In my daily life or "real job," I work in marketing and merchandising for a furniture manufacturer. This week is the Showtime fabric show in my hometown of High Point, NC, so my team and I are spending our days in fabric showings and evenings at our showroom to plan for next market. Needless to say -- not much time for blog writing this week.
I thought it would be fun to share a post I wrote forever ago about my dress shopping experience and how I ended up purchasing a wedding dress online. Even if you're not in a wedding season of life, I hope you enjoy and can share with someone who might find this post helpful or interesting.
I have had "my wedding dress" picked out since 2014 (I know this because of the screenshot date from my camera roll). It was a long-sleeve, off-white BHLDN dress with a fitted, high-neck top and a tulle bottom. Very simple, very plain. I always thought it would be stunning with a bold lip, green and white flowers in my hair and some gorgeous heels.
As soon as I got engaged (or maybe even before...), I went on the hunt to find this discontinued dress. After searching every resale site out there, I finally found one on eBay but it was several sizes too big and had some wear-and-tear. I looked more closely at the real-life photos of the dress and realized the fabric was super thick and the tulle looked kind of cheap. As disappointing as this realization was, it presented the opportunity to experience shopping for a new dress to love.
So, I rounded up my crew and visited several ateliers and dress shops. Each time, I would find something I liked, but the price tag would be too high or I didn’t feel that it was unique enough for what I was going for.
A tip for wedding dress shopping: Tell them your budget upfront and make sure they know there is no wiggle room. One time at a shop in Atlanta, I had my "this is the dress!" moment until I was handed the dress information. It was $2,000 over budget. How does that happen?!
^^ This is the dress, captured by my bridesmaid AB. My mom wanted some alteration to the plunging neckline^^
I had similar experiences at a few other places. One time, I tried on a veil that cost as much as my entire dress budget. I did love the veil and even considered cutting something else from the wedding to make it work but didn't end up doing it. I am glad I didn't because it was so windy during our ceremony that I had to completely remove my veil after getting stuck inside of it during a wind gust!
Finally, I was casually looking online when I spotted a pink dress on Needle and Thread London. Anyone who knows me will testify that pale pink is my all-time favorite color, although I hadn’t really considered a pink dress until that moment. I sent a quick screenshot to my mom and ordered it on a whim.
I went looking for the link to the dress while writing this blog and saw that it has been discontinued from Needle and Thread but was still available through Net-A-Porter.
Serendipitously, the dress arrived while my mom was in town visiting so I didn't have to try it on alone. Which, by the way, is basically impossible to do because of the way you have to put this dress on over your head. When we pulled it out of the bag, we were not hopeful. It was more saturated pink than I had anticipated and I didn't like the neckline in person.
When I actually got it on, we were pleasantly surprised! Neither of us had the "this is it!" crying and hugging moment you might expect to have after watching Say Yes to the Dress, but we did really like it. I held on to the dress while I hunted around for others (including the visit to Atlanta) but I always came back to the pink.
To make the dress a bit more custom -- and to fix the neckline I didn't like -- I had it altered at Alabama Reweaving in Homewood, Alabama. They converted the straps into a sweetheart neckline and added a thin velvet ribbon around the waist. We had the hardest time finding “the perfect pink” to match until the woman doing my alteration went to the back of her shop and emerged with the exact amount of ribbon in the shade we needed. It felt like it was meant to be!
We used the pink from the dress to inspire the rest of the wedding selections, from the flowers to the invitations to the confetti.
The cost of the dress was under budget, even with the alterations -- another huge perk of online wedding dress shopping.
For those thinking about their future dresses, my advice is to do something fun and unique! Don't be afraid to shop online or even on sites like Poshmark where you can get great deals. I'm working on another post now sharing some dresses I would wear if I could somehow pull off having multiple wedding per year while still being married to Sean...
The dress also photographs really well in black-and-white! Most Needle and Thread dresses would look the same. Major shoutout to Natalie Schram Photography for capturing it so well.
In summary, my top tips for dress shopping:
1) Don' be afraid of something out-of-the-box unique in color or style.
2) Shop online in addition to in person.
3) Have a firm budget and clearly communicate it everywhere you go.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for this week's Friday Favorites!