I couldn't help but show a sneak peek of our big day on Friday, but now wedding week is officially underway!
As much as I love fashion/clothes/shopping & all that, The Dress was not the top of my wedding day MUSTS. Sure I needed a dress to wear, but it wasn't one of the details that I OBSESSED over. That is until I won a 20% off coupon to a boutique wedding dress shop in Brooklyn, New York. Thus the idea was sparked that my sister & I just had to take a trip to NYC for wedding dress shopping. My sister & I hadn't ever taken a solo trip together, so it was a great way to celebrate sisterhood and my entry to the world of married people. You might remember that weekend whirlwind recap, but if not, check it out here.
Obviously, the first time I tried on wedding dresses, I hadn't ever done it before, and learned as I went. So I thought that sharing my experiences might be helpful to others out there too!
Some factors to consider BEFORE you shop, selecting a store:
1. What is the range of prices carried? If your max budget is $1,000 & the dresses at that shop START at $1,000 you might want to pass. Sure they might have ONE $1,000 dress, but you are going to fall in love with the $3,000 one every time Budgeting is much easier when you aren't temped by gorgeous white gowns… they blind you I tell ya!
2. Do they allow you to take pictures? If you aren't sure you want to lay down the big bucks and take the dress home that same day, pictures to remember the dresses by are key, but not all places let you snap away.
3. Is there a sample sale coming up? Again, if you can wait for a sale, it might be worth it to your precious budget. Call around, these are mostly openly advertised.
4. Champagne? I mean, you want to make it an experience, right!? Call ahead & have that bubbly ready for you on ice!
On the big day, don't forget:
1. Your shoes, undergarments, accessories. Sure you might not have the exact pieces yet, but start to get an idea. Do you want a sash? Should you bring the flower crown that you purchased the day after you got engaged, even if it means wearing it on the plane so it doesn't get crushed in your carry-on… probably.
Also, most bridal salons put the dress on you, so whatever you are wearing under your clothes they will see it. TIP - at least bring a nude no-show panty and nude strapless bra for starters.
2. Do your hair & makeup. You are going to be done up the day you actually wear the dress, so take extra time to gussy yourself up for the try-ons. You will feel more bridal.
3. Patience! Yes, this is YOUR time, but you also might be 1 of 10 brides in the shop that day… patience my dear!
4. Not everyone cries when they find The One. TV shows might have ruined us on this one. When you put on the dress you end up buying, you might not get all emotional, everyone is different.
Biggest advice (applies to all aspects of wedding planning) - when you make a decision, stick with it and move forward. Once you walk out of the store gown in hand, that is your gown (again, your budget will thank you).
So now, where I tried on dresses.
Dress Shop 1: Olia Zavozina, Nashville TN
I already had the NYC trip booked, but my Maid Of Honor was in town, so we popped into this local designer's Nashville dress shop. It was hands down the sweetest, least stressful dress shopping experience I had - bestie, bubbly, beautiful dresses. This designer's line is also now carried at Nordstrom for anyone interested.
Dress Shop 2: J.Crew 5th Avenue Wedding Salon, NYC
Wow, what a let down! I always imagined myself in a J.Crew gown, but this dress shopping experience ruined it for me. Unfortunately my sister's plane was delayed, so I had to go to this appointment alone. They put you in a dressing room with the dress options they have on hand (usually 3 - 6), then walk away and leave you. Lots of selfies and "do I look pregnant" in this thoughts later… I was out of there!
The upside - in the grand scheme of things, these gowns were pretty affordable. I liked the one in the middle the most for $600.
Dress Shop 3: Macy's Herald Square Bridal Department, NYC
Definitely the most options here! But no bubbly & no pictures allowed (we broke the rules… shhhh) Overall we left feeling overwhelmed. The prices were decent for a major department store (start at $1,000), & if you have a clear idea of what you want going in, Macy's most likely has it. I was waiting for the right dress to find me, so that many available options was not helping me narrow down what exactly that was.
Dress Shop 4: The White Gown, Brooklyn NY
This is the shop I had won the discount to, & the final stop on our wedding dress shop tour. I immediately LOVED the vibe of this shop. Boutique like, every dress was absolutely stunning, and superb bride treatment! I ultimately fell in love with 2 dresses, & knew that one of them would be MY DRESS… I probably put them each on 5 times, going back and forth. Again, I made my decision and then stuck with it, but even now, I know I made the right choice for me!
Dress 1 was covered in lace, with an open back and fitted through the hips.
Dress 2 was fitted to the waist and then flowy, with a totally open back and dotted Swiss tulle.
Once I put it on with the veil I had this "OMG I'm getting married" freak out… in a totally good way!
So that is my wedding dress shopping story. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!
P.S. Nashville bride-to-be ladies, don't forget to enter to win tickets to The Not Wedding!