As soon as Mr. Wallaby and I got engaged, I started spending a lot of time on Pinterest. You could call it an obsession. I hadn’t discovered wedding blogs yet, so I was just browsing around the wedding boards on Pinterest, happily pinning anything that caught my eye.
I didn’t pay too much attention to dresses on Pinterest at first. I was more interested in colors, themes—more general wedding concepts. But then one day I saw a pin of the most beautiful lace dress I had ever seen (and still, I don’t think I’ve seen anything prettier): Claire Pettibone’s Chantilly lace dress.
After some Google sleuthing, I identified the dress…and the price. Wowza. That dress is beautiful, but I definitely couldn’t afford to buy it new. I began to troll used wedding dress websites in search of a Chantilly dress in my size. I never found it in my size, although I did find one on preownedweddingdresses.com that was one size too big that could probably have been altered to my size.
The story doesn’t end that quickly. I didn’t end up with a Claire Pettibone wedding gown. But I did become determined to find a lace sheath dress. As my online search continued, I stumbled across pictures of Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet gown, a gorgeous lace dress with a keyhole back:
Again, this dress turned out to be well above my budget. I searched far and wide for this dress on preowned dress websites but, again, nothing in exactly my size—I am a tall girl, and it’s hard to find preowned dresses that are long enough!
Mr. Wallaby’s parents threw an engagement party for us a month after we got engaged, and my parents flew down to Houston to celebrate with us. While my mom was in town, she and I went dress shopping. I wasn’t sure about buying a new dress—I am a big proponent of reusing anything that can be reused, and there are thousands of beautiful used wedding dresses out there. However, my mom and I don’t get to spend much time together now that I live down in Texas, so I obliged her and set up an appointment at a local bridal salon.
I was nervous that I would forget the essentials for dress shopping—heels, strapless bra, and patience. (And snacks…like Miss Lyre, my mom and I both tend to get hangry!) But I came to my appointment fully prepared, with a happy mother in tow. I described some of my inspiration dresses (I left the pictures I had printed out in the printer at work—dangit!) to the sweet lady who was helping me that day, and she picked out about four dresses for me to try on. My mom and I picked out another four dresses, and then we headed to the back rooms to try on dresses.
The first dress I tried on was similar to Monique Lhuillier’s Scarlet dress—this one was Allure 8764:
Photo via Allure Bridals
As soon as I caught a glimpse of this dress in the mirror, I knew it wasn’t cut for me. There was too much lace going on in the shoulder area—it looked like it was swallowing my head. So we went back to the drawing board.
The next dress that I tried on was Allure 8634, another fitted lace dress with beautiful details on the back:
Photos via Allure Bridals
I LOVED the back of this dress when I tried it on, but there was way too much cleavage. My conservative mama definitely didn’t approve. I also didn’t like the tulle underlay. It was a little scratchy, and it just didn’t fit my vision. I tried on a few more dresses, but they weren’t noteworthy—I can’t even remember which dresses I tried on now that some time has passed. But the last dress of the day that I tried on had a different impact on my mom and me. This dress was an Allure 8903:
Photos via Allure Bridals
This dress fit my body like a glove—it hugged my curves, pulled in my waist, and with straps and a charmeuse slip, wearing it felt like a dream. My mom took some pictures, and we hurried off to finish baking cupcakes for the engagement party.
At the engagement party, all of the women in Mr. W’s family wanted to see pictures of the dress I had picked out. We huddled around the island in MIL Wallaby’s kitchen and my mom showed off the pictures. Everyone loved the dress, and they wanted to go back to the bridal salon the next day to see me wear it in person. I was a little hesitant to bring such a big crew to the bridal salon (we are talking 12 other women!), but being the pushover that I am, I agreed to go.
When we returned to the bridal salon the next day, everyone headed straight for the display room, and there was a shuffling around as all of these women—family and friends—began examining the dresses on the racks, looking for their favorite dress. They picked out a half dozen dresses for me to try on, and I headed back to the dressing rooms with those dresses in tow along with my favorite from the day before.
To make a long story short, everyone loved my favorite dress from the day before. But one of Mr. W’s family friends picked out another stunning dress that turned out to be “the one.” When I walked out of the dressing room to show off the dress, the short train following me across the room, everyone applauded. My mom started to cry. We had one of those stereotypical “say yes to the dress” moments. And that very day, my mom and I put down a deposit on the dress.
I can’t post pictures of me in the dress on Weddingbee yet, for fear of Mr. Wallaby’s prying eyes. But I will tell you that this dress is better on my body than any other dress I tried on. In fact, my mom continues to tell me that this dress fits me better than any of my original inspiration dresses would. The dress I picked out is indeed a lace sheath dress, and it is covered in silver beading. It has a very short train, and it reminds me of something from the closet of a 1920s movie star. It’s glamorous. And I can’t wait to show it off in November.
Did you consider buying your wedding dress online? Or did you have a traditional dress-shopping experience at a bridal salon? Am I crazy for going dress shopping with 12 other women?