To my surprise, finding “The Dress” has been one of the easier tasks in the wedding planning process so far. If I’m being honest, I’ve always known in the back of my mind what type of wedding dress I wanted and conversely, the types of dresses I did not want to wear on the big day. It was finally a part of the planning where not being flexible (I can sometimes be a little stubborn on things), paid off. It may have taken some serious hunting, but it was all over in a couple of short weeks! See below for my likes and dislikes.
– Very Fitted
-Sweetheart or cap-sleeves
Only after much Pintrest research, did I realize the Monique Lhullier Scarlet was the dress I had been coveting and had perfectly nailed all of the elements I was looking for in a dress.
-Too much embellishment- ie flowers, ruffles, etc
To start off the dress hunt-my mom, sister, and I went to M Bride in La Jolla. The boutique was lovely, stocked with lots of fabulous jewelry and veils-pretty much what you would envision a dress shoppe to be like! Prior to going, I read such nice reviews of the boutique on yelp and saw online that they were having a sample sale, which was the type of thing I was looking for to score a dream dress within my budget. Here’s what I learned though- sample sale means only the sample size is available, which is usually a size 8 and altering a size 8 to a size 0 can cost a lot of money. Thus, the sale really would not save me the ton of money I was hoping for. And unfortunately, I just wasn’t drawn to any of the sample dresses. I tried on about 5 dresses there and was smitten with a Modern Trousseau gown- it had a touch of lace and a gorgeous sweetheart neckline, but I wasn’t sold completely. I guess I was expecting a big “moment”. Michelle, the storeowner, said I could get a 15% discount if I bought the dress within 24 hours- which was very tempting…but ultimately I just could not make such a costly decision in that timeframe.
I just didn’t feel like I’d gotten the complete bridal experience yet (y’know trying on 20 dresses, maybe some crying!) so I wanted to see what else was out there. We headed over to The White Flower later that evening. This boutique was a dream- luxurious and relaxing at the same time . Courtney, the owner, was so patient and sweet, even though we were the last appointment of the day at 7pm (she squeezed us in even). Courtney made dress shopping fun and really listened to what I had to say. I tried on about 8 dresses this time, a couple I even tried on twice. I came really close to purchasing an Augusta Jones gown. It fit the bill- lace, sweet heart neckline, and fitted. However, I still just wasn’t sure. I kind of thought that dress shopping was like finding the right guy- when you know, you just know. Since I didn’t have that feeling yet, I decided to wait.
After endless browsing, I ended up finding my dress online. It’s everything I was looking for. I’m bursting to share it with everyone but you’re going to have to wait until after the wedding to see it! But here are a couple of details to hold you over: it looks a lot like the Scarlett and it’s a Pnina Tornai creation.
I’m really glad I went dress shopping early, because it was eye-opening. Here are some things I learned:
1. Literally, there are millions of dresses out there. I feel like you always see the same ones online. I never would have known about certain designers without going into the boutiques.
2. Lace dresses are expensive.
3. Alterations are expensive too.
4. You may have to cut your budget in other places to get your dream dress.
Quick Tips from B & A: If your budget dress shopping, it is a-okay to shop online. Try reliable sites like Oncewed and Preowned Wedding Dresses. Looking for a particular designer that no one local carries? Stay connected via facebook, twitter, and the web, to see when they are having a trunk show near you! October/November/December is the best time to shop for wedding dresses, because most brides are not thinking about dress shopping during the holidays, and boutique owners have to to make room for new spring dresses coming in, which equals bargaining and deals for you! Whether you’re buying online or in store never be afraid to ask for a discount- you won’t get it unless you ask!