Monday, June 9, 2014

Wedding Week: Saying Yes to the Dress

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.

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.

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!


  1. Great tips! I like how you didn't just go to one place or one type of store! Ill have to keep that in mind!! I love the dress you ended up with!

  2. I do NOT understand why places don't allow you to take photos! That is just plain silly to me!

  3. From watching Say Yes to the Dress, I think it's supposedly to stop people from finding a dress they love there and taking the picture to find it cheaper elsewhere after the store has already helped you. I understand it, but I also think it's kinda stupid.

  4. I love that you have the pictures to go with the narrative! Plus, I love the dress that you chose!

  5. i love your final choice! these are great tips!!



  6. Wait, some places seriously don't let you take photos? That's the weirdest thing I've ever heard! Either way, you look gorgeous in everything–but I LOVE what you finally landed on!

  7. I must admit, I was one of the ones who cried when I tried on my gown. LOL. I just knew it was the one. Love the tips and you look lovely in your final choice.


  8. This is such a great and helpful post! I hate when stores don't let you take photos- I can understand why, but it's just dumb. It's 2014, people!

  9. You look absolutely gorgeous! When I first tried on my dress I knew I loved it, but I didn't have that "OMG" moment, after trying on other dresses and then going back to the one I originally loved I had that certain emotional feeling and absolutely knew it was the one! I don't get it until September which seem soooo long!!

  10. All of those dresses are absolutely beautiful . . . but "your" dress definitely suits you and you looked absolutely stunning!

  11. I can't wait to share all of the dresses I tried on - gotta get hitched first, though :) The store I found my dress in (The Dress Theory) has a location in Nashville (only Nashville & Seattle & San Diego - kind of fun) and I wish you had gone there, although you obviously ended up with the perfect dress. For any friends in Nashville, I HIGHLY recommend you have them check it out!!

  12. You look stunning! These are all great tips. It brings me back to when I went wedding dress shopping - so much fun! I also took a trip (but to San Diego with two of my besties & my mom) which ended up working out fabulously for me too.

    Another tip I will add if anyone cares....I had my trip to San Diego booked already but went to my local David's Bridal with my BFF a couple months before. I, like you, had never ever tried on a wedding dress before so I had NO idea what style I would like. I tried on EVERY style I was interested in at David's and was able to narrow down what styles I liked and, more importantly, what styles I definitely didn't like. That way, when I went to my appointments in San Diego I was able to say "I want this, this, and this." It was SO helpful because I didn't waste a lot of time once I was actually ready to buy my dress. Maybe people working at a David's Bridal wouldn't necessarily appreciate this (since I went in knowing I was NOT buying a dress there) but how else do you figure out what you like/don't like?

    I can't WAIT to see more!!

  13. These are great tips! Champagne....I consider that a MUST!

    26 and Not Counting

  14. why does EVERYTHING look so good on you! and can't take photos?! that's crazy!!

  15. Great recap and advice! After shopping at 4-5 stores with my sister, I learned the same things...It is a long process and not everyone knows right away. But you eventually figure it out. You totally picked the right dress for you!


  16. Wow you tried on some seriously gorgeous dresses!! My very favorite is the one on the far right from the first store. You look stunning!

    These are some great tips I wouldn't have even thought of! Thank you for sharing them along with all of your pictures!

  17. Great posts for future brides. I was not too set on expectations on my wedding dress and found one at David's Bridal for under $200! I was not too sentimental on my dress and my criteria was that as long as I am happy with it that's all it mattered. I ended up donating my dress and hope it made another happy bride.


  18. Wow, I had no clue that some places don't let you take pictures! That is ridic. I've also recently learned that some places put a limit on how many people you can bring with you to your appointment, so that was pretty eye-opening too! Anyway...thanks for the tips! I love the dress you picked...that silhouette really suits you and the subtle polka dots are so freakin' cute!

  19. Not that I'm shopping for a wedding dress soon, but definitely love your tips! You're dress was perfection!
    xo Adri

  20. that's so disappointing about the j.crew shop because i've always thought they would provide such a good experience given their image and reputation! glad you found something else you loved though :)

  21. How fun... and amazing tips! I went shopping with my sister last year and we did not have the bubbly but she definitely had that moment of "this is the one" and she didn't cry, but I did ;)

  22. OMG - you can barely tell those are faux peonies - great idea! And you look lovely!


    -Jenny, DaisyGem


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