This week’s request is particularly special – well, for me. It comes from an adopted little sister of mine. Leann is my high school boyfriend’s little sister. I still picture her as a girl in middle school, despite the fact that she’s a beautiful, independent woman now. She knows she can ask me for help anytime. This week, I got a request from her via Pinterest. Her note was brief:
I want this but can’t have it! Help?
The dress is a preview for the Ersa Atelier 2013 collection. I failed to find a price for it (but we can assume it’s in the 4-5 digit range). Leann has a budget of about $600. She’s having a bit of a non-traditional wedding but loves this look.
Don’t kill me for throwing in a couple more traditional options. It’s always best to consider all options. And, with that in mind, I had a crazy additional thought. What about renting an amazing sequin dress and making a tulle overlay? Rent the Runway has some amazing options for a base to such a dress, like this Badgley Mischka gown for $125. With that price, you could rent it one weekend just to get the measurements then again for the wedding and still be under budget. Since this look is more gown-like, perhaps another BAB out there has a lead on a dress they’d like to share?
Last time I talked about dress shopping, I shared my internal conflict over this flattering but perhaps too traditional David’s Bridal dress:
David’s Bridal Allover Lace Trumpet Gown
If you recall, I had originally envisioned myself in a short white dress with a little bit of funk. Then I stumbled into this gown on a “just for fun” shopping trip with my mom and bestie. I tried it on and, “Bam!” I felt like a bride. Next I agonized over my simultaneous disdain for David’s Bridal and love for this dress. I pondered looking for a used dress online and many of you told me to go for it. In fact, in the days following that post, I came *this close* to buying a used version in my size off of Recycled Bride.
What I didn’t tell you last time is that all along, there was another dress…
One day, months ago, before I even took that trip to David’s Bridal, I was wandering through Etsy in search of short wedding dresses. Somehow, looking through pages of dress pictures that didn’t really strike my fancy, I stumbled upon one dress that made me pause and look closer.
It was short! And cute! And a little bit vintage but still a little bit funky! All of a sudden, I was enamored. It turned out that the dress was made by a super-talented designer, the lovely Iselle of The Little White Dress. To torture you, I’m not going to tell you which of these dresses is the one, but here are a few of her pieces.
One of these dresses (sorry, I’m really not going to tell you which one) literally made my heart flutter. I had to get more info! And that’s when I discovered THE BEST PART! Iselle is based in San Diego! “OMG, it’s meant to be!” I thought. I was hesitant to buy a dress online without trying it on, but because we now live in San Diego, I contacted Iselle and arranged a visit to her studio to try on a sample of my dream dress! Of course, I was terrified that the dress wouldn’t wow me in person and I’d be back at square one. Luckily, despite all my stress about whether it would actually look good on me, I LOVED IT. Waves of relief washed over me as I realized, “Yesssssssss! This IS the one!” Mission accomplished!
Plus, Zach and I totally stole a page out of Dana’s book and negotiated a labor exchange with Iselle, the dress designer. Although totally worth it for the awesome hand-craftsmanship of her dresses, the $500 price tag was a little high for us! So, we figured, “It doesn’t hurt to ask!” and inquired if she’d be open to discounting the dress in exchange for us helping her out with something. It turned out she really needed help building a website, and Zach just so happens to be experienced in that area!
Basically, I am thrilled that my dress-finding journey has reached a successful “end.” (Nearly the end since the dress isn’t actually made or in my hands yet.) I am so so SO glad that I held out and ended up getting a dress made by a small, independent designer, and one that fits my initial vision much better!
Has anyone else gotten a discount by offering up your labor or skills? Anyone buy their dress off of Etsy? Which one do you think is “mine?”
BAB reader Sarah has fallen in love with a dress she found on Pinterest – don’t we all know how that goes. Hi there! I stumbled upon this dress not knowing the designer, but after some research I discovered it's a Leanne Marshall design (winner of a season of Project Runway). After tracking the dress down on Etsy, turns out it's over my budget. I…