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Even though we love wedding traditions like no one’s business around here, we can’t say it often enough: when it comes to wedding planning and budgeting, there are no requirements except what’s important to you, the bride and groom! Sometimes getting creative can be a great way to save money or cut costs in your wedding budget, especially when you can shift those savings to the things you’d rather prioritize instead. One idea for how to do that? Skip the brand-new wedding dress, and go with a consignment option!

After all, most wedding gowns have been worn once and then professionally cleaned, so the difference in wear-and-tear between a new and consignment gown is quite slim. And lucky for us, the South boasts some lovely consignment and sample bridal shops that offer the full bridal appointment experience so you won’t miss out on your showstopping “this is the one!” moment. One of our favorites is Meant to Be Boutique in Lexington, Kentucky, where they believe that regardless of how a dress got to their shop, a bride’s dream dress was always “meant to be” hers, and her shopping experience is their top priority! (At your appointment, you’ll have the entire shop to yourself to peruse with mimosa in hand!)

Meant to Be Boutique bride Natalie is one of many brides who didn’t intentionally seek out a consignment shop, but found one to be among the best local options: “It was more that I just wanted to check out the cutest bridal boutique in my town. I ended up being so pleasantly surprised with my experience!”

Aside from the potential savings, there are also reasons to consider a previously-loved gown. Buying off the rack is a great option if you have a short engagement and don’t have time to wait on a brand new dress to arrive from the manufacturer. Consignment shops also have a wide, ever-changing inventory of unique, one-of-a-kind dresses that are not limited to the current season’s availability! They’re also a great “green” option to reduce your wedding’s environmental impact.

Thinking of going this route? Bride Kathryn noted that, “There was mostly only one of each dress, so if I saw one I liked, I had to see if it was a size close enough to mine to make it fit with alterations.” Most dresses you fall in love with at a consignment shop will need adjustments, but as Kathryn said, “In my experience, every girl needs alterations, so it really doesn’t make much difference!” Bride Paige adds, “I wasn’t phased by trying on consigned dresses – I knew that Meant to Be wouldn’t accept anything that hadn’t been well-loved and cared for before coming into their shop.”

Just like at a traditional shop, it’s also important to shop with an open mind about designers and styles, since you won’t necessarily be able to find the exact dress you’re looking for on the rack. But if you do fall in love with a particular gown that may be out of your budget or no longer available, a consigned version of the dress may be your best option! That’s why Megan went with a consignment dress. “I shopped a few local bridal boutiques for my wedding dress, and of course I fell in love with a gown that was over budget. Instead of settling for another dress or cutting the budget for something else, I searched high and low for the gown and was able to find it pre-owned for less than half of the retail price! It was perfect!”

Remember that no matter how you and your dress found one another, all your guests will see on your wedding day is a gorgeous bride! Shopping consignment can be a wonderful way to stick to your budget while still wearing the dress of your dreams. Paige summed up her feelings on that topic well: “Whether the dress has been worn or never worn before, it is still a beautiful wedding gown. It’s also fun to think about a dress that not only gets to be worn once on a beautiful wedding day, but maybe twice.”

We’d love to know: did you wear, or are you considering wearing, a consignment wedding gown? I bought my dress new, but sold it to a sweet bride after my wedding, and like Paige, I was so happy someone else would get to wear her dream dress for half the cost!!

This post is sponsored by Meant to Be Boutique, our favorite consignment wedding dress store in the South. Learn more about them and find out how to make an appointment here!

emily Written with love by Emily
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One of the moments we dream about most as engaged gals is finding the dress! But like most wedding planning to dos, your shopping excursions are likely to go more smoothly with a little preparation. Last week, I shared a glossary of bridal designers to help you decide which shops may carry your dream dress. But once you’ve decided where you’re going, the next question is, who’s going with you?

Photo by Ryan Ray from Ellen and Richard’s wedding

Bridal appointments can be one of the sweetest highlights of the wedding planning process, which also makes them a great opportunity to invite loved ones to be part of the fun. As we shared on the pages of our Joyful Wedding Planner, though, the personalities of your companions is key. Choosing a dress can sometimes be a difficult decision, and you only want people there who are supportive and will put your vision first.

Other than that, there are about as many potential shopping crews as there are dresses! It’s ultimately a very personal decision, and the makeup can range from mom only to the entire bridal party, grandparents, cousins, future in-laws, and even dad and sometimes the groom! To help you decide who will make up your entourage, we asked a few of our friends to share their dress-shopping stories!

Photo by Blue Ribbon Vendor Chris Isham from Anna and Nathan’s wedding

I brought my mom and my mother-in-law with me to my bridal salon appointment. I felt that having a large entourage would get overwhelming, and I would run the risk of not getting to express my own opinion. My mom was two years into her diagnosis with brain cancer at the time that I got engaged, so I was trying my best to create joyful experiences for us to share together during that exciting time. My mom was the person who picked my dress, and when she saw it on me she started crying, I started crying, and we both knew it was the one. It was so special to share that joyful moment with her during such a trying time.
— Adrienne Rolon of Heart’s Content Events and Design, @heartscontentevents

I brought the two people who can’t help but be honest to a girl: her mama and her little sister! My sister had recently gotten married, and is the funnier, feistier version of me, so I knew she wouldn’t hold back in stating her opinion … ha! Also, I wholeheartedly recommend the ponytail holder trick: I tied my hair up for each gown to see what it’d REALLY look like, and in retrospect, I wished I’d fluffed it up with a little more aerosol hairspray and made a pretty messy bun for that Saturday. My gym-style quick top knot was helpful enough, but I learned it’s certainly tough to envision your wedding day look without your hair in a similar fashion to your wedding day. I also put on a bit more make-up so I didn’t look like I’d just woken up, which helped, too!
— Ashlyn Carter of Ashlyn Writes, @ashlynscarter (See Ashlyn’s wedding!)

The first time I tried on wedding dresses, I brought both of my parents and my grandparents. It was more of a “fun” appointment, where I tried on a bunch of different styles so I could get a feel for what I liked. Very quickly, I realized that everyone seemed to have an opinion and I knew that I wanted the next appointment to be different, so I decided to bring only my mom with me. It’s really true when they say, “when you know, you’ll know.” I remember my mom saying through her tears, “Tell me all the reasons that you love it,” and I did. Standing there in the dress that I knew I would walk down the aisle in, I listed off all the reasons that I loved it out loud and that was all that I needed. Don’t let other people’s opinions take over your own!
— Callie Davis of Call Me Callie and Nancy Ray Photography, @calliepittsdavis (See Callie’s wedding!)

I took my mom and my best friend, Jill! My mom was a no-brainer because I value her opinion and wanted her to love my dress as well. She knows what looks best on me. My best friend was fabulous moral support, and she has great style! Definitely don’t feel pressured to take a lot of people along with you (including mother-in-law). You want to feel 100% comfortable walking out in different dresses (some will flatter you and some will not). Sometimes too many opinions can just confuse you when you should be focusing on what it is you want rather than Aunt Martha or whoever!
— Courtney Whitmore of Pizzazzerie, @pizzazzerie (See Courtney’s wedding inspiration!)

During my first round of bridal appointments, it was just me and my mom! Then, she and my little sister came back to visit one weekend and we had our second round – which is when I found my dress! I grew up watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and had watched brides have their appointments with just family or with a big group of loved ones. While it would have been fun to have friends and other family members around, I loved how intimate it was to just have that moment shared between the three of us. Plus, I can be fairly indecisive about personal decisions, so keeping these appointments intimate was a great way to avoid too much input and truly go with the dress I loved best! Oh, and I made sure to call my grandma from the salon right after finding the one – she had to be included too even though she wasn’t physically there with us!
— Jessica Peddicord of Simply Jessica Marie, @simplyjessicamarie (See Jessica’s wedding!)

If you love this advice, you’ll love the bestselling Joyful Wedding Planner! Pick yours up in our shop today.

emily Written with love by Emily
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Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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It’s been so fun to introduce y’all to some of the newest wedding dresses from our favorite designers over the past few weeks! We love peeking at their new collections, and figured y’all would love a first look at them, too.

Today we’re all about the beauties coming out of Maggie Sottero. Maggie’s dresses tend to be lightweight, feminine, and romantic, making them perfect for destination weddings! The materials and shapes are almost always easily packable, needing just a light steaming once you reach your destination to be aisle-ready. Which is great, because if you’re having a destination wedding, you want to make sure that you have as much time as possible to ski the slopes or lounge by the beach with the dear ones who’ve joined you!

A perfect example Reynold, the dress we’re sharing today. It features a removable jacket for a customized look; illusion off-the-shoulder sleeves for an elegant and current feel; and a unique illusion double-lace train.

Like Reynold, Maggie Sottero’s Avery Collection features a variety of dreamy silhouettes and shimmering embellishments. Scalloped hemlines and heirloom lace were two of our favorite details. Each was inspired by the magic of a timeless wedding and today’s romantic bride, which sounds just about perfect for us at Southern Weddings :)

Head here to see the full Spring 2017 Collection by Maggie Sottero, and here to find your closest store. I’d love to hear: are you having a destination wedding? And if so, where?

All photos by Sposto Photography. This post is brought to you by Maggie Sottero Designs. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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  1. avatar Cebu Wedding Photographer reply

    Loving the simplicity. Awesome styling and photography!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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