Monday, January 5, 2009

our planning :: 8 :: the dress!

Choosing the dress -- one of the most exciting parts of planning! After seeing tons of gorgeous strapless dresses in mags, which were an '06 hit, a few things stuck out. I actually grew a liking for lace and sashes from seeing such beauties, but I didn't see one off-the-shoulder dress, and that's what I wanted. From researching, I found that an a-line dress best suited my figure. For info on styles, necklines and shapes of gowns, check out: ArcaMax. My goal: youthful, feminine and modern. I also kept in mind the style of our wedding and wanted a dress that matched the occasion. Anyhow, I went out to search on my own (not typical, but being out away from home, it was difficult getting my mom and BMs out at the same time, and time was ticking). NOTE: Some dresses (usually designer ones) can take up to 8 months to receive. Keep in mind you will need an additional 1-2 months for alterations, so try to shop early!

Trying to find a reputable gown salon can be easy -- just ask the right q's. NOTE: When it comes to a gown salon, ask about variety, price range, customer service and quality of work (whether they have on-site experienced seamstresses whose only job is to alter bridal gowns). I asked around and was referred to Mon Amie Bridal Salon in Costa Mesa; I didn't know it would turn out to be my first and last stop. What I love about this salon is that they have a great selection and quantity of gowns and the price range extends from under $1,000 to $10k+. I liked the thought of that because 1) I'd have better chance of finding styles by competitive designers that fit within my price range and 2) I could look at the expensive ones, try them on, and just I think I had an easy time compared to others. With the help of an awesome personal consultant, I tried on a total of 7 dresses and loved the 3rd -- a strapless, semi A-line dress, with a sash..and lace! I made my decision and scheduled another trip to purchase the dress. NOTE: I didn't buy right away. I knew that was the one I wanted, but I sat on the idea of the style of dress, price, and talked Abram about my planned purchase w/o giving him details on the look. I wanted to make sure I was 100% sure! I also looked up the dress at competitors' sites and shops.

Photo of the original dress.

So, you're probably wondering why I bought a strapless dress if I was looking for an off-the-shoulder neckline? Answer: I turned it into my vision and added off-the-shoulder straps using the same alençon lacing from my dress and a sweethearts cut, obviously consulting with the on-site seamstress. I could wear them off the shoulders and on the shoulders! ;) Yes, there was a premium to be paid, but I wanted to personalize my dress. It'd be one-of-a-kind and would definitely add to the emotional value. But keep in mind, customizing a dress comes with a price because alterations can be costly. NOTE: Don't forget to calculate alteration costs into the purchase price of your dress. Simply taking up the length can cost $250 from a reputable salon. I spent almost $770 extra for alterations alone. I also purchased a custom sash (they didn't have my exact gold) -- more $...

Photo of my dress wearing the sleeves in two ways -- on and off.

* Veil -- Originally, I opted out of wearing a veil, but when I met with my hair stylist, I was so glad she convinced me -- it totally completed my look as a bride! Because I had spent a little more than I budgeted for my dress, I skipped the $750 veil that was suggested and bought one for $15! LOL. Hey, I highly doubt anyone would've figured that out. Plus, I only wore it during our short 22 min ceremony. ;)

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