event such as a wedding?  We want to share with you some tips and professional advice from those who encounter this in the wedding industry.

The Decisions

There are some decisions concerning children, pets and your wedding.  1. Are you going to have them IN your wedding or 2. are you going to have them AT your wedding.  3. Or—both of the above.  You and your spouse-to-be—may or may not—see eye-to-eye about this subject.  Consulting with your venue about policies and your dog or cat’s temperament must be considered.  Part of the decision may focus on the unpredictability of these beloved members of your family.  And that unpredictability can sometimes be the most exciting part to include in your wedding.  Some couples opt for an “Adults Only” reception.

All Dressed Up and Ready to Cry

Adobe Stock

One of the most adorable aspects of having children and pets in or at a wedding, is dressing them up.  There are so many cute outfits available; but buyer beware.  There are some things to look for when choosing these outfits to help minimize discomfort.  First, children for the most part, are not accustomed to such clothing (unless they participate regularly in pageants or other formal events).  Some of it can be downright uncomfortable.  Before buying a little tuxedo or fancy dress, turn the outfit inside out and examine it.  If possible, take EVERY seam and rub them against the inside of your wrist.  Check the outside as well at points that may be bothersome.  If you’re being scratched, then so can your child.  Do the same for your pet’s wedding garb.  Just because your pet has hair or fur; it doesn’t mean they can’t experience irritation.  This is a time and money saving tip so that your dog or cat (unless you clothe them regularly) doesn’t tear your cute little outfit—to pieces.

If wedding clothing does seem capable of irritation, tack some soft materials such as felt or satin—on the inside.  Cut a small piece of your dog or cat’s favorite blanket or a piece of your old clothing you can spare and add it to the garment.  They will smell something familiar to them.  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  If you like, consult a qualified seamstress or friend who sews—they can do it for you.

Dress hemlines and pant cuffs that are way too long (although cute) are a no-no.  Children tripping and getting hurt, can bring your wedding to a stand-still.  Some children and pets may “act out” simply because they are feeling itchy or being scratched.  Also, having non-staining treats available to nibble on before the wedding (or pictures) can help with hunger pangs and keeping that “best dressed” look.

A Fabulous Pet-Friendly Venue

Chris Holmes of Bridge Street Wedding Chapel (which he and his wife Mary have owned for 10 years) share their experiences:

Most wedding ceremonies will include a ring bearer and flower girl or girls depending on their ages and confidence level.  We’ve seen children who did great at rehearsal—only to have a meltdown on the day of the wedding.  We have seen the opposite as well with children doing horrible at rehearsal—only to shine at the wedding.  Children will either revel in their roles, or have stage fright which can be very scary and intimidating for them.  Once at the altar, we have some suggestions that we share with clients:

  1. Source: Holmes Photography Studio. This if the brides daughter and she had a great time
    Both parents held her at different parts of the ceremony, but she definitely enjoyed the attention!

    Depending on the age of the children, they need someone dedicated to helping them make it down the aisle.  If they do have stage fright, don’t force them.  Let them retreat to the “comfort zone” of whoever is helping them.  This should be a fun and enjoyable event for everyone—including the little ones and sometimes they just aren’t ready—and that’s okay.

  2. If they [children] make it all the way up to the wedding party on stage, that’s a plus of course.  Now you need to decide (if they are very young), will they be held by a wedding party member, stand up there on their own, or go to mom, dad, or another family member that is seated.  There is no “right” answer.  However, I do know that trying to control a child who has no interest in being controlled (on stage)—is a losing battle.  As long as there is no safety issue involved, I suggest that you let them roam around a be themselves—within reason.
  3. Cute and curious children make the ceremony even better.  If they are a complete distraction, they need to be moved to a seat by someone other than the wedding party.  If there is a flower girl or ring bearer (perhaps a bit older), sometimes it is better for them to hold the younger child during the ceremony which is touching and reinforcing.  The most important thing, is that it’s all okay and to relax.  A wedding is a “human” and family event that are all different and no one is perfect.  Unless you are part of the “royal family” and everything has to be perfect, then it’s okay for children to be children and do what children do.

Concerning PETS At the Bridge Street Wedding Chapel:

  1. We are HUGE pet fans.  So for us it is absolutely natural and fun for people to involve their pets in their big day and after all—they are part of the family.  When I say pets, I am mainly referring to dogs.  I don’t believe we have ever had any other animals in ceremonies at the chapel.  Cats tend to not like walking anywhere on a leash—much less down an aisle with a bunch of strangers looking at them.  Pets have a calming effect for many people in general and they add an element of fun to the ceremony.  For many young couples, this is their “first child.”
  2. As with children in a ceremony, there needs to be at least one person who is charge of the pet(s)—NOT the bride and groom if at all possible.  The decision of whether the pet will remain up with the wedding party on stage or be tended to as a guest—should be made BEFORE the ceremony.  Understandably, that could change depending on how cooperative the pet is on the day of the wedding.  We suggest that it’s ok if they [pets] are struggling to get off stage or walk around.  Go with it and let them—as long as they are not a complete distraction.
  3. Before and after the ceremony, the pet(s) need to be taken care of as far as their traditional (potty) needs.  This includes walking outside before the ceremony to prevent accidents.  Have water available (earlier in the day if possible to prevent accidents) and bring materials to pick up after them should an accident happen—or they can use the outside area before or after the ceremony.  After the ceremony (or even before)—if they are only there for pre-wedding photos, someone needs to be in charge of taking them home and making sure they are cared for.  This is especially helpful so that the wedding couple can enjoy their day knowing their loved one is comfortable and they don’t need to worry about them.

Source: Holmes Photography

Source: Holmes Photography

Mr. Holmes summarizes:

The question of whether to involve children or pets is strictly a personal one for the wedding party and their families.  It will set the tone of the day.  For some, children and pets may be distracting and they just want to enjoy a day with other adults.  That’s definitely okay.

For others, pets and children are such an important part of their lives; they can’t imagine the day without them!  And for those looking for a pet-friendly venue; we are happy to oblige!

Written by Cheryl Jiminez

Co-authored by Chris and Mary Holmes – Bridge Street Wedding Chapel & Holmes Photography Studio

Choose Excellence! Choose the Lansing Bridal Association for all your wedding needs!

Are you planning to have children and/or pets in your wedding?  Let us know!

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Featured Vendor: Dezign on A Dime

At Dezign On A Dime LLC, we provide quality event planning, coordination, decorations, design, and rentals to our clients with complete satisfaction for any event or occasion.  Our passion for decorating and designing began many years ago while decorating for many church events, birthday parties, and weddings.  This in turn gave us the inspiration to start Dezign On a Dime.

We are determined to create a flawless, one-of-a-kind event for all of our clients.  We strive to treat their special event or occasion in a way that is personal and reflective of their vision, style, and values.

We have a good time doing what we love and we love what we do!

The event planning process should be FUN and EXCITING!  We strive to create an event that is stress-free and we deliver an Exceptional Event Experience!

Our client’s satisfaction is our passion!!

DelCarlos & Carmela Duncan

Dezign On A Dime

*Click Images to view larger*

All images courtesy of Dezign on A Dime

Wedding Dresses Gone Rogue

“Weight” For Me!


bride with dumbbellIt can be very rewarding and fun to try on wedding dresses, but the weight of them can leave a bride-to-be exhausted and bewildered.

The average wedding dress with a chapel length train (trailing up to five feet) can weigh 8-10 pounds or more. So where does all this surprising weight come from? A wedding dress is really two complete dresses (and sometimes three). The actual outside and the underlining(s). Additional weight may come from embellishment. Pearls, sequins, crystals, and other beads that add to the exquisite beauty of the design—may make the dress heavy.

Consider what you wear on everyday basis or your “go to” outfits. They may be light, comfy, and full of stretch. Wedding dresses may be stiff and heavy in places to hold its beautiful design shape. Don’t be discouraged. The good news is—your body will adjust to the weight of your dream gown while you are wearing it, but there are some ways to help you feel more comfortable. Attaching a supportive longline brassiere to the dress (if possible) can help shift some of the weight—especially if shoulder straps are bearing most of it. Also, expert fitting at the waistline of the gown can help the gown slipping downward. Some gowns may already come with supportive straps sewn inside the bodice. Properly executed bustles (as we talked about in our last newsletter) can help redistribute weight also.

$$ Can We Talk About Cost $$

A wedding dress may be the most expensive garment you ever purchase. It is a merging of unique materials and workmanship. The average wedding gown cost can start at around $900 dollars. Some manufacturers assemble their wedding dresses with labor intensive beadwork and costly fabrics such as silk and imported lace. Depending on who designed your dress, you may see a visible difference in the workmanship. There is an old saying, “You get what you pay for.” Remember, the dress may have boning and other specialized materials and finishes—and when shipping and other fees are added—the price goes up.

This a very special day in your life which may explain the tendency to spend the extra money on a dream dress. Bridal shops in the Lansing Bridal Association can offer expert guidance. Also, tell your bridal consultant about your budget preferences if you want—instead of setting yourself up for a disappointing trip when dress shopping.

Wayward Beads, Sequins and Other Little Irritations

Each wedding dress designer has their own size chart and dresses tend to run small. Many wedding gowns will need some type of alteration; however, bridal shops try to minimize this as much as possible. But in the process of obtaining a proper fit, your dress may be irritating to your body in some places. Sometimes beadwork and sequins may have to be replaced, rearranged, or removed in places such as the underarm area (especially with strapless dresses). Soft materials may be added to the inside of your dress to increase wearability. Don’t be alarmed with loose threads and beads that fall off because your dress is being handled more. Shipping odor is also a natural occurrence.

Happy Endings

Once you near the final fitting of your dress and have a bustle if you need one, you are very familiar with the weight of your dress, how much mobility you have, and how comfortable it is. Loose threads and beads are tended to by your seamstress and/or presser. Bridal salons carefully prepare your dress for pick up. Some brides (lightly) mist the inside (underlinings) of their with their wedding day perfume at to give it a heady scent. Heirloom trinkets, charms, and ribbons can be sewn to the inside of a wedding dress or on a separate crinoline slip. This is sometimes done to honor the Grandmother or Mother-of-the-bride, traditions, and the memory of loved ones.

Although there may be some concerns with your wedding dress, it is important to ask questions and be informed—to be the the most happy, beautiful, and comfortable bride you can be!

Written by Cheryl Jiminez
Assistant to the Lansing Bridal Association
Former Bridal Seamstress

From the venue, to the tiniest detail, choose excellence—choose the Lansing Bridal Association!

Will You Leave Your Train Behind?

The entrance of the bride to a wedding is a time-honored tradition.  Many eyes are focused on—for many—the first glimpse of the wedding dress.  Tears sometimes flow and faces brighten.  But when the bride advances closer to the groom, heads and eyes drop down to the what is flowing in back of the dress; the wedding gown train.

Where Did All This Extra Fabric Come From?

Traditionally, a train signifies how formal a wedding dress is.  The longer the train; the more formal it is.  It seems to date back to distinguishing a bride from her bridesmaid(s).  Also, many brides who are marrying again may choose a short train or none at all.  But nowadays; anything goes and trains are simply a matter of preference.  From just a brush on the floor to a trailing of many yards, they can strongly influence the choice of dress for a bride.  

Here are some tips and information to make your train follow smoothly

bride with train on dock

• Consider Your Location

You may want to seriously consider what your gown train has to go through.  Narrow aisles, grass, obstacles, or near water—can take a toll.  Keep this in mind when you choose your gown.  If you have your heart set on a particular dress—but know the train may be tricky to navigate (even with help) at your wedding; consider having it shortened.  Detachable trains that can be removed when you want or need to—can be a choice as well.   

• Shall You Dance

A train of any length should be properly put up for dancing and being comfortable at your reception.  Your groom and guests hug and press against you at your wedding.  Stepping on the train can lead to tripping and excessive soiling.  (Unless your train is detachable), something called a bustle can be added to the back your dress.  It can consist of a combination of snaps, buttons, or ribbons to tuck your train in—up—and out of the way.  Sometimes, they have the added feature of seeming like you have changed into another dress (because they

train bustle

change the look of the back).  Holding your train on your arm for your entire wedding (depending on the length) can be tiring, so bustles are a desirable option.  The Lansing Bridal Association has bridal apparel vendors who have expert seamstresses to do this.  If you are concerned with the whereabouts of your train at your wedding; ask for advice.

Picture Perfect

Wedding gown trains have long been a focal point for photographers in wedding photos.  Some tumble down stairwells with intricate details, swirl beautifully in front of a wedding party, or are carried so tenderly by children or other family members.  They can add drama even if they aren’t many yards long.  Amber Johnston, LBA member and owner of Amber J Photography—gives some insight:

“Typically, I will have the maid of honor help adjust the train. This makes it easier for me to stand back and direct how I would like it to look. If the maid of honor isn’t around, or we are off photographing just the bride and groom, I will have my assistant (Allen) adjust the train. He has also helped carry the train as we walk from location to location. We have even had brides joke that he is a stand-in Maid/Matron of honor. Keep in mind, if you are planning on having pictures taken outside, your train will likely be dragging on the ground and getting dirty at some point. I would suggest talking to your seamstress/tailor and ask about a wrist strap for your train. This will help keep it off the ground and make it easier to carry as we change locations.”

long veil with train

• When Your Veil is Your Train

Some brides opt for a longer veil instead of the sometimes heavier weight of fabric attached to the back of the dress.  It is especially desirable if your ceremony is somewhere that a very long train can be navigated.  It can be removed from the headpiece.  This can be a lovely look, but be aware—tulle is fragile and can rip easily.  Veils made of chiffon are a bit more durable, but a tulle veil is more common.  Veiling substituted for a train can be subject to blowing wind, so keep this in mind when choosing this lightweight option and for pictures.

Whatever train options you choose, let the Lansing Bridal Association help you with all your wedding apparel needs.  They will guide you to a comfortable and beautiful look for your wedding location.  

Written by Cheryl Jiminez

Assistant to the Lansing Bridal Association and formal bridal seamstress