So we last left off as my mom, bridesmaids, and I had completed the first day of our dress-shopping weekend, with four appointments to follow on the next day. We had a couple of favorites in mind after day one, and heightened anticipation that I could have already found my dress, or maybe would find something even more fabulous on day two!
We started off our second day of shopping at Lovely, a beautiful little shop tucked away in a brownstone in the West Village. We saw lots of new designers here, including some from Project Runway alum Carol Hannah.
One of the gowns I tried on from Lea-Ann Belter was a pretty combination of organza and lace that won over the crowd:
That’s my mom as photographer, and the Js lounging nearby. Gown is Lea-Ann Belter’s Tess.
After grabbing a quick bite to eat, we moved on to our next appointment, Amsale. I had wedged this appointment in at the last minute, realizing after going through my printouts that I really liked their gowns and wanted to give the flagship salon a try.
We had a great time at Amsale, and the gowns were amazingly well constructed. Emily was my consultant and she was such a fun person to work with. She knew just how to let me make my own decisions about what I liked best. Here are a few of the gowns I tried on:
Kenneth Pool – Amour / Image via Kenneth Pool
Amsale – Harlow / Image via Amsale
Amsale – Dahlia / Image via Amsale
Christos – Julianna / Image via Christos
And this last one was just for kicks—I hadn’t tried on a big fancy ball gown, as that’s not the type of wedding we’re having…but when I saw them in the shop, I had to do it just for fun. The entourage loved it, but of course it wasn’t the one.
Kenneth Pool – Caterina / Photo from Kenneth Pool
Giddy from having a lot of fun at Amsale, off we went to Vera Wang for our next-to-last appointment. I knew a lot of the Vera gowns would be out of my price range, even though my price range was pretty generous. But, I still wanted to have the experience of seeing what was there. I had been there with a friend of mine a few years ago when she was looking for a gown, and I loved exploring how the gowns were made and how Vera treated fabrics and construction.
Unfortunately for us, our consultant pegged me right away as a bride who maybe had already found her gown (possibly…) and who probably wasn’t going to purchase a gown that day. She went through the motions of our appointment but acted really put-off and dismissive. The girls were snickering, as it was so obvious that the consultant was not interested in really being helpful. It was too bad, as if I had found “the dress” while I was there, I know I would have gone somewhere else to purchase, given her horrible attitude! I didn’t try on many gowns and, honestly, we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. That said, the dresses were beautiful, as expected. No photos allowed, but here are three I tried on.
This one was layers of laser-cut, printed organza. The corset top was a second removable piece that went over the bodice:
Image via InStyle / Dress by Vera Wang
And this one was a fun shape, with those wide stripes:
Image via New York Magazine / Dress by Vera Wang
And I couldn’t find a good picture of the blush tulle gown I tried on, but it sure was a fun color! My mom was not so won over by the pink, though. (I think it was the first time our consultant cracked a smile, when she said, “Your mom does not look happy!”)
Finally it was time for our last appointment, at Mark Ingram Bridal Atelier. They carry a lot of different designers, so we were hoping to see some of our favorites again, to help us make a final decision. We also saw some fun new options.
This one had a removable peplum, and sheer organza across the neckline:
This one was blingy on top and ruffly on bottom:
Badgley Mischka – Lexington / Image via Brides
I tried on several more, including a couple of repeats from earlier salons, and ultimately came to a decision after comparing a couple of photos right there in the dressing room. I am going to be a bit of a tease and tell you that my gown is none of the gowns I’ve pictured here, but it was definitely my gown! There were tears from all of us when I tried it on, and it was clearly the dress. My mom and I went back to the winning salon the next day and sealed the deal, and I officially felt like a bride!
The whirlwind weekend of shopping was so worth it—I couldn’t have asked for a better experience, and having my mom and bridesmaids with me was extra helpful. Their reactions were supportive and straightforward, and that made me feel great in every dress that might have been “the one.”
How long did it take you to find your dress? Did you pack it all into one weekend or spread out your appointments? Did you know for sure when you were ready to say yes to the dress?