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Hey There, Mother of the Bride & Groom

Hey there, Mama! Suzanne here. Congratulations on reaching yet another milestone in your never-ending journey as a Mother. You’ve survived the newborn stage, the terrible two’s, teenage rebellion that left you with a facial tic and those anxiety inducing college years. Now it’s time to celebrate the next chapter in your baby’s life….marriage.

As you’re picturing how beautiful your daughter will look or how handsome your son will be in a tuxedo, have you given a thought to what you’ll be wearing? Yeah. I didn’t think so. And, really….haven’t you endured enough already? Now your child has tasked you with finding a gown that makes your figure look fabulous, will fit in aesthetically with the bridal party, won’t make you look matronly, or show up their new mother-in-law. Oh, and of course you’re going to want that dress to camouflage the flaws, accentuate your assets and hopefully not require you to be trussed up in Spanx like a mummy. Easy, right? No problem. (Cue panic attack)

BUT, all is not lost. I’m here to help you. How? Because I AM you. I am firmly ensconced in middle age, possess a love of carbs, a loathing for kale and have a deep desire not to look like a swamp witch. I know I can help you find the perfect look with a little time, an open mind and some honest, constructive feedback. 

Where do we start? Well, first I need you to know that in order to have as many choices as possible, you need to start your search at least 3-4 months before the wedding. Why? Because special order gowns take time to produce, especially in a range of colors and sizes. Sure, you could buy something off the rack and that’s definitely an option for many. But do you want to be stuck with only one color choice and a sample that’s battle worn from it’s time with the public? Wouldn’t it be nicer to have a brand new dress in a color you chose instead of being forced to take the clearance rack refugees? Give yourself the gift of time and choice….visit sooner rather than later.

Beautiful mother of the bride dress in a slate blue color with beaded short sleeves, V-neck line, fitted bodice into dropped waste slim a-line.
MGNY by Madeline Gardner

And, what about those colors? Are there specific colors for specific seasons? Can you wear a Dusty Rose in January? Short answer….yes. There really isn’t a specific seasonality to Mother’s dresses. I always advise having a conversation with the Bride before you start looking because there may be colors she would prefer you not wear. Or, maybe she wants you in something that compliments the bridal party. Find out ahead of time and make your search less stressful. Once you get the “rules of engagement” for your dress search, you’re better prepared to start this quest. Right now, the most popular colors for Mother’s dresses are Black, Navy, Silver and Charcoal Gray. Maybe those colors work for you…maybe they don’t. You’re not going to really know until you’re IN a gown. 

Mother of the bride dress from Mon Cheri Montage line with an off the shoulder neck line, three-quarter inch sleeves and all over lace appliqué, shown in black comes in delphinium as well
Montage by Mon Cheri

But, what if I don’t know what’s going to look good on me? No worries….that’s why I’m here. I will give you honest, helpful feedback and suggestions on how to make that dress sit up and call you “mama”. Recently, I had a customer swear there was only a specific silhouette she could wear and that “everything else” would call attention to things she would rather camouflage. After a little nudge, she wound up choosing an amazing MGNY off the shoulder, column dress (style #71616) that actually minimized her concerns.

MGNY 71616

Exploring other options gave her the cougar vibe she deserved to be rocking as a Mother of the Bride rather than that “Granny dress” she thought she’d be trapped in. She was thrilled with her choice and I was happy to be there to lend an assist.

Navy mother of the bride dress with a boat neckline, beaded illusion top and three-quarter inch sleeves and a layered chiffon skirt
Navy is a popular color for Mothers!

The last obstacle in the formal wear version of “Where’s Waldo?” is the effect of weight loss on your gown. This is a very common inquiry, especially after last year found us all scrounging  in our pantries and locked out of our gyms (and, if you’re like me, ignoring the elliptical in the basement because the solution to stress is a sleeve of Oreos). Do not wait until you are at goal weight to order a gown, you will most likely be too late to get anything you really want. You can order your gown and then focus on your weight loss plans. Most seamstresses will be happy to take a gown in to accommodate your moderate weight loss for the wedding. 

Mother of the bride dress by MGNY designer Madeline Gardner with a beaded V-neck bodice and a chiffon skirt with a slit
Silver Mother dresses match most every color pallet

Hopefully, my little tutorial has pulled you off the proverbial ledge and inspired you to start looking for your perfect dress. Yes, it can be an intimidating task, but so was trying to survive on 4 hours of sleep with a colicky baby and a toddler that thought eating chalk was fun.

We’re here to support you at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo and help you find the perfect dress for this next big memory in the making. There is no appointment necessary for mother dress shopping, so head on over. I look forward to seeing that smile on your face when you find your perfect dress!

Suzanne Ardite is the manager of the mother department at Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo. With over 25 years in the bridal attire industry – and spanning a number of states – her experience is vast and her compassion deep. There isn’t much she hasn’t seen or heard in this business! She is a valuable asset to our company and our customers and, knowing how stressful and important weddings are, she is in constant communication with our mothers. Suzanne lives in Solebury with her husband Frank and two children Kaitlyn (a 2021 grad of New Hope-Solebury High School!) and Francis, and is very active in the community theater. If you can’t tell from this blog, she has an outstanding wit as well that puts our moms at ease and keeps all of us in good spirits!

All In the Family 2021

I know I am biased, but she’s our daughter and it’s time for some professional recognition.

Most everyone knows that our family business is named after our two daughters, Daria and Deanna. Deanna is now 13 and getting closer to potentially and hopefully joining us in the store. Daria has been full time with us since graduating from James Madison University.

Three years ago we brought her on as Director of Communications to increase our brand awareness. Three years later, some the events, changes, and growth – in our business, our family, and in her – are surreal and immeasurable.

She came on in June 2018 and for Daria’s second half of the year she became involved with industry organizations such as the Southeastern PA chapters of NACE (National Association of Catering and Events) and ILEA (International Live Events Association). Joining these groups afforded new partnerships and friendships that last through to today!

The next year included involvement in both the Lower Bucks and Central Bucks Chambers of Commerce, as well as an amazing partnership with Visit Bucks County. Daria is a 2019 graduate of the Leadership Program provided by the Lower Bucks Chamber and is looking forward to being a mentor in the 2021 program.

Daria Capaldi speaking at the Leadership Program for the Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce in 2019
Daria presenting at the Leadership program

The partnership with Visit Bucks County afforded our company to be introduced to so many beautiful wedding venues and… we were offered the Premier spot in the Wedding Show held at Delaware Valley University. Our store was featured as the sole bridal, tuxedo, mother, and bridesmaid attire store and we put on a great fashion show!

Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo Bridal models taking their final walk at the visit bucks county wedding show held at Delaware Valley University in March 2019
Bridal Models at the Visit Bucks County Wedding Show, 2019

In addition, we were selected by ILEA and Bruleé catering to do a fashion show at a venue called Moulin in Philadelphia at their wedding show!

Fashion show for Bruleé Catering at Moulin in Philadelphia
Bruleé Catering fashion show at Moulin, 2019

We were approached by Peddler’s Village to participate in a photo shoot to highlight and advertise their wedding accommodations which we gladly did!

Peddler's  Village edding photo shoot
Wedding photo shoot for Peddler’s Village

During this time, Daria personally became a wish grantor for the Make-A-Wish foundation. This is a very special and important position to her and we are proud of her for it.

Needless to say our brand awareness and partnerships were growing steadily! 2019 was an amazing year for us and we celebrated by taking a family vacation to Italy for three weeks in December! We celebrated our wins and were full of gratitude as we wandered the streets of Rome and Florence at Christmas time. In my life, I have never been more content.

Our family at the Vatican at Christmas 2019
This is us, Christmastime at the Vatican 2019

As I personally look back on that trip, it means more and more every day. 2020 was about to happen and change everything.

Word of advice: Take the vacations.

January and February were solid months as we planned our 2nd Annual Visit Bucks County Wedding Show scheduled for early March. We were holding events of our own in the store and excited to begin offering dresses for our moms again. We had so many plans…

On March 5th, the first wave hit. A fever caused me to lose consciousness and fall. I would not be back home for five weeks while I re-learned basic functions of walking, dressing, using my hands… basically how to recover from and live with a severe spinal cord injury.

The second wave hit on March 19th. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all nonessential businesses to close. We had to lay off our employees. Our store would not open again until June 5th.

Ordering the shutdown 3/19/20

Daria moved back home in April. As a family we needed to be together to stay afloat, cope, and plan for what was to be – even though we had no idea what was to be.

We knew her position was going to shift immensely due to my condition and the needs of the store in the short term. There was so much uncertainty, but we had customers depending on us whether we were open or closed. Daria took over with communications and planning. Bridal and tuxedo video appointments were done while closed!

Owner Franco Salerno videos Daria Capaldi for an online bridal appointment during the company's forced shut down due to Covid-19 in May 2020
Owner Franco Salerno videos for an online bridal appointment

When the store did reopen in June almost exactly one year ago, she was in charge of organizing shipments backed up from 3+ months, communicating with designers, and reassuring frightened brides and grooms – these were enormous tasks but she handled them without a hitch.

By the end of August, she had us caught up. Not only caught up but had a staff hired that was incredible, and a schedule that was packed every weekend. A year back in and we are so strong, as a business and as a family.

Daria Capaldi and Shannon Mullen-Kelly, bridal consultant and Darianna Bride whose wedding was postponed due to Covid-19
Daria and Shannon, like sisters

On a personal note, it was incredibly exciting to me to see her take over with little assistance. As a parent, this is your job. Prepare them to be successful on their own. Let go of the rope and watch them fly.

Also as a parent, one of the most special memories is when your child takes his or her first steps to you. It was definitely a role reversal as some of my first steps, unassisted, were taken to her.

Since the beginning of 2021, we have held 12 trunk shows, added two new Bridal lines, added more to our mother dresses, were super happy to welcome prom back, and increased our tuxedo offerings. We have 12 more shows scheduled for the second half of the year, new Mom dresses coming this summer, and our text and chat communication options are customer favorites! Looking forward to expanding our family with new customers and staff members and jumping on any new opportunities that will pop up.

Live chat on our website

We celebrated our 8th year on January 7th and more than once we wondered what we would look like on that date. Well, we came out stronger on the other side, more compassionate, appreciative and grateful for what could have happened but fortunately did not. Through all of it, we continue to enjoy a 4.9 customer rating across platforms like Google, the Knot, Wedding Wire, and the Better Business Bureau. And we have been voted Best of Bucks Bridal 2013-2020.

Rating across all platforms!

As for Daria, to say I am glad she’s on our team doesn’t cut it. But I am. I am a proud and grateful momma. I cannot wait to see where we go as a company… and where that next family vacation will be… but you can be sure: we WILL take it!

Thank you so much for the support for our family business. <3 We can’t wait to meet our new brides and grooms and welcome them to the family!

About the author: Wendy Ianieri-Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in its eighth year in business. In that time the store has grown from a small bridal boutique to a full-service bridal store serving not only Bucks County, PA but the surrounding counties and even border states. With the customer experience in mind, Wendy steers the company by offering the best designers and wedding attire while creating a caring, family atmosphere. A life-long Bucks County native, she currently resides in Warrington with her husband and co-founder/co-owner Franco Salerno, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.

Ten Dresses, Same Body

Did you ever wonder what makes one dress look better on your body than others?

Sometimes there are such subtle differences that change the look entirely. We took ten dresses, two of the same style with tiny differences, and put them on the same body. Take a look, it is very interesting!

Let’s start with a slim A-line. Same banded, defined waist and a V-neck line. These two dresses are very similar in silhouette, yet one features a tighter bodice fit and tank straps while the other a more relaxed, boho feel with a deep plunge and cap sleeves. Notice how the banded waist is very flattering at defining this area of the body!

Sincerity wedding dress with a beaded V-neck bodice and banded waist on the left, Enzoani Blue Lilium dress on the right with a plunge V-neck and cap sleeves
Sincerity Bridal wedding dress on left; Lillium by Enzoani Blue on right

Now let’s look at two similar A-line dresses with halter neck lines. Halters are perfect for framing and featuring the shoulders and upper back and when filled in also provide more coverage than a V-neck or strapless dress. There are halter dresses that are not filled in, but the straps still fasten around the neck while leaving the chest area open. One dress has a beaded bodice and tiered skier with horsehair trim, the other a soft lace bodice with a tulle skirt and lace applique.

Casablanca's Andi wedding dress with a beaded halter top and a tiered skirt on the left, and Morilee's Analeise on the right with a halter lace bodice and lace appliqué on the tulle skirt
Beloved by Casablanca wedding dress Andi on the left, Morilee’s Analeise on the right

Ahh the strapless fit and flare! If you have a curvy body at all, this is a shape for you to try on for sure. Very similar dresses, one with a bit of a plunge neck, the other with a true sweetheart and a little more flare on the skirt. Such a feminine silhouette!

Great dresses for a curvy body! The Enzoani Nesta wedding dress has all over lace with a strapless neckline and a plunge neck, while Casablanca's Angelina has a strapless sweetheart with no plunge and a bit more flare in the skirt
Enzoani’s Nesta wedding dress on the left, Casablanca’s Angelina on the right

How about a long sleeve ballgown? These two dresses are hard to tell apart at first, but one is a bit off the shoulder where the other one has more coverage. One also has more and larger lace appliqué on the skirt, where the other is less adorned. Both of these dresses could be worn with a belt or a sash at the waist.

The Ambrosia dress by Morilee has long sleeves and is a bit off the shoulder with a ball gown silhouette, with a very similar dress called Analeigh by Kitty Chen with more coverage on the shoulder and less lace on the skirt
Ambrosia by Morilee on the left, Analeigh by KittyChen on the right

One of my favorite dress comparisons is this one of the mermaids. Each has thin beaded straps, lace, and a plunge neckline. The difference in the tulle skirt versus the tiered skirt changes the entire vibe between them!

The Nonee dress by Enzoani Blue is a mermaid with a lace bodice and a tulle skirt, next to Anisa by KittyChen with the same mermaid silhouette but a tiered skirt
Nonee by Enzoani on the left, Anisa by Kitty Chen on the right

So after seeing our gorgeous model in all these dresses, I chose one for her body that I felt showed off her best features: Tatiana by Casablanca Bridal! This dress has an open neckline with a bit of a deep V (youthful and romantic), double thin, beaded halter straps (frames her perfectly), a banded and defined waist (tastefully shows off bust line, shows her curves, and elongates her torso), with an A-line skirt with a layer of sparkle underneath a beautiful and feminine embroidered lace. What do you think?

Tatiana dress by Casablanca has a layer of sparkle underneath the embroidered lace pattern, double beaded straps that can be worn straight or as shown as halter, and a perfect a line shape for her body
Tatiana by Casablanca Bridal

If you were wondering what dresses will look best on your body type, come in and try some on. Take pictures and compare, and listen to your consultant. She can point out subtle differences that you may not even be aware of or suggest dresses you never thought possible for you. You don’t know until you start trying on, and we are sure we can lead you to your yes dress! The ideal time to purchase your dress is 9-12 months prior to your wedding. Make an appointment today!

About the author: Wendy Ianieri-Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in its eighth year in business. In that time the store has grown from a small bridal boutique to a full-service bridal store serving not only Bucks County, PA but the surrounding counties and even border states. With the customer experience in mind, Wendy steers the company by offering the best designers and wedding attire while creating a caring, family atmosphere. A life-long Bucks County native, she currently resides in Warrington with her husband and co-founder/co-owner Franco Salerno, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.

The Rental Suit and Tuxedo Return Process

In this blog we will explain why a timely suit or tuxedo return is imperative!

Renting a suit or tuxedo for your wedding, or a prom, or any special event, is easy and exciting. Dressing up is a great feeling and when you look amazing the night is even better!

We normally receive suit and tux rentals about a week before the event. Sometimes they may arrive even earlier than that which is great! Once in a while, however, they come in very close to the date needed, and it is quite stressful. Let us tell you a few reasons this could happen:

  1. Late returns: this is an unfortunate and common occurrence. If you are waiting for your tuxedo to arrive, but the person who wore it before you did not return it on time, that puts you in a bad situation. All of the garments go through dry cleaning and tailoring/alterations so they can be prepared for you. When the person before you does not return it in a timely manner that means you don’t get it as early as you should. This goes for our customers as well. We have a generous return policy and are very clear with return instructions. In addition we are open seven days a week for return convenience! Often times we wind up paying late fees for customers as an act of goodwill (sometimes we are chastised by customers for their own lateness). We expect everyone in our rental network across the country to return garments in a timely manner so that you can get yours in plenty of time. We also expect our own customers to offer this same courtesy to others.
  2. Uncommon sizes: the most common sizes are the ones that have much greater availability. Less common sizes are not cut as often so there are fewer in inventory. Same with shoes – there are many more pairs of mens sizes 9-12 than there are under 8 and over 13. Here again, a timely return is imperative when the supply is less.
  3. Unusual colors: Same as above so if others are using them, there is nothing to do but wait for them to be returned and shipped to us for you!

Whenever you rent something, whether it is a vacation home, a car, an apartment, or a tuxedo, there is a contract that is signed with clear instructions for both parties. You can’t keep a car past the rental date without a penalty, you can’t stay in an apartment after the lease ends, and you need to return a tuxedo by the due date. This is a contract agreement like every other rental and the renter must take responsibility to fulfill the terms.

The timely and complete tuxedo return ensures you will have yours in plenty of time, and the timely return of your rental ensures the next customer will have in plenty of time of his/hers!

We love serving our customers and helping them look and feel their very best on their important day! We do not want that feeling to be diminished because of fees incurred from late returns! If you have any questions regarding our return policies, feel free to text us at 215-491-8500, or stop in to see our easy rental agreement. We look forward to continuing to serve you!

About the author: Wendy Ianieri-Salerno is co-founder and co-owner of Darianna Bridal & Tuxedo, now in its eighth year in business. In that time the store has grown from a small bridal boutique to a full-service bridal store serving not only Bucks County, PA but the surrounding counties and even border states. With the customer experience in mind, Wendy steers the company by offering the best designers and wedding attire while creating a caring, family atmosphere. A life-long Bucks County native, she currently resides in Warrington with her husband and co-founder/co-owner Franco Salerno, and their two daughters for whom the store was named, Daria and Deanna.