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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
1 Comment
  1. avatar Formalshop reply

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

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As some of you may know, I sold my Christos wedding gown a few months after my wedding. It was the only way I was able to afford wearing that beautiful brand, and I was happy to do it — especially knowing that it was going to another lovely bride who would get to wear her dream gown! I’ve gotten so many emails from readers since then asking for advice on how to sell or consign their own gowns, so today, we’re bringing in our friends Liz and Ty from Meant to Be Boutique, a luxury wedding dress consignment shop in Lexington, Kentucky, to offer some advice on both purchasing a consigned or previously-loved gown, and for selling your beloved gown post-wedding!

First things first: tell us a little bit about your shop! Meant To Be is the sister store to Blue Ribbon Vendor Twirl Boutique, and it serves our community in complimentary ways. After many calls about bridal consignment during the summer of 2015, we decided that our idea for a new store was simply that… meant to be. After a few short months, we opened the doors to Meant To Be in December 2015. We want our brides to have the most amazing experience possible AND to walk away with a gorgeous, high quality gown that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg.

At Meant To Be, we believe that a bride’s dream dress was always “meant to be” hers. Regardless of how the dress found its way to our boutique, it was always meant to belong to the bride who says the joyful “yes!” when she steps into it at our sweet little shop.

Tell us about what y’all offer to brides and gals. Loving people well is the heartbeat of our businesses, so we like to pride ourselves on offering our brides and their loved ones an exceptional bridal gown shopping experience. At Meant To Be, brides are given the entire shoppe to themselves with a consultant who works with them one-on-one. With a mimosa in hand (if desired!), our brides look through a selection of about 100 gowns. We offer a wide variety of dresses, all off the rack, varying in styles, designers, sizes, and price range. Our selection of gowns starts at $200 and goes up to around $3000, with sizes ranging from zero to plus size. Our inventory is continually changing, which keeps things exciting!

That sounds fabulous. What’s your advice for a bride who’s wondering whether she wants to buy a consigned gown? We highly encourage brides to make an appointment at a consignment/sample shoppe like Meant To Be because we think they’ll be pleasantly surprised. At our shop and other quality boutiques, brides will find high quality, gorgeous gowns at a fraction of their original cost. If it’s the right gown for you, you’ll feel just as radiant on your wedding day regardless of how you purchased it. All your guests are going to see is a gorgeous bride in a gorgeous gown with a gorgeous smile!

Any tips for brides specifically shopping for a consigned gown? Our biggest piece of advice is to have an open mind about consigned/sample gowns. We feel like a lot of people are hesitant about shopping this kind of inventory because it may have “bad juju,” but that’s just silly! Consigned/sample gowns can make you feel just as beautiful as special-ordered, never-worn ones. Once a bride grabs ahold of that perspective, shopping is smooth sailing!

Perfect. How about after the wedding? What would you say to a bride who’s wondering whether she wants to consign her gown? Whether or not you’ve made up your mind, we suggest you get your dress cleaned and preserved soon after your wedding. You’ll nip stains from the big day in the bud, which is important whether you’re preserving or selling! After that, we’d encourage you to take your time — at least six months. The last thing we want is for someone to say goodbye to the most precious dress they’ll ever own before they are really ready. If after six months you still want to sell it with the hope that it will bring another bride joy on her big day, then we say go for it!

What can a bride expect to make from the sale of her gown? This depends on the way you choose to sell it. If you consign your gown through a boutique like Meant To Be, you can expect to get 50% of the profit at most. This may not seem like much to some brides, but we can almost guarantee that you’ll have more success selling your dress through a brick and mortar shop over a website. By consigning through a brick and mortar, a sales consultant is doing all the hard work for you! They are advocating for your dress and working hard to find it a good home. Selling through a website may help a bride gain more profit off the sale, but she may not have much success in actually having the sale go through.

A few more things to note about buying and selling a used wedding gown:
— As a general rule of thumb, a used gown that’s in great condition and less than 2 1/2 years old can sell for 50 percent of the retail price. Gowns from recognizable names like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier can sell for 60-70 percent of the retail value. Never-worn gowns can sell for even more.
— We love Meant to Be’s tip to wait six months before selling your gown — but don’t wait too long, either! You’ll maximize your chances of selling your gown by listing it within 2 1/2 years of buying it.
— If you choose to sell your gown online (at a site like Once Wed, PreOwned Wedding Dresses, or Nearly Newlywed), know that some sites charge a one-time listing fee, and a few, like Nearly Newlywed, take a commission similar to a brick and mortar.
— When preparing your listing, upload several photos, including a photo from the designer’s website, a photo from your wedding (feel free to crop your head out! :)), photos of details like lace or sleeves, and photos of any damage. Choose a plain background and aim for great natural lighting. Include all the pertinent details, but also consider including a brief note about why you loved your gown – those personal details can help another gal fall in love with it, too!
— Still on the fence about selling your gown? Consider holding onto your veil or jewelry from your big day instead. So many brides we feature on SW wear heirloom veils, and we don’t anticipate this changing anytime soon. Plus, veils don’t really go out of style, their styles don’t really change drastically over time, and one size fits all! :)

If you’re in the Lexington, Kentucky area, we can’t recommend Meant to Be (for consigned dresses) and Twirl (for new dresses) highly enough! Either way, we hope these tips for buying and selling a previously-loved wedding dress are helpful!

This post is brought to you by Meant to Be Boutique. Thank you for your support of the brands that make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Caroline reply

    I shopped at MTB for my veil and I loved every second of the experience! The girls were lovely and had set aside several veils and headpieces prior to my appointment. I ended up choosing the exact veil I had been dreaming of — it was a beautiful long veil with a lace detail that was previously a sample veil at Twirl. It was the highlight of my wedding ensemble and something I hope to pass down to a future daughter or even share with a friend as her “something borrowed” for her big day. Thanks for featuring a great local boutique!

    • avatar LIZ reply

      Caroline! Oh my goodness. We just now read your precious comment. You are so kind to say all of that! Makes our hearts swell with joy, sweet girl. Lots of love to you!
      XOXO, Liz Cox & Ty McBrayer (Owners of Meant To Be)

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There are so many things to decide on when planning a wedding, and whether or not to do a first look can be a tough choice for many couples. For Rachel and Tyler, however, it was easy as pie! Rachel shared that they chose to do a first look because “we wanted nothing more than to be together that day.” While the decision of a first look may be different for many couples, I would venture to guess that spending as much time together on your wedding day is something everyone hopes for. One thing I always tell my engaged friends is to stay together at the reception–hold hands and don’t let go! It’s easy to get separated with hosting duties, but nearly seven years later, I still remember visiting with all our guests hand-in-hand with BDK. I am sure Rachel and Tyler can say the same!

P.S. How stunning are these florals by Magnolia Alley? Rachel’s bouquet might be one of my favorites ever!

I’m so glad that Love, Chloe Lane not only orchestrated Rachel and Tyler’s meeting, but was also on hand to capture their sweet day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My grandmother was sick from liver cancer, so she, my mom, and I went dress shopping together, just the three of us. I wasn’t expecting to find anything the first time looking, but then I fell in love with the first dress I tried on. It ended up being the only time my grandmother got to see my in my dress, and it was the sweetest moment.

My flowers were the most gorgeous things I’ve ever seen! Our florist included my favorite flowers, peonies, along with some pops of burgundy to match the wedding colors.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we did. We wanted nothing more than to be together that day, so seeing each other before the ceremony just made sense for us to make our day more special.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows. My favorite line Tyler read to me was, “As I look at you, words cannot describe how blessed I am to have such a beautiful bride looking back.” Tyler’s favorite line I read to him was, “I am so thankful that we were best friends before we were together–that made falling in love with you so easy.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I’m a Southern belle, so every detail, in my opinion, had some Southern class to it, from the flowers, to the cakes, to the country music. All the people who attended were pretty Southern, too!

My dad and I did a crazy dance for our father-daughter dance. We took everyone by surprise because NO ONE knew about it! People are still telling me how great that dance was!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My mother and I decided to please everyone and serve a variety of cakes. We had white, chocolate, strawberry, red velvet, and Italian cream. They were all delicious!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Four years ago, my best friend, Chloe (our wedding photographer!) tried to convince me to go to prom because her friend Tyler was dateless. Chloe worked her magic and convinced Tyler to ask me. Since then, we have been best friends!
Tell us all about the proposal! Tyler and I had just gotten back from a family vacation on a cruise. We had so much fun that we decided to book another one for the very next month. One night, we were walking around the back of the ship watching the sunset when Tyler knelt down, poured his heart out, and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! It was so hard not having any communication with family or friends right away to tell them the big news, but it made those few days before we arrived home all the more sweet for just the two of us!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Around 250
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My sweet grandmother gave me the most beautiful handkerchief embroidered with lace before she passed, knowing I would need it on our special day. My mom also let me borrow the first ring my granddaddy gave to my grandmother to wear on my right hand.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? During our engagement, Tyler and I started going to church together. It’s so important to keep Christ number one in your life and marriage, so we made sure to make that part of our relationship.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every moment through this process. It’s so easy to be stressed out, but just take a step back and breathe. I wish so badly I could do it all over again, because the wedding seriously was the best day of my life!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our honeymoon has been postponed until December because I’m currently in school, so we are looking forward to that…as well as having babies, of course!!

Photographer: Love, Chloe Lane / Videographer: Equilateral Productions / Venue: A Barn Affair at Turkey Trot Farms / Florist: Magnolia Alley / Cake Baker: Barbra Overstreet / Caterer: Bobby Marcum / Rentals: M & H Rentals / DJ and Lighting: Shawn Boon / Paper Products: How Lovely Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Londyn” by Hayley Paige / Bridal Salon: Twirl Boutique / Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel / Hair Stylist: Donna Wolford at Visions Salon / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Tricks of the Trade” Maxi Dress by LuLu’s / Menswear: Mitchell’s Menswear

marissa Written with love by Marissa
14 Comments
  1. avatar mark mcf reply

    it was a beautiful wedding. we had a great time

  2. avatar Amber Hart reply

    Loving everything about this wedding but specifically the dress. Where is the lace overlay top from?

  3. avatar Krista reply

    I would also love to hear where you got the lace top from. I am looking for the same style for my dress!

  4. avatar Jasmine reply

    Love thdress!! Where is the lace overlay top?

    • avatar Marissa reply

      Hi Jasmine! That lace bolero designed by LaSposa. Current Twirl Boutique designer, Justin Alexander, has one that is nearly identical. The style number is A085. xo!

  5. avatar Ashley reply

    Beautiful wedding! Do you know where the bride purchased her earrings? I am looking for something similar!

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  13. avatar Gosia reply

    The bride is stunning! And this dress…

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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