Hi belles! Our friend and former Southern Weddings intern Jessica Clinch is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Jessica will be blogging for us once a month until her wedding next May. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily
I am one of those girls who watches every episode of Say Yes to the Dress (yes, I still do after having found my dress!). So, needless to say, I was eager to begin wedding dress shopping right off the bat! Having seen both the positive and negative things other brides often experience during their bridal appointments, I tried to be as organized as possible before stepping foot into my first bridal boutique.
The very first thing I did was head straight to Pinterest to make a board specifically for my bridal style. I searched the boards of some of my favorite wedding magazines and wedding planners, as well as the websites of some of my favorite designers. At first, I just looked for anything and everything that made my heart skip a beat! After gathering all of my favorite pins, I was able to look at everything as a whole to see what details and styles seemed most prominent. Those were the details I knew I loved, and should look for in my own dress! Here are some of my favorite dresses I pinned:
First row: photo by Coco Tran via Style Me Pretty and Bliss by Monique Lhuillier; second row: unknown and photo by Ozzy Garcia via Once Wed; third row: Inbal Dror and Katie Stoops via Style Me Pretty; fourth row: both BHLDN
Once I took a good look at the dresses I pinned, I noticed a few things. I love soft tulle and organza accents; the flowiness they create is so beautiful in pictures, and feels oh so romantic to me! I also have a crush on intricate beaded details that make dresses unique and feel one-of-a-kind. I was open to both sweetheart necklines and dresses that have dainty sleeve details, but not full sleeves. I was potentially open to colors aside from white and ivory. And, while I’ve always thought I wanted to avoid lace on my dress, it turns out I do love certain dresses that have sweet lace details (just not all over lace).
Most significantly, I didn’t seem to have one particular dress shape that I loved best! I was drawn to fit and flare, trumpet, and ball gown styles that weren’t too full. It wasn’t until I got to my first bridal appointment and tried on gowns that I was able to tell what would look best on my particular body type!
With my Pinterest board ready on my phone and my mom in town, it was time to start dress shopping!! Luckily, Nashville is full of the most beautiful bridal boutiques. I visited all of my favorites, including The Dress Theory, The Bride Room, Modern Trousseau, and B. Hughes. Each boutique had a unique style, and carried a different collection of designers.
Bridal salon detail photo by Amy Nicole
My Pinterest search helped me narrow down which designers best fit my personal style. The designers I gravitated most toward included Monique Lhuillier (specifically, her Bliss collection), Oscar De La Renta, Reem Acra, Sarah Seven, Hayley Paige, Lea-Ann Belter, Vera Wang, and Lazaro. While I adored many of the gowns from those designers, I also knew that some of their dresses would be far outside my budget. From watching so many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, I knew it was important to tell the stylist at each boutique what my budget was, so that I wouldn’t try on a gown that was twice my budget and fall in love!!
It was so much fun to try on gowns with my mom! We went to three bridal boutiques while she was in town one weekend, and the fourth when she came back into town with my sister over Easter weekend. I found my dress at that fourth boutique (hint… it was B. Hughes!), and it was such a joy to have both of them there with me when I found MY dress! 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, the stylist at the boutique was my former intern when we both worked with Amber Housley, so it was extra special that I already knew her and she could help me find the perfect gown!
As prepared as I tried to be during dress shopping, it all came down to a feeling. Everyone tells you that when you try on your dress, you just know that it is the one. And as cliché as that might sound, it is so true! When I put on my wedding gown and saw myself in the mirror for the first time, the biggest smile came on my face, I couldn’t stop twirling and touching the dress, and most importantly – I didn’t want to take it off!! I can’t give away too many details about my dress, but I can say that it is both a combination of many of the details I knew I loved from the beginning, and also something completely unique. Most importantly, it fits my personality to a T, and I cannot wait to wear it when I marry Zack!
Friends, I’d love to hear: how was your dress shopping experience? How many salons did you go to? Who came with you?