Last weekend, for some strange reason, I got the urge to go wedding dress shopping. By myself. Um. It's been decided that I am to go wedding dress shopping with my mom and sister when I go home for the Thanksgiving holiday, so I suppose I should have waited...oh well.
I woke up early on Saturday morning (L had classes that day, and had already left), mapquested two bridal places in Memphis, stopped for some coffee, and then began my journey. I honestly wasn't expecting to find anything, and was really just expecting disappointment. I approached the day as an adventure.
First place: blah. The store had three full walls of dresses that were labeled "formal". Formal = big full skirts and LOTS of tulle. In other words, intimidating. I found the "informal" rack, which only took up one wall. I found one that I thought was decently pretty, tried it on, realized that it wasn't pretty on, and promptly left. I was never offered help, and that sort of turned me off. The store was full of girls and their moms/girlfriends/attendants, trying on dresses and squealing for help, so I slipped out the door and promptly patted myself on the back for accurately predicting the day: a disappointent so far.
Next place: you all have been there, I'm sure. David's Bridal. I went, expecting even more disappointment + chaos, but surprisingly my experience was quite the opposite. Even though I didn't have an appointment, the lady at the front was quick to find me a dress assistant, and I was ushered to a mirrored dressing room while she retrieved the dresses that I had circled in the catalog. And I'll be honest, a lot of the dresses I tried on were very pretty. One of them even looked stunning. I was blown away by the image I was seeing in the mirror. Wow, I thought, I look like a pretty bride. The ladies who worked there all agreed, this one was it. It had a halter-type top, with a v-neck, and really pretty pleating along the waist that continued around the back.
But what turned me off was exactly what impressed me. I looked like a bride. But I really didn't look like me. The dress had a fussy, long train, and even though the alterations woman told me that it could be tied up into a bustle, I just wasn't that excited about having a lot of fabric trailing after me on my big day. I had them mark down the two dresses that were the best, and told them I'd think about it.
By this point, I was tired. Emotionally drained, I think. I suspect that while I had begun the day as a sort of crusader - "I'm going to try on wedding dresses-by myself! Haha!" - the realization that I was alone really started to hit me. I felt silly coming out of the dressing room and having no one to see it (save the bridal employee). Other girls in the store were surrounded by girlfriends and other female family members, oohing and aahing and fussing over them as they tried on dress after dress. And as much as I didn't want that to bother me, it did. I wanted someone to fuss over me. And I realize that that will happen over the Thanksgiving holiday, when I'll have family with me, but still - it hurt just a little. My strong will had eventually slipped away, and now I was just feeling sorry for myself.
I began my drive home, and on a whim I stopped at a vintage clothing store in Midtown that a coworker had told me about. Even as I drove up and parked in front, I had a feeling that this would be better. The store is actually an old victorian home, and except for the sign out front you probably wouldn't realize that it was a clothing store. I rang the bell, and slowly opened the big wooden door. And my jaw dropped to the floor.
After being at the two rather commercial bridal stores previously, this was a godsend. Every inch of this house was filled with vintage clothing. Light was filtering in through the large windows that flanked the stair on the left, and to the right was a room that had jewelry cases filled with vintage brooches, hats, gloves. In the front window there was a huge vintage Oscar de la Renta dress, sending sparkles everywhere as the light hit it. Further back, there were rows upon rows upon ROWS of vintage dresses.
And the best part? It's owned by one quirky, wonderful, helpful, and lovely lady. I was the only customer in the store, and I told her that I was looking for a wedding dress. She gasped in delight, put down her coffee, and off we went. She pulled me from rack to rack, grabbing this dress and this dress, explaning to me what year they were from (1910! 1925! 1960!) as she shoved them into my hands. Within minutes I had 15 dresses to try on. She showed me a large bathoom near the back of the house, apologized for not having a proper dressing room, and left me to try them all on.
And, ladies and gentlemen, we've found a winner! After trying on several of them (and wow, was I ever born in the wrong decade - 1950's clothing fits me like a dream!), I finally found one that, as soon as I zipped up the side and glanced in the mirror, I just knew. I just KNEW. So, sorry for the long post, but here it is, in all of its lovliness. It's a 1960's ivory gown, and it's perfect. It needs a good cleaning, and the straps need to be repaired, but they are easy fixes. Ta da! The last picture is the lovely vintage lace trim that I bought from this seller, and I plan on having it sewn into the hem.
I found this idea here, and I just thought it was fabulous. Making flowers out of paper? Genius!
So, staying with our buttercream yellow theme, I bought some really nice heavy-weight paper and went at it. So far so good, don't you think? I plan on attaching these flowers to branches from our yard, and I'm going to arrange them in milk-glass vases (more on that later - that's my next project!).
Ok, so I found this tunic online, and I love it. However, it's not available in my size anymore. (*&$%#@!)
So I figured I'd search for something in a similar style on Etsy. And I got sucked in and spent (am spending) a lot of time looking at tunics. And dresses. And other lovely stuff. I found this seller, and look at her dresses! So lovely. This one is my favorite.
As anyone knows who's planned a wedding, the choices to be made and the options one has are almost frightening. Add to that the whole slew of do-it-yourself and craft ideas, coupled with blogs of amazing photography and beautiful dresses and amazingly cute table centerpieces, and all of a sudden you're in such whirlwind that you almost don't know where to start. You doubt decisions you've already made, and you suddenly find yourself wanting to just buy everything you see because you just have to have the best wedding ever.
After my first couple weeks of wedding blog innundation, I think I've finally calmed down. I've developed a mental filter, so now I don't find myself drowning in options. I've come to realize what I like and my certain style, and this allows me to ignore or pass over a lot of things and focus on what is right for our wedding.
Which brings me to this. I haven't even tried on any wedding dresses yet, but I keep coming back to this one (from J. Crew) as a final contender. There is something about it that I just love. It's simple, sweet, not too frilly. And...it's only $350! Which, amazingly, is still over my budget for a dress (I was shooting for $300), but I may allow myself to overspend by 50 bucks.
Our wedding date is in March 2009. I'm thinking it will be a bit chilly, so of course one day I spent a good chunk of time on Etsy searching for hand-knit or crocheted shrugs. As expected, I found a good amount of them, all of them beautiful. But then I started thinking, um, why don't I just make one myself?
I taught myself to crochet over Christmas, and up until this point the only thing I've made are scarves. Because, duh, scarves are easy. Just long rectangles, really. So I am going to attempt to make this, from the Stitch 'N Bitch book The Happy Hooker:
I went to our local yarn store, and thank goodness the sweet lady who works there helped me pick out the right type of yarn. It is cottony and soft and a lovely buttery yellow. I've already started on it this weekend, and I'm thrilled. This is my first time following a pattern, and so far it's working out wonderfully. I plan on taking pictures and posting my progress.
Apparently a lot of people have made this bolero, in varying colors and adaptations. I particularly liked this one that I found on this website where a girl posted very cute pics of her finished bolero. I really like how she kept the sleeves a bit shorter, almost like cap sleeves.
What do you think? How do you think this little shrug (imagine it in a pretty pale buttery yellow) would look paired with that dress?
Ok, so I haven't even gotten a proof or anything, but I and Megan of SilhouetteBlue have been exchanging convos all day about the design of my wedding invitations! She is super easy to work with, and I wanted to showcase her here.
On Sunday night I spent hours (hours!) browsing Etsy for just the perfect wedding invitation. Actually right now I'm more interested in a save-the-date card, since we're getting married in only six months! So I searched and searched. I'd find fonts I loved, and some graphics that were nice, but nothing jumped out at me. And then wham! I found this!
Perfect! She's going to customize this stationary to be a save-the-date, and then a wedding invitation. I love it because it's so simple. It's cute without being too cute, and it's sweet without being too sweet. I didn't want anything flowery or damasky or formal. It also seems appropriate since we're getting married here.
So go check out her shop. She has other lovely stationery and really nice designs, and like I said, she's great to work with! Yay for great Etsy artists!
So I did it again! I had a booth at the Cooper-Young festival here in Memphis, and while it was a bit slower than last year, it was definitely a success! I sort of laughed at myself when I saw the pictures that I took of the booth - a little sparse looking, for sure. But I had over 80 pairs of earrings, so I thought it would look fuller than it actually did. Oh, well. It was a really fun day, and thanks to everyone who stopped by.
The best part of my day? When a store owner asked if I would be interested in selling my jewelry in her shop! Score!
So, now you can find my jewelry for sale here, and if you happen to be in Memphis, you'll soon be able to find it at this store.
Ok, so the last winter coat I bought was wonderful. I loved it. I bought it when I was in New York City, back in 2001. It was November, and I was visiting my friends who were living there for an internship job for three months. They took me around town, and then we went shopping. I wandered into Mexx, and there I found a gorgeous tweed coat with contrasting bright blue sateen lining, and it was marked down to $100. So of course I bought it.
Fast forward to today (ahem...seven years later), and I'm still wearing the same coat as of last winter. Problem is, that lovely blue lining had begun to rip in places (like around the armholes), and overall it was looking a little...shabby. It was getting so bad that I was always embarrassed to take it off in front of everyone, for fear that they would see the obvious rips and tears in the lining.
Since winter will be here before we know it, and I desperately need a new coat, I've been eyeing the Soia & Kyo line for some time now (look at the fit, and the awesome details!), but goodness, some of them can run close to $400.
Ahah! I found one on Bluefly, for half that. So I snatched it up. I figure if my previous coat lasted me seven years, and was only $100, then I can definitely afford to splurge on a $200 coat, because I will probably make it last at least that long (or longer!).
I'll have to be honest, I sort of felt a twinge of regret once I had pushed the purchase button, but I've gotten over that silly feeling very quickly. Yes, it's a lot of money, but it's something I badly needed.
What's something that you're willing to spend a good amount of money on?
Well, today is sort of rainy and blah. It's only Wednesday, yet it feels like it should be Friday.
But this cheered me up. These whimsical and vintage-feeling prints are so lovely! I rarely buy prints (not because I never find any that I like; no, it's usually the opposite - I just can't make up my mind about anything!), but I think I may have to purchase a couple of these. I keep meaning to buy some artwork to hang in my crafting area.
Make sure to check out her blog, Roadside Projects. She's got some really neat images of one of her projects in progress.
Ok. This is exactly the look I want. I was browsing this blog, and I came upon this entry.
Sigh. Look at her dress. It's gorgeous. I have no idea where she got it, or what designer it is, but I intend to find it. Or find something similar. Or just hope that I look as relaxed and pretty as she does on MY big day. Isn't she gorgeous?
(photos borrowed from the blog mentioned above, and taken by Josh McCullock)
I think I have found a great wedding location. It's a small bed and breakfast near Nashville, has ten lovely guestrooms, and would be perfect for a very small ceremony and family weekend. The bed and breakfast sits on 40 acres, and has multiple sites for an outdoor ceremony.
As luck would have it, look what I found on Martha Stewart's website? The title of the article was about a wedding in a barn. You can find the story and photos here. (That is also where I got these pictures).
But look at her dress! That is exactly what I want. It's simple, flowy, and has sleeves. Perfect! How idyllic does this couple and their ceremony look? I especially love the reception decorations with the trees. What a great idea.