Tips on Finding “The One”… dress that is

Now I get to talk about my wedding dress. Eeeeeeek! I love my dress!!!

Before I start I have a major Tip for you: Budget!!!!! If you walk into a dress shop with a dress budget set at $2000 you need to understand that there are hidden/unexpected costs. I’ll give you the break down. My mom decided she wanted to buy my dress for me. Our budget??? $2000! We began looking at dresses around the $2000 mark. The one I picked, which you will see soon, was actually a little over $2000. About $2250. Not bad you say. Well, then I needed a veil. My Cathedral veil was an extra $500. Oh, but don’t forget about alterations. They charge per project. For example; they charged for the hem, taking in the waist, shortening the shoulders, adding a bustle (well for me 3 bustles), and for taking in some at my thigh. Each was charged separately with its own pricing. My $2000 dress budget soon added up to easily over $3500. Keep in mind your budget should include veil, accessories, shoes, and alterations along with your dress. Now on to the rest…

So at the time I began planning our wedding I had only been in the area about 2 years. I hadn’t exactly figured out where the best dress shoppes were. I was planning to take a trip to Columbus to look into some bridal shoppes there when my fiance told me to just go downtown to Henri’s. Now Minerva, OH is not exactly the “big city” and I had never heard of Henri’s Cloud Nine until I moved into the area. I assumed it was a small town shoppe for prom dresses and wouldn’t have much to my liking by way of bride’s dresses. Elliot told me it would be my only stop. I thought he was crazy at the time, but it actually became my only stop for a wedding dress.
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I found out very quickly that Henri’s is not like David’s Bridal. I had looked through David’s Bridal’s inventory online and realized just how plain all of their dresses are. (If simple is your style then David’s is the perfect place for you, but I love more of the couture, glamour style for myself.)

I actually tried on 10 different dresses the first time I was in Henri’s. I highly suggest you go looking at dresses by yourself before taking your mom or friends. When I walked in I immediately had a sales attendant take me to the bridal section upstairs. She was very attentive and got all of my information written down and started pulling dresses I wanted to try on. I had a general idea of the style I wanted but nothing set in stone. I also walked in with my “bridal binder” in hand. I highly suggest making yourself an organized bridal binder that will keep everything together and also help keep you sane during the craziness of what is wedding planning. Here, here, and here are a few blog posts that I used to get my bridal binder ready. (Maybe I’ll show you mine in a later post.) My sales attendant at Henri’s was just so surprised that I had only been engaged for a few days and I was already so organized.

Any-who, in my binder I had pictures of dresses that I had found on Pinterest that I liked. I also had a couple of printed pictures I had found from Henri’s website. I didn’t end up going with any of the exact pictures, but it was a good starting point and gave my sales attendant a good idea of what my taste was.

Once I had the dress options down to 2 from the original 10 I brought in my entourage. Now if you haven’t seen any of the Say Yes to the Dress shows then you won’t know what the one mistake is that almost every bride makes… If you do watch the show then you’ll understand where I’m coming from.   The one mistake that every bride makes when going dress shopping is bringing too many people. The more people there are the more opinions there are. Stick to the basics.

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Originally I was going to have my mom, my matron-of-honor (who didn’t yet know she was the matron-of-honor) and my fiance’s mom. 3 people total! My matron-of-honor ended up not being able to come so my dad drove down with my mom which ended up being very good that he was there. My fiance also suggested that I invite his grandma for her fashion sense and for the bonding time. It was a great idea because then I had two from “my side” and two from “his side”. (I say that in “” because there really weren’t “sides” but we are from different families.)

Now for the one that I actually picked…

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imageJustin Alexander Dress 9774. This is THE DRESS!!! Gorgeous! Going in I knew I wanted a lower back, not strapless, and mermaid. After that it was up to comfort, price, and emotions. Well, the emotions won out. Haha! My mom started crying as soon as I walked out in this dress! That was it. That was the deciding factor in the end. She still says it’s because when she looked at the dress the front brought your eyes up to my face. The focus was on me, not the dress. She saw me as a bride instead of seeing the dress as a wedding dress.

I was kind of picky when it came to the alterations. I am not a fan of bustles. In fact I think it’s safe to say that I HATE bustles. Mainly because they end up looking like a folded fabric (which is just what they are.) I feel like bustles take away from the dress. So I told the seamstress my feelings on bustles but my need for one and she was able to experiment with it and we decided to have 3 bustles put in instead of just one. It added a little more flow and structure to it so it didn’t look just like one folded piece of fabric. (Tip: When it comes to the fit and the style of your wedding dress be picky. It’s the one dress that you’ll wear when all eyes are on you. You want to be comfortable and look fabulous doing it. Talk to your seamstress during alterations and let her know what your concerns or questions are. Seamstresses know what they’re doing and they know what works and what won’t.)

These pictures are of me during my final fitting. My mom was there to learn how to help me into the dress and bustle it. (Here’s a tip: If your dress has buttons have a crochet hook on hand. It is so much easier to button everything up with the crochet hook.) You can see how much detail there is just in the front of the dress. There is so much beading, embroidery, layers, lace, satin, and jewels. The whole dress was basically 3D with a layer of all lace roses underneath the layer of appliques.

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The reason it was a so good to have my dad with me while picking out the dress was because he was able to approve the neckline lol. (My father’s idea of a low-cut dress is a regular sweetheart neckline.) He also helped me practice walking and dancing after the alterations were done. Tip: When you are in for a fitting in between alterations do a practice round of walking in your dress to make sure the hem line is a good length. You wouldn’t want to trip going down the aisle. Also, practice dancing to make sure the bustle is at a good place so you won’t trip on your dress as take a step backward. This was one thing we noticed when we tried it out. I kept stepping on my dress every time I would take a step backward. My seamstress had to move my three bustles up higher to avoid this. One more tip: If your dress is a mermaid or trumpet style dress that hugs your hips try sitting in your dress. I actually didn’t sit in my dress until I was hiding before the ceremony. It was a little concerning but I was able to do it lol.

Here’s another Tip I learned from this whole experience: Veils do NOT move on carpet. This is why a runner is used down the aisle. Well, I am not a fan of runners because they get all bunched up and messed up and they never stay where they should and people trip over them, etc, etc, etc. Luckily my “aisle” was the wooden dance floor so I didn’t need a runner. However, to get to the dance floor I had to walk on the carpet. So my “Fairy god-mother” held my veil as my father and I walked toward the dance floor. Once there she laid it down and let go. So keep in mind a long veil will NOT move on carpet. It will quite literally pull out of your hair. Even while getting ready in the back room I had to have someone pick up my veil so I wouldn’t be pulled by my own hair piece.

Update: In a couple of weeks we should have our wedding pictures and I will post some of them to show you more pictures of my dress as well as all of the amazing details my family and I were able to put together in those short 5 months of planning. I hope you enjoyed reading about my wedding dress. Check in later for more wedding planning and tips.

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