Wedding Dress Bliss

Photography: Kelsey Crawford, Emarie

My perfect wedding day has come and gone.  June 10th was the best day I have ever experienced.  Each moment I will cherish forever.  From having morning Starbucks with my best friends, getting ready with all my lovely bridesmaids, seeing Jmo before the wedding, actually getting married, and the reception filled with all the people I love and adore.  Everything was amazing.

I figured I possessed all of this wedding knowledge that needed to be shared.  Everything from the dress, to the flowers, the photography, the decorations, and all the logistics.  Over the next few months I will focus on something related to weddings.  I will go in order of how I planned the wedding, all the way through the wedding day.

We will begin with the dress of course, after all, fashion is the key to everything right? And your wedding day is no exception.

The dress, what most Brides are the most excited about when it comes to wedding planning.  For me, this was the first task I wanted to accomplish.  I knew that I had two years before the Wedding but I was too excited to wait.

Wedding dresses are tricky, they typically take anywhere from 3-6 months to arrive after they are ordered, though sometimes it can be longer or shorter.  In addition to waiting for the dress, after it arrives it will need to be altered, which can take 2 weeks or more, just depending on the type of dress.  So I figured it was better to look sooner rather than later as I did not know how long it would take me to find the perfect dress.

My Preparation

I took my first trip to look at dresses in May 2015.  I decided I wanted my first stop to be at Bridals by Lori in Atlanta.  I decided to bring my mom, sister, and fiancé with me.  I know, bringing my fiancé wedding dress shopping is very untraditional.  Jmo and I share a lot of things, and I knew that not sharing my wedding dress with him for two years was going to be an impossibility.  I also wanted to share such an exciting moment with him, because after all, he is my best friend, so I invited him to look at dresses with me.

Going into my appointment, I knew the type of dress I wanted. I had searched Pinterest for inspiration and was set on a strapless dress, with a beaded corset, and a full skirt.  These were my guidelines and most of the dresses I tried fit this criteria.  I was only allowed to try on 6 dresses, which did not seem like a lot, but looking back I am happy that I did not have too many more options.

Before showing up I had also established a budget with my mom to make sure that we did not look at any dresses outside of my price range.  Unfortunately, I tried on a dress outside of my price range, and I loved it.  Even before trying it on I knew it was a bad idea.  To my surprise, my lovely fiancé was willing to pay the difference if that was the dress I decided to go with.  And guess what? It was the dress I decided to go with.  It was everything I wanted it to be, we added a belt to add a little more sparkle and I was ready to “Say Yes” to my perfect dress.

My Alterations

Being that I got my dress in Atlanta, I decided to have it shipped to my house so that I would not have to return to Atlanta multiple times for alterations.  Since I chose this route I had to find somewhere locally to get it altered.  Bridals by Lori was able to recommend I go to a local wedding dress shop that sells similar priced dresses and ask who they use for alterations.

I chose to go to White Dresses in Huntsville.  I knew they sold dresses at a similar price and they were also an adorable shop, so I figured they would be my best option.  Getting my wedding dress altered there was a fantastic decision, not only was the owner, Morgan, the sweetest lady ever she was also extremely helpful and kind even though the dress I purchased was not from her shop.

Since, my dress was from another shop I did pay a small fee to have White Dresses oversee the alterations, but it was worth it.  I only needed to have the top taken in slightly, the belt sewn on, and the length of the dress shorten.  As far as alterations go, I would say they were reasonably priced, especially for how many layers my dress was.  After alterations, my dress fit perfectly and I was so happy how it turned out.

My Reception Dress

When I walked into White Dresses for the first time, in the window was a beautiful dress, and I fell in love instantly.  I knew that I did not need a reception dress but after seeing that one I wanted it so badly.

My wedding dress that I had already purchased was quite heavy, and since we were having a June wedding in Alabama, it was going to be hot so I knew that it could not hurt to get a lightweight reception dress.  I was able to convince my fiancé this was a great idea too.

Just to make sure that I was picking the perfect reception dress I tried on a few other options as well.  But, the one in the window was the one I went with.  I also knew that I wanted to get pictures taken in New York City in my wedding gown.  However, I knew my ceremony dress would be a bit too big to take with, but my reception dress was going to be perfect for walking around New York City taking pictures.  Our wedding photographer, Kelsey,  is perfect! She did our engagement pictures in New York City, our wedding and reception, and our after wedding pictures in New York City, which is where she currently lives (yes, I am very jealous), but this has really worked out for us.  There are so many amazing detail shots of my wedding dress and they are absolutely beautiful, and I am so thankful that I have them and can share them with you all.

Helping the Process

Looking back on my wedding dress experience, there are a few things that I learned that could be helpful and I want to share them with you.

Go in with Inspiration

Go into your appointment with some inspiration of what type of dress you are looking for.  Decide on key features that you could not live without, and look at dresses with those features.  Pinterest is a great place to look for inspiration, there are so many styles of dresses, so narrowing it down can make the process easier.

Set a Budget

Everyone always says to set a budget, not just with the wedding dress but in everything wedding related.  Researching prices of wedding dresses can be very helpful.  I know going in, my mom and I had no idea what the typical price was for a wedding dress.  So determining a budget at first was a little difficult. Searching local bridal shops or wedding dress designers online can help give a better estimate on wedding dress costs.  Also remember that the cost of a veil, headpiece, belt, and alterations should be included in your budget, as those items will add up quickly.

Alterations

When it comes to alterations there are a few things that are very important.  Shoes, while of course this is important in general, having the shoes you will be wearing on wedding day at your first fitting is crucial.  This helps the seamstress make sure the length of your dress is perfect for the shoes you are wearing.  For me, I changed my mind on shoes a little too close to wedding day and my dress was in turn a little long.  It worked out perfectly fine, but if I were to do it again, I would not have changed my mind so close to wedding day.  I also recommend wearing the undergarments you plan to wear on wedding day, this will help make sure the alterations are perfect and if anything needs to be added or changed you have plenty of time to do so.

Have Fun

The simple task people often forget when planning a wedding is to have fun, it can be overwhelming at times, planning an event with family and friends from all over can be difficult.  But it will be the best day of your life.  So take in every wedding planning moment, the good, the bad, and the stressful and remember that at the end you will be married.

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