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Y’all, I have to say: as I combed through our 2017 archives to pull our favorites from the year, I was amazed at the beauty and goodness of the real weddings we’ve featured in the last few months. We feel so honored that each of these couples would choose to share the details of their most precious days with us, and behind each of these photos of gorgeous dresses and breathtaking bouquets, there are funny, sweet, and thoughtful stories about why our brides made the decisions they did. If there’s a detail that catches your eye, I encourage you to click through and read more about it in the original post!

I hope these favorites from 2017 will inspire you as you plan your own wedding in the months to come!

OUR TEN FAVORITE WEDDING DRESSES

Allison’s lace Sarah Seven dress (photo by Landon Jacob)

Anna’s vintage-inspired Alexandra Grecco and Jenny Lee combo (photo by Jennifer Stuart)

Sarah Ann’s bow-bedecked Rosa Clara gown (photo by Graham Terhune)

Jennifer’s tiered lace dress by Paloma Blanca (photo by Olivia Griffin)

Lilly’s lace Modern Trousseau dress (photo by Rach Loves Troy)

Lynnsey’s dramatic Martina Liana gown (photo by Mark Williams Studio)

Mary’s classic scoop-neck gown by Modern Trousseau (photo by Lang Thomas)

Sonia’s glam gown, redesigned from her grandmother’s with help from Donna Beth Creations (photo by On a Whim)

Shelby’s voluminous Monique Lhuiller gown (photo by Sara Bee)

Whitney’s tulle-wrapped Vera Wang gown (photo by Callie Davis for Nancy Ray Photography)

OUR TEN FAVORITE BOUQUETS

Courtney’s green bouquet by Floressence Flowers (photo by Cheyenne Schultz)

Ellie’s dahlia and beach rose bouquet by Mallory Joyce (photo by Elisa Bricker)

Emily’s peony, clematis, and lilac bouquet by Colonial House Flowers (photo by Anna Shackleford)

Lilly’s peach bouquet by Tiger Lily (photo by Rach Loves Troy)

Maiya’s dark, moody bouquet by Porter & Ives (photo by Robert Chicoine)

Stephanie’s dogwood bouquet by Serendipity Designs (photo by Ally & Bobby)

Jennifer’s classic magnolia and peony bouquet by Greg Foster (photo by Olivia Griffin)

Alex’s tropical-inspired bouquet by Fern Studio (photo by Landon Jacob)

Ashley’s coral charm peony bouquet by Sprout (photo by Feather & Twine)

Marci’s dahlia and ranunculus bouquet by Enemies of the Average (photo by Taylor Dane)

Anagram Photo, On a Whim, Elisa Bricker, Ally & Bobby, Anna Shackleford, Nancy Ray, and Serendipity Designs are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
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    I’ve never been known to make an understatement, so when I started trying on wedding gowns, it was no surprise that I just wanted all the beautiful elements in one dress. Put me in an elegant satin number, and I would ask if I could add tulle. Hand me a gorgeous trumpet of lace, and I was missing the satin. I’ll always swoon over another bride in a strikingly simple gown, but for myself, more was more!

    Elsie

    I know I’m not the only one who couldn’t let go of the satin, the lace, the sparkle, the row of buttons up the back, OR the tulle. If you’re a feminine Southern gal raising your hand right now, I say embrace it! The good news is that with the right gown, you really can have it all without it being too much.

    Elsie

    All this may explain why Casablanca Bridal’s Spring 2018 collection, Villa del Sol, immediately brought joy to my showstopper-loving heart. If you’re with me, you have to see the Elsie, Gracie, and Tegan!

    Marley

    Need another way to have it all? I hear you. Sometimes you put on a gown that gets really close to your dream dress, but you can just picture it with a small change that would seal the deal. That’s why Casablanca Bridal offers customization options that range from tweaking the length of a train to an entirely different skirt shape with the same bodice!

    With all these options, the hardest part for a bride after my own heart may just be trying not to get carried away! (Thankfully, I realized before it was too late that my gown really didn’t need that huge satin bow in the back I tried to add to it. That actually might have been too much.)

    With 23 very different gowns and sizing options including plus and petite in Casablanca’s Spring 2018 collection, there really is something for everyone. Go take a peek at the new collection for yourself!

    This post is sponsored by Casablanca Bridal. Thank you for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

    Written with love by Catherine
    7 Comments
    1. avatar Janna Toruno reply

      This makes me so excited for wedding dress shopping in January! I keep bouncing between the simple but elegant Christos “Lainee” look to a gorgeous scalloped neck lace dress I’ve seen as well for our October 2018 barn wedding in Georgia!

      • avatar Catherine reply

        That’s so great to hear, Janna! Dress shopping was one of my favorite parts of the planning process, and a barn wedding in October will be magical!

    2. avatar Dara Nee reply

      Wow, those are really stunning dresses! When we were looking for my sister’s dress for her wedding last year, we had a hard time finding anything in a store, she was kinda old fashioned and didn’t wanna order anything online without seeing and fitting the dress first. I got tired of going with her to all the bridal appointments however and she eventually relented and looked online. We eventually found her dress online from this global wedding marketplace https://ibride.com/ and it was at the style and material she wants and the price she was willing to pay. In hindsight, I should have insisted we look online first rather than hitting the pavement.

    3. avatar Savannah reply

      What stunning wedding dresses! I cannot wait until I find the perfect dress. I was really specific on what photographer I wanted to once I secured him, I feel like I can now focus on me! I love the first dress! so stunning

    4. avatar web development reply

      Great article.

    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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    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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      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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