Posts in the 'Wedding planning' Category

Real Bride Laura: Be Considerate of your Broke-Ass Bridesmaids

As a Broke-Ass Bride I want to be as equally wallet conscious for my Broke-Ass bridesmaids. As much I love being in many weddings, I have been known to silently shed a tear looking at my bank account during wedding season. Between the dress, shoes, makeup, hair, bridal shower, bridal shower gift, bachelorette and wedding gift, it adds up. However, I am lucky that the weddings I have been in haven’t been extravagantly expensive (a friend of mine who was a bridesmaid last year had to spend $450 on a Marchesa dress!).

After much deliberation I finally decided on four bridesmaids. These are my ride or die bitches — the kind of girls that you can be your absolute total gross self with and they still love you. Now that I had my girls I had to find that damn dress for them all to wear. I wanted something different and not your run of the mill chiffon dress. However, I didn’t wan’t my girls to spend more then $100 on the dress — a bit of a tall order. I scoured Pinterest but half those dresses I pinned were stupid expensive or I couldn’t find them. I went to bridal salons, tried on bridesmaid dresses myself and hated them all. I spent hours scrolling through department store sites. I considered renting them from a particular site but the Yelp reviews turned me off. I browsed through bridal store catalogs and magazines. Defeated, I eventually ignored my task of finding their dresses.

In February, my six-month mark before the wedding, my bridesmaids told me I had to get my shit together and pick a dress. I finally found the dress through an online clearance event from David’s Bridal. I found out about it via a promotional email, the ones I normally trash right away. So always make sure you read through those emails when you are on the hunt for wedding savings. Then when you get what you want, re-route those emails to spam … I shouldn’t say that though since I am an a digital advertising professional … actually open those promotional emails and click on banners often.

OK I digress. Anyway, I found a pretty dress on sale from $149 marked down to $79. Plus one of my crafty bridesmaids found a promo code for free shipping so I felt triumphant in my frugal find. It ended up being friggin chiffon but that’s OK. I have made peace with it.  To make it “different” I had the girls order two different shades of purple so they would have alternating colors. 

davids

My Bridesmaid dresses: David’s Bridal Chiffon Sweetheart Short Dress with Cap Sleeves Style F15406

I nervously waited for the dresses to be delivered to my girls. I had read the reviews, which I highly recommend always reading, and saw it was a mixed bag averaging out at 3.5 out of 5 hearts. The dresses came in and yep, they were a solid 3.5 out of 5. I was disappointed when I first saw them. The picture showed an A-line cut with capped sleeves. In real life it is a bit limp and has more of a thick strap. I kept asking the girls, ” Are they comfortable? Do you like the color?” No one told me they hated them and they did say they were comfortable so I settled. I am ultimately happy with them, though. 

My Advice: 

*Be wallet friendly to your bridal party. These are suppose to be your bestest friends. You don’t want them bitching behind your back for making them spend $300 on a dress they will never wear again. You may not get to have them in your dream dresses but you’ll be sure to find something that will satisfy you.

*Sign up for wedding email lists and be on the look out for promotions in your inbox. If I didn’t know about that clearance event from David’s Bridal I’d still be searching feverishly. 

*Always Google promo codes before you order something online. (Or pay attention to BAB’s Ten for the Weekend column) You never know how much you can save!

*BTW Did you know Target sells cute bridesmaid dresses?? None of the colors worked for me but they might work for you! Just search “Bridesmaid Dresses” on their website.

Real Bride Amy: Size Does Matter

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Credit: Alicia Robichaud

The Guest List — how big it is, who’s on it — is probably one the most important and difficult parts of the planning process.  My primary saving strategy has been to keep my wedding small.  When there is a per person cost, it seemed like the best way to keep costs down.  Mostly, though, I prefer quality to quantity. I’d rather spend time with a more select group then have lots of guests that I don’t even keep in touch with (I’m looking at you, mom’s friends from work). When I say I’m having a small wedding, some people suggested it wasn’t worth it because with bigger groups you “make” more in gifts.  Well, I’m not in this to make a profit. Most people I’ve talked with say one of their major regrets was not having a smaller wedding and not having so many people they didn’t know well or care about. And if you can save money in the process, it’s a bonus, right?!

It turns out the small wedding hasn’t helped control costs as much as I had hoped.  We struggled to find a venue due to minimum head counts or costs that many venues imposed.  The only way we could have avoided those restrictions were to have our event on a weekday or in the off season.  Unfortunately, the off season in Upstate NY can mean a foot of snow.  We were so glad (relieved) when we found our venue! They have zero minimum; they accommodate 20 or 200. There are also several places on the property to hold the reception so that our small party won’t be overwhelmed by an empty space meant to hold 300. So important for a small group!

Although I’m not saving a ton of money on overall costs, we will still save some per-head costs by having a smaller group of people. Keeping it small also helps to keep other costs down.  I will have fewer tables, which means fewer centerpieces and table decor, fewer favors … but most important more of the most precious currency: time. More time to spend with the ones I love.

DIY Your Day-Of Schedule with Timeline Genius

Sponsored Post Disclaimer

Timeline Genius
One of the great perks to hiring a great wedding planner is that you have someone who already knows their way around a wedding timeline or two. But a wedding planner certainly doesn’t fit into every broke-ass’ budget, and you still need some sort of schedule to tell you — everyone else — what to do and where to be on the day-of.

You already know some of the basics: Ceremony at 5:30. Hair and makeup at 3. Reception at 7. Gotta be donezo and outta there at 11. But …

When does your partner and their crew arrive? What about the band? And the caterer? When is all the photoing supposed to happen? How about the cake cutting, first dance and toasts? Timeline Genius

Guys, that’s a lot to wrangle by your self when you’re DIYing your own schedule. But Timeline Genius can give you a little peace of mind. For about $60, you can plug in the pertinents — who, what, where and when-ish — and it’ll spit out a super profesh timeline for you and your crew to operate off. Timeline Genius is totally customizable by what you actually plan on doing during your wedding day — no first dance? No problem. Want to do a first look? There’s a button for that. If you’re wrangling tons of peeps or are just super nervous, you can spring for the VIP package — $99.99 — that includes a review with a Master Bridal Consultant (schmancy!) who’ll make sure all your shizz is in place to help you be a zen bride on your wedding day.

Once you get your super fancy sched from Timeline Genius, pass it out to your peeps — everyone from your photog to your hair and makeup to your flower girl’s mom — to make sure you’re all on the same page so you can glide down that aisle with your sanity firmly intact.

 

Keep Your Wedding Balances in Balance

Real Wedding: Summer & Peter's Family-Friendly Destination Tahoe Beach Wedding

Photo: Lauren Lindley Photography

You know it — your wedding money is being thrown around fast and furious. Hundreds, thousands of dollars. Tens of thousands of dollars. Not all at once, mostly. But the word “eventually” looms closer every day.
So, what I’m trying to say is this post isn’t so much about budgeting as it is about stress relief. And a lot that means getting ahead of the stress in the first place.

Do This One Thing

Put all your payment due dates, with the current estimated cost in whatever calendar you look at the most — the one in your phone, the one on your wall, the one in your wedding notebook. Do it right now. Set or write an alert for a week or a couple of days ahead of time, whatever works for your schedule or will work with your bank account. Not so far ahead that it’s easy to forget (like a month before) but close enough so that you have enough time to pull together the funds, if you need to. You know how you are, so proceed accordingly. Bonus points for noting the method of payment, too.

Do This Other Thing

Any payment you can automate, do it. I take automated payments from my couples, and odds are your venue, you photographer and most of your other vendors do, too. Combining it with your alerts will keep you on track, or give you time to change tracks (or credit cards) if you need to. Also, Venmo is a great way to pay vendors quickly and easily right from your phone. It’s the app of life, y’all.

Have This One Place

So, you’ve taken care of the wedding payment trees, don’t ignore the forest that’s your wedding budget! Have one place — an Excel sheet, a Google Doc spreadsheet, heck, a Word document — where you list the total cost of all this stuff! One place where it’s all accounted for, all added up and where you always know what you’re spending and what you’ve spent. When you can see the big picture, you’re setting yourself up to make the best choices, and take many, many deep breaths of relief.

So, what’s your calendar of choice? Do you have any questions about automatic payments or wedding budgets? Let me know in the comments below. And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

Liz

Real Bride Meg: Real Advice From Real Brides

Spring is upon us, BABs, and you know what that means: wedding season is just around the corner! In honor of this fabulous time of year, I reached out to some of my favorite former BABs to ask them for their tried-and-true wedding planning advice. Every bride’s wants and needs are different, and it really shows in their answers. Needless to say, each one of them gives great advice!

Erin & Eric: Northampton Country Club, 6/14/2014

What is something you splurged on? I was honored and blessed to have an opportunity to wear my mom’s wedding dress. It ended up being the project that never ended, with the small tweaks and additions rapidly adding cost to the bottom line. I would never dream of changing a thing and I truly believe that it turned out perfect, however, it did end up going way over my originally estimated budget. I’m glad its the “something I splurged on.” I hope the dress will be considered a worthy option for future generations in my family.

Did you skimp on anything? What and why? I wouldn’t qualify this as “skimping,” but I ended up choosing a venue that was all-inclusive. My original vision was a venue that allowed for the selection of my own caterer, decorations, etc. However, I quickly learned that the a la carte wedding can be quite pricey.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I wish I would have done my own makeup. The makeup artist I hired was lovely, but I ended up wiping off quite a bit of the makeup after she was finished. I read all the articles but for some reason the desire to up the ante for my wedding trumped my common sense. I also spent stupid money on robes for myself and my bridesmaids. It was part of the gift I gave to each of my bridesmaids, but I doubt any of us have ever worn them since my wedding. They sure looked cute in pictures though!

Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? Take advantage of personal connections. My in-laws had a close friend who was a florist who was just starting to do weddings. Due to her recent entry to the industry and relationship to my husband, she kept mark-ups low and went above and beyond in many ways. I had 180 guests at my wedding. The “display” cakes at my reception only had 60 servings. The rest were in sheet cakes that were kept in the kitchen. You wouldn’t believe how much this cuts down on cost!

Any other advice for brides? Don’t skimp on your photographer! I don’t feel like I skimped, but I was definitely cost-conscious.erin

Birds of a Feather Photography

Corrie & Jim: Spring Mill Manor, 10/4/2014

What is something you splurged on? I really splurged on the photographer because of a problem I had early on in planning. I had signed a contract with a company for a photographer and videographer. The package came with free engagement photos, however, the session was rushed and I wasn’t happy with how they came out. And to top it off, the session wasn’t free! I was offered two 8x10s for free and the rest of the package was over $650, a lot for someone who is planning a wedding and did not budget for that extra session. As it turned out, I absolutely loved working with Lynda Berry Photography, who ended up doing my wedding. It was totally worth every cent! I can’t stop looking at these beautiful, Pinterest-worthy pictures.

Did you skimp on anything? What and why? We didn’t skimp out on much due to the financial help from my parents. One thing I wanted and wound up turning down was having a calligrapher do my invitations. I’m not sure why people spend money on that.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I wish we would have spent less money on DIY items. For example, the centerpieces were made up of silk flowers by my mom, my sisters and myself. By the time we had finished with the centerpieces and made many, many runs to the craft store, they ended up costing us way more than if we would have just paid the florist to create our centerpieces.

Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? I would say plan far in advance so you have time to save up or pay for things as you go without taking too much of a hit. Also, I would suggest picking the top two or three things that mean the most to you and make sure you have budgeted enough to spend what you want on those items.

Any other advice for brides? I found that when you look back on the day, it’s a blur. You don’t remember the details and it’s probably better that way. There are probably a bunch of little things that went wrong or you would have changed, but on that day, none of it really matters. So don’t drive yourself crazy — you only get to be a first-time bride once, so enjoy every single crazy second! corrie

Lynda Berry Photography

Meridith & Kyle: Fonthill Castle, 10/5/2013

What is something you splurged on? My own personal beauty prep. I really embodied the nature of “treat yo’ self.” I got custom nail art in NYC to match my decor, had a facial and wax, had my makeup/hair done for my shower, had individual eyelash extensions – the works! I felt that it was the only time in my life that I had to be the center of attention and I wanted to be the best “version of myself,” if you will.

Did you skimp on anything? What and why? I only spent $20 on shoes for two reasons. 1) I was wearing flats because of my height. 2) my dress totally covered my feet so they couldn’t be seen anyway. We also opted out of a cake and had friends and family bake and make various desserts for a sweets table. Our guests were able to grab a cookie here and there and keep dancing! Last, we did not provide transportation for our guest after the wedding. Our ceremony and reception were on the same site and I had it in my head that we needed to be responsible for everyone getting back to their respective hotels when the night was over. I went so far as to price out school busses, but the costs were outrageous. In the end, I has to trust that my guests were responsible adults and that they take care of themselves after taking the time to celebrate with us.

Is there anything you wish you had spent less money on, or tossed out all together? I (via my mom) impulsively spent way too much money on a custom veil. I fell for the famous rookie move where the seamstress put a veil on my head at my fitting and then I just had to have it. It’s still one of my favorite things from my wedding and the photos are beautiful, but I could have been smarter in my choice.

Do you have any money-saving tips when it comes to wedding planning? Despite my aforementioned veil story, my advice would be to avoid snap decisions unless you’re really sure. The first dress I tried on was the one I chose — I just knew and was ready to pull the trigger. I think trusting your gut on things that feel right doing the due-diligence to research and educate yourself on other things creates a good balance in wedding planning. It’s different for everyone. You may have something that you just can’t live without and it could be totally impractical, but it’s your day, and if you can juggle the budget to squeeze it in, I say go for it. Also, if you can, avoid anything custom! Personalization, “made to order,” catered to you = big bucks. There are ways to bring in your wedding theme or your personal touch without adding monograms to everything.

Any other advice for brides? Have the best day. You will probably never again be in one place with literally every person you love most in the world. Everyone is so happy for you and it’s like being wrapped up in a big blanket of happiness. And you will notice things that go wrong or didn’t pan out the way you wanted them to, but you won’t even care. If you have to, spend a few minutes of your honeymoon venting to your new husband about how the champagne was flat and they forgot someone’s vegetarian entree. When you’re wearing the dress, in a circle of all of your favorite people, screaming your lungs out to your favorite song, never stop dancing. mer

Littlewing Studio Photography

Real Bride Emma: It’s Totally Cool to Just Chill, Darlings.

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Credit: Jon Black Photography

Hey guys! Today’s post is more about saving your mind, instead of your pennies.

Life in am dram world has been incredibly busy — my fiancé and I have been in three musicals in the last six months, and so time to do wedding-y stuff has been limited.

And guess what? That’s fine.

When you start planning your wedding, it can be easy to feel guilty if you’re not thinking about favours and dresses and place settings every minute of the day. Especially since people will ask you, on a fairly regular basis, “how’s the planning going?” Somehow you feel like your answer should be more than “yeah, OK, haven’t done much for a while.”

But it’s OK if it’s not. Here are a few more things that are OK:

1). It’s OK if you haven’t picked out your shoes, or accessories, or hair and makeup, or dress, or in fact anything at all in relation to your appearance. Remember, you could get married in your pants and you would still be married.

2). It’s OK if you are struggling to care about the finer details, like what will be on the tables. Because who really remembers that? Clean tablecloths with food and booze on them will do the job of getting people fed and watered. Sprinkling crystals and feathers on the table will not get that job done any better.

3). It’s OK if you haven’t done anything wedding related for a while. You probably have plenty of other stuff to do, like go to work, look after kids, eat pizza, etc. … You know, life. So chill. You’ll get it done when it needs to be done.

I fear that people who will be attending my wedding will be reading these posts with trepidation — don’t worry, I will eventually start to worry about decor, and I won’t be naked on the day. I’m just saying that it’s OK to take a break, be distracted by life (or in my case, musical theatre) because for the most part, the stuff that gets people stressed out is precisely the stuff that doesn’t actually contribute to the net result of you becoming a married couple.

And to my bridesmaids (who have been cha
mping at the bit to actually get started on all this nitty gritty stuff, and are losing patience with my lackadaisical attitude towards my own wedding) I promise we’ll go shopping soon.

Am dram Bride – out.

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

I’m going to let you in on a secret about the wedding industry – it’s deceptive. And tricky. Wedding magazines and blogs show you amazing photos of the cutest weddings, and the whole thing was done on $3 and full of amazing DIY projects. You get sucked in, you find some how-to’s, you pin some things on Pinterest, and you think “I can do this! No problem!”

Yeah … that shit does NOT always work out like you think it will. I thought I could do these “simple’ projects:

  1. Paper flowers
  2. Chalkboard signs
  3. Table numbers
  4. Escort cards
  5. Our broom for the Jumping The Broom ceremony

I may have gone a little nuts in Michael’s buying stuff for these projects.

So what happened when I tried these projects? Let me tell ya …

My first DIY trial was this relatively simple tutorial for tissue paper flowers. I figured they would be cute in the centerpieces and our high-tops at the cocktail hour. Starting out, they were pretty easy, until I discovered that  unfolding layers of tissue paper without it ripping is hard, like calculus hard. I ended up spending up a couple hours making only a few flowers *sigh*.

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

The fruits of my paper flower labor. Could this pass for a real flower for you?

After the paper flower drama I was a little scared to try something else, but I bit the bullet and took advantage of a 40% off everything coupon at Michael’s to get supplies to put together our wedding broom.

Short history – “Jumping the Broom” is African American wedding tradition that began in slavery. Slaves could not legally wed, so they used jumping the broom as their way of signifying marriage, as the new couple “jumps” into their new life together. Today many African Americans jump the broom as a way to recognize their heritage and ancestors. This is a tradition my fiancé and I are both excited to carry on and I was excited to put together our broom.

At Michael’s I got some pretty ribbon, some purple and green flowers … and then I couldn’t find a broom anywhere in the store. Turns out, they don’t carry them anymore except during Halloween. Bummer. And whack. Think about all the money they are missing out on! Anyway, I decided to improvise with some grass looking material that I figured I could secure into a broom shape. It seemed like a good plan … until I tried to actually secure the grass. Turns out, this stuff sheds like CRAZY and it looked really bootleg.

In the words of Sweet Brown: “Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

And that’s when I decided to support some small business owners on Etsy. I found a lovely shop who sold some beautiful wedding brooms, Romancing Juliet. I placed an order, and in only a week my broom showed up at my door. Color me surprised, I was expecting it to take much longer!

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

Our wedding day broom in our wedding colors of mint, lavender & gold

Etsy has completely saved my entire life. I don’t have to worry about getting things done, cause I can PAY people to do them  instead. Who knew? My broom is now taken care of, along with our table numbers and escort cards.

I did finish one DIY projec: the chalkboard signs. That was super easy and actually pretty fun to do. I painted two coats of chalkboard paint onto wooden pieces and then wrote my messages using a chalk pen. I may redo the Escort Cards sign — all I need to do is paint over it!

Real Bride Jubilance: When DIY turns into BUY

Chalkboard signs! Easy to make … or remake if needed

In the end, I ended up trying my hand at a few things, but I also learned that my best skill is finding great vendors who can bring my ideas to life.

Have you had any DIY projects that turned into duds? What about any ideas that were just easier to pay for than attempt to tackle on your own? Tell us in the comments below!

How to Love Your Wedding

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It works better if you love it.

-Danielle La Porte
So, you’re at least a couple of months (or so) into planning your wedding, with a few months (or so) to go. It’s been a bit much, and not quite what you expected. And with so many moving pieces and so many unknown unknowns hiding in the back corners of any choice, it’s easy to start resenting it . The money, the time, the checklists. One of my new brides expressed all of this during our first consult, and I asked her, “Do you love your wedding?” And she said, “Not right now. I love the idea of it. I love what I want it to look like.” Well, that’s a start. “But I don’t really love it,  there’s too much to get through to get there.”

In the quote at the top, Danielle was not talking about weddings, specifically, but if she was, she’d still be right. Planning your wedding works better if you figure out how to love it.

Here are a few ways to start:

Replace the word “overwhelmed” with the sentence “I have a  lot of options.”

It’s the difference between feeling trapped, or feeling like you have choices, because you do. And you have time to go through them, one at a time. Embrace the Pretty. Focus on what you like, instead of what you don’t. And if you have to move on, do it believing what I believe: You will find what you want and need. Because you will.

Replace the word “worry” with “decide.”

Full-stop on the anxiety. A wedding cake isn’t the next thing you have to worry about, it’s just a decision that you have to make … out of the many options that you have. Embrace the Pretty or the Yummy, ask the questions, and trust yourself to ultimately make the right decision.  Because you will.

Replace the word “dread” with “anticipate.”

This is the huge one. And tough, I know. So many things haven’t worked out, it’s hard to take a deep breath and walk through another door hoping for the best. Meet it halfway — hope to see something cool, even if the cool thing ends up being a story about how awful it was! When you’re really at ready to throw something off of something, think about all the people that you can’t wait to see on your wedding day, and all the fun you’ll have, even if the bouquet you wanted is twice as much because peonies aren’t in season. What are you looking forward to on that day? It’s okay if the answer is, “for the planning to be over.” But until then, wait, what did that caterer just say to you??

Replace the word “how” with “when.”

“How am I going to do this?” One Google search and phone call at a time,  like I do. Again, avoid feeling trapped, take back the control and schedule the time to get it done. It could be during lunch, you can shoot a phone call or email out once you get home, but pencil it in. That’s how you do it.

Celebrate everything.

You booked your venue. Awesome. You found three photographers that you can afford whose work you love.  YES. Got through your first bridal shop visit? That calls for at least one margarita break. Found $4 gold chiavari chairs? Brush that dirt off your shoulder, woman. Celebrate each crossed off checkbox, no matter how high up on the list it is. And look for stuff to celebrate. You’d be surprised how quickly that will become a habit. {Eds. Note: We HIGHLY advocate keeping a cheap bottle of bubbly in the fridge at all times during your engagement.}

And most importantly, on your wedding day, CELEBRATE. First of all you made it — because of course you did — but most of all because this is a day that you filled with your choices, that you filled with things that you love, and people that you love. My favorite part of every wedding is watching you have a good time, sometimes despite yourself! Give up, stop worrying and enjoy the day. The love and the fun will all be there waiting for you.

And, there’s your pep talk for the month! What was your last wedding win, and your last wedding frustration? How did you celebrate, or pull yourself out of a funk. Let me know in the comments below!

And if you would like to find out more about me and my part of Wedding World, go to www.silvercharmevents.com.

See you at the end of the aisle,

 

 

Liz

Baby Got Back: Gorgeous Gowns with Great Rear Detail

The past few years of wedding dress fashion have been rife with killer details, but few grab my attention like the ones with absolutely gorgeous designs on the back. So much emphasis tends to be put on the front of the dress, but let’s be real, your back will be facing half your guests during portions of the ceremony, not to mention both the walk up and down the aisle. Why not make sure the rearview is just as gorge as the front? So, in true Broke-Ass detective fashion, I hunted down some absolutely stunning designs that you won’t want to turn your back on (see what I did there?). From illusion details to plunging — yet not overly sexy — lines, each one of these dresses has a back to die for. Here are some of my favorites that I found (Note: Some of these are designer, some are actual broke-ass friendly. All are ones I love.):

D1848_main_zoomEssense of Australia

I love the mixture of the buttons and intricate lace detail, combined with the illusion aspect.

BHLDN Valentina Gown

BHLDN

Ruffles usually don’t do anything for me, but this silhouette is so sleek that the back was truly unexpected.
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Monique Lhuillier

In my opinion, a well-done cowl back is a lot more alluring that a plunging cowl front.

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Naeem Khan

I’m a sucker for a good open back dress that still has an air of modesty.

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Two by Rosa Clara

While butt-bows aren’t a top pick, the styling of this dress is kind of Kate Spade reminiscent and feels playfully classy.

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Watters

Fine mesh and ivy-like lace detail gives this airy dress a super-feminine feel.

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Jenny Yoo

This take on ruffles is a little more toned down, but no less unexpected.

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J. Crew

Swiss dots, man, get me EVERY TIME.

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Sue Wong

The vintage feel of this dress makes me swoon (and y’all, check out that price tag!), but it’s the soft V-back that really pulls the whole dress together.

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CarouselFashion

I mean, you guys. We’ve got lace, sleeves, a V-back, feminine and romantic detail … I die.

Have you seen any dresses with gorgeous backs that made you drool? Share them in the comments below!