#Nutz4SlutzWedding Update: I said "Yes" to a Dress!
I admit, I’ve been “window shopping” for a wedding gown for years. I would haunt wedding gown sites to see all the fun styles, silhouettes, color and materials. I secretly binge watch “Say Yes to the Dress” and drool over all the amazing gowns I would see on so many different women.
But, truth be told….. Iiiiiii was NOT looking forward to trying on wedding gowns…. seriously, I wasn’t.
I was terrified my favorite dresses wouldn’t look good on me, I was worried that my short torso would make specific gowns look like they’d eat me, I was scared my body image issues would get the best of me…and I thought no one would agree with what I wanted.
There were a few things I was excited about….. I was more excited about having my friends, my mom, and my sister there….we even added a few to the entourage <3 (namely my nieces and my sister’s mother in law)! I was excited to take another big stride in the wedding planning process. I was excited it would be my moment….and I would have that “Say yes to the dress” moment….
and those totally outwieghed all the things I was scared of.
I also had to remember all the advice I had not only read, but given, over the past few years on how to find that perfect dress…..I feel like did a pretty good job at taking most of the experts advice….but I broke a few rules as well…. I did make my experience my own and I did make a decision.
Some of the best advice I did take:
I really can’t stress researching early. You neither want to rush into this decision nor do you want to approach this decision without having an idea of what you want.
I have 11 months until my wedding day, and a wedding gown takes about 3-6 months to be ordered and tailored to you, sometimes longer. So, I wanted to get this process done ASAP.
And, when I said I would haunt wedding gown sites to see all the different silhouettes, textures and colors….. I mean I have been receiving emails from BHLDN and Unbridaled for at least 2 years and reading everything about the latest bridal trends.
As little as I wanted to rush into this decision, I knew I wanted to purchase my gown at either Unbridaled or BHLDN in Houston.
Knowing how popular these two salons were….I booked my appointments a solid 2 months in advance and reviewed both websites at least once a week; reviewing their stock and styles to select what I want to try on. Since it was my first time trying on gowns, I wanted a little variety. So I chose six dresses in two silhouettes to try on: A-Line and Fit and Flare.
I made sure to let both salons know which dresses I wanted to try and allowed myself enough time to try at least 1-2 more.
This worked out SO well! Because I chose a good variety of gowns, there were a couple of really close contenders that I initially thought I wouldn’t care for…..and the gown I ended up choosing wasn’t even on the list. I saw it on a mannequin and thought “this is….different”.
Yeah….. Ironic….All that research and the gown I chose was NOT one that was on my radar….it was one I saw in the store the day of my appointment….
But was all that research in vain? No way. The gown I chose had alot of the same qualities as other gowns I had chosen, the fit was unexpectedly SO much better than any of the other gowns, and I wasn’t distracted by things I really didn’t like.
Have a Budget in Mind
The Knot real weddings study in 2018 revealed the average cost of a wedding dress in the US is $1631 with alterations. I planned for about $1500 for my overall gown budget and I made that KNOWN.
I made sure my entourage and both salons knew I was going to STICK to that budget and not go a dime over. Thankfully, my entourage and one salon was VERY respectful of my budget….the other, not so much (the stylist even said “well, if you love it, it may be worth going over budget”….yeah, no.).
The same real weddings study revealed brides typically spend about $250 on accessories like the shoes, veil, and jewelry.
Luckily, my sister has the most BEAUTIFUL veil that she’s letting me borrow for my wedding day and I already have an amazing pair of Christian Louboutin shoes for me to wear down the aisle. I have also bought a necklace for my 35th birthday from the Kendra Scott Color Bar and I’m SO excited to have it for our special day!!!
So at least some of my budget for bridal wear was shaken loose for my dress.
I did not break the bank when I purchased the gown….but I did break one of my own rules…with alterations, I will be going over my budget for my gown.
When budgeting for a gown, ladies, do NOT forget the alterations. Not every bridal salon will do alterations, but they do have a network of tailors and seamstresses they work with. Regardless of these awesome connections, you still need to SHOP for that person who can handle your gowns structure and material, as well as how it will fit on your body.
I do still have to shop for mine, but for my type of dress, in Austin, I know I’ll be looking at spending at least $200-$300 in alterations.
Thank GOD for the ladies of the Junior League of Austin and their amazing recommendations! <3
Bring an Entourage and Not a Big One:
This is another rule I broke…I brought 5 adults and 2 littles to my appointment. My entourage consisted of:
-My Mama, Kathy. One of the most adorable, and picky, women I’ve ever met. Hehe. I was absolutely terrified my mom and I would have so many conflicting opinions regarding what I wanted. I’m getting married at a pretty non-traditional venue, I didn’t want a traditional gown. I’m SO glad she and I ended up being on the same page….she was one of the biggest cheerleaders for the gown I chose.
-My sister, Aubrey, and my Matron of Honor. By far and away the trendiest, most fashionable person I know…..her wedding gown was a gorgeous lace Layla Rose gown that looked absolutely PERFECT on her. She has some very high end taste, and, being my sister, I know she’s just as blunt and honest as I am about things. She can be VERY direct and sometimes, it can hurt my feelings. But, she is super sensitive to my budget, and my taste. She also knows how to reel in some of my fashion sense, and she knows to sensitively remind me how not to go too over the top.
-Two of my closest friends ever, Lizzie and Sarah. They’re my sister friends, they are two of the most opposite people on the planet… it was their first meeting and they’re already best friends. I adore them both so much and I’m SO grateful they were both there. They are both aware that I’m not the most confident in my body right now….. but they both were so unbelievably encouraging and kept telling me how amazing I looked in each. and. every. gown. Every woman needs friends like these.
-A fantastic family friend, My sister’s mother in Law, Elizabeth. A wonderful, honest, funny, and sweet woman who couldn’t possibly be a more awesome mother in law or grandmother. She loves to be apart of all of our big family events and was one of the first people to congratulate us on our engagement. She always brings such a positive energy and I’m so glad she joined in.
Usually I would recommend only bringing 2-3 people to your bridal appointment. That way you don’t have too many conflicting opinions, and too many ideas being thrown at you at once. If you do bring a bigger entourage, like I did, make sure to do what I did and communicate your budget and your style to your entourage.
My littlest entourage members didn’t really get to have too much of an opinion, but I’m SO glad they joined in on the fun! My flower girls needed to try on dresses, and Liza, my oldest niece, was a willing model. She looked absolutely adorable swirling her skirt and doing ballet twirls in the sparkly flower girl dresses at BHLDN . We did say “Yes” to a flower girl dress from ETSY, and I can’t wait to see ALL THREE of our flower girls in their little dresses!
Have Confidence in your Decision and Take Everyones Advice with a Grain of Salt
I had a friend who also purchased her gown at the same bridal salon I did….. I was so scared she’d somehow get offended or think I copied her….but I was ultimately wrong and she’s so stoked we now share this awesome connection.
I have a sister who has the figure of a supermodel and who had triple the budget for her gown. I was so scared I would be compared to her and that any gown I put on would look cheap compared to hers. I’m floored by the quality of the gowns I did try and so thrilled with how my gown looks on me, neither of these fears mattered in the end. Plus, my sister gave me some of the best compliments while I was in my gown, I felt amazing.
I was terrified my entourage would NOT agree with anything I wanted and I would have to wrestle with this Me Vs. Them decision and that ultimately, someone would get disappointed. Through alot of discussion during the first appointment, we were actually able to compromise and find something that really fit my style and my wedding without going too over the top.
I was told certain gowns were “Unforgiving” and that I had to be careful with how certain gowns fell on me. My reception shoes were ultimately rejected….and I made at least two gowns pop open.
Gowns I honestly thought would look amazing on me absolutely didn’t….my favorite gown online became one of my least favorite gowns on me…..I faced the fear of hating my favorite wedding gown and realized it wasn’t so bad. I put on wedding gowns when I wasn’t in the best shape and bloated. I had a surprise dress that almost became the one….. and a surprise dress that did become the one.
In the end, I faced it all, and ti was so worth it to find that one dress.
I did not have the “Say Yes to the Dress Moment”…. I didn’t tear up when I put on my gown, I did not get emotional.
Ultimately….I just did not want to take it off.
Remember, You're not going to go wrong in your wedding gown selection, it's YOUR day and YOUR gown, and if you feel beautiful and it's the RIGHT dress, no one else's opinions will matter but your own and your grooms. It won't matter where you got it, it won't matter how much it is, it won't matter if it's off the rack or custom made, you won't remember any of that a year after the wedding. You WILL remember how it makes you feel.
I said YES to a $1400 (including taxes) wedding gown that I can’t wait to share with you guys. It’s unique with a hint of traditional, it was totally unexpected, and I’m absolutely in love with it. My shopping experience was made so fantastic by my entourage and my BHLDN Stylist. <3 <3 <3
#Nutz4SlutzWedding planning is still going. We’ve selected our date, location, hotel block, food, desserts, DJ, Florist, Transportation….and now I’ve picked my dress. It’s hard to believe it’s both so far out but soooo quickly coming. But I’m SO thrilled to share this journey with you.
Thanks for reading! Til next time!
-Caity CC | Owner and Lead Photographer