Should You Have An Engagement Party?

Engagement parties are the first of many pre-wedding celebrations. In addition to the engagement party, there’s the bridal shower, bachelorette party and even rehearsal dinner.  Before you begin planning your engagement party, consider if hosting the first official wedding activity is right for you:

The length between my engagement and wedding day is:

A.) Long. There will be 12-24 months or more between my engagement and wedding day

B.) Short. There will be less than 12 months between my engagement and wedding day

If you answered A, Long:

An engagement party is a great idea for you! Having a long engagement length means that you have plenty of time between your engagement and big day.

WHY:

You Have The Time!

Having a long engagement means that you have the necessary time to plan an engagement party. Your engagement party should take place within 3 months of the engagement. Since engagement parties require planning, composing a guest list and even financial resources, long engagements are ideal as planning the engagement party will not interfere with planning your actual wedding. Once your engagement party planning ends, you can take on planning for your wedding. 

Added bonus:

You will have an opportunity to test out your planning skills. If taking on the tasks required to plan your engagement party was incredibly stressful, consider hiring a wedding planner or reaching out to family and friends for assistance.

If you answered B, Short:

Consider cutting the engagement party when you have a short engagement length. Short engagement lengths means that you are closer to the big day than a bride with a long engagement length. Where long engagement lengths have time to save and plan for the big day, short engagements have less time to set aside resources and cross wedding planning tasks off the list. Unless you have flexible financial resources, consider skipping the engagement party to ensure that all resources are available for wedding related expenses.

WHY:

To Use Financial Resources For Vendor Deposits:

After your engagement, you will need to start making vendor deposits to secure your top vendor choices. On average, this may require $100 up to $500 or more to secure each vendor, meaning hundreds of dollars required at the start of your planning journey to secure vendors. Hosting an engagement party will cut into the resources required for vendor deposits.

You Will Need Time To Plan The Wedding Day:

An engagement party will also cut into the time required to plan your day. As engagement parties should be hosted within at least 3 months of the big day, you will find yourself either planning both the wedding and engagement party or postponing planning the wedding to focus on the engagement party. With less time to plan, consider giving your attention to your wedding planning tasks.  

Challenging For Out Of Town Guests:

Out of town guests may also find it challenging to attend both the wedding and engagement party within a short time-frame. For example, if your engagement party is hosted in March and your wedding will be in September, out of town guests will have to cover lodging and travel twice within a short time-frame. Consider skipping the engagement party to ease the financial burden for guests as well.  

The #1 Tip Every Wedding Vendor Wants Brides To Know!

Photography: Best Photography

While every vendor will vary on wedding related advice they would share with planning brides, the #1 tip that every vendor wishes that brides knew is:

NEVER wait to book your vendors!

We hear brides express all the time that they are approaching their big day and still have not secured all of the vendors on their list. While there are vendors that take priority, such as your venue space, each and every vendor should be booked months before the big day.

WHY: 

Most vendors calendars are filled months in advance. For in demand vendors, calendars may be filled a year or more in advance.

If your wedding will be held during a peak season month, such as July, chances are your vendors calendars are completely booked.   The closer you wait until the big day to book your vendors, the more you risk limitations in available vendors for your preferred wedding dates.

Vendors never like to turn away brides, especially brides that would love to work with them. Avoid by following our guide for when to book your vendors during a 6 month or 12 month engagement length.

The Best Time Of Year To Have Your Wedding And Why

Photography: Kesh Lambert

One of the most difficult decisions that you will make on your big day is the selection of your wedding date and even planning length

Recall that during our Sound Like A Pro: Wedding Terms You Need To Know post, we defined peak and off peak seasons as wedding months that are most in demand and wedding months least in demand.

Use this cheat sheet guide to understand peak season dates like a pro! 

Off-Peak Season Weddings:

Off-peak seasons generally fall within the months of December, January, February and March.  During these months, wedding rates may be available at discounted rates. 

WHY:

Traditionally winter months come with unfavorable weather conditions that can pose challenges to wedding plans. Winter weddings can come with unseasonably colder weather, even posing challenges for guests to travel to the day, and may also remove the possibility of hosting an outdoor wedding. As a result, many couples opt to have their day once the winter months pass, resulting in less booked weddings during off season months. Vendors are likely to discount their rates as an incentive for couples to book their day, resulting in savings for the couple for selecting to have an off season wedding.

TIP:

While the months of December, January and February fall within off-peak months, be aware that weddings hosted on popular holidays such as Christmas, New Years Eve and Valentines day may boast the highest rates of the year.

TIP:

Off-season dates may not only save the bride and groom money, but also guests. Guests traveling during off peak months, such as February, may find costs for flights are more affordable than during summer months, such as July. Consider the average cost for flights and lodging based on your location when considering your wedding dates. Keep in mind that weddings set around the holidays may see a spike in prices for not only wedding related expenses, but also guests travel and lodging.

Peak Season Weddings:

Peak season months are the most in demand months of the year, and often command the highest rates. For most locations, peak season months are generally June, July, August, September and October.  

WHY:

In most locations, peak season months boast ideal weather conditions, making them desirable dates to host a wedding. Due to the popularity of dates, vendors often see a spike in bookings. Rates may be locked in and non-negotiable as vendors may not find difficulty in filling up their calendar.  The increase in bookings can also result in couples finding less dates available during peak season months as other couples are selecting the same dates for their big day. This means that if you hope to host on a peak season, you will need to book your vendors right away.

TIP:

Peak season months may come at a discounted rate in certain locations, such as the south. Rates may actually drop due to extreme, sticky heat during summer months of July and August. 

TIP:

Consider the average costs for travel and lodging during peak season months. Rates for airfare and hotels may be priced higher during peak season months, especially if your city is a popular destination for summer vacations.

TIP:

Consider your guests schedules and wedding restrictions. For instance, if you plan to have an adults only wedding, consider guests with kids will have to arrange childcare .  

4 Steps To Use With Overbearing Parents While Wedding Planning

Photography: K & K Photography

When it comes to tough conversations, we must say that during our Wediquette Wednesday feature, many planning brides have express that their toughest task has been working with overbearing parents while planning their dream day.

Parents often have a great deal of excitement in the planning process, from details they would love to see to guests they have on their list to invite. This can be challenging for couples that have ideas for their day that differ from their parents.  For example, consider if the parents would like a large black tie wedding held in a banquet hall while the couple would like an intimate, relaxed and informal beach wedding.

Check out our 4 steps to follow to handle overbearing parents:

Step 1:

Have An Honest Conversation:

Attempt to gently explain your vision for the day, delicately expressing that while you appreciate their input, the direction you picture for the day will not seamlessly translate with their vision.

Step 2:

Give Up Decisions:

When an honest conversation doesn’t work, try giving up decisions that you have to make to your parents.  Hand over tasks that you are not passionate about, such as selecting table settings or transportation to ensure that your parents are involved, yet on exactly where you prefer.

WHY:

  • Keep them busy:

Selecting specific decisions focuses on a few tasks at a time, opposed to attempting to inject input on every wedding decision. Give up a few tasks for parents to make the final decision on to keep them busy.

  • Makes their opinion matter:

Telling your parents “no” over every wedding decision may make them feel that you are not taking their ideas to heart. Allowing them to make the final decision on specific tasks ensures that their opinion is valued and incorporated into the day.

Step 3:

Hold Onto What Matters Most:

If parents are still injecting their opinion in every area of the wedding, even after you attempt to assign specific tasks, express decisions that you would like to reserve the final say on. Express that you have specific decisions that are close to your heart and you can’t imagine having any other way. Ask that they help you select from your top options, or simply leave the decision process to you. Consider selecting 1-3 areas that you would like to remain the deciding factor on and that are most important to you. Consider using your Top 3 Must Haves as 3 decisions you would like to make the yay or nay on. For instance, if your top 3 must haves were the gown, photographer and decor, mention to parents that you would like to infuse your vision into these areas and make the final decision. This allows you to keep control of what matters most while still keeping parents involved.

Step 4:

Pay For The Day:

If the prior 3 steps don’t work, the last option would be to fully remove control by paying for the day. Hosts of the day traditionally are obligated to make decisions. For instance, if parents are contributing, they are obligated to inject their opinion and wants for the day. If the couple fully hosts their day, or funds their wedding expenses, they are then fully responsible for all wedding related decisions. This option fully removes anyone but the couple in making decisions for the day. If fully funding the day is not possible, consider funding specific areas that matter most. For instance, if your Mom expresses she wants to see you in a princess style gown yet you imagine a glamorous mermaid style gown, consider purchasing your gown to ensure that the final decision is yours to make.

TIP:

Before taking financial contributions from family, spend time discussing expectations in terms of making decisions for the day. Express your vision to determine if they are on board or have a completely opposite vision for the day. If opinions differ, ask if they are open to the couple making the final decision of if they expect to also have a say. Based on your comfort level, work to create an understanding to ensure you are not in the uncomfortable position of incorporating decisions that you are not comfortable with.    

Pros & Cons To Consider When Selecting The Best Day Of The Week To Have Your Wedding

Photography: Lin and Jirsa

When considering your wedding date, consider the following pros and cons for the best day of the week to host your day to save!

Monday’s:

Pros:

Some vendors offer discounted rates to host a Monday wedding as it is a weekday. 

Cons:

  • Possibly no change in vendor rates:

Discounted rates are not always granted on Monday’s as some vendors use the day to recover from busy wedding weekend schedules.

 

Tuesday’s:

Pros:

  • Vendor choices at discounted rates:

Vendors that are booked on popular dates, such as Saturday, may have clear schedules for weekdays, such as Tuesday. Vendors that only work with weddings may offer lower rates during the week as an incentive to fill up their calendar with more than just weekend dates.  Hotels and flights may also be available at discounted rates. 

Con:

  • Vendors may have non-wedding events scheduled:

Vendors that book non-wedding events may have filled calendars during the week.  For instance, during the week hotels may host business conferences, hair stylists may work in a salon and photographers may shoot family portraits.

  • Scheduling conflicts:

Hosting a wedding on a weekday, such as Tuesday, may pose scheduling conflicts for guests. Weekday weddings may require guests traveling from out of town to take time off from work.  If children are taking part of the wedding, parents may have to keep kids out of school to prepare for the wedding.  Guests that work evenings may have to take time off to get ready for the wedding and even beat rush hour commutes.

TIP:

If hosting during the week, consider if the time of day and location may cause conflict for guests. If there are special attire requests, such as formal attire, keep in mind this may pose a challenge for guests to easily change into wedding attire after work. 

 

Wednesday’s:

Pros:

  • Vendor Discounts and Availability:

Wednesday weddings may come at a discounted rate as they are weekdays. Vendors may have additional dates on the calendar that are not available on weekends. Hotels and flights may also be available at discounted rates.

Cons:

  • Scheduling Conflicts:

Hosting on a Wednesday may also pose scheduling conflicts for guests. Guests traveling from out of town may have to take off Tuesday to fly in for the day and fly out Thursday, meaning they would need to take 3 days from work. Be sure to consider your out of town guests when hosting mid week.

Thursday’s:

Pros:

  • Convenient For Destination Weddings: 

Weddings hosted on Thursdays allow guests attending destination weddings an opportunity to have an extended weekend. Guests can enjoy a few days at the destination before heading home without having to use time from work if they have traditional Monday-Friday work hours. 

  • Discounted Rates:

Thursday’s are often the last weekday that offers discounted rates for vendors, hotels and even flights.

Cons:

  • Scheduling Conflicts:

Thursdays can also pose potential scheduling conflicts for guests traveling in for the day, as they would potentially have to fly in on Wednesday. Flying out on Friday, Saturday or even Sunday may pose higher weekend rates. Hotel booking rates may also reflect higher rates as their stay may extend into the weekend.

Friday’s:

Pros:

  • Extended Weekend For Guests:

Guests traveling in for your wedding can enjoy the weekend in the city of the wedding, allowing for an extended vacation. This is most ideal for destination weddings where guests can enjoy the full weekend.

  • The Couple Can Spend More Time With Guests:

Hosting on a Friday allows the couple to spend the full weekend with guests. This is incredibly beneficial when a large number of guests are traveling in for the day. 

Cons:

  • Potential Weekend Rates:

Friday weddings are not always priced at lower rates than Monday-Thursday weekdays.  The reason is that many vendors utilize Fridays to prepare for weekend weddings.

  • Higher Airfare and Lodging Expenses:

Guests traveling in for your wedding may experience pricey weekend airfare rates if they have to depart on Saturday or Sunday.  Prices can be even higher if your wedding location is in the midst of peak season. 

Saturdays:

Pros:

  • Convenient For Guests:

Saturday’s are typically the most convenient day of the week for guests. Guests with traditional work schedules do not have to take time from work to attend your day. For instance, guests traveling in from out of town for your day can arrive Friday after work or even Saturday morning and depart on Sunday. 

CONS:

  • Incredibly Popular:

Saturday is the most popular day of the week to host a wedding and traditionally the most convenient day of the week for guests. Due to it’s popularity, Saturday’s are also the most expensive day of the week to host your day. This means that venue’s and vendors may be less likely to lower their rates as Saturday’s are generally not difficult to book. 

Sunday’s:

Pros:

  • Potentially Lower Rates:

Sunday weddings have become a popular alternative to Saturday weddings. Prices are often lower than Saturday’s, allowing for a more budget friendly rate to host a weekend wedding.  Departing flights for guests leaving on Monday may also be less for guests traveling in for your day as well. 

Cons:

  • Caution Over Time Of Wedding:

Late weddings may be a challenge for guests that intend to go to work the next day or that have family obligations. You risk guests heading out early to prepare for the next day opposed to staying until the end. Be mindful of the time that your day will end to ensure guests are likely to stay the full duration of your wedding.

 

When considering the best time of the week to host your day:

  • Research average prices for your preferred wedding date before locking it in:

Before setting your wedding date, research the average cost for flights, lodging, and vendors to determine if your wedding day will work for not only your price point but guests. Take a glance at your guest list and search the average price of flights from destinations of guests to gauge if there are lower rates during specific times of the year or days of the week. Use tools such as Google Flights that allow an overview of average flight rates throughout the year.  

Getting Started Series: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide!

We are so excited to launch our first e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide

When it comes to taking on wedding to do tasks, we hear “I’m so overwhelmed with so many to do tasks” and  “I don’t know where to even begin” all of the time from planning brides and understand how incredibly stressful and overwhelming planning a wedding can be.

On average, planning a wedding requires a minimum of 500 hours to take on the hundreds of decisions from creating the guest list, selecting vendors, determining the budget, saying yes to the dress, selecting wedding decor and so much more.

Finding assistance in planning can be stressful in itself but is crucial to stay on budget, on schedule, to minimize stress and to know what steps to follow as you plan from engaged to the big day.  Most wedding timeline guides aimed to provide a checklist of steps to fulfill while planning are simply one-page bullet points filled with dozens of to do tasks that do not actually walk through each step of the process.   Wedding planning books often take on detailed topics within a single chapter that simply doesn’t spend the necessary time to truly detail how to take on tough topics.  For the most comprehensive assistance, brides find that hiring a full-service wedding planner on average starts at $2,000 and a simple consultation for assistance averages at $40-$60 an hour, which may be out of budget.   

We are solving this common and stressful problem through our first e-book, Getting Started: The Ultimate Wedding Planning Guide, to help remove the stress often accompanied with wedding planning so that you can spend more time enjoying your journey! 

Our in-depth 130 page book walks you through each planning task starting with the engagement to the actual wedding day so that you feel like you are sitting down with a wedding planner but for a fraction of the price! As your own personal wedding planners, we walk through over 100 essential steps and expert tips  you must know for every little step along the way. We explain when tasks should get crossed off the calendar, expensive mistakes to avoid, what to consider for each decision, secrets to save, stay organized and cross off tasks like a pro! 

Jump in where you are in the process or start from the beginning for wedding planning that makes sense!  We even share how to easily adjust to meet your planning length so whether you are planning for 6 months or 24 months, our guide works for you!

Click the link below to grab a copy while in stock!

Guest Bride Blogger: Alyssa Shares Her Bridal Salon Experience!

 

 

The most important dress of any woman’s life, her wedding dress. I’ve always thought of looking and feeling like a princess on my wedding day. I thought to myself how I will make the dress, the dress will not make me. I began the wedding dress hunt by looking on Pinterest and imagining my venue. I wanted to create an elegant, romantic, but sexy vibe. I created an image in my head of the grown up Alyssa, not the little girl that everyone always remembered.
A bridal shop that I always had my eyes on was Winnie Couture in Beverly Hills, CA. I booked my appointment right away! I invited my mother, grandmother, and maid of honor. I wanted to keep the circle small because I realized that too many opinions might affect the overall experience or even make me indecisive. As I entered the store, I noticed all the beautiful details. The velvet couches, the dainty chairs, the huge mirrors, and the sparkling chandeliers emitted an enchanting feeling. The girly scent in the shop was calming and crisp. We were greeted by Monika, the store manager. She was gorgeous and super sweet! Little did I know, she would be my consultant. We began by taking a tour of the shop as she explained the differences in the dresses they sold. We ended the tour by having my loved ones and I browse and pull any dresses that I was interested in trying on. It was interesting to see what my grandma envisioned me in, a lace dress with sleeves, very modest. My mom pictured me in a semi-ballgown, more princess-like. My maid of honor and I both agreed on what we pictured me in, however we will leave that a mystery until the wedding day!

 

Winnie Couture in Beverly Hills, CA

My dressing room

Main lobby

Discussing styles with my maid of honor

Browsing through the dresses!

 

I began trying on the dresses! We eliminated a few because they didn’t flatter my body as we thought they would. Then, I tried on “the one.” As I looked at myself in the mirror with the dress on, I couldn’t help but think of my fiance. I pictured him speechless as I walked down the aisle to him. I got chills all over my body. I kept touching the dress and turning around to look at it from different angles. We tried one more on after that, but it didn’t compare. Once I got back into “the one” my consultant dressed me up! She chose a veil, jewelry and shoes for me. In that instant, I definitely shed a few tears of joy and excitement. My soul was happy. The important women in my life were around me and Monika made the experience simply amazing! This was the “Alyssa” that I wanted to elicit on the day of my wedding. It was a truly magical moment that I will always remember.

Monika, my wedding consultant

Check out more of Alyssa’s planning journey here and how she selected her wedding date.

Guest Bride Blogger: Leila Shares The Best Beauty Products For Your Pre-Wedding Prep!

 

In preparation for my wedding, I’ve changed up my beauty routine a little bit. I’ve always had trouble with acne and having combo skin. I usually embrace the “less is more” philosophy when it comes to hair care products.  I knew that I wanted to make sure my hair, skin, and body are going to be at their best for my big day! There are tons of options out there as far as beauty goes, but I’m listing my favorites to help boost your routines for your big day.

 

Hair

I have naturally straight/wavy hair. It entirely depends on the day what my hair wants to do. It doesn’t hold curl well, so I rarely use a curling iron. I do utilize a blow dryer and a straightener to make it look neat and clean, but overall my hair doesn’t have a ton of damage. The biggest issue I face is keeping frizz at bay and strengthening my hair from breakage and split ends.

 

I added Aveda’s Dry Remedy Moisturizing Hair Masque to my routine and I couldn’t be happier. It is recommended to be used once a week and left in your hair for 3-5 minutes. I keep mine in for closer to 5 minutes while I shave in the shower. It leaves my hair noticeably softer and easier to manage. It feels and looks so much softer! I’ve received compliments from many people after just using it twice! The lushness lasts throughout the week and is leaving my hair so much nicer than it was a few months ago. For the size of the bottle and effectiveness of the product, it is well worth the money.

 

Skin

My skin has given me trouble for years. I’ve tried just about every medication my dermatologist would offer and countless drug store treatments. Nothing has been able to keep my combo skin from breaking out.

 

Late last year, I stopped using all daily makeup except for mascara. I occasionally throw on some eye shadow or liner, but I don’t use any cosmetic product on my face daily. I reserve all facial make up for special occasions. My skin has improved drastically since I did so. It can be difficult to take that leap if you’re used to a full face but it is so worth it! The benefits include: less breakouts, softer skin, money saved, and no startling or rude comments from people around me. It turns out, what I put on my face doesn’t matter much to them! It took a couple of weeks for my skin to clear up (which was the hardest part) but it worked. I can’t explain the freedom of being comfortable in your own, raw skin!

 

While removing makeup from my routine, I added Cetaphil Daily Advance Lotion to my daily use. It moisturizes my dry skin without clogging my pores or adding unnecessary scents and chemicals to my face. I started using it on my body as well and notice a huge difference. Let me tell you: I thought I had soft skin…and then I used this on my arms. I never knew my skin could be this soft and smooth! It is a noticeable difference to the touch and will make for great photos on our wedding day!

 

I recently added Olay Total Effects Night Pore Perfector Moisturizer to my routine. A friend recommended this to me and I have to say, it’s great. While it’s too soon to see any drastic changes, I notice my skin feeling hydrated and it is less oily during the day. Let me know if you’ve had good luck with this product!

 

Body

To make sure I’m in the best shape possible for the wedding, I joined the YMCA! As a bonus, my fiancee joined too! We love going to work out together. We attend some classes together but mostly we use the exercise equipment available. It’s been a great way for us to spend time together with no electronics or other distractions. We love being able to cheer each other on during the workout!

 

We also use the mobile app, Freeletics. It has a bunch of free workouts to do and, if you want, you can pay for a personal trainer. I love that there are workouts for each skill level and for different muscle groups. If we can’t make it to the gym for some reason, we do a quick workout with this app.

 

Our workout routine isn’t the only change we’ve made for our body’s benefit. We have changed the foods we eat, becoming more thoughtful when planning our dinners each week. Matt loves to cook, so he usually thinks up recipes with fresh ingredients and a variety of spices to keep our tastebuds interested. I like to stick to a recipe when I cook but I still make sure to use as many fresh ingredients as possible.

 

Both Matt and I can see the positive changes in our body. We are always more confident after a workout! I find myself sleeping more soundly at night on days that I workout. The change in the foods we eat make our bodies nourished and more ready to complete our daily tasks. It’s amazing to feel such a drastic change. I think of my productivity when I eat fast food versus what I can achieve when I eat something more wholesome–it’s incredible! If you’re willing to dedicate a little extra time to the care of your hair, skin, and whole body, you will see the benefits for years to come.
What are your favorite products or services you use to stay healthy? Share with us in the comments below and help other brides prepare for their big day!

Check out more of Leila’s planning journey here and her tips on selecting your top 3 wedding must haves!

Guest Bride Blogger: Kristen Shares Celebrating The Engagement Party

 

 

We celebrated our engagement with our closest family and friends in January. We had such an amazing time with everyone celebrating our love.

Our cake was a 3 tier fondant cake with a “Love You More” cake topper. Inside the cake was chocolate with cookies n cream filling. 

Along with our cake we had vanilla flavored cupcakes with gold sprinkles. For our favors we had calendar cookies created with our wedding date on it. 

One of our best friends created cookies for the table. She made an engagement cookie with my soon to be last name initial in the middle. She created them in vanilla, chocolate and lemon flavors.

Below is just a few images of us with some of our closest friends

Check out more of Kristen’s planning journey here and choosing engagement shoot attire!

Guest Bride Blogger: Briana Shares How To Find The Perfect Wedding Dress!

Ahhh, wedding dress shopping… Something I am sure every woman dreams about even before she’s engaged! There are television shows that make it look so easy and such a whimsical experience and mine… was just that!!! What? Were you expecting me to say it was complete opposite?! I have to say that there was a fear about wedding shopping that loomed deep inside me. I was afraid I wasn’t going to find one, that I wouldn’t feel that “omg this is my dress” feeling, I was afraid that since I haven’t had chance to lose weight that I wouldn’t look good in them, and so on. I knew that I needed to make myself aware that if I did not find a dress on my first visit, that would be okay. My maid of honor thought that was me being negative, but I’m the type of person that if something doesn’t go as planned it will completely put me in a bad mood. So, by telling myself “hey, its okay if we don’t find a dress today!” then at least I could be mentally prepared to walk away.

One of my biggest fears was to be a bride that goes to five different bridal boutiques, tries on a countless number of dresses, and then still can’t decide. Well, I have to say that the best-case scenario happened to me when it came to shopping for my dress!

I originally wanted to go to Kleinfeld’s in New York City to get that ultimate wedding dress experience. I mean TLC’s Say Yes To The Dress makes it look like such a magical process, so what girl wouldn’t want to go there!? However, when I went to make an appointment, I noticed that it stated dresses started at $2,000. Now mind you, my budget was no more than $2,000, so knowing that my maximum budget for my dress was where their dresses started I just knew this wasn’t the shop for me. I mean god forbid I found a dress that I loved and it was too expensive… that would have ruined the whole tone of my bridal dress shopping. So, I made an appointment with a local bridal/ formal boutique called Dress 2 Impress in Linwood, NJ. They had amazing reviews and plenty of choices that were within my budget, so I thought that would be a good place to start.

Luckily for me I was able to have my maid of honor, my mother, my future mother-in-law, and my fiancé’s grandmother attend my appointment with me. I had decided a while ago that I didn’t want to let my bridesmaids see my dress until the actual wedding day. Dress 2 Impress had a beautiful bridal boutique that took up the whole upstairs of the shop. I had an overwhelming feeling of excitement once I had walked into the boutique. We immediately went over what I was looking for, what my budget was, and then we started pulling gowns.

The first dress I tried on was pretty much the exact style I was looking for. I fell in love with this dress immediately and knew it was the one… So sorry, my lips are completely sealed about details until my wedding day! But how could I know it was THE ONE when this was the very first dress I tried on?? I continued to try on more gorgeous gowns (15 to be exact!) and narrowed it down to 2 favorites! Well wouldn’t you know that I ended up saying yes to the very first dress I tried on! It is perfect and I literally cannot wait to try it on again!

Thankfully everyone at the appointment agreed and I was ecstatic knowing that I had found my dress! I didn’t cry though, the sales lady even did, but I just didn’t. A lot of times there are situations in which I would think I would get super emotional and then I just don’t. Even when I was proposed to I didn’t shed a tear. But that didn’t mean I wasn’t over joyed because I definitely was!! I rang a bell that was traditional with the salon owner’s culture and we popped champagne! Which by the way was the moment I was most looking forward to! The salon owner even gives you the cork from the champagne in a little wooden box to symbolize the beginning of your married life. The overall experience was amazing.

So, now I’m sitting there waiting for the sales associate to crunch my numbers, I look at my phone and there is a text message from my fiancé. In that message he writes the most loving, heartfelt words saying that he hopes I have a great time trying on the dresses and that he knows I will look beautiful in anything. He goes on to say that he loves me so much and he cannot wait to be married to me… Like what?! It melted my heart… It was so romantic, sweet, and just was the perfect ending to the perfect appointment.

Now that I have the most exciting/ important task out of the way… I now have to focus on the little things that will help make our day so special. I wish every planning bride luck on finding her gown!! My advice to any bride who’s about to go on the search for her perfect gown: just know that it’s okay if you don’t find your dress on your first appointment. Be open minded and understand that the more pressure you put on yourself about finding a gown, the more hesitant you become at making the decision.

 

Until next time,

 

Briana

 

Check out more of Briana’s planning journey here and her experience with the venue search.