Posts in the 'wedding gown' Category

Real Bride Peach: Finding the Dress and Budget Badassery!

Guess what, y’all?!?!  I found my dress! Wheeeeeee!

As you saw from my boutique reviews, I didn’t find my dress the first round. Or second. Or third or fourth or fifth!  In actuality, I found my dress on the SIXTH round of trying on.  Good grief, right? I think I stopped counting after 50-something dresses. And let me tell you, for a pretty simple, non-girly-girl, that’s a LOT of lace and poof to put on her body.

Before I became a BAB Real Bride, I wrote a few posts about my self-imposed guidelines going into the bridal gown shopping experience. You can find them here and here. But the short version is that I knew what I wanted, but I kept an open mind. I remembered to stay under my budget and staunchly ignore the shrunken sizing. I brought along my mom and MOHs for the first three boutiques, and a different set of girlfriends for the next one, and I did two appointments on my own. Through each experience, I learned more about what style flattered me most. And yes, without revealing too much, it WAS slightly different than what I thought would be my final choice.

Bonus points for friends who make these custom t-shirts to wear to the appointments! Because NO BUTT BOWS ALLOWED. EVER. (for me)

The shopping, overall? It was fun. Yes, you can read here about my not-so-pleasant trip to Bridals by Lori of “Say Yes To The Dress Atlanta,” but despite that one dark spot, who in their right mind can really and truly hate on getting to try on gowns worth thousands of dollars each that are designed specifically to make you look and feel amazing??? Not this Peach!  I slid my Crossfit booty into ballgowns, sheaths, drop-waists, strappys, backless-down-to-my-butt-crack options, sweethearts and dramatic v-necks in tulle, satin, chiffon and silk of all textures and colors from blush to peach to diamond white.  And it was awesome. Not gonna lie.

Real pic of me right before trying on my first wedding dress ever. Which turned out to be … terrible.

In the end, I found my dress at an appointment I’d made on a whim and I’d gone alone. The night before, I’d found a boutique online that was right around the corner from me. I booked an appointment for the next morning. After I woke up, got dressed and was armed with coffee, I left the fiance sleeping soundly in bed and went to the appointment. It was the 4th of 5 dresses I tried on there. And the minute I slid it on, I was laughing, posing, twirling and grinning ear to ear. Because I just knew. I could see it. The ceremony in the garden. Dancing with him afterward. Boogie-ing down with my friends. And maybe getting a little teary with my mom and dad before the ceremony. No other dress gave me the vision. It was as simple as that.  I said yes. I signed the papers. And I didn’t look back.

It’s the dress that I want and I found it my own way, which in itself is empowering, that no one has seen me in it (other than in pictures) but me.  I absolutely adore it and I feel amaaaaazing in it. Done and done.

And because this is The Broke-Ass Bride, I’d be remiss in not sharing my budget advice. First and foremost, stick to your guns. Don’t even step a pinky toe into a dress that is over your max budget, no matter what you’re told by a consultant. Keep in mind the extra costs: taxes, fees, alterations and accessories. I tried to keep those included in my budget to make sure nothing slipped!  And never, ever be afraid to politely ask for discounts. In my case, when it was explained what amount was due today vs. due later, I asked if there was an incentive offer for paying in full right now. Good businesswoman she was, she offered me a 10% discount on the dress, veil and accessory for paying in full.

Peach’s final tally for her dress, her veil and an accessory, plus all taxes and fees? $1150.00.   Not too damn shabby, if I do say so myself.

For what it’s worth, the dress that I ALMOST bought at a different boutique was $2499.00 just for the dress alone. And I think there’s a reason I just couldn’t bring myself to get it, despite how gorgeous it was. Not only was it already over my max budget (my MOH said she’d throw a car wash to make up the difference, bless her!), but I know now that it just wasn’t THE dress. And I don’t regret waiting until I found the one I bought. I love it.  YAY!

What about y’all? Did you find the dress the first time out? Did you have a huge entourage? Or was it more of an intimate solo experience like mine? 

 

Real Bride Jess: Saying Yes to the Dress

One of the first things I did after getting engaged was find my dress. This was purely by accident. It wasn’t on my to-do list to find my dress so early, but I was glad it happened!

First, I have to show some love to The White Flower where I found my dress. It was wonderful! I went twice and both times had great associates who were personable, friendly, and totally awesome. You schedule an appointment so that it’s just you, you entourage, and the stylist in the whole place. They were great about my vague “I want to spend as little as possible but get everything I want” budget as well as the fact that I didn’t know exactly what I wanted.

The first visit I went with two of my roommates and the second time I went with just my mom.

Another awesome thing about this place: they let you take pictures! It was great to be able to go home and look through the slideshow and pick our favorites.

After I picked the dress, however, there was a whole new type of questioning that I hadn’t anticipated. This included:

- Can I see a picture?

- Will it be long enough?

- Is it white or ivory?

- Will it be hard to find a matching veil?

- Are those sleeves?

- How will you wear a bra with that?

- What will do with it after the wedding?

Some of these questions I could answer: Yes it will be long enough, technically it’s ivory, yes it has little sleeves, it has a built in bra thing.

The most difficult question by far is “Can I see a picture?”. Before I was engaged it was obvious to me- I wouldn’t show my dress to anyone but my mom. What I didn’t take into consideration was how freaking excited I would be about my dress! I wanted to show everyone! If you asked me if I had found my dress my answer was “Yes, do you want to see a picture?!”. What I decided was this:

a. The pictures that were taken at the salon didn’t do the dress justice, so it won’t really give it away to show them.

b. I’m not sending it to anyone, so the three seconds they see of the dress will probably be soon forgotten.

c. It’s fun! Who doesn’t love being oohed and awwed over?

That being said, I’m not going to put the pictures of me in my dress online (what if Michael saw them?), but I will give you a tiny peek.

Real Bride Andrea: The Wedding Racket

 

Here we begin the slew of photos of the two of us where I’m looking at the camera and Travis is disinterested.

 Why is it that, as soon as you tell vendors you’re inquiring about their services for a “wedding,” prices double and sometimes can even triple? It has become very clear over the past month that most hear the word “bride” and only see dollar signs over my head!

This past week I learned a very valuable lesson: I sent an inquiry email to our desired venue, a desert ranch in Joshua Tree, that started with, “We want to have our wedding at your beautiful venue…” Yes, I had already broken a cardinal rule of the Broke-Ass Bride herself! I had shown all my cards up front and mentioned our wedding. Now, it should be known that this ranch can be rented per night for $160, per week for $1,000, and per month for $2,500. These are incredible deals because this place knocked our socks off. How much more could they possibly charge for a little ol’ wedding? Well, it turns out that “wedding” was the magic word because, guess what? The owner of the property happily replied, “Weddings at our ranch are $2,500. That includes a 2 night stay and the use of our laser lights!” (Uuuummmm, thanks for the $2,000 laser light show, dude.)  I was shocked! I mean, $2,500 is not that much for a great venue, but what’s with offering 2 nights for the price of a month just because we’ll be having a wedding while we stay? Yeah, yeah, there are lots of liability issues, I guess. So, lesson learned.  After some sound Broke-Ass advice, I’ve learned some ways to negotiate my way through future interactions. But this really got me thinking about the “wedding racket.”

People pays thousands for cake (flour and sugar) and flowers (freely growing all over the earth) and dresses (white prom dresses) simply because vendors know, we will stop at nothing to have a perfect day.  I know I’m pretty green to the wedding scene, but this seems so cruel to do to couples just starting out. Another example of this: The other day, I went to browse wedding dresses in this cute little boutique in Burbank, CA. There were awesome dresses that were “reasonably” priced between $1,000 and $2,500. I found some I liked. I tried a couple on to get my feet wet and was getting really excited but was still suffering from some sticker shock. Could I justify spending THAT much on a dress I’ll wear ONE day? As I left, I decided to browse the “prom” section of the store for fun. I noticed an entire rack of white prom dresses. I as thumbed through these, I noticed some were strikingly similar to the dresses on the bridal side of the store but instead, ranged from $150 – $300. What is the difference? To me, there didn’t seem to be any.

Actual quote:

“It is because this bridal gown will be worn on the most important day of your life! Be careful because you get what you pay for.”

I’m not encouraging anything here…. I’ve no experience… but it’s not totally out of the question at this point.

This salesperson used two tactics. She placed epic importance on my wedding day and then tried to scare me into spending more money. Yikes. This next year dealing with vendors is gonna be really interesting.

I think I’ll be throwing a Junior prom in April of 2015 instead of a wedding.

This. We’ll just do this for the wedding, er I mean, prom. Maybe we’ll just throw a Bat Mitzvah? Both less expensive than a wedding.

 

Here’s to battling the wedding racket,

BHLDN’s 2014 Line Has Arrived and it’s Delicious

YOU GUYS. BHLDN has done it again. If their offerings weren’t already completely drool-worthy, they’ve solidified their reign as the Bringers of Bridal Beauty, the Providers of Pretty, the Sultans of Swoon, the … whoops, I’m getting a little carried away. You get the point. BHLDN’s 2014 line – The Heirloom Collection – of dresses and accessories is gorgeous, and some of it is shockingly affordable. Set your sights on pretty mode and ogle along with me:
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 Tamsin Gown, $1,600

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Amada Gown, $800

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Faye Gown, $1,000

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Caspian Drops, $170

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Tiffany Gown, $1,800

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Crystallized Satin Sash, $100

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Champagne Sparkle Heels, $139

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Martine Dress, $650

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Sterling Lace Dress, $650

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Hyacinth Dress, $425

Those heels, the Tamsin Gown and Sterling Lace Dress kill me. Which are your faves from BHLDN‘s newest additions?

Real Bride Ellis: Back-Breaking Wedding Planning, Dress Woes, and Getting Sh*t Done!

I wanted to make a second post sooner but I actually really hurt my back and have been trying to figure out how to go to both my jobs, make it to class, and even find/buy a wedding dress with about 50% range of motion.

My wedding is just under five months away and I realized a few weeks ago, “Holy crap, I haven’t found a dress yet!”  I am not a sample size,  so this is a concern as that means I can’t buy off the rack. I went to a bridal shop down here (Southern Oregon) with my future mother in law  and my future sister in law three weeks ago and it was an absolute disaster. The shop was rundown, the consultant had bad breath, and I was feeling really pressured to choose from the “bigger” dresses because apparently they don’t order out, just sell what they have in store and alter it for you. My future sister in law bought her dress at this shop for $300 a couple years ago and insisted they had a huge selection. She was right, they do have a huge selection, over 600 dresses, all size 0-10. What happened next was probably one of the most traumatic experiences of my life. The consultant put me in a hideous dress which was about 5 sizes too large for me and insisted it “fit perfectly”. I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror before I burst out in tears (not happy tears, very very sad tears) because I felt gigantic and disgusting. She brought me back into the room and said she had some “better” dresses and came back with 3 horrendous dresses at the top of my budget. I shut down completely and told her to help me out of the under garments because I was leaving. It was an awkward ride home, I was holding back massive tears and had it set in my mind that because of this setback, we would have to cancel our wedding. A very dramatic night unfolded in which we came to an agreement for us to travel to Portland (the closest large city) so I could go back to the smaller boutique I had an incredible experience at about 9 months ago.

A few days later I twisted my ankle and sprained something in my lower back. I literally could not stand up straight, dress myself, or bend in any direction and was in agonizing pain. I missed work and school the entire week, setting me back both financially and academically. I  was afraid that my injury might cause me to miss my dress appointment in Portland and thus ruin my chances to get the dress experience I was after. Thankfully, I started to make some progress, and paired with heating/cold packs and medication I made it the 6 hours to Portland.

I got to spend a lot of time with my maid of honor and she even got to come with me to the dress appointment. The experience was completely successful. The shop is beautiful, they carry gorgeous but affordable gowns, and they understand that I might not be a size 10, but I want to see myself in a beautiful dress all the same. I was not shoved into any ill-fitting frocks, but in fact, had my choice of gorgeous organza, silk, lace, and taffeta.

I tried on and fell in love with over 12 dresses, while narrowing them down to just two that I loved: a lace, empire waist, champagne colored Casablanca:

1900

And a ruffled organza mermaid/drop waist Mori Lee ombre gown:

Obviously they are completely different and I loved them for different reasons. I could not take off the Casablanca but I have loved the Mori Lee dress since I first found it online about 7 months ago. I did end up buying the Mori Lee gown because it just felt right and I am so glad for my decision.

Wow: I bought my dress! I do have to go back in late May/early June, cutting it very close to my July 5th wedding for alterations, but I am happy and I feel very relieved. I was told that most brides do the dress thing really soon after getting engaged and leave other things to last minute; I’m not sure why it wasn’t a huge priority of mine. I guess I felt like I had so much time with an 18 month engagement but suddenly, time is going really fast!

My back is still messed up and I have to drop a class to make time for physical therapy, but it is what it is. Aside from getting my dress, we also ordered our invitations and rsvp cards because VistaPrint is having a sale!

All in all, I had a really productive week but now I’m heading into midterms and I’m moving next weekend so I think wedding planning will be on the back burner for another week and a half.

x0x0

 

Eco Couture Bridal Designer Elizabeth St. John Introduces A “Name Your Own Price” Offer On Wedding Gowns, Exclusively For BABs

We love Elizabeth St. John, and she’s been especially sweet to our readers over the last few years – but this holiday season, she’s rolling out a particularly eye-popping offer with savings that we can barely even fathom! Liz has agreed to sell a wide variety of her most popular wedding dress styles, gowns which usually retail for $400 – $2500, for…your best offer.

Allow us to explain…all a BAB has to do is select the style of her choosing, fill out this handy offer form with the amount your comfortable paying as well as style info, size info,  payment info, and other relevant deets, submit it via fax or email (301-879-8001 or info@elizabethstjohn.com), and wait to see if your offer is accepted! If it is accepted, CONGRATS, you just snagged a beautiful, custom, American-made designer wedding dress at a price you can actually live with! If your offer is declined, don’t worry, each bride can submit up to 3 offers.

The madness isn’t limited to brides, however – bridesmaids and flower girls can also take part. There’s also bridal sashes, hair accessories, and bow ties up for grabs! You can find a full catalog of the styles and pieces on offer for all parties available for download right here. Regular retail prices on all items have also been included, for your reference.

This exclusive, BABs-only offer is limited to 25 wedding dresses, 20 destination bridal dresses (styles shorter than tea length), 50 bridesmaid and flower girl dresses, and 15 bridal accessories. (The bow tie savings, however, are unlimited. BOW TIES FOR ALL!) 

BABs have until midnight on December 1st to submit their offers, so start crunching those figures! If you want to save even more, you can get FREE SHIPPING on your order when you follow Elizabeth St. John on Facebook or Twitter! (International brides will receive a $50 shipping waiver.)

Let us know what your favorite Elizabeth St. John style is (and your dream price) in the comments below!

 

ModCloth Has Bridesmaid Options For Sizes XS-3X – All Under $100!

ModCloth Bridesmaid Options

From left to right: Guest of Wind Dress ($35), Blueberry Iced Tea Dress ($45), Effortlessly Enchanting Dress ($60), and Antique Photos Dress ($45). 

One of our biggest cost-saving tips for bridesmaid dress shopping is don’t shop for a “bridesmaid” dress. Any dress that is prefaced with the word “bridesmaid” will cost your favorite ladies at least $300, on average. ModCloth has a ton of bridesmaid-ey options available for sizes XS-3X that retail in the much more affordable ballpark of $40-$100. (They also have a great assortment of plus size dresses.)

If you’d like to have a little fun with your b-maid options, give your girls a pattern or a color scheme to stick to, like “lace”, “peacock”, “floral”, or “black and white” instead of putting them all in the same frock. These are just a few of the styles we love for weddings, all available at ModCloth! And for winter weddings – don’t forget to stock up on tights and cardis!

{Can’t Afford It/Get Over It} A Watters Adelaide-esque Gown For Under $500

Let’s start the New Year by rocking a reader’s “CAI/GOI” challenge. Today’s challenge: Finding a new dress for Julianne to love!

I am absolutely in love with this Watters gown; however it is completely out of my price range. I would love something for under $500 with similar detailing on the bottom. Do you have any suggestions on where I should be looking?

Thanks!

Julianne

Julianne, I’m happy to help! Finding something super detailed and sticking to a tight budget can be super difficult but starting a new year is all about resolutions, right? We’ve got this.

 

CAN’T AFFORD IT

Adelaide Gown (Retails for $3,400)

GET OVER IT

Strapless Pleated Bodice Gown with Pick Up Skirt ($399.99 at David’s Bridal)

Beaded Tiered Tulle Gown with Sweetheart Neckline ($349.99 at David’s Bridal)

Organza Gown with Pleated Tier Skirt and Lace ($449.99 at David’s Bridal)

Organza A-Line Gown with Angled Draped Pick-Ups ($349.99 at David’s Bridal)

Tiered Organza Wedding Dress ($419.99 at For Her and Him)

Strapless A Line Wedding Gown ($399.99 at For Her and Him)

Adrianna Papell Strapless Rosette-Skirt Gown ($238 at Dillard’s)

To get the detailing you want for under $500, sales and clearances are going to be your best bet. Lots of places have sales around this time of year. Get out there and look around. If you’re close to a sample size, consider going to stores to see which samples are on sale. I grabbed a sample dress and paid much less for it. It was a tad dirty, but a quick trip to the cleaner made the savings worthwhile.

 

 

{CAI/GOI} Finding a BHLDN Wedding Gown Look-a-like For A Fraction Of The Price

A little birdie brought me this request on the cool, soft, whispering wind just for Sara!

“I am SO in love with the Windswept gown over at BHLDN, but it is WAY over my price limit (by about $2,600). I can’t get over the ruched wrapping of the bodice and the whimsical, feathery flutteries make my heart pitter-patter almost as much as my groom-to-be! There are TONS of sweetheart neckline, empire waist wedding gowns to be found, but I just can’t find one that hits the nail on the head like this one. Help? Please!”

Can’t Afford It

BHLDN Windswept

$2,800.00

Alright, Sara, I can see by your message you are indeed a damsel in distress.  Now, I’m not quite a handsome prince on a white steed but I can sure help out a fellow Fem in a pinch!

Get Over It

BBP.com  Eden Bridal style #1380

$583.00

bestbridalprices.com Eden Bridal style # 1377

$448.00

besbridalprices.com Maggie Sottero “Vanessa”

$849.00

besbridalprices.com Casablanca  style # 2041

$855.00

Preownedweddingdresses.com

Watters 17393 $ 660.00

House Of Fraser

JS Collection Strapless Jewel Ruched Waist Dress

$263.13

House Of Fraser

Anoushka G Stacey Chiffon Pearl Beading Dress

$651.00

House Of Fraser

THEIA Silk Chiffon Goddess Bridal Dress

$521.00

Bonny Wedding Dress style #118

bestbridalprices.com $522.00

So, Sara…these are the damsel rescuing gowns I discovered on my mission to rescue you in your moment of need!  I hope you found “The One” that makes your heart skip a beat!  Best wishes on your own wedding adventures! And remember, the super heroines of B.A.B. are always here for you and your smart spending needs!