A Vendor Gets Hitched: The Dress

April 05, 2016 by Ashley Michelle Sullivan

Hi all. So, my wedding actually happened this past weekend, but it's hard to keep up when you are planning a wedding so fast. At any rate, I think I will continue writing so you can get the full scope of my planning experience. And then I can also show you pictures of how everything turned out!

Now on to my favorite part of planning my wedding thus far: dress shopping. I told Eric that we are going to have to have a vow renewal every five years so I can buy another dress.

Since I am planning the wedding in three months and since you are supposed to allow six months for the wedding dress, this was the only other thing I was REALLY worried about besides the photographer. And if you read my previous blog post, you will know the photographer worked out perfectly. Anyway, after calling around a bit, I realized ordering a dress from the actual designer probably wasn't going to be possible--even with rush ordering it. I was going to have to order one off the rack (meaning a sample). This might bother some people because others have tried on the dress many times, but not me because in most instances, there is a huge price discount when buying samples. To me it was worth it, but I really didn't have a choice either. Anyway, knowing that I could buy a sample still scared me because I thought for sure all the dresses would be too short. I'm 6'0" tall so finding clothes long enough for me is near impossible. From the beginning, I always thought I would have to order extra length which meant ordering from the designer--not samples. But to my surprise, even with a small heel only one dress I tried on was too short. So for all you tall girls out there, no need to panic when dress shopping.

Anyway, when my sister drove down from Pittsburgh to go venue shopping, we also fit in dress shopping. We visited four different shops. My future Mother-in-Law came to two of them with us as well. I would suggest keeping the group that comes dress shopping with you SMALL. There are so many different opinions out there and you want to buy the dress that makes you feel the prettiest and not be completely influenced by others. Within that small group, choose people that you feel completely comfortable saying "no" to if you don't like their option. With my sister, she could give her opinion and I definitely value it because I think we have the same taste, but I could also disagree with her and feel zero percent bad about it and she would take zero percent offence to that. We all have those types of people in our lives so choose them (and only them) to go dress shopping with you! I will say, I'm typically very decisive and know exactly what I want so maybe if you are more indecisive and are the kind of person that needs approval before making a decision, it is better to bring a few more people along, but I liked my 1-2 people.

We visited Garnish Boutique, K&B Bridals, Francesca's Bridal, and Betsy Robinson's Bridal Collection. Every single person that helped us out at each shop was just amazing! I had a pretty easy time narrowing down my favorite at each shop but it was hard to compare from shop to shop. I really don't know if there is a solution to this except just don't go to as many dress shops. Elana from Francesca's (who was absolutely fabulous by the way) told me that sometimes it's better just to stop looking and make a decision and I really do think this is true. You can try on dresses forever comparing them but you might have several favorites as I did. It's not that one is better than the other--they are just different. Although maybe secretly, I just wanted to continue trying on beautiful dresses. I'm going to warn you now that modesty is not an option when dress shopping. You will basically be completely naked in front of whomever is helping you put on the dress. I'm not shy but my sister couldn't believe how unbothered I was by it all. Honestly though, with many of the dresses, you wouldn't be able to put them on otherwise. Plus, the women at the salon do this everyday so they don't give it a second thought. After a little back and forth, I finally decided on a gorgeous, gorgeous Enzoani gown from Betsy's Bridal Collection. Funny enough, at two of the other stores, my favorite dresses were by the same designer. Obviously I can't share with you what the dress looks like, but don't worry, I will show pictures after the wedding.

After I chose the dress, it was time for alterations. I know the owner of the salon, Betsy, through NACE, an event professional organization where we are both members, so it has been so wonderful to have her at all of my alterations appointments giving me her expert opinion. In fact, everyone from the front desk staff to the seamstress performing my alterations has been so much fun to work with. It's like I am playing dress up and everyone "oohhs" and "aahhs" over me.

Next time, I'm talking invitations by the fabulous MLC Designs (and those pictures I will be able to share!).


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