So I promised this blog wasn’t going to morph into solely wedding planning so I’m consolidating wedding planning updates into a few posts as not to overwhelm and irritate people. And, let’s be honest, this first one is probably the most important…we picked our venue and I bought a dress!!
Since Dan proposed mid-October, that meant the earliest our wedding could comfortably be was in late summer/early fall of 2014. Luckily, this sounded great to Dan and I as we both like fall much more compared to spring. So we set our ideal date to sometime in October and started searching for the perfect venue in Minnesota (my home state). As it turns out, since Minnesota is a frozen tundra for at least 8 months/year many venues fill up REALLY quickly for summer weddings (with September being the most desirable) and we ran into issues finding the right venue with open dates. Our top choice was the Nicollet Island Pavilion. This place is one of THE top choices for weddings in MN. Located on a small island on the Mississippi River, yet in Minneapolis, it combined many desirable characteristics. Close to the city, urban AND rural vistas, and it allowed ceremonies + receptions (no church wedding for us!). Being a top location, naturally it was booked for all Saturday’s from April through October and into November. Ugh. We seriously considered a Friday or Sunday wedding for a while…but with most of Dan’s friends/relatives coming from out of state, it was of the utmost importance to minimize the number of days of work they’d have to take off…so we kept looking.
The first ballroom that I loved while looking through pictures, and could see myself getting married in, was at Interlachen Country Club. A very private club located in Edina, MN, the ballroom was renovated recently and is absolutely stunning. All of these shots show the ballroom from different angles, times of day, and decoration schemes. I love them all! Even better, they had a SATURDAY in August available! So we jumped on it and had a wedding date/venue – August 23rd, 2014! I haven’t even seen it in person…so I’m trusting my mom/aunt and online pictures!
After we had the date set, I realized that it was only a short 10 months away! This meant dress shopping had to commence earlier than I had planned! So I started my Pinterest page on dresses I liked, and surprisingly, picked out virtually all ball gowns. I don’t use Pinterest that often because I find it overwhelming, but for wedding stuff it is pretty helpful. I look online and pin pictures that I like…then I can go back, look at all the pictures together and find the common elements. And for dresses, this was ball gowns.
So I went to my first boutique by myself because I wanted to see what I liked and didn’t want to be influenced by anyone else. I was surprised that I felt nothing when I put on ball gowns. I really really wanted to like them but I just felt lost within all that extra fabric and felt too much like a little girl playing dress-up and like a Princess and not like a bride. The other type of gown that showed up over and over again on my Pinterest page was trumpet silhouette. Just to clarify, the trumpet is slightly different from the mermaid in that it flares out closer to the knees while the mermaid flares out much lower. I liked the trumpet over mermaid for purely logistical reasons (dancing, walking, sitting, etc). When I tried on this style, I just knew my dress would be a trumpet. I felt like a bride, I felt beautiful and I knew Dan would like it more than a ball gown. The next thing I ruled out was lace (i.e. the above two gowns haha). I never saw myself as a ‘lace’ bride and while it was beautiful, it just wasn’t enough for me, even with the bling belt. I learned throughout this process that even though I dress pretty ‘boring’ day to day (jeans and a top mostly), I really liked drama in my wedding dress. Something that sparkled, grabbed attention, made heads turn. This really isn’t that surprising though, I love attention (just ask my fiancé!) and use to show up for family dinners in old bridesmaids dresses. Yup, that’s me making my grand entrance for macaroni and cheese dinner and milk (in a wine glass obviously).
And yes, in case you’re wondering, I did set my hair in sleep-in curlers. And no, I don’t have the best table manners or etiquette.
Back to dress shopping! I went to the next boutique (Allegria) a week later with my future mother-in-law to keep whittling down my likes and dislikes. I tried on a bunch of dresses but nothing wowed-me. Until I remembered that there was a beautiful trumpet gown on a mannequin in the front, so I asked my consultant to try it on. It was love at first sight/fitting. It fit PERFECTLY – no need for those industrial clamps. I can’t tell you too much about it, but suffice it to say, it is ME.
Then the dilemma began. This was a one-of-a-kind Judd Waddell gown that was there during a trunk show, so it couldn’t be re-ordered and I had to buy that exact dress I tried on. My biggest issue was that my mom wasn’t there, otherwise the search would have ended on the spot. After having watched enough Say Yes to the Dress with my mom, I knew I couldn’t buy the dress without her (also, she had the credit card, but mostly that first reason . So we put it on hold for a week and I convinced my mom to fly to Boston THAT EVENING to see the dress a few days later.
Not wanting to stop dress shopping, my mom and I went to a few boutiques before seeing the Judd Waddell gown. Vera Wang was the only boutique that allowed pictures.
Looking back, these dresses look great on me and I wonder why I didn’t like them more! But apparently they didn’t do much in the emotional realm because I left knowing those weren’t the dresses.
So to made a long story short, we went back to Allegria and bought the dress I had on hold! It was so weird making a decision and then walking out of the store with the gown. It makes me so nervous knowing we HAVE the dress just hanging around in a closet and waiting until the wedding!
This little summary makes it sound like the shopping experience was all smiles and butterflies and hearts floating around (or something weird like that). But I can tell you it was incredibly stressful and emotionally draining. I was so confused to find something I loved that much at the second store and when my mom wasn’t there. And then to try to compare it to other dresses when I didn’t have any pictures was nearly impossible. Now that it’s over and I’m writing this, it does sound like fun. But I lost many hours of sleep to anxiety over dresses. Maybe I’m a bit crazy (no ones arguing I’m not!), but ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ makes it look so much easier than it actually is!