Friday, January 15, 2016

Brides Who've Been There: 10 Gorgeous Gowns and the Stories Behind Them

I'm taking a blogging break to soak up our sweet Lily Grace (and, let's be honest, to keep my head above water through this beautiful newborn chaos), so I asked some of my married friends to contribute in my absence.  Over the next few weeks, they'll be taking over to chat about wedding planning, bridal beauty and style, and sharing stories about their newlywed days.  

I asked them today to share some deets about their wedding gowns and how they chose them!


People often describe me as old-fashioned.  I love old movies, could listen to “old” music any time, and cherish many values of days gone by.  In fact, I often say I was born in the wrong century!  Knowing this about myself, I wanted a dress that was classic; something that wasn’t too trendy but at the same time didn’t make me look like a grandmother!  When planning my wedding I loved everything lace – lace-wrapped votive candles, lace invitations, lace around my bouquet...so it made sense that when looking at dresses I gravitated toward lace.  I originally found this beautiful, strapless, A-line dress that fit comfortably, and the lace just took your breath away.  I knew, however, that I personally did not want to wear a strapless dress, especially in church, so the store showed me this slightly off-the-shoulder lace jacket that hit at around my waist.  They added a beaded belt to the mix to accentuate my waist where the jacket hit.  When I walked out in that ensemble and my mom saw me, and when I saw myself in the mirror, we both started tearing up.  I used to watch Say Yes to the Dress and would scoff at the girls who cried when they tried their wedding dress on.  I’d say to myself, “Really?  It’s a dress people; get a grip.”  But there I was in the bridal store, tearing up because seeing myself in that dress I felt comfortable, it screamed "me," and I could just see myself walking down the aisle to Chris.  It was like it all came together.  When you feel comfortable and like yourself in anything you wear, you feel more confident and that shows!  Finding a dress that fits your personality as much as it fits your waistline is just as important. - Tiffany


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Tiffany...
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…and that gorgeous lace. 
Mine was a fairly typical 80s-style dress, with a full skirt and lots of beading.  It was ivory taffeta and was originally long-sleeved, but I had them shortened.  I had had a subscription to Bride magazine since I was a sophomore in college (before I was even dating my husband), so I had plenty of time to look at dresses and figure out what I liked! My senior year, my roommate and I went dress shopping every Friday (we arranged our schedule not to have classes that day).  After all that, the dress I ended up with was basically the one I first tried on. - Leslie

It was a classic A line strapless dress with pockets and a kimono-like bow in the back! - Sylvia

I'm really proud of the money we saved on my wedding dress. On a whim one night, my mom called  asked if we should jump in the car and head to David's Bridal to "just look" at some dresses, since I hadn't started yet and wanted to get a feel for a few before buckling down to actually buy one. We went in with my sisters, and I only tried on a total of 3 dresses before I put The One on! It was originally listed for $250, but because of some tiny flaw none of us could find (including the bridal consultant!), it was marked down to $99.  I knew right away it was the one for me! It actually came as two dresses - a short dress with an attachable long A-line skirt on top, which I just kept on the entire night. It was a sweetheart neckline, strapless, with a poufy-but-not-too-poufy skirt. We added a flowered belt and the look was complete. And for only paying $99, it looked and felt as beautiful and elegant as I had ever imagined! - Hannah

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Hannah and David
It was tea length, A-line, with an organza layer on the outside, cream and ivory colored. It was the first one I tried on! I knew that I wanted a tea length dress because our wedding was small, not very formal, and also in December with yucky weather. I knew I wanted an off-white shade because I have a warm skin tone. I was opposed to wearing strapless, but all dresses are strapless, so I bought a very pretty lace jacket and wore that the whole day with the dress. - Rachel

I got married in 2009.  My wedding dress was sleeveless, with a fitted bodice and a full (not puffy) skirt. It was covered with a gauzy material and had lace at the waist and hem. It also had a simple ribbon around the waist that tied in a bow and hung down the back of the dress. I was in. love. with that thing.  I had actually seen it on a website a couple of years earlier -- before I'd even met my husband! A friend of mine was getting married, so I'd spent some time (too much time) indulging my own marital fantasies, looking at wedding dresses online. From the moment I saw it, I was struck. The dress had lovely details but it wasn't fussy. It was simple, but not boring. It was soft and feminine.  In late 2008, when I was engaged, I found that I compared every dress I tried on to that dress. So finally I called around to bridal shops to see if anyone still carried it. One of them did, I tried it on, and I was sold. Literally. - Julie

It was a big 'ole ball gown.  I initially wanted zero bling, but then I tried on my future dress which had beading everywhere on the bodice and my mind was changed in an instant.  - Sheena

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Sheena, her hubs Anthony, and the dress
My gown was a Priscilla of Boston Platinum Ball Gown. It was huge and sparkly.  The very first day my maid of honor and I started working at a bridal shop, she looked at it and said, "That's your dress, Andi." She was right. I went gown shopping with my parents when we visited Houston for Thanksgiving and after trying it on and seeing their reactions, I knew it was the one! And by that point I had tried on several gowns at work doing weekly bridal fashion shows, so I knew exactly what I wanted! - Andi

Ironically, I wanted an ivory non-strapless dress and I ended up with a strapless, white dress. It was chiffon and had a little bling on it and it just fit me perfectly. I felt like a princess! - Emily


Once Jim and I got engaged, one of the things I was most excited for was to shop for my wedding dress with my Mom. I always knew and had a picture of what I wanted. Growing up, I had a deep love for old movies and elegant Hollywood actresses like Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn. I swooned for many years of Grace Kelly's exquisite wedding dress and knew I wanted something similar with lace, modesty, and elegance. I actually ended up only trying on maybe 10 wedding dresses at two different shops. I ended up picking one with simple beading, lace, and it made me feel like a modern day Princess Grace.  What really helped me in picking a dress was not taking a lot of people with me to shop; I just went with my Mom which was awesome time to bond as well as it was easier to not have so many extra opinions. Also before you go shopping, have a good idea of elements of what you would like to see in your perfect dress. And be sure to go in with a set price point! Know ahead of time exactly what you can afford, and be sure to stick to it! - Patty

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Patty, giddy to have found The Dress!
How about you?  Brides-to-be, what are you looking for in your dress, if you haven't found it yet?  If you have, or if you're already married, I'd love to hear the story behind your gown!



3 comments:

  1. Ah...just reading that little blurb of mine makes me want to go run to the closet and try that thing on again. Think a corset back and a prego belly would mix? ;)

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  2. So...I have this fantasy that we will do a photo shoot with my dress on our 5 year anniversary - is that crazy? We were married in December and didn't take any outdoor photos together (because I REFUSE to get on the "first look" train), so all I have are my pre-bridal photos and that just doesn't seem right! The catch will be whether the dress still fits 5 years (and at least one baby) into marriage...

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