I've always known that dress shopping was going to be tricky for me. Working in the industry, there’s a vast difference between a dress that makes an editorial statement and a dress that’s truly me. I’m a traditional girl, or at least I plan to be a traditional bride, but I'm also surrounded by beautiful bridal pictures and go to photo shoots with amazing dresses as part of my job description. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, I just knew my experience was going to make finding THE dress all the more difficult for me.
I started my search in Minneapolis at Monique Lhuillier. I love lace, and no one does lace better than Monique, so it seemed like the logical place to be. Donna, the sales manager, was amazing in helping me determine which silhouettes worked best on my frame. I loved the look of a slight trumpet, but every time I put one on, I was hyper aware of every curve in my body. I stood more upright and I was continuously critiquing myself and talking about a hard-core wedding diet—for the sanity of all parties involved, we decided to nix a cut that would leave me on the Adriana Lima diet.
From there I went to L’atelier Couture in its new North Loop location. I loved the mod, fresh-feeling space and owner Amanda Kautt is amazing at styling the perfect look for any discerning bride. She took me through some of my favorite designers: Vera Wang, Oscar de la Renta, Amsale, and my posse (the MOB, MOG, and two BMs) ended the day all in love with two different Vera dresses. (See the fashion spread in our upcoming issue for one of the options! I swear our fashion editor pulled it without any knowledge of what I was looking at!) I loved both Vera dresses, but the front runner didn't have lace, which is something that I always envisioned myself wearing, so I tucked that one away, ready to see more.
The following week, I headed to Chicago to meet up with my MOH, a few friends, and my mom, and we went on dress shopping round No. 2. We started off our first day with a trip to Starbucks; a little caffeine never hurt anyone, right? As we were gearing up to head out into the world of white taffeta and lace, a man walked up to my mother and poured his coffee all down her arm . . . intentionally. Thankfully, she wasn't hurt, but it took her all of about three minutes to realize that while we were distracted by the whole scalding hot coffee situation, he stole her wallet. Not the perfect start to our wedding shopping weekend. My mom was shockingly calm, far more so than I was, and she sent me on my way to my first appointment while she dealt with police interviews and security footage.
Luckily, our first boutique wasn't all too promising, so my mom didn't miss out on much. My gals and I had fun by trying on some really over-the-top gowns--just to rule out the highly editorial look--and my belief that lace was the way to go was reaffirmed.
At our next appointment, with my mom in tow, I ended up falling in love with a tulle dress with a natural waist and lace-looking appliques. It remained on my mind for the duration of the trip (both my mom and dad were able to see it and teared up . . . the quintessential movie response I was hoping for), but I still wasn't sure. (I'm practical enough to know that I probably am not going to have that aha moment, but still, I do want to be generally sure before making a purchase.)
When I returned to Minneapolis, I notified Amanda and she was familiar with the gown because it was a designer that she carried. She had it shipped in and I was able to try it on with her styling expertise at work. She talked me through some of my concerns, and I was able to show my future sisters-in-law, all who gave it a positive thumbs up.
My final wedding dress shopping endeavor involved a trip to New York with just my mom . . . the experience we had been dreaming about for years. The first day we hit Saks and Amsale (yes, I admit, I do watch Amsale Girls , so that was a fun perk to see Linda, Emily, and the rest of the cast at work). Though I didn't find any dresses to top my previously chosen gown, I did find an adorable LWD for the rehearsal dinner. One thing checked off the list.
I was the most optimistic about my Saturday shopping appointment. We were scheduled to visit the Mark Ingram Bridal L'atelier, and both my mom and I had appointments. There was a Peter Langner trunk show taking place, and he was actually there to help us throughout the process. My mom was drawn to his slim silhouettes and he worked with her directly to discuss colors, bead work, and the like that would fit her MOB vision. In short, he was amazing.
And the geniuses at Mark Ingram honed in on my vision right away. They brought me a Monique dress that I've seen probably 100 times before, but they made some modifications to the bodice and added some styling effects that were just perfect. It's too soon to say if this is THE dress, but I think it just might be....
Riding on the high of having found another favorite, we headed to lunch to celebrate. And it was there that I spotted the one and only Vera Wang, casually chatting on the phone in the lobby of The Carlyle Hotel. When she finished her call, I approached her like an awe-struck teenager and explained that I was the editor of a bridal magazine in town shopping for my dress. She graciously conversed with me for a few minutes before agreeing to pose for a picture. If that isn't the perfect end to a perfect weekend, I don't know what is!
Now, I'm back home and torn between my two favorites.
How did you decide when you chose your dress? Any advice for a torn bride-to-be? Share with us on our Facebook page!