Monday, February 7, 2011

Wedding Dresses - Part 1

I had a long dress trying session this weekend.  I really didn't want to spend an outrageous amount of money on a wedding dress, since it's only going to be used for a few hours.  So I thought I'd ease myself into the whole idea by starting at David's bridal.  Also, I didn't think I'd buy anything since it was my first time trying dresses on.  I thought people at David's probably wouldn't put as much pressure on me as a boutique salon.  So I went there and stayed there for a whooping 3 hours and tried on about 20 different dresses.  It was tiring!  Didn't know trying on dresses was such hard work.  But it was a rather disappointing session as I barely liked any.  I mean they were all cute I guess, but nothing really made me get the feeling of "this is the one".  I suppose it's looking like my budget will need to go sky rocketing.  My friend told me average price for a wedding dress was about $1000 and I thought she was crazy.  But it's now looking like I'll be lucky to get one for that after alterations and all!  I still think it's ridiculous.  Anything associated with weddings is a rip off.  Though I just recently sold some of my Lululemon stuff and got about $600 in my Paypal account.  Hmmm... puts things in perspective... maybe I should stop buying Lulu for a couple month and spend the money on my wedding dress instead....

My #1 at David's was actually a very different looking gown than what I'd imagined.  It was the Galina Signature Charmuse V-neck Halter:

This was everybody's favorite.  Kind of an old Hollywood look.  I tried it on in a size 4, and it was the most perfect fit.  It wouldn't need any alterations whatsoever.  It's very figure hugging and brings in your waist which makes you look skinnier.  The consultant told me to take a walk around the store and see how I felt in it.  So I did, and got a lot of head turns and whispers of "that's gorgeous" or the like from other brides.  Some other consultants actually came up to me and told me that they had never seen anyone try this dress on so they never knew how good it looked on a real person.  I guess it's one of those dresses that does not work for everyone.  What I like about it is that it's very elegant and does not resemble a ball gown.  But I still wasn't sure if it's "THE" dress, or just the one of the day.  I think the fact that I'm doubting it now proves that it is not it.  I also had a little beef with the beaded belt - it did not lay as flat on me as it does on the photo above.  So I thought it was kind of cheaply made.  That could be because the gown was a sample that had been tried on though.  Who knows.  Still, at $700, it wasn't making me jump on it.

Besides, the White by Vera Wang line at David's is launching this Friday.  So I made an appointment for Thursday night to go back and try them on.  I guess they are getting 12 different styles, starting at only $600.  But they are getting only 40-50 total so it's a very limited release.  There are some that looked very cute from the look book, but I will try them on and see.  I suppose if I really fall in love with one then I need to get it right away because it will be sold out otherwise.  Good thing my consultant told me the secret of getting in on Thursday vs. Friday when everyone else will be there!

Here are some that look like they may have potential - they also happen to be some of the cheaper ones, all under $1000!

Cute and different, but no idea how it will look on me and it may be too avant garde for my venue

Don't normally like sash, but this one is not bad.  Black wouldn't be my first choice though, albeit being "in" in fall 2010

Very fluffy and princess-y, but I love that pink belt with flowers.  I doubt this will be the one though.

I also looked up some other wedding dress designers.  I guess I just really want a very different looking dress with the "Wow factor".  Here are some of the ones I like that I saw online.  There's a gown shop not far from me that carries these lines.  I will have to make an appointment and see if they have these exact ones.  I wish I could buy dresses online without trying on!  That would be so much easier!  But they are all non-returnable or charge a 50% restocking fee.  So I don't want to chance it.

This is the Impression Faye dress.  #3083.  

Love the details on the top and how it flows on the bottom, but not crazy about the beading on the back (picture below).  This one is like $780.  I think I rather buy this than the Galina Charmeuse one for a few bucks more.  If it fits well, that is.

I also LOVE pretty much all the Sottero and Midgley dresses.  But the Landis captured my heart the most.  It is I believe around $1200. 

I love the hand made flowers around the chest and how flowy it is.  Would be perfect for my beach house wedding.

The back is gorgeous too.

I'm SO tempted by the Landis, even though I hate spending that much on a dress.  I wonder how the market for pre-owned designer wedding dresses is??  Hmmmm.... maybe someone will buy it off of me later and I can recoup, say... 50%?

I really like this Mori Lee dress, style # 3605.  It's a perfect fit on the model and accentuates her great figure.  It is low key, but if it can fit me nearly as well as it fits the model I think it will still be a knock out.  I love the silhouette.  It is also the cheapest by far, at $350.

I'm tempted by the Mori Lee too just because the price is so much more acceptable.  It's right around where I thought I'd spend on a dress.  Maybe I can get it as a second dress, but maybe I should rather spend more on one really perfect dress.  Ahhh... decisions decisions.

And then there's this gorgeous Vera Wang Tatiana dress.  Even though it's not white, it is still gorgeous, and would look really good next to a black suit (the groom).

Love the front details.
This one is way $$$ and I don't even want to think about it.  But I still am going to the Vera Wang flagship store here in LA, on Melrose Ave, to try on different dresses.  Because, why not.  Even if I'm not buying any, it will still be fun to try them on!  My gay best friend really wants to go with me, I think more so than me.  He is just jealous that he doesn't get to wear a wedding dress.  Hahaha. 

It's funny that I am now looking at all these gowns with lots of details.  For a long time I always thought I'd get married in a Nicole Miller, because they are simple, modern and classy.  Like something you can wear to a fancy black tie event, not necessarily a wedding.  But now I'm thinking I should go with a more over stated dress since it is my first and hopefully only wedding after all. 

So this is where I'm at right now.  I'm sure though that I will be changing my mind and finding more dresses.  That's why I named this post part 1!  I do still have time since my wedding isn't until late September, but it's just one of those things that I would like to have secured early on so I can start thinking about shoes and jewelry to match! 


  1. Have you looked at Nordstrom? They just opened a bridal boutique and have some great gowns. Also, if you find a designer you like you can look on ebay. There's lots of new dresses at a big discount!

  2. I signed up for the Nordstrom bridal boutique newsletter thingy, but haven't looked at one yet! I saw lots of dresses on eBay that are from China and they claim to custom make for you. I'm assuming designer knock offs. Lol. Do you know if the quality and workmanship is ok? Very tempting to spend a fraction of the retail price of course!

  3. I have read about women buying dresses from China but I haven't done that myself. I went through a couple dresses because I couldn't decide but one of them was a La Sposa I bought on ebay. I forgot how much I paid for it - maybe $500? Anyway, it was authentic to the best of my knowledge.

  4. I love the Vera Wang one! That'll look gorgeous on you I bet. The color is pretty and so elegant!

  5. Take a quick look at jcrew also, they have wedding dresses. Some reasonable priced dresses, and some not so reasonable. Good Luck!

  6. Keep the price of alterations in mind when shopping. They added about 20% to the cost of my dress and busted my budget. Some places charge a flat fee, others charge per change. Even when you think that the size fits well, they find ways to alter it and make it perect.

  7. You are so right - anything with the word WEDDING in it raises the price. That goes for the cost of the dress itself, alterations, dry cleaning when you call it a dress/gown vs. a wedding gown.

    Luckily one of my good friend's moms is an awesome seamstress. She did all the alterations for our prom dresses, formal dresses, and even my wedding dress. That saved money big time (She charged me, but so much less than a bridal shop).

    If you're having a beachy wedding, I'd definitely look for white dresses outside of the "bridal" category, if you're looking to save money; unless you are wanting to go all out for your wedding.

    Looking back, I'm glad I only spent $500 on my wedding dress (from David's) because I wore it for all of 12 hours. I didn't even tempt myself with looking at more expensive dresses because they were out of my budget at the time, (though it would have been fun to try on more dresses, I'm afraid I would have fallen in love with one). Now, my dress is hanging in its garment bag in a closet. For the past 3.5 years. I don't really know what to do with it, I wish I had been able to sell it just so someone else could get use out of it, and so it wasn't taking up space in our apartment. I don't want to lug this across the country or to wherever we will end up next.

    I'd consider buying a knock off from China for much less, if you can at least verify some positive reviews from the company. Not sure if you tried- but I wasn't allowed to take pictures at the bridal shop! They are apparently concerned about you taking a picture out of the shop, and having your own made up for cheaper.

  8. I love the two with the sweetheart necklines (the Landis and the Mori Lee)! Looks great on lots of body types :)

    And there is nothing wrong with being princess-y hehe. It's a princessy kind of day :P

    I'm not on the market for a dress anytime soon, but I'm glad youre posting about shopping so I can live vicariously through your experience! Thanks!!!

  9. My sister in law just purchased the top David's dress. She is an ex model and it certainly would not look good on everyone, but it has the right amount of different look. All of these dresses are gorgeous, no matter if you spend 10 grand or 200 you will feel amazing! I bet you will at some point try on a dress and once it's on you won't be able to imagine yourself in anything else. Also there are a number of boutiques that sell designer dresses second hand!

  10. OMG... I just saw that Landis dress on ebay for like $100 including shipping! From China of course. I'm tempted but scared at the same time... but hey they accept returns. And have lots of positive feedback. Lol. $100 sounds so much better than $1200.

    They did allow me to take pictures of each dress at David's. The David's one didn't look as good on the photo as it did in person. I wonder if it's just not a photogenic dress?? But then again the pic was taken with an iPhone cam...

    I don't think there's anything wrong with being princess-y but I just don't think that's my style. Also, it doesn't really suit my venue. I would prefer something that drapes well and flows.

    Do you guys think it's ok to go dress shopping with your fiance? My friends say that you are never supposed to let him see you in a dress until the wedding, but we both didn't know about that rule. The consultant at David's told me that lots of fiances do go dress shopping together. I don't think I would mind if he saw me in wedding dresses, because I kind of want his opinion if I'm dropping this kind of money on a dress. He has good taste (obviously.. lol). But then again it would be really cool to surprise him too...

  11. If you go to the Vera Wang boutique, you're going to change your mind about how much you want to spend! I bought my wedding dress at an outlet called Glamour Closet, they have one in LA and one in SF. I got a Vera for half off. It was a sample gown and it was in perfect condition. The ladies that worked there said you're never supposed to try on a gown that's over your budget because that'll end up being "the one."
    Anyway, good luck on finding your dress!

  12. so many lovely dresses!! If only we had reasons to dress for the red carpet and didn't have to pay the price tag! =).

    I have bought bridal dresses (bridesmaids) from China via the eBay sellers and the quality is usually very well done. You will need to budget for some alterations to be done, but the prices we paid were less than 60-70 per dress, and the alterations needed were usually just hemming. There are some styles that are very difficult to alter so try to avoid those as a reputable seamstress usually charges per seam that they alter. And a 'decent' seamstress will alter each seam, not just the side seams.

    Since you're going for a beach theme I would caution against the Impression Faye dress as it looks like the material is peau de soie. That material photographs well but is one of the heaviest fabrics and won't be very true to your theme. Tulle, chiffon, and satin charmeuse will fit your theme very well, and you won't be sweating buckets in them =).
    If you're wearing the dress the whole night you might want to avoid satin charmeuse as it will show every crease and candid shots(with flash) taken by your guests will likely show you as a shiny apparition, lol.

    There are some local forums where ladies sell their wedding dresses, either pre-loved, or impulse buys. It's hard to find the right size and style, and so thank goodness there are options like China 'knock-offs'. Just take very detailed measurements (can be done at a wedding store). The China dresses are never really made to order, so if you're in between sizes or have a smaller waist-hip ratio they won't cater to that, everything rolls off the factory line precut. But if you get it for under 100 how can you say no?..!

    I think you have my email address from me posting this comment, so feel free to shoot me an email if you have questions about the eBayers located in China. maybe I have useful info, haha.
    and congratulations!!

  13. @Anon: You are so right about that - I totally would change my mind! Maybe shouldn't tempt myself huh? Hehe. Oh and I was also just reading reviews on yelp about Glamour Closet the other day, now you've convinced me to actually go there and have a look!

    @Cheryl: Wow that's interesting. I guess it makes sense that the quality is alright since EVERYTHING is made in China anyway, even a lot of high end stuff. They just charge us more! Might as well go directly to the manufacturer! I'd be interested to know the eBay names of some of these sellers that you've had good experiences with. Your email actually doesn't come through. So please email me!

    And thanks for the advice about the Faye dress! That definitely makes sense. It looks flowy when I first looked at it, but now that I look at it more, it does look heavy.

  14. I really like the Mori Lee dress the best, simple yet elegant. What a great price too.

    My fiance went with me the 2nd time because I wasn't 100% sure on the dress. He loved it so I bought it right then. I was too embarrassed to tell them it was my fiance so I said he was my fiance's brother. I didn't think it was bad luck for him to see it. We are so close it felt strange for him to not it see it especially something so important and expensive.

  15. That's exactly how I feel about bringing my fiance with me! It would still be special when he sees me with all my makeup and hair done even if he's seen the dress right?

    I do really like the Mori Lee dress too. I wish I could try it on though!

  16. Even guys who have a good eye probably won't remember exactly what the dress looks like in 6ish months I bet. Like if you ever watch "say yes to the dress" half the time the brides don't even really remember. Plus the moment when he sees you will just trump any memory of you in that dress from before!

  17. My husband's brother went with his fiancee to look at dresses. She didn't mind, he didn't mind - but the bridal shop made this huge deal about it. Maybe it was a bad bridal shop, but they tried to talk her into a more expensive dress and only talked to the bride-to-be (like they were afraid he'd veto the pricey dresses).

    I am not a firm believer in all these wedding related traditions (like freezing the top layer of your wedding cake and eating it on your first anniversary? Nope, we ate it fresh and our baker gave us a free 1 year anniversary cake!)

    Also, I forgot to incorporate something blue on my wedding day.

    So I say, if your fiance wants to help out, and you value his opinion, take him along!

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