After my honey and I set our wedding date and booked the venue, I set out to find the perfect event designer to bring my dreams of modern, rococo fabulosity to life. I showed them my inspiration boards and we talked about flowers, decor and linens, but the discussions sort of stalled once this question was posed- “Do you have your wedding dress yet?” because much of the day’s design is inspired by the bride’s gown. With that in mind, I set up some appointments and made sure to do so quickly because I heard that Chinese New Year can sometimes delay wedding dress orders at this time of year.
It was important for me to visit places with a broad selection of various designers because I wanted to try on lots of looks in hopes to find the dress I have created in my mind. Like many brides, I suffer from the “I want something different” plague and honestly I am afraid that my dream dress may not exist. Have you ever seen a blush or champagne-toned dress made of tulle and organza with a sweetheart neckline, detailed embellishments (especially along the back) and a trumpet style skirt that shows a little leg in the front with a dramatic, cascading train? No? Me neither. I know it may sound like a train wreck but I promise you it is very cute in my mind and I shall search until I find it! I’m bringing along two of my favorite people, my mother and future mother-in-law (MIL), to help me do so.
The first store we visited was La Raine's Bridal Boutique. Located in the heart of one of my favorite neighborhoods, the Virginia Highlands, the salon is in a beautifully restored, historic house with gleaming hard wood floors and plush private dressing areas that provide ultimate privacy for you and your guests. If you buy your dress there, you can rest assured that it will be protected at all costs because they have a humidity and climate controlled vault in which they store every purchase so even if the house burns down, your wedding gown will remain unscathed. I was delighted to learn that they have a great selection of dresses within every price range from $900 to $6,000. (Check out their sister location, Bridal Outlet of Atlanta, for discontinued samples ranging from $400-$900.) Sarah, my salesperson, was very nice and accommodating and picked out some beautiful dresses for me to try on. After trying on nine to ten different dresses I settled on one really beautiful option that my mom and MIL loved, but it didn’t feel like “the one.” So we packed up our things, expressed our farewells and headed to store number two.
Our next stop was Bel Fiore Bridal in Marietta. I chose to go here because they advertise heavily on one of my favorite websites, atlantabridal.com and they also claim to have a low-pressure sales culture. Unlike La Raines, Bel Fiore is a no-frills space located in a busy shopping center, but that did not stop them from rolling out the red carpet for me and my guests and we each felt extremely welcomed! We walked in to see a chalkboard sign greeting us with my name on it and that made me feel special. In addition, we each got a gift! I got some cute pearl earrings and they even cleaned my ring. While waiting for my designated consultant, we munched on yummy chocolates and sipped cold drinks. Once the dress shopping part of the appointment got underway, I heard my mom and MIL mumble about the possibility of not finding any gowns as gorgeous as the last location, but by the end of our time there we knowingly laughed at a tried and true lesson that never gets old – don’t judge a book by its cover! My consultant pulled two very beautiful gowns that were flattering and affordable and I would’ve gotten a deep discount had I purchased one of them that day, but again, neither one was “the one” so I left without a dress.
At the end of the day, I remarked that wedding television shows have brainwashed me into thinking that not only will I find the perfect dress during my first shopping visit, I will know that it’s the one when I burst into tears of joy. Obviously, that didn’t happen for me this time and it may not occur on my next trip either. I do think I will have a knowing feeling when I come across “the” dress and I hope it happens on my next dress shopping excursion. Keep your fingers crossed for me and I’ll let you know how it goes!