Why Recent Trends In Bridal Gowns Are Good For The Frum Bride

Only a few years ago, finding a wedding gown that was not strapless was nearly impossible. Virtually every wedding gown in mainstream stores had a neckline that ended way below the neck. These type of gowns still make up the majority of the bridal store rack, but recently, gowns with higher necklines have grown in popularity.

You may say: “well, I never cared about what’s popular anyways.” Not so fast. Fashion trends affect us all. Whether we like it or not, they define, or at the very least strongly influence, our perception of beauty. Just think, what looked good in the 80s or 90s, looks incredibly awkward now

(Here’s an 80’s wedding dress flashback to refresh your memory).

Oh, those puffed shoulders!

In the era of the strapless wedding gown, tznius wedding dresses often looked top-heavy and somehow less elegant. It was significantly more difficult for a frum bride to alter a non-tznius dress without significantly decreasing its appeal. Recent trends in wedding gowns, however, make building up a non-tznius dress a lot easier. Not only because higher necklines such as the jewel, the bateau, the v-neck are coming in, but also because the fabrics are changing as well. More of the wedding dress is made from tulle and lace.  Using these fabrics, designers are adding more airiness and lightness to their wedding gowns.  3-d appliqués and feather adornments over the tulle that are in style further accentuate the airiness of the fabric.


Gown by Israeli Designer Chana Marelus

The lighter fabrics work better with gowns that cover arms and shoulders and make them more pleasing to the eye. Tznius gowns look as elegant and as stylish as the non-tznius ones. Many dresses that are sold in regular bridal stores are easily made tznius by adding sleeves without any additional adjustments. On the downside, large princess ball gowns, which our kallahs like so much, are less common as a result, but that’s a trend we’re prepared to accept. A-lines, sheath, and mermaid (the latter ranking lower on the tznius spectrum) silhouettes are more common.

Perla gown by BHLDN – $1,800

Mary by Illume Gowns

Beaded Lace Gown by Oleg Cassini – $1,250

Gown by Chana Marelus

Trends will surely swing back, but for now let us appreciate the additional options available to the frum bride.

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Wedding Photography: Pluses and Minuses


Photo by Zalmy B

Wedding photography has changed over the past number of years. This is true for the wedding world at large as well as the frum wedding world. Not in such distant past, the wedding photography industry was run by a relatively small number of full service wedding studios. These were professionally run businesses with a rotating team of photographers and a team of in-studio personnel who took care of logistics, proofs, albums, etc. But a couple could not always be certain which photographer will be there to capture their most important day. So new photographers appeared on the scene. The new photographers were a one man show – they had  their own unique style, their commitment to creativity, and if a couple was captivated by the photographer’s images, they knew who and what they were getting.

At about this time the focus of wedding photos shifted from formal portraits to photojournalistic, in-the-moment candids. Couples wanted photographers to document the euphoria, the frenzy, the joy, the excitement, in other words all the emotion of this so completely emotion-drenched event. The relationship between the couple and their photographer became much more personal.

These photographers are also social media savvy, which means that a couple’s wedding pictures are likely to hit the photographers’ Facebook pages, Instagram feeds, Pinterest boards or their personal blogs. For many couples this is an added bonus so to speak, a way to share their greatest joy with their friends, and perhaps a chance to show off a little (after all they just spent the last couple of months making sure that everything about this wedding is just perfect!). For others this was a nuisance. Many frum couples would rather not share the images from their wedding with the world. But this is not a big deal. Photographers in the frum world understand this, and will accommodate if requested.

The problems that many couples and families do experience is in post production. The one-man-(or one-woman)-show photographer does not usually have back office staff to deal with clients regarding their albums, portraits, or whatever post wedding issues the families might have. He or she are responsible for shooting the event (which means getting home most nights at 2 AM), for uploading the images to the computer, retouching them (which is hours and hours of work), organizing them, communicating with their clients, designing the albums, dealing with printing studios, etc etc etc. And so we hear many complaints from married couples with children who are still chasing after their very creative photographer, who did an amazing job at the wedding, but has since disappeared, and has yet to provide the wedding album. Many go as far as accusing the photographer of being a liar and a ganef, when in reality the guy is just overwhelmed, way over extended, and just doesn’t know who to deal with first.

How does one prevent this scenario? There are two things you must do: you must communicate with your photographer as much as you can. Before committing to a photographer, inquire about his or her process of album making – who does it? how long does it take? Secondly, even though many photographers ask for all the money up front (and they do this with good reason – they have to pay the printer and the binder in advance), you, as a client, have to make sure that a portion of the bill is only paid upon delivery of the albums. How to break it down will often vary, but 50% up front, 25% after delivery of proofs and the rest after albums is not unreasonable. Many photographers themselves offer similar terms.

Overall, the changes in the wedding photography industry have worked out to the couples’ benefit – they have more options, greater ability to find the photographer that matches their style. But as with any progress, there are always some growing pains. The best that you can do is be an educated consumer.

{Note: The beautiful images used in this post are there for visual enhancement only, and have no relation to the content.}


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Wedding Finances Survey | Initial Results – Part 1

Some time ago we added a 10 question survey to the right side of this blog. (Go ahead, I’ll wait a minute until you scroll to check it out.) The survey relates to wedding finances – setting a budget, the actual wedding costs and other related issues. While the responses are slowly trickling in, we couldn’t wait to share with you these early results and what they seem to indicate. Meanwhile the survey continues, so feel free to take half a minute and fill it out. And if you’re still in the early planning stages of your wedding and not ready to answer these questions, do come back and share your experience.

{Perhaps it is necessary to point out the obvious. This survey is in no way scientific. It is an open, voluntary survey of visitors of this website. We don’t know much about the respondents nor about the truthfulness of their responses. Still the results are certainly interesting and worth a discussion.}

Let’s begin with end, with the last question of the survey: “How much did your wedding cost?”


There were 7 possible categories to choose from: from below $15,000 to above $75,000. Interestingly enough, the two categories that got the most responses were these two extremes. Almost 26% – more than 1 in 4 – of respondents kept their wedding costs down to below $15,000 and almost 20% shelled out more than $75,000.

Do you think $15,000 gives too broad of a range? Is it that easy to pull off a Jewish wedding for under 15 grand? We certainly didn’t think so when we drafted the survey and don’t think so still. Between the hall, catering, music, flowers, photography, videography etc. it seems nearly impossible to put together a wedding under $15,000. But, to our great surprise, more than a quarter of the survey participants managed it. What do you think?

The smallest response was given to the $65,000-$75,000 range. Could that indicate that if one spends one really spends? Perhaps. Although, with more kallahs filling out the survey, things may even out.

Now let us take a look at the survey’s first question: “Did you budget plan for your wedding?”

Yes, we know proper English would be: “Did you set a budget for your wedding?” But we felt that this version was more appropriate, more closely descriptive of the process of trying to set a budget for something that really requires professional and experienced planners. Whilst most people sort of learn the trade of figuring out the various options and their costs as they go along not unpleasantly overwhelmed.


As you can see from the chart, almost half the survey participants took their budget quite seriously. Only 20% of respondents did not set a budget at all. Wait, are those the same 20% with wedding costs exceeding the $75,000 mark?

In the next question the survey wants to know: “How successful were you in setting a budget?”


Here again 26% answered – making it the most frequent response – that they managed to fit into their budget. Whoever heard of fitting into a wedding budget??? Who are these people? Wait, are these the same 26% that managed to pull of a whole wedding under $15,000? Hmm, there does seem to be a pattern of sorts.

This next question is a personal favorite: “The price tag of which wedding service surprise you the most?”


I was rooting for photography, but it only came in third. The winner is “Flowers”, with almost 32% percent of people surprised by the cost of wedding florals. Isn’t it a wonder that one can get a beautiful, large bouquet for about $50, but if it’s a bridal bouquet, well that’s $150-$250?

Many (almost 28%) were also surprised by the price tag of food. It’s generally the biggest of all wedding expenses. Prices for catering (which sometimes include the venue and sometimes are in addition to the cost of the wedding hall) can range from $25 per person to $200 per person. The total cost here is dependent, in large, on the amount of guests you are expecting at your affair. To set table at a large frum wedding with 500 guests or more even at $50 per person adds up to a hefty $25,000.

Now we wanted to know if you think your wedding is costing too much. Duh, of course it is! Well, as you can see from the chart below, about 12% of people answered that they kept wedding costs to a minimum. Most respondents, however, indicated that their wedding expenses are high – some are just more OK with it than others; after all it is a wedding!


The second half of the survey we shall discuss in Part 2 of this article. Stay tuned, but add your two cents to the topic of wedding costs in the comments.

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Monique Lhuillier Spring Bridal 2013 / Fall 2014

OrthoWed reports that modest gowns are recently experiencing a comeback. Browsing the recent Bridal collections of Monique Lhuillier, one can spot a few designs (although quite sheer) featuring long sleeves and closed necklines.

Take a look:





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What does FLOP mean?

Checklist and pen Many, if not most, Jewish orthodox circles adopt the FLOP system to divide the major wedding costs among the two sides and make it clear who pays for what. Simply put, in this method, the groom’s side, in addition to personal expenses, will be responsible for FlowersLiquor, the Orchestra, and the Photographer / Videographer, while the bride’s side will take care of the Venue and Catering.

Less common, but nevertheless not unusual, is the FLOPS option, where the chosson’s side also takes care of the Sheitel for the kallah.

If you decided to use FLOP, get this simple FLOP wedding checklist. If you are still not decided on how to split the expenses, read these notes on splitting your wedding costs. If you already made up your mind, feel free to speak it below, in the comments!

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