Posts in the 'wedding gowns' Category
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.
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!
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,
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!
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?
The Emperor Needs New Clothes
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,
A reader wrote in recently that she’d been struggling to find the perfect dress…until she saw it walk down the carpet at the Golden Globes on Sarah Hyland. Perfect, except for the color and the couture pricetag, that is.
Let’s see what we can do–we’re looking for something with a bateau neckline, a dropped waist, and some frothy goodness at the bottom!
CAN’T AFFORD IT
Georges Hobieka Couture, $$$
GET OVER IT
Satin and Tulle Gown (For Her & For Him, $269)
Ksenia’s A-Line Bateau Chapel Appliques Wedding Dress (TBDress, $188)
Knee length satin tulle dress inspired by Audrey Hepburn (Light in the Box, $149)
Side draped sheath/column bateau floor-length chiffon wedding dress (Light in the Box, $127)
Skinny white belt (Amazon, $10.99)
Bateau necklines are definitely on the rarer side–there were exactly two dresses at David’s Bridal with a bateau neckline when I did my search! But if none of these alternatives tickle your fancy, I’d suggest talking with a trusted tailor–I’ll bet they’d be able to come up with something a little more spot-on. I hope this helped!
If YOU have a dress, shoe, accessory, or other wedding accoutrement that you need help getting over, hit us up!
Theresa wrote me recently, asking for some help getting over the Claire Pettibone Midnight and its stunning perfection for their upcoming wedding under the UW’s blooming cherry trees. Her dress budget runs $500-$1000 but would prefer to keep things on the lower end if possible. She added, “I am nicknamed Tinkerbell, I am spunky, fun, colorful, and I’ve been told that I “sparkle”. That’s why I think midnight fits…I’m just worried about it on my figure. I love the lace, the purple on it, all of the detail and embellishments. I’m never plain or muted.”
Theresa, let’s make this happen for you! Given your concerns about flattering your figure, I’m including a wider variety of options while keeping your original vision of a sparkling wedding under the cherry blossoms in mind. The Pettibone, with its pops of color, is going to be tough if not impossible to dupe via dress alone, so stick with me and I’ll have some tips at the end for further embellishment.
CAN’T AFFORD IT:
Claire Pettibone “Midnight”, $$$$
GET OVER IT:
Allover Beaded Lace with Illusion Halter Neckline (David’s Bridal, $399)
Cap Sleeve Slim Gown with Keyhole Back and Heavily Beaded Sash (David’s Bridal, $549)
Blossom Print Satin Ballgown (David’s Bridal, $299)
Sheath/Column Sweetheart Court Train Chiffon and Satin, (Lightinthebox, $349)
Sheath/Column V-neck Floor-length Tulle And Lace And Chiffon Wedding Dress ( Lightinthebox, $249)
Textured Tulle Dress With Vine & Floral Applique (Lightinthebox, $199)
Sheath/Column Halter Court Train Lace & Stretch Satin Dress (Lightinthebox, $249)
Theresa, girl, I know none of these dresses are dead-on dupes. Don’t be disappointed! With a dress as unique as the Pettibone Midnight, the object here is to find a dress base you can love at a price you can afford–because then you have the budget left over to embellish the hell out of it. You can always take a dress you love that doesn’t have enough sparkle and add appliques. Appliques are available in a huge variety of colors and styles on etsy and elsewhere–you can even have them custom made! Next, for that lovely flower on the back of the Midnight dress, you can order a flower like this one, or this one and put it on the dress of your choice! Last but certainly not least, you can always consider expanding your dress search to include prom and pageant dresses–you’ll find they’re more willing to use color than more traditional wedding retailers, so you may feel more Tinkerbell-eqsue in a dress like this! I hope I helped put you on the path to finding the dress of your dreams!
Is there a part of your wedding world that you’re dying to have but can’t afford? Hit me up at email@example.com!
Stephanie is dying over the Watters Hera dress, but is also looking not to bust her budget of $1000. Your wish is my command, Stephanie! Watter you waiting for? Let’s get you a fit & flare gown with a textured bodice and flowy flare!
CAN’T AFFORD IT
Watters Hera gown, $$$$
GET OVER IT
Sweetheart Fit and Flare Beaded Applique Gown ($549 at David’s Bridal)
Strapless Lace Fit and Flare Gown With Side Split ($749 at David’s Bridal)
Beaded Sweetheart Mermaid Wedding Dress ($249 at ForHerAndForHim)
Lace Crystal Beaded Net Over Satin dress ($999 at Alfred Angelo)
Crystal Beaded Satin Organza Dress With Chapel Train ($799 at Alfred Angel0)
There you have it, Stephanie – some fit and flare options that give you more twirl for your dollar! The heavy texture on the top of the Watters dress is unique, but you can keep that visual interest with some lace, beading, or ruching for a fraction of the price. Happy dress shopping!
Serena fell in love with this gorgeous Mark Zunino for Kleinfeld dress, but is looking for a more budget-friendly version, somewhere in the range of $1000-2500. Serena, let’s make this happen for you! Shapewise, you’re into a mermaid gown with a sweetheart neckline. Stylewise, it looks like you’re into some beading, lace, texture, and pizazz up top with a more structured mermaid bottom. MAGIC BRIDAL GOWN SEARCH POWERS ACTIVATE!
CAN’T AFFORD IT
GET OVER IT
Lace and organza mermaid dress ($283 at Lightinthebox)
Custom mermaid sweetheart neckline lace wedding gown ($468 at KarenTrends Etsy)
Wedding gown with lace appliques and ruffled skirt ($1250 at David’s Bridal)
Georgette Mermaid Gown with Dramatic Organza Skirt ($999 at David’s Bridal)
If you find a dress you otherwise love but it doesn’t have that sweetheart neckline, you can always have the neckline altered by a trusted tailor–so when you’re looking at alternate dress options, the texture and shape are way more important to nailing that Kleinfeld look. I hope this helps, Serena!
Remember my gorgeous, eco-couture, feminine, unique, wonderfully whimsical wedding dress? The one the designer, Deborah Lindquist, named for me?
Well, it can be yours, for a fraction of the cost of a new gown! Buying pre-owned and upcycling a perfectly good gown? It just don’t get more broke-ass brilliant than that!
I mean, just LOOK at the thing…
The “Dana” is made of Organic Linen and Vintage Lace. The beaded vintage lace bodice is embellished with freshwater pearls and mother of pearl. The organic linen full skirt bottom is bustled with 3 dimensional rosettes. Attached silk taffeta sash ties in back or side. It’s very gently used, but has been professionally cleaned and freshly hemmed. It has a small dark mark on the inside of the underskirt (not visible on outside). No one would ever be able to tell it’s been worn before!
Made by indie eco-couture designer Deborah Lindquist of LA.
Also included, a Deborah Lindquist original recycled cashmere shrug with accents of fuchsia, purple and green.
This gown was made to measure. I’m 5’7″ and was a size 6 at the time of the wedding. Bust size 34B. It ties up the back of the bustier top, so it can be loosened or tightened, and is easily hemmed.
Happy to answer any questions you might have about it, or provide additional info/images! More images can be seen in the official sale listing on Tradesy. I’m so thrilled this gorgeous gown will go to a good home, and make another bride feel as beautiful as I did on my wedding day! It’s doing no one any good just sitting in my closet, that’s for sure!
Head on over to Tradesy to buy it, or leave a comment below for more information!
Our blogger friends over at SHEfinds just turned us on to this ridiculously awesome sales event – Loehmann’s is having a special “Grab the Gown” sale, and they’ve marked all their gowns down to $600 or less! These are gorgeous gowns that originally retailed for as much as $2500!!! Plus, they’re offering FREE shipping and a 14 day return policy (leave those tags on, ladies). But you have to shop fast, because the sale ends this Thursday, June 20th, at midnight. For tips on how to make sure you’re getting the right size and such when you buy your dress online, check out this helpful SHEfinds post!