Hop on the gondola ride with me, and journey down to the moats of France as we enter the Phantom’s lair. Awaiting our arrival is our second couple of the season, Amber and Chris, whose wedding was inspired by the classic story of the Phantom of the Opera. Amber and Chris met in a theatre and their shared loved for romance blossomed into a proposal, engagement, and the point where I met them – a potentially disastrous wedding in the works.
When I saw Amber’s initial wedding set-up table of fake rose petals, masks and gossamer, I wondered if three weeks was enough time for me to give this bride the Phantom-inspired wedding of her dreams. The next moment was the reveal of the dreadful dresses that the bridesmaids were wearing. Off the bat, the girls looked terribly uncomfortable in front me and disappointed at the lackluster shape of the dresses. A note to all brides regarding the age-old issue of choosing bridesmaids dresses: when picking dresses for your bridesmaids, you want to make a uniform statement. This doesn’t necessarily mean that each dress has to have the exact same cut and color for every girl (we all know that a strapless dress doesn’t work for every body type!).
What’s wonderful about the new trend in dresses that I am seeing is that brides are allowed (if not encouraged) to slightly vary the bridesmaids dresses…whether it’s a play on colors (shades of blue in a similar “peacock” or “baby blue” range) or a halter for a bridesmaid with stunning arms, an A-line dress for a bridesmaid that’s pear-shaped, etc. With my line of bridal gowns through David Tutera by Faviana, I have a MUCH greater appreciation for dress shapes that flatter each and every girl. With all the options on the market, there’s no need for any bride or bridesmaid to feel less than stellar when wearing their dresses.
That being said, the dresses had to go – and I mean all of them! At Sung Boutique in Los Angeles, Helen Sung provided the caliber of dresses that I knew these brides should be in. It should feel like they’re attending an Opera. There were two styles of dresses, one in black and one in black with gold embellishments that I fell in love with. Guess what? On the day of Amber’s wedding, half of the bridesmaids wore one style and half of the girls wore the second style. Even though these were two very different dresses, it worked because the dresses stemmed from the same color palette (black), the prints and busyness of each dress was minimal, and it gave Amber a more dramatic element to the fashion in her wedding. Perfection!
In this particular episode, I was able to give my bride something I’ve never given a bride before – a rehearsal dinner. Amber, her fiance and myself headed to Pinot Bistro in Studio City where the couple was greeted by their closest friends and family.
As we all know, there are many celebratory traditions leading up to a wedding. There’s the engagement party, the bridal shower, the bachelor party, bachelorette party, the rehearsal dinner, the wedding itself, the wedding party brunch the day of, the list goes on and on. Talk about a wedding seriously adding up quickly!
I’m a firm believer in rehearsal dinners, I have to admit. However, it need not be a lavish affair that breaks the bank. You’ll see that at Amber and Chris’ rehearsal dinner, we simply used an available back room at Pinot Bistro. There’s no need to rent out an entire restaurant! We had plenty of space, plenty of privacy, and a lovely backdrop to complement the Phantom of the Opera theme with all of the romanticism of the restaurant.
Also, what about that simple champagne toast that Amber and Chris had when they entered the room? Sometimes, restaurants will offer a package or special additive to your meal as a wedding gift to the bride and groom! Pinot Bistro provided candles and votives and offered their own linens to be used in the rehearsal dinner. Had I not asked what they had available, we would have never discovered the perfectly accented votives that brought in the taupes, burgundies, and reds in the room! Something I’ve always heard growing up is “You don’t know if you don’t ask”. Who knows what you’ll wind up with unless you ask for all of the available options?
It was at the Taglyan Ballroom that this Phantom wedding story came to its finale. With lightning lighting in the ceiling, fog on the floor, and opera singers, Amber and Chris’ theatrical, lavish, and over-the-top wedding was a success. It was such a remarkable moment to watch the couple’s own love story on-stage as they played the principle roles. The fantasy of the night and the love in the room was truly felt by all. If this were the original couple in the Phantom of the Opera, I bet Andrew Lloyd Webber would have written an entirely different tune. Amber and Chris, to a wonderful, deserving, selfless, incredible couple, congratulations!