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Bridal “Research” – How Do We Learn About Dresses?

With so many wedding dresses out in the market, what research do you need to do to learn what distinguishes one from another? Why would one dress be $250 and another dress be $10,000 or more? Here is some information that can help you!

A row of beautiful Ballgowns

As a leading bridal store in the Philadelphia region, we do extensive amounts of research on the designers and the lines that we bring in. A particular designer may design several lines, for instance: we carry the designer Kitty Chen. She designs a line called Couture, another called Ivoire, and she also designs a line called Jessica Morgan. We happen to carry all of the lines, because of the uniqueness and the price points.

It is the same with designer Madeline Gardner, also known as Morilee. She has seven lines for bridal, one dedicated to curvy brides, one is a higher end couture line, another one is a very simple less expensive line.

“The Other White Dress” collection by Madeline Gardner

How do you know what is best for you? How do you know what you need?

It’s not easy – especially when you are all over Pinterest. There are brides who show us their Pinterest board and it’s full of dresses that are way out of budget. They can be very disappointed and confused. Why would a dress that looks so “affordable” be so expensive? And what do we have that looks like that in her price range?

We have also had the opposite. We have had brides try on dresses and fall in love and when they see the price, they think something must be wrong with it. Why would she fall in love with a dress so under budget? As an experiment, we offered a dress to a bride that was exactly what she asked for but was well under budget. She loved it until she saw the price, then she didn’t. She said the fabric “looked like plastic”. We then gave her a dress by a different designer that was over budget – in the exact same fabric. She tried to convince us of how much better the fabric looked then the “cheaper dress”. The only difference was the label inside.

It is similar to purchasing a car. Certain cars, based on the make, will be more expensive than others. I think it is safe to say most people know a certain make of car will be more expensive than others. They both do the same thing and they have the same main parts, but one goes a little farther for the luxury. If you are not knowledgeable about cars, you could just go and pick out the one you like best based on the look. When you find out the price is usually when you would decide yes or no.

A great choice if you love the look of satin but have a wedding in a warmer location or in the summer months

Now picture shopping for your wedding dress in the same way. If you don’t have a budget, you will find the prettiest ones, try them on, and make your decision. What makes one dress cost more than another would be the same concept, that is mainly the name of the designer. Other things considered are: the fabrics used, the beading/beadwork, how it is constructed, perhaps additional accessories, etc. The bottom line, however, is the name on the label.

The research that we do allows us to find who we feel are the best designers, in affordable price ranges, who offer a wide range of styles and sizes. In addition, we want to make sure we carry unique designers, not ones that are found in every single store. There is nothing better than when a bride tells us she’s been everywhere and is shown the same dresses over and over. We get to wow the brides, which is really what she is looking for!

Satin and sleeves, perfect for a formal event in chillier months

Research for you should also include thinking about the season of your wedding and the fabric that would make sense. If you are getting married in the winter on the East Coast, a heavier satin, sleeves, or layered lace would be more appropriate than a strapless chiffon for example. If you are getting married on a beach, a heavy satin wouldn’t make any sense, but lightweight chiffon would be perfect!

A lovely fitted lace dress, perfect for an indoor
or outdoor affair

Also the venue makes a difference in what type of dress. A formal church wedding followed by a formal reception would dictate a more formal type dress, rather than if you are getting married outside in the garden in a casual type setting.

Having a budget for your dress will make a big difference in making your choice. You can research various lines and find those in budget that have styles you love. If you are a bargain hunter, you can always look for sample sales which is when the dress in the store is marked way down for a faster sale. It is that dress, as is, and has been tried on, but it’s never been worn and you can save a lot of money at a sample sale if that’s your thing! We hold sample sale events several times a year and they are very popular with many brides!

Our dresses new start at $1000 and our selection in various price ranges is outstanding. Make your appointment today to see all that we have to offer!

New and Unique Wedding Desserts

There are many choices the couple-to-be will have to make during wedding planning, but the sweetest of them all is choosing the desserts that you’ll be serving to your guests at the end of the night!

As more couples begin to do away with old-fashioned wedding traditions, the customary wedding cake may not be present at the reception or just one option in an assortment of sweets. The dessert arrangement can be just as unique as the couple themselves! If you are in the process of deciding what desserts you want to serve at your wedding, here are a few ideas for you.

Wedding Cake

New twist on a dessert cake, bite size squares in pink and gold stacked up amid pink an white macaroons and roses
Who could resist a bite of this cake?

The traditional wedding cake is still the most popular of all desserts for couples – no surprise! The ability to mix and match different cake flavors to a variety of frosting choices makes having a cake a very versatile dessert option. The cake can also serve as a very delicious piece of decor!

Customizing the cake with flowers, cake toppers, or edible decorations can transform it from being just a cake to a gorgeous statement piece. Couples also typically choose a cake for the traditional cake cutting or to save the top tier for their first anniversary. Regardless, the wedding cake is a staple of most weddings and is a tradition that is here to stay!


Cupcakes in white and shades of blues decorated as flowers
Almost too pretty to eat!

If you are interested in the cake but want to provide more flexibility to your guests, cupcakes may be a great option for you! Cupcakes are a great choice of desserts if you are looking to offer a variety of flavors (or maybe some un-traditional flavors) to your guests without having to commit to an entire slice. Since each cupcake is individually decorated, this could be a fun way to incorporate a theme or interests of the couple (ex. sports, pets, etc).

If you are a COVID couple in the midst of planning a minimony, cupcakes are an amazing way to limit exposure among guests as they are already portioned out as opposed to having someone cutting slices and handing out plates.


Sugar cookies shaped as mannequin forms iced in white looking like actual lace and silk wedding dresses
Say yes to the cookie!

There are few things better than a good cookie! The options that you have with cookies are nearly endless to appease any differing tastes or dietary needs. You can even kick the personalization up a notch by having the baker ice the cookie with the couples’ names, monogram, wedding date, and so much more. Not only can you serve these during dessert, but you can also provide bags for guests to take some home as favors at the end of the night!

For the COVID couple, consider having some individually wrapped for your guests to grab and go at the end of your reception.


Any bride with a wedding board on Pinterest has seen the infamous doughnut wall! It is essentially a peg board with doughnuts hanging from it where guests can walk right up and claim one for themself. The self serve option of a doughnut wall is perfect for a minimony! For couples holding out for post-pandemic celebrations, consider having a doughnut truck in attendance. Having the truck on site offers your guests fresh doughnuts and can provide a fun backdrop for photo ops!

Cake Pops & Chocolate Strawberries

lavender and gold chocolate covered strawberries
Chocolate Strawberries in gorgeous colors

Both of these delicious little treats have really taken off over the last few years! If you are a fan of sampling a little of everything offered, cake pops and chocolate strawberries are a great substitute for the cake or cupcakes. Cake pops are a perfect choice for the couple that has many tastes as you can customize the flavors of the cake and the frosting on these little bites.

For anyone who isn’t up for cake, enter the strawberry that can be decorated in any number of ways! They fit nicely into any dessert display and are the perfect treats for both minimonies and big celebrations alike! Individually boxed cake pops with personalized stickers also make great favors at the end of the night if you are looking for something that your guests will really enjoy!

Caramel or Candy Apples

caramel apples decorated as bride's lace and groom's tuxedo
Bride and Groom Apples!

An unconventional choice for many – I know! If you are a couple with a Fall wedding, you may want to consider these, though. Many people really enjoy a good caramel or candy apple but rarely go out of their way to seek them out. Having a display of caramel and candy apples can not only serve as a cute and timely piece of decor, but offering your guests a sweet and seasonal treat will absolutely stand out in their mind when they think back on your big day!

Depending on the venue, you could even have a station where guests could make their own and choose toppings like nuts or chocolate chips. Provide boxes for your guests to take their creations home and go down in history for having the best favors of all time!

The desserts you can offer at your wedding are truly limitless. Explore options with your bakery and see how you can work to create the perfect assortment for you and your guests!

About the author: Daria Capaldi is the manager of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo and one-half of its namesake. On the cusp of the Millennial/Gen Z divide, she is uniquely suited for understanding the wedding industry both from a business perspective and a bride’s planning perspective. A graduate of James Madison University and the Disney Internship Program, Ms. Capaldi upholds the customer experience as key. She is also a Wish Granter for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A Warrington, Bucks County native, she currently resides in Huntingdon Valley.

Dressing Your Out-of-Town Groomsmen and Wedding Guests

Do you have out-of-town groomsmen and wedding guests that you need to dress in a tuxedo or suit for your wedding? You are not alone! The good news is that Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo has a lot of experience helping you dress your out-of-town guests. In fact, what follows is advice on how to do this and a plan to help it all come together for your wedding.

Guests Located in the United States

Once a bride and groom have chosen the tuxedo or suit that they would like the wedding party to wear, this is the time when we start working on the groomsmen and out-of-town guests.

For those groomsmen who live in the Philadelphia region, we tell the couple to send the guys in for us to measure them. No appointment is necessary and they will be in and out in 10 minutes. We are open 7 days a week, with the exception of major holidays.

Sometimes, the groom and his guys will make an afternoon of it and all come in together. When more than two guys are going to get measured, we recommend that you make an appointment so that we can accommodate your needs more efficiently. After getting measured (and a lot of laughs and joking!), the guys will often walk down to Buffalo Wild Wings at the end of our shopping center, grab a beer and watch a game or two.

For groomsmen and wedding guests who do not live in the Philadelphia area, we ask the bride and groom to provide us each person’s zip code either where they live or work. If the bride and groom do not know the groomsman’s zip code, we ask them to ask each individual to call or text us with his information (yes, you can actually text our store’s telephone number!). We work with independent formal wear stores all over the country and provide the out-of-town guests with the name, address and telephone number of a store or two who will provide courtesy measurements for out-of-town wedding guests.

The groomsmen are able to go to the chosen store to get measured for their suit or tuxedo rental. The local store will provide the groomsman with his sizing and measurements. He will leave the store with his measurements in hand.

Any questions about what is being worn or what type of style (i.e. slim fit, skinny fit, etc), the groomsman or local store is welcome to call or text us at 215-491-8500. We are always available to talk through any advice you need.

Submitting Measurements

Submitting your tuxedo and suit measurements is easy and convenient. It can be done 24 hours a day on our website. By clicking here, an out of town wedding guest can click on “Submit Your Measurements” and fill out our measurements form. The information will be sent directly to us and we will start the ordering process for the customer.

Submitting Payment

To place your order, all we need is your initial payment. This too is very easy to do, 24 hours a day. On the same page where you submitted your measurements, you are able to make a deposit payment or pay the entire rental price. Check with us if you need the full balance amount because pricing depends on which of the 70 styles the bride and groom chose for the wedding. We will be notified of your payment and will order your tuxedo or suit retail.

Ship Your Tuxedo or Pick It Up?

Our customers also have the option of having the tuxedo shipped to them. It’s as easy as that. Our recommendation is that if you are not coming into town at least 48 business hours before the wedding to try on your tuxedo, then we recommend that we ship it to you. You will receive the tuxedo with enough time to try it on and make sure all fits perfectly.

Since we did not measure you, we prefer that you try on the tuxedo or suit in advance. We want to make sure everything fits perfectly and you are comfortable.

Once the tuxedo is delivered to your front door, we highly recommend that you try it on immediately. Many things are adjustable: the waist on the pants can be adjusted by 3 inches, larger or smaller! The vest is adjustable and our microfiber shirts come with a one inch expandable top button (how convenient and comfortable is that?!).

For the guys who are new to this, mom and dad with a ring bearer or anyone needing extra help, we’ve even done video calls to show you how everything works and get a look at the fit!

My Shoes are Too Tight!

Let’s say something doesn’t feel or look right? It happens and it’s no problem! Some of us know the wedding is approaching and start going to the gym more to look our best for our friend’s wedding. Maybe you lost some weight, maybe it went the other way! Not a problem at all. Of the thousands of tuxedo and suit rentals that we do every year, we ship about a thousand of them. We’ve become experts at determining what you need just by speaking to you on the phone, having a video call with you or texting you. If you need a new pair of pants or a new jacket, whatever the case may be, we’ll prepare it for you and have it ready for you when you come into town.

We can either give it to someone in the wedding party to give to you, have you pick it up at our store when you arrive or even deliver it to you or your hotel.

Overseas Groomsmen and Guests

We’ve dressed people as far away as China, Saudi Arabia and Brazil and most European countries.

Over the years, what we have experienced with wedding guests who live overseas, most of them arrive several days before the wedding thus giving us plenty of time to make any changes to their sizes. In fact, many of the guests coming from overseas are often in town for 5 plus days if not longer.

In the case that the overseas guests does not know his sizing and is coming in at least 48 business hours before the wedding, we suggest that he come to our store when he arrives in the country and we will measure him. We will have his tuxedo ready, most of the time, the next day.

If the overseas guests knows his sizing, he can submit them on our website, thus avoiding any issues with time zone differences and any added cost of making international calls.

We also have other communication solutions for our overseas customers. As one example, last year, we had a groomsman living in Germany. He and anyone else for that matter, is able to use our online chat system on our website and communicate with us real time at no cost to him. We were able to ask him questions about his measurements, guide him to our online payment system and order his tuxedo within 3 minutes of starting an online chat with him!

We are Easily Accessible

As a small family-owned bridal and tuxedo store, we’ve tried to use technology to make everything easier for our customers. That’s why you can text our store telephone number: 215-491-8500. Anyone can use this feature and the owners personally answer all texts. On our website, you can use our online chat system. We also use Instagram messenger, Facebook Messenger, Google messages, email and of course you can always call us.

We are always here for you. Breathe a sigh of relief that we will be able to dress your groomsmen no matter if they live in Philadelphia or Paris. Make your appointment today to discuss our over 70 different tuxedo and suit styles. We can’t wait to help you!

About the author: Franco Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in their eighth year in business. In that time, he built the tuxedo department into a force rivaling big box stores by providing expertise, caring service, and beautiful, quality formal wear. Personally invested in every transaction, Mr. Salerno provides customers with the utmost trust and confidence, assuring their wedding or formal event attire will be perfect. A native of Philadelphia, he currently resides in Warrington, Bucks County with his wife and store co-founder/co-owner Wendy, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.

What Should Fathers of the Bride and Groom Wear for a Wedding?

We dress a lot of fathers for weddings so we have a good idea of the trends. Our brides and grooms often ask us what the fathers should wear for the wedding. Fortunately, we have plenty of wedding attire guidance for you.

Father Wedding Attire Trends

We find that the majority of fathers choose a suit or tuxedo different from the groom and groomsmen. This helps them stand out and feel special.

The Father of the Bride usually has the honor of walking the bride down the aisle and/or giving a toast at the reception, and therefore has a special role in the day. That is reason for him to stand out uniquely!

We do have a smaller number of fathers who will wear the exact same suit or tuxedo that the groom and groomsmen are wearing to keep with a color palette or for continuity in photos. Sometimes, however, a father IS the Best Man, and what a wonderful honor!

Regardless of whether the fathers are matching the wedding party with regard to the suit or tuxedo styles, most choose a long tie or bow tie that matches the color of the dress worn by the person accompanying them to the wedding, often the mother/step mother of the bride or groom. If a father is attending the wedding with no accompanying guest, he often chooses accessories to keep his look classic and timeless. Possibly a black satin bow tie or a thin satin long tie as examples.

Navigating the Needs of the Fathers’ Attire

In most cases, we advise brides and grooms to choose what they want the fathers to wear. This method accomplishes two goals: first, the bride and groom get what THEY want! Second, most fathers are relieved when the bride and groom choose their attire because they don’t want the pressure of having to choose and possibly making the “wrong” choice.

If you have a fashion forward father, we do recommend letting him choose what he wants to wear and with 70 styles to choose from, he will love his options! This method often makes the process smoother and everyone is happier.

Streamlining the Tuxedo Rental Process for Fathers

When the bride and groom choose the fathers’ attire, the mothers and fathers of the brides and grooms are often pleased that they walk into our store and have everything sorted out for them. All the fathers have to do is spend a few minutes to get measured and possibly choose a long tie or bow tie.

On a few occasions, they may want to choose a different style shoe than is being worn by the bridal party. This too is a simple process and can be achieved in a few minutes.

Make Dads Feel Special

Bride with groom in a black tuxedo with a black satin notch lapel, appropriate for fathers of the bride and groom

One of the safest bets for a father is a classic black tuxedo like our Ike Behar above. Fathers look really sharp and feel very comfortable in this tuxedo because of the quality of the fabric and the timeless look. He won’t draw “unwanted” attention to himself if wearing a tuxedo like this (in fact, he may welcome the stares!) and will feel comfortable all night.

Model in checkered tuxedo jacket with black pants, white shirt and black bow tie, perfect for fathers

Speaking of father of the bride and groom tuxedo trends, one of our most popular tuxedo jackets is our Ike Behar checked jacket pictured above with black pants. Fathers really go for this tuxedo because it is a very classic jacket and a bit sexy if we do say so… it definitely sets them apart from the rest of the guests.

Gray and navy tuxedos and suits have been very popular with wedding parties for over 7 years now. When the groom and the groomsmen are wearing a gray tuxedo, we often suggest that the father choose a different shade of gray and tuxedo style than the rest of the wedding party. This again will allow him to stand out and feel special without drawing attention to himself.

If the wedding party is wearing blue tuxedos, we often suggest that the fathers wear gray or a different shade of blue than the rest of the wedding party.

Should Both Fathers Wear the Same Color and Style Tuxedo?

The father of the bride and groom do not need to wear the same tuxedo style and color. It’s always a good idea to coordinate to make sure one doesn’t look completely different than the other but in general, we leave this choice up to the bride and groom. If it is left up to the fathers themselves, they usually choose something different, either a different designer or sometimes even a different color

Trusted Advice

Our advice is that the bride and groom choose what the fathers will be wearing for your wedding.

Trust us, most of them are delighted to find their suit/tux chosen for them! Allow them to choose the bow tie or long tie and pocket square to add their own touch to your day – again perhaps choosing a color that matches mom’s dress!

Do you have a question about wedding attire? Send us a text message at 215-491-8500 and receive expert advice directly from the owners of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo!

About the author: Franco Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in their eighth year in business. In that time, he built the tuxedo department into a force rivaling big box stores by providing expertise, caring service, and beautiful, quality formal wear. Personally invested in every transaction, Mr. Salerno provides customers with the utmost trust and confidence, assuring their wedding or formal event attire will be perfect. A native of Philadelphia, he currently resides in Warrington, Bucks County with his wife and store co-founder/co-owner Wendy, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.

Mens’ Attire for Minimony and Micro Weddings

Of course COVID-19 has turned a lot of weddings upside down this year. Due to different state rules and limited capacity for weddings at the moment, we are witnessing many weddings being postponed into later 2020 or even rescheduled for 2021. Of course, some are getting married anyway in a minimony or a micro wedding. Who isn’t frustrated with the impact of the virus on life!

You may have read our blog that we wrote about the minimony. Minimonies and micro weddings are trends that we are seeing this year where the brides and grooms are having smaller, more intimate weddings with close family and friends so that they can exchange their vows and be legally married. Most of these couples are scheduling the larger celebration at a later date so that they can include everyone on their original guest list.

So with many months of dealing with COVID-19, we are seeing similar patterns and trends with the groom’s attire and who is dressing up for the minimony or micro wedding.

For the most part, we are seeing the following things occurring:

Groom, Best Man, Father and Siblings

We are finding that more than half of the time, the groom, best man, fathers and siblings are wearing the originally chosen suits and tuxedos for the minimony and micro wedding. In this particular instance, the bride and groom are not having the entire wedding party dress up for the smaller ceremony. In fact, because of restrictions, often, the entire wedding party (bridesmaids and groomsmen) may not be involved with the smaller ceremony. Often, it may just be family plus the maid of honor and best man.

Groom with his 5 groomsmen and a junior usher in charcoal tuxedos for the minimony at Cairnwood Estates

Dressing Up But Wearing Something Different

When a groom does his full groom try on at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo to help him choose what he and the bride want him to wear for the wedding, we find that the couple really falls in love with the look that they’ve chosen.

Waiting for the big moment, groom sitting in a black tuxedo before his minimony in Philadelphia, PA

In cases like these, we find that the groom will choose an entirely different suit or tuxedo for the minimony or micro wedding so that he can save his chosen attire for the big celebration at the venue when that is scheduled. As an example, we had a groom choose our Allure Men sandstone tuxedo for his summer wedding. When the larger celebration was postponed to July of 2021, he came in and chose an Ike Behar navy suit for his July 2020 micro wedding with family and friends. He wants to wear the sandstone tuxedo with all of his groomsmen at the big bash in 2021!

Everyone is Dressing Up as Planned

Bride and groom celebrate with a kiss surrounded by their whole party, maids in wine color and men in black tuxedos

Some of our brides and grooms want everyone to wear the tuxedos or suits that they originally chose for the wedding party. Therefore, the groomsmen, fathers, ring bearers and groom are all dressing up as originally planned. This preference is growing as restrictions are slowly being loosened for large or outdoor gatherings.

Early on in the pandemic, we had what was coined by one wedding party as a “drive by” wedding! The wedding party drove by waiving as the bride and groom were married with family practicing social distancing as they exchanged their vows. Everyone was dressed up in their bridesmaid dresses, tuxedos and mother gowns. We are impressed with the bride and groom’s determination and perseverance to make all of this happen!

Wear What You Want But Please Look Nice!

Lastly, we are finding a small percentage of the micro weddings asking the wedding party to wear the dress or tuxedo/suit of their choice as long as they look formal. The bride and groom prefers to keep the chosen attire for their big wedding celebration. When the bride and groom allow the wedding party to wear what they wish for the micro wedding, we are seeing pictures of the bridal party wearing their favorite suits or most formal attire that they own. In the case where a groomsman does not own a suit, we are finding that they come to Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo to rent a suit so that they can dress up for their friend’s wedding.

As you can see, you have plenty of flexibility on how to dress your wedding party if you are splitting your celebration into two parts: suits and tuxedos for the minimony or micro wedding and larger celebration at a later date when COVID-19 restrictions are hopefully lifted.

We have plenty of experience dressing brides, grooms, bridesmaids, ring bearers, mothers and fathers. Let Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo help guide you to your dream wedding look.

About the author: Franco Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in their eighth year in business. In that time, he built the tuxedo department into a force rivaling big box stores by providing expertise, caring service, and beautiful, quality formal wear. Personally invested in every transaction, Mr. Salerno provides customers with the utmost trust and confidence, assuring their wedding or formal event attire will be perfect. A native of Philadelphia, he currently resides in Warrington, Bucks County with his wife and store co-founder/co-owner Wendy, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.