I'm officially a married woman, ya'll! I'll admit that I think so far I enjoy being married more than getting married - being a bride was actually really hard. One of the most fun parts about prepping for the wedding day was finding my perfect wedding dress.
Straight up - I am not a dress kind of girl. I own very few dresses and my usual outfit of choice involves pants. I wanted to find a wedding dress that was timeless, feminine, but also had a bit of a masculine edge with long sleeves (a la my favorite tee shirt).
In this post I'll break down all the details of my dress including the custom modifications we made to it, as well as my top tips and tricks for finding/creating your dream dress for your big day.
Let's get right down to business. My dress is style D2737 from Essense of Australia. I actually went into Novella SF (the bridal shop I purchased from) on the hunt for a specific Pronovias dress, but my amazing salesperson (Sabrina!) found me this Essense dress I wasn't expecting and I fell in love.
Style D2737 features long sleeves with a lace bodice, a full tulle skirt, a deep V neck in both the front and back, as well as subtle sequin details woven into the top layer of fabric for extra sparkle. This dress seriously had me feeling like a snow queen and was perfect for our winter ballroom wedding.
We made some pretty key modifications to my dress to get it to be exactly how I wanted. I loved the lace top and tulle skirt, but felt I was missing some definition at my waist - so we added a jeweled belt! The team tacked the belt on so it didn't budge the day of. We also added boning into the bodice of the dress to give it more structure. The boning looked great from the outside, but was poorly done and insanely uncomfortable. More on that in a moment...
Point being - don't be afraid to modify! Modifications like boning or a belt aren't even that expensive in the grand scheme of things, so no harm in asking if you have a detail you'd like to see changed.
I both purchased and had my dress altered at Novella Bridal. The sales team at Novella Bridal in San Francisco is above and beyond amazing - so friendly, knowledgeable, helpful and loving. The alterations, on the other hand, I have mild regrets about. The team is nice; however, mid way through our wedding day my bodice area was causing me incredible incredible pain - come to find out all the wires from the boning were starting to pop out and were digging directly into my armpit. If we hadn't caught it when we did I would have been bleeding by the end of the night. I also had multiple occasions with the alterations where something was wrong, missing, or not done by the agreed upon timeline. For the price - I would highly recommend shopping at Novella, but would not recommend getting your dress altered at Novella.
All this to say - take your dress where the skills are highest and the team is most efficient! It's totally okay to purchase your dress at one shop, but alter with another team. Hindsight is 20/20.
On a related note - as lovely as the boning looked in terms of adding structure, I just wish I hadn't added it at all. I was so physically uncomfortable on my wedding day I found parts of it hard to enjoy. HOW SAD IS THAT.
Choose a dress that you feel secure, comfortable, and confident in - even if you're dying to make an uncomfortable fashion statement. Trust me on this one.
My last little note is that alterations cost an arm and a leg - and I certainly didn't plan for it! All in, my alterations were between $600-$800 when you include the belt, veil, boning, hemming, etc. For a dress that lands under the $2,000 mark, that's massive (just under half the cost of the dress). My biggest tip here is do not cheap out on your alterations - they matter - but definitely ask for cost estimates up front and plan for alterations costs in your dress budget!
All the beautiful photos from this post were shot by our incredibly talented wedding photographer, On The Times Photography. CANNOT recommend her enough!
Got wedding dress tips and tricks to share? Drop them in the comments below!
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