Saying Yes to the Dress {again}

Okay, I'm just gonna say it - I'm guilty of buying two dresses. I've heard of women doing this and thought - that would never happen to me! Well, last week I bought dress #2. And I couldn't be happier!

Source: left, right

I bought my first dress a few months back and I loved it. But a couple weeks ago I was surfing wedding blogs and came across an amazing dress...a couple clicks later, I realized it was one of the dresses I tried on that was over my budget, but that I loved. So, I thought, instead of regretting not trying just because I already have a dress, I'll do a little searching for used/second hand options. I thought, if I don't find it, it's not meant to be and I'll be perfectly happy with the dress I already have.


Well, after coming back to my search a week later, one popped up. And it was in San Francisco. And it seemed to be in my measurements. And it was listed for almost 70% off the retail price. So of course I had to go look. It was just too good to be true. But it wasn't. It fit almost exactly and was in near-perfect condition. So here I am today with two dresses. Luckily I also bought my first dress at a discount, so I'm confident I can sell it and not lose much money.



Moral of the story for me was to plan, but then just let things happen. Control to a point, but then trust that it will work out. I would have been happy with the first option, but I sure am glad it worked out the way it did. I think this holds true for other wedding planning things...missed out on that venue you had your heart set on? Bridesmaid dresses you wanted are discontinued? Trust that the right thing will come along. And keep looking. It will all fall together just right.

Did you have second thoughts on your dress? Did you see a dress that caught your eye after you already had your dress?

Big thanks to Julie from Encore Bridal!

Designer at a Discount :: Dresses

Last week I wrote about one of the most fun parts of wedding planning for me thus far – dress shopping! I was in Austin last week and went to two stores…it definitely got me on the dress kick and I have already been again since getting back to San Francisco. Some girlfriends and I went to the Bridal Galleria in the Financial District. We had a great time (and I tried on some killer dresses!), but the first thing I noticed was how much more expensive the dresses were here. It definitely could have had something to do with the stores I went to, but it got me thinking – is it even worth trying on dresses over my budget? Will I fall in love with one only to be disappointed that I can’t have it? Naturally, my next thought was about alternative ways of buying wedding dresses. I know there are many. And being someone who doesn’t like to pay full price on my clothes, why should I pay full price for a wedding dress?! It is, after all, the most expensive single item of clothing I will have ever purchased. Eek! So, while I plan to try on more dresses at regular bridal boutiques, and may even buy from one of them, I’d like to at least attempt to find the dress I end up picking for a deal! Below I’ve compiled a list of alternative ways to buy wedding dresses. This is by no means a complete list, so if you have others you have heard good things about, please do tell in the comments!


1. Trunk Shows: A trunk show is when a designer (or their representative) brings their collection to a bridal boutique and provides personal consultations. These trunk shows also typically come with a discount on the designers' dresses. This is a great option if you have already had a chance to go shopping and have found a designer and particular cuts and styles you are drawn to. You wouldn't want a trunk show to be the first time you try on dresses because you might feel pressured by the temporary discount.

Click here for a guide of upcoming trunk shows in some of the major metro areas. Also, if you are in a store and love a certain designer, you can ask your consultant if there is a trunk show coming up for that line.

Source: left, right

2. Discount Stores: I heard about Glamour Closet through my future sis-in-law, fellow E&I blogger and deal-lover, Taya. See her dress post here. She had great success at GC in LA and I feel super lucky that there is also a location here in San Francisco. I will definitely be making a stop by GC before my dress shopping is through.


3. Pre-owned (aka 'used,' gasp!) wedding dresses: How GORGE is the gown above?! It is Monique Lhuillier, listed for $3,000 - more than $2k off the retail price. The site I found this one on has so many designers - see more at I think this would be for the bride who has found the exact dress she wants, knows her size and has time to wait and see if it becomes available on the site. You also have to be the type of person who doesn't mind if someone has worn the dress before you. As long as the dress came clean I really wouldn't care that it had already been worn. And, hey, you know the girl who wore it before you must have impeccable taste! ;-)

I recently heard of a company called Nearly Newlywed. Not only can you buy 'nearly new' dresses, but you can also sell your dress to them after your big day (post dry-cleaning, of course). 

Sources: left, right

Here are some other resources where you can find used dresses: Once Wed, 100 Layer Cake, SmartBride

Then there is always the option of getting a dress that is not technically a wedding dress, like a white prom dress or something not branded as 'wedding.' I think I am going to stick with the 'wedding dresses', but I could definitely see this working for the right person with a knack for fashion.

Have you considered any alternatives to buying a new dress at a boutique? Did you have a good experience? 

But You Can Wear It Again!

I am pretty sure you know what I am talking about just by the title – yep, bridesmaid dresses. If you’ve been in a wedding, I bet you’ve heard the above statement and so desperately hoped it would be true as you handed over your credit card to pay for a very pretty, yet, likely, very expensive dress. Unfortunately, bridesmaid dresses do not grow on trees, and despite how beautiful they are, the second-time wear is probably rarer than the Northern Hairy-nosed Wombat (seriously, look it up). Since several of my bridesmaids live across the country, I really wanted to keep the cost of the gown in check. I’d rather the ladies spend it on airfare to come to my wedding or bachelorette than a dress. But, that being said, I didn’t want to stress about finding a gown that would suit the taste and body types of eight different women! As we all know, I haven’t had the easiest time shopping for myself!

Luckily for me, the trend of letting your bridesmaids pick their own dress has really taken off. This allows the bridesmaid to wear something that they feel amazing in, hopefully at a price point they are comfortable with. And, an added benefit for me is that all my bridesmaids have AMAZING taste, so I know they will all look awesome!

Hmm, but what color…

When we were originally planning a more rustic, outdoor wedding I was definitely leaning toward gray.

And I also loved a more neutral tan as well.

But then we decided on our present venue, The City Club, which I felt called for a darker, more formal color.

I liked navy, but my sister called dibs on that shade way back in high school, so that was out.

And then I started seeing images of black dresses and fell in love with them – especially long black gowns. There was a chance (I admit small) that the ladies may actually already own a black gown. And if not, maybe they knew a friend they could borrow one from (again, wishful thinking – but a higher likelihood than other colors!).

And of course if they decided to buy a new one, they are ubiquitous so it hopefully wouldn’t be too hard to find one they loved (or even just liked!) at a reasonable price.

I also love the way long black gowns look with a classic tux.

I actually haven’t officially made my decision about bridesmaid dresses – I am waiting to do one more round of dress shopping for myself before I make it official. But I would love your thoughts – did you let your bridesmaid pick their own dress? How did it turn out? Or were you able to wear a bridesmaid dress again? I want know!

Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10