As I write this blog post, I’m having a hard time staying awake. And no, unfortunately it’s not very late in the evening.
I woke up at 5:00 to go to the gym (highly unusual!) and actually got out of bed and went (more unusual!) I was feeling SO good and really proud of myself . . . until I left the gym at 6:30 and promptly got a phone call from school that we had a two-hour delay.
Excuse me, what!?
At least I could come home and take my time getting ready and do a few things around the house before going in. But still. 5 a.m. Sheesh.
In other news, it’s Wedding Wednesday!
Once Justin and I got engaged, one of the very first things I started planning was . . . my wedding dress!!
A few things I have learned about wedding dress shopping through my own experience and also from several friends sharing their experience with me:
1. Set a budget! Wedding dresses come in a VERY wide range of prices and it’s easy to get sucked up in the tulle, rhinestones, and chiffon and get carried away into a dress that is way more than you want to pay. Be very upfront about your budget to the wedding dress sales associates and be very clear that you only want to see dresses that are actually in your price range. Also don’t be afraid to shop the clearance racks or buy a dress right off the rack to get a discount.
2. Take 2-3 people dress shopping with you. Too many people = too many opinions. This is your day and your dress and it should be exactly what you want! I went dress shopping two different days; the first day I went with my mom and future mother-in-law and the second day I went with my two sisters. For me, having two people there was perfect! Just enough people to get feedback and affirmation but not too many that I felt overwhelmed with opinions. This also worked because everyone I took had a clear idea of what I wanted and what was going to work on my body and was super supportive; I do not recommend taking anyone who you think will try to make you wear the dress they want even if it’s not what you want or be critical of your taste.
3. Take pictures along of dresses you like . . . I took 3-4 magazine pictures of dresses I loved. Again, you don’t want to take along too many pictures — just enough to give the sales associate an idea of what you’re looking for.
4. . . . but keep an open mind! While I ended up getting a dress just like I was picturing in my mind, many of my friends say they got something the complete opposite of what they originally thought they wanted. One girl wanted a floor length mermaid gown and ended up with a tea length dress full of tulle. Another friend thought she wanted something very glitzy and beaded but she ended up with a beautiful floor length gown with lots of tucks and not one single bead. So be willing to try on a few dresses that are nothing like what you thought you wanted; you might surprise yourself! Also be willing to try different veils, belts, and other accessories to make the gown “yours.”
5. Have fun! This is not supposed to be a stressful day. When I went with my sisters, we made it a whole day: lunch, shopping (not related to weddings) and lots of girl talk. We laughed and joked during all the dress fittings and the sales associate did a great job of keeping it light and fun. Don’t put tons of pressure on yourself to find the “one” dress immediately. It took me two shopping trips to find the “one” so don’t worry if it’s not one of the first few that you try on.
All the dresses above were ones I tried on and liked for different reasons, but there was always something about the dress that didn’t feel quite right. The dress I ended up picking out was chosen for me by the sales associate. She saw the pictures I brought in and selected a few from their racks that she thought would fit what I was looking for. I wanted something with lots of detail and I wanted a very dramatic train. I also wanted something fun that I could have a good time and dance in without worrying about messing up the dress all day (I’m a pretty big klutz!)
I chose this stunner from designer Justin Alexander. I don’t want to sound cliche, but the moment I tried it on I knew it was the ONE. It was exactly what I was picturing in my mind and I didn’t want to take it off! (All photographs below are taken by the phenomenal Rothwell Photography — check them out here)