This weekend was yet another adventure into the world of wedding dress shopping. On Saturday I met up with my mom and my friend Kelli at TLC Boutique in Frederick, MD. This is the store where Kelli got her dress 3 years ago, in fact they have a picture of her on her wedding day in the shop! It was great having Kelli there to help. She not only had some great tips but was very honest with her opinion and told me when she didn't like something. She also pointed out that even though a dress might be pretty in person it may not show up as well in pictures. Fortunately we were on the same page with most of the dresses that we liked and disliked. The staff there was great and it was nice that there was only me and another girl in there trying on dresses at a time. I ended up liking 3 dresses, all of which looked totally different and all of which were at the very top of my budget. Apparently I have expensive taste. One of the dresses was the lace style that I really like, the two other dresses were more of the ball gown style and had more beading on them. They were definite princess dresses and even though they were really pretty I just don't think they work well in the outdoor garden setting that I'm getting married in. I also tried on a halter dress and another dress with straps and I was right in my initial assumption that I wouldn't like those.
Today I met up with my mom and we went to Leesburg Bridal. We met up a little early and were able to stop by the cemetery where my grandmother and grandfather are buried which was nice and then had lunch. When we got to the store it was a little more unorganized than the shop from Saturday. Instead of the lady helping me put on each dress I was left to put on and take off each dress myself and had to call for them to come clip me. Also, most of the dresses they had there were FAR too big for me. Normally I wear a street size 2 and I was having to try on size 12 dresses. Even with the clipping it's hard to get a good feel of what the dress will look like with all that extra fabric. I did end up really liking one of the dresses and shockingly enough it was the dress my mother picked out! Normally we have very different taste but she spotted this one and I figured what the hell. Wouldn't you know that was the one that I ended up loving. It has a bit more of the sweetheart neckline and is tight thru the body and slowly flares out into an A-line. It has beautiful lace detail at the bottom of the dress and the train and has a little bit of lace below the bust.
My only concern with this dress was that it wouldn't show up as well in pictures. It doesn't have any beading and while it's beautiful close up and in person from far away it looks very plain. The sales lady mentioned the option of adding a bit of beading which at first made me very nervous. I didn't want it to end up gaudy. However they actually had the exact same dress that someone had ordered with the additional beading on it. They brought it out for me to look at and I LOVED the beading. It was very subtle and added just the right amount of sparkle to make it pop without being gaudy. I really thought this could be the dress...until we started looking at the pricing. The dress on it's own was at the top of my price range, then when you factor in the additional beading I would want that's another $200, then you have to factor in the cost to alter the dress and seeing how I'm all of 5 feet tall I will definitely need the dress hemmed at the very least so that will add another couple hundred dollars.
Even though I've tried on dresses that are much cheaper I always seem to like the pricier ones. I swear it's not intentional! So now I'm not sure what to do. I called Kelli today to fill her in on shopping day 2 and ask her opinion of the pricing. She pointed out that I've always been very frugal and she can't imagine me being happy spending that much on a dress I wear for one day. However, I feel like BECAUSE I've been so frugal my whole life especially when it comes to clothes and shoes (my favorite stores are Target and H&M after all) that maybe I should splurge on this. After all what better article of clothing to spend a lot on than my wedding dress? Yes I wear it once but I will be looking at the pictures forever.
I discussed it with K and completely expected him to chastise me for wanting to spend so much but he said I should get the dress I really want and the one I'll be happiest in. He said he will love me in anything but I shouldn't settle for something I don't really love. So now I need to do some research to see if I can get this one dress cheaper somewhere else while also continuing to shop around and maybe find another dress I like just as much with a smaller price tag. The hunt continues.