How Will I Know If I’ve Found “The” Wedding Dress?

What type of wedding dress is best for my body? How will I know if I’ve found the right wedding dress? Will I know when I’ve found my wedding gown?

So what if you’ve gone wedding dress shopping, and didn’t find “the one”? And then subsequently went to another shop, and still didn’t find the dress that brings you to tears?

I’m here to tell you two magic words. It’s oooooookay!

Shows like Say Yes To The Dress alter the way we look at the dress shopping experience. The privilege of having both your parents, your future in-laws AND your childhood, high school, and college best friends attending the appointment is more than likely not a possibility. You aren’t always going to have a dress concierge that’s as sweet and attentive as TLC’s Monte. And more often than not, you won’t be poured a glass of champagne to ease those nerves.

Here’s a couple tips to remember when you go to your appointment:

  1. Try on all the different dress styles. Yes, even the ones you aren’t immediately drawn to. I had no idea what style dress I wanted or what would even look good on me! I tried some crazy absurd styles since I’m not too traditional anyway.

Yes, that’s a black dress. And yes, thanks a red jersey knit gown. And yes, I seriously loved them!

I tried the halter top. I didn’t hate it.

I tried two giant bow backs and channeled my (non-existent) inner Carrie Bradshaw.

I tried on a dress with ruching in alllllll the wrong places.

I even tried on a super full ruffle bottom gown and I thought it was sooooo much fun to twirl in!

I tried on a 2-in-1 style that was immediately christened the “vegas” dress.

I tried on some unique geometric cutouts on an otherwise very simple dress.

I tried on a gown that I really liked, with material called “horsehair”. I’m not making that up. Horsehair. And funnily enough, it doesn’t look like horse’s hair whatsoever. It’s really neat structured “waves”. And I loved the asymmetry of its design.

2. Don’t bring too many people to your appointment because too many people = too many opinions = too much confusion… I’d recommend 3 people as a good number of appointment attendees. Save yourself the sad tears (I had plenty) due to an unfiltered, and senseless opinion from someone.


  1. Don’t be deterred by dress sizing. Some gowns will have European designer sizing, while others are nowhere near the typical size you have in your closet. Wedding gowns are their own category with layers of tulle and lining, and lace and other material that fits much differently than you think.

  2. Be open to a dress that isn’t a true white. More often than not, brides will choose an ivory or champagne undertone, since a pure white isn’t the most flattering color.

  3. Set a REALISTIC budget. By that, I mean, if you are leaning toward Galia Lahav or Inbal Dror, be sure that your max budget can accommodate that.

  4. Don’t be afraid to break tradition! Try on some nontraditional colors! Or maybe you’re not intimidated at the thought of purchasing a used wedding gown. Sites like stillwhite.com and preownedweddingdresses.com feature good-as-new condition gowns for half the price of what the owner paid! There’s some bargaining room here, too. Buying from a designer trunk show or sample sale (purchasing a dress as is- maybe it’s been on the rack for while) can also save you money! You can even find some unique wedding dress finds at non-bridal shops. (I found my elopement dress at Macy’s on sale!)

  5. Determine your venue’s dress code. Will you need to purchase a lace shawl or piece to be church appropriate? Will a long train and cathedral length veil make sense for an outdoor ceremony with lots of natural foliage and terrain?
  6. 2015-11-07-11-23-50Ask the professionals for advice! Ask the salon consultants for their suggestions based on your likes and dislikes. They know their collection and inventory the best, and can pull some options for you!

  7. Try on a veil! It will really pull together the entire look. I promise when you see yourself in the mirror with a veil in your hair…. you’ll get this tiny sigh of satisfaction like, “wow. I actually look like a bride!”2015-11-08 12.39.06.jpg


  8. Give yourself ample time to shop and for fittings! If you’re not purchasing a dress that’s ready to leave with you that day, keep in mind that some designs are sent out of the country and hand made to order! This could take 6-9 months. Make sure you’re scheduling enough time for subsequent fittings and alterations.


  9. Close your eyes and appreciate how the dress feels. Is the tulle itchy? Is the layering too heavy to dance in? Maybe the mesh sleeves don’t provide enough movement for your best “raise the roof” dance moves.

Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 10.05.36 PM.pngI literally could not move in this dress without fear that I would rip the seams.

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Despite my face, I came close to loving this dress. That mesh near the armpits was a deal breaker since I couldn’t lift my arms over my head!

“Will I know when I’ve found my wedding dress?” Maybe. aaaaand maybe not.

I didn’t have the tears-down-my-cheeks-jumping-up-and-down-while-clapping-my-hands reaction.

Did I secretly hate the other bride’s entourage of girls who were squealing with satisfaction sharing overwhelming “oohs” and “ahhs”, holding up signs like “love it!” or “this is the one”? Yes. Ohhhhh, undoubtedly yes.

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NOT my entourage.

Was I jealous that that bride got to have her entire bridal party share the special experience? Um, duh. With 9 bridesmaids who all live in different states, I went shopping 3 different times by myself, and 4 times when my mom was visiting. #WeddingDressSelfiesAreIncrediblyHardToDo

Was I totally baffled at how the last frumpy dress I tried on looked like a million bucks on the bride next to me? Uh huh.

Did I use the phrase, “I don’t hate it” more times than I can count? You betcha. I think the following facial expressions have proven that my Poker face is terrible.

Was I totally off-put by those darn alligator clips on the back of the dress and completely clueless as to how I was supposed to feel pretty with them on? Yuuuuuup.

(But hey, at least Happy Bride gave me pink clips!)screen-shot-2017-02-07-at-10-19-52-pmI can’t even count how many dresses I tried on. But I knew that if I wasn’t feeling it, I just wasn’t feeling it! And to quote the magic words of wedding dress shopping? IT’S OKAY!

No, I didn’t have the unequivocal feeling that I had found THE dress I would wear for my wedding. But what I did have was a “hmm” moment. And that “hmm” moment for me was when I couldn’t stop thinking about one particular dress. No, I wasn’t dreaming about it every night, but I found myself saying, “well I did feel beautiful. It did have the elements I wanted.” Consciously, I was holding onto hope that I’d find a perfect dress. Why is it okay to not have “that” feeling? Why is it okay to be indecisive and to leave your appointments without a dress in your hands? Because it’s normal. It’s a huge decision, and likely a huge financial decision too! I’m one of those people that can never decide which restaurant to eat at, so naturally, a wedding dress choice wasn’t going to be much easier. If you typically like to wait for “signs” in order to move forward with a huge financial decision, that’s okay! If you want to look at another store before walking away with what you think might be the gown… that’s okay too!

Know what’s also okay? HAVING THAT REACTION!

If you can’t decide on a dress, or haven’t found the perfect one for you, try making a list of elements and styles you gravitate toward.

I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew some elements that I loved in photos, and had pinned a million times on Pinterest. Mention your favorite materials or dress elements to your consultant. Years of competitive soccer blessed (?) me with thunder thighs and a strong booty… so I wanted to show it off. I’ve gravitated toward those “scrunch butt” bikinis with ruching down the middle, and my Ideal Gown Mental Checklist had that as #1. #2 on my checklist was a unique back. Maybe it’s a cool cutout or design, or a beautiful arrangement of bling straps gracing the shoulder blades.Screen Shot 2017-02-07 at 10.29.55 PM.png#3 Lace. Lace makes me think “princess” more than a typical ballgown would. But that’s just me! To some women, “princess” means hoop skirt and fullness. Other women want to avoid looking like a “princess” completely! I went to 7 different bridal salons. And not once did I have the moment where I said “THIS IS THE ONE!” I didn’t cry. I didn’t have my bridesmaids there to celebrate with me. I didn’t leave the bridal salons knowing that I had found my wedding gown.

And you know what? IT WAS OKAY! 

 

The dress I kept thinking about was one I had tried on 3 different times on 3 separate days. A dress that had a ruched bottom (my #1), and a really unique back detailing (#2). It also had the most gorgeous lace with a slight shimmer (#3).

2015-11-11-12-01-282015-11-11-12-02-57It wasn’t something I used to close my eyes and picture as my dream wedding gown, but truthfully I didn’t have a particular vision anyway. I was so badly craving that moment I thought I needed to have. When really, I just needed to hear that even though I didn’t have those tears, IT’S OKAY! I decided that this dress was my dress. And my dress became the perfect dress.

I ordered it from a store in North Carolina that was priced the lowest. I pretended like my wedding date was in September so the order (hand made in Israel) would be rush made and shipped. (Does this white lie make me a bad person, or strategically paranoid? I plead for the latter.)

After missing the original delivery at my doorstep, I drove around for an hour trying to locate the UPS building that my wedding dress was being held at. Excuse me for not thinking the Quick-E Mart with bars on the windows and taped up bullet holes was where my beautiful (expensive) dress would be held at.

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the ACTUAL store!

After notifying the authorities of my location (okay not really, I just texted my police officer fiancé), I parked my car (and “beep”-locked it about a thousand time for all the potential criminals to hear). The store clerk reached behind a glass case with visible drug paraphernalia (“for tobacco use only”) and handed me a Zappos shoe box with the name Dylan on it. I cry-chuckled, and had a look behind the counter myself to see that each of the boxes left could not possibly fit a giant wedding gown. Fighting back tears, I realized my gown was MIA. I proceed to have some… “heartfelt” words with UPS customer service, only to be informed that they’d been calling a 705 number to get a hold of me and let me know the package was redirected. Didn’t bother to update the online tracking or email and text notifications… just wanted to call someone random person in Ontario. Makes sense, right? So I start my journey 30 minutes in the opposite direction and finalllllllly meet my dress. After a full day of WEDventures, I FOUND THE GOWN.

 

I had 4 dress fittings with an amazing seamstress in Pompano Beach. Shameless shout out to Alterations by Reina. img_3609This sweet, sweet lady spent so much time making me feel and look beautiful. That’s her photo bombing my alteration selfies. I trusted her so much that even those pair of scissors didn’t scare me. (Okay, yes they did, but I was confident that she knew what she was doing)IMG_3636.jpgSo I’m not sure if “seamstress” is a synonym for “miracle worker” but Reina sure was. If you find yourself a professional and reputable alterations shop, the possibilities in creating your dream dress are endless. That’s exactly how my Macy’s one shoulder elopement dress turned into a beautiful lace sleeved custom gown.

Now that long train has to go somewhere. IMG_3082.jpgThat “somewhere” is into a bustle. A standard bustle has 1-5 buttons in which loops of thread (or snaps) are pinned under your bottom to “shorten” the length of your dress for ease in dancing after the ceremony. My bustle? img_3649Oh, my bustle had 21 buttons. That’s not a typo. I had TWENTY-ONE buttons for my bustle. 12 on the under layer, and 9 on the outside lace.

So don’t get discouraged if you do not have “the moment” you think you’re supposed to have. Not everyone cries. Not everyone “knows”. I didn’t. But my dress was perfect for me. And in Blackjack standards, I won with 21 (buttons that is).

Now go have that “hmm” moment you deserve. Happy Planning!

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Check out the Thin Blue Line Wedding blog post for more photos of my dress on wedding day!

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The Classic Movie Romance

Years ago, engagement pictures were a half hour session full of prom-style poses in a local mall. With the expansion of social media and advanced technology evolution that includes digital picture frames, the photos we take and share are more elaborate than ever. More thought, effort, time, and money goes into pictures of ourselves and our family. From the hair and makeup, to the ideas that no one has done before, we want to be remembered. Valentine’s day studio sessions, quiceńera photos that rival a full production, and elaborate gender reveal parties. Call it vanity, or a desperate desire for physical memories of life events; photos are no longer candid polaroids. 

For a while, I didn’t think marriage was for me.  So when I finally met my real life prince charming, my entire stance on the celebrations of anniversaries and relationship milestones changed. I knew when it came time to have my engagement photos taken that I wanted something beyond the average studio session. I wanted something that truly represented us and our interests. With schedules that could not be more opposite, Warren and I rarely get time together. I wake up at the same time he’s getting home from work. When I’m getting home from meetings all day, he’s already left for the night. And the every-other-weekends we get together only happen if I’m event-free. Needless to say, “our” time is precious. When the universe finally aligns, we’re both beyond exhausted from long events or a stressful week, that all we really want to do is curl up on the couch, put in a frozen pizza, and watch a movie. That being said, yoga pants/gym shorts, and contacts out, are the normal “date night” attire.

I had seen viral photos circulating of couples who did their engagement photos while working out, or at their favorite pizza parlor. (Both things Warren and I absolutely love to do together), but I wanted something more. When our photographer, Martha, from Unique Design Studios asked us to come up with some ideas, I was forced to hone in on what really made us, us. “What do you like to do as a couple? What makes your relationship dynamic?”

Well… our date nights are mainly movie-driven. We were on to something.

Warren and I are old souls. We have that classic movie romance. What do I mean by that? It’s the chivalrous, timeless, no-eyes-for-anyone-else love seen in Casablanca-esque movies. And what makes it even better is that we actually love those classic films! I’d say one of the most unique elements of our relationship is the mutual admiration we have for old black & whites. Some of our favorites to watch together are Sunset Boulevard, Singin’ In The Rain, and It Happened One Night.

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Sunset Boulevard 1950

Anyone who knows these movies is aware of some of the most iconic scenes and movie plots in cinema history.

Sunset Boulevard is the story of a washed out movie star longing for the cameras and red curtain once again, replaying old films to anyone who will watch. 


A runaway heiress and news reporter cross paths and the unlikely pair fall in love while breaking the law in It Happened One Night.


Now where could I find a setting that was stuck in time, where we could be transported back to the 1930s? A good friend suggested I check out the main street in Homestead, Florida. Upon some further photo research, I found that its downtown really looked like a scene from one of these films.

mr2_4906A portion of the street spanning no larger than a quarter block, housed an old theater. Originally opened on November 26, 1921, the Seminole Theater had been recently revamped without any formal grand opening. I contacted the appropriate managers and scheduled a time to see the building in person. As soon as I was taken into the main theater, my heart fluttered. It was perfect. The empty stage was adorned on each side with a seemingly never-ending red velvet curtain.

Since the theater hadn’t been used since its renovations, you could still smell the fresh velvet of the theater seating. 

Across from the original town hall just next door was a lonesome clock pole, which immediately made me think of a well known part in Singin’ In The Rain when the main character does a dance number while hanging from a street light.

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I was sold on the location right then and there.

Not only did we find the quintessential 1930s town, but the movie theater itself held so much meaning to us with our shared love of watching films.

Without going too kitchy or overdone with the “classic” theme, I knew I wanted to modernize the timelessness of our love with a modern twist. But what should I wear for my engagement pictures? What colors look best? What style dress looked best for my body? I didn’t want the typical decade-appropriate bright red lips and long pearl necklace. With the help of my favorite website, Lulus.com, I risked an online purchase and ordered a gorgeous floor length, ¾ sleeve navy lace dress that I never tried on and accented with silver dangling earrings. GP Exclusives gave my normally limp, bone-straight hair some volume and to-live-for curls. Dressing up for our photos felt really nice, and also really different, since our norm is comfy clothes!

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curls on curls on curls on curls

mr2_4432I told Martha we wanted to recreate versions of the iconic love scenes from our favorite films and, well, our photos speak for themselves…

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“Singin’ in the r… sunlight!”

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Clark Gable & Claudette Colbert in It Happened One Night
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“I proved once and for all that the limb is mightier than the thumb.”
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“Why didn’t you take all your clothes off? You could have stopped forty cars.”                 “Well, ooh, I’ll remember that when we need forty cars.”

The black and white effect Martha edited with really added to our timeless look. Is it just me or does everyone look better in black and white? Haha.

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So, when it comes time to take your engagement pictures, it might feel like a whirlwind. A list of questions like, “What do I wear? What are ways to make my picture unique? How should I do my hair?” and Pinterest searches of “best engagement shoot outfits” or “what to avoid wearing for engagement pictures”… my best advice to you would be to simply stay true to your relationship.

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The End (and a nice end at that)

Happy Planning!

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all photos courtesy of Unique Design Studios  

Here Comes the Blog…

Your Pinterest Wedding


 

You’re getting married! (Cue the excited squeal) Does it feel real yet? Maybe you’ve been too busy trying to fit the term “fiancé” into any and all conversation.

Question: How many photos do you have of your engagement ring? ____*Whatever number you insert here is totally fine, because it’s completely normal to want a picture of your left hand holding your coffee mug (even though you’re right-handed), and who doesn’t need a picture grabbing an apple at the grocery store, right?

 … point is, it’s okay to fill up your phone’s memory with picture after picture trying to capture every angle of your newest bling.
Once you’ve gotten your fill of ring picts
Once your camera roll runs out of space
Once your fiancé bans any more pictures of your ring, it’s time to get down to business.

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Now, like most millennials, you’ve already planned your dream wedding with the help of your good friend Pinterest. You’ve probably also been fed the unrealistic expectations from your arch nemesis… Pinterest. Funny how that works, huh?

Let’s call this “friend” Pin…elope.

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See what I did there? Like Penelope. Heh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So like any friend, Pinelope has some sound advice most of the time. You picked out some fabulous color schemes and she even gave you the links to find décor accessories. (She’s so organized!) But Pinelope was also carried away looking at nail polish tutorials and shirtless Channing Tatum photos when you told her your budget. Soooo Pinelope starts showing you these gorgeous acrylic centerpieces. You. Fall. In. Love. Like, slightly more in love with that Lily of the Valley bouquet than your own engagement ring.

Just kidding, Ring, nothing will ever replace you. My precious.

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So you start Googling where you can find those 3 foot tall vases and extremely rare flowers only to have a florist confirm that the acrylic pieces were indeed custom-made.

Custom-made = $$$. And that 5 tier cake your bestie pinned for you? 1/5 of your total budget. You and Pinelope don’t talk for a while. How could she?! Waving something in front of your face that you clearly couldn’t afford. Psh. What kind of friend is she? (answer: the hypothetical, anthropomorphic kind)

But then she shows you this really cool recipe for s’mores dip, and the next day you’re both looking at Channing Tatum again.

By trial and error, you’ve learned to be a little cautious of Pinelope. It was fun scrolling through wedding photos pre-engagement until you worked out the dollars and cents of it all.

Lesson: Soon after your engagement, set a budget. And once you set that budget, add about 20% more of what you’ve allotted. And then a little more.

I’ve had clients who were accountants that still went over their budget. This doesn’t mean they were bad with money, or that I referred them to the most expensive vendors I could find. It just means you need to be realistic, and that there’s often “hidden” costs (taxes, service fees, county fees, etc.)

We would all love to spend $10 a head for food and beverage. But would we all love to be in the bathroom during garter toss because of those $5 Taco Bell Gordita Supremes? Creo que no!

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Your budget will depend on a lot of things. Guest count, location, menu options, vendor preference, types of flowers, etc. Sit down with your fiancé and discuss what’s most important to you in regards to your wedding. Are you set on a venue with a 5 star rating? Do you have 12 aunts and uncles on each parent’s side, step-siblings, and more cousins than you can remember the names of? Family kinda, sorta, unfortunately, automatically gets an invite- so make sure to account for a massive guest list because of this. Have you decided that your entertainer of choice HAS to be Maroon 5? … okay, maybe not Maroon 5, but your pricey local cover band “Burgundy 4”. Then that becomes priority #1. If you’ve always dreamed of a destination wedding in the Bahamas, rest assured that only a small number of guests will make it so you can splurge on other elements instead of the guest list.

Only you know what is most important to you. So communication is key. Communicate your “must haves” with your fiancé, your parents (if they are contributing to the wedding) AND your planner. She/he will become your best friend. (Second only to Pinelope.) There will need to be compromise as well. Your fiancé likely won’t understand that the Berta gown you must have is worth more than an average used car. By the same token, you probably won’t understand that top shelf liquor is his utmost priority. After all, he and his fraternity brothers have to relive those Kappa Beta Sigma Drunky parties.Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 6.31.12 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get discouraged when your Pinterest wedding isn’t as feasible as you once imagined. Your planner can help you find ways to achieve certain looks and styles, while still adhering to your budget. It’s a good idea to sort through your “Dream Wedding” board and narrow down what you do and don’t like so that when it comes to the actual thing, you’re not scrolling through thousands of pictures wondering why you ever posted that dress or this color scheme back in 2010.

And it’s okay to still divulge in Pinelope’s suggestions, just make sure you don’t get your heart set on that Juliet Rose bouquet.

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Avert your eyes if you’re suceptible to falling in love with things outside of your financial means.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*That’s a 15 million dollar flower, by the way. Don’t believe me?http://financesonline.com/10-most-expensive-flowers-in-the-world-orchids-roses-priceless-plants/ )

Now go take more pictures of that ring because YOU’RE ENGAGED!

Happy Planning,

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