All posts by Karon Warren

Big Fat Greek Wedding

A Big Fat Greek Wedding Celebration

When Maria Bisbikis Marros started planning her June 12, 2016, wedding to Konstantinos Marros in Charlotte, N.C., she knew exactly what she wanted. “My husband and I are both Greek, and we wanted the traditional church wedding and Big Fat Greek reception,” Maria said. “We chose to have the reception in our church’s reception venue because it was a blank slate that we could make into our own.” The couple went on to do exactly that.

Big Fat Greek Wedding When choosing her floral arrangements, Maria wanted a very romantic and royal look, so she worked with local florist Roula Economos to achieve the look she wanted. “I had large fluffy pink peonies in gold birdcages on some table arrangements,” Maria said. “There were also hydrangeas and ranunculus mixed in bouquets and arrangements. Every table as well as the bar area was filled with moss and greenery throughout.” Deep and bright shades of red and pink roses also were prevalent.

Speaking of the bar area, Maria was thrilled with how amazing the bar setup turned out. “I had a custom-made moss wall, compliments of my florist, with ornate gold mirrors and frames hanging on it,” she said. “My bar was a 20-foot-long farm table sitting on vintage wine barrels. I had an open structure built around the bar that had lanterns, chandeliers, greenery and crystal beads hanging down. I wanted guests to feel like they were walking into a chic, ‘outdoor’ bar. It was something that I had designed, and it was so exciting to execute it and see it come to life.”

Big Fat Greek WeddingThe wedding cake was another highlight of the wedding reception. Crafted by Lisa Toohey of Cake Expressions by Lisa, the cake featured eight tiers of various flavors that included almond with Nutella filling, lemon cake with raspberry filling, chocolate cake with salted caramel filling, and red velvet with cream cheese filling. The exterior was equally varied with an ombre design. “The bottom tier was ivory with lace, and each tier got darker in color, changing from ivory to pink to bright red at the top,” Maria said. “The whole cake was adorned with very lavish gold accents, and the top layer was designed to look like a small birdcage. My wedding cake was so enchanting.”

Big Fat Greek WeddingHowever, the wedding cake was not the only enchanting feature at the wedding. Maria also created an enchanting look for herself. A fan of “Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta,” she headed to Bridals by Lori in Atlanta with her mother and sisters, where they set out to find the perfect dress. Working with sales consultants Flori and Lawrencia, Maria wasted no time seeking out her dream dress: a Rivini dress named “Angelique.” She first spotted the dress in a magazine, then again online, and loved how it combined two 2015 trends: skirts with volume and illusion. “I wanted a dress that looked regal, romantic and enchanting,” Maria said.

As soon as Maria arrived for her appointment at Bridals by Lori, she asked if the dress was available. “It was the very first dress I tried on,” Maria said. “Instant tears! The intricate beading, the whimsical skirt and the gorgeous back design really had me smiling from ear to ear.” She immediately fell in love with the illusion at the neckline, the beading that appeared to float on her skin, and the tulip sleeves. “The dress was so easy to move around in, and I could visualize dancing in it all night,” Maria said.

Maria also loved that Rita Vinieris, the designer of Rivini and the daughter of Greek immigrants, shared a Greek background with Maria and Konstantinos. “I am a first generation Greek-American, and I loved the idea of walking down the aisle in my Orthodox cathedral wearing a designer who is also of Greek origin,” Maria said. “Everything about the dress just clicked. I truly felt like it was designed for me!”

Big Fat Greek Wedding Her husband certainly approved of Maria’s choice, and said his favorite wedding memory was when the cathedral doors opened to reveal Maria standing in her wedding dress just before she walked down the aisle. “The sun was beaming on her, and her dress was sparkling,” Konstantinos said. “In that moment, I forgot everyone was watching and just enjoyed listening to the music, watching my forever angel walk toward me.”

From start to finish, Maria and Konstantinos loved every minute of their Big Fat Greek wedding and reception, and couldn’t be more pleased with how the event turned out. “Our head table was in front of the entertainment stage looking out over 60 tables filled with friends and family that were there to share in the joy of our marriage,” Maria said. “There is something special about being in your wedding dress, sitting next to the love of your life, and taking in the sights around you. All the hard work and stress leading up to the actual day just disappeared. It was immediately apparent to me that everything I imagined and hoped my wedding would be like was staring me in the face. It was such an extraordinary feeling.”

In the Details

Dress: Rivini by Rita Vinieris

Crown: Maria Elena Headpieces

Veil: Custom 14-foot veil by Blossom Veils

Groom’s tuxedo: Vera Wang

Bridesmaids dresses: Alfred Sung

Florist: Roula Economos

Wedding Cake: Cake Expressions by Lisa

Photography: Critsey Rowe Photography

Location: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, Charlotte, N.C.

how to shop for evening wear

How to Shop for Evening Wear

As the holidays approach, the party invitations start to accumulate. There’s the office party, the charity gala, the winter formal, a New Year’s Eve party, and even a winter wedding. Trying to find the right dress for each event can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Knowing how to shop for evening wear before you start shopping can take some confusion out of the process, making it a lot more enjoyable. After all, who doesn’t like trying on gorgeous, sparkling dresses?

how to shop for evening wearWhat’s In a Name?

Special occasions don many different names – ball, gala, formal, holiday party, black-tie event – and usually are accompanied by equally varied dress codes. These dress codes include: holiday attire, cocktail, formal, semi-formal, formal, black-tie optional and black tie. Knowing which dress code applies to your specific event goes a long way in helping you find the right dress.

Holiday and Cocktail Attire: For men, a nice jacket with tie or suit is sufficient. If the event is holiday-related, the guys can add a holiday-themed tie or choose to wear a shirt in that holiday’s colors. For women, cocktail attire is defined as a short dress, dressy skirt with top, or dressy pants and top. Holiday attire is the same but with a twist; add sparkle and holiday colors such as a red satin skirt with a silver sequin top.

Semi-Formal and Formal: These both have the same dress code. Men should wear a suit or go with a tie and dinner jacket, while women should wear a knee-length cocktail dress, a little black dress, or a dressy skirt and top.

Black tie: The most formal dress code, men always should wear a tuxedo. Women should choose a formal, floor-length dress or a dressy cocktail dress. If the event is a wedding, avoid light colors such as ivory and white as well as light-colored lace.

how to shop for evening wearPlanning Ahead

When buying evening wear, give yourself as long as possible to make your purchase. Unless the sample dress is your size AND for sale, most evening wear dresses must be ordered. If the designer has the dress in stock, expect the dress to arrive in-store in approximately two to three weeks. If it’s not in stock, dress orders can take up to 14 to 16 weeks to arrive, depending on the designer and arrival of shipments. Also, include time for any necessary alterations, as well as time to shop for shoes, accessories and jewelry.

Men also should shop as soon as possible for a special occasion. Whether renting or purchasing a tuxedo or suit for the event, the guys will find a great selection at budget-friendly prices. Don’t be afraid to talk with the sales staff to help you find the best look for the occasion.

Attending special occasions during the holiday season is part of the fun and enjoyment to be had during this time of year. Don’t let shopping for the right evening wear dampen your spirit; by following these tips on how to shop for evening wear, you’re sure to find the exact look you want to wear to celebrate.




Prom 2016

Prom 2017 Market: Pastels, ’70s Prints & Two-Pieces

Prom 2016Recently, Lori attended the WORLD OF PROM market in Atlanta to check out the new designs for 2017, and came away a bit surprised. As always, designing for prom challenges the designers behind the dresses. “To design a year and a half in advance, that’s hard to do,” Lori said, especially considering how fast the world changes for high school girls. At the Atlanta market, the designers certainly were up to the challenge.

“Atlanta has by far the largest prom market,” Lori said. “People come from everywhere. It runs for over a week. So we really specialize in Sherri Hill and Jovani. Those are the two lines that we feel like are the strongest with our customers, and that’s the ones we get the most requests for. And, really, they are the two most popular prom lines out there.”

For prom 2017, expect to see a softer side in color. “This season, Sherri Hill is bringing pastels back, which I was really shocked because last season we saw all the color blocking and bright colors,” Lori said. “This season we saw a really pretty light blue, we saw a lot of pink – a ton of pink. We also saw a lot of what’s popular in the housing industry as far as colors, which are grays. There is a ton of stone and light gray and gunmetal.”

Jovani prom 2017


Also, two-piece dress designs continue to reign for prom 2017. “Two-pieces were bigger than ever before,” Lori said. “I’m sitting there as I’m buying these thinking, ‘I hope their mothers don’t have a heart attack.’ They sold well last year, and I’m hoping that continues through this year.”

Ballgowns also are more prevalent for prom 2017, with a decline in trumpet designs. “There’s some, but last year it was all there was,” Lori said. “This year, it’s more dispersed between then two-piece and the A-line. They’re bringing different things back.”

Those “different things” include a blast from the past. “Let me tell you what’s coming back big time: the ’70s,” Lori said. “Oh my goodness, and I fit right in there. One girl came out at Jovani wearing a bright yellow top with a bell sleeve, two pieces, and guess what the skirt had on it? Flowers all over it. It could have been straight out of 1970. I felt like she should have given us a ‘peace’ sign as she walked down the runway.”

Lori also saw ’70s-inspired designs from Sherri Hill. “She did this whole ‘Anthropologie’ look, and they looked like fabric from the ’70s that was like a patchwork skirt with a solid top,” she said. “That was another thing they’re bringing back for 2017. It was a different, interesting market.”

Lori certainly hopes prom shoppers like what they see. “For us as buyers, we’re trying to predict what will sell,” she said. “It is hard to buy for prom. So we’re taking a guess and a gamble that all this will be popular and the girls will love it. So, fingers crossed!”


tuxedo FAQs

Tuxedo FAQs

Brides conduct all types of research when it comes to shopping for their wedding dress. But how much time is devoted to finding the right tuxedo for their grooms? Admittedly, not much, right? After all, he just has to show up for wedding. Actually, grooms should take some time to consider what they want to wear (it’s their big day, too!). They might be surprised to learn they will have some questions regarding their own attire as well as that of their wedding party. Therefore, to help grooms get started on their own formalwear journey to their wedding, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions we hear at black tie BY LORI.

tuxedo FAQsHow long before my wedding should I register the men’s attire?

Make sure you allow enough time for your groomsmen to be measured and to submit those measurements with the order. Ordering within three weeks of your wedding will incur rush fees and risk the chance that the styles you want are not available.

My wedding is in Atlanta, but my groomsmen are out of town. How will they place their order?

We have an easy out-of-town order form on our website at black tie BY LORI where your groomsmen can place their rental order. We also offer online tuxedo rentals at

I have children in my wedding. Do you have small sizes for ring bearers? How much do they cost?

Our rentals start at size 2T, plus we offer children’s sizes for sale with prices starting at $79.

I like the Slim Fit tuxedo, but not all of my groomsmen are slender. How will that look?

It will look great because the coats are made proportionately for larger guys so you can get the same look for all of your guys.

Some of my groomsmen have their own tuxedos. Can they just rent accessories?

Yes, they can, but we strongly recommend you have your wedding party rent the same tuxedo to ensure a cohesive look at your wedding.

Tuxedo FAQsDo you have the color vest and tie to match the bridesmaid dresses?

Yes, we have more than 200 color combinations with 42 colors online. However, we suggest neutral accessories that coordinate with the color you have chosen. Sometimes a pocket square or boutonnière is all that is needed for that subtle pop of color.

Of course, these are just a few of the questions we answer every day. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 404.252.8767, ext. 210. We want to make you look and feel as good as your bride!



Summer Prom Dress Sale

Don’t Miss This Prom Dress Sale!

Now through July 30, Black Tie BY LORI is holding its biggest prom dress sale of the year! Get 15, 25, even 50 percent off original price for gorgeous dresses by such designers as Sherri Hill, Jovani, La Femme and Alyce. This is the ideal tprom dressime to get the perfect dress not only for prom 2017, but also homecoming, fall formals, winter formals and even upcoming pageants.

You’ll find a variety of styles, including full-length, short and sassy, strapless, halter neck, V-neck, and many more in a rainbow of colors. Choose something covered with sparkles, long and flowy with tulle, or a sexy two-piece ensemble.

Appointments are not required, but this sale is in-story only, so come early for the best selection available. For more information or if you have questions, give us a call at 404-252-8767, ext. 210. 

Counterfeit wedding dresses

Shopping Online: Steal or Scam?

Planning a wedding requires a healthy budget. There are numerous expenses including the venue, catering, flowers, music and so on. Not the least of which is the wedding dress. In fact, for most brides, the No. 1 item on her budget is the wedding dress. After all, she has dreamed of this day all of her life, and she wants to walk down the aisle in the dress of those dreams.

However, sometimes it proves difficult to find that dream dress in the price range that meets the bride’s budget. So when she comes across that dress on an online wedding dress site for a very reasonable cost, she can’t help but jump at the deal. Unfortunately, more often than not, when that dream dress arrives, it turns out to be quite the nightmare.

In fact, the purchased dress doesn’t even come close to resembling the designer dress advertised online. Investigations by Good Morning America and Inside Edition show just how prevalent – and damaging to the bridal industry – these fake wedding dresses can be. For instance, in the “Inside Edition” investigation, bride Candace Burch thought she ordered a $4,000 Justin Alexander wedding gown for just $300 from

Counterfeit wedding dresses

The dress from the online retailer (left) is vastly different from the designer gown advertised on the site.

However, the dress she received looked nothing like the original dress. Instead of elaborate hand beading on the bodice, the dress featured plastic silver sequins. Plus, the gown material was cheap and thin, and felt like “a white trash bag,” according to Burch. When contacted, these online sellers either ignore the customer’s inquiry or flat-out refuse to return the purchase price to the bride.

To combat these scams, the American Bridal and Prom Industry Association sued a number of online retailers that were allegedly selling counterfeit dress. A judge sided with the industry and ordered more than 1,000 sites to cease all sales and to shut down. FYI, when you go to, it now goes to, an online retail site based in China that also sells wedding dresses.

Eve of Milady

The best way to make sure you get the dress you want is to shop at an authorized bridal retailer.

This is why it’s SO important to shop for your wedding dress at a brick-and-mortar store. Seeing the dress firsthand, trying it on for friends and family, and having an actual salesperson to speak with provides not only reassurance that this dress is the dress, but also peace of mind that you will get what you pay for.

Plus, savvy shoppers can still find good deals when it comes to shopping for their wedding dresses at brick-and-mortar retailers. For instance, many wedding boutiques offer special savings for dress purchases during a designer trunk show. Others offer discounted or even free accessories with a gown purchase. Talk with sales consultants to see what incentives they can offer before closing the sale.

Although it may be cliché, when it comes to purchasing wedding dresses online, if the deal looks too good, it probably is not true. Think twice before hitting “send” on that payment button.