Shopping for a Unity Ceremony Dress at bhldn

Are ya'll sick of seeing me in white yet? LOL!

Okay, but real talk. We are four-ish months away from our big wedding day...and I am definitely more stressed than I thought I would be. But not for the reasons you'd think.

I can handle the planning. I can handle the details. I can handle the timelines, the seating charts, the website - I can handle all of that.

But what I've actually struggled with is how to "personalize" our wedding process. I know it sounds silly - It's OUR wedding - but there are so many people involved and the blending of two people also means the blending of two families. That's a lot of people to get involved and to make sure they're happy, too!

Enter: the unity ceremony idea.

I'll break down what a unity ceremony is down below (and more about why we're doing it), but also wanted to share my dress shopping process! This is NOT like our wedding day. This isn't "the" dress...but GOSH DARN is it a fun AF dress and was insanely fun to plan dress up at bhldn in Palo Alto!


What is a unity ceremony?

GREAT question - and one I've been getting a ton ever since I started yapping about ours on my Instagram Stories. A unity ceremony is a symbolic (not religious or legal) ceremony in which the couple does some sort of act to symbolize their unity. This "act" could be the lighting of a candle together, planting a tree, mixing sands from the beaches or parks of your home towns - literally anything that represents "union" to the couple!

Unity ceremonies are free spirited and less traditional. Unity ceremonies (specifically ours) are not religious and not legal. They're just about the symbolism (and I think - FUN).

Why are you having a unity ceremony AND a wedding day?

Like I said when I kicked off this entire blog post - I've really been struggling with the "personalization" aspect of our wedding.

I also want to get very real with ya'll for a second here - I am open, honest, and I like to think pretty friendly - but WOW am I guarded about the things that I hold close. Specifically our relationship.

I really was never that little girl that dreamed of her wedding day. Ever. I grew up skeptical I'd ever find someone I'd love enough to marry. I really just never anticipated finding KB. And THAT is the gosh darn truth.

And now I'm all weird and sappy and emotional about it - and I really really have been struggling with having a "public" ceremony. It's not that I don't love all the people coming to our wedding day - but it's just a little much for me sometimes. It's almost like I'm worried that saying my most private promises and vows in front of a big crowd will leave me exposed. It's hard to describe - but it's been weighing on me.

I'm not particularly traditional. I'm not particularly religious. He's got a LOT of culture (he's Russian!), but I don't. I wanted us to have a day that was more intimate and carefree - and less "official." And THAT is why we're doing a unity ceremony AND a wedding. We'll get to prance around a fun location (I'll announce that soon!) in fun outfits and do a fun symbolic acts - and then go home to our cat without having to mix, mingle, and exhaust ourselves.

PS I'm actually really excited for the wedding day itself. CRAZY excited. And weirdly - having BOTH of these days has made me MORE excited for the actual wedding day. It's just more ways to celebrate! 

What are all the details of your unity ceremony?

I've been working to secure a really fun location that is VERY personal to us...and a big SF landmark. STAY TUNED ON THAT FRONT.

Because this isn't religious or legal in any way, I'm dying to have a close friend "officiate" with readings that are relevant to us! I'm thinking I need to pick a good monologue from The Office to read out to KB. Any ideas? LOL.

I'm also thinking we will likely mix sand as our "symbolic act." My hometown (Redding, CA) has two lakes with plenty of sand and KB could collect his from Ocean or Baker Beach here in SF! We could mix those into a keepsake jar, representing our lives coming together!

What sort of dress do you wear to a unity ceremony?

Now on to the SUPER fun part - another white dress!

The truth here is there are no rules. Couples can where whatever the hell they want to a unity ceremony - it's non traditional!

Because this isn't our actual wedding day and I want to leave the glitz and glamour for our big ballroom wedding, I wanted something way more free spirited for the unity ceremony day. I tried on five gowns that I absolutely loved at bhldn and wanted to share them with you!


Dress shopping at bhldn Palo Alto

I went big, bold, and beautiful. for my wedding day dress (I seriously can't wait to show you guys - it's VERY grand and my total dream princess dress). For my unity ceremony day I wanted something more paired down, free spirited, and FUN. I wanted something more fashion forward to be honest - wedding dresses can get very traditional and I wanted to try on some things that were a little less classic.

Bhldn was my choice for my unity ceremony dress because they offer such a wide variety of styles at a very accessible price point. Bhldn has the classic dress if that's what you're after - but they also have those unique styles with lots of flair.

Geranium Gown

The first dress I tried on was the Geranium Gown. This dress is definitely more on the classic side, but WOW is it gorgeous and super flattering. I'm most self conscious about my arms and lower stomach - this dress flattered my arms and completely hid my food baby. I also loved the sash detail on this one!


Capricorn Gown

This gown is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. If I was going to recommend ONE gown for a bride to try on at bhldn, it would be Capricorn. This dress sits in that perfect sweet spot between traditional and modern. There's personality to this dress with the double layer, swiss dot lace, and that beautiful illusion neckline. This dress manages to take a zillion unique elements and combine them to create something strangely classic. Capricorn also had great shape and movement - seriously gives you that walking on a cloud vibe as you stroll down an aisle (or in my case, down the middle of the entire store lol).


Adelaide Gown

Ya'll, let's TALK about the Adelaide Gown. Like...can you EVENNNN with these sleeves?! I seriously had picked this dress out to try on purely just for fun, and it ended up being a crowd favorite! I couldn't stop twirling my arms around. This dress is perfect if you're a boho bride or have that free spirit - it's so creative and fun!


Valera Gown

The Valera Gown has a more traditional ballroom gown feel, but with a really updated and flirty skirt. The waterfall nature of the skirt adds so much flair to this otherwise traditional ballgown, and the illusion top with cascading lace is incredibly romantic. This dress is one of those that could easily be worn outdoors or in a ballroom, bringing you a bridal feel wherever your wedding is at.


Written in the Stars Gown

The last gown I tried on was the Written in the Stars Gown. If you're a modern and glam bride, this dress is for YOU. The sleek shape here leans into that modern feel and there's a touch of old Hollywood glamour with the delicate beading. I also really appreciated the shape on this gown, again hitting right at the natural waist and hiding that lower stomach area to perfection. I'm also a BIG fan of tulle and the skirt was stunning!


So what dress did I choose...

IT'S A SECRET. We're actually planning to do a full photoshoot on our unity day so I'll get to reveal my dress of choice at that time! Stay tuned, babes...


Which dress is your fave?? Tell me in the comments below!

*Blondes & Bagels uses affiliate links. Please read the disclaimer for more info.

Comments are closed.