dear friends! please excuse the lack of blogging this past week. i had the most relaxing time at home in chicago with my family. i have to take a moment here and say i LOVE going home. wherever home happens to be - chicago, virginia, chicago again - my mom knows how to make any house feel comfortable and familiar. home will always be where my family is. we had the best time this week going about our annual traditions (stay tuned for an upcoming post!), reading by the fire, playing silly board games, watching Father of the Bride (yes, my dad and i cried - we love that movie!), AND wedding dress shopping!
and, sweet readers, i found THE one!
to be honest, i was pretty nervous about the whole experience. i love fashion and wanted something romantic and different from most of the gowns i'd seen in all the bridal magazines - but i still wanted to look and feel like a bride. that and a pretty strict budget had me worried that i might have trouble finding a dress in just one week's time (the length of time i was home with my mom and sisters).
so with head held high and armed with my notebook of every inspiring photo, fabric swatch, magazine cut-out, wedding detail or whimsy that caught my eye, i braved my first appointment... and, it went incredibly well! the bridal consultants were cheery, my mom, sisters, and aunt were wonderfully supportive, and it was just plain fun to play dress up for an hour!
a couple pieces of advice for all you sister brides-to-be (hi ladies!) -
1. take photos of what you like (and perhaps, what you dislike) with you. this proved extremely helpful for me as i met with each consultant in an overwhelming sea of satin, tulle, and lace. knowing what i liked help cut down on wasted time trying on bedazzled ballgowns.
2. then stick to your guns! if you know you don't want a mermaid gown, let the consultant know (and then tell her again, nicely, when she brings you three mermaids she just thought you'd adore).
3. bring only the few, the trusted, the smiling. as much as i wanted all my bridesmaids to participate in dress shopping, i really loved sharing the experience with just a few women from my family - my mom, my sisters, and my aunt. i purposefully wanted to go with them because i knew they'd make our time special. i brought my mom because, well, she is my mom and i couldn't imagine trying on a wedding dress without her and because i trust her ability to tell me the truth in the most loving way (whether good or bad!). my sister Kirby because she is a protector of me - not only from others but also from myself. i knew if i started to freak out or feel ugly, she'd be the one to encourage me. my sister Audrey because she is hilarious and brings a necessary lightness to things. my aunt Carol because she has impeccable taste. seriously, the woman has incredible style.
4. take photos. at one point, i had one sister snapping away on my phone and another on the camera. at the time i thought it was overkill, but a few days later when i couldn't remember if the dress i thought i loved had buttons in the back, they were a great help!
5. play! but don't be afraid to make a decision. dressing up should be fun - so twirl, try on a veil, and enjoy feeling beautiful. but, and i wish i didn't have to say this, you must know that the gown shopping must come to an end. it must. or you risk walking down the aisle in spanx and heels. let yourself choose and then never look back. i was so glad to only have one week to find a dress, especially after witnessing the complete meltdown of a bride in the room next to me who had been trying on gowns for over 6 months. the poor girl could not make a decision and was tearfully calling anyone who would listen to ask if she should go with the birdcage or elbow-length veil. she'd tried over 100 dresses. no girl needs to put herself through that kind of agony.
standing in front of the mirror in my dress, i could imagine walking down the aisle to this wonderful man i am so blessed to be marrying. i needed nothing more to convince me it was the one. now, if only june weren't so far away!
unfortunately, because m checks this little blog of mine from time to time, i cannot post a photo of the dress i chose. i will have to reveal it post the big day!
click on images for source