27 Dresses: The Lesson!


So, I dragged fiance with me to see the movie 27 Dresses this past weekend. Fiance loves going to the movies so much that he didn’t even give me push-back when I suggested that we use a Friday night out to see the movie.
Now, this movie has to be in a category of its own concerning people who would actually WANT to go see it. I mean, it’s like beyond a chick-flick–and to me seems like it would only appeal to either engaged chicks or really-ready-to-be-engaged chicks!
Judging by opening night and the twenty chicks in the movie theatre–I was right. Well 21–including my fiance.

I’m not going to “review” the movie except to say it was actually entertaining. I’d rather like to say that it brought up a really good point for all brides-to-be to consider: choosing your bridesmaid’s dresses.

Brides-to-be need to remember that a bridesmaid dress is just that–a DRESS. It doesn’t have to say ‘Alfred Angelo’ or ‘Watters’ on the tag for it to work as a bridesmaid’s dress. In fact, most ‘certified’ bridesmaids dresses–mostly appearing in unflattering silhouettes…and tafetta–kind of suck and indeed cannot (or at least should not) be worn again.

Moral of the story: When considering your girls’ attire, look in places you’d normally look when shopping for party dresses for yourself! Pure common sense. Many have recently been touting JCrew and Ann Taylor celebrations collections as being good choices. But I don’t even like these, as still, the dresses were made expressly to be a part of a ‘celebrations,’ i.e. bridesmaids dress line.
I say look places that are COMPLETELY disconnected to the wedding machine like Anthropologie, Nordstrom, Dillards, Macy’s, Arden B, Spiegel….you get the point. These places have more interesting choices and this way you’re more likely to choose frocks your gals will love, and many times, that will be cheaper than the cookie-cutter ‘bridesmaids gowns.’

Here are some examples:
Max &Cleo Brocade Dress-Dillards-$138

Lydia beaded halter dress-Dillards-$110

Jessica Howard lace dress: Dillards-$80

Shirred Tube Dress: To the Max: $108

Ruby Rox Bubble Tube Dress-Dillards: $69

As U Wish Rosette Party Dress: Nordstrom-$78

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January 23, 2008. fashion, gowns, reviews. Leave a comment.

Review: Henris Cloud 9

What: Bridal shop, Henris Cloud 9
Where: Minerva, Ohio
My Visit: Wednesday, December 26

Review: RK Bridal, NY, NY
Review: Country Miss Bridal, Upper Marlboro, MD
As you may know, I had previously come in contact with the staff at Henris at a bridal show in Cleveland a few months ago when I put a deposit down with them to hold my gown. Henris had a ‘showroom’ of gowns at the show where I unexpectedly found my dream dress.
I then was able to get them to lower the price they wanted to sell to me for by a few hundred dollars and to lock in that price.
Well, Wednesday my mom, sister and I drove a hour and a half south of Cleveland into very rural Minerva, Ohio to visit Henris’ shop.
Its located in the ‘downtown’ area of Minerva–a quaint road lined with shops that reminds me of my college town–and from the outside looked cute, but disappointingly small for the long drive we’d made.

But upon entering Henris, we were very pleased. There are two levels of the store, which inside looks like a large, old mansion. The first level is prom dresses and the second floor is all bridal.

I was impressed with the number of gowns they had by Spanish atelier Pronovias, and the sales staff were very helpful but no pressure!
Me in a Pronovias gown. I liked the top a lot. It’s NOT my gown!


(Double click on photos to see the amazing detail)
The selection of gowns was good. Of course it couldn’t compare to a large warehouse like RK, but the quality of the gowns at Henris was awesome. They were all beautiful selections. Some at higher price points like Eve of Milady and some really gorgeous, more affordable gowns like the Essence of Australia collection. I was left to try on gowns and received help when I needed it. The store is well lit and my mom and sister also tried on a few things.

We were also allowed to take photographs of the gowns I tried on, which is increasingly becoming a no-no in many salons. But that may have been because it was the day after Christmas, laid-back and seemingly slow.

That day, I ordered my gown. I’d say a drive to Henris from the Northeast Ohio area is worth it, especially if you’re considering a Pronovias gown. They also have some gorgeous, albeit pricey, Tacori jewelry.

December 28, 2007. fashion, gowns, reviews. 1 comment.

Say Yes to the Dress!

I did it! This weekend… I said “I do”… to my gown!
Now, if you’ve been following the blog, you know that I have been rather indecisive concerning my dress…

**Below is a timeline of the dress saga:**

-I began with a narrative declaration of the style of gown I wished to have.
-Then, I continued with some bridal shopping adventures in New York and Maryland.
-Then, even more shopping that I didn’t blog…
-Then, I proceeded to compare several gowns and nervously seek advice.
-Then, I had the nerve to declare to the world that I had FOUND my gown. (Knowing I was still unsure…)

Now, I am proud and resolved to announce that this weekend my mommy and I found the gown!
And I even sealed the deal by putting down a deposit.
I found my dress at the Today’s Bride magazine bridal show in Independence, Ohio on Sunday.
Basically, there were tons of wedding vendors that mom and I had went to check out, but it happens that an Ohio bridal salon, Henri’s Cloud 9, actually had a showroom on site where they were selling gowns with a one-day-only discount.

Here’s how it went:
**dozens of brides-to-be and bridezillas frantically looking through racks of dresses in a tiny, crowded showroom in a corner of a hotel**

Me to Henri’s employee, Jason:
“Where are the sexy/fitted/trumpet gowns in here?” Trying to bypass the looking-through-racks thing and doing crazy body movements to show that I wanted a form-fitting gown.

Jason:
“I’ll find them!” He pulls two gowns, one he says is a Henry Roth that retails for $3,000. Henry Roth isn’t making dresses anymore, that’s why it’s marked down to $799, he says.
The Roth was gorgeous. Material and color were pretty but it was too plain for me and didn’t look amazing on. The second dress Jason pulled just wasn’t what I had in mind.

However, as I was getting dressed, I looked up…and I saw thee dress! Outside of my fitting room curtain, a girl was looking at herself in the mirror in MY dream dress. All I could see was the perfect shape of the dress and the embellishment that was shining through the curtain. I peeked out and grabbed my mom and Jason, and in my own bridezilla moment I crossed my arms and said:
Get me that dress. That is MY dress. She needs to take it off!”

Well… the girl didn’t like the dress. Said she wanted something “simpler” so she and I traded gowns.

I slipped into the gown(a Fall 2007 Christina Wu).
It fit me like a glove.
I bargained them down about three-hundred dollars below the retail price (it retailed a bit out of my budget).
Fiance paid deposit with his credit card over the phone.
And the rest is history!

Onward!

October 16, 2007. fashion, gowns, vendors. 4 comments.

Review: Country Miss Bridal: Upper Marlboro, MD

Also see: Review: RK Bridal, NY, NY

Saturday morning I visited another local bridal called Country Miss. I know. I said I had found a gown. But hey, no harm in looking around, right?

First impression:
The shop is cute…located in a mini strip mall on a narrow street in the very “country-looking” neighborhood of Upper Marlboro. It was not far from where we live, but I had never ventured into the area.
Just from the way the store looked on the outside (small) I assumed their collection of gowns would also be disappointingly small.
I was wrong.

The store was larger inside than it appeared. There was a staff of about six women, who were for the most hands-off and not at all pushy. The girl who helped me asked what I was looking for and grabbed some gowns while allowing me to also look through their racks.
Compared to the other bridals in this area I’ve been to–maybe 4–they had the largest selection of gowns.

Experience:
The girl helping me was laid back and helpful. There was a stage to view yourself on. I thought it was weird they had a sign that read: “No cameras on Saturdays.” Not sure what that was about.

Details:
Like most other bridals, deposit for gowns and BM dresses is 50%. If you get al BMs dresses from them they offer 15% off each dress (mothers’ too) plus 10% off yours. I think that was the most generous I’d seen. It looked like they did alterations on site. They said the longest any gown would take to arrive was 3 months. I’ve heard longer delivery times quoted other places.

I think the best thing about Country Miss is that they double as a tuxedo rental place. Compared to some of the staple tux rental spots (i.e. Men’s Wearhouse,Tuxedo Junction)they had way nicer tux options and
many designers.

A downfall of this bridal is that they don’t carry any couture gown lines.

I may take fiance back there with me to look for a tux though.

Overall score: C+

September 30, 2007. fashion, gowns, reviews, vendors. 1 comment.

The Dress


I’ve found it!
I’ve posted a photo of it below…
Yeah, right.
Of course you can’t see my dress! But I thought I should at least share that I have settled on one…seeing as though I’ve been thinking aloud here on the blog.
I will say this, it’s nothing like the photos of any of the gowns I’ve posted previously.
I’m really excited.
Now, however, I’m faced with one more hurdle.
From whom do I order the dress?
Options are:
1. online vendor
2. Full service, ‘brick-and-mortar’ bridal boutique
Pros of Online Vendor:

-Almost always cheaper
-Very reliable… as long as the online vendor has an actual, reputable store somewhere in the U.S. That means, if said boutique has had a popular bridal store, say, in North carolina for 25 years and then branched out to also sell online.

Pros of Traditonal Bridal:

-Real, live person to assist you, measure you and take care of logistics
-Real live person to answer questions, etc. that has been through this many, many times
-Usually, small (10%) discount on bridesmaids dresses if you order everything from them
-Usually do alterations on site or can refer

Cons of Online:

-Sketchy if the vendor is solely based online and doesn’t have a physical store. For all you know they can just take your $$$ and disappear.
-Sketchy just because you’re not dealing with a real person
-Alterations are on you- have to find someone to do them, and figure in that extra cost

Cons of Bridal Boutique:

-Almost always more expensive
-Almost always fairly crowded and often chaotic (at least the ones ’round here)
-Some degree of pressure from salespeople

Still not sure how I feel about the possibility of ordering something this important online.
On one hand, I feel like as long as the vendor has a reputable physical store, and if you can check them with the Better Business Bureau, then why not?
Then something says…”just be safe.”
What are your thoughts?

September 14, 2007. fashion, gowns. Leave a comment.

Veils: They’re for the Birds…

Hmmm…where do I begin?
I detest veils.
And in explaining my feeling about veils, I will try not to offend anyone culturally or religously, rather to express my humble views.
In terms of the veil being voluntarily donned by women as a symbol of modesty–I can respect that.
But, it seems that, of my knowledge of the veil, it has largely meant and been equivocated to things like: oppression, suppression, sexism, extremism, hiding, silence, concealment, antiquated, “darkness.”
In sharp contast, I think of myslef as: free, expressive, equal, liberal, embracing, vocal, modern and “light.”
Perhaps I am off-base.
But I have never really liked veils or what they stand for.
So why should I have to wear one just because it is “tradition?”

I have expressed this to my fiance. he wants me to wear a veil. I love him, so I will give… but not without putting a twist on it.
Introducing…the french netting (a.k.a. birdcage) veil!


A compromise for all!
It’s old-fashioned. Fiance gets to ‘have his moment’ lifting it from my face during the ceremony. And for my sake, it’s very small and netted and does not totally hide my face!
What do you think of veils? Are they important to a wedding ceremony?
***Extra***
Indiebride.com discussion on birdcage veil and vendors.

September 7, 2007. fashion, gowns. Leave a comment.

Veils: They’re for the Birds…

Hmmm…where do I begin?
I detest veils.
And in explaining my feeling about veils, I will try not to offend anyone culturally or religously, rather to express my humble views.
In terms of the veil being voluntarily donned by women as a symbol of modesty–I can respect that.
But, it seems that, of my knowledge of the veil, it has largely meant and been equivocated to things like: oppression, suppression, sexism, extremism, hiding, silence, concealment, antiquated, “darkness.”
In sharp contast, I think of myslef as: free, expressive, equal, liberal, embracing, vocal, modern and “light.”
Perhaps I am off-base.
But I have never really liked veils or what they stand for.
So why should I have to wear one just because it is “tradition?”

I have expressed this to my fiance. he wants me to wear a veil. I love him, so I will give… but not without putting a twist on it.
Introducing…the french netting (a.k.a. birdcage) veil!


A compromise for all!
It’s old-fashioned. Fiance gets to ‘have his moment’ lifting it from my face during the ceremony. And for my sake, it’s very small and netted and does not totally hide my face!
What do you think of veils? Are they important to a wedding ceremony?
***Extra***
Indiebride.com discussion on birdcage veil and vendors.

September 7, 2007. fashion, gowns. Leave a comment.

Veils: They’re for the Birds…

Hmmm…where do I begin?
I detest veils.
And in explaining my feeling about veils, I will try not to offend anyone culturally or religously, rather to express my humble views.
In terms of the veil being voluntarily donned by women as a symbol of modesty–I can respect that.
But, it seems that, of my knowledge of the veil, it has largely meant and been equivocated to things like: oppression, suppression, sexism, extremism, hiding, silence, concealment, antiquated, “darkness.”
In sharp contast, I think of myslef as: free, expressive, equal, liberal, embracing, vocal, modern and “light.”
Perhaps I am off-base.
But I have never really liked veils or what they stand for.
So why should I have to wear one just because it is “tradition?”

I have expressed this to my fiance. he wants me to wear a veil. I love him, so I will give… but not without putting a twist on it.
Introducing…the french netting (a.k.a. birdcage) veil!


A compromise for all!
It’s old-fashioned. Fiance gets to ‘have his moment’ lifting it from my face during the ceremony. And for my sake, it’s very small and netted and does not totally hide my face!
What do you think of veils? Are they important to a wedding ceremony?
***Extra***
Indiebride.com discussion on birdcage veil and vendors.

September 7, 2007. fashion, gowns. 2 comments.

And the Dress Saga Continues…

Yesterday, a fellow wedding blogger drew my attention to a Watters gown I hadn’t seen that is trumpet-style and resembles some of the haute couture gowns that are far beyond what I can do budget-wise. So here I have posted pics of that Watters gown and two others–a “2 Be Bride” by Sabrina Toy and a Mon Cheri Couture that I actually tried on and that was way more lovely on and in person. I am still considering a few others, but of these, which one do you like and why?
Please note, this will likely be my last post about and with photos of specific gowns.
**Once I make a decision, you’ll just see my writing about “that gown!”
Watters

2 B Bride (please, pretend that veil is NOT there)

Mon Cheri

September 6, 2007. gowns. 1 comment.

Hjelm VS. Casablanca

You get what you pay for.
Nine times out of ten…this is so true…especially when it comes to wedding gowns as fabric, craftmanship and attention to detail is essential.
But–I came across this Casablanca gown ($$) and really feel like the style and cut of it resembles a couture Jim Hjelm gown ($$$-$$$$).
So the photo on top is the authentic Jim Hjelm (yes I’ve written about this gown before…)and the one below is the Casablanca at about a third of the cost (the top could likely be altered to a “deep V”…)
Honestly, which one do you like better, and why?

*****

September 4, 2007. budget, gowns. 3 comments.

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