I did, I did! I found my wedding dress. Eek!!
I’m not going to share details about my dress, but I have decided to share my dress shopping experience with you, along with some of the other “close call” dresses. (Warning: this is a lengthy post with lots of pictures.)
I’m sure I’ll catch some grief for sharing pictures of me in wedding dresses before my wedding, but how often will I really get to play dress-up in wedding gowns? It was so much fun and I tried on so many pretty dresses that I just can’t keep the whole experience to myself. Besides, I like to think I will look much different in THE dress on our big day.
Jimmy’s parents came in town for a week in February, so I thought it would be the perfect time to go try on dresses so that Jimmy’s mom could be a part of it. The day after our engagement party in Savannah, we all piled in my mom’s Explorer and headed to Jax for a 4:00 appointment at Alfred Angelo.
While we waited on my consultant, we browsed the hundreds of dresses.
I was at the same place almost a year ago when one of my best friends was wedding dress shopping, which is why I decided I wanted Alfred Angelo to be my first dress stop. We had such a great experience before and it was exactly like what you see on ‘Say Yes to the Dress.’ (For real, I lived through the real experience with Randy Fenoli himself!) After a few minutes, my consultant, Sherry, called us over to the seating area and asked me a few questions about what I envisioned wearing on my wedding day.
Being on this side of things was so different! I was nervous, excited, shaky, jittery, and couldn’t wait to try on dresses. I told Sherry what I liked and didn’t like, what I wanted and didn’t want: mainly that I wanted a romantic, classic and timeless dress, and I really wanted lace. And no bows.
Sherry took some notes, then went to pull a few dresses she had in mind from my descriptions and pictures I showed her. I headed into the dressing room, piled on the corset, slip and heels, and started modeling for my girls.
We’ll talk about the first dress last.
The second dress I tried on was this lace mermaid dress with a high neckline, cap sleeves, an organza bottom and keyhole back (AA style #2454). I knew I wasn’t going to like it, but tried it on anyway.
Next up: a charmeuse semi-mermaid dress with embroidered cascading flowers and ruching (AA style #2362). Again, it just didn’t feel “right” when I put it on, but I still wanted to see for myself.
A beautiful dress, but not for me. I wasn’t crazy about the material, it seemed to hug all of my “wrong” parts, and I’m not really crazy about tiny little flowers on my wedding dress.
Next was fun and sparkly little number from the Princess Jasmine collection with a jeweled neckline, organza bodice, and multi-tiered ruffled skirt (AA style #215).
The weaved bodice was flattering in the mid-section, I loved the train, and I liked that the dress was fun and had some personality, but still – it wasn’t the one. Too bad, because Princess Jasmine was one of my favorite princesses!
The next weekend, I went home to Savannah and decided to visit David’s Bridal with my mom, my sister Sarah, 6-year-old niece (and flower girl) Bailey, and one of my matrons of honor, Brittnee. Sarah and Bailey weren’t able to make it to the first appointment, so this gave them a chance to be a part of the dress shopping experience and me another chance to try on more dresses. Shopping at David’s Bridal was much different from Alfred Angelo, and much more pleasant that I expected it to be. I still had a consultant who pulled dresses for me based on what I told her I liked and didn’t like, but we also had the opportunity to walk through the entire store and pull any additional dresses that we thought I should try on for ourselves.
First up was this strapless lace A-line gown with a side split and subtle jeweled detail (DB style #YP3344).
I actually really liked this dress, even more the second time I tried it on. It was classic, simple yet elegant, left a lot of room to spice it up with accessories, and made me feel pretty. But it also seemed a little too classic and lacked the personality I wanted it to have. After all, I’m only getting married once, so I want to wear a dress like no other dress I’ll ever wear again!
Next, I tried on a Vera Wang organza fit and flare with a modern flange skirt (Style # VW351011).
I liked how the dress fit and the diagonal drop-waist, but I wanted a sweetheart neckline and I wasn’t crazy about the big flowery thingy in the front. Maybe if they were smaller cuts?
Next up, a fun and spunky vintage-inspired Galina Signature trumpet gown with a basket-woven bodice and ruffled tulle skirt (style #SWG523).
The dress was beautiful and totally would have fit right in with our Gatsby-esque wedding theme, but I wasn’t loving the way it accentuated my “pooch,” and it wasn’t a timeless enough look for me. It was fun to play with, though!
The fourth dress I tried was a sweetheart tulle A-line gown with lace appliques by David’s Bridal (style #3587). (Ha, just realized the style number is my birth date!)
For a few minutes, I thought this was the one. It was light and comfortable, left lots of room in the hip and leg area for dancing, the perfect combination of classic, elegant and modern, and it was flattering in all the right places. I LOVED the train, loved the color variations, and it made me feel feminine. I still love this dress.
The last dress I tried at DB was this Oleg Cassini strapless ball gown with an organza ruffle skirt (style #CWG568). Let me start by telling you that I didn’t want anything poofy, I didn’t want a ball gown, and I didn’t want any crazy ruffles. (FYI: It wasn’t really this puffy on my hips. There was a layer bunched up that we didn’t catch until later, but didn’t get any pictures of it the “right” way.)
I don’t know what it was about this dress, but I REALLY liked it! Maybe because it was so unexpected? It was so fun, had personality, and I absolutely loved the detail on the bodice. And that train! (I am such a sucker for a long train.) The seamstress came out and fitted it to me perfectly, they put the veil on me, and I was sold. I rang that bell and said “yes” to that dress!!
But before going through the whole buying process, we walked next door for a late lunch and planned to pop back over after we ate to seal the deal. Annnnddd then I thought about it. I looked back at pictures of the first dress I tried on and changed my mind. (Oops, I’m so sorry sweet consultant at David’s Bridal!!!)
No dress yet. At this point, I was confused, frustrated and wanted to be done. Two days later, my friend/bridesmaid, Amanda, accompanied me back to Alfred Angelo so that I could try on dress #1 again and compare the two back-to-back. While I was there, Sherry found two more dresses for me to try.
One was this A-line gown with a sweetheart neckline and re-embroidered lace (AA style #2438).
Crap. I liked this one, too. It was the lace that I wanted, had the train that I’m such a sucker for, had the perfect neckline, the lace-up corset was my BFF, and I was nearly sold when she put that rhinestone belt on. Talk about confusion! I still wanted to put the original on again.
The second was this organza A-line gown with a deep sweetheart neckline, an embroidered bodice and rhinestone accents (AA style #2450A).
It was extremely lightweight and pretty, and I liked the silhouette of it., but it felt a little too princessy for me. I was going for the classic and romantic look, not fairytale look, so I vetoed this one. The $699 price tag, however, sure was tempting!
Finally, I put the very first dress back on and before I got it all the way up in the dressing room, I knew it was the one. I walked out and Amanda’s eyes teared up (it was the first time she’d seen it). I think it’s a pretty good sign when another bride is trying on dresses next to you and she and her entire entourage turn their heads and tell me the dress looks like it was made for me. I looked at myself in the mirror and saw the bride I wanted to be on December 13, 2014, realized I was covered in goosebumps, eyes were watering, and I had the biggest grin on my face. That’s when I said “yes” to the dress, and the whole store cheered.
I’m not going to give you any details about the dress that I chose, but I will tell you that everyone’s faces when I came out the very first time I put it on said it all. I got the exact reaction I wanted to get when I put on THE dress.
And to think I hated it when I saw it hanging up! Thank goodness I listened to Sherry. I still can’t believe it’s the very first dress I tried on. The biggest shocker: it’s nothing at all like the dress I thought I’d wear, and nothing at all what I initially wanted. Funny how that happens!
I am so happy that I found the dress that I’m going to walk down the aisle in. The dress that I’m going to say “I do” and commit my life to my person in. The dress that I’m going to party the night away in, celebrating with friends and family. The dress that made mine and Jimmy’s mom cry. The dress that’s everything I dreamed of and more. The dress that was made for me. I can’t wait to put it on again when it comes in next month!