Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rouching and Poufs and Trains-Oh My! Attempt 1

I'm 97.6% sure that I spent more time finding my wedding dress than I did on anything else in the wedding planning process. How did I accomplish this feat? It required a grueling regime of: 1) a general lack of wedding dress research; 2) poor organizational skills (like not charging your camera, so you have to try on the same dresses twice because you can't remember what they look like); and
3) doing things willy-nilly (which ensures you will do things in the least efficient way possible).

I followed this system for about 2 months. I tried on approximately 71.5 dresses (that 0.5 dress I got on half way and knew it was going to be a disaster). I visited 8 bridal stores on both coasts. I visited 3 people's homes to try on their used gowns. I searched online. My mom sent me listings from Craigslist.

And it wasn't until mid-search that I finally developed a list of criteria I was looking for (a tactic which also helps prolong the dress search by a month of so). My hope was to find a dress that: didn't have rouching or beading, wasn't satin or super fancy schmancy, had a sweetheart neckline and wouldn't break the bank (I didn't want to to know I could feed a small village with the money spent on my dress).

Rather than discuss every. . . single . . . stop along the way (which would take me 115 posts), I'll just inundate you with photos of myself in dresses (many of which are not too cute [note to self-try to comb hair and wear makeup sometimes]). I guarantee you'll be sick of looking at me by the time I finally get to the dress that I bought.

In this post, I'll show you (some of) the dresses that I tried on in the stores. I'll give the designers and names of the gowns when I know them, but I tried on so many, that the details have often gotten lost in the muddle that is my brain. Holler if you know any of the style numbers.

In no particular order (as my life seems to have lost any semblance of order):
1. The Wedding Party, in Berkeley. They only have 1 appointment at a time here, which was fabulous. The consultants are the co-owners, and the one that I worked with was so nice, and had great suggestions. They had very reasonably priced, beautiful gowns.
A Nicole Miller number. It felt very art deco, which would go great with my engagement ring. But it felt a bit matronly to me (another note to self: photos from below=not flattering).

Such a sexy back on this one! But the front was 'meh', and showed every nook and cranny of my body (and I'm no dieting maniac, so that just wasn't going to work).

I wasn't taken by this one, but my girlfriends (ie advisers) loved it.

Nicole Miller HG0013. I loved this dress. I tried it on at multiple stores. But I didn't like the way it looked wrinkled at the bottom (it's supposed to look like that-it has metal in the fabric).

2. Kate's Kouture in Berkeley. As soon as I walked into Kate's I knew I wouldn't find my dress there. The owner told me right away that they didn't have anything simple, which you can see is true from the photos below. Hello bling! I should have turned right around when I walked into the store, but I don't think that's proper etiquette (I bite my thumb in your general direction, Emily Post).

(headless photos alert [probably better for all of our sakes])

3. Trudy's in San Jose. I loved Trudy's (so much that I went there twice). I went over my appointment time on both occasions, but they didn't rush me out. Looking back at these dresses, I would have been really happy with any of them, but I wasn't "ready" to buy at the time (I hadn't mentally [or emotionally] prepared myself!).

Pronovias La Sposa. Probably the most flattering garment I'll ever wear. But the heavy satin just didn't make sense for our outdoor wedding.

Mori Lee #4164. We pinned it to have a sweetheart neckline. We were this close to buying this dress. If we had, it would have saved a lot of time and money (but I like to make things difficult on myself). 

This dress was gorgeous! And flattering. But it had weird pickups (is that even the right term?) on the sides of my knees, which were a bit odd.

4. Bridal Galleria in San Francisco. The owner was so sweet, and had the best French accent.
Loved the one-shoulder, but it seemed a bit "opening night at the opera" rather than "wedding dress". I'm getting a kick out of the lingerie in the background.

Simple, but I liked this one. (Hello super hero pose!)

5. Glamour Closet in San Francisco. Rad store. They have sample dresses, so designer gowns are sold at a great discount. And the place was impeccable. Like hypoallergenic impeccable. You put little clips on the hangers of the dresses you want to try, and the consultants bring them to you, so customers like me aren't dirtying the gowns up with our grubby hands.
By Lian Carlo. I loved this gown. The lace flowers were sewn on so they popped up a bit. (Ooh! 3-D!) I would have bought it on the spot if it was in my price range. It was originally just under $5000, and was reduced to about $3000. Still too much for me. (And I think I was going for the androgynous look with my hair and makeup that day.)

Too tight. I could barely walk. But it had a bow on the top that was very cute indeed.
(Hi there dad! Looking good.)

Sheesh, are you totally sick of me yet? This is only a few of the places I visited, and just a sampling of the dresses I tried on. Everything started to blur together. Looking back, there were many gowns I tried on that I would have been so happy with, but I think I had reached gown overload and nothing was standing out anymore.

Did anyone else have gown overload? How many dresses did you try on to find YOUR dress?

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