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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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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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One of the more beautiful things about the South right now is that you don’t have to be born here to fit right in with our culture. (In fact, I’m actually a Southerner by choice, not birth!) Southern brides can pick and choose from the best the world has to offer while planning their weddings, combining details from here and there to find the mix that best represents them AND the grace and warmth of our part of the country.

One of my favorite examples? Bridal gown designers! Fashion houses around the world are keying into details that gals like us are drawn to — heirloom lace, fabulous bows, sweet rows of buttons — meaning sometimes the most Southern look can be sourced from halfway around the globe.

Rosa Clará is one such designer I think all Southern brides should know about. I’m always drawn to their sleek shapes, classic styling, and yes, perfectly-placed bows, and I think y’all will be, too!

Today’s bride, Skye, is a perfect example! Though her wedding took place in California, her Rosa Clará gown’s sweet neckline, dainty beading, and breezy material would have worked equally well in the South.

You can view all of Rosa Clará’s lovely gowns on their site, and by visiting a salon near you. Don’t miss the Nassau, Namibia, Neida, Neira, Niher, Neiva, or Nazar dresses from their Spring 2017 collection as you browse! Seriously though, too many favorites :)

I’d love to hear: what was Southern about your wedding gown? I think my gown’s tulle skirt was very feminine, which I think is an attribute many Southern gals claim (though of course each in her own way!).

This post is brought to you by Rosa Clará. Thanks for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
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  1. avatar Mary Kay reply

    My gown was from Rosa Clara. I loved the luminous silk and classic elegance. They also customized the gown for me, putting a giant bow on the back!

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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