A Rustic Black and White Wedding

We love DIY weddings and this one made our hearts go pitter-patter. All the rustic details are super gorgeous. We love ourselves a rustic look for weddings.  From the wooden furnishings, beautiful  exposed brick walls, rock features, greenery surrounding, and lovely outside details, this venue is the perfect venue for these two lovebirds.  One of our favorite details are the bride and groom’s moments together. All captured by Caroline Lessard Photographe, the photographs really reflect the true love this adorable couple has for each other. Our favorite detail? Honestly, it is so hard to choose when there are so many lovely details. Going back to the bride and groom’s moments, we really love the photographs of them at the building with the rocks and blue shutters. Oh my goodness, these images are breathtaking.  Each and every image of the bride and groom is full of joy and happiness. We can not help but smile when we view the photos. Enjoy this Monday Morning with a dose of Rustic Love!







































From Caroline Lessard Photographe

This rustic DIY wedding took place at Vergers Charbonneau on a sunny day. They got everybody to dress in black or white, and the theme color for the wedding was red. Despite every moment of this day was truly emotional and beautiful, I have to say that I have a little something special for the first look session. I just love to see the look of astonishment when they see each other for the first time. Always a touching moment for me as I feel truly special and lucky to be part of their special day. The couple session took place in the surrounding. One of my favorite catch are the pictures around the barn, I feel that their chemistry is so revealing in those pictures.


Photographer: Caroline Lessard Photographe

Venue: Vergers Charbonneau

Love and Lace Bridal Salon Interview

Today I am going behind the scenes with Ramona Southard, touring every lovely inch of her bridal salon. My wedding loving heart just got a bit happier when I stopped by this fabulous new bridal salon in the heart of Irvine, California. If there is one thing that I love about this salon, it has to be the super fun, stress-free, and relaxed environment which is created here. Love and Lace Bridal Salon is a salon which really stands out in my mind. They carry gowns from designers not found at any other Orange County bridal salon, and all displayed in the most prettiest of ways.  To top it all off, Ramona treats each bride with the most care and attention needed to make sure their experience is unforgettable.  I  really enjoyed my short little interview we did with owner Ramona at Love and Lace Bridal Salon. See all the fantastic things she shares about this gorgeous bridal salon.

About Love and Lace Bridal Salon

Love and Lace Bridal Salon is new, different, fun and a breath-of-fresh air from the traditional wedding dress shopping experience. We focus on the bride, of course, but we never push anyone into a sale or a dress they don’t feel comfortable in. The point is to come in, try on some dresses, have fun and be open to thinking outside the box of the traditional wedding dress! We have all sorts of gowns, some traditional and some unique, but all romantic, quality and breathtaking!  

We feature some incredible designers:

– Kelly Faetanini: designer out of New York, currently only in Nordstrom stores on the West Coast; her dresses are on- trend and modern
-Mikaella by Paloma Blanca: Canadian designer, whose dresses are great quality and styles at an affordable price
-Leanne Marshall: from New York, Leanne is a Project Runway winner and designer wedding dresses that are completely romantic and oh-so-sexy
-Chaviano Couture: new designer from Atlanta, her dresses are gorgeous, romantic very intricately beautiful
-Myra Callan Bridal: founder of Twigs and Honey headpieces, her newly released bridal line is full of soft lace, bohemian, flowy gowns
-Elizabeth Dye: designer out of Portland, dresses are very well made, structured and fit the body amazingly
-Lis Simon: another one of our Canadian designers, her dresses are very modern and beautiful, at an amazingly affordable price point

-Truvelle Bridal: new designer, her focus is on a slight twist on the traditional wedding dress, but with gorgeous and breathtaking results!

We encourage our brides to come in with an open mind, ready to share some laughs, shed some tears (of joy!), and leave with an amazing dress and a lifetime membership in our Love and Lace family!






Bridal Hot List Chief Editor Niloufar Gibson with Love and Lace Bridal Salon owner, Ramona

Bridal Hot List Chief Editor Niloufar Gibson with Love and Lace Bridal Salon owner, Ramona Southard.


All photos are property of Bridal Hot List.

2014 Kick Off: Ask the Chief Editor Anything

Another year is in the books and 2013 will be looked back as an incredible year at Bridal Hot List. We celebrated our first year, and each and every day we are growing in our followers and readers. We are so thankful for what the year brought, and look forward to 2014! To kick off the year, the writers of Bridal Hot List were encouraged to write in and ask the Chief Editor of the site anything at all. Here is the Q&A…

Q. How did you get into wedding business?

A.  I took a class at a local college about the “Business of Weddings” where I learned about weddings and the wedding planning industry. It was one my favorite classes, and was so much fun to attend! I quickly became more interested and was an assistant to the top two wedding planners in Orange County. I was an assistant for a year, and learned the ropes until I felt that was ready to go out on my own.  It has been a great time so far, and look forward to 2014 weddings!

Q.  What is your favorite thrifty wedding trick?A. One of my favorite and easiest budget saving tricks is simple – Create your very own wedding invitations. This is a great place to save money!  If you are on a really tight budget, then skip the “Save the Date” cards and instead you can email your guests and include a link to your personal wedding website, which are free! If you have good handwriting and the skill of arts & crafts, making invitations will be a perfect way for you to save money.  A stack of embellished cardstock at JoAnn’s Fabric cost $19.99 and can make about 35 invitations. Or if you are  not the crafty type, you can customize and design the invitations at VistaPrint.com for as low as $3.99 for 10.

Q. What event would you like to see Bridal Hot List be a part of in 2014? A. There are so many amazing events, but I would have to say the one that I would love BHL to be a part of would be New York’s Bridal Fashion Week. I am in love with all things wedding, but bridal gown trends are my favorite and it would be so great to have first look into all the bridal gown trends. I would LOVE to be part of this!

Q. What is the biggest mistake you’ve ever seen at a wedding? Was there any way someone could have prevented it?A.  I have to say the biggest mistake I have seen is when a bride insisted to have her ceremony outside when it was a 95% chance of rain on that day. She insisted that she have it outside because they wanted an ocean-view. Even though a tent was going to be up, and the ocean-view will not be seen with the rain and all, they went on with an outside ceremony.  When the day came, it poured hard, and it was very cold inside. Heaters were not allowed inside the tent due to Fire Marshall standards. So it was a beautiful ceremony… but cold, wet, and with no ocean view. It could have been totally prevented by going with Plan B, and moving the ceremony inside where it was warm and cozy for the couple and their guests. But at the end of the day, it is the bride’s decision, and no matter what, you have to support that. (even it may not be the right one)
Q. What new features on the site are you hoping to implement in 2014 that readers can get excited about?

A. We are hoping to add a more mobile friendly feature, making our articles even easier to view for our readers. We are also going to add interviews and live seminars where readers can ask us anything about weddings! We want to make it even more personal for our readers out there.

Q. Can I get away with not wearing a white wedding dress?

A. Totally!! If you are a traditional bride and want to rock out in something non-white, then go for it! These days, brides are wearing colors of blush, red, and even black. Yes, black, the total opposite of white. A wedding gown is reflective of a bride’s personality, and as long as it doesn’t clash with the venue, then wearing a non-white gown is fine.

Q. Do you have any flower suggestions for people with allergies?

A. We asked our friend and florist Sussanna Davidson from French Buckets  to help us with this one! Here is what she told us: I would say any floral with no scent.  Calla lilies and roses that have been in a green house and not scented.  Succulents are also a perfect choice.  Flowers that definitely needed to be avoided are: Stargazers, garden roses and flowers with lots pollen.  

Q. I’m bad in heels, how do I work around that for my wedding?

A.  You can opt to go with a shorter heel, and just make sure when you go to your alteration appointment, that you take those shoes with you, so they can make sure the dress is the right height. You would really not want to have your dress dragging all day. Actually, when I got married, I had to get shorter heel shoes, and they were not the prettiest shoes, but my dress was long and no one saw those shoes anyways! The key is to be comfortable. This is your wedding day, and you want it to be an incredible day!

Q. Is it tacky to register for more high priced gifts?

A. I think the best way to register gifts is to choose items from all price points. This will allow for your guests to have the option to choose a gift which best fits their budget. You do not want to force your guests to buy highly priced gifts if they can not afford it. So, yes you can totally register high priced gifts, because family members or those close to you will want to buy you something super nice to enjoy as a couple in your new home. Just think balance!


Q. Should I send thank you notes to everyone that attended my wedding, or just those who brought gifts?

A.  Saying ” Thank you ” at the wedding reception to all your guests that attended the wedding is good enough. Unless you have a destination wedding, where they had to travel long ways to attend, then a thank you card would be appropriate then. If you sent a thank you card to those that did not bring a gift, it may seem like you are fishing for a gift. You do not want to make anyone feel bad or guilty. Make sure to make your rounds during the reception to thank your guests for coming to your wedding.


Q.  What advice would you give someone who is planning their wedding on a tight budget?A. Hire a wedding planner! Wedding planners can help save couples money as they can help with setting a budget, and making sure they keep with in their budget. Most couples will set a budget, however they do tend to always go above that budget because things come up which they had not thought about. I always sit down with my couples and we go through a checklist of all possible items that  is needed for the wedding day, and then we priotorize each one based on whats important to the couple. When couples work with me from the beginining of their wedding day planning process, and we have set a budget together, we are always under that budget. The couple is happy and so are the parents… or whoever is paying for the wedding!

Q.  What is the most romantic honeymoon destination you have seen?

A. I know this may be obvious and not so surprising, but I have to say Kaui, Hawaii. This island is perfect for newlyweds. The island is small, with nothing but paradise bliss. What I love about this island is that is it simple, lovely, and very romantic. It may not have a whole lot of city life, but there is plenty of gorgeous surroundings to enjoy. Waterfalls, gorgeous mountain views, delicious foods, stunning beaches, Waimea Canyon, and lovely weather. After all the hustle and bustle of wedding day, this is the perfect place to relax and enjoy your loved one. If you want to have a little bit of city life, you can take a quick airplane ride into Oahu, Hawaii.

Interview with Cupcake Wars Winners from Season 9

Shhh, guess what? I have a secret which I have been keeping for months now and I super thrilled to finally share with you all! It is pretty hard to keep something so amazing a secret. I do not know how I did it, but I did, and I am proud of myself for doing it. What is the secret, you ask? You know I love desserts, right? Well, I love cupcakes even more, and when I had the chance to attend the filming of the season nine finale of Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”, I almost fainted.  I am huge fan of the show and was so excited to attend the filming of such an incredibly fun show.  I really loved attending the “LA Bridal Bash”  hosted by legendary high-end wedding planner Kristin Banta. The swanky and chic event took place at the stunning rooftop of The London West Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, California with some of the most amazing people in the wedding industry.   What was the best part about attending the event, besides indulging in some mouthwatering and delicious cupcakes? Meeting the winners! Yes, that is the secret I been hiding for months now. It was pretty cool to know who the winners were before they are revealed them on the season finale.  I was so impressed with the cupcakes and their workmanship, I wanted to know a bit more about the winners. So, a few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Angela and Kaylee of HappyCakes Cupcakery. First of all, congratulations to them both for being crowned Cupcake Wars Champions!  You can imagine how thrilled I was for the opportunity to interview these lovely ladies, who took time from baking delicious cupcakes to answer a few questions.

Cupcake Wars Season Nine Winners

Cupcake Wars Season Nine Winners

Bridal Hot List:  Welcome to Bridal Hot List, Kaylee and Angela! First of all, congratulations on winning Cupcake Wars! That is super exciting! For those members of our audience first getting to know you, could you tell us how you got your start in the cupcake industry and how you ended up on the show?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: We actually began baking together a couple of years ago because of Cupcake Wars. We loved the show and always felt the need to be eating cupcakes while watching. This led us to try several different cupcakeries…always with unsatisfying results. We realized that there was no bakery in our city where we could find moist and not-too-sweet cupcakes, so we set out to bake our own! We worked for over a year to perfect the recipe, and all the while our friends and family encouraged us to open a business. Last September, we decided to go for it! We opened HappyCakes Cupcakery AND applied for Cupcake Wars! We ended up missing the cut-off date for Season 8, but applied for Season 9 as soon as casting opened. Getting the phone call from Cupcake Wars was a dream come true, and we are so thankful that we had this wonderful opportunity!!

Bridal Hot List: What was your experience like on being on the show? What were some of the biggest challenges?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: Being on Cupcake Wars was an AWESOME experience! The producers and everyone working on the show were incredible, and even during the most challenging times, we felt blessed simply to have been given the chance to be on The Food Network. What great exposure for our little company!

The biggest challenge was definitely being timed in every round! The clock is real, and time goes by faster than imagineable. We practiced baking cupcakes at home before going on the show, and we would time ourselves to see how quickly we could get done…but it could have never prepared us for the real experience! Secret ingredients, intense competitors, and cameras in your face all add up to an overwhelming and nerve-wracking challenge.

Bridal Hot List: Besides winning it all, what were some of the highlights of competing on Cupcake Wars?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: We became good friends with a couple of the producers, as well as our fellow competitors. It was such an unexpected pleasure that we got to make new friends while promoting our business. Obviously, meeting Candace, Florian, Justin Wilman, and Kristin Banta was a highlight! We were honored to meet such experts of the industry, and to hear some of their feedback on our work. Flying to LA for the filming of our show was so much fun! Kaylee and I get along so well, so any trip that we take becomes a wonderful adventure. We are so happy that we got to make this life-memory together.

Bridal Hot List: What were the winning cupcake flavors? Can you tell us about each one? How did you come up with each flavor? What was your inspiration?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: Cinnamon Mint: Snickerdoodle Cookie Base, Cinnamon cake, Cinnamon Honey Glaze, Mint Tea Buttercream. We came up with this flavor because we had to use two of the challenge ingredients (obviously we chose cinnamon and mint). We were inspired by a hot cup of tea, because we felt that we could successfully marry the flavors of cinnamon and mint by making a mint tea and using a bit of honey. We wanted to impress the judges by taking two flavors that were not an obvious pairing and combine them perfectly–and thankfully this cupcake was a huge success and helped us stand out in round one!

Salty and Sweet Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie: Pecan Cake, Salted Caramel Glaze, Whipped Chocolate Buttercream, Homemade Pie Crust Heart, Whipped Chocolate Buttercream, Salted Caramel Drizzle. The theme of our episode is “LA Bridal Bash,” so we wanted all of our cupcakes to be inspired by a wedding theme. This particular salty/sweet cupcake represented the idea of “opposites attract.”

Chocolate Espresso: Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Buttercream Filling, Espresso Buttercream, Chocolate Shell Drizzle. This cupcake was our “His and Hers.” We used the chocolate elements to represent the groom, and the lighter colors of the whipped filling and espresso buttercream to represent the bride. We also complemented this idea with the decorations (Mr. & Mrs. stamp, bowtie, and black wedding dress).

Coconut Cream: Coconut Cake, Cream of Coconut Buttercream. We decided to keep this cake a bit more simple, because white cake seems perfect for a wedding. But we wanted to give it a bit of a twist from the traditional white cake, and make it coconut! We were inspired partly by Kristin Banta’s love of traditional elements with modern and unexpected twists, and partly by the tropical honeymoon that often follows a wedding!

Bridal Hot List: I was lucky enough to attend the filming of the finale and got to try your cupcakes. My favorite cupcake that tasted, which I absolutely loved was the cinnamon, snickerdoodle with a mint tea frosting. What inspires you to create such a flavorful and oh-so-good flavor?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: As referenced above, we thought cinnamon and mint would be an unexpected pairing, but would not clash! In our house, we drink tea (often mint) with a spoonful of honey, cream, and a cinnamon sprinkle on top…and if it works in a mug, it should work in a cupcake! We chose to add snickerdoodles as a base to the cupcake because we knew that having another element that used cinnamon would help make that flavor even more pronounced. The judges expect to taste the challenge ingredients, so we worked very hard to make the flavors strong.

Bridal Hot List: Each season, the winning team has the opportunity to showcase the winning cupcakes at a special event. Can you tell us about this event?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: We had the honor of showcasing our cupcakes at an event hosted by Kristin Banta for some of LA’s top wedding vendors. We met some of the foremost people in the wedding industry, and loved sharing our cupcakes with them. Photographers, videographers, models, event coordinators, caterers, and more graced the rooftop of the London in West Hollywood.

Bridal Hot List: For future contestants that will be on the show one day, what advice do you have for them that you wish you knew before you went on?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: The promotion for your business is invaluable, so enjoy the process and don’t stress out too much! This is the opportunity of a lifetime, and worth all of the hard work that you put in to it. Also, make sure to push yourself! You will not regret doing your absolute best…go crazy with decorations, with your flavor choices, and (if you make it to the last round) with your display! The judges have seen almost everything that’s out there, so to really impress them you have to try to stand out.

Bridal Hot List: Overall, what lessons did you both learn with competing on Cupcake Wars and how did those lessons improve your skills?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: We learned how to communicate with each other better than ever before. We didn’t have the luxury of extra time to brainstorm or discuss solutions to problems, so we had to talk through what we could, and completely trust each other with what we couldn’t.

Bridal Hot List: Cupcakes are trending right now for weddings and many couples opt for cupcakes versus a wedding cake at their wedding. When did your team first notice this trend? What special arrangements can be done with “wedding cupcakes” that can’t be done with a traditional wedding cake?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: Before we opened our business, we were already noticing that cupcakes were becoming popular with weddings. As soon as we opened, we knew that one of our target audiences would be brides, and we generated an abundance of interest. Brides and wedding guests love the versatility of cupcakes. Cupcakes offer a variety of flavors per wedding, whereas wedding cake is limited to its individual layers. Cupcakes can also be displayed in a number of ways: tiered stands, ladders, vintage bookcases, etc. Cupcakes are basically mini cakes with lots of options, and so we believe that this trend will never go out of style.

Bridal Hot List: What has been the most bizarre cupcake creation request you’ve received? If you ended up doing it, how did it turn out? I imagine there are quite a few requests that you turn down. Could you share a story about a job you ended up turning down, and why?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: The most bizarre flavor that has ever been requested of us was a Peanut Butter, Sharp Cheddar, and Bacon cupcake. We decided to attempt it, and thankfully we had very tasty results! The cheddar flavor wasn’t very prominent, but aside from that the cake was moist and overall tasted very delicious! Aside from this, we do not receive very many odd requests, mainly because our menu has over 40 flavors so there is something for everyone!

Bridal Hot List: We want to hear from you to find out what’s trending this year heading into the fall wedding season. What are the top three most popular flavors for wedding cupcakes in Fall 2013? Are there any flavors you think brides should be thinking about that aren’t on that list?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: Our top three most popular cupcakes for weddings this Fall are: Maple Pecan Pie (with homemade pie crust topping!), S’mores, and Caramel Apple.

We have a new cupcake named the “Hot” Chocolate. It is a little bit spicy because of the cayenne in the cake, but is topped with a cooling layer of whipped chocolate buttercream and whipped vanilla cream. Absolutely perfect for Fall, and perfect for the slightly adventurous bride! Apple Pie is another flawless Autumn cupcake: snickerdoodle cookie base, cinnamon cake, homemade apple pie filling, cinnamon buttercream, homemade caramel drizzle, topped with a mini snickerdoodle cookie. We think either of these flavors would compliment any of this season’s wedding receptions.

Cupcakes are a great choice for weddings, and even though every bride has different tastes, as long as you choose a good range of flavors, you are sure to be pleased! Make sure that there is always a chocolate option, something with a vanilla cake base, and then possibly something fruity or peanut butter-y or caramel-y. This will ensure that all guests at the wedding have their sweet tooth satisfied.

Bridal Hot List: Has competing on Cupcake Wars improved your business?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: It has brought us a tremendous amount of exposure and allowed us to start pursuing our dream of having a storefront. When we competed on Cupcake Wars we were an online-only bakery, but we now sell our cupcakes out of a “temporary” storefront, and have our eyes on a permanent one!

Bridal Hot List: Now that you have won, what is next for you both?

HappyCakes Cupcakery: We are working very hard to open our new storefront within the next 6 months. We want HappyCakes Cupcakery’s storefront to feel like a second home to our customers…where we can share our cupcakes, and our happiness, with the people of our wonderful city. Then, down the road, we hope to begin shipping so that we can share our happycakes nationwide.


Kaylee and Angela with Event  Planner Kristin Banta.

Kaylee and Angela with Event Planner Kristin Banta.

Cinnamon Mint Cupcake.  Photo by Bridal Hot List

Cinnamon Mint Cupcake.
Photo by Bridal Hot List

Chocolate Espresso Cupcake Photo by Bridal Hot List

Chocolate Espresso Cupcake
Photo by Bridal Hot List

Coconut Cream Cupcake Photo by Bridal Hot List

Coconut Cream Cupcake
Photo by Bridal Hot List

Salty and Sweet Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie Cupcake Photo By Bridal Hot List

Salty and Sweet Chocolate Caramel Pecan Pie Cupcake
Photo By Bridal Hot List

Niloufar, Owner and Chief Editor of Bridal Hot List with the Cupcake Wars Winners

Niloufar, Owner and Chief Editor of Bridal Hot List with the Cupcake Wars Winners


Here are some beautiful and lovely cupcakes that have been created by HappyCupcake Cakery: Oh, Just so pretty!




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An Interview with TLC Star Renée Strauss

It is no surprise that we are obsessed with all things wedding, including television shows about weddings. We are super fans of show, “Brides of Beverly Hills” which airs on TLC. We are an even bigger fan of the star of the show, Renée Strauss. Renée  is a top fashion expert and bridal stylist who owns a bridal salon in Beverly Hills, California. Her personality, fashion expertise, and taste, has us excited to see what she says next. You can imagine how thrilled we were for the opportunity to interview Renée, who took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.headshot FINAL

Bridal Hot List: Welcome to Bridal Hot List, Renée!  For our readers that aren’t familiar with you, could you tell me about yourself and what you do?

Renée Strauss: I make women beautiful for their special wedding day and style bridal scenes for commercial, TV and motion picture productions.

Bridal Hot List: Renée , you’re a top fashion expert and bridal stylist, but we all got our start somewhere. Where did you start and how did you got into fashion and the bridal industry?

Renée Strauss: I grew up in Chicago, and my family were gourmet caterers. I loved the fabulous parties but couldn’t take the heat in the kitchen, therefore weddings were the perfect career choice. I opened my first bridal salon April 1, 1981.

Bridal Hot List: Some say that high success comes from having a passion for what they do. For you, where do you draw your inspiration from? What motivates you the most? At what points in your career did it help energize you to stick with it and find eventual success?

Renée Strauss: I draw my inspiration from market trends, and what motivates me the most is knowing that weddings are so deeply ingrained in culture that we will celebrate them forever. The stepping stones along the way that re-energized me were my first commercial styling job, my first television styling job, my first motion picture styling job, my first celebrity bride and the list goes on. Those kinds of events and opportunities make you feel like you are doing something extraordinary, and there is no better motivation than knowing that you are always taking a step forward in your career.

Bridal Hot List: Fashion is always changing with new trends emerging. How do top stylists and experts like yourself stay current and keep up with the growing trends?

Renée Strauss: One of the most exciting aspects of my job is traveling to bridal fashion week in different cities throughout the world. From Barcelona to Milan, from Chicago to New York, it is an exciting privilege that keeps me up to date with the latest and greatest bridal trends in fashion.

Bridal Hot List: When you are styling a bride, what details do you focus on the most, and why?

Renée Strauss: When I style a bride, I focus on her sensibility, physique, and personal preferences. Through understanding these things I truly connect and serve better.

Bridal Hot List:  Certainly, every bride is different, but what are some best practices you can give brides-to-be when they are shopping for that special dress?

Renée Strauss: In an effort to be brief, I suggest to wear nude undergarments, a well supporting bra, bring along shoes with the heel height you are planning to wear, have tear sheets or downloads of a few silhouettes you are interested in trying and bring an open mind!

Bridal Hot List: For those fashion stylish brides who want to not only look fabulous but wow their guests, what are some of the best tips you can give them?

Renée Strauss: Be true to your own style…although you may only wear the gown for 6 or 8 hours, you shall certainly remember every detail of the gown the rest of your life.  Therefore fall in love as you did with Mr. Wonderful, and then stop looking!

Bridal Hot List:  What do you think are some of the biggest fashion mistakes you see brides make? Do you see any common No-Nos that make you roll your eyes?

Renée Strauss: I really don’t like to judge because bridal is so unique to each individual, however an ill-fitting garment can make even the most expensive garment look cheap.  I always refer to the alterations as the “re-sale” of the gown.  The quality is critical.  The same goes for undergarments – or lack thereof.  As an expert I can see immediately whether they fit well or exist at all.  It makes a difference, trust me.

Bridal Hot List: What are some of the 2013 trends for bridal gowns that you can share?

Renée Strauss: Peplums are back.  Illusion necklines are popular.  Hi-low hemlines are reappearing.  I designed the gown made famous in the Guns N Roses award winning video November Rain way back in the 80s.  Stephanie Seymour wore it so well and the look is coming back!

Bridal Hot List: You star in TLC’s show, “Brides of Beverly Hills” and for viewers, what is the most exciting and new fashion details they should tune in to see?

Renée Strauss: For the TV show we ask the designers to send in their highest fashion items and the newest styles hot off the cutting table.  That is why in season 2 we had a group of green gowns come in from Italy.  The Italians predicted green as the 2013 color of the year long before Pantone released their opinion and the movie Oz the Great and Powerful was announced.

Bridal Hot List: By the end of your third season of the show, what goals are you hoping to accomplish?

Renée Strauss: Let’s see what happens…The best is yet to come!

Bridal Hot List would like to extend our gratitude to Renée and her staff that helped make this interview possible.


An Interview with TLC Star Kelly Nishimoto

Have you been watching the new show on TLC’s BrideDay lineup, “Something Borrowed,  Something New”, which airs Fridays 10/9c? We are having a blast watching this show. We are in love with all the fabulous details of each bride and their journey in finding the perfect dress. We are most intrigued by how a heirloom, previously worn dress can be transformed into a stylish and fashionable new gown! Who is the person behind this amazing transformation?  Kelly Nishimoto, a fashion designer and television personality who stars in “Something Borrowed, Something New”.  We were thrilled for the opportunity to interview Kelly. Kelly took time out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Bridal Hot List: Welcome to Bridal Hot List, Kelly!  For our readers that aren’t familiar with you, could you tell me about yourself and what you do?

Kelly Nishimoto: I’m from a tiny town in Georgia (Roberta) population 800! Now, I’m a clothing designer in Los Angeles…I started off in Contemporary Collections including Red Carpet Dresses and suiting…and I ended up with a full blown casual lounge wear company! I also do a ton of custom orders including Bridal, Bridesmaids, & Mother of the Bride!

Bridal Hot List: Kelly, you’re a top fashion designer now. Can you tell me where you started and how you got into fashion design?

Kelly Nishimoto:  Well…I started sewing when I was 11. My dad bought me a sewing machine from Wal-mart for Xmas. It all went crazy from there! I made or modified my clothes throughout high school and taught various arts & crafts classes around town! I moved to Miami when I was 19 and started throwing my own runway shows… I used to make entire collections out of Reynolds Plastic Wrap! When I moved to Los Angeles, I started a real business in my garage and things moved forward from there! I launched my 1st full collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion week in 2005. I’ve since been in over 130 stores including Macy’s & Equinox.

Bridal Hot List: Some say that high success comes from having a passion for what they do. For you, where do you draw your inspiration from? What motivates you the most? At what points in your career did it help energize you to stick with it and find eventual success?

Kelly Nishimoto: I’m a dreamer…so I dream up most of my ideas…or believe it or not…the treadmill! I’m constantly day dreaming and when I come up with something genius…I stumble back to reality when I’ve fallen off! Lol! My passion comes from my desire to be successful. I’m super competitive…mostly with myself…I feel like I can always do more and better! When I was younger, the idea of success motivated me. Now…my family is my motivation. I want to be able to provide for my parents and my family…and I want to do it by being successful at what I love to do. Have I found success? Not by my own personal standards…What makes me stick with it is the fact that I refuse to give up! If I seriously wrote down my personal challenges with life and this business…you would think I was lying. Even during the filming of the show…life threw me some MAJOR curves that I will one day be comfortable enough to share. I’m still waiting for that moment when I can say…”Remember when? I think it’s right around the corner…so I’m going to stick to my journey!

Bridal Hot List: The Fashion world is always changing. How do fashion designers like yourself keep up with what is new and trendy?

Kelly Nishimoto: For the most part…I make what I feel like making… I never look at color trends or trend reports…honestly…and when I choose a color palette for my next collection…knock on wood…it’s aligned with the rest of the design world! Now, what I have a hard time keeping up with is the business! The business is ALWAYS changing…and that’s my biggest challenge! When I started, there was no Twitter or Facebook…trending…QR codes…etc…Whewww…I’m exhausted just thinking about everywhere I have to post 1 piece of news! Pinterest, Flicker, Website, Face book, Blog, Instagram…

Bridal Hot List: When you are recreating and designing an outfit for someone, what details do you focus on the most, and why?

Kelly Nishimoto: There are 3 things to consider…

1. Is the integrity of the original piece worth keeping? If so…I have to be careful not to change it into an unrecognizable piece.

2. What does the client expect or envision for the revamped piece? Are the clients expectations realistic?

3. Is the “new” possible to make out of the old? And if not…what is the compromise?

Bridal Hot List:  You are starring on a new show on TLC called “Something Borrowed, Something New”. For viewers, what is the most exciting and new fashion details they should tune in to see?

Kelly Nishimoto: What Sam & I are wearing? Just kidding! Viewers should tune in to see the transformations…Not only the transformation of an old dress…but theses brides and their families are transforming right in front of our eyes! They are all having new experiences…and these are very real! As for the fashion…wedding fashion is all the rage right now! Sam and I are constantly bringing what the designers are doing on the runway straight to the bride!

Bridal Hot List: For a fashion designer like yourself, what kind of opportunity does starring in a TLC show represent?

Kelly Nishimoto: It’s an opportunity for people to see me for who I am and for what I’ve been doing for years. It takes sooooo long to build a profitable fashion business. TLC is a wonderful platform to showcase what I do on a daily basis. I am forever grateful for Andrew Strauser for keeping me in the TLC loop for years & years…

Bridal Hot List:  By the end of your first season of the show, what goals are you hoping to accomplish?

Kelly Nishimoto: Besides a second, third, & forth season…One of my goals is to make a living doing what I love and to not have to continuously stress out about paying rent or having enough money for payroll! Also…I really want to give back to young girls who need guidance…Fashion is a great way to help the younger generation learn about hard work, dedication, presentation, communication skills, being properly dressed and well mannered for business…I feel like today’s youth are missing out on learning some crucial life skills…ones that are learned from a human and not the Internet.

Bridal Hot List: On the show, your job is to transform a special, previously worn gown into a gown which is for the time, venue, and personality of the bride. What elements of the dress speaks to you the most? Is it ever difficult to tear up parts of a special gown and recreate it?

Kelly Nishimoto: I try and put myself in the mind of the person who made the dress in the first place…Especially if it’s an old dress! These aren’t “off the rack” like the 80’s dresses! I often wonder what they would do to the dress if they lived in modern times…I have had a hard time with 2 or 3 of the dresses. They were very special. One in particular hurt my feelings to cut up! But the end product was very true to the original dress and is EXACTLY what the bride wanted…

Now…when I get an ugly dress made with cheap fabric…I can’t wait to tear it up and make something new out of it! These don’t hurt my feeling at all! If anything stings…It’s the thought that designers really though those sleeves were cool! Lol!

Bridal Hot List: What are some tips on how to recycle the material from an old wedding dress?

Kelly Nishimoto: There are MANY things you can do! You don’t have to make it into a new wedding dress! You can turn it in to a party dress and dye it another color, you can make pillows, veils, head pieces, baby blankets, teddy bears, etc… So limitless!

Bridal Hot List: What are some of the best tips you can give the sentimental  brides that want to wear something old and special on their wedding day?

Kelly Nishimoto: Go for it! Don’t let your friends influence you! I’m not a vintage type of girl…but I definitely appreciate vintage and reusing beautiful things…

– Think outside the box! It doesn’t have to be used in a traditional way…GET CREATIVE!

– If you want a dress re-vamped…Spend the money on a professional unless you are REALY good at pattern making & sewing…Transforming a dress is harder than you think!


Bridal Hot List would like to extend our gratitude to Kelly and the TLC staff that helped make this interview possible.


An Interview with TLC Star Sam Saboura

Bridal Hot List is thrilled to have our first ever interview guest, TLC’s Sam Saboura. Day in and day out Bridal Hot List is immersed with all things wedding, and that makes us smile from cheek to cheek. Yes, we smile so much in fact, our cheeks hurt. But this week I think our smiles are going to get even bigger. We had the opportunity to interview Sam Saboura, a top stylist and fashion expert, as well as a published author and television personality. He is staring in a new show on TLC’s BrideDay lineup, “Something Borrowed, Something New”, which premieres tonight at 10/9c.  You can find out more about this show by checking out our sneak peek post. Sam took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions.

Bridal Hot List: Welcome to Bridal Hot List, Sam! For our readers that aren’t familiar with you, could you tell me about yourself and what you do?

Sam Saboura: Thanks for having me! I work as a Stylist, Personal Shopper and TV Style Expert in LA and NY. I’ve designed my own lines for on-air shopping networks and wrote a book on dressing your body type. I’m currently living, working and shopping in LA and I could not be more thrilled to be a part of Something Borrowed Something New! The show is so much fun and TLC is the perfect home for it. I’m obsessed with weddings and all things bridal and spent hours as a kid sketching wedding dresses, so working on this show is a huge treat for me and working with brides is second nature for me.

Bridal Hot List: Sam, you’re a top fashion stylist now but we all got our start somewhere. Where did you start and how did you get into fashion?

Sam Saboura: Since I was very young, and for as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love and an eye for fashion and style. I expressed that by working with others like friends and family, helping them get dressed for special events or bossing them around about what they should and should not be wearing…LOL. I started working in retail at a young age and I loved that I got the chance to work with so many people and help them with their style.

When I moved to LA, I started working at Fred Segal on Melrose. It was a very special place back then and major stars from around the globe would pass thru on a daily basis. I learned about high fashion there and really cut my teeth style wise. I was basically playing dress up with the biggest celebrities in the world.  You name them I worked with them, it was an incredible time and a huge learning experience. I became the personal shopper there, had a who’s who clientele, and eventually moved on to freelance styling and then TV. It was a whirlwind seven years there and some of the best times of my life!

Bridal Hot List: We’ve heard time and again that highly successful people say that their success comes from having a passion for what they do. For you, where does your motivation come from? At what points in your career did it help fuel you to stick with it and find eventual success?

Sam Saboura: This is a great question. I do what I do because it makes me happy and fulfills something in me. I’m a super generous person and I love to give and help. When I learned that people liked and trusted my taste it made me feel good and validated something that I loved to do anyway. It was a win win for me. I get to have my fingers in so many different pies. I get to style, be on TV, shop, help people feel better about themselves and I love what I do everyday because it’s never one static thing. I’m grateful to be able to say that, and lucky to be in this line of work.

I am a workaholic and I’m totally type A. I love to see a project or task thru to completion and I’m driven to grow, evolve and succeed. I also have a very strong business head. I think what drives me the most is being able to be creative and run my own business at the same time. It’s all about balance for me between those two different parts of my personality, but the creative side is definitely wins out more.

Bridal Hot List: Fashion is a constantly evolving form of art. How do top stylists and experts stay with what’s current and be able to move in the right direction for what’s coming next?

Sam Saboura: I think it’s really about knowing your client and making sure you don’t get too comfortable. You have to keep it fresh for yourself and stay challenged in your work and your pulls. You have to also try and evolve your client’s look and style, even if only a bit at a time. Fashion is always changing but people are not. Change is a wonderful thing but it’s also uncomfortable for most people. So you have to know when to really push your opinion and when to simple lead the horse to water, so to speak.

I get very excited when I see new collections, colors, shapes and trends that are unexpected and fresh, so I always try and introduce something new every time I work with a regular client. I also like work with assistants that have different tastes and ideas than I do. It keeps my eyes open and keeps my work fresh and constantly challenged.

Bridal Hot List: When you are styling a subject, what details do you focus on the most, and why?

Sam Saboura: Fit, proportion and comfort. These are the things that make someone shine in their best light. The fit and tailoring need to be exceptional. The proportions need to be balanced because this can completely change the way your body is perceived visually, and the client has to be comfortable and look like the best version of themselves no matter what they are wearing. You can always tell when someone is comfortable in their look and something always seems to be off when they’re not. These three things have to be in place and the rest are just details—and good taste.

Bridal Hot List: We’ve learned that you are going to be starring on a new show on TLC called “Something Borrowed, Something New”. For viewers, what will be the most exciting and fresh elements they should tune in to see?

Sam Saboura: This is show is fun for so many reasons, but one of the best parts for us is that we never know what the bride is going to chose! You get all the fun wedding dress shopping plus the interest of seeing an old dress evolve into something fresh and modern. It’s also kind of fun to guess and see what the bride will chose so there’s a play along element to the show. It’s short and sweet and full of emotion. We so many great brides and families and they have tons of personality. Also, all the budgets are real and very normal. We are not working with $6000 dresses here so tons of brides will relate and be inspired! I keep telling my friends it’s like a really delicious midnight snack, a totally satisfying, 30 min, guilty pleasure.

Bridal Hot List: For a fashion trendsetter like yourself, what kind of opportunity does starring in a TLC show represent?

Sam Saboura: TLC is every bride’s destination channel and they have really done a wonderful job opening the doors to the wedding world and letting everyone in to just fall in love and have fun. I think I’ve seen every episode of Say Yes To The Dress about ten times each and it never get’s old. I’m thrilled to be back on the network and playing in a world I love completely. Weddings are my thing, they have always been special to me, and it makes me so happy to help all these awesome ladies get ready for their special day!

Bridal Hot List: By the end of your first season of the show, what goals are you hoping to accomplish?

Sam Saboura: My head is already ready for Season 2 and all the things I want to do to make the show even bigger and better. I want the show to resonate and inspire future brides. I would love to work on my own bridal line. That would be full circle for me since it harkens back to my childhood. That would be a great accomplishment and something I’d be really passionate about.

Bridal Hot List:  Certainly, every bride is different, but what are some best practices you can give brides-to-be when they are shopping for that special dress?

Sam Saboura:

  • Have an open mind and be open to the right dress. The right dress may not be the dress you thought you would wear. Don’t put yourself in a box.
  • Rome wasn’t built in a day, so you may not find your dream dress on the first shopping trip. Sometimes the dress finds you when the time is right and it may happen when you least expect it.
  • Most of the time the cliché is totally true, you know when you know. Trust your gut and chose the dress that speaks to you, one most likely will.
  • Trust your salesperson. They work with these dresses all day long and chances are they have seen them on many different body types. If you don’t have an expert, find one at a bridal salon you love. They can make your dress shopping smooth and enjoyable.
  • Listen to your entourage, but at the end of the day listen to yourself. It’s your wedding and your dress so ultimately you should be the one choosing.
  • Stay on budget! The kiss of death is trying a dress that way outside your budget. If you can’t manage the price that’s on the tag without stressing your budget, that’s not the dress for you—no matter how gorgeous.
  • Narrow it down. Trying on dresses that are not in line with your body type can be incredibly frustrating—like trying on a million pairs of jeans. Know your body and styles that work best for it before you start shopping and use that as a jumping off point when shopping.
  • Always try one that one dress that is the opposite of what you think you want. You may be pleasantly surprised by the result.
  • Try a veil! Trust me on this one, NOTHING can seal the deal on a dress when you’re on the fence like the addition of a veil.  It’s like magic and when a bride truly sees herself as a bride.
  • When in doubt, sleep on it! Getting some perspective and time away from a dress will always help you make the right choice.

Bridal Hot List: What are some of the best tips you can give fashion conscious brides aiming to not just look their best, but wow their guests?

Sam Saboura: If you’re a bride who loves fashion and loves to take risks I say go for it. I do think there should be somewhat of a timeless element to your dress because these pictures do last a lifetime and you don’t want to look back and be too trendy or of the moment, but this is your time to shine, your red carpet moment! I think statement accessories are always the key and what set you apart from every other bride. They can be the best way for a bride to inexpensively personalize her look and express her sense of style.

Even the most spectacular dress can be taken to the next level with the right accessories, so spend some time and research your options. There are so many wonderful sites online that can inspire a forward thinking bride. Accessories are the icing on the wedding cake and can transform average into amazing with just a little bit of effort.

Bridal Hot List: What do you think are some of the biggest fashion mistakes you see brides make? Do you see any common No-Nos that make you roll your eyes?

Sam Saboura: I think they need to trust their gut and chose a dress that speaks to them and that they love. Listening to family and friends’ input is wonderful but the choice should always be the brides and her’s alone. They should also  be 100% open to something totally outside their vision and comfort zone. Some of the best moments on the show are when a bride tries on a dress that they thought they didn’t want or would never pick. More often than not that’s what they ended up choosing. Have a plan but don’t follow it too closely or you may miss the perfect dress.

Bridal Hot List: There are a lot of TLC fans excited for the new show, what message would you like to give them as “Something Borrowed, Something New” premieres?

Sam Saboura: I hope the fans love what they see and embrace the show! We had lots of fun making it and the whole crew felt like were all working on something really special. Hopefully that comes across. Oh, and make sure you have some tissues on hand too…


Bridal Hot List would like to extend our gratitude to Sam and the TLC staff that helped make this interview possible.