Posts in the 'wedding dresses' Category

Ten for the Weekend: Stock up on Essentials and Wedding Gown Sale Alert for SoCal Brides

Happy Friday, everyone! I’ll be traveling to Charlotte, N.C., in the morning for a meeting with some of our partners and to see a friend, and Dana and Paul are officially on the second leg of their epic honeymoon tour, chilling in a great hotel in Seoul. But I’d never take off without leaving you with some great deals and discounts to help you kick your weekend off right. From Anthro to Tradesy and a super awesome deal on wedding dresses for those of you in the Southern California area, this Ten for the Weekend has got the goods to make your wallet happy.

Ten for the Weekend: Stock up on Essentials and Wedding Gown Sale Alert for SoCal Brides

1. I know I know, Halloween isn’t even here yet. But that doesn’t mean you can’t stock up on Thanksgiving cookware. Sur la Table is having a sale on various essentials — from roasting pans to immersion blenders to spiral slicers.

2. Man, there are few things better than a good dress sale, but one of those few things is a discount on already well-priced items. Boohoo.com is knocking 15% off their dresses until 10/19.

3. You know what costs a lot? Wedding stationery. You know who’s taking $40 off orders of $99+ for new customers? Wedding Paper Divas, that’s who (when you enter WPD40 at checkout until 10/28).

Wedding Paper Divas Enchanting Forever Invitations

I’m loving these “Enchanting Forever” invites.

4. Discounts on discounts are a great thing, y’all. BCBG is taking an extra 30% off final sale items. Now that doesn’t suck.

5. Designer shoes and accessories and getting to feel like one of the cool kids? That’s how Cole Haan rolls with their 30% off Friends and Family deal until 10/21.

6. Need to stock up on basics? Anthropologie is having a 30% sale off select sweaters, tees and pants for a limited time.

7. Guys, have you checked out Dessy’s sale section? They just added three different styles of twist wrap dresses, as well as a whole gang of accessories. Go on, get on it!

8. Call all beer lovers! Craft Beer Club is skimming $10 bucks off when you gift a membership of 3 months or more this holiday season (until 12/31) when you use code iSave5.

9. Do you guys know Tradesy? You should. It’s like, the greatest consignment store / thrift shop, ever. Like, serious designer duds, but previously worn / used (gently), and therefor cheaper than normal. And right now Tradesy is having an accessory sale. So you know, do it.

10. SoCal Brides, this one’s just for you! Unique Vintage’s real, actual brick-and-mortar store in Burbank is having a real life sample sale this Sunday. Check out our Pinterest board for a sampling of the gowns on sale!

Unique Vintage 10/19 Sample Sale in Burbank, CA

 

Happy shopping, darlings!

Five for Friday: Dazzling Dresses from Unique Vintage + a Birthday Surprise

Happy Friday, darlings! I’m pretty stoked about this week’s Five for Friday, because the lovely, lovely peeps over at Unique Vintage and I schemed up something super special for you. In honor of this girl’s 30th birthday (which, you guys, I’ve been waiting FOREVER for this), Unique Vintage is knocking a cool 30% off select styles this weekend just for you, BABs, which knocks most of these dazzling darlings under $100. Here are my five favorite styles from the selection, and stay tuned for the special discount code at the end!

Unique Vintage High Society Ivory Floral Swing Dress

High Society Ivory Floral Swing Dress, $165 $115.50

Unique Vintage Black and Red Striped Strapless Fit 'n' Flare Dress

Black and Red Striped Fit ‘n’ Flare Dress, $128 $89.60

Unique Vintage Ivory Lace Countess Cocktail Dress

 

Ivory Lace Countess Cocktail Dress, $134 $93.80

Unique Vintage Black Flirty Cotton Mini Swing Dress

Black Flirty Cotton Mini Swing Dress, $110 $77

Unique Vintage Black and White Blanc Noir Fleur Scoopneck Belted Swing Dress

Black and White Blanc! Noir! Fleur! Scoop Neck Belted Swing Dress, $138 $96.60

I love them so! But the last black and white one is my favorite, easily. How about you, BABs? Get yourself over to Unique Vintage to check out the rest of the styles and use code BAB30 at checkout to get 30% off. Happy my birthday to you, darlings!

Five for Friday: Stunning Looks from BHLDN’s Summer Lookbook

Happy Friday, BABs! My love for BHLDN grows ever stronger, especially with the release of it’s Summer Lookbook this week. The first image in the lookbook featured one of its gorgeous gowns coupled with an ethereal flowing tulle skirt, and I DIED. Far be it from me to keep the love all to myself, so for this week’s Five for Friday, I picked my five favorite looks from BHLDN’s Summer Lookbook.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 4.30.58 PM

Ellie Gown, $1,395.

I’ve been finding myself loving lace a little more these days, and the cap sleeves paired with the slight keyhole in the back plus buttons made me swoon a bit.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 4.38.51 PM

Valley Dress, $800.

I’m a sucker for short white dresses, and this one nails it. I love the lace shoulders and the faint tie at the back of the neck is such an unexpected but sweet addition.Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 4.29.05 PM

Elsa Gown, $1,495 + Elsa Tulle Skirt, $595.

You guys, I can’t even with this. The Elsa Gown on its own is stunning — beading, slim lines and totally reminiscent of flapper-ish style. Add in the tulle skirt? Game over. I would wear the shit out of that skirt even well after my wedding day.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 4.34.13 PM

Nuptia Dress, $500.

The Nuptia Dress just screams out to be worn for a pretty, casual garden wedding or a bohemian beach bash. Normally, tiers and ruffles aren’t really my jam, but I feel like this dress is so well balanced and subtle, that it makes me second-guess my hesitation.

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 4.32.43 PM

Waterfall Dress, $850.

I have to admit, sleeves have been growing on me. And I think this particular sleeved beauty would be perfect for one of those late-summer/early-fall weddings when the air starts turning crisp and you have to start toting a cardigan everywhere with you.

BONUS:

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 5.37.35 PM

Mint Sprig Booties, $110.

I’d be completely remiss if I left these shoes out, because I love them so. For no other reason than they’re so gorgeous and slightly surprising in color and shape, but still completely elegant.

What do you think, darlings? Which of these new looks from BHLDN is your favorite? Tell me in the comments!

Broke-Ass Brides Against Breast Cancer

The Broke-Ass Bride is proud to partner with Brides Against Breast Cancer, turning gently used designer gowns into a beacon of hope in the worldwide fight against breast cancer. If you’d like to donate your gown, here’s how. If you’re in need of a gown, Brides Against Breast Cancer runs a nationwide tour of gowns, and you should most definitely check it out when it rolls into your town!

bridesagainstbreastcancer

Hurst, TX – Dallas/Ft. Worth Area April 4 – 5, 2014 Feragne Villa Wedding & Event Venue
Boston, MA April 4 – 5, 2014 Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
Boca Raton, FL April 4 – 5, 2014 Embassy Suites Boca Raton
St. Louis, MO April 4 – 5, 2014 Holiday Inn St. Louis South County Center
Mobile, AL April 6, 2014 The Battle House Hotel & Spa
Columbus, OH April 6, 2014 The Fawcett Event Center
Reston, VA – Washington DC Area April 11 – 12, 2014 Sheraton Reston Hotel
Wichita, KS April 12, 2014 Holiday Inn Wichita East I-35
San Ramon, CA – SF Area April 12 – 13, 2014 Crow Canyon Commons
Austin, TX April 19, 2014 Hyatt Regency Austin
San Diego, CA April 19, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar
Cincinnati, OH April 19, 2014 Hyatt Regency Cincinnati
Columbia, SC April 26, 2014 Hilton Columbia Center
St. Petersburg, FL May 4, 2014 NOVA 535 Event Space
New Brunswick, NJ May 4, 2014 Hyatt Regency New Brunswick
Philadelphia, PA May 9 – 10, 2014 Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
Sioux Falls, SD May 10, 2014 Sheraton Sioux Falls Hotel & Conference Center
Richmond, VA May 10, 2014 The Westin Richmond
Metairie, LA – New Orleans Area May 10, 2014 Four Points by Sheraton New Orleans Airport
Tulsa, OK May 16 – 17, 2014 Hyatt Regency Tulsa
Providence, RI May 16 – 17, 2014 Hilton Providence
Dover, DE May 18, 2014 Maple Dale Country Club
Charlotte, NC May 23 – 24, 2014 Embassy Suites Charlotte
Roanoke, VA May 24, 2014 Sheraton Roanoke Hotel & Conference Center
Arlington, VA – DC Area May 31 – June 1, 2014 Le Meridien Arlington
Woodland Hills, CA – LA Area May 31 – June 1, 2014 Hilton Woodland Hills/Los Angeles
Bangor, ME June 1, 2014 Four Points by Sheraton Bangor Airport
Erie, PA June 8, 2014 Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel
Henderson NV – Lake Las Vegas Area June 14 – 15, 2014 The Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa
Lombard, IL – Pretty in Pink June 21 – 22, 2014 Jasmine Galleria
Laramie, WY June 21, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn Laramie & UW Conference Center
Carbondale, PA June 21, 2014 Best Western Pioneer Plaza
Bakersfield, CA June 22, 2014 Four Points by Sheraton Bakersfield
Weehawken, NJ June 28, 2014 Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel
Marietta, GA – Atlanta Area June 28 – 29, 2014 Hilton Atlanta/Marietta Hotel & Conference Center
Louisville, KY July 12 – 13, 2014 Ramada Plaza Louisville Hotel & Conference Center
Orlando, FL July 19 – 20, 2014 DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando Downtown
Emeryville, CA – San Francisco Area July 26 – 27, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge
Whittier, CA – LA Area August 15 – 16, 2014 Radisson Hotel Whittier
Fort Worth, TX August 22 – 23, 2014 Renaissance Worthington Hotel
Beachwood, OH – Cleveland Area September 12 – 13, 2014 DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland East – Beachwood
Welches, OR – Mount Hood Area September 13 – 14, 2014 The Resort at the Mountain
Jacksonville, FL September 20 – 21, 2014 Sheraton Jacksonville
Bridgeville, DE October 5, 2014 Heritage Shores Club
York, PA – Lancaster Area October 17 – 18, 2014 The Holiday Inn Conference Center of York
Birmingham, AL October 24 – 25, 2014 The Harbert Center
Ontario, CA – Inland Empire Area October 31 – November 1, 2014 Radisson Ontario Airport
Minneapolis, MN November 1 – 2, 2014 Millenium Hotel Minneapolis
Riverhead, NY – Long Island January 30 – 31, 2015 Atlantis Banquets & Events
Bloomington, MN February 27 – 28, 2015 The Park Plaza Hotel Bloomington

Ask Heather: Navy, knee-length, one-shoulder dress sold in stores

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 2.54.36 PM

Photo courtesy of bridesmaiddressaleca

Dear Heather,

I need to find navy, knee-length, one-shoulder bridesmaid dresses. The catch – under $100 and something that stores carry. My maid of honor lives out of state and wants to try it on before she buys, and I totally agree! I’ve heard too many horror stories of online dresses not fitting right! Help me, please!

Bride Seeking Little Blue Dress

Dear Blue,

I will admit that this is a little outside of my bailiwick. However, I’m attempting to tackle it anyway in the hopes that my lovely readership will chime in with their suggestions.

After copious Googling, it seems like The Dessy Group might be your best bet. I’m not sure where your MOH lives, but they have an easy-to-use store finder and tons of stores. They also sell Alfred Sung, who offers a navy, knee-length, one-shoulder dress for $99.

And now, I’m going to be annoying. I know you said you wanted it to be sold in-store. However, Target now sells bridesmaid dresses. They are not sold in stores, BUT don’t stop reading! They’re affordable (most of them are around $70) and you can return them at Target stores, no questions asked. I actually purchased one a few weeks ago. It arrived super-quick, but it was a bit too small. I went to my local Target Guest Service counter, said “this doesn’t fit”, and they took it back, no further questions, full refund. Plus, if you have a Target REDcard (which is that whole “Would you like to save 5% at Target today” script you hear whenever you shop there), shipping is free. Your MOH could order a few in different sizes, see if anything fit, then return whatever she didn’t like. And they definitely have navy, knee-length, one-shoulder dresses for less than $100.

And now, valuable readers, please chime in! Do you have any recommendations for Blue? Tell us in the comments below where she should go for her ultimate bridesmaid dress!

Broke-Assedness For A Cause: Brides Against Breast Cancer

bridesagainstbreastcancer

Brides Against Breast Cancer is an amazing charity that we’ve partnered with–they accept new and used gown donations, which they then send on roadshows across the country to sell to brides like you for an average price of $600! They also do “Run and Renew” 5K events as fundraisers, and every year, they raise around a million dollars for those impacted by cancer. Incredible, no? If they’ve got an upcoming event in your area, you should definitely check it out! PLUS, our very own Christen will be volunteering at the Jacksonville show, so definitely come and say hi!

The Nationwide Tour of Gowns upcoming schedule:

Northbrook, IL – Chicago Area March 15 – 16, 2014 Renaissance Chicago North Shore Hotel
Lee’s Summit, MO – KC Area March 15 – 16, 2014 The Pavilion at John Knox Village
Oklahoma City, OK March 15, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn – Quail Springs
Altamonte Springs – Orlando Area March 16, 2014 Embassy Suites Orlando – North
Tallahassee, FL March 16, 2014 Four Points by Sheraton Tallahassee Downtown
Houston, TX March 21 – 22, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn Houston Energy Corridor
Albuquerque, NM March 21 – 22, 2014 The Hotel Cascada
Denver, CO March 22 – 23, 2014 Denver Marriott Tech Center
Sarasota, FL March 29, 2014 Westfield Southgate Mall
Temecula, CA March 30, 2014 Mount Palomar Winery
Essex, VT – Burlington Area March 30, 2014 The Essex Resort & Spa
Hurst, TX – Dallas/Ft. Worth Area April 4 – 5, 2014 Feragne Villa Wedding & Event Venue
Boston, MA April 4 – 5, 2014 Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology
Boca Raton, FL April 4 – 5, 2014 Embassy Suites Boca Raton
St. Louis, MO April 4 – 5, 2014 Holiday Inn St. Louis South County Center
Mobile, AL April 6, 2014 The Battle House Hotel & Spa
Columbus, OH April 6, 2014 The Fawcett Event Center
Reston, VA – Washington DC Area April 11 – 12, 2014 Sheraton Reston Hotel
Wichita, KS April 12, 2014 Holiday Inn Wichita East I-35
San Ramon, CA – SF Area April 12 – 13, 2014 Crow Canyon Commons
Austin, TX April 19, 2014 Hyatt Regency Austin
San Diego, CA April 19, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn San Diego/Del Mar
Cincinnati, OH April 19, 2014 Hyatt Regency Cincinnati
Columbia, SC April 26, 2014 Hilton Columbia Center
St. Petersburg, FL May 4, 2014 NOVA 535 Event Space
New Brunswick, NJ May 4, 2014 Hyatt Regency New Brunswick
Philadelphia, PA May 9 – 10, 2014 Wyndham Philadelphia Historic District
Richmond, VA May 10, 2014 The Westin Richmond
Providence, RI May 16 – 17, 2014 Hilton Providence
Charlotte, NC May 23 – 24, 2014 Embassy Suites Charlotte
Roanoke, VA May 24, 2014 Sheraton Roanoke Hotel & Conference Center
Lombard, IL – Pretty in Pink June 21 – 22, 2014 Jasmine Galleria
Weehawken, NJ June 28, 2014 Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel
Louisville, KY July 12 – 13, 2014 Ramada Plaza Louisville Hotel & Conference Center
Emeryville, CA – San Francisco Area July 26 – 27, 2014 Hilton Garden Inn San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge
Whittier, CA – LA Area August 15 – 16, 2014 Radisson Hotel Whittier
Beachwood, OH – Cleveland Area September 12 – 13, 2014 DoubleTree by Hilton Cleveland East – Beachwood
Welches, OR – Mount Hood Area September 13 – 14, 2014 The Resort at the Mountain
Jacksonville, FL September 20 – 21, 2014 Sheraton Jacksonville
Bridgeville, DE October 5, 2014 Heritage Shores Club
York, PA – Lancaster Area October 17 – 18, 2014 The Holiday Inn Conference Center of York
Birmingham, AL October 24 – 25, 2014 The Harbert Center
Minneapolis, MN November 1 – 2, 2014 Millenium Hotel Minneapolis
Riverhead, NY – Long Island January 30 – 31, 2015 Atlantis Banquets & Events
Bloomington, MN February 27 – 28, 2015 The Park Plaza Hotel Bloomington

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Run and Renew upcoming schedule:

Wildwood, NJ 5K Run & 1 Mile Fun Run October 4, 2014 Memoreys by Morey’s Piers

 

Real Bride Peach: Atlanta Bridal Boutiques – A Peachy Review

Many of my 50Peach.com readers have asked me what Atlanta bridal boutiques I’ve visited and/or especially “Did you go to the one on TV???”.   It’s worth mentioning that there are TONS of bridal boutiques in Atlanta and that these are the five that I personally chose to visit. And of course, that all opinions expressed here are my own.

Alfred Angelo - Dunwoody, GA – Big selection, reasonable prices and a very helpful consultant who was quick to throw on the veil, bling sash, etc to spice up the dress or evoke a reaction. This location had a very pressured-to-buy feel, in my opinion. Based on my descriptions/pictures I brought in, they picked the dresses for me. Photographs of the dresses were allowed. Everything was in my budget. It was a bit of a shock to have a male consultant, but I was asked in advance if I was comfortable with that. And for the record, I was covered in a bustier and a petticoat slip the whole time and he left the room as I transitioned in and out of those underthings. It was all very professional and discreet. I tried on about 8 dresses here, but in the end, I just didn’t find one there that wowed me. This was also my first ever dress shopping experience, so I’m glad it allowed me to get a feel for the process and the types of styles I do/don’t like. It really got the kinks out!

Follow up? I received one canned email from the store/consultant + a personal email from the consultant a week afterward, but both were still a bit on the pushy side. For example, from the personal one, “As you know your gown is the most important part of the wedding and will set the tone for everything else.” Way to make me reach for the Xanax, dude. And how about no?!?… The fact that I’m marrying my PERSON is the most important part of the wedding. Grrrr.

At Alfred Angelo, Dunwoody, GA with my awesome and equally dorky MaidTron of Honor!

David’s Bridal - Atlanta, GA (Buckhead) – DB Buckhead also had a great selection, including the Vera Wang WHITE line, very reasonable prices and a super fun male consultant who was not as pushy with the sales pitch or with slapping a veil on my head. I was given a description of their dresses by designer and was allowed to pick my own top dress choices, which he then pulled in my size and brought to me. Based on those, he brought me similar designs that he thought may work. He was fun, understood what I was looking for and made it a very pleasant experience. Pictures were allowed. Everything was in my budget. I tried about 7-8 dresses here too, but nothing popped for me. In the end with David’s, as my fabulous consultant said, “Well then, your dress is not here. And that is okay.”.  WOW, that was refreshing!  Surprisingly, there was no pushing for a sale and no hard feelings or annoyance because I didn’t buy. Which makes me more than willing to somehow utilize David’s Bridal for something else – accessories, invites, bridesmaid dresses, etc. in the future. Classy of them.

Follow up? My consultant called me personally a few days later, asked if the stories were true about Bridals by Lori, asked if we had any luck with bridesmaid dresses and expressed his willingness to help with anything else I may need. Very sweet. I will certainly reach out to him first if I go with David’s Bridal for anything else wedding-related!

David’s Bridal, Buckhead, Atlanta GA. My Maid of Honor proves that bling sashes make GREAT headbands.

LaRaine’s Bridal - Atlanta, GA (Highlands) Hand down, my favorite boutique. From the renovated house filled with dresses and nooks and chandeliers and fireplaces to the overall warmth of their atmosphere, LaRaine’s made us feel at home and happy. Pictures were not only allowed, they were encouraged and even taken by their staff if requested. The owner LaRaine herself  dropped by during my appointment, made me feel welcomed and pretty, and shared a Long Island connection with my MOH. The majority of dresses in LaRaine’s are hung in the top floor of the house, arranged by designer. I was allowed to choose my first round of 5-6 dresses and it was easy to stay in the budget – all dresses were clearly marked and there were plenty of options in my range. My consultant loved how dorky/down to earth we were and soon we had her cracking up and having fun with us. There was even a moment when I stood alone behind the curtain (practically naked) trying to cool off after trying on a particularly heavy gown and when I poked just my head out, she fanned my face with her clipboard.  Bless her, because damn, it’s crazy how hot you get under all that material!

Follow up? I received a personal email from my consultant the next day, complete with little pieces of info I’d told her during my visit. Not canned. (Appreciated!) She asked if my dress was still the front runner out of all I tried on, expressed willingness to help with a 2nd appointment if needed and echoed our funny humor. The friendly, personal followup made it easy to reply back and fill her in on my findings from elsewhere. I will 100% work with this consultant at LaRaine’s Bridal if I return there for a second look.

Bridals by Lori - Atlanta, GA (Sandy Springs) Yes, THE Bridals by Lori of TLC’s  “Say Yes to the Dress – Atlanta”. Sadly, this boutique was my only disappointing experience of the four I visited. If you would like to read my full, no-holds-barred review, you may find it here. But for the purposes of this post, I will only say that I would recommend Bridals by Lori only if your budget is above $3,500.00 – 4,000.00. If your budget is below that range, expect to encounter severely limited options of inferior quality samples. I don’t say this lightly. But it is the truth. Pictures were firmly and absolutely not allowed. (???) And see also, bringing me dresses above my budget. Not cool, yo. In summary, I’ll quote myself and say “in my humble opinion, no bride should be made to feel inferior because her budget cannot stretch to meet the price of fame.”

Follow up? It took WEEKS to hear from them, but my consultant did finally call to ask if I’d be scheduling another visit with them. I politely deferred with a promise to let her know if I needed anything else.

 

New Natalie’s - Norcross, GA. This place was highly recommended not only by my wedded friends but also numerous Atlanta bridal blogs (The Little Canopy has a great summary!) The difference with New Natalie’s is that they stock over 800 gowns at lower prices. Though some reviews have said it has more of a factory/department store feel, I didn’t find the experience to be any less intimate. I still had a one-on-one with a very kind consultant who bent over backwards to find what I was looking for. It was also great that they carry samples in many sizes; it’s so much easier to see the final product when the dress isn’t cinched to death or you’re popping out of it. I did this visit solo but had some friends on text-standby to weigh in on pictures. FYI, photos are not technically allowed there, but my consultant felt for me since I was alone.  I tried on another 6-7 dresses at New Natalie’s, but struck out. The two that were the closest to my style were either too plain or way over the top. Nothing hit the sweet spot, unfortunately, but I do recommend New Natalie’s for Atlanta brides on a modest budget who are willing to venture outside the box a little. They have TONS of beautiful options, in all sizes, styles and budgets!

Follow up? Nothing to date.

There you have it. In summary, I was (mostly) delighted by my Atlanta dress shopping experience and learned a great deal about how the bridal gown industry operates. There are differing techniques of selling, trying on, and overall feels of appointments. In the end, it all comes down to what gives you enough warm and fuzzies to buy your dress with them. But damn, it sure helps if the boutique hits the right balance of personal, fun, professional and quality.

I’ll have another (BIG) post on the dress I actually went with soon!

Till the next wedding adventure,

RealBride Elizabeth: A Tale of Two Dress Stores

I found my dress! If there is one part of planning a wedding that makes it feel real, I’d say that is up there. I had never even been dress shopping with anyone before (and I’ve been in quite a few weddings), so it was definitely a little overwhelming. Having seen far too many episodes of Say Yes the Dress, I planned my entourage very carefully. My mom, littlest sister Ali, and my friend and bridesmaid Cassie all accompanied me. I figured I had a more mature perspective, a teenage hipster’s perspective (Ali is 16), and someone who sees me on a day to day basis.

We had appointments at two different shops, a chain store and a small, local boutique. I will admit, I had a lot of preconceived notions about how I thought my experience would go. For the past year I have worked for a small business owner, and have come to appreciate the hard work and detection it takes.  The small shop was also where my other sister got her wedding dress, so I know my mom really wanted me to find something there as well. I had no idea what I was looking for, and was more than willing to put my fate in the consultant’s hands.

Our first appointment was at the bridal chain store. We were the first appointment of the day, and my consultant, Heidi, was friendly and knowledgeable. She asked me a lot of questions about my fiancee, my venue, and what kind of look I was going for. I told her that I was getting married in a 1920′s theatre, so I was going for a vintage-y, Gatsby-esque look. She pulled three dresses to start, and from there was able to pull more styles that I liked. I tried short dresses, long dresses, sleeveless dresses, and dresses with sleeves. She showed me dresses that I would have never thought to try, and even though she was working another appointment at the same time, I would have never known it with how attentive she was. All the dresses she had me try were all under my $850 dress budget. At the end of the appointment, there was one dress that I was in love with. It was comfortable, beautiful, and very much “me”. It was also on sale for $399. Not wanting to make any spur of the moment decisions, we told the shop that we would be back after lunch.

We headed to the small boutique, very optimistic about what we would find. I don’t remember my consultant’s name (Megan? Molly?), but she was very friendly and made me feel comfortable right away. However, she was not very proactive in what she showed me. She basically walked me around the shop and showed me where the low price, mid-range, and high-price dresses and told me to pull what I wanted. To my dismay, none of the dresses I liked were under my budget, and they were all very similar looking. I only tried on four dresses, and narrowed it down pretty quickly to one that I could see myself in. It was beautiful, but out of my price range and a little poofier than I would have liked (as my mom said, I am not her “poofy” daughter). The consultant did her best to work with my budget, but even with a few discounts, the dress alone would be close to $1,000. Yikes.

We decided to hash it out over lunch, and after sending pictures to my fiancee’s family and my sister in Chicago, I made the executive decision to go with the dress from the chain store. When all was said and done, I ordered the dress, undergarments, veil, and headpiece-all for $750! My sister’s mother-in-law is a seamstress, so I’ll be able to get my alterations done for a reasonable price as well. I felt really good leaving with a dress I loved that fit well with my venue, I knew I would be comfortable wearing, and was under my budget. Such a good feeling!

If I could leave you with any advice, it would be to go with your gut and do what feels right to you, your personal style, and your budget. While I liked the dress from the boutique, I knew there were other parts of my wedding that I would rather spend my money on. Happy shopping!

 

Dear Bridezilla: Friendship and Tactfulness

 

Dear Bridezilla,

I would like advice on how/whether to give unsolicited advice without hurting someone.

I got married last year (and used your tips a lot, so thank you!).  A friend loved my wedding, and frequently asks for my opinions as she plans her own.  She wants her wedding to be as inexpensive as possible, and to that end has decided to re-wear her white prom dress.  She’s ecstatic it’s in good enough condition to wear, and asked for my opinion.  It’s not my taste, but it’s her wedding, so I was supportive.

The problem is, the dress doesn’t fit.  At all.  And she can’t see it.

This isn’t a comment on my friend’s appearance – at 5’3″ and a size 2, she’s lucky enough to be both curvy and extremely slender.  But when she wore the dress to prom 13 years ago, she was a somewhat-scrawny size 00.  She’s convinced the dress fits because she can get into it.  But it’s lumpy over her waist, strained over her hips, and it’s a cheap stretch fabric that can’t be let out.

As a plus-sized woman, I’ve had my share of wearing what I thought was a flattering outfit, only to see pictures later and wonder why no one told me I looked like a beached whale.  I don’t want my friend to get her wedding photos back and hate them.  But how do I tell her this completely free dress she’s so excited about looks awful?

Thank you!

The Emperor Needs New Clothes

Dear Emperor,

Whoa. WHOAAAAAA. There’s a lot going on here. First things first: despite Bridezilla’s reputation, I’m firmly in the camp of “no unsolicited advice”. If your friend really wants your opinion or she’s uncertain about something, she’ll ask you. It sounds like she hasn’t been shy about asking you for your opinion in the past. Speaking of the past, though,  the time to say something to your friend about the fit of her dress was when she initially queried you about it. I don’t know that it’s something that you can bring up on your own now, especially since she has decided that she loves it and is happy with that decision. Anything you say now could cause her to question what you really think about every other decision she’s made, and worse, it could stand to really hurt your friendship.

We all want our loved ones to always look their very best, especially on important occasions, but we all also have very different opinions on what constitutes looking one’s best. Even if you’d gone wedding dress shopping with your friend, there’s no guarantee that she’d have picked something else that you’d consider flattering on her. People might not think it’s flattering to my body type when I loom over a skyline, but I think it makes me look powerful. Different sides of the same coin, right?

There are a few different things to consider. First, is your friend the type of person who looks extremely critically at any and all photographs of herself, saying things like “Why did anyone let me leave the house in that?!”? Has she tried on other dresses? Is the pricetag the biggest or only concern? If I were you, I would only say something IF (and only if) your friend brings her dress up again in an uncertain fashion. At that time, you could suggest a fun girl’s day of trying on froofy dresses, take pictures, and let her decide what she thinks is flattering. It’s entirely possible that she’s willing to concede a flattering fit on a dress she’ll wear once (or twice!) in favor of having that money for other aspects of the wedding that are more important to her. I would hate for a rift to form between you over something that wasn’t actually important to her. In my opinion, err on the side of silent support. Our bride friends can never have too much.

Yours in bridely glory,