I went wedding dress shopping with one of my best friends/old roommates a few weekends back for her upcoming May wedding. I hadn't been dress shopping since my own wedding so I was excited to go and be a bridesmaid and not the bride. Leigh Anne's wedding will be a very small outdoor event tailored towards the vintage, shabby-chic style with lots of burlap and crisp whites.
The first place we went to was called Bridal World in Raleigh. Okay, it was a little weird. The store is basically split in half by the 3 dressing rooms (yes, there are only 3) and while one side of the store is wedding dresses, the other half is consignment. And I don't mean wedding consignment. I mean PTA thrift shop kind of consignment. Leigh Anne immediately freaked out when we walked in to this place. Me and Kelley (the other bridesmaid) were trying to keep her calm and convince her to go on with the appointment and just see what she could find. Their method is to take different colored shower curtain rings (yes, you read that right) and place them over the hanger of the dress you were interested in trying on. Then a consultant would bring them to you in the dressing room and help you try them on. Nobody was allowed in the dressing room except the bride and the consultant. You were most definitely NOT allowed to take pictures (Hello? How are you supposed to compare to make the right decision??) and if you were going to go anywhere near a dress you had to constantly wipe your hands with baby wipes. I mean, I get that part but still... Plus they only had one riser, which was super small, so you had to wait your turn to see yourself in the insanely small mirror. The consultant was very nice however the old lady that owned the store was not (plus she was wearing one bedroom slipper and one sandal. Really? I would prefer to make one of the biggest purchases of my life from someone semi-fashion conscious but that's just me.)
Anyway, I'm glad we made Leigh Anne stay and try on the dresses because they did have a pretty decent selection. They were a little pricey but she narrowed it down to 2 that she liked. They were both a few hundred dollars over budget so she decided to hold off while we went to lunch to discuss. We went to Red Bowl to eat and had a really nice lunch. Leigh Anne was convinced that the appointment was a bust and Kelley and I did our best to change her mind. We had accomplished a lot in that 2 hour appointment. She tried on a good 7-10 dresses and she really figured out what she liked and what she didn't and what she looked good in and what was not so flattering. I thought the appointment was a huge success. That was the only appointment she had scheduled but I convinced her to let me call David's Bridal down the street. Kelly was in from Charlotte for this and I had come from Greensboro so why not try to hit another store while we were both in town. I called David's and they said there were no appointments but we could walk around and look. So I convinced Leigh Anne that there was no harm in going to walk around and see what they had in comparison. Well, within 20 minutes she had a consultant and was headed to the dressing room.
While we waited during those 20 minutes, Kelley and I took off throughout the store and picked out every single dress that we thought she might like based on the dresses from earlier. We hid them in one section (which we later found out was against the David's Bridal law) but it sure did make life easier on our consultant. Leigh Anne had really opened up at this point because the selection was so much bigger, the prices were way better and she really felt like a bride with all of the mirrors and lights. She was pretty much willing to try on anything that we suggested. I should have prefaced this post by saying that Leigh Anne started off the day saying: "NO Lace, NO Flowers, MUST have sleeves, NOTHING FANCY." So when we convinced her to try on that stuff anyway, she was pleasantly surprised.
The consultant's name was Jamie and she was AWESOME! Leigh Anne walked away from David's Bridal with her dress in her hand. And seriously, we had one of those "Say Yes to the Dress" moments. She tried on a bunch of dresses. Some we really liked. A lot. But when she came out with the one, the tears were flowing. From all of us. Everybody knows I am pretty much the sappiest person on the planet and I was holding myself together pretty well. But when she came out with that dress on my heart started beating so fast. And then I made the mistake of looking at Leigh Anne's mom (who was sobbing) and I couldn't hold it back. Then we were all crying. And at that moment, she knew she had found it. She tried on her other favorite but it no longer compared. The day was awesome.
Here are some shots from some of the dresses Leigh Anne tried on. I won't be posting pics of the dress until after the big day so you'll have to hold off until then. The only thing I will say is that she ate her words on a bunch of the "NO's."