SURPRISE! Dress success in Lala Land!

Okay, so, I'm going to admit it. I am a bride-to-be that has never, and I mean never, watched one reality show about getting married or planning a wedding. "Whoa! No way, she must be kidding! Not even two minutes of 'Say Yes to the Dress???'" Nope. Never. And to be honest, I was never one of those girls growing up who put a Kleenex in their headband and daydreamed about their future wedding. (I was more into SheRa and Rainbowbrite.) But, I will say that ever since Vinnie proposed to me in our dining room on September 12, 2011 I have not been able to stop daydreaming and imagining our wedding day. This whole experience has been magical (minus the venue hunt.... future blog post about that coming soon). When it comes to "The Dress," I started my search innocently on Pinterest, and by googling "wedding dresses." I browsed the internet searching for inspiration, as I had no freak'n clue what style I liked, what would look good on me, and what any of the styles meant. After all that, I kept coming back to lace! When I saw photos like the ones I have posted below, I got swept away into a daydream of becoming some Old Hollywood starlet, with some swooning Dean Martin song playing in the background, like "Aint that a kick in the head."

A little fact about me: I worked retail for a long time, and from those years at Nordstrom, I developed an eye for fashion... and the common sense to NOT pay retail. So, when it came to finding the most important dress of my life, I promised myself that I would find something either couture-looking and a knock-off, or a couture gown on sale.

Well, here's what went down... My mom flew down from SF to LA to spend the weekend with me. We planned on casually looking at wedding dresses and attending the bridal expo (which was AWFUL! Great people watching, but CHEESEY! future post coming soon). We started our day with the idea of "no pressure! We don't have to find THE dress. Let's just have fun. We have plenty of time." We just wanted to have that mother-daughter experience.

Anywho, I asked my friends on facebook where to shop for a gown that was chic and cheap. Numerous replies came back saying, 'go to GLAMOUR CLOSET.' Word to the wise: they do not take appointments! I recommend going 15 minutes before they open. There are only 2 fitting rooms, and often times there's a wait. But it's totally worth it! Here are some photos of my experience. NOTE: these are photos of the dresses I did not get.... obviously ;-) and that dress with me making an 'oh' face? it's a $10K Monique Lhuilliere over 50% off!

After trying on a number of couture gowns, I ended up falling in love with the FIRST dress I tried on. CRAZY, right? Well, I may be a decisive lady, but I couldn't just buy it right then and there. Later that afternoon we went to Judy Lee Bridal in Beverly Hills. Had a great experience there and I highly recommend considering her, but I just didn't get the mushy 'this is it' feeling when I tried on her dresses. After that I went to Winnie Couture in Beverly Hills... I didn't find anything. That evening I called Glamour Closet to see if my dress was still there.... it was! I asked the woman to put it aside and that I'd be in first thing in the morning to make my final decision. The following morning my mother, maid of honor and I went back. I tried on 4 more dresses, then "my dress." At that moment it was a no-brainer; I had found my wedding dress.

From this experience I have learned that you don't have to live by anyone's rules. Who cares if you find your wedding dress before you lock down your venue and date ;-) There's no right way of planning your wedding day. Everyone carves their own path, and there's no manual that's going to guarantee happiness. Follow your gut, be confident, and go for it! I did, and I'm ecstatic!

TO DO: Buy Wedding Dress..... CHECK!!!!!....... and by the way, it was an Elizabeth Fillmore for over 75% off retail. BOOM!