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  • Borrowing for a wedding? You could regret it

    Wedding season is rapidly approaching, and if you're about to celebrate your nuptials, we have just one question – how are you paying for it? Hopefully you'd havesaved up enough to ensure that everything's covered, but research has revealed that a quarter of couples plan to borrow money to fund their dream wedding, something that could put a downer on future marital bliss.


    Research from Debt Advisory Centre has found that the pressure to have a dream wedding can come at a cost for some couples, with 23% of those surveyed admitting that they borrowed to fund their big day – to the average tune of £3,800.


    Borrowing for a wedding? You could regret it


    Pictures: simple wedding dresses


    Unfortunately, many people regretted it afterwards, with almost half (47%) of those who took out credit for this reason saying that they wish they'd either borrowed less or hadn't borrowed at all. The financial hangover can last well after the honeymoon comes to an end, too, with 29% of couples still repaying their wedding debts after six years of marital life.


    This has the potential to ruin marital bliss, the report noted, as debt is one of the leading causes of relationship problems. The figures suggest that it could impact younger couples more than their older counterparts – those aged 18 to 25 are far more likely to use credit to fund their wedding, with 65% of those surveyed admitting to doing so. They're also the age group who are likely to borrow the most, with 15% taking out over £5,000.


    "As the culture of glamorous celebrity weddings has grown, it's easy to see why couples feel under pressure to recreate the lavish events they see in magazines," said Melanie Taylor, a spokeswoman for Debt Advisory Centre. "While celebrities can afford to spend enormous amounts on their dream weddings, for most people this kind of luxury is out of reach and it's not advisable to get into debt to meet these aspirations.


    "Getting married is about making a lifetime commitment, not just one day of extravagance. [It] might seem like the most important day of your life, but nothing is more important than your long term happiness and security, so keep this in mind and plan for your marriage, rather than your wedding day."


    It's all about thinking long term, and if you focus on saving the money for that dream wedding, you hopefully won't need to get into debt in order to fund it. Opening aregular savings account could be a great way to kick-start the savings habit – these accounts often boast higher rates than their traditional counterparts on the promise that you pay in a set amount each month, and after a year you could have a comfortable pot.


    Alternatively, if your wedding is further ahead or if you've already got a large lump sum that needs topping up, you could opt for a fixed rate bond of a term to suit your wedding plans. Easy access accounts are another option if you're seeking flexibility, and don't forget about ISAs to maximize your tax-efficiency.


    But, if you really must borrow to fund your wedding, make sure to do it sensibly. A personal loan could be an option, tying you in to set repayments so you're completely debt-free thereafter, and with rates at record lows it could be a great time to compare the deals available. Using a 0% purchase credit card could be another option, allowing you to spread the cost without accruing interest.


    Alternatively, if you've already used a traditional credit card to cover some of the costs, make sure you're not paying interest! Transferring the balance to a 0% balance transfer credit card will give you plenty of time to pay it off, and if you make sure to clear it by the end of the interest-free period, you won't need to worry about interest adding to the bill.


    No matter how you go about it, just make sure both parties are comfortable with the arrangements and then you can enjoy married life without the interference of debt stress.

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  • Wedding hair: the best bridal inspiration from the catwalk

    New York Bridal Week is drawing to a close, and some of the most established designers have been unveiling their latest wedding dresses on the runway. While fashionistas and connoisseurs in the bridal world have focussed their attention on the gowns, the eagle-eyed bride will have been taking note of each model's hair.

    Bridal Week isn't just the chance to gain dress inspiration, but also to inspect the fashion-forward hairstyles.

    Naturally, up-dos were a popular trend, as most brides tend to keep their hair swept out of their face for the big day.


    Reem Acra's brides sported thick single braids adorned with pearls

    Those with particularly long hair may want to consider a single thick braid, in the style of Reem Acra's models. The brides wore their hair tied tightly back into one plait, and added an even more girly touch to the look with pearl beads and ornaments.

    An equally romantic hairstyle came in the form of Ines Di Santo's brides, who had their hair scraped up into ballerina buns and adorned with little white butterfly clips. The hairdo would suit the spring or summer bride, or those leaning towards a garden-themed wedding.


    Little butterflies add an extra romantic touch to a hairstyle

    The low bun also made a comeback on this year's catwalk, with designers such as Marchesa, Monique Lhuillierand Oscar de la Renta all showcasing the style in their shows.

    Marchesa revamped the classic ballerina bun and instead the designer's models wore their hair in a low loop at the nape of their neck.



    Jenny Packham's brides wore their hair loose and flowing

    Apart from the up-do, another common hairstyle that brides opt for is leaving their hair loose and flowing around their shoulders.

    Jenny Packham adhered to the trend but added a bit of pizzazz to the look. Her models' sported slightly crimped hair, an ideal look for the ultra-feminine summer bride.

    Some of her other models had their hair parted straight down the middle, and either accessorised with floral headbands or jewelled butterfly clips.


    The easy high ponytail also made a comeback at this year's Bridal Week

    For more inspiration on how to wear your hair for the big day, click on the photos above to flick through more runway hairstyles.

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  • Toula’s staff aims to make brides dress dreams come true

    Erin Fulton was nearly a year away from her big day when she walked into Toula’s Bridal and Formal Wear in Canfield last week.


    With four of her nine bridesmaids there to help her make the big decision, Fulton took on the challenge of finding a dress.


    She was in good hands, and had thousands of options surrounding her.


    Fulton’s goal: Find a simple and elegant dress.


    The goal for Mirna Dibo, an 11-year bridal consultant for Toula’s: Find the dress desired.


    In the end, Fulton and her bridesmaids left the shop smiling and laughing.


    “She was so helpful, and before I knew it, she grabbed the perfect dress,” Fulton said. “I am relieved a little bit.”


    For the past 30 years, consultants and shop owner Toula Kostoglou, have fulfilled the dress dreams for thousands of brides.


    View photos: cheap wedding dresses online


    “I always loved fashion and creating,” she said.


    After three decades in the business, she still does. On Tuesday, she had a fitting booked every 15 minutes, but she still gracefully glided around the dresses with sophistication.


    It’s prom season, and almost wedding season for the store, located at 4373 Boardman-Canfield Road, so it’s been busy and it’s about to get even busier.


    The business she’s created over the years is not something she would have dreamed of back when she first started sewing.


    The Greece native started custom sewing for people in the 1980s. By 1985, she started her store with a focus on prom wear.


    “It was a great year with prom, and then slowly we got into bridal,” she said.


    The inventory was much smaller then than it is now, but top-notch lines always filled the racks.


    Now, bridal is the big part of the business — so much so that Toula twice expanded the business to accommodate her bridal customers. Last year, she had a room built for the mothers of the brides.



    And to think it all started because, to her, sewing was fun.


    “It was a great experience, and even to this day, people will come in and want me to help them,” she said.


    Most of the business comes from referrals, and several customers who came to Toula for a prom dress came back for their wedding dress.


    They know that somewhere in the sea of white gowns made by Enzoani, KITTYCHEN Couture, Maggie Sottero and several others is their gown. And they also know Toula and her staff will be able to find it.


    “They know I will tell them the truth,” she said. “Even if I don’t like something.”


    The Knot, an XO Group Inc. company that provides ideas and advice on weddings in print and online, awarded Toula’s twice in 2013 and this year as a best vendor in Northeast Ohio.


    But what’s more rewarding are the comments left about Toula’s on website, such as this one: “Toula’s staff made me feel like the princess I wanted to be for my big day.”


    The brides may come in knowing what they want, but the staff serves up the dream dress and then perfects it to the bride’s fit.


    Kostoglou and her staff are like family. Considering the stressful times, and late nights they have had, they have to be.


    “I have great seamstresses that I have all the faith in the world in,” she said.


    Virginia Reash has been at Toula’s for 21 years, but her sewing experience covers more than 40 years.


    She got into it because it provided a creative outlet for her, and it she has stuck with it because it still does.


    “I love to sew,” she said. “I do just about anything.”

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