Real Weddings

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Bridesmaids Dress Revamped

A few years ago, if you were asked to be a bridesmaid, a few things you would expect are:

1. To wear an unflattering dress.

2. To wear an unflattering dress, in an unflattering color.

3. To wear that unflattering dress, in that unflattering color, at an UNFLATTERING PRICE and

4.To do all these afore mentioned things with 3-10 other ladies.

Thankfully, times have changed. Now bridesmaids’ dresses come in an array of colors, designs AND price ranges. These dresses are ordered off-the-rack in department stores, boutiques and bridal shops. We love the fact that brides and bridesmaids are daring to say NO to these traditions and letting their creative side see some sunshine.

Bridesmaids are trading in their usual satin ball-gown dresses for lace and traditional (African) materials (e.g. Ankara, Brocade, aso-oke). It’s the BM dress revamped.

Another trend making waves, customized dresses. This is where the bride picks/approves the basic dress design and her BM’s are allowed to make certain alterations to make each dress unique to each person. This idea works well because now BMs can alter their dresses to a more flattering fit or style.

Here are a few tips to make it work:

1. Pick a basic length, fit and style of the top or skirt. This is what cannot be changed e.g. bubble skirt, a-line, mini etc.

2. Allow BMs to add elements that are unique to their style and personality e.g. a bow, puffy sleeves, extra fabric, buttons etc. Use pictures from magazines or online for inspiration.

3. Make sure that the additions are not overwhelming and match the theme and/or season of the wedding.

4. Once you have decided on your styles find a seamstress that will be able to bring the designs to life. This should be done months in advanced so that the seamstress has enough time to work.Don’t forget your example photos.

5. As a bride, be open minded to whatever styles your BMs pick. Remember happy BMs make your day even more special. Who wants to see a frown in their wedding album and

6. Just have fun with it.

ALTERNATIVE: If you don't have adequate time for custom sewn dresses, BMs can wear off-the-rack dresses that are in the same material and color group. The Twist is that Bridesmaids choose their different styles. This trend works best if the differences in the dresses are more subtle i.e length, sleeves bows etc.

Photos Courtesy of

& Rebecca Davidson

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Classic Cake Spins

When you think of a wedding reception what’s the next thing that comes to your mind? After the glow of the newly wed couple, the fashion and the dancing I think about the cake. YES the CAKE, crown of all things sweet. The wedding cake is one of the most crucial décor pieces of any reception and one of the theme and style of the Wedding cake.

Traditionally, wedding cakes were tiered, white or cream colored and personalized with a bride and groom cake topper.

Over the years wedding cakes have evolved from just desserts to awe-inspiring works of art. A lot of effort goes into making sure everything from the taste to the design are perfect for the Big Day. Apart from décor, couples are now using the cake to share, their memories, hobbies and hope for things to come.

Here are cakes that present a new take on the older model:

This damask inspired tiered cake matches the room’s décor without blending in. I love how the design pops out of the cake.

This tier wedding cake is so pretty with it’s delicate sugar/ fondant flowers. Bye bye cream color cakes!

Another springtime, nature inspiration. The chocolate branching and realistic sugar flowers give the cake an earthy feel. The couples are most definitely nature lovers.

I loved this cake with its gold and pearls... Everything but the dragonflies are edible... I almost would not want to eat it.

This cake is a far cry from Traditional. In fact its indescribable.

Pictures courtesy of

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Keeping The Flowers and Your Budget

Flowers come in a wide array of shapes, colors, sizes and fragrance. We love them because they add beauty and depth to every event/venue. In a wedding, flowers can be seen from any angle; with the bride (and bridal train), during the ceremony, as centerpieces at reception and in some instances as part of the cake.
According to a survey conducted by, in 2010, flowers made up close to 10% of the average wedding budget in the US. This comes out to about $2000-$3000 and with the shrinking economy (and increased cost of living) this has lead many brides to wonder if the flowery feat is accomplishable…
It is indeed quite possible to have beautiful flowers on any budget and here are a few tips to help
1.    Avoid flowers that will be out of season at the time of the wedding. These tend to cost a lot more and do not last as long because they must be shipped.  If you must have these flowers think “Less is more”

2.     As a follow up, opt for flowers (and Florists) that are locally grown.  Florists are a lot more flexible with pricing and assistance when it comes to local weddings. 

Traditional roses can be found almost everywhere

3.    D.I.Y. – With a few hours of research and a steady hand you can create your very own beautiful bouquets, boutonnières and centerpieces. The money saved on hiring a florist can easily go into having more flowers for the day or into other areas of the wedding.
Simple and Gorgeous

4.    Mixing Flowers and other aesthetic elements. Instead of a bouquet made purely of flowers. Try using half the amount of flowers and adding beautiful elements such as Greenery, jewels, sculpted branches etc.
These arrangements are not only beautiful, they are far less expensive

5.    An alternative to real (and more expensive) flowers is to use silk/artificial flowers. Look out for our future article on the pros, cons and how-to’s of using them.

Can you tell if these are silk flowers? 

With so many options, the possibilities are endless. Have fun with a little research and let your imagination run free. No matter the size, budget or theme of the wedding the most important rule is to JUST BE CREATIVE.
Happy searching

Friday, June 3, 2011

Fashion Afrique: OCO BAGS

OCO BAGS was founded by Cynthia Osueke. She had the idea of creating durable handbags that combine Ankara with modern materials as she purchased fabric handbags from local vendors alongside a coastal resort in Mozambique. Though delighted by her purchases, she was later disappointed when the handbags fell apart after short usage. She took the concept of making durable bags to a bag maker in Nigeria who produced the first round. Upon returning to the USA, Cynthia shared her products and the news spread.

Cynthia holds a Bachelors degree in Government with an African Studies Certificate from Georgetown University. She is currently pursing a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Maryland with hopes of pursing a career in International Development with a focus on poverty eradication in Africa. Her parents immigrated from eastern Nigeria. She is native of Houston and a lover of all things fruit.

OCO BAGS combine beautiful African Ankara fabrics with modern materials to create distinctive handbags. All of our products are custom made. No two of our bags are exactly the same. No one else has these exact products. Our array of products are constantly changing and evolving. Many of our styles will not repeated. OCO BAGS brings affordable, custom made, top quality handbags to the world. It takes a tradition material, reshapes it and reinvents its usages.

OCO BAGS is more than simply another retailer of handbags. We hope to futher the appreciation of Africa around hte world while positively impacting lives of people in Africa as a course of business.
To that end, OCO BAGS are produced by small scale artisans in West Africa. Everything from the Ankara fabrics to the zippers is bought in African markets. The involvement of Africans in the creation of our products and supply chain directly ties our business to small businesses in Africa. Thus, we hope to provide additional streams of income from these African ventures.

Additionally, a portion of our proceeds will be donated to charities benefiting vulnerable children operating in Africa. Our first line of charities will be Operation Bobby Bear in Durban, South Africa, Children of Fire in Johannesburg, South Africa and Sons of Mary, Mother of Mercy in Abia State, Nigeria.
Be part of the journey. Witness the artistry and allure of Africa.