I went met family from all over the southeast in Atlanta this weekend to do my first round of dress shopping. It was an emotional experience, to say the least.
In my party was my 13 year old sister (maid of honor), mother, grandmother, aunt, and, unexpectedly, my father.
I had two appointments, one at Bridals by Lori, and one at BHLDN. I also was armed with the phone number of a local boutique I had heard great things about and wanted to try to squeeze in in between the two, if I could.
When I started at Lori’s, I knew my dress budget was only about $2000 so I asked to see outlet dresses. They were shoved, unceremoniously, in a closet. I picked out a few, they sat my party in the middle of the sales floor, and took me into a dressing room. It wasn’t a bad experience but it wasn’t a great one. None of the dresses were anything special, the treatment wasn’t anything special, and I, honestly, kind of felt forgotten because it was outlet shopping.
My appointment ended with me liking a dress, and writing it down, in under and hour. As soon as I left I called La Raine’s Bridal Boutique, the shop I wrote their phone number down, to see if they could squeeze me in. They could, so we rushed over there.
I was joyfully greeted at the door, and they showed me around the shop. Downstairs they had their sample sale gowns, and they were in a room displayed like any other dress. They gave us a minute to look around down there, before bringing us upstairs.
We were placed in a private room, with couches and big mirrors and a small dressing room inside it. My family got to hang out comfortably while I tried on the OVER FORTY they picked out for me. They gave us free range of the store, and let me try on as many as I wanted.
I, like many brides, am trying to lose weight and feel a bit uncomfortable about my body. But they made no big deal about getting modesty panels for the back of the sample dresses (though Lori’s made a show of it) and the sales associate, Deysha, was fabulous. Even my father said she was simply a joy. I truly felt like the only bride in the store!
I tried on a bunch of dresses that I felt like they were very pretty. And then a tried on a strapless, sweetheart full lace A-line gown. And I started crying before she had it zipped and clipped. It was so light, so comfortable, and I felt like I did on my first date with my FH, which was me wearing a short white lace dress. Every dress became compared to that one, and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I cried like a baby in it.
And then I found another that rivaled it. It didn’t make me cry but it made me gasp, and made me feel formal, while the other felt more suited for a beach wedding. It was champagne with an ivory lace overlay. I knew my FH had told me the one thing he wanted was a white dress for me, so I couldn’t pull the trigger.
I spent 45 minutes going back and forth between those two gowns. I was upset, pacing, and unable to make a decision. Deysha stuck by me, and encouraged me, and told me her opinion truthfully. It didn’t help.
Then my mom comes in with a different dress. The store manager tells her that it won’t work, the waist is too low, and it’s only a slight A line not a full A line, and every dress I really liked was a natural waist and a full A line. But my mom, being the pushy, strong willed woman she is, insisted I try it on.
And wouldn’t you know it, it was perfect.
It was a perfect blend of the two dresses. It was lace, it was sweetheart, it was formal. It had buttons up the back like I always wanted. It hit every single thing I said I wanted in a dress. It even had a layer of sequined fabric under the lace for extra fun. But I wasn’t crying like I did with the full lace one.
So I had to think, what made me cry about the floor length, lace dress? And I realized, it was because I looked like I did on our first date, but fancier. And I didn’t want to look like I did on our first date.
The put a belt on the dress, put a birdcage veil on my head, and suddenly, tears.
This was the dress. It was everything I wanted. It fit the level of formality I wanted. It was gorgeous.
So, here’s the dress!
I love it. The designer is Gardenia Bridal. It was within my budget, and yet my mother paid for it! In contrast, the long white lace one was over a thousand dollars over budget.
I am beyond ecstatic for my dress. They are doing a custom length for me to minimize the hemming, because apparently hemming sequined fabric is very expensive.
I canceled my appointment at BHLDN. I never made it there. My experience at La Raine’s was amazing, and my dress is just perfect!!
TLDR – got a sequined lace dress. love it.