Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Wedding... The Dress

Since I started sharing my wedding by discussing shoes, I figured talking about the dress would be a logical next step. Because weddings are all about logic, right? Hells no. They are about fighting your inner crazy.

But lucky for me... my dress process was easy-peasy because I tried on one dress. And then I bought it. But there is more to the story... and so begins my longest blog post ever.

A few years ago, I fell in love with Blair Waldorf's Leighton Meester's 2009 Golden Globes dress by Bottega Veneta. I filed it away in my brain as a bad-ass wedding dress for a modern gal.

While I'm not 100% modern when it comes to fashion, I do like fashion forward versions of the classics. So when Jenny Packham came on my fashion radar a few years ago, I knew she was designing for someone like me.

I started doing some dress stalking and fell in love with the Saskia dress. It had the pouff shoulders, classic details, cleavage-emphasizing cut, and comfort fit. This dress had everything I wanted. I loved it. And the only thing left to do was find it.

This all happened before the amazing Duchess of Cambridge started rocking Jenny designs... and her dresses were hard to find outside of the UK. But with a fortuitous convo at a friend's bridal shower, I uncovered a trunk show in NYC.

So with my Mom and two of my super bridesmaids in tow, we went to a wedding salon in NYC's Garment District and tried on the dress. My ladies popped the champagne (this was a pretty no-nonsense bridal salon... so champers in the purse was necessary) and waited for the show. I came out of the fitting room and said "Yup... this is it." They all nodded and said "Yep... it is so perfect for you." We toasted. We hugged. And then we got ready to roll on outta there for more champers.

The sales lady was in a state of shock by my shopping approach and was a total ass not my favorite when it came to selling style. She questioned my quick decision... and her pushy doubt in how I could pick a wedding dress so quickly, along with her attempt to stab a bedazzled birdcage veil into my head, led to her losing the easiest commission of her life.

There was another bride to be in the salon while we were there, and she provided a hilarious ying to my yang. She was in her early 20's (no judgey judge... just a different place in life than a 30 year old) and had been at the salon for hours. She had set out to try on every dress they had... doing a dance in front of the mirror... and playing with crazy-ass bridal accessories (what won't they try and sell you when you're a bride?).

When I came out for my moment of "Ahhhhhhhh," she was slow dancing with an invisible groom in front of the mirror. The only thing that broke her gaze from... her own gaze in the mirror... was me clapping my hands and saying "Our work is done here, off to The Carlyle." I left this poor dove truly befuddled.

Weeks later, after reading one too many wedding blogs (a.k.a. the most dangerous things in the world in the weeks leading up to your wedding!), I second guessed my one-and-done dress decision. Should I have taken a move from Tiny Dancer's playbook and tried on more dresses? But at my first fitting with the world's greatest bridal consultant, Elie at Rizik's in D.C., I knew I had made the right choice.

I love my dress. I loved wearing something so me on the wedding day. I loved the things about the dress that might make someone else cringe (pouff puff shoulders)and being true to my sense of style. And, most importantly, I loved the way my husband looked when he first saw me walking towards him that day.

My advice about picking out your wedding dress is simple... trust yourself. If you love a look, find a way to make that look work for your body and then wear the hell out of it! Don't buy into the hype about having a "The skies parted and I saw God... and my wedding dress" moment. This is real life. This is a big purchase. Buy something for YOU. And find a wedding consultant who gets you and makes you feel comfortable. She will be your Sherpa up the fitting mountain before the wedding and having a comfort with her, as you stand there in pasties, is really important.

PS - "Say Yes to the Dress" is like watching "Nightmare on Elm Street" before dress shopping. Don't do it! Those people will haunt you.

All photos are the work of Tec Petaja... world's best wedding photographer.


Belle on Heels said...

A} Your dress is STUNNING! If Jenny had been in my budget, those would've been the only dresses I looked at. They are truly works of art.

B} Sweet Jesus, wedding dress sales people are either TERRIBLE or BEST EVER. My first experience was me telling them I want lace, I want ivory, and under no circumstances do I want strapless or any embellishment. The sales lady proceeded to bring out strapless dresses with big flowers attached to them. We left after 20 minutes. It was awful!

Prippy Handbook said...

As a Belle on Heels fan, I've admired your gorgeous wedding photos... fabulous! Your dress looked made just for you. So beautiful.

It is such a weird thing when people put on their sales earmuffs and disregard what the customer is asking for, but it seems particularly prevalent when it comes to being a bride. While there are so many amazing wedding consultants out there, the sour grapes crazies seem to really leave a lasting impression!

Alli said...

I love all of your posts, but this is definitely one of my favorites! I love your dress, and I think it's great that you went with your instinct and chose one that made you feel like YOU! So happy for you and B!

Prippy Handbook said...

Ah, thank you SO much! I'm touched... and happy you love my dress :) Regardless of picking a dress you like, it is always awesome when others give you the shout out.

About Last Weekend said...

Oh I love these photos - you two look gorgeous - you look straight out of a glamorous old movie. The photos are so atmospheric and yet happy and loving! Just wonderful, I'm so happy for you! Your dress is perfection, the embellishment and the jacket are wonderful!

the best part of my day... said...

Gorgeous. You look soooo gorgeous. And happy. The best combo on the planet. Cheers for sharing....

Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

You were seriously the most gorgeous bride ever. My eyes welled-up with tears when I saw you. So beautiful. Every detail of the wedding was so... you!

My dress experience was kind of rough, and since it was a small wedding, I brought my fiance along with me to decide on a dress. I really didn't care so much about that stuff, I just wanted to be married. I did like my dress very much, though. I think I loved my veil most of all. When I was trying to decide on a veil, the bridal attendant tried to convince me to buy a $900 option (which was more than my dress, pre-fitting)!

You are definitely right. A good attendant can make all the difference. Glad all worked out for you in the long run, though! I don't think anyone could have pulled that dress off as perfectly as you did. You were stunning!

Prippy Handbook said...

Aw, shucks!

Smooches and thank you for the ridiculously flattering comments. I love 'em! said...

I love that dress and your right, trust yourself in all matters....


Eat. Live. Laugh. and sometimes shop! said...

Your dress is gorgeous!!!! So beautiful!

I took a page from your book (albeit 10 years ago). I was 30 and much too practical to be like tiny dancer. I tried on 3 dresses, found "the one" and stopped there. Cancelled my appts for the rest of the day and my friends and mom went to a nice lunch instead.

When you know . . . . you just know.

Style Maniac said...

You looked GORGEOUS! And your husband's look -- ah, the look of many happy anniversaries to come.

I bought my dress just a week or so after my engagement. Tried it on alone, bought it, then showed only my mom till the day of. Nearly 8 years later I still adore it and know it was the perfect choice (for me, dark red satin Nicole Miller that was probably supposed to be a bridesmaid dress). When you know, you know.

p.s. That sales lady sounds like the snotty clerks in Pretty Woman!