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Hardship & Kindness

We have all faced hardship at some point in our lives. No one is spared from life’s difficult lessons. Thing is, you usually can’t plan for them and they hit out of nowhere.  Then you find your support, your strength, your true friends, and your grit.

Dealing with the virus certainly hit us all, some far worse than others. As of this writing, I know of only two people personally who have had it, I know no one who passed from it. I am incredibly fortunate in that regard.

Others are not only dealing with the quarantine, but have illnesses of their own, compromised immune systems, chemo treatments, therapies, etc., who are struggling even harder. Many are out of work now because of it and struggling to make ends meet.

We are all going through this hard time together – some worse than others – and we will get through and hopefully find better, kinder versions of ourselves on the other side.

I wasn’t going to write this. I hoped I could heal before our store reopened and no one would know, but maybe it will help someone going through a different hardship right now.

On March 5, I wasn’t feeling well and wound up fainting early in the morning. When I came to I was bleeding from the head, could not sit up, nor move at all from the waist down.

After a two hour emergency surgery we were told I had a 50/50 chance of walking again. I badly injured C6 on my spinal cord. I fractured my neck.

I was a perfectly normal functioning woman with a family and a great business. A few days prior, my husband and I were featured speakers at a Chamber of Commerce meeting. We were helping our brides and grooms whose weddings were being postponed due to COVID-19.  I was reading with my youngest and welcoming my eldest’s new puppy into the family.

In an instant, I was in the intensive care unit with staples in my head and paralyzed from the chest down.

Fortunately, I believe the very strong medications I was on kept me from panicking for the first week. In addition, it was determined that my injury was “incomplete” meaning there was a better chance I would be able to walk again.  I was moved to a rehabilitation center for the next month.

At rehab it was determined that all the pathways were getting signals from my brain, a very positive sign! Now came the hard part – relearning everything.

I heard people say that before, that they had to “re-learn” how to do something very basic and I always wondered what that meant.  I understand 100% now and it is exactly that. My injury affected everything from chest down, but C6 is responsible for wrist and hands. While I was fortunate to have some control of my left hand, my right was completely numb and would not work at all. I couldn’t hold a spoon to feed myself. Brushing my teeth was near impossible, brushing my hair was impossible, as was everything else from normal bodily functions to getting dressed or even sitting up.

Unable to do most everything, learning it all over was an extremely large and bitter pill on it’s own, but just one day into rehab I was fed a larger and more bitter one. I was told that visitors were not allowed due to the Coronavirus. I wasn’t going to be able to see my family.

At first I felt like I couldn’t breathe, but I remembered reading about the Corona patients who couldn’t see or speak with their families, and the families of the victims who passed away that couldn’t have a proper funeral. I felt fortunate not to have the virus and grateful to be able to speak with my family over the phone. Others were in far worse places.

I will spare you the rehab details but tell you I worked my ass off to the point of tears almost daily.  I purposely watched no television or social media, I focused solely on getting better. In fact, I was reprimanded numerous times for exercising in my room alone (not allowed because I was a fall risk) and overheard a nurse refer to me as “cocky” for continuing to do it.

Because of my progress (score 1 for the cocky girl), I was able to come home early to continue my physical – and mental – therapy with my loves. Home Sweet Home.

The accident was two months ago. I can walk, my hands are improving, and I’m off all but two of the (ridiculous) 13 medications they had me on.  I feel physically stronger every day and mentally, well, I’m getting there, too.  My family is incredible, celebrating my ups (I love hearing, “Good job, Mommy!”) and encouraging me through the downs.

Franco has been by my side every minute, walking with me, pushing me farther, making sure I’m properly fed, and safe and sound. My beautiful girls help with my hand exercises, cheering me on, and keep me laughing! The addition of adorable puppy Eva (look at that face omg) completes the family and was the perfect addition, especially while I was away. It is a very long road ahead as recovery lasts up to a year, but this is my life and part of my story.  I am no different from anyone facing hardship. We all have our cross to bear, some heavier than others.

Having the right support, attitude, determination, and grit is determining my outcome and I believe I will be a better person on the inside for this. I hope when the world reopens we will all be a little kinder, softer, and understanding.

Everyone will face hardship in their life, some are going through very difficult times right now. Please be kind and you will help their journey without knowing you made that difference. When it happens to you, you will appreciate that smile or the kind words.

The fact that we are shut down during my recovery has been an incredible blessing and coincidence (are there really any coincidences?) but I can’t wait to get the green light to reopen! I miss being open! While I may not be able to do appointments right away, I will be there helping and cheering when you say YES!

Thank you for reading and sharing in my story. I’d love to hear yours.

 

 

The Strapless Dress: What To Consider

A few years ago, the strapless dress is all you saw. Typically it was a strapless fit and flare that looked great on all figures. As styles and trends change, so have the necklines, but strapless remains a very popular choice.

There are, however, details to be considered before saying “yes!” to a strapless dress. Most brides (and their guests) will agree it is not ideal for your dress to be falling down during your wedding. This is the main complaint of a strapless dress. This is able to be solved by the following:

  • The Construction of the Bodice – In order for a strapless dress to stay fitted, it must have a corset and/or boning throughout. The weight of the dress needs to stay on the ribs and hips, and the boning will keep the top stiff and in place.
  • The Cups – You must have the appropriate fitting cups. Too small will flatten and push you up and out. Too large will cause gapping. Neither are desired. Your seamstress will be able to assist you with this! If you are large busted, it is advised to go up in size in order for the appropriate cups to be sewn in and then taken in where necessary to ensure a tight fit.
  • The Neckline – Strapless dresses have several different neckline shapes: sweetheart, scoop, or straight across. Consider your bust size when choosing. If you are large busted and choose a sweetheart, make sure the dip is not too low and the sweetheart comes up high enough and goes just under your arm. You may want to consider something more modest such as a scoop which will give you additional support. Same if you are small busted as a sweetheart tends to have extra room between you and the dress. Alterations can usually fix this but it comes at a cost.
  • Strapless with Low or Illusion Back – These dresses are beautiful and can be a real “WOW”, yet are the most difficult we have seen to fit properly. A low back has no support at all and is nearly impossible to stay in place as you twist and move. An illusion back gives very little support, leaving the front to be fitted by itself. Consider having the back lined or you probably will be pulling it up regardless of alterations. There are undergarments that can help with these dresses, however it adds an additional layer between you and the dress that will require additional alterations.

Your wedding dress is the most important garment you will ever buy. It should be memorable and reflect your personality! You do not want your photos or your guests reminding you of dress malfunctions. Trust your stylist if she’s giving you advice or suggestions… We often have brides who fall in love with a dress that we know may cause problems or cost hundreds in alterations because of an ill-fitting top. Don’t be afraid to speak up! There are many ways to make the dress of your dreams fit your vision and flatter your figure to the fullest.

The State of the Industry: What’s Next?

As a nation, we did not see this coming. The year 2020 was going to be amazing and full of excitement and progress, but here we are together in a mandatory quarantine.
We are a business in the wedding industry, one of the most emotional industries out there and the last thing a bride needs is additional stress . This virus has caused just that on so many levels.  We are constantly looking to a future that changes day by day. Lets take a look at the last two months…
What Happened?
Our brides and grooms who booked for Spring weddings were literally shut down. If you are one of them, know you are not alone. Hundreds and hundreds of couples are in the same position of trying to find a new date and vendors while keeping the excitement over disappointment. Many couples were able to book a new date only to find their preferred vendors already booked. Vendors we know are trying to help – if they are booked, they will refer trusted partners. We are all in this together and pulling together for the best outcome is crucial to our industry.
What’s Happening?
While our brides already have their dresses (many already altered to fit), we are easily able to reschedule tuxedo and formal wear needs to future dates with no additional out-of-pocket fees! We have begun video appointments with our couples and are able to arrange groom try ons when we are able to open for regular business again. 
We are in constant contact with our designers to track existing orders and ensure a timely delivery. All designers’ factories (including bridesmaids) are open and meeting quoted delivery times. Brides, grooms, and members of the bridal party can always get in contact with us via email, live chat on our website, or texting our store telephone number at any time! Our customers love having direct and immediate access to the owners, especially during a time that requires quick answers and decisions, and Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo is proud to be the only bridal and tuxedo store in the area that offers this service.
What’s Next?
These forced closures have impacted businesses in a way that no one could have predicted. Through the chaos, our business and many others have found unique ways to adapt to the newfound challenges. Our video appointments have become such a hit with our couples that we are excited to begin offering them after the closures as well! We have found that not only is this convenient in the age of social distancing, but we have many out-of-town couples who choose to host their wedding in the Bucks County and Philadelphia areas who will greatly benefit from the option to plan from home.
We’ve also added the ability to do your free groom try on of your suits and tuxedos in the comfort of your own home.  Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo can now ship to your home the suits, tuxedos and accessories you choose to try on to help you decide the best look for your wedding day.  We will even provide you with a live video consultation to help you decide on the best look for your wedding day.
For any couples who are in the process of re-planning your wedding and find yourself in need of new vendors, we are always available to help! We work with some of the best in the business and would love to help point you in the right direction.
In order to best protect our customers and staff, we are in the process of developing new protocols for our reopening. Please check our website and social media for these new procedures for when you visit our store.
The Governor has given a date of May 8th for some businesses to reopen, and we expect to reopen not long after that. We are currently accepting appointments for the end of May and June. To make an appointment, click here or text 215-491-8500. We will all get through this together!

What To Know Before Planning a Walt Disney World Wedding

The Disney Chapel
After spending 10 months working for the mouse, I can easily say that I’ve seen some pretty cool wedding related things when it comes to Walt Disney World: wedding pictures on the steps in the Grand Floridian, couples celebrating their honeymoon with a few rides down Splash Mountain, and more engagements in front of the castle than I can count. We even had the opportunity to meet with one of the Wedding Consultants at Franck’s Bridal Studio and tour some of their on-site venues! Although I spent my time working there outside of the bridal world, I learned so much about the ins and outs of planning a Disney wedding. If you are newly engaged and considering tying the knot in Disney World, here are some important things to know!
Walt Disney’s Wedding Pavillion
You can get married virtually anywhere on property
If you have spent every summer vacationing at Disney World, you may have seen some of the unique (and gorgeous) spots where you can host your wedding on property. Whether you are having just a few close friends and relatives or a 200 person event, they have the perfect space for you to say “I do!”. 
Many resorts have multiple areas that transform into absolutely magical wedding venues including the Boardwalk Inn, Coronado Springs, the Polynesian, Yacht & Beach Club, the Contemporary, and Port Orleans! From my experience, the Grand Floridian was an incredibly popular spot for Disney weddings as it is close to the ever popular Wedding Pavilion – a gorgeous space with a view that overlooks Cinderella’s Castle! The ballrooms at the Grand Floridian also act as a neutral space that allows you to customize just how much Disney you would like to incorporate in your ceremony and reception. My pick, however, would be the beach at the Polynesian! From private patios to pavilions to ballrooms and more, there is a space at these resorts for every couple.
A lesser known option for your Disney wedding is to host in a restaurant in Disney Springs! This is typically a better option for more intimate weddings due to space constrictions and the fact that this is a free space that is open to the public. One of our brides tied the knot right at Paddlefish and took photos at Port Orleans resort. 
When most people think of a Disney wedding, their mind typically goes straight to weddings in the parks. There are a plethora of spaces in the parks that also double as ceremony and reception venues. In Animal Kingdom, you have the option to dance the night away on Harambe Street, experience the charm of the Tamu Tamu Courtyard, or say yes to forever in front of the Tree of Life. And I can’t think of a more perfect space to host a Halloween wedding than in the courtyard of the Tower of Terror in Hollywood Studios! 
Epcot is home to the most incredible venue spaces: the American Adventure Rotunda where you can dine with the presidents, the Living Seas Salon that allows you to party with the fish, and tucked away spots in all of the countries! Lastly, of course, are the straight-out-of-fairytale Magic Kingdom venues. If you know you are royalty and want your wedding to reflect it, you have the option of the East Plaza Garden, the Walt Disney World Railroad station, or directly on Main Street (all of which offer incredible up close and personal views of the castle). You really can’t go wrong with any of these amazing spots, but something to take into consideration is…
Most weddings in the park have to take place before or after park hours
If your dream venue is right in front of the castle on Main Street, you are going to have an extremely early morning or a very late night! Most, if not all, of the spaces in the parks require off-hour events as these are also highly trafficked areas during the day. You also don’t want to have wedding crashers at your big day! The benefit to having an early ceremony is that you and your guests have the rest of the day to spend at the parks, rest, or continue the festivities. Many newlyweds create an itinerary that they share with their guests to let them know what their plan is for the day if they would like to join them. If you have a night wedding, you have all day to prepare and can spend the morning hitting up restaurants and even the spa with your bridal party! Talk to your wedding planner and see how other couples have structured their big day around the timing.
You don’t have to break the bank to have a Disney wedding.
One of the biggest misconceptions about having a Disney wedding is that it is unrealistically expensive. Like any wedding, the more you add on to your day, the higher the cost will be. The Disney Fairytale Wedding packages start at $3,500 for a celebration with four guest while bigger celebrations start at $12,000. The price can start to add up when you choose special a la carte options like a ride in Cinderella’s carriage or having Minnie & Mickey show up to your reception, but they have some pretty awesome extras that you might find are totally worth splurging!
Sample Disney Flowers
Disney provides most of your vendors

When we spoke to the Wedding Consultant at Franck’s Bridal Studio, she told us that many couples choose to have a Disney wedding simply because of how easy it is to plan! The stress free experience is a highly desirable aspect for many couple, especially for the majority who are coming to Disney from other states or countries. This saves much of the hassle of having to coordinate vendors in the Orlando area when you are miles away! Disney weddings are basically full service providing services like catering, photography, videography, entertainment, floral, transportation, and more. Some services that they do not provide are officiants, hair and make up, invitations, and wedding attire (so make your appointment at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo!).

Your wedding does not have to include any elements of Disney
It sounds weird to have a wedding at Disney that doesn’t have much of a tie in to Disney itself. As stated before, the ease in which couples can plan their wedding in a “one stop shop” type of environment is one of the perks of hosting your wedding there. The variety of venues also lend themselves to be flexible in the kind of theme that you are going for and what you would like to incorporate into it. If you want a formal wedding with no trace of mice or princesses, any of the ballrooms or even the countries at Epcot would be perfect for you! How much Disney you would like to include in your big day is completely left up to you. You can always chat with one of their Wedding Consultants to determine what your wedding day will look like!
Disney Wedding Cake

Whether you decide to go with a Disney wedding or not, we are confident that your big day is going to be perfect! Let us be a small part of your wedding memories and choose Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo for your bridal gown, tuxedos, and bridesmaid dresses. Call or text 215-491-8500 or click here to make an appointment