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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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One of the most exciting parts of wedding planning — shopping for your gown!! — can also be one of the most stressful. (This from the girl who broke down in tears after her second appointment… embarrassing but true! That’s a story for another day.) We’re all about helping you reduce the wedding planning stress and up the fun as much as possible, which is where smart planning ahead of time comes in.

As you decide which bridal salons to visit, of course you want to consider their reputation (are they known for being pushy? Intuitive? Kind?), but another thing to consider is whether they carry designers whose lines match your aesthetic. Most boutiques include a list of their designers on their websites, but if you aren’t familiar with the lines, you’re probably still stumped.

Today, the ladies of Twirl Boutique in Lexington, one of our favorite bridal boutiques in the South, are here to give us a brief glossary of bridal designers broken down by bridal aesthetic. Take note of the designers that most closely mirror your style, and get ready to try on some perfectly “you” dresses – hopefully with only happy tears along the way!

Graham Terhune, Cheyenne Schultz, Erin Wilson, Clark Brewer

Who you are: The bohemian bride
What’s your style: You have a whimsical aesthetic and are planning a wedding with market lights, a lush, green bouquet, and a view of the mountains.
Designers you should consider: Claire Pettibone, Watters, Ivy & Aster, Sarah Seven, Christos, and Hello Darling by Heidi Elnora
Take a look at: “Sunny Darling” by Heidi Elnora

Conrhod Zonio, Mustard Seed Photography, Abby Jiu, Bamber Photography

Who you are: The city chic bride
What’s your style: You love clean lines, minimalism, rooftop receptions, and pops of bold accents that make a statement.
Designers you should consider: Hayley Paige, Amsale, Christos, Lela Rose, Anne Barge, and Ines Di Santo
Take a look at: “Ryland” by Anne Barge Blue Willow

Kate Headley, Kristen Kilpatrick, Amy Arrington, Sawyer Baird

Who you are: The elegant bride
What’s your style: You’re planning a black tie wedding, of course, and you love your groom in a white dinner jacket. You feel most at home twirling under a ballroom chandelier or in the middle of a black and white dance floor.
Designers you should consider: Justin Alexander, Monique Lhuillier, Pronovias, Romona Keveza, Lazaro, Carolina Herrera, Anne Barge, Hayley Paige, and Ines Di Santo
Take a look at: “Londyn” by Hayley Paige

Eric Kelley, Melanie Gabrielle, Lexie Bush, Amy Arrington

Who you are: The classic Southern bride
What’s your style: You’ll carry your grandmother’s hanky wrapped around your magnolia bouquet down the aisle, with pearl studs in your ears and a glass full of sweet tea waiting for you at your reception.
Designers you should consider: Stella York, Heidi Elnora, Modern Trousseau, David’s Bridal, Anne Barge, Lela Rose, and Monique Lhuillier
Take a look at: “Lacey Williams” by Heidi Elnora

Landon Jacob, Natalie Watson, Rachel Red, Natalie Watson

Who you are: The beach bride
What’s your style: You only truly exhale when you’re beside the ocean with sand in your toes. You’re planning to celebrate with a small circle of your favorite people at a colorful rental property in August.
Designers you should consider: Watters, Sarah Seven, Stella York, David’s Bridal, Amsale, Christos, and Ivy & Aster
Take a look at: “Amanda” by Amsale Nouvelle

Chris Isham, Becca Lea, Sam Stroud, Landon Jacob

Who you are: The farmer’s daughter bride
What’s your style: You address a group of friends as “y’all,” love a vintage pick-up truck with a bed full of flowers, and will seat your guests on hay bales underneath a sweeping oak tree.
Designers you should consider: Stella York, Heidi Elnora, David’s Bridal, Modern Trousseau, and Anne Barge
Take a look at: “6124” by Stella York

Jennifer Stuart, Jodi Miller, Olivia Griffin, Greer Gattuso

Who you are: The Ava Gardner bride
What’s your style: Born in the wrong decade, you’ve mastered the sleek chignon, prefer champagne for all occasions, and can’t resist the dance floor if Ella Fitzgerald is playing. You’ll rock a swipe of red lipstick on your big day.
Designers you should consider: Claire Pettibone, Justin Alexander, Pronovias, Lazaro, and Ines Di Santo
Take a look at: “8726” by Justin Alexander

We couldn’t think of a better place to start your dress search than Twirl Boutique in Lexington, Kentucky. Ty, Liz, and the rest of their sweet staff are dedicated to finding you the perfect dress and delivering a fantastic experience right alongside it! Twirl carries Stella York, Justin Alexandar, Hayley Paige and Blush by Hayley Paige, Hello Darling and Build a Bride by Heidi Elnora, Nouvelle Amsale, and Blue Willow by Anne Barge. Find out more on their site!

This post is sponsored by Twirl Boutique, a Southern bridal salon we’ve loved for years. 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 Formalshop reply

    This is helpful for the green hands who are looking for wedding gown, thanks

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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