Posts in the 'short wedding dress' Category

Real Wedding: Kate and Daniel’s From Australia to Kansas, Do-It-Our-Way Celebration

Guys, I’ve been absolutely dying to get the whole damn story on Kate and Daniel’s insane, beautiful, literary, uncertain wedding … and it’s finally here! Her amazing red dress, the f*ck it all attitude about how things “should” be, the anxiety of the whole visa and immigration process … it’s been a helluva journey, but now Kate and Daniel are married. And it was the shit. Congratulations, you two. It’s been a pleasure sharing your journey.

Real Wedding: Kate and Daniel's From Australia to Kansas, Do-It-Our-Way Celebration

Name: Kate Colby & Daniel Gullotta

Occupation: Administrative Assistant / Student

Wedding location: Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast, Paola, KS

Wedding Date: Saturday, September 27, 2014

Budget: $10,000

How would you describe your wedding? Our wedding was untraditional, at least by our families’ standards, and rather intimate (under 50 people). We had a civil ceremony, which we wrote with the help of our friend, Kristin, who acted as our officiant.

Wedding party and officiant

What was your favorite part of your wedding? Our favorite part of our wedding was taking photographs. This sounds really shallow, but during the long distance, we were never able to be together and take photos – it’s not like we could snap a selfie after a movie date, after all. So being able to build a collection of photographs together was really special. Plus, because most of Daniel’s family and friends couldn’t attend the wedding, it was very important to us to have photographs to share with our overseas loved ones.

Rings

What did you splurge on? Our two big splurges were a “getaway car” and a hotel room. We could have stayed on site at Casa Somerset in one of their lovely rooms, but we decided that we wanted to have the night entirely to ourselves (given that friends and family were staying there as well). Of course, we didn’t need a car to take us to a hotel, either, but we didn’t think driving would be the smartest option, and I fell in love with a 1963 Cadillac limo.

What did you save on? Everything else! Honestly, we cut out pretty much every other extraneous expense or found cheap options for the aspects of our wedding we didn’t want to eliminate.

Buffet line

Venue

Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect? The main thing we would have done differently is left the wedding earlier. That sounds bad, but we had a very small wedding and everyone outside of the wedding party, our parents, and four other guests left before the getaway car even arrived. I would have liked for more people to be there to see us off – and I know we both could have used the extra hour of sleep.

Also, we probably would have figured out how to spend less money. Even though we came in about $1,500 under budget, it still makes us queasy to think about how much we spent on one day (not to mention how much our parents contributed, again, for one day), and with the costs of long distance and immigration, it would be nice to have some of that back.

Guestbook

What was your biggest challenge in planning? Because of Daniel’s immigration, the timing and guest list were the most difficult aspects. Our wedding date was entirely dependent upon when Daniel’s K-1 Visa got approved by the U.S. Government, and we only had 90 days upon his immigration to get married. Therefore, we had to organize his move and the wedding very carefully in connection to each other. The guest list was also troublesome, because we did not have an honest picture of how many overseas loved ones would attend for a long time, and we chose to limit who we invited from my family to keep things small and more “fair.”

Ceremony in progress

What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself? I learned that I am a people-pleaser. In the end, the wedding came out well, but there was a time during the planning where I was worrying a lot more about what other people thought than what I actually wanted. To be honest, I was Team Courthouse for 98% of the planning. However, in the end, I figured out how to convey my needs and wants to everyone involved, and I was able to get my dream wedding.

What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?

1. Our Ceremony: We were very proud that we were able to write and design our own ceremony. It was short and sweet and entirely true to us.

2. Food: The food was delicious! It was all handmade and locally grown (except for the pasta, which was flown in from Italy!).

Pasta

3. Dancing: Despite some hesitation from my parents, I stuck to my guns and insisted my dad and I dance to “Carry on My Wayward Son” by Kansas. I am so happy we got to share our song together, and it’s a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. Also, we made our own dinner and dancing playlists and were our own DJs, which was great.

4. People: We are lucky to be surrounded by some pretty exceptional people. Our officiant flew in from Pennsylvania for us, even though she’d only met us once in person. Our photographer agreed to shoot our wedding, even though she didn’t plan on doing weddings this year so she could focus on her writing. Our sound/tech guy also flew in from Seattle (again after only meeting us once) and offered to step into that role with no hesitation. We’re really lucky.

5. My Red Dress: I think the thing I am most proud of about our wedding is my red dress. To me, it served as the ultimate symbol of our wedding, the “we are doing this our way, and it’s going to be awesome” symbol. Plus, the white dress is the most iconic “traditional” wedding symbol, and it is also about the least “me” thing I can imagine. I’m very proud of myself for taking the risk and wearing my favorite color. I can’t even fathom what our wedding would have been like without my red dress.

Bouquets

Top 5 least favorite?

1. The Cost: Even though our wedding was cheap by average standards, it was really painful to spend so much money on one day. After how expensive the long distance was and the immigration still is, it was very hard to throw down money on one event (and while our parents’ help significantly softened our personal blow, we feel a bit guilty that they spent so much of their own money on one day, too).

2. The Timing: As I said before, we didn’t have much choice in the timing of our wedding. Immigration and other international factors dictated our wedding date, and if I could have done it on a different weekend, I would have in a heartbeat.

Centerpiece and favors

3. The Fuss: Everyone kept making such a big deal out of the wedding. I know it was “my special day” and all, but it was really annoying to have people constantly asking me about color schemes and decorations and other minutia (especially considering most of my answers were “We’re not doing that.”). Plus, there were some people who were fussing and making drama out of nothing on the day-of, which really irritated me.

4. The Missing Loved Ones: While we knew going in that it couldn’t happen, we were very sad not to be able to share our day with Daniel’s family and friends, and we would have loved for more Australians to be there.

5. Unexpected Guest List Changes: Perhaps the most unexpected thing about our entire wedding was that we had two guests decide not to come at the last minute (in favor of a barbeque) and two guests show up uninvited. Luckily, as you can see, they cancelled each other out and the total guest number remained the same.

Crowd shot

What was the worst piece of wedding advice you received? We didn’t really receive any bad advice. However, two things we did not like hearing were: A) Something will go wrong; and B) But you have to do [insert wedding tradition here]. Again, I don’t understand what all the fuss was about, but our wedding went off smoothly, and even the unexpected aspects were easily fixed or not worth fretting over. The wedding world needs to take a chill pill.

The best? The best advice we received was simply, “Enjoy the day, because it goes really fast.” We found this to be overwhelmingly true. At the end of the night, we were sitting in the Cadillac and drinking our champagne, and we just looked at each other and were like, “Wow! It’s all over!”

Getaway Car

Any other bits of wisdom? As I said in my previous post: question everything and be true to yourselves. For every decision you make, be sure you are making the decision that makes you happy – not the one that you feel you should make. Likewise, don’t worry about what your wedding should be. Make it exactly what you want. It’s your day, your guests won’t remember every detail, but you probably will.

Make sure you create the memories that you want to have.

Ceremony

Budget breakdown?

Venue rental & rooms for out-of-town guests: Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast, $930

Food (Rehearsal dinner & 3 course buffet-style wedding dinner): Casa Somerset Bed & Breakfast: $2,200

Beverages: $300

Batman Cake and 9 Dozen Cupcakes: The Elm Bakery, $267.57

Cadillac Limo: Pech Limo, $318.50

Wedding Night Hotel, Chateau Avalon, $279.46

Photography, Lucky Photographer, $1,000

Video camera and accessories: Target, $528.94

Wedding Band: MoissaniteCo, $525

Wedding Dress: Daisy Bridal House on Etsy, $294

Alterations: Mona’s Alterations, $385

Bridal Accessories: $63.25

Bouquets (Bridal and three bridesmaids): PumpkinsandButtercups on Etsy, $186.50

Hairstyling (Bridal Party, Mothers, & Officiant): $260

Groom’s Suit: K&G Fashion Superstore, $200

Groom’s Accessories: $164

Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas, $172.71

Guestbook: Barnes and Noble, $21.80

Decorations: $160.50

Speaker System: Audio Rent KC, $150

Wedding favors, Faithful Crafter on Etsy: $106.35

Total Cost: $8,513.58

Five for Friday: BHLDN’s Fall Line is En Pointe

Well, they did it again. We knew they would, didn’t we? BHLDN dropped their fall line this week, and it’s inspired by ballet. So it’s suuuper flowy and graceful and dreamy. And they nailed it, of course. There are even more glittery shoes (these and these are killing me) and they added some new toppers to give a new twist on a convertible dress.  But my very favorite are all the dresses, and especially these gorgeous ladies, which are all under $1000. I always swoon over the unexpected backs of the gowns and itty bitty details and I never cease to be pleasantly surprised by the price tags.

BHLDN Ines Gown

Ines Gown, $700

BHLDN Messina Dress

Messina Dress, $625

BHLDN Penelope Gown

Penelope Gown, $970

Penelope might be my very favorite from this collection. The front is pretty, but look how luxuriously cloud-like the back is.

Lillian Gown

Lillian Dress, $420

BHLDN Evangeline Dress

Evangeline Dress, $260

Guys, seriously: TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY DOLLARS.

What do you think, loves? Did BHLDN nail it again? What’s your favorite item from the new collection?

{Real Bride: Carrie} The Rest of the Dress Saga

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.

“Chloe”

“Imani”

“Annabelle”

“Elisa”

“Ivanka”

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?”

{Real Bride: Carrie} The Quest For The Dress & ALL THE FEELINGS!

Ok, let me be really, really honest for a second here.  Most of the time, when I look at wedding dresses, I think “Wow!  Why would anyone wear that? It looks like a cupcake!”  So when envisioning what I would wear on my wedding day, I was really at a loss.  First, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to wear white.  Eventually, I decided I did want a white dress but I wanted it to be short!  A casual, barefoot, short-dress, groom-in-suspenders-and-no-jacket outdoor wedding seemed pretty us.  So I started looking at white cocktail and reception dresses online.

The first one I ordered and tried on didn’t wow me.

BCBG Maxzaria Floral Applique Dress

So I sent it back.  Yay free returns!  Then I made a big mistake.  I ventured into the most (in)famous bridal store of all time.  You know the one I’m talking about.  David’s Bridal.  Honestly, I had no intention of buying a dress there.  I’d rather buy a used or independently-designed dress and feel better about where my money is going.  But my mom and best friend really wanted to be in on the dress shopping while I was still in Ohio.  I too wanted to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience with them.  So I repeatedly emphasized that we were only going “for fun” and to see what shapes looked good, not to buy.  Also, I really didn’t expect to find anything I liked.  I envisioned a whole store full of cupcake-dresses.  But off to the DB we went!

They hardly had any short dresses, of course.  I tried on a few tea-length gowns and they weren’t very flattering.

It’s kinda 50s but kinda meh.

I don’t even remember how I ended up trying on this next dress.  I wanted to try something long just for fun, even though I was pretty set on short.  So I put on this dress, and all of a sudden BAM!  Oh my God, it looked amazing!!! (Not to toot my own horn, judge for yourselves, of course.)

David’s Bridal Allover Beaded Lace Trumpet Gown

I couldn’t stop smiling.  My mom and bestie were loving it.  I loved the classic, slightly-vintage elegance of the dress.  Here’s the kicker: I’m not the most body-confident person ever.  All I ever see when I look in the mirror are the improvements I need to make.  But as I looked at myself in that dress, I didn’t want to change a SINGLE THING about my body.  As cliche as it is to say it, I felt like a BRIDE!  “Nooooooooooooooo….” I started thinking, “You’ve got me, David’s Bridal!”

But don’t think the story’s over yet, because despite all the pros, there are several cons to this dress, and I am the world’s most indecisive bride.  First of all, it’s just SO DIFFERENT from what I had envisioned.  Not short, not casual; I don’t even know if I can legitimately rock this baby with my dreadlocks.  I definitely can’t get super jiggy with it on the dance floor.  I love it, but I worry it just isn’t ME enough.

Secondly, and this is a big one, my bestie and I are 99% sure that this is the EXACT SAME dress that a friend of ours wore about a year ago.  A friend that is probably coming to our wedding.  Uh oh.  That’s a big no-no, right?  I’m sure that she’d be cool with it if I explained the situation to her, but I don’t like the idea of people seeing me on my big day and thinking “that’s so-and-so’s dress!”  Argh, F U David’s Bridal and your massive popularity!

I ended up trying on one more long dress that day.

Forgot the name of this style too

I liked it and it was much more “me” but it just didn’t make me feel drop dead gorgeous like the last one did.

Conundrum!  We left the store empty-handed, despite my mom’s willingness to pull out her credit card at the slightest indication (she’s awesome, but as I’ve said before, we’re paying for this ourselves).  Since then, I’ve been stalking the dress all over the internet, looking for it used and in my size.  I still have the same reservations about about it not being “me” enough and being the same dress a friend wore.  But I feel like if I could find it used for a good price it would be a sign to go for it, as buying used would also allow the purchase to fit better with my consumer values and budget!  No luck with that so far though.

What do you think, my wonderful readers?  Should I go with the ooey-gooey gushy-mushy feeling in my gut and just buy it?  Or is the fact that a friend wore it a big no no?  Should I have faith and hold out for something that fits my original vision?  Was anyone else totally blindsided by ALL THE FEELINGS when dress shopping?