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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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Hi belles! Our friend Stephanie Scholl is the newest gal to take you through her wedding process here on the blog! Stephanie will be blogging for us every two weeks or so until her wedding in April. In case you missed her first post, be sure to check it out here! — Emily

First of all, I can hardly believe that my and Rob’s wedding day is just over four months away! The last few weeks have flown by, and I know the holiday season is going to make the next several weeks especially exciting and bustling. It’s really sinking in that in just a couple months, Rob is going to be my husband… and that makes me happier than anything! We have researched, talked with, and booked most all of our vendors already, and the big picture items are really coming together. Knowing and envisioning exactly who we’ll be working with on our wedding day, seeing the design of it all come together, and talking through and dreaming up the details to make our day meaningful and so perfectly “us” makes our wedding feel more and more real.

Photo on left by Jose Villa

Since we have a shorter engagement, at the very top of my priority list was finding a wedding dress. I’d say that this task was one of the only things that made me question a six-month engagement, as it can often take six months or longer to receive your wedding dress from the designer, not including alterations and fittings. As soon as we got engaged and settled on our venue and date, I knew I didn’t have any time to delay in going dress shopping. And goodness was I excited!! I have to admit that I have dreamed of going wedding dress shopping almost my entire life, and it was surreal to think that it was finally my turn to be the bride! I’ve been in the wedding industry for years, have helped countless friends and clients select a wedding gown, and have browsed many shops and boutiques for editorial shoots, but it was a total “pinch-me” moment knowing that I got to be the one trying on gorgeous gowns – and for our wedding!

I’ve known for many, many years that I didn’t want a large group at my wedding gown appointment. I have eleven fabulous bridesmaids whom I love dearly, but I’ve always wanted to go dress shopping with just my darling mom and my sister (also my matron of honor!). The three of us are incredibly close. But, since I needed to get dress shopping right away, and since my sister lives in New York City, we decided to make-do with Facetiming her during my first bridal appointment. She was certainly with us in spirit! My mom, however, drove into town the week after our engagement to take me dress shopping; I was ecstatic to finally see her in person, show her my ring, and get shopping.

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray via Southern Weddings

We ended up going to only one boutique in Raleigh, but we went there twice over the course of two weeks. I thought I found “the dress” at our first appointment (the second dress I ever tried on), and was about to place the order when I decided that I wanted to sleep on it. It turns out that I “slept on it” for over a week without giving the dress much thought, other than that it didn’t feel very “me.”

Two weeks after my first appointment, all of our parents were in town to meet and to celebrate our engagement. My dad was especially insistent that I needed to go try on dresses again that weekend, as I know he knew the pressure of finding a dress and getting it in time for our wedding. This time, I brought my mom and Rob’s mom with me to our appointment. I am so glad I had both moms with me, and it was an incredibly sweet morning with the two of them! The night before our appointment, I couldn’t stop thinking about the very first dress I had tried on two weeks prior. It turns out, that dress was the only dress I tried on at our second appointment, and it was THE dress!!

Vera Wang gown photo by Tim Will from Rachel and Daniel’s wedding

As soon as I tried it on again, I literally could not stop beaming! And I mean, beaming. Seeing it and feeling it on me felt so perfect. When we Facetimed my sister to show her again, all four of us were in tears (all happy tears!). It was the perfect bridal moment, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually experience, and it was so, so sweet and surreal. We were all so certain that this was the one, and I loved the excitement and happiness felt by three of the most important women in my life! And I felt utterly like a bride and beautiful.

Photo by Katie Stoops from our Generations Past editorial

I don’t want to divulge too much about my dress, as I want Rob to be completely and totally surprised on our wedding day! I have also decided, as my sister did for her wedding, not to show anyone my dress or bridal look until our wedding day. I think this is going to be one of the hardest parts about wedding planning (ha!), as I tend to share everything with all of my friends, but I’m determined to keep my dress and its details a complete secret. I can’t wait for that sweet moment when my bridesmaids, and then my dad, and then my groom (eee!) see me for the first time!!

Monique Lhuillier dress photo by Ryan Ray from Lisa’s wedding!

Though I’m not revealing anything about the exact gown I settled on, I’ve sprinkled a few of the stunning gowns that I brought along with me for inspiration to our appointment! You can see that I love romantic, feminine gowns with a pop of something unexpected. I’m not generally drawn to strapless gowns, nor do I particularly think mermaid or curve-hugging dresses look great on me. I love beautiful details, am naturally drawn to particular fabrics, and think the dress that I chose is better than I ever imagined. My dress is being custom built (!!!), so it’ll be especially unique, which I adore!

How was the process of trying on dresses for you, or what are you most looking forward to? I honestly never thought I’d find a dress I was absolutely smitten with and that would fit me perfectly, but the entire process was even more fun and special that I thought it could ever be! I loved feeling like a bride, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it even more come April 1st!

Past posts:
The proposal
Venue + photography

emily Written with love by Emily
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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)

    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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